I’ve been wrecked and rocked for the past 6 or so months. I’ve been crawling my way through an emotional war hoping that the hand grenades I kept throwing out wouldn’t shoot shrapnel back at me.
I’ve been fighting for my life. Figuratively, of course. But within that course of fighting, I’ve realized that perhaps I am literally fighting for my life, too. Last year I finally asked the big questions. Really asked them.
I was raised in a Christian home, on principal. I mean we went to church, I was spanked with the Bible Belt of guilt and then told that my Heavenly Father loved me so much that I should be afraid.
I’ve grown into a woman who is scared of her reflection. I’ve done some pretty awful things in my life. I’m not all butterflies and roses. I’ve been through countless Bible Studies on Forgiveness and I’ve dipped my head under the Baptism water twice. I always felt good for a while, on a high! I was covered in the Blood of the Lamb. I was worthy.
Problem is it never lasted and soon I was confronted with defending why or what I believed and I looked inside only to find a huge question mark. I didn’t know.
I operate on a tank of Fullness and Wholeness. Which is why this last season of Emptiness brought me further beneath my rock-bottom than I had ever experienced before. True silence. True loneliness.
I tried to stop the leaks with adoration, I tried to fill the emptiness with numbers on a scale, in a bank account or my inbox. I wanted nothing more than to believe the lies that I was so willing to tell myself about Life, Eternity and Love. Everlasting darkness is what I was experiencing in it’s place instead.
I was an avid traveler as a teenager, mostly on mission trips and we’d have to share or write down our testimony in order to go on these trips. What a joke. I mean honestly. At 15 my testimony was a girl who witnessed my parent’s divorce, first hand. I watched my dad throw my mom down in an arguement, pinning her to the floor. I listened night after night as they fought in the hours after my bedtime. I helped my dad pack his bags to move out of our house when I was nine years old.
I witnessed my siblings go in and out of juvi or prison. I witnessed the SWAT team swarm my house after we found a suicide note from a family member. I watched another sibling struggle with demons, quite literally. Sex and drugs soon added into that mix and I had locks put on my bedroom door as a preteen because I was getting threatened by a sibling. I came from the safest place a child is ever supposed to be – her home, where I was constantly tormented and barraged with the clear reasons that God wasn’t around.
I sat in on interventions and cried my eyes out pleaing for this to stop. I mourned the loss of a sister almost 20 years ago and throughout the years tried to be there, to be a family only to be told recently that she doesn’t consider me a sister and hopes to never see me again.
Laughable, that at 30 she’s just now making these statements. Stomping her feet like my six year and expecting me to run after it? Defend it? I have been so thrown aside, so incredibly devalued and forgotten that I don’t think they would notice if I didn’t show up.
Of course no one’s family is perfect. And I had a saving grace in my Step Dad, someone who came into my life who loved me without cause. Who would tuck me in at night and tell me how special I was in this world. Who recognized that I was watching this hell and made it his personal mission to create a peace on earth for me. A buffer to breathe.
I’ve been to therapy, family therapy and group sessions as a child and teenager. But we never really dealt with how I was – I was there to report on the severity of a situation or be a support system for the family member who was actually getting help … that, mostly, they didn’t want.
I think I’m angry. Because now I have this family of my own and I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. What the hell is a healthy marriage??!?!?! Where are the boundaries as a mother and the thin line of friend? WHO’S GUIDING ME!!!!! I’m raising siblings but how the hell do I ensure that in 20 years they don’t intentionally go after each-other because they’re wounded and don’t know how to ask for help?
I still have roles to play – depending on the familial situation or Holiday, I know who I have to be in the crowd to stay invisible long enough for them be nice.
All of this mounts to so many emotions. I don’t think I’m capable of being a very good friend past a certain point. I tend to “wow” and be a high energy burst of happiness and then I kind of fade away or just retreat because getting past just one wall of mine means I’ll be exposed. I have been so over-exposed, so vulnerable and raw for so long without knowing how to ask for help. Without knowing who to tell. Without breaking.
I’m constantly bitter. Happy news from other people makes me want to scream at them. Someone who complains about how hard it is to be a mom and I want to scratch their face off. Even though I feel the same way. Even though I could probably find a constructive relationship or kinship in that. I’m just bitter. Seething.
And I’m slowly saying it out loud. I have 2 girlfriends who have grabbed my heart and told me that I’m worth the work to love. Who send me encouraging words and truth. Who I owe everything to, most days.
So hey! Here I am. Pink, raw flesh. Bleeding. Heart pumping. Tears streaming. Incredibly broken, weak. So scared.
And I leave you, grounded, with a promise I now believe wholeheartedly, a reminder I need every single day:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
Here’s to replacing that question mark with an exclamation point of certainty.