2013 has passed a lot more quickly than I thought it would. I think that the past year and a half has been the most challenging of my life. I keep wondering why it’s been so very difficult, then I remember:
My father died.
My mother is a widow.
My sisters both moved, so that none of us are within very easy reach of one another.
Depression and grief.
The counseling that has opened my eyes to issues I didn’t know I had.
Homeschooling has been tougher this year, as I find it hard to maintain daily motivation, and consistency.
My work has picked up. I have had my first two truly traumatic experiences with clients that have left me a little more emotionally shaken than I’d care to admit to the whole wide world.
Friendships and relationships growing and stretching and challenging me as I struggle to be more real and honest about what’s really going on in my mind and heart. (Has anyone ever told you that growth hurts? Well, I am telling you now. The more you know.) This whole “learning to be real” thing is hard. Especially when I thought I already was being real…
That voice in my head that yells at me all the time about how worthless and lazy I am. How I am always talking about doing things, but never doing them. I thought that voice was silenced a few years ago, but it’s rearing its ugly head again. Where’s Chuck Norris when you need someone/thing roundhouse kicked in the face?
I have faced challenges all year that have left me feeling empty of all energy, weak, tired, and ready to just lay down and sleep for six months.
I keep voicing to my friends that I just don’t understand what’s going on, and they all remind me: “Your year has been really tough…look again at everything you’re dealing with.”
Then, when I do, I think to myself, “Wow. Yeah. I guess it would be okay to give myself some grace.” Then, I don’t.
Yes, there is so much to be thankful for. So many blessings and Good Things this year. However, I talk about those all the time, in the effort to stay focused on the positive. I will continue to do that this year. It’s the only thing keeping me interested in my life. Interested in continuing to grow and change and keep moving forward until I am more like my Savior.
Still, it’s unwise to ignore the pain and sorrow and struggle.
I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve learned this year.
It’s okay to NOT BE HAPPY ALL THE TIME. It’s okay to take off the mask and cry my eyes out. To kick and scream and to not understand everything. To not have all the answers.
To make mistakes. To ask for and accept the forgiveness of friends. To walk boldly into conflict rather than let it roll off my back again. (It never really does – it soaks in and hurts, no matter what I say.) To stop saying “It’s okay,” when it’s really not.
It’s okay to not have your needs met, and to be unhappy about it. It’s okay ask for people to meet those needs in me. Yes, all I need is Jesus, but guess what his preferred method of comfort and help is?
Human hands, feet, and arms. Human hearts. Human relationships.
I am not an island.
American independence is overrated. It leaves us all alone. Bleeding and bruised with no one to dress the wounds. Marines don’t leave a man behind on the battlefield. Why do we expect each other to suck it up when we hurt? Why do we tell people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and deal with it?
When someone is broken on the battlefield that is this life, bleeding profusely and weakening every minute, we force them to get up and keep moving. “You’ll be fine. You’re such a strong person.”
I am too weak to do that. I need someone to put some pressure on the wound and stop the bleeding! The only trouble is…I don’t quite know where the wound is.
For so long, everyone else has been allowed to need me, but I have not allowed anyone else to be needed. The idiotic thing about it, is that when people offer to help, I have no idea what to ask!
Yet, I think I do know…
I need people. I need them to understand that I have almost nothing left to give right now.
I need time alone. To really and truly just be by myself.
I need time with Levi, as he and are going through a major change in our relationship. (A good change, never fear.)
I need help and advice sometimes with parenting. New perspectives are especially helpful.
I need to be taken care of for awhile, instead of being the one to take care of everyone else.
I need to be given the benefit of the doubt. I know I’m not entirely myself, and I haven’t been. I know I say stupid crap without thinking sometimes. I know I forget birthdays, and it doesn’t always cross my mind to step in and help someone without being asked, and that I’m just not all here all the time.
I know I hurt people. (If you’re reading this, I’ve probably hurt YOU at some point, haven’t I?)
I try. I really do. And I need GRACE right now, more than anything. Lots and lots and lots of grace and understanding.
I need to know that even if you don’t understand, that I’m accepted anyway. That it’s okay for me not to have it all together, and that at least some of you really do believe that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it.
There. I said it. I need total acceptance. I need to feel like it’s okay not to smile in your presence. That it’s okay if I don’t want to talk. That it’s okay if I do want to talk. That it’s okay for me to not want to be around people. That it’s okay for me to say, “No,” and not have to explain or give a “good” reason. I need to know that people are thinking of me.
Above all, I think, I need to know that what efforts I am able to exert are Enough for now.
I need to know that now, in my weakest hour, there are others willing to be the strong ones for awhile.
I can barely type that. It sounds so selfish. Frankly, I’m tired. Really, really tired. And I just want to be held, and to know that I’m loved. This is my reality right now.
My real, raw, gut-needs. Unedited.
Out here for anyone to see.
So, there you go.
I want 2014 to be truly a New Year. I want to wake up Wednesday morning looking forward to Good Things, knowing that Good People are standing with me, holding me up and helping me walk for awhile, until I can take firm, strong steps on my own again. I want to stop performing, and doing, and trying, and just … BE.
Some of you already know this. Some of you don’t. Some of you already understand this, and are already helping me, praying for me, and loving me. Some of you may have a hard time reading this. A hard time believing me. Some of you may be thinking that this really is just a plea for attention.
That’s okay. I don’t mind if you think that.
You could be right, for all I know.
All I know is that this all just flowed out. My fingers kept moving, and now I am crying as I type. I feel sick to my stomach, wondering if I should really hit the “Publish” button or not. Thanks for sticking with me to the end of this 1300+ word post. I’ll try not to write such long ones any more.
Grace & Peace,