A Mess

One Friday, as we were driving along on our way to pick up Durin from the homeschool program, I was singing my heart out to a song on the radio. It was Aaron Shust’s “My Hope Is In You.”

“My hope is in You, Lord
All the day long, I won’t be shaken by drought or storm
A peace that passes understanding is my song
And I sing my hope is in You, Lord”

Something dawned on me. The words are not an honest reflection of what is going on in me right now.

I have been struggling in the past weeks, feeling as though I might be spiraling into depression again. Why that is, is beside the point, and a post for another day. Only the day before the above realization, I was struggling with a bad combination of what felt like depression and anxiety, further complicated and made to feel much bigger via hormones. (Gosh darn being a female, sometimes.) I fought and fought and fought, “all the day long.”

As a friend often writes about, I had on my “Normal Suit,” but it has been fraying badly. You see, I never take it off. I don’t actually know how. It’s getting rather threadbare after 30-plus years. So, I found myself hiding all day, trying to maintain composure. Just struggling to keep it together, and hide the Monster that is inside me, for the sake of the four precious human beings temporarily entrusted to my care.

I used every Essential Oil I know, took my supplements, hydrated, and even had a good night’s sleep. They all helped keep the Normal Suit from falling apart completely.

Until about 11:30pm. I lost it.

My husband came home to a Monster. I was tearing apart our bed, throwing the mattress topper down the hall with all my strength, sight almost completely obliterated by tears–not the delicate, melancholy kind, either. I got loud. I used bad words (gasp!). I threw things. (Thankfully, just sheets, and not at anyone.) There was anger and despair and defeat.

Why? In short, it was the final straw in a heap weighing about two and a half tons. Because I am giving Paul the Apostle a run for his money as the chief of sinners. I even managed to wake the kids.

I want to crawl under a rock, even now, just thinking about it. A tantrum isn’t cute in a two-year-old, much less someone who is supposed to be the Grown-Up.

Then, I have the nerve to sing the words:

“My hope is in You, Lord
All the day long, I won’t be shaken by drought or storm
A peace that passes understanding is my song
And I sing my hope is in You, Lord”

I won’t be shaken? What a laugh. Facing my father’s death in a very literal sense is far easier than facing the woman in the mirror everyday.

Before I went to bed, I made everything right, though I know I can’t obliterate those moments from anyone’s memory. It was an ugly, angry, immature, overwhelmed outburst. I confessed my wrongdoing, made no excuses, and asked forgiveness. It was lovingly, willingly, and unhesitatingly given.

Small hearts love big.

Thank God.

My Normal Suit shattered. Not for the first time, either. It’s been patched, mended, safety-pinned, and patched again. Anything to keep it together for five more minutes. Sometimes, there are many days together that I don’t even notice that I am wearing it, and things move along just fine. I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or not.


The truest Scripture ever written, I think:

“I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. ~Romans 7:18-24 (NIV)

I keep forgetting that I am at war.

My armor is cracked anyway. I want to be better than I am. I want to walk uprightly, and be able to say, as Job did:

“I put on righteousness as my clothing; justice was my robe and my turban.” ~Job 29:14 (NIV)

Instead, I just wear the Normal Suit. The one made of sunshine, rainbows, fluffy clouds, and glitter. Not very substantial stuff, and it is completely worn out. I am pretty sure most people can see right through it, though they are too kind to tell me. And, as I mentioned before, I don’t know how to take it off anyway. So, I turn here. To words. To songs that hit home. To the anonymity of the Internet–even though I know full well that the only people who will read these words are people who know me in some capacity or other.

I’ve been told no one ever believes that I actually struggle with anything, because I don’t share it. I don’t let anyone see. Well, I have been trying to, in little pieces, to a select few.

Maybe that’s not enough. I don’t know.

Maybe it’s time I just sit down and the laptop and bleed for awhile, a la Ernest Hemingway. Let the chips fall where they may, so to speak.

Either way, it’s high time I stop letting things build like that. It is not enough to poke pinprick holes in the dam, and claim to have control over the flood. I have to open the floodgates a lot more often. Maybe with paint. Or words. Or some other such thing that allows me to create beauty from the pain I’m in. I can see a little way forward, but not far. And I am trying. Dear God, I am trying so freaking hard to let go. To just take a few deep breaths, pray, and be.

But I am not succeeding. I am a mess.

I want a mountaintop experience. Just one. Some way to take a deep breath and start again. Maybe then, I can sing any song I want to, with gusto and freedom and honesty.

Bloody and Tired,

PS: Go to crazyreal.net, and read her stuff. She started the Normal Suit thing.


9 thoughts on “A Mess

  1. Oh how I adore you.
    I don’t know how some people dance around in unicorn poop for as long as they do without crumbling. I’m glad you shared your struggle because so many of us have been there and been silenced by the false belief that everything has to look good to be good.
    Love the analogy of the “normal suit”. That says it all.

    • Sorry for my short reply before, I was on my phone. Thanks for your encouragement and support. I really do need every positive word of affirmation I can get right now.

  2. Tiff, I feel your pain dear Sister. I was having overwhelming emotions yesterday. People prayed for me, I listened to a message, prayed for others, looked at my answerd prayer journay, and looked to Jesus in song. He came through like He always does. I will continue to pray for you. Praise Him, songs of “I trust you” “I believe You” songs, and remeber the visions you have seen of Him reaching out to you with His arms of LOVE. The message I listened to reminded me we only grow when we realize and rest in the AMAZING GRACE He HAS give us. Love you so, Shalom, Lollypop

  3. Thinking about you dear Tiffany and how much I enjoyed seeing you this summer. Wish I was there to help you thru some of your struggles. Liorah said it so well, she makes my heart sing. Sending prayers and good thoughts your way. Hugs, Auntie Maureen

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