I don’t like therapy. Writing on the blog. Sharing with a close friend. Those things I like. But therapy? Therapy is brutal. Therapy takes all the BS I dish out, pushes it aside and says, “So, now let’s talk about why you are really here.” And as much as I don’t like it, I need it. Like I need the air I breathe and the food I eat and the love of the husband. Therapy reminds me that I made a choice to be honest and raw and courageous and brave. It won’t let me back out of my choice.
I started therapy because of a flashback. Instead, we talked about the spiritual abuse I endured as a child. And the final abuse that sent me fleeing from the place that shaped who I am. I tell her I don’t want to talk about the church but the words come flying out of my mouth and I can’t stop them. And as soon as the words leave my mouth the thing I fear arrives: pain. And I just sit there in my pain and ask Abba why. He gently whispers, “Wait.”
The next week I return and again I can’t stop what is coming out of my mouth. I’m upset over something and I’m not making sense and she stops me. “Why don’t we talk about what’s really bothering you?” I just look at her. Seriously? I don’t want to talk about what is bugging me. Because I don’t want to feel the emotions that I know are there. But I’ve been here before and I know that bravery means things get worst before they get better. I take a deep breath and the words in my brain become words in my mouth. And I begin to cry. I feel so lost. Like the fog that I lived in for 20 years is coming back. That everything that I’ve experienced in the last 18 months is not true and I made this all up. I’m not really loved and I’m not really healed and I’m not really the one my husband loves. And as soon as I say those words I crumple over sobbing. And this woman, who Abba brought into my life, speaks up. “You are very discouraged today. Can I just pray for you right now?” And despite my current dilemma with prayer I say yes. She comes over, sits beside me, puts her arms around me and begins to pray. As I cry all over her shoulder, she reminds me that I am loved. She reminds me that sometimes the darkness will come back but that the light is still shining. And then she asks the Father to give me the courage to face the next layer of my healing…and our healing. The tears subside and it’s time to end the session.
I leave still upset but determined to do the hard work assigned. Until we’re driving together and he asks, “How was your appointment.” I don’t look at him. “I don’t want to talk about it.” The tension is thick and I am trying to avoid crying again. He’s learned to leave me alone when I’m in this state so we finish the drive in silence. And like the week before, I sit in my pain and Abba just says, “Wait.” Wait. Wait for what? For what exactly? Because I thought we’d already moved past all this. I don’t want to deal with this Abba. I don’t want to go backwards and return to the years of pain and loneliness and confusion. And he just whispers again, “Wait.”
The day ends and again we are alone in the car. And somehow in a short space of time Abba readied his heart and mine for a long-overdue conversation. The incident that prompted my melt down in the therapist’s office is still fresh on our minds. He tells me that he can’t quit thinking about what I said. I start to say sorry, even though my therapist specifically told me to not apologize, but he stops me. “No. I hurt you. I can see that now.” I suck my breath in. Oh Abba, what are you doing? And before I can stop myself I’m talking. “Yes. I know I was obnoxious, but you did hurt me.” And he reaches over, takes my hand and kisses it. And the tears start again.
I never imagined Abba would be able to revive our relationship the way he has and it’s been amazing. But there’s 20 years of crossed boundaries, bad habits and unspoken hurt still woven deeply within the fabric of who we are. Abba could just make that all magically disappear, but he hasn’t. Now he’s asking us to do the hard work. Together. To learn how to communicate. To set boundaries and keep them. To reject old patterns and accept new ones. To not allow apathy and disrespect to flounder. To accept one another for who we are. To acknowledge and take responsibility for the things we’ve done. To stay vulnerable and pliable and let Abba peel back the layers, one-by-one to heal BOTH of us. To face the past, put it in perspective and look to our future.
I know why couples choose to live separate lives or ultimately end in a divorce. Learning to love one another is not easy. It demands sacrifice, time, honesty and vulnerability. It requires me to speak up when he’s disrespectful and call him out when he does things that are selfish and hurt me. It is acknowledging that he isn’t able to save me from my own stupid decisions and to accept that having boundaries doesn’t mean he doesn’t love me. It’s refusing to let other people and past relationships dictate the terms of our relationship. It’s learning to be present with one another with no agenda or resentment. It’s knowing that conflict doesn’t need to take us off the path. It’s embracing our story, owning the beauty of the ashes and the scars, and coming out on the other side…together.
Abba has told me wait. And I wait. Because I KNOW that Abba knows what he’s doing. And I KNOW that we are worth the wait.