The tears are there, but I’m desperately trying to hold them back. I want to sleep. Sleep means no pain, no tears…just blessed peace. I can’t find relief from this pain that plagues my mind, robs me of joy and spirals me into the place of numbing emptiness. I am ashamed of my weakness.
The husband looks at me. “Are we going to church this morning?” I feel no pull to go but it never hurts to get an hour from my mind. “Yes, I’d like that.”
We arrive early and walk into the foyer. I decide the only way through this service is to hold tight to the wall between me and the Spirit. The husband is watching me; I can see it in his eyes. The concern. The pain of knowing his wife is locked behind this wall and there’s no way to reach her. Knowing only Abba can get inside her head and bring her back. But this place. It just reminds me of the pain. Why did I do this to myself?
I find my soul wiggling to be let free. It isn’t until Pastor T begins talking that I relax. I like Pastor T. He’s young, kind of funny and he’s the new youth pastor. I ignore the pain in my gut.
He begins reading from Psalms 46. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” (Psalms 46:1-3, NIV)
Is he really? Is he really my strength? To be honest, I’m angry with him. I don’t know much longer I can keep myself locked behind this wall to keep everyone safe from my anger. I am not really listening to Pastor T, I’m listening to the war in my head. But then, I hear it.
Photo Credit: The Abundant Life Center
The tears fall silently. He’s talking about quieting ourselves in the midst of the storm. “I don’t know what storm you are in…” and the dam inside bursts free.
Do you know what it’s like to hear your child say they hate you? To have a counselor tell you they plan to walk away at 18 and you will never see them again?
There is no pain. No pain knowing a ticking time bomb lives inside your home. It makes it hard to not want to die, because although I have hope that Abba will intervene, my heart is shattered in a million pieces and I cannot breathe.
I look to the right and it sends a wave of pain washing over me. “I’m mad at you Abba. You didn’t have to let me see what could be just so you could yank it away. You didn’t have to give me this amazing relationship and then let it splinter into nothingness.”
I didn’t want to go here in the first place. After escaping a spiritually abusive place I had no intention of ever stepping a foot into a church. But she wanted to go. So the husband took all of us and we went. And we kept going. And joined a small group. And started to feel home.
And then the day came we realized things were not as they seem. The child who had dragged us there…the child who had walked across the sanctuary to pray for me, because she could feel my soul…she looked at me and said she hated me. That I ruined her life. I watched as she hardened her heart, walked out the door, made the decision to cut off her family, friends, church, the boy she loved…and sent our family spiraling into crisis.
How am I supposed to be still when all I feel is pain? How am I supposed to worship you when all I can see is my pain? Why? Why Abba is this the storm we have to go through? I miss my daughter. I miss her more than I can describe. We have somehow scrambled together a workable relationship, but my daughter, the one I spent so many hours loving and nurturing…she’s gone. I’m trying to love this new person, but Abba, it’s hard. Again I hear Abba speaking through the ramblings of my mind.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10The Message (MSG)
7-10 Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it’s all you need
My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
His grace is enough. Enough to endure the pain of losing my daughter’s heart. Of losing my father. Of losing my church. Of losing my mind. Of losing my innocence. His grace has always been enough and it will be enough to endure whatever happens. In my weakness, he is strong. We begin worship and I let myself lean into the Spirit’s wind.
…Awaken my soul. Come awake….
My soul heaves with relief from being locked away from the source of life. By the time we get to the chorus I am a mess and can barely sing. But I let the tears fall and I try to sing…because this is the only thing giving true salving balm to my aching heart.
Spirit of the Living God come fall afresh on me. Come wake me from my sleep. Blow through the caverns of my soul. Flowing me to overflow.
I leave there with a pounding headache, but my heavy heart feels lighter. The memories of what has happened, the shattered dreams and fragile hope threaten to overwhelm me, but I know I’ve survived far greater before and I’ll survive this.