God has a funny way of giving us exactly what we need at exactly the right time.
For example, my husband and I have been working through this book for the past 6 months but it was given to us almost 2 years ago by friends. The day we started it, we were at a cross roads in our relationship and we begged for direction from God and he brought the book – which we had both forgotten about– to mind.
We planned to plow through it in a few weeks, while simultaneously fasting media so all our undivided attention was on it. Quickly that fell to the way side and while initially I had guilt over it, I know now that guilt wasn’t from God – it was simply my hyper religious tendencies that wanted to wow God with my discipline.
Instead, we’ve allowed God to prompt in our hearts when it’s time to work through the next chapter and without fail, every single time we open it, it’s exactly what we need and meets us where were at; many times its been the insight we were begging for or an answer to our prayers.
Yesterday he did it again, twice.
First, by leading me to this podcast which normalized feelings I’ve been battling for months. It affirmed the gruelling, exhaustive and painful nature of the grieving process – validating the exact experiences and emotions I’ve been walking through for months.
I burst into tears. The little girl in me finally heard, “You’re not a freak, Kailey. This too shall pass. Everything is going to be OK.”
Then later that evening, we walked into our family therapists office expecting to talk about one thing before she completely flipped our session on its head, zeroing in on me and the shame I’ve been carrying and beating myself up with.
She taught me about the two parts of my personality that are at war with each other: the General [the over achieving, try harder, responsibility taking, buckle up your boot straps, I can do anything, brush it off, side of me] and the wounded soldier [the one who actually fights and feels the battle and gets wounded in the process. The part that has vivid recollection and memories from the wars she’s faced, and will forever feel and experience life through that lens]
They’re supposed to be family, loving each other for their strengths and knowing their roles- working together for good – but instead they’re hating each other, creating division in my heart and tearing each other down.
In essence, they’re each others’ worst enemy.
I’d been begging God to give words to the war I’ve been experiencing inside me, because while on the outside I might seem fine, on the inside I’m completely beat up and bleeding. I feel helpless on most days and all together incapable of managing the simple acts of day to day life.
Some days, all I can manage to do is write, watch tv, have a conversation, drink coffee and I’m still all together spent by the end of it. And on other days, when life just feels too hard and the grieving to great, I need to check out for a while – to numb the hurt by going to Starbucks, watching a movie, go shopping or eat a sundae.
But that doesn’t make me weak, a bad Christian or a freak! This is all together normal for someone who is in the thick of grieving and I know those things can fix me; Only Jesus can. And He is with me in those moments; He does them with me!
Whether I’m praying or not, Jesus knows my heart and he knows I know, he is my true comforter – not those activities.
But I need to stuff the General’s voice aside and own the truth:
It is not my responsibility to change my circumstance, to heal me, to change me or to rid myself of hard emotions. That is Jesus’s.
My only responsibility is to be authentic in all this – to vulnerably acknowledge what’s going on in side me no matter what it looks like and to take it to Jesus rather than run away.
What I need most right now is the time and space to heal, to be unconditionally loved and taken care of, not beat into submission or told I’m weak. I need to let the wounded soldier have her voice because truly, she is my heroine, not the General. She is the brave courageous one who will do the messy, hard work of grieving and healing, leading me to victory.
She will know freedom and live to tell the story.
Lord, silence the negative voices, including my own; let your voice of empathy and your voice of love be louder. Help me Jesus, to run to you and not run away from the war inside me. Lead me out of temptation; away from guilt, shame, blame or independence. Thank you that you love me in the mess and that you never leave me in the dark. Thank you that I see the flicker of light and that redemption is on the horizon. Search my heart, oh Lord, and finish the work you have started in me.