Joy in the Mourning.

This is a very personal post for me. I’ve been going back and forth for several days on whether or not to even write it. God has been doing some shaping and molding inside of me,  and it’s been difficult,  and sometimes just downright hard for me.

I’m not usually afraid of sharing personal things, but usually when I share, I share about things I have already been through, from a safe place, when I can calmly look back and describe the awesome things God has done for me. It’s not often I am brave enough to share while I’m going through things. I’m much more comfortable when I know the outcome and am in the safe zone. for instance,  I don’t mind to tell you that there was a time I struggled with addiction and mental illness,  but it’s difficult for me to say, “I’m feeling really low. I’m struggling. I’m afraid.”

Frankly, it’s not God’s intention that we live our lives in the Safe Zone. He calls us to do hard things, purposely, so that we lean on Him, trust in Him to get us through and to provide for us. If we balk, and decide we don’t want to do what he calls us to do, he will simply find someone else who will.

It’s been a difficult year for our family. We lost our beloved Gramps, Gramma Jeanette,  and my Great Grandmother.  We have shared in each others grief,  financial struggles, illnesses, and fear. And we have found peace in the storm together.  I have an awesome, tight knit family. I never ever doubt if they will be there. Life is hard. But at least we are doing it together.

That being said, over the last few weeks, I have started to drift away from my walk with Christ. I am embarrassed to admit this, but it’s true.  I have traded my morning quiet time to scroll through Facebook, rushing through my prayers, bypassing worshiping in the car on my way to work, and even found myself distracted during church on Sundays, looking at my phone or doodling, my mind drifting to who knows where. I have been going through the motions, my heart absent. It has not been an intentional thing, but a product of fear, and frustration. A tactic of the enemy, to distract me and pull me away from God. And the further I drift the more lackadaisical I become about making time for Jesus. The more lackadaisical I become, the more I’m drifting. Truthfully, I’m struggling. I’m filled with anxiety and fear, and I am tired of slapping a smile on my face and faking it. Some days I am overwhelmed with saddness, and I hide in the bathroom and cry. Then I wipe my eyes, splash water on my face, and I pretend everything is great. I end up feeling (and acting) bitter and nasty, resenting the people I love and cherish. My family, coworkers, nobody has been safe from my nasty mood. I kept thinking, “ugh! Get a grip Michelle!” I am madly in love with my husband, I adore my son, I have an b incredible family, I love my job, and I have some seriously awesome coworkers! I know these things, but I couldn’t shake the black cloud that was hovering over me.

A few days ago, I hit a low, feeling like I wasn’t being appreciated and was being taken for granted. My kid, my husband,  work. No matter what I did I felt like it was never good enough. My mood started to sink,  and I started to feel like I would never measure up. I would never be a good enough mama for my sweet boy, or a good enough wife for my man. No matter what I do, I’m just getting in the way and I’ll never ever measure up. I have been lost and drowning in anxiety, not sleeping and getting headaches, and terrified that something bad was coming; so incredibly sure that something was gonna happen that would rock my world, and not in a good way. I didn’t want to get out of bed, or shower, or do anything.  In a weird, out of body way, I saw myself losing it,  and I was helpless to stop.

It was then that I cried out to God, “Where are you! I can’t hear you,  I don’t know where to go or what to do, I don’t know what is expected of me or how to make things right.  Why have you left me!  God, this isnt fair! Please let me hear you!”  Fueled by fear, nerves, and anger I let loose.

And on and on I prayed, my thoughts racing and my heart pounding, like a hurricane inside me. And all of a sudden i heard Him, a firm, quiet but strong, small voice that was impossible to ignore from deep inside said, “you’re not listening.”

And just like that, the internal storm died down, and I fell to my knees weeping. Once I collected myself, I started paying attention to the small details again. What books am I reading? Why am I talking this way? What am I listening to? What am I talking about to others? Am I choosing joy? Why am I complaining?  Where do my expectations lie? Where do I find my self worth? Is my life proof of God’s great love?

I am a people pleaser. But am I striving to please others so that they “love me more” or so that I can finally be “good enough?” Or am I striving to love and serve people because I DO love them, and that is who and what I am called to be.  And how fair is it to my husband for me to always need his reassurance that he loves me and that he is glad I am his wife? He is human, like me. So how can I expect him to be the source of my self worth and meet all of my expectations?  how can I expect him to never let me down? How can I expect him to be perfect. .. I’m sure not perfect.

I cant. Just as I can’t meet all of his expectations, there is no way he can meet all of mine. By putting him on this pedestal and in this position, I am setting us both up for resentment, anger, and a world of hurt and disappointment. My expectations should be on Jesus.  My worth comes from the Father, Abba, who lovingly and patiently reminds me that if I want to hear him, than I need to stop complaining and start listening.

This morning after I dropped my sweet boy off, I cranked the worship music and sang my heart out. I praised God for all the good and faithful ways he has cared for our family, and for me. And I was thinking, what do I want more than  anything?

And the answer was there, right in front of everything else. I want to know Him more.  I want to be foolishly and joyfully in love with him. I want to be intimate with him. I want to follow Him with reckless abandon, because I Know that he is always good, and always faithful.

Even when I’m not. Because it doesn’t matter how “good” I am, because He is good. Always.

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