What would I want you to hear…

So, my homework for counseling is to journal about what the difference is in “What I want people to hear?” and “What I want to say?” when I tell my story. Let me set the stage. I was talking in counseling about how I feel stuck in my life and I want a change, and I want a drastic change, because being the addict that I am, I love chaos. Well, I don’t love it, but I am most comfortable in it. Anyway, my counselor and I were brainstorming ways to change things in life without making my own chaos, like a new haircut or moving or whatever, and she said “Maybe a hobby, or join a club. Or you could share your story”.

I immediately thought “Where would I do that?” following quickly by “I can’t because it’s not over yet” and then I landed on “No one wants to hear that mess”. And so I started sharing about my fear in telling about the things that have happened to me. I’m afraid, and here’s why:

I am afraid of my motives because I am afraid that my only reasoning behind sharing my story would be to assassinate the character of my former husband, and that the people that I want to witness and believe this assassination are never going to see my journey or empathize with it. They can’t.

I am afraid to share because it’s not over. Yes, I am divorced. Yes, I am seeking treatment for anorexia. Yes, I am a self-sufficient adult, but I still cry sometimes, and I forget to pay my bills, and I still have an eating disorder, and sometimes I really like my sin of not eating, so until I get this mess cleaned up, my story is not pretty enough to be shared. 

I am afraid that I will be seen for the grossness that I believe myself to be. It’s true, I feel like a discarded piece of trash that he didn’t want, so he threw me out. And as I fight that lie, I am afraid if I share my story, people will think “He was right to leave you. You’re crazy”. Because, if I am honest, I carry more shame over being a gross abandoned divorced lady than anything else that has ever happened to me or that I have done.

I am afraid that I am seeking to be acclaimed as this totally awesome lady who not only got kicked to the curb by her husband but totally survived it while teaching kids with special needs and knowing two languages. Because I like that about me, but I don’t want it to be why I share. 

But really, as I wrestle through this, I consistently see that what I want to say to people is “Man, this world is totally depraved and crappy and sad. I get that. I know that. I’ve seen it. But in those dark days, the Lord wars for my heart. He fights for my good and sings sweet songs of love over me. Even when I can’t hear them. And He does the same for you”. And I want people to hear that, too. I want people to know how tender and loving Christ is. I want people to know how powerful and strong His name alone is. 

And I am still thinking through this, because I think there is more that I want to say. I think I have been crying out to be heard for a long time, but even if I was heard, I don’t know what I would say. And I think that my eating disorder was me crying out, I think my perfectionism is me crying out, I think my sarcasm and humor is a cry to be heard. Sometimes I just want to know that I am seen and delighted in. That my work matters. That my heart is beautiful. And the wonderful thing about Jesus is that He hears and gives words to the groaning of our hearts. He knows what I need to speak, even though I don’t. He knows what I need to hear, even though I can’t always hear it. 

He gave me a story to share. He wrote it. He knows what others can hear from it, He knows what I need to say by telling it. And He knows that when I share what has been written for me, I am reminded of how He looks at me as His darling, beloved, beautiful, kick-ass daughter. So, maybe the person who needs to hear my story is me. Who knows. 

To be continued…

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Thoughts on love and stuff


Lamentations 3:20-24

20 My soul continually remembers it
    and is bowed down within me.
21 But this I call to mind,
    and therefore I have hope:”

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him”

 

I guess Lamentations isn’t the most romantic of the books of the Bible, or is it? I mean the whole book is lamenting hard times and sin and discovering over and over again that the love of the Lord never ceases. Ever. 

And that is the point of love, right? It never fails. It’s constant. And God is so good to us to remind us of His love in our love for one another. I was thinking about this as I ran this morning, having some thoughts on love and what it means to love and be loved. And I was thinking about how people will probably pity me this Valentine’s Day and say stuff like “is it hard to be around all this love when you are divorced?”. 

No, it’s not.

Because I have love in my life. Lots of it. I have friends who cheer me on and love me and laugh and cry with me. I have two nephews who just like to “hang out” in my room and play with bubbles and have dance parties. I have a sister and brother in law who love me and let me live with them and celebrate with them and be with them. I have a brother who loves me when he laughs at my jokes and talks with me about world events and NPR. I have a little sister and bro in law who let me mock their love of their dog and are interested in what’s going on in my world. I have a Mom and Step-dad who call and text and say they are proud of me, love me, and are excited to see what comes next for me. I have a Dad and Step-mom who tell me they love me and come visit and help me when my tires go flat. I have students who hug me and co-workers who make me laugh. 

I have love. I am loved. And more than even the love I have here on earth, I have the love of my Heavenly Father who is my portion and provider. He is the father to the fatherless, the husband to the widow, the hope for my future and the joy in my heart. So, as I think about love and I am reminded that I want to love well. So my hope is that the love that is all around today will continue to penetrate the hearts of those I come in contact with, and that those who are not captured by the love of God will be held captive in His grace and love.

Because that’s what it’s all about. His Never-Ending Grace. His Steadfast Love. And the freedom to love others because of it.