Sometimes the hardest thing to do is admit you are struggling?
For some of us, who have walked through long history of struggle, we know how to hold it together longer than others. We have learned how to compartmentalize and cordon off pieces and parts to maintain and continue doing what needs to be done. Yeah, it can be a super power and it can be a detriment. We may be able to keep going but when it finally can’t all be held at the top of the closet any more, it all comes crashing out all over the place. Here is where it is really difficult because when it comes crashing I see the mess, I see the pieces, and all the parts (I’ve felt tired, slow brew anger, restless, bored, uncomfortable, impatient and more recently alone and sad) but I didn’t know exactly why and was trying to pin it on current circumstances that didn’t quite ring true. Its like waking up from a dream that you can’t remember the details.
I have felt this slow burn in my soul for awhile now. I went back in my journal a month ago to see how long I had been feeling this. (and this is exactly why I recommend keeping a journal) I saw it has been since June 20th of this year. (Again just now, as I am writing this)I went back and looked again and this time I noticed something that I had written down. Just before I started feeling this way on June 15th I was reading a book about the Holy Spirit by A.W. Tozer and I wrote in my journal:
“Yes Lord! Father, I present this body, my body to you as a living sacrifice. I ask of you, God, to fill me with the Holy Spirit, that I may by faith obey You. I received all those years ago the gift of salvation in June 1998 and received the gift of the Holy Spirit all those years ago but today Lord, again, I pray a simple prayer of faith. I ask that the promise of faith, the Spirit of God to fill me. I believe and await the fruit of your presence.”Starla Smith (June 15, 2021)
The next day I awoke to a wild and beautiful red sky. I stepped outside to take a photo of it and a man riding a bike said, “You can get the rainbow too, the whole thing.” I walked out to the street and turned around, over my house, was a full rainbow.
Genesis 9:14-15a When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you…
And so, I can now see, how the Holy Spirit has been unpacking my closets. He can’t fill me, if I am full of all this other stuff. Right? I really dislike disorder and unorganized clutter. He’s been unpacking sadness and grief into my living space for awhile now. I’ve been frustrated and unmotivated, much like when a space is so overwhelming in the house and you don’t know where to start. He’s dumped out boxes of friendships that have felt cut short, loved ones lost in dementia, and my home feeling “not home” since my daughter moved out. I kept moving. doing what needed to be done. Thinking I was moving on. I led through a transition, I kept my distance because of covid thinking it is the right thing to do, and let another do what they said they were going to do. I rearranged furniture to not see the missing pieces, but packed away grief and pain still is grief and pain – even if its been left un-felt. How could I be holding pieces and parts in tucked away places since my daughter got married in toward the end of 2018? I told myself to chill out. She just lives 5 min away and it was true. But I didn’t honor the emotion or let it be fully felt. I saw it coming and would tucked it away. How could I be holding on to pieces and parts of 2020 when Covid happened? I lost so much time with my Grandma and her son took over her care and got her in a pickle. Now, I am left to pick up the pieces and when I see her she slowly remembers me but it gets harder and harder every time. She gets stuck in a loop after a while and keeps saying the same thing over and over again. I am angry and I feel cheated every time I see her for all the lost time. How could I be holding pieces and parts tucked away of when some of my closest friends moved away at the end of 2020? I wasn’t in on the process of leaving, I didn’t see it coming at all, I felt sideswiped, and left behind. I still miss them but I almost don’t know what to say when I see them.
(pause for hard crying after admitting all that)
Sometimes small things and ways of honoring the pain are all you can do when you are in a place like this: The other day I went to see my Grandma and just hung out in the moment with her. Yesterday I called my daughter and told her I missed her. Today I texted my friend and said, “thinking of you!”
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is admit you are struggling and hurting. I am. I took a few vacation days this week and on Monday I slept 19 of the 24 hours I was in. Hiding pain and staving off grieving until its convenient make you incredibly tired. When was the last time you cried? I bet it isn’t as quick as you’ve been angry.
While listening to some instrumental background music while I write, I hear the Spirit speak these words: “And its all going to be OK, its all going to be OK!” Yes. It is! Entering into the process of processing pain isn’t easy, and sometimes, like me, you may not know that you are even hurting until nothing is joyful, nothing is exciting, everything is boring, much makes you angry, and you are exhausted from holding your life together. All while being careful not to avalanche your emotional baggage on to the people around you. The difference between where you are and where you could be is dealing with the pain you are experiencing. It’s time…
Thank you, Holy Spirit for doing what you do… keeping promises!
We don’t move on, at least I don’t apparently, I have to move through. It’s time to be moving through because we grow through what we go through. Do you need to move through too? Are there places, pieces, parts, that you have stashed away. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you? He will.
Edit: I found this photo (above) in my FB memories on this day (Nov 25,2020) I love how God gives us confirmations to help us understand how He has been at work and what He is doing. Life is hard, Yes! And God gives grace packages. So let me name them for the things I have gone through.
- My Daughter moving out: I gained a wonderful son-in-law. His care for his family and for us is amazing. He expressed Christ and encourages Christ-likeness and provokes us to love and good works all the time in all of us. I now have 2 granddaughters that are the delight of my heart. As for my Sarah, I do see her often, and I plan to spend more time doing things together. Missing her makes my heart so thankful for all the wonderful singing, smiling, dancing, goofy, connecting conversations that we had and that now she is passing on to her little girls.
- My Grandmother: I’ve had a wonderful last 12 years with her. She had moved back to Cedar Rapids and I wrapped her up in my weekly life, and included her into my family goings and doings. When her son wanted to take over her POA stuff – I let him and then he gave it back to me. He didn’t know what to do and wasn’t getting anywhere. Through this very frustrating situation, I was able (in Christ) to express the kind of grace toward him I would want myself and show him the kindness and peace of God. Even though he hadn’t been kind to me, Christ in me, loved him and stepped in to help when he wasn’t able. Now, I am able to take care of my Grandma the way she wanted when she put me in charge in the first place and I was able to honor her by treating the son she deeply loves with respect.
- My Friends moving away: I was given the chance to lead and I did in a way that I didn’t know that I could. I see that they are very blessed where they are and that makes me happy for them. God has since brought new friends and that is something that I love about Christ, there is always more room for friendships in Jesus.
All is grace,