I tend to write from a place of vulnerability and honesty.
Bare with me as this post seems to be stepping deep into that honesty....
I'm walking around as a liar.
Well, at least that is what it feels like.
The last few months have been a time of struggle.
It's been incredible steps forward in faith and growth.
Just struggles of faith.
On the outside, life has looked great. AND it truly has been.
Yet, on the inside...
It's been one storm after another.
My kids have jokingly called me their psycho mother. Though in a joking manner that we do all laugh at together about, reality is they've pretty much nailed it.
My boys purchased inexpensive R/C cars this weekend with their own money. Though my older son has an expensive "professional" type car that he worked and saved for, he doesn't play with it often because there is always a piece breaking and needing replaced. Constantly needing repairs that are out of budget. My younger son is just learning to really drive them on his own, so he wanted one that he could play with and not worry so much about tearing up. Knowing that we just don't often go out and make purchases, he knew that he would have to use his own money.
This morning, he brought me his car and was so proud of what he had done.
He had taken electrical tape and covered the edges and created basically bumper guards. As he's learning to drive, he was quickly learning that he was scratching the paint. He wanted to protect his "investment" during the transition phase.
When he handed it to me, I immediately felt the weight of the same thing in my own heart.
I've been walking around with my own bumper guards. Having dealt with unexpected trials and some very painful experiences in recent months, I had put many guard rails back up in my own life.
I'd stop investing in others as much emotionally. I poured into my husband and family, but began to step away from those outside my walls because I didn't want to risk feeling more hurt. I'd reached the point that I just didn't think I could handle anymore. Self protection mode.
We stopped praying for direction and doors to open as often in our desires to be on the foreign mission field because our direction has so obviously taken a detour as plans changed. To protect myself, I stopped reading my favorite blogs or interacting with those that are currently living out life in the way that we desire to be doing. As my heart still yearns for Africa, I pretty much stopped following anything to do with it.
Church---I'm just not as involved as I was. Some of that is for a good reason because there are current situations that require me to be more present in my own children's lives, investing in them as my first and most important ministry. Yet---it's also an excuse on some levels. My enthusiasm about attending has also been squashed as we have found ourselves floating and looking for our right fit again. Reality is----I'd also allowed walls to be built back up around my heart as I've had doubts of faith creep in. Not whether I believe in God, but whether or not I trust His plan. Saying I do and walking it out in faith are two different things.
I've watched families fall apart. Literally. I've watched marriages dissolve at such a rapid rate that it seemed like every time I picked up my phone or turned on my computer, someone else was hurting so deeply. I've watched multiple friends face grief over the death of a child, spouse, parent, dear friend, etc...
I've gone back in protection mode. Pulling away. Wrapping myself in bubble wrap. Shutting out and shutting down.
Things happened to rip those off. Not one little layer at a time. Not slowly and with ease.
I've been walking around feeling broken and empty, yet on the outside happy. I've had joy and I've had moments of growing faith, but on the inside....
It's been turmoil.
Depression crept back in.
Dissatisfaction and discontentment have tried to rear their ugly heads.
Comparison traps have snagged me more than once.
Anger, bitterness, and so many lies from the enemy have been speaking louder and louder.
Over the weekend, despite having just enjoyed an amazing week with my family and some precious visitors....
Just literally broke.
I found myself at the bottom of that ugly pit. Reality trampled out and replaced with darkness.
Thank you, Lord, ....
For the one that you gave me to love me through the valleys and to celebrate on the mountaintops with.
For the TRUTH of who I am, who YOU are, and YOUR goodness in all situations.
For the friends that see beyond what's on the outside and hang with me through the clawing back out to be the one you designed.
Thank you most of all for the life-lines of hope and strength. For tying the knots of the rope to hang on and climb. For the reminders that there is purpose in the times of struggle and that broken vessels are Your Specialty.
Today, I'm not fully back to myself. Wounds still ache and doubts still remain, but the voices of truth and the reaching of His healing hand is felt more powerfully than ever before.
I have no doubts that as He rebuilds, reshapes, and chisels out His plan---it will be a masterful one. I may only see a thread or two right now, but someday when I can step back and see the full tapestry. It. Will. Be. Beautiful.