There I said it. They say the first step in recovering is to be honest and admit the problem.
The last four days have officially broken me. Broken me in a a good way.
Yesterday, I did NOT want to go to church. You name an excuse and I was ready to use it. But, out of faith, I went. Ok, honestly, it was more like guilt since we'd missed the last two weeks at our church with traveling. As we were driving those 5 minutes to get there, I just simply prayed, "Make it worth the effort." Granted, that probably wasn't the greatest prayer. Church shouldn't just be about what we get it out of it, but rather a posture of our heart of worshiping. Basically, I was saying I'm going out of reluctant obedience, but I'm asking you to reach in and change that attitude.
Our pastor spoke about God's song in our hearts. He talked about how God gives us the song of hope and joy and how sin can steal our melody. A believer's heart is a singing heart.
He cautioned about not causing others to lose their song. He also warned about being careful to not lose OUR song and how to focus on the faithfulness of God and what we KNOW to be true during the times that our song may be lost. It's a choice we must make.
I lost my song. Some situations and others in my life may have started the snuffing out of the song, but the reality is, I allowed my song to be silenced. The ball may have started rolling with others, but the results of that falls on me.
Backing up to earlier in the weekend---
I am an introvert to beat all introverts. I've had the tendency for years, but the older I've gotten it has become much more pronounced. I love having deep relationships with people, but being "social", small talk, and stepping out of my comfort zone is paralyzing. Like full on panic attack level. I had the incredible opportunity to attend a small gathering at the home of Jill Savage: speaker, writer of many books, someone you often hear on Christian radio, and founder of Hearts at Home. She has been a powerful mentor and influence in my role as a Christian mother and wife for MANY years, even before I'd ever heard of Hearts at Home. Having been on her book team for No More Perfect Moms, No More Perfect Kids, and most recently "Better Together", I have been privileged to see even more closely her TRUE heart for women. No More Perfect Moms was the catalyst for remarkable change in my life. As part of the latest book team, those of us with a high level of participation, were invited to come out and spend a few hours at her home. Dream come true? Oh yes. But in reality----a nightmare come true for this introvert. However, I made the choice that I was going to NOT allow my anxiety to steal this potential blessing. I'd allowed that to happen too many times AND this was not going to be one such time. IT was HARD to make that initial step.
It was one of the greatest decisions I've made in a long time.
The day was heaven sent for me.
I THOROUGHLY was at ease after the first 45 seconds. I felt more of myself than I have been in years. The conversations with the ladies in attendance, with Jill, and with Jill's daughter Anne (co-author of Better Together) were so very much what this heart needed in ways words can't adequately describe.
Because my song has become silent.
I stopped blogging because of that silence, despite it being something that I feel so passionate about.
You see, life has dealt some curve balls leaving me with walls that I haven't felt I've been able to scale, disappointments that have suffocated, and scars that heal and then break WIDE OPEN again.
But----in those moments of sitting there on her beautiful porch on a PERFECT day, surrounded by a community of REAL women that RADIATE for Jesus and each other, I was hit with the feeling of what community really is. Vulnerability. None of these ladies were without scar and blemish, without struggle or insecurities, or without failure.
My song doesn't have to be silenced because life is hard.
I've been in a season of TOUGH motherhood. That's REAL. There's no shame in that. I know that and I BELIEVE that, but I stopped acting as if I believed it. I stopped giving myself the grace I offer so freely to others.
Here's where honesty REALLY comes in----and I know I most likely will have repercussions from this honesty--- but I believe today is the day to pull off every mask. When I blog, I'm honest and vulnerable, but this is a whole new level. You see, motherhood is HARD when you don't have a relationship with your own mother. No matter the level of success I might have in my own mothering or the depth of my failures, it's crushing that I am alone in mine. Death took my father away, but choice took my mother away. I've spent so long feeling like an orphan. There I said it. The words that haunt. Even in the last months some very painful things have happened that have really cemented those feelings in my heart. Abandonment, betrayal, those feelings of NEVER measuring up----it's hard. Simply crushing. I found it even harder to navigate this heartache for so long in the presence of such incredible mothers I've met through this book journey and in my daily life. And I just let wall after wall build. I couldn't share my story or its details, so I let my voice become silent. My blogging to stop. My relationship building to significantly halt. I did pour deeper into my children (which IS A BEAUTIFUL thing), but my own heart was getting colder and my walls climbing higher and thicker.
But that message of "Better Together" just kept resonating.
As I sat on that porch and later as some very powerful prayers were prayed over Jill and her husband and their upcoming book on marriage, (sidenote: you'll want to grab it around next Valentine's day. I'm crazy excited about the impact this one will have. As someone that has been honest about our broken marriage and its beautiful restoration and knowing snippets of their story, I know the potential is far reaching.), I felt a wall begin to break. Sunshine wasn't just beautiful outside that day, the son was reaching in and lighting up this heart as well. We all have a story. We are MORE than just what we've done, what's happened to us, or the things that hold us back.
We are His.
We are valuable.
Our story matters.
My mind had been swirling and my heart has been wanting to explode since the wonderful time this weekend, but as I'm *sometimes* guilty (often!) of doing, I let moments of incredible growth slip away out of my fears, even sometimes in direct disobedience to the prompting of His Spirit. I felt it in my reluctance to be in fellowship with others at church. I felt in my wanting to pull away from those nearest and dearest to me. I know I wanted to let those walls continue to fall and to build the bridges that vulnerability and honesty facilitates, but I went back to my box, Back to my comfort zone of silence.
As a result, tension was building. Conviction was heavy. Anxiety was building like an elephant sitting on my chest.
Then this morning, a friend texted a simple "thank you for encouraging me, how can I pray for you?" text. You know those LIFELINES. The ones that you know that came straight from God to you from someone being obedient and open to Him. I typed out my response, but as I was, I knew it was also a prompting from God to just trust Him and allow Him to put that song back in my heart. Those walls were getting shaky again, but real life called as a priority. Kids needs tending to, the dog needed out, errands run, and a teen dropped off for church camp. I didn't get the chance to just soak in the message that He was beating in my heart.
I did simply pray, "Let me KNOW you are there. Let me HEAR you. Hang with me, don't give up on me."
As I walked back in from our rushing out the door, my youngest and I sat down to eat a fast food breakfast we grabbed (*shhh* don't tell the healthy police!). It's just the two of us this week with one at camp and one over 1,700 miles away (yes, I'm still breathing somehow!). By the way, wish I had a video of the excessive celebrating he did when he walked in as an "only" for this week! My phone chimed that dedicated little chirp that indicated I had a message from that daughter that's currently living out her dream on the mission field in the Domincan Republic.
It was simply a picture. A picture of a cherished necklace in her hand that she lost six weeks or more ago and her text said "Bottom of my suitcase". She had it made in the shape of the island of the DR and stamped with Adventure Awaits on one side and coordinates on the other. . She doesn't wear jewelry and is VERY low maintenance, so having this made showed a big piece of her heart. She had it made when she began the application process for the internship. You see, God fulfilled this dream for her. We couldn't financially make it happen. Not even in the slightest. We even ran into medical, school, and even application hurdles. But God. He provided. Losing that necklace was devastating. She turned the house literally upside down, even taking apart sink drains. Seriously. She even decided to bite the bullet and have a new one made, but it wouldn't arrive before she left. And then, not thirty minutes after I prayed that prayer of "God, let me hear you. Let me know you're there.", she finds it. In her suitcase. In another country. At a time when both our hearts needed it.
I'm letting that song return.
Don't just break these walls you are breaking in my heart, oblieterate them. Crush them. Destroy them. Even though it terrifies me. Even though it will take me further out of my comfort zone.
Because I know we're all Better Together. I know there are others ready to let their walls break but are afraid of that step. Let's take it together. What is He asking of you that you have been reluctant to obey? Right now, our world needs us Better Together more than ever before.