Today’s post is the first of four in a new series that I’m starting about reclaiming hope. And while the idea of sharing some really honest and difficult to write words scares me, there’s also a lot of beautiful words intertwined throughout. So if you’ve found yourself reading these words today, just know how thankful I am for whatever role you play in my life.
To say that I’m a stubborn person would be the biggest understatement of all time. I think that’s something that I learned from both of my parents. And while sometimes it’s a good thing, there are other times that it does nothing but push those that mean the most to me as far away as it possibly can. Especially when I find myself in the middle of a battle between who the enemy tries to convince me I am and who I know I am in the Father.
And that’s the moment that I lose grip of who I am. And I will push until everyone leaves. I hurt people. I say and do terrible things. I give people a reason to leave because I’m so convinced they’re going to anyways, so I might as well help them out the door, right?
What I lose sight of is that these are the people that love me more than anything in this world and they are the ones that I love more than anything.
This mindset doesn’t just come out of nowhere though. It’s gradual. And is usually triggered by something. And I’m always well aware of both of those things.
This was no different.
It’s no surprise that the holidays are still quite difficult and at times uncomfortable to me. And winter has always seemed to be especially hard for me despite Christmas being my favorite holiday. But this time felt much different.
The general just blah feeling didn’t go away when the holidays did. I still found myself struggling to put a smile on my face and be around people. And then my first panic attack in well over three years came and slapped me in the face and I was left with my head spinning, trying to find my way up again.
But that was nothing compared to what was ahead.
February was probably the most challenging month I’ve had since my mom passed away. And while I’m still not ready to go into detail about everything, I will say that I was left at the bottom of the biggest hole I could have ever found myself in.
And it scared me. Because I literally had no idea what to do or which way to go. And I tried so hard to not lose grip and lose myself, but that’s exactly what happened. And at the time, I didn’t even know it.
Thoughts that I hadn’t had in quite some time and the lies that satan so desperately wanted me to believe became my reality. And at first I felt like I was dealing as well as one could and was intentional about reaching out to those closest to me when I was really struggling.
And then the panic attacks became much more frequent and much more severe. And then I had the worst one I’ve ever had in front of three of my closest friends and I felt like I’d literally had the life drained from me. I don’t know that I had ever hurt more for my friends than I did when I finally got home that night. The fear and uncertainty that I saw in their faces still breaks my heart.
I had never seem them look so utterly helpless. They didn’t know what to do, and honestly neither did I. When I got home and in bed, I proceeded to cry harder than I had in awhile. I never wanted them to feel that way again. And that was the moment that I bought the biggest lie from the enemy. I decided that they could never see that part of me again because I could never show them.
They had seen enough. I had shown them too much. And I believed the lie that if I showed them any more that they would leave. So I faked it. I faked it so well that I think I began to believe it to myself. Until I couldn’t anymore. The panic attacks were still there. I just decided to suffer in silence. I shut everyone out. But these guys were really good at breaking through my walls. And once again, they began to fall down. They got closer and I grew more and more terrified.
So I pushed harder and farther but in the most subtle ways. So subtle that they didn’t even know for awhile, or at least didn’t say anything, and I absolutely hated myself for it. I became so convinced that they would never be able to, or even want to deal with everything that had been dumped in my lap. But time and time again they proved me wrong and it did nothing but scare me. Because I just knew that eventually enough would be enough, and I would rather give people a reason to leave instead of them leaving without warning.
And then the pushes that I couldn’t take back started. And I watched myself become a shell of who I really was. I hurt people. I lied to them. I broke their trust. And lost what was left of myself in the process. All while knowing that every bit of it would come out eventually.
And it did. Oh boy did it. And I still tried to fight it, to fight them. And then I just broke. And I laid in their laps the reality of what had been going on. And it was met with an unexpected response.
I was convinced that this was the moment that I lost every single one of them for good. I expected to be on the receiving end of words such as “Don’t ever speak to me again” “I don’t want anything to do with you”, but instead I received “I love you” “I’m still here for you” “We’ll get through this together”.
None of those were the responses I was expecting. I anticipated rejection, but what I got was grace.
It’s funny how in the moments of life that are really difficult and uncomfortable, God reminds us of his promise to us.
He gave his son the rejection we rightly deserve and gave us grace. It’s funny how grace always seems to win, isn’t it?
Beauty comes from ashes. February left me with a lot of ashes. And what wasn’t already burned, I managed to finish on my own. But for the first time in a really long time, I’m starting to see the beauty come through. All while realizing that I’m part of that beauty.
For such a time as this. I’m here for such a time as this. No one else can play my part. My purpose is unique. My calling specific.
And this? Well this is nothing but a really ugly and doozy of a bump in the road. I am more than this moment. More than the mistakes I’ve made. More than the lies I’ve believed.
I have the most beautiful group of friends who have chosen to stick by me when no one would have blamed them if they had chosen to walk away. They are more than just my friends. They are my family.
I have the crazy love and grace from the Father, who never ceases to amaze me.
And I have a story that is so far from being finished. I’ve taken enough time away from it. It’s time to pick up my pen, pass some out to those in my life, and get to writing the next chapter of this beautifully broken story.
The light always finds its way out of the dark. And it’s starting to take control again, just like it always does.
Rest in that promise friends.
Much love to you all.