Have you ever felt like the farther you go on the journey of your life, the more you have to learn? This feeling is very real to me right now. I have had a very tough year, and that’s putting it mildly. I have dealt with some heart breaking and extremely difficult circumstances and I’ve continued to solider through them. For me, this is a point of pride, because I feel as though it speaks to my strength and my resolve, and in a way it does. However lately I have come to realize that with all this fighting and forward motion I have picked up some unhealthy thought patterns and coping mechanisms.
I became even more painfully aware of my problem this afternoon. I had to go in for some medical testing which required sedation. I was totally out of it and I hardly remember anything about today before 1:30 pm. At one point I woke up to the sound of my son crying, I was asleep in bed recovering as the drugs wore off and after what seemed like 30 minutes of crying I jumped out of bed to investigate. My husband had him in his car seat and he was rocking the seat with his foot. I grabbed my son and marched away with him confident that only I could discover and rectify the source of his tears. Now I hardly remember any of this but from what they tell me I yelled for more than five minutes about how no one could take care of things but me and I would never be able to rest because of it. Eventually they had to talk me down and coax me into handing the baby over and going back to bed for a few hours. So today I learned that drugged up me is even more wary and guarded than regular me. I had apologies to make when I finally came to my senses again. So I struggle with a big lack of trust and this is not the diagnostic end I was expecting from the medical testing I went in for.
I have also become aware of this distrusting nature in every day life. I regularly check to see if my children are breathing while they sleep because I live in fear that they will be taken from me. When my husband and I talk about our future I hear a small cynical voice inside me that whispers, “You’re never going to be THAT happy.” When I think about letting God lead my future, my thoughts go something like this: “Of course we want to do that in God’s timing and in his will, but he’s not going to give me what will truly make me happy, so I better start doing some research to make it happen.” I say that I trust God, but it’s really just lip service. In my heart I believe that if I want it to be good, I have to do it myself.
I know that my cynical, calloused and mistrusting self can’t stick around. I don’t want her to. I need to go on a journey of unlearning these life-sucking beliefs I have picked up. I know the the truth I need to integrate, but moving it from my head to my heart seems like a painfully long journey indeed. I don’t have the road map all lined out and I can’t google how to get there. I just have the knowledge that I need to move in that direction.
So I have this little story that helps me with hope, that reminds me of a better way. Any time we can, my family and I go get frozen yogurt, we love the fro-yo. It’s fairly healthy, amazingly delicious and the control freak that I am loves that I can do it myself. I was helping my two year old daughter get her fro-yo out of the machine and then I took it away to pay for it and add to it her absolute favorite thing, Sprinkles. She loves sprinkles more than anything else on the planet, so much so that we centered her birthday party around them. Well when I took her bowl away she fought me and burst into tears and had a meltdown on the floor. Her two year old brain doesn’t trust that I am going to go and pay for the fro-yo and bring it back, because I know that it will be so much better if it has sprinkles and isn’t stolen. Eventually she calmed down when I brought her back her paid-for vanilla fro-yo, covered in sprinkles.
As I watched her eat it one of Jesus teachings came to me, and it’s found in Luke 11
11 “You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? 12 Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! 13 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”
So if I promise my daughter fro-yo, am I going to show it to her and then not let her eat any? Of course not, I’m going to give her the fro-yo with a mountain of sprinkles on top, because I love her THAT much. I love her to the moon and back, and even on the days when she pushes all my buttons and the ones that screw up the dishwasher as well, I still can’t wait for her to get up the next morning so we can do it all over again. I am flawed, hopelessly flawed and I still yearn to see my little girl enjoy all this life has to offer. But I struggle to believe that God wants the same for me and that is an ouch realization for me. Writing all this doesn’t fix my issue, it’s just a diagnosis. I have to pray that God will help me on the road to recovery. He will, I know, but I have to take off the armor and be vulnerable.