Since my last blog post, almost six months ago, there’s been a lot going on and I’ve been a hot mess. Well, if I’m being honest, mostly a mess.
I’ve typed this post at least a dozen times, each of those six months I’ve been absent. See I believe with my entire heart that God has called me to share my story. Why do I believe this? One reason is because sharing my story and listening to others’ stories is one of my favorite things to do. When a friend and I sit on the opposite side of my couch, or across the table from each other, sipping a warm beverage and having a good heart conversation…while it can be so hard, it’s so wonderful too.
Another reason I believe this is because years ago, when I read 2 Corinthians 1:3-5,
I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was telling me that there’s a reason why I so desired people to be real with me. See I had this ache to be able to share my stories; the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the put together and the messy, the perfect, but mostly imperfect, chapters of my life. He was telling me to be the change I wanted to see. So again, and again I shared my story. And so many times, I couldn’t get people, even my closest friends, to be open, and honest, and vulnerable with me in return. And frequently, when I bared my heart, I felt judged and alone.
Now, before we go any further, and in case we are only friends by word of blog and you do not know me on a personal level, there’s an important fact that you need to know about me. I am an introvert. I need alone time as much as I need air in my lungs.
How odd is it that this introvert ached for people to bear her heart to? Yet, it is the very thing I wanted. I needed. To be able to share my heart without feeling judged or like I was the only one who thought what I thought or felt what I felt, was becoming as important to me as my need for alone time and air. And I knew I couldn’t be the only one who longed for this type of vulnerable friendship.
I began to pray that God would show me who to reach out to and invite out to coffee, or over for a chat. It was amazing who God connected me with and how much my circle of friends changed. And as these ladies and I began to share our hearts and our stories our conversations were full of much needed “me too” moments. And tears. Lots of tears.
I’ve tried through this blog, to invite you all to be my friend, because that’s what I want you to be, my friends. I’m here, sharing my story, the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the put together and the messy, the perfect…but mostly imperfect chapters of my life, because you are my friends.
And also because I believe Jesus wants me to. I believe He wants me to share moments and chapters of my story with those who may need to have much needed conversations full of “me too” moments. And cry. Go ahead and cry. I’m crying right now as I compose this post.
So, in keeping with my heart’s desire to do God’s will of sharing my story, here’s some truth. Some ugly truth. My hot mess…mostly messy story of the past several months from the pages of this introvert’s journal.
. . .
The first truth I am going to share with you, my friends, is that I have been sick since March of this year. Long story short, I got the flu, that turned into one infection after another, that started wreaking havoc on my body, cause me to get a few different autoimmune diseases that have also taken their toll on my body in many different ways.
It’s been an extremely long and wearisome eight months, and it’s not over yet. I have more doctors to see, more tests to run, and hopefully more answers to be found. I am not telling you this because I want your pity. In fact, that is one of the reasons I have not told you or many others.
I’m telling you this because it’s part of the mess that has been part of this chapter in my story. I’m also telling you because through it, God has used this messy health situation to help me focus on areas I have neglected.
Mainly ME. I know that sounds selfish, but it’s true. I learned that in order to be healthy; physically, spiritually, and mentally, I needed to be a little selfish and work on me.
. . .
~ Excerpt from journal, 5/31/19 ~
“It’s crazy how easy it is to get caught up in anxiety…or rather the distractions to keep you feeling anxious.
With my own body being attacked, it’s been easy to lose myself in the things that need to be done now that the weather is turning warm. The garden and orchard, not to mention all the running I do with David out of the country the past few months, have served as the perfect distractions so as not to get lost in the “what if’s” of each new test result and prolonged sickness.
But these distractions have not only kept me from worrying about “what now” and “what’s next”. They’ve kept me distracted from the kind of relationship I so crave and love to have with my Heavenly Father.”
. . .
You may recall that I’ve mentioned how much I love to sit in the mornings after everyone is gone for the day, with a cup of coffee or tea, and talk with God. It’s one of my favorite times of day!
But I didn’t feel well, and it seemed all I talked to God about was what was wrong with my body, why it was failing me, and could He please help give us answers and heal me. Having the same conversation over and over, is tiring. Not to mention I didn’t really want to think about it because some scary things were going on. So, these conversations, grew shorter and shorter. And eventually, I kind of quit.
I didn’t quit praying, of course, and I didn’t stop talking to God. But the tone of our relationship changed. I didn’t want to think about my sickness. So, I lost myself in doing, choosing to stop giving God my undivided attention. Instead, we talked while I worked in the garden, orchard, or yard. We talked while I did the everyday chores of a wife and mom. But they were half-hearted conversations. I couldn’t go deep any longer. I couldn’t talk about what was on my heart. And there was so much on my heart. And more than just my sickness.
Until one day…
. . .
~ Excerpt from journal, 5/31/19 ~
Until this morning, I didn’t even realize I had allowed this to happen until I was working in my garden and I said, “I miss sitting with you, God.”
And his soft reply of, “Then let’s sit together,” reminded me that being busy didn’t make all the worry and sadness go away. Busyness was just a drug to dull the senses.
The only one who can completely heal, take away, and support me through this mess was waiting for some quality time with me.
. . .
It was time to stop doing and just be. Just be with Him. Just be still and allow myself to think, to process, to talk, and to heal.
See it wasn’t just God telling me to stop doing so much. Doctors were also telling me to rest. But rest felt selfish, and lazy, and weak, and like a waste of time. But if we truly want healing – and did I ever – whether it’s for our body, spirit, or mind, requires times of rest and just being. And in just being God began to work on me in so many different ways.
I’ll share more of my story and journal entries with you over the next couple of weeks, but for now let me leave you with this quote. It’s a quote many are given the credit of having said so I don’t know if I should give credit to Kurt Vonnegut, Rick Warren, the Dalai Lama, or my great uncle’s friend’s cousin’s nephew. But no matter who said it, I believe it was God inspired…