In some of my posts, I’ve mentioned my hope to better listen to God’s leading, my handsome husband (who keeps me sane through life), our incredibly adorable (if somewhat rambunctious) duo of a preschooler and toddler, our off-the-wall Chihuahua-Pomeranian-Jack Russell mix dog, our male-turned-female feline (maybe not her, a story for another day), but I haven’t mentioned one other constant presence in our lives: chronic pain. While my husband and kids have first-hand experience with the affects, two family members have heard of it, and my previous doctor tried to fix it in 2011 (it started at least three years before I checked in with the doctor), no one else knows of it.
It affects my abilities, my to-do list, my mood (yep, the good ol’ self-loathing mode is kicked up a notch), sometimes even the whole atmosphere of our home. Around three times a month it culminates to the point of a migraine, nausea, and puts me in the mood to hunker down in my room (after the room has been fashioned into a sound-proof cave). But like many people, I just muddle through the best I can, which means we sometimes eat very simple “meals” (are chicken nuggets considered a main dish?), and there’s a pile (who am I kidding, usually two) of laundry in a basket somewhere.
I’ve heard that people hide pain, as if it is a sign of weakness. It’s true. I probably don’t look broken to the rest of my world. But I am. I am so very broken. I put on a smile, say “yes” to too many side projects (because why wouldn’t a SAHM have time to help out), and trudge through until I break (usually dragging my family through the mood swing). So here goes, broken-me revelation number 2… There’s a deeper pain I have hidden even better: the assurance of never being accepted, never being good enough, and, therefore, destined to be abandoned. Sometimes, the strong-willed ones can be the most easily broken because they already are.
I’ve lost my laughter, forgotten my dreams, and bound my inner self up so tight that I can’t even see her anymore.
Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever arrived at a moment of clarity in the haze and wondered how in the world you arrived at this no-horse stop on the trail? You realize that in your deep yearning for acceptance, you started to do works, took on projects that kept you busy, and that busyness drew you even further away from who you want to be, from those whom you want to love better. Be it physical or mental anguish, there’s something to be said to the people who look perfectly fine (and play the part well), but feel tormented. We are so much closer to the edge than we appear, and we need to snap out of it. People (and God) aren’t going to accept you for what you do or how much you succeed in doing despite the crumbling of your soul.
The problem with hiding our brokenness? We prevent God’s glory from being revealed. Not only that, but while we are so busy covering up our hurts yet still suffering, we tend to do some pretty rough damage to the ones we love the most.
So to my husband: Thank you. Thank you for loving me and being my support every step I’ve clung to you and limped along in silence to the world. Thank you for the acceptance you have offered me from the very first moment we met and the love you have endlessly given, despite my efforts to scare you away.
To my boys: I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the times when my physical and mental pain overflowed into your innocent lives. I need to give you what I thought I could do without.
A prayer in the broken season: Dear Father, thank you. Thank you for taking me to the broken places so that you can mend my heart, releasing it of it’s true brokenness, and bringing growth and maturity in its place. It’s only when I realize that I do need You, that I can fully accept your offer of salvation and a fullness of life that only You can give in the midst of pain. You have lit the flame of my soul, not to hide the light within the darkness of pain but to shine brightly despite of it, to use it all for Your glory. Help me to be brave. Amen.