When I started See Through Sister, it was with the promise that I would be transparent. I said I would share the good, the bad, the funny, and the ugly. I said from the start that real life is seldom all good or all bad. I am good with that. What I didn’t anticipate was how hard it would be to figure out how to articulate what that actually looks like.
The last few weeks have been amazing! We have made some progress on some renovations on our fixer upper, we got to spend our anniversary weekend with other couples from our church on a marriage retreat, we had a special birthday dinner for our son in Atlantic City, we spent a weekend in NYC seeing a show and exploring some of our favorite places, we saw our niece shine in her very first high school musical, I saw my “nephew” rock a starring role in his musical, and I have gotten to have a turn teaching kids on Sunday morning at church. All things that make my heart happy.
So why is my soul in turmoil? My anxiety is an ever-present elephant on my chest. I am struggling with depression. What’s difficult to deal with is that it doesn’t all stem from one thing. Does it for anyone?
Let’s start with my own hang ups. While I have come a long way, I still have to remind myself of my worth regularly. My inner dialogue is not always user friendly. God has gently corrected me on this often. Just his presence and the reminder that it was the Creator himself who knitted me together are humbling truths that feed my soul. This doesn’t stop the voices that surround me from affecting my thought life. I constantly have to feed myself truth to shut out the lies. And thankfully, God’s truth is more powerful than the lies.
Rejection is an old foe I have conquered repeatedly. I have fought countless battles with this enemy of my soul, but he keeps coming back to take me on again and again. It’s exhausting.
Right now, I am in a season of rejection that is kicking my butt.
I recently took a big blow from someone that has left me still searching for solid ground. Because of the role this person plays in my life, they cut in ways that scar. I know all the things I am supposed to do with this. Forgive. Move on. I can only control my own behaviors and my own reactions to other people’s choices. I have prayed. I have journaled. I have talked about it, trying to make sense of the situation. But at the end of the day, I am still hurt, and I am affected more than I want to admit. I know this person isn’t out to get me. They aren’t trying to hurt me, scar me. I know they have their own scars that affect how they relate to me. But their rejection still hurts and salts wounds, both past and present
In the middle of processing this, my husband and I are having some struggles of our own.
My husband is my very best friend. He loves God and he loves me. He is a good man who has given all he has to provide for our family. He has served his country with honor. He quietly gives to those who have a need when he can. He loves to treat and surprise those he loves. I know how blessed I am to have a man like him beside me in this life. I know that God put us together and nothing will ever separate our love from him or each other.
But my husband, like most of us, is also very broken in a lot of ways. His resilience to survive all that he has lived through in his almost fifty years is inspiring.
In George’s case, survival mode looks a lot like checking out. Like many men, he stuffs the realities of his pain into little compartments in his brain. He has been storing these boxes for most of his life. There’s a box for his mother’s murder when he was only a child and a box for his father’s sudden death. There are boxes for rejection, war, perceived failure, and guilt. There are boxes for physical pain and a box for the effects of the Traumatic Brain Injury he suffered in Iraq. Some of those compartments are locked so tight, that not even George himself has access to all the keys. But God does, so hope is never lost.
Unfortunately, that understanding does not curb the loneliness I live with when he is locked up inside of himself. We have seasons when he is in a good place and we have seasons when he is struggling. Usually we live somewhere in between.
Right now, we are in a place that has been staying closer to struggle for months now.
I am tired. I am lonely. That old enemy called rejection is trying to exercise squatter’s rights in my head. I know that he is a liar. I know he uses my emotions, which are also big fat liars, against me. But knowing and feeling have a way of crashing into each other and leaving shards of confusion and sadness in a pile at my feet.
I want to be strong. My role as an Army wife has always called me to hold the family together. Retirement hasn’t changed that. Actually, retirement has added new challenges. I am learning how to stay in one place after all the years of the constant moving of military life. I am no longer a part of the subculture of military life. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just different. Kids are growing up. George’s career has changed. Some days I feel like I am just going through the motions, not sure of who I am or what I am supposed to be doing next. I hate that even my prayer time feels empty. My worship feels like it’s just echoing off the walls.
What I am sure of is that my faith is the one stable and steady thing that I can rely on. I know with every part of my soul, that this season will not only pass, but will be worked out for my good somehow. I will learn. I will grow. I will find my purpose. My marriage will thrive again. I will reconnect. Rejection will get kicked to the curb. I will heal. My soul will awaken again.
I am a firm believer that most things are a process. I don’t always love this, but I know it’s value. The process is where life happens. My challenge to myself is to keep going when I just want to pull the covers over my head and get to the happy ending. Don’t let me fool you. Some days, I pretty much do just that. But the goal is to get up, get dressed and do what needs doing. I worship even when I don’t feel like it. I remind myself of who God is and that when he promises to never leave me, I can count on that truth. I try to choose to be joyful in all circumstances. I am trying to take things day by day and remember that I have no control over most of my struggles. I can only control my responses. If I need to cry, I cry. But then I rely on my faith and the hope that only God can bring, and I keep going.
Gratefulness plays a big part in my process. It would be easy to get stuck on the negative. Things are hard right now. But things are also good right now. I know I have a good life. I have a wonderful husband. I am seeing growth in my kids. I love making our home our own. We have a healthy and thriving church family. We are financially stable after many years of hard work. Life really is good. How foolish it would be to miss my blessings because I forgot to be grateful!
As I wait on God’s timing for some things to turn around, I leave you with this encouragement: God is good. This too shall pass. The process is worth what’s waiting on the other side.
Whatever your personal struggles are, I hope you are able to let your light shine as you walk through your process. Hang in there. Don’t give up! Your rainbow is coming!
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11