i feel as though i've had writer's block for the last several months.
i've always expressed myself best through writing. when i was little, i constantly had notebooks going all over the house; their pages filled with stories scribbled from my ever vivid imagination. in fourth grade my teacher told me i should be an author when i grew up. i told her if i ever was, i would dedicate my first book to her. in my adult years, writing has been my best outlet; a way of helping me grow and process. it's been through penned pages of my endless source of journals, and now through the clatter of computer keys, that i have felt closest to the lord. i've poured out my heart, written out my prayers, journaled my deepest fears and greatest joys. i've recounted beautiful and tragic moments of my life, and i've found a way to share my story. it's nothing special; but it's the journey god's given me, and i've always felt that by sharing it, god just may use my words to tell someone else "i've been there".
sure, god uses our seasons of plenty to encourage and bless others... but i believe it's through the authentic and raw exposing of our struggles that our stories breathe life into those around us. we all need to know we are not alone. we don't have it all together. and that we can be beautiful, worthy, and enough in the grace of jesus... even in all the imperfection.
i've always been a perfectionist. to the core. in my work, my home, my appearance... it's a draining thing, really. i don't recommend it to anyone. truth be told, motherhood has kind of wrecked me; but in a very good and humbling way. i spend way more days in yoga pants than i do in nice clothes. and it's a good day if i get to run a chi through my bangs, forget about washing and blowdrying my hair. my house--well--let's just say my kids are slowly destroying everything, my couches are dotted with water stains from leaky sippy cups and don't even get me started on trying to organize their craft supply... or any of their toys, for that matter. and wanting everyone to think i'm a top notch mom? well, i'm humbled continuously because of my girls amazing abilities to throw the most epic tantrums of all time. other moms relate? yeah. why i care about what the staring strangers in public places think about my mothering ability is beyond me, but i still struggle with that one. i told you. motherhood is a complete perfectionism wrecker. for that, i am thankful (most of the time).
somewhere in my teenaged years, i got the message that there was a pedestal i was on, and i needed to do everything i could to stay there. i began decades of a works based relationship with jesus, where i was the good girl, made all the "right" decisions on the big stuff... went to a christian college, got my masters degree from a world renowned seminary and fell in love with a wonderful man and did everything the "right" way. after i graduated from seminary, i started a full time ministry job as a counselor at a church in dallas and me and that wonderful man started talking about marriage and making sure that was the next step that god wanted us to take. i got myself so wound up trying to make sure my life choices were pleasing to god, that because of that and other reasons i ended up ridden with anxiety. like, major anxiety.
one morning, i sat on my bed with the bible open in my lap praying for god to show me something in his word that would calm my striving heart. immediately, he directed me to ephesians chapter 3... one of my favorite verses was always ephesians 3:20 "now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within us..." but this time god was whispering to me to read the earlier verses...a prayer the apostle paul had written to the ephesians:
"i pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his spirit in your inner being, so that christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. and i pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of christ; and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of god."
that morning, god's unconditional love brought me to my knees. my perfectionism (also read: pride) had completely broken me. for the past several years since, i've been on a journey of admitting my flaws, accepting my shortcomings and allowing god to love me regardless of my "performance".
this november will mark three years since i lost my dad and encountered one of the toughest spiritual battles of my life. so much of what i always knew about god, and had experienced in my intimate walk with him was broken in the traumatic way i lost my dad. i'm not always sure about how to get that same relationship back... or if i ever will. and that girl who wants to do everything right and perfect has been resurfacing a lot over the past few years. accepting the fact that i can struggle, that i can be angry with god, that i can allow myself to grieve and be broken has been a very hard thing for me. give thanks and praise god for being the one who gives and takes away? absolutely. but i have to daily tell myself that it's okay to not have that attitude all the time. it's impossible, actually. and that's where jesus comes in. he is there to fill in the cracked places in my soul. to hold me when i'm hurting. to love me when i'm angry. to gently whisper his promises to me when i want to hold onto everything in my life and not trust him with anything for fear of another loss.
as our women's pastor at church so gently reminded me as i sat across from her sobbing a couple of months ago: there is nothing i can do that would make god love me any more or any less. i can come just as i am; broken and hurt and scared... and trust him to do what he does best. LOVE.
i'm not at all where i wish i was in my healing process, or where i want to be in my walk with god. it's still difficult at times for me to open my bible. my mind often races too much to pray as fervently and consistently as i used to. and i think i could still cry almost every sunday at church during worship. but god's word tells me that my brokenness is beautiful to him. it's better than any striving, than any prideful perfectionism, and i'm learning to find the beauty in that myself.
"my deepest awareness of myself is that i am deeply loved by jesus christ and i have done nothing to earn it or deserve it."