Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Aftermath: Rising From the Ashes

I wonder what would happen if I hoped ferociously. If I stand firm in my faith and say that I refuse to believe for anything average. What if I expected something grandiose from God?

Why should my story be anything simple? Why shouldn't I expect that God in all His glory has this elaborate and amazing plan for my life?

I think it's me. I put this small box around God because I know what my life looked like before God and I know what life has looked like in the face of the past two years of absolute heartbreak. I minimized God to fit into my life. I didn't do it on purpose, I wasn't cognitive of it - but I'm thinking on this now and I'm realizing that I'm so deathly afraid that I'll speak of how big God is and then He won't come through in a big way for me. I've taken what I've known from my past, which is striving and hurt and pain with small blessings mixed in, and I expect that for my future. I expect that at the very most God will answer a few of my prayers and maybe I won't be lonely forever. At the very least I expect to continue to see the small blessings mixed in my day to day.

Yet, I've had this stirring in my heart the past few days and it's totally changed things. I still hurt over my past, but as T Swizzle sings, "for the first time, what's past is past." I'm not holding that hurt anymore. It's still there and that's fine. It is something I am sure will always sting at the thought, and maybe there will never be the restoration I'd hoped for. But I know this is not on me and it's not from a lack of me trying. I need to set that aside and refocus my thoughts now.

Ecclesiastes says there is a time for everything under the sun. "A time for sowing and a time for reaping." A few months back God spoke to me through this verse and very clearly I understood that maybe it's not that the seed I'm sowing is bad seed, but maybe it's not the time to sow the seed. Just recently I went to a container gardening class. What I learned is that every seed is so different and needs to be handled differently. Some need to be sown before the first frost, some after. Some you can plant in the spring for early harvest but they won't make it through the summer. Some plants are a late harvest and you plant them early and expect to see them later. So many of our lives are the same way. We plant all these different seeds and sometimes nothing sprouts up from them. I can't help but wonder if we are planting them in the wrong season. Or maybe they are just a late harvest bloom and we need to keep waiting.

So I'm putting those hopes and prayers for restoration on the shelf for now. I'm putting on my gloves and I'm digging deeper into my soul than I knew I could go and I'm letting God place the seed in my heart. This seed of hope and a future. I want to see the most beautiful bloom come from this. I want to reap all the joy of trusting in the Lord and waiting patiently for Him. I don't want to miss my time for sowing and something tells me this is the time. This is that moment of unfiltered hope that I've been yearning for. A fresh start and new beginnings, and this time I say it believing it. All those times past I was trying to convince myself and on this day I no longer have to do that. I just believe that this is it.

I heard David Cook's song on the radio the other day. I used to love that song. At one point, I was so obsessed with David Cook I was CONVINCED we we're meant for each other. Lord, help me. But the words of this song are a desire I've had for a long time. A desire for freedom and living life to the fullest. A hope for something more than the brokenness I've walked through. This is the time of my life.

Holding onto things that vanished into the air
Left me in pieces
But now I'm rising from the ashes
Finding my wings and all that I needed
Was there all along within my reach
As close as the beat of my heart

So I'll taste every moment and live it out loud
I know this is the time
This is the time to be more than a name
Or a face in the crowd
I know this is the time
This is the time of my life

And I'm out on the edge of forever
Ready to run
I'm keeping my feet on the ground
My arms open wide
Face to the sun

So I'll taste every moment and live it out loud
I know this is the time
This is the time to be more than a name
Or a face in the crowd
I know this is the time
This is the time of my life
-David Cook, The Time of My Life

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Aftermath: After the Shock Wears Off

I was okay. I was totally okay. Until I wasn't.

It creeps in and catches me while I'm in the middle of keeping busy. This is real life. Yet, I still can't believe it. The tears have hit me harder than they ever have. My crying has come from someplace deep and unseen. I've been completely shocked at how hard I've cried, because I was totally okay. For the most part, I don't cry as much as I have in the past two years. The reminder still sits in the back of my mind and comes to the forefront of my mind as often as possible though. Sometimes I can brush it off and keep on moving. Other times I find myself pleading with God and broken in tears.

I still don't get it. I don't think I ever will. Yet, more than that now is I realize I don't know this man anymore. When I allowed the truth about what happened really swirl around in my soul for a few minutes, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It instantly put a pit in my stomach. It's one I recognize even though the cause of it is different. This is the same pit I feel in my stomach when someone dies. If I hadn't experienced it yesterday, I wouldn't of remembered ever feeling this way before. But I do. It's the same sinking feeling when you realize this is so real. It's so real and permanent and there's no going back now. This is the feeling of your worst nightmare coming to pass and realizing you don't know who you are anymore. The loss of someone from your life, no matter what kind of loss - takes a part of you with them.

I have sat in my bewildered tears for some time this past weekend. As soon as I realized how real this all was, I felt suddenly like that was another life. Maybe I dreamed it all up? Because I've been removed completely from his life now. He deleted me from Facebook, removed my stuff from his house, and still to this day so many people didn't even know we were together. It's like I was never there. It's so strange to me that a person I trusted more than anyone closed me off completely and I was left blindsided by all of his decisions. I really feel like I don't even know that person anymore. It breaks my heart. Even though in my mind I'm okay, my body is signaling a different story. My IBS has left me with an unsettled stomach most the time and I have completely lost my appetite. Just yesterday it took me all day to eat a can of tuna. All day. In addition, I can now officially confirm that the pain in my shoulder / neck that I've been seeing a chiropractor for, is definitely linked to stress. It has been throbbing and so uncomfortable that it's kept me from being able to really sleep.

So I'm okay, but I'm not. I am trying my best though to put one foot in front of the other. I didn't think I could hold onto Jesus any tighter than I already was but I was wrong. These past few days I really just feel like there's not a single person in this world who understands the weight of all these emotions. No one quite understands why it hurts so much. I don't blame them. I sometimes change my perspective into an outsiders and I can see how it all seems absurd. I can see how to put it all in the past and move on and not look back. I see how this stuff I'm going through had no impact or weight in his life. I can see how it's so easily discarded as not a big deal. I look like a crazy person. I get it. I really wish that I could just take those thoughts and move along. I wish it were that easy. I will tell you one thing though, I'm not going to cover the pain by being busy. I'm not going to distract myself or drink myself into being numb. I've walked those paths. I never really healed from any of my childhood abuse, I didn't process the death of my parents or friends. I'm standing at an opportunity to finally heal so that I can embrace the future fully, knowing I'm not carrying damaging emotions into another relationship. If God is gracious to me and does bring someone else into my life, I need to make sure I do my part now to protect that relationship. Lord knows in 7 more years I cannot be staring down this same pain again. Enough is enough.

There are a lot of promises in the bible. I don't know how to be sure if they are all for me or only specific ones. But I am mulling them over and trying them on for size. I've cried a few times for Jesus to just take me from this world. I really wish He would. Honestly, I can't even imagine anything other than this single girl status for the rest of my life. If that's all it is, then I know I'll keep myself plenty busy - but I know that the deepest desire of my heart will not be met. For me it would be far better to just skip ahead to be with Jesus in person than to have to endure a life less than I had hoped for. Last night I legit thought I was having a heart attack. My arm had gone numb and I had sharp pain in my chest. You know I didn't even panic, I actually felt peace and thanked Jesus. Obviously, I'm still here - but if it does happen, I no longer would feel like I missed out on anything.

To me this is an okay place to be.

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Aftermath: After the Storm

So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name

Okay, so I've had some time to process and I want to update the blog. I want to update the blog because I want to look back on this in another year and see how the Lord has guided me even from here.

Most of you reading this already know my story. But here's the shortened version if you don't, I loved a guy who was also my best friend - we broke up to work on ourselves - he started dated someone new - I totally broke down and ended up finding Jesus - I followed Jesus through it all expecting God was going to restore this - less than a year later he was engaged - I totally broke down again - less than a year from there (yesterday) I found out he's officially married - and I'm okay.

I'm broken, yes - but not totally. I've cried a whole ton and my heart is crushed. But I no longer believe it's the end. It's been about a day and I've been processing everything. The Lord has been so faithful to me over the course of this storm. I was able to have a text chat with my ex and I finally am able to feel some sort of acceptance for what has become. Does it mean I don't love him anymore or that suddenly it doesn't hurt that his life story didn't include me? Not in the least. I still love him incredibly - in different ways than I did before - some better - some more reserved. It still hurts deeply that this story, this hope I had for a future with this guy who could make me laugh on my worst days, who is able to minister to me so profoundly because he knows me better than anyone else, is not the guy I am going to marry one day.

If you're wondering, I sure am holding back tears as I type this. I still feel that burning in the back of my throat that signals there's about to be a surge of tears coming.

In the past 24 hours through his texts and through some soul searching of my own I've reflected back on where I've come. I've read old Instagram posts where I've shared my ups and downs. I went back and read blog posts from last year and how I thought I'd surely die before I made it to his wedding day. Those were hard but they were good too. I read things where I can see how much pain I was in, how I retaliated with my words and my feelings. I know I was processing the grief and I know those things were real feelings and emotions.

But here I am, at the truth. Partly because I asked and partly because I knew. I still love him and he still cares about me. I still mean all those things I said about his character and how he really is an outstanding guy who has been a pivotal part of my life. I still want to wish him well even though it's like pouring alcohol on a wound. I care, so much. He was my best friend and I know he can't be that for me anymore. I get it and I understand and he never had to say it because I always just knew. But now that we've talked I feel like I have a little more closure, a little more acceptance and I'm ready to embrace the next chapter in my life.

The past two years were so hard. I didn't see it going this way at all. I'm not out of the dark yet, but I can tell just by the words that I'm speaking that I'm on my way. No longer am I self-deprecating. No longer do I feel like I am doomed to be single and alone forever (or at least as long as I don't think too much on it). No longer do I believe there was anything I could have done differently. Yesterday a thought I've dwelled on many times came back to me. If God is sovereign, and His plan for my life was this guy, then it would have most certainly happened. It's hard to rationalize these thoughts sometimes when I throw in the reminder of free will. But I do believe God is a God who redeems His people. My hope and prayer at this point is for full restoration. In a new way. I don't know what that looks like - I don't know how this can come full circle, but Lord, I know it can. Maybe it's 10 years from now. Maybe it's 50. Maybe it's in the next life. I have to have hope that this friendship is not gone forever. This connection that was so sweet and deep and woven so intricately - it can't just be cut up and discarded. If God is really Elohim, if He is really the Master Creator, I know that He would never take a fine woven fabric and cut it up and use the pieces elsewhere. No, He's going to keep weaving and stitching this story together so that when it's all over we can all stand in glory and marvel at just how detailed His work is and how it all was bound together by His perfect love.

I've come a long way. I've seen the good, bad and ugly of this storm. I've lived through it all and I'm thankful for that. I'm thankful that I didn't pick up my hurt and run in the other direction like I was so tempted to do. Instead I allowed God to do the grueling work of moving through my heart and reshaping the way I think about myself. I allowed Him to remind me that I am secure in His hands and that He most certainly does have a plan for my future. Every little single thing I learned, even if my memory has forgotten, my self has not. I might not remember details but those truths have helped me to be able to stay standing on the rocks while the waves crash around me.

And it is well, with me.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

How to Get Through When Your Heart Hurts

This is another one of those prophetic blog posts. I wrote this just hours before finding out that the one thing that's kept me holding my breath had come to pass. I am absolutely crushed, but I know I'll be alright. One day at a time...

I cross off the days on the calendar. One by one. I can't believe it's been almost a year since the darkest season. I can't believe it's been almost two since it all began.

I wish I could say it gets easier. I've heard time and time again that in time things get easier. What they don't tell you is that it's only easier because you learn to live with the pain of your broken heart. It's only easier because you find out how to get out of bed every morning when you spent all night tossing and turning from nightmares. Easier happens because you find hope in something else. Because you see that there is still so much goodness amidst all the broken. That's how it gets easier. But it certainly is not easier because you suddenly don't care (though Lord knows how many times I've pleaded that prayer). It doesn't help that in the back of your mind you have a constant reminder of what is was, how it happened, how you wish it had just been different. The reminders will keep popping up. In other ways. In conversations with people who don't realize the weight their words carry. You're always holding your breath waiting for someone to speak the words so nonchalantly that you've been crippled in fear to hear.

How have I gotten through? One day at a time. If that doesn't work I break it down into time blocks. "If I can just get through the work day", "if I can just make it through the night", "if I can just get through this next hour", "if I can just get through this minute". I get through relying heavily on the Lord to carry me. There are days that I try to muster up all the strength I can just to persevere. But there are other days I'm just broken in tears and I just ask the Lord to help me get through. One step at a time. Faith is taking the first step even when you can't see the whole staircase. Faith is taking the first step even though you don't think you can even make it halfway through the race, never mind finish. Faith is beautiful and delicate but it's also brave and strong. Faith changes everything.

When I started to put my trust in God, like really, really, put my trust in God, then it was easier. Again, not because it was any less hard, but because God is that much more strong. His word says "Cast your cares upon Him, for He cares about you" and "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." I always heard that and thought I understood, but it was really that I understood that giving my cares to God would lighten the load. But I didn't realize how until I learned what a yoke was. "A yoke is a wooden crosspiece that is fastened over the necks of two animals and attached to the plow or cart that they are to pull." A yoke is the device that allows two animals to pull something heavy together.

Here's the thing. That heavy thing we're pulling around? It doesn't get any less heavy when we give it to Jesus. It still weighs the same thing. But Jesus takes the full weight of it and pulls both His weight and ours together. We're still pulling with Jesus, but He's got the bulk of it. Realizing the weight doesn't change, it just shifts somehow made it easier to give to Jesus. Like I wasn't casting off my care or saying that heavy thing suddenly isn't such a hard thing to carry, it's still as important.

When I understood that, that's when it started to make more sense. It doesn't get any easier just because I gave my cares to Jesus- but it does become more bearable because I gave my cares to Jesus. The situation still needs me to pull through. I can't be cut loose from this yoke to run free - it's not the time. No, the time is to let myself be linked to Jesus and to walk in sync with Him. The deeper weight of all of this is knowing that Jesus is carrying for me what I cannot carry myself. That I have literally given Him what was too much for me and now He's pulling both of us so that I can just get through.

So that's how I cross off the days on the calendar. One day at a time. Having faith and trusting that God is leading me to a good and loving place even though I can't see it now. One step at a time. Trusting He won't lead me astray. And by casting off the weight from my shoulders onto His and humbly realizing the reality of my weakness to get through this alone. No time doesn't make it easier. You just learn to change what doesn't work into something that does. You adjust your focus onto the only One who will never leave you and you face another day.