Do you ever feel like maybe, just maybe, you've been so good at crafting this version of yourself. The version that is very busy and very involved in a lot of stuff and yet no one really knows you.
And perhaps you don't even know yourself.
That's how I felt last week. Last Wednesday, on our 14th wedding anniversary, I announced to my husband, through tears, that I wasn't sure that he or anyone else really knew who I was.
I wasn't sure I really knew who I was anymore.
It all started when I read this book ; I'll be honest- I had read a lot of hype about this book. I dismissed it, at first, as a book that wasn't meant for me. But for some reason, I requested it from the library anyway and when it finally arrived, I devoured it in two days. I couldn't put it down. I finished it and then started reading it again. And I even told Denny that he was going to have to buy me my own copy so I can write in it. It's that good.
Now, I read a lot and books speak to me a lot. But this book. This book rocked my world and read my mail. It was like the author was in my head.
She got me thinking and I came to the conclusion that I have been hiding for a long time.
I've been hiding from my truth.
The truth is that I am infertile. I am barren.
(My charismatic upbringing is cringing right now. That feels so wrong to write but it's true. It doesn't mean I don't believe in miracles but I've spent too many years trying to make this somehow seem better than it is. And I'm done.)
I realized while reading this book that I have spent the last ten years running from my diagnosis (or lack of one to be exact). I've spent the last ten years being involved and even more involved trying to find plenty of things to numb the pain.
I've started businesses. I've traveled the world. I've started a ministry. I've started writing a blog. I've adopted. I've shopped and ate and played and painted and redecorated and sewed and read and done lots of other things to fill my life up. And it's been exhausting.
None of the things I have done, in and of themselves, are wrong. But my reliance on them instead of God- my belief that they would save me, that they would numb the pain- that was wrong and in the end that's all they did. They numbed the pain. The pain is still there. They didn't take it away.
I knew the pain was there but instead of feeling it and allowing myself to grieve, I've just stuffed it down, gotten involved in another project and acted like everything was okay. Once in a while, I've written a blog post or talked with a friend about something but it never goes very deep. It never really gets to the root. I feel like I owe it to myself and to my daughter and my husband to get to the root. To allow myself to feel and heal. I want my daughter to know me, not the version of myself that I project because I feel like others can't handle my reality.
(Last Saturday, I was able to sit in my bed and write and pray and read for an hour and it was awesome. The following is what I wrote in my journal. Sometimes when I write, I swear I'm not even aware of what I'm going to write until it comes out. This is what happened.)
Only Jesus could do that [take away the pain]. And even He doesn't want to do that. He wants to walk with me through it. Not pick me up and throw me over it to the other side. Did I expect God to be my rescuer or my sustainer?Rescuer or sustainer?
I looked both of those words up in the back of my bible and was surprised to find that God is more often referenced as the sustainer than the rescuer. I looked it up in the Greek dictionary and here is what I found.
Rescue (or deliver) means to drag out of danger, to rescue, to save and it appears in the Bible 17 times.
Sustain (or uphold) means to bear, carry; to bring; to maintain, conserve; to bear, bring forth, produce and it appears 66 times.
It appears to me that God wants to be my sustainer through my infertility. He wants to walk with me. The creator of the universe cares about me and wants to walk with me. He has the power and the ability to "drag me out of it" but He doesn't. For some reason, He doesn't. I have to believe there is purpose. There is a lesson. There is something here for me. In the midst of this. In the pain. In the darkness, in the tears and in the sorrow. There is something here.
He is here. With me.
I looked up sustain in the back of my bible and here is what I found
"The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being sustaining all things by his powerful word." ~Hebrews 1:3
"The Lord sustains the humble..." ~Psalm 147:6
"The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary." ~Isaiah 50:4
"The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow...." ~Psalm 146:9That last verse really got me. And it's something I'm still working through and will probably write more about later. This whole concept of "sustaining" is something I'm going to be praying more and reading more about.
For now, I'm curious, in your darkest moments, do you expect God to be your rescuer or your sustainer? I'd love to know your thoughts.