Out of Hiding

 

One thing that I used to take pride in is my inclination towards independence.  My mother claims that I was her most difficult child to raise due to my desire to want to do everything myself.  Stop me from wearing my Dorothy inspired red-glittered shoes everywhere I went (including camping)? She dared not.

There’s a part of me that loves my independent spirit because it gave me the courage to do things and experience life differently than some of my peers.  It allowed me to try to go after my dreams at a young age and be unafraid to travel and wander alone.  However over time, it also became a form of self-defense.  A wall to keep people from getting too close.  Hurt me?  You can’t.  I’m independent and will move on just fine.  I remember when my boyfriend, who I was convinced was the love of my life, broke up with me.  Inside, I was devastated and felt like my world was being turned upside down, but I sat still and silent without showing any sort of emotion.  He seemed surprised by my lack of emotion and asked if I was even sad about this.  “I’ll be fine” I said.

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is allow people to see our pain.  We live in a culture where everyone wants to be seen as “strong” and “self-sufficient” to the point where we neglect and avoid our feelings and emotional needs.

This last year has forced me to come to terms with just how my desire to be independent was actually destroying me.  When my niece, Abby, was born and the emotional rollercoaster of her life began, my first inclination was to pull away from my friends.  I felt afraid, confused, and overall just a mess.  I avoided my friend’s phone calls and attempts to hang out and used the excuse “I’m just going through a lot and I need to be alone.”

 Translation: I’m not as strong as I thought I was and I don’t want you to actually see me.

Being seen is scary.  Allowing another person to really see you – the good, the bad, the mess ups, the irrational fears, the mood swings, the failures and the brokenness can leave you feeling exposed.  It’s laying yourself out and saying, “This is me. This is what I have to offer. Take it or leave it.”  It’s allowing that other person to make a decision as to whether they are going to embrace it or walk away.  I finally had to come to a point where I realized that taking the risk to be seen would be less scary than living in hiding for the rest of my life.  A friend once said to me, “You can take a risk to be loved and I can’t guarantee that you will receive it.  But I can guarantee that you will never be loved if you don’t take the risk.”

I took the risk. Thankfully, I have a beautiful group of friends that have the ability to see every part of me and take me as is.  Being seen made me realize that my failures and shortcomings only made up a small part of me and that I was actually so much more than my mistakes.

Once I allowed myself to come out of hiding, that’s when I began to find myself.

Will I Ever Forgive God?

Yesterday started out like every other Sunday for me.  Sleep in, enjoy a lazy morning, and then begin getting ready for church.  As I was going about my morning, I checked Facebook and clicked on the “On This Day” notification where it showed me everything I posted on the same day in years past.  Most days, it will make me cringe, laugh, or feel some sort of nostalgia.  Yesterday, it made me angry.

A year ago yesterday, I posted this photo:

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This is a photo of my sister and brother-in-law getting to hold their daughter, Abby, for only the second time in her two months of life.  Given her fragility and the ventilator, they were unable to have contact with her other than touching her through her NICU bed.  I remember crying when I received the photos and the hope that filled my heart as I realized that she might actually get the miracle we had been praying for.

It’s been almost six months since Abby left us.  A day hasn’t passed when I haven’t wondered why she didn’t get her miracle.  What could we have done differently?

When I saw this photo yesterday, the same one that once gave me hope and renewed my faith, I quickly clicked off of Facebook and went about my morning.  Within minutes,  everything was frustrating me.  My hair. My clothes. My body. The fact that I was having to go to church.  My roommate, who can always sense when anything is even slightly off with me, was convinced she had done something to upset me. I assured her that it wasn’t her and that I truely had no idea why I was so upset.

Once we got to church, we stood in the back as the worship played and I kept thinking about the photo of my sister holding her baby who is now gone.  The eight months of Abby’s life kept playing over and over in my head. All the highs when we thought she was making progress, as well as the lows when we thought we would lose her.  I replayed the day I received the phone call from my mom letting me know that we lost her. The moments and days that followed her death as we all tried to navigate our way in a world that looked vastly different than it did just days before.  As I unsuccessfully tried to stop myself from crying, I looked at my roommate and said, “I am so angry Abby is gone.  I’m so angry that my sister had to lose her child.”

The rest of the day went on as I tried to almost will myself to not feel angry anymore. I felt so much shame and guilt over the fact that I still feel anger towards God for not healing her.  Isn’t this the part where I can hold my head high like a good Christian and say that my heart is healed and whole again? The part where the paralyzing fear of losing someone else I love finally ceases?

I took a long drive late last night and I finally cried for the first time in a few months.  I realized that it’s okay that I feel angry.  It’s okay that I feel confused. It’s okay to feel at peace with God one moment and upset in the next.  A piece of my heart was taken from me when Abby left and just like any other wound, it needs time to fully heal.

“I will trust
Here in the mystery
I will trust
In You completely

Awake my soul to sing
With Your breath in me
I will worship
You taught my feet
To dance upon disappointment
And I, I will worship” -Heroes by Amanda Cook

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