Friday we will have been married five years.
My firstborn will be four years old before the temperature outside drops below 80.
My baby can talk, and most of our extended family and some of our closest friends haven’t ever met him.
The days pass me by, I find myself waking up already excited for bedtime.
I go through the motions.
Sometimes even the motions are too hard.
Who decided to fast forward time?
This carousel of doctors visits.
A cabinet filled with some effective,
medications and supplements.
I want off.
I step outside myself and I peer back in.
Removed from my emotions I see the truth.
I am stronger.
I am healing.
Sick does not define me.
Weak is not my forever.
I am stuck.
Allow the emotions back in and I am paralyzed.
Fear has always been my enemy.
Allowing fear to push me into a stagnate life, this is my kryptonite.
1. to cease to run or flow.
2. to be or become stale or foul from standing, as a pool of water.
3. to stop developing, growing, progressing, or advancing.
4. to be or become sluggish and dull.
I read these definitions, immediately cringing. In all honesty I almost deleted the beginnings of this post and started again with something prettier.
But this is important.
Too important to delete.
Too important to forget.
So I continue.
I think anyone walking through crisis, trauma, illness, divorce, job loss, and the list goes on, finds their own version of survival mode. I’m no psychiatrist, but I believe survival mode looks different for each person. I also believe that it is vitally important. Survival mode is what prompts people to look at the single mom dealing with four kids while working full-time, and then some, to pay the bills, and declare, “I don’t know how you do it!” Survival mode is what causes people to read blogs or Facebook pages started in support of a young child dealing with a life altering illness or injury and wonder, “How do they stay so strong? How are their parents making it through each day?” Survival mode is what keeps up standing through the deepest and darkest of life’s valleys.
Survival mode is one of God’s great gifts to us.
We will face difficulties in this life.
That is guaranteed.
But God’s grace is sufficient and through the crisis, we continue on.
Knowing our strength is not our own.
Enter the problem with survival mode.
Here I am.
Not the strongest I have ever been.
But no longer the weakest.
Yet I live my days in survival mode.
Survival mode was never meant to last forever,
too much of what makes us thrive is lost during that time.
Yet I can’t seem to turn it off.
I am terrified to believe I am getting stronger.
Some strange place in my head tells me that as soon as I accept that beautiful dream as truth, I will get worse again.
I have wonderful days and then five minutes of weakness, or exhaustion, or anxiety, convinces me that the entire process is starting all over again. I’m immediately convinced that I’ll be bedridden by tomorrow.
The constant fear of the next catastrophe stops me in my tracks.
Paralyzes my emotions.
Forces my entire being into stagnation.
That is where all of the time goes.
That is what takes all of my energy.
Preparing to survive the next horrible thing that is definitely coming, always lurking around the next corner.
And the only way to make it through these imagined, horrifying, inevitable, disasters is to turn everything that defines me, that moves me, that is me, off.
And in this place.
I cease to flow.
I am stale.
I am foul.
I stop growing.
I am sluggish.
I am dull.
And my heart breaks.
I find joy and beauty in moments of my day.
I write them down.
I kiss my boys loudly.
I stare at them in awe.
I shower them with as much love as any human ever could.
But when I look into my heart,
deeper than the naked eye can see,
I see a broken connection.
A switch flipped to off.
An engine stuck in neutral,
revving loudly but going nowhere.
Who is this person?
When I am outside peering in, I feel sad for her.
When I am inside, I am ashamed.
How could I let this happen?
Survival mode no longer necessary.
So I chose this?
I am here voluntarily?
This is what I want for my life?
Now I am angry.
Until recently I chose to be oblivious to the sad state of my heart.
I knew life had been hard, I knew I needed healing, I knew it would be a long road, but I blamed my circumstances and refused to take any responsibility for my stagnate heart.
And then something happened, unexpected, almost unwanted, as I tried to protect my fragile existence.
Two tiny dreams flew into my heart, they nestled deep into my wounds so open and raw.
Two tiny dreams that made old wounds bleed but somehow my heart felt full.
A feeling so foreign but so much like home.
Two tiny dreams that whispered of the life I know I was born to live.
Two tiny dreams that caused a battle so fierce between my oldest foe, fear and new hope fighting desperately to take hold.
Two tiny whispers play on repeat in my ears, a tumultuous love song causing my mind to spin.
In that chaotic cyclone, I see it.
I see the moment.
I see the truth.
I see my fear.
I see my excuses.
I see my choice to stop trusting the One who gave me life.
I see his heartbreak.
I see the path I took to now.
Jesus, please let me un-see it.
Jesus, please say this is not my fault.
Jesus, I had to protect myself.
Jesus, it just seems too hard.
Jesus, thank you for new dreams.
I touch the spot on my chest, once again full.
Jesus, I’m so sorry I broke your heart.
Knees bent, heart bleeding, tears running, hope healing, dreams living, trust growing, Jesus holding.
Baby steps forward.
This life I was meant to live.
This life I chose not to live.
This life He gave back to me.
Only a fool would believe the battle is over.
Only a fool would believe God will not always win.
Today my joy is found in knowing, believing and trusting that Jesus will never give up. He will never let me settle for stagnate. And even when they cause fear to knock at my back door, he will always give me dreams.
I just have to choose to move.
“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.”