I had coffee with a friend last night. It’s a rare enough thing in the best of times (what with the five kids and crazy schedules and all), but when things are rough internally for me, all I want to do is hide.
She’s the type of friend who asks intelligent questions out of genuine curiosity. I’m constantly amazed by the way her mind organizes information and creates detailed road maps through a landscape that would look like a landfill to anyone else. Her questions aren’t meant to elicit a certain response, so they never feel patronizing. Just honest.
We were chatting about the difficulty I’ve been having lately… the resurgence of symptoms long gone, the emotional turmoil, the mental and physical exhaustion, the flashbacks and disconnection from reality… and she asked me,
What do you feel like God is speaking to you in the midst of all of this?
It wasn’t condescending or trite. If I had looked at her blankly and said, “Nothing,” she wouldn’t have skipped a beat. We would have gone right on talking. Which is why I wanted to really think about the answer.
“I feel like God is telling me to keep going. To keep pressing in and not run away from all of this like I want to. Everything I’ve gotten from Him (through friends and mentors, the Women’s Retreat, and my own times of prayer and worship) have just been affirmations that He is wanting to walk me into deeper healing, and I need to not shy away from it.
I know He will guide me through it, and I will come out on the other side alive and better off. I’m not hopeless. I just don’t know how ugly the process will be. And He’s not making me any promises that I’ll get to keep my dignity.”
I laughed, because I meant that last comment to be tongue-in-cheek, but there was more truth to it then I meant to reveal. One of my deepest fears is that I’ll end up in the hospital again. Not because the hospital is so awful (which it can be), but because of what my family and friends will think.
I want to be all better. I want the past to have no bearing on my now. I don’t want to be an emotional, unreliable, symptomatic disaster. I want to be successful and competent and attractive.
And then, as I spoke it aloud to my friend, the revelation came to me as well.
“I feel like He is telling me that my identity isn’t in my healing, just like my identity wasn’t in my being sick.”
I’m not “All Better Girl.” And I’m not “Broken Disaster Girl.” I’m not even “Hopefully Future Foreign Missionary Girl.”
I’m just His Girl.
And maybe this process will be smooth and grace-filled and symptom free. I know He can heal me completely in an instant. He can take away ALL of the damage done by those years of abuse. In a blink. But, if He chooses not to do it that way, and I have to walk a more difficult road, then I must be obedient and not let my pride be the road block.
Oh, Abba. Your grace and mercy are overwhelming. How is it that you love me so? You’re so faithful to me, even when I’m a stubborn, prideful mess. Help me to receive whatever you have in store, because I know it is Your very best for me. I trust you.
1 Peter 5:6-7