In a Nest of Lemon Pillows.

5/1
((from Kate))

This week your Hopers will be sharing with ya’ll a vulnerable glimpse of the truth of ‘where we sit.’ And while I’m tucked into the corner of the couch in my teensy sorority mom apartment under a mountain of Pottery Barn citrus prints – ‘where I sit’ figuratively is so much bigger.

This weekend a surprise that took months to plan unfolded and I was an anxious mess. I didn’t sleep in more than hour spurts for three nights. And then on Saturday evening, under green vines and French music we, as a whole family, gathered to honor my father.

It was beautiful, but I was spent. Am spent.

The last last last thing I wanted to do yesterday was pack up and drive to another gathering. I wanted to sleep for a hundred years. But, I climbed into the car and drove to southern Indiana in a torrential downpour and around miles and miles of winding roads to get to a house in the middle of nowhere.

That house, with the trick bookcases and long dining table and stone fireplace, was prayed for and purchased with one intent: to bless others.

This past year I’ve walked in a pack of a dozen wondering wanderers. We’ve taken pilgrimages around the world. We’ve talked about Jesus until there were no more words. And after months of togetherness, it’s over. A weekend at this peaceful cabin marks the end of the season we agreed to do life together (though, I trust and believe that the ‘doing life together’ with these souls will go on for quite awhile.)

I was late getting there because of my day job and the tornado of busy that comes with the end of each semester. I snuck in to see them sitting in the living room listening to that scrappy revolutionary who guides us reading aloud a short story his son had written as a boy. Then we were instructed to go off for half an hour and think about how we’d changed over the arc of this experience… process what God had done and be ready to share at dinner.

I went up the wooden staircase to a room full of sofas and tall windows and without a word or second thought, piled pillows on the lap of my friend Sara and laid down, plugged her headphones into my ears and listened to worship music while tears streamed down my face – realizing that the biggest thing God had done in this season was give me sanctuary.

A safe place so much bigger than this gorgeous lake house, but a soft place I could be and be loved in the hearts of those around me.

We had one of our infamous hodge-podge dinners that turned out perfectly, spooned up pints of ice cream, celebrated birthdays with words of affirmation, and then took our full bellied bodies into the living room. With a crystal glass of ice cubes and cream liquor in hand, legs stretched out and cozy sweatshirt zipped up, the heavy anxiety of the prior days spent planning and doing and worrying and organizing was noticeably absent.

It felt like a bowl of gentle warmth came in from my backbone forward to my chest and scooped up my heart, and held there – it couldn’t seize with panic and insecurity. It was surrounded with tenderness and light. It was safe. I was safe.

My pals asked if they could pray for me, but I got uncomfortable. There was no one single pressing reason they needed to carry me to the cross for. Sure, I’d admitted that I feel I’ve ‘lost my luster’ and that what’s dark in me is growing like a weed, but I wasn’t up against a fearful diagnosis or job change. Didn’t seem to matter to them, they wanted to pray.

Speaking my love language, they turned on a song that rang out:

“It’s two in the morning and I’m still awake in my bed
And I can’t shake these lies that keep running around in my head
What if I saw me the way that You see me
What if I believed it was true
What if I traded this shame and self-hatred
For a chance at believing You

That You knit me together in my mother’s womb
And You say that I’ve never been hidden from You
And You say that I’m wonderfully, wonderfully made

You search me and know me
You know when I sit, when I rise
So You must know the choices I’ve made and the pain that I hide

What if I saw me the way that You see me
What if I believed it was true
What if I traded this shame and self-hatred
For a chance at believing You”

Beth knelt at my left side and grabbed my forearm and let me cling to hers with all my strength, Abbie knelt at my right side and held my hand with all her force, Sara stood behind me and leaned to touch her head to mine, and Rachel responded to Abba’s request to get her oil and anoint my forehead, and then she placed her hands over my soaking wet closed eyes and prayed the scales would fall off, that I’d see me the way that He sees me. Larry and Michael and Robbie and Cal sat hemming us in, and from the deepest part of my very being tears clawed their way out. The sobs came up from the very bottom gnarls at the pit of my broken spirit.

Where I sit? Where I’ve been sitting?

Honestly?

In a hurt I’ve had no words for.
In a belief that God loves all His other kids more.
In a belief that on this side of eternity the only joy for me will come from the discipline of celebrating other’s joy.
In the pain of a shipwrecked heart that was broken so hard it hasn’t recovered, that cries into my pillow because I don’t know who else I can still talk to about it, that feels nauseous with pain at least once or twice every day.
In the ‘understanding’ that grieving or talking about the pain means I’m ‘playing the victim’ which is sinful and unwanted.
In the mantra I’ve taught myself to repeat: “It will never get better for you, so be thankful it’s not worse.”
In the ribbon the streams behind my eyes when I look in the mirror, that it’s a good thing I’m funny because in every other way I’m less than.
That the men who loved me left because I wasn’t enough.
And that God redeems other people’s pain with blessing, but He won’t with mine so that I will really learn my lesson.

And as I sat there sobbing my guts out I realized God was meeting me in a way I’d understand. HE WAS FINALLY ANSWERING MY SCREAMED OUT PRAYERS TO BE TANGIBLE!!! With the touch of beloveds and with song and with words and with my safe space carrying the wreckage I couldn’t carry anymore, that I didn’t even ask them to carry…

It was Him.
And I finally let myself, even if just for a half an hour, believe that He does indeed love me.

That’s where I sat. And where I’m sitting today.

Where are you sitting?

Can I pray over your breaking heart and let you cry without shame? Let me know and I’ll come right over.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Stacy says:

    Thank you for being so vulnerable and writing about your pain.

    Like

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