Counselor? Who needs one of those? Only the weak minded of course. I just survived a deployment, nursed my blind husband back to health and from the outside, had done it with great success. Everyone was impressed, ‘Wow, how have you guys managed to do it all? Stay married, be successful and create a beautiful family along the way?’
In my head, I thought we just had it down, we were good at communication and had survived some of life’s hardest knocks without a counselor or any medication.
For crying out loud, I almost lost my husband at 22, then received the awful news that he would be permanently blinded and may not even have the same personality, why would I need meds?
You know that spot where you’re trying to be super mom, super woman or super whatever? You’re striving to be brave and strong for everyone and to make your parents, children, husband, friends, sisters, in-laws…the list could go on and on, happy. But the harder you try, the harder life becomes for you. Maybe you’re a Christian and know that you should, “cast your care on Him, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light,” so you start feeling guilty that you can’t seem to give up this burden. It becomes too much to bear, and fear and anxiety get such a grip that you can’t even look at your husband with loving compassionate eyes anymore, let alone show him affection. It’s all more than you can handle, but you know God tells us not to fear. So you pray the Lord would take it all away, but you keep running the race and keep striving in your own strength, and as time goes on, the fear and anxiety gets worse and worse.
So you think, maybe I just need to give more, after all, it’s not about me, it’s about dying to myself. But how do you die to self when you yourself haven’t reconciled and healed? I honestly believe God allows us to feel our pain, anxiety and fear to lead us to Him, but reading your Bible and memorizing Scripture over and over on repeat just to get rid of pain, anxiety and fear won’t work. It needs to be a heart change, a change that only Christ can make in us, if we let him.
When you’re striving and trying to be the best wife, mother, etc, and shoving your feelings aside, just trying to think happy thoughts and think of everything pure, lovely and of good.
But what do you do when dwelling on what is lovely, pure and everything you’re thankful for doesn’t work? Why am I feeling this way? I’m trying to do everything right but nothing makes a difference.
That was me. My good intentions of serving my husband, family, kids turned me into someone who could only focus on herself and why she was failing. It left me empty and with nothing left for my husband and kids. I did not even know how to express my deep pain and hurt. I began by telling Scotty everything he should be working on, maybe he is the reason I felt so broken. If he changes, maybe I’d feel better. After all, he is the one that chose infantry, ranger school, and kept putting himself in dangerous situations resulting in the tragedy we live everyday. I hounded him day in and day out about things that bugged me because they had to be causing my unhappiness, right? Being the gracious man he is, he complied and tried hard to please me, because he wanted me to be happy. But it didn’t make the difference I thought it would.
It turns out that I’m not that strong. I did need counseling and I did need meds. But I’m a Christian? Yes, I’m a Christian, but I am not superwomen, and Christ doesn’t call me to be superwomen, just to simply be broken and humbled knowing I can do nothing on my own. I love the song that quotes “holiness is Christ in me” its not something we strive for, we can’t earn our holiness or work harder for it. It is a gift. It’s not about the other person being nicer to us or changing their attitude. It’s about changing our heart. It is good to think happy thoughts, but it is also healthy to acknowledge our fear, anxiety, and pain. How can we let Christ into those areas, if we’re always shoving them away? What if we acknowledged them and communicated them to a safe person?
So what have I overcome?
I call it the “middle space” I know what is good and healthy and what works, but I fight the ugly side of fear, anxiety and guilt, every single day. I’ve learned to count the middle space as a blessing, because if I am too far to one side then all I can think about is myself and my own strength. It’s not fun but the good news is we can grow, change and love deeper.