Monday, November 10, 2014

Why happiness scares me

On Saturday I had a moment where I felt truly content and happy. It was a sunny day, we went to the park, had a lovely dinner and I felt good. It was a type of happiness  that I hadn't felt since Teddy died. As soon as I felt it, I begin  to panic.  If I felt this happy, then something awful was waiting.

The last time I felt that good, was a sunny spring day. I had coffee with my Mom, planned the nursery, and Justin and I headed to the doctor. As we waited for the doctor, we planned out how to announce what the gender of our baby was. How we would paint Harrison's hands and have him hold them up to the camera. We discussed a summer that would be spent creating a nursery and how we would manage raising two boys. The world felt perfect, and then it fell apart.

I don't trust happiness anymore. That is what I learned on Saturday. Happiness leads to fear.  I actually wondered how I would be punished for feeling happy. What bad thing would happen? My counselor and I have chatted about this before. How it is normal, and a form or PTSD. How it will ease over time. How my anxiety disorder amplifies it, and how it will eventually ease.

This fear eats at me. It gnaws at my ability to sleep, and adds to my list of faults. I am scared of life. Anxious about the future. Drugs help, sleep helps, talking helps, prayer helps, but it doesn't go away. Sometimes, I think this must mean my faith is too small. My belief too weak, my heart to hard. How can I claim to have faith in God and be so scared? If I believe that God has a plan, why do I fear moments when I feel content in that plan? Why I am so weak and my faith so small?

I am human. I am weak. I am scared. I am anxious, and overwhelmed. Life hasn't been smooth and easy. Happiness is scary. Bad things happen, but that doesn't mean I don't have faith. I have faith that I won't always feel this way.  I have faith that God will help. I have support, and I will find a way to trust in happiness again.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

You are still loved and you can come home.

I never grasped the importance of the parable of the Prodigal Son, until I was the prodigal. I drifted far from God's love, and I believed that I couldn't find my way back. I was positive that I had made too many choices, committed too many sins, drifted too far from God's grasp. This type of thinking is a poison that is used to keep us in captivity. It keeps us trapped and far from happiness and peace and it isn't true.

Where are you right now? What lie do you believe that is keeping from starting on the path of healing? As we age, our choices can begin to weigh down us.  Feeling the sting of disappointments, the realization that you aren't where you thought you would be, that you aren't the parent or spouse you thought you would be, your continued failures are nails in the coffin. You are stuck here. There is no hope. You must see through the choice you  made.

I know someone who got married quite young. This person entered into their marriage with a deep commitment to their spouse and God. They believed in marriage. After awhile, it became clear that their spouse had anger issues and could be emotionally abusive. Mood swings and deceit were countered with overwhelming acts of love and new declarations of change.  My friend didn't really let the outside world see what was happening. Then one night, they came to my door and told me they didn't know what to do. They couldn't imagine having children with a person who was so broken, but they also felt that divorce wasn't an option. As a couple they had been to counseling, but nothing had changed. Recently they had found out that their spouse had cheated on them. This person felt that if they got divorced, they were breaking away from God's plan. That the act of divorce would shame them and their family. That neither God nor their family could forgive them.

I would love to say that I gave them great advice, but I was too young to even begin to understand the ramifications of this persons pain. I just let them cry. Six months later, they poured their heart out to their parents, who assured them of their love, invited them to come home, and helped them begin divorce proceedings. That person is now happily married to a loving spouse.

I don't tell this story to condone divorce, but to show that God's love is bigger than his laws. No, he doesn't want us to get divorced, but neither does he want us to stay in dangerous and unhealthy situations. My friend could have stayed married to their abuser. They could have had children and exposed them to the abuse. Who knows what the situation would have escalated to? Thank God, they trusted their parents enough to confess. Thank God, their parents showed them how God's love works.

"For I am convinced that neither life, nor death, neither angels or demons, neither present or future, or any power in heaven or earth can separate us from God's love" Romans 8:9. Paul was a murderer, so was David, Peter denied Christ three times, Moses, who had performed countless miracles, struck the rock, and they were all used for the glory of God. There is no place too far, no sin too great, no time too long to keep us from His love. Don't believe the lie. God takes you right now, right as you are. He will challenge you to change. He will push you to be better, but your struggle to do so will not determine His love for you. That was demonstrated on the cross.

Who are the people that are there for you no matter what? Who are the people that want to be there, but you have pushed away in anger and fear? They are in your life to help you. They are God's way of reminding you of His love. You are loved, and you can go home. You are not alone.  At this moment, God is opening doors and provided you an escape. If you need to leave a current living situation, if you have to confess and addiction, if you have to let go of anger and resentment, if you have to go back to those you hurt and ask for forgiveness, if it is bigger and you need to leave your spouse or remove yourself from something else, step out in faith and do it. I don't know how it will work out, but it will .

I pray that you find your way out of  your stuck place. That you realize you don't have to measure up to a love freely given. That  you know who to turn to support you. That your family and friends can surround you and lift you up. That you realize that your worth isn't measured by the choices you made,  but by the gifts He gives. You are loved. Reach out, and come home.