The world wide internet is not a safe or wise place to disclose all struggles.
Especially not current, ongoing ones. Most struggles involve other people, and what is beneficial for them ought to be soberly considered.
So it’s been pretty quiet around this blog.
And I’ve been pretty quiet around most people.
I am asked: “How are you?” and I think “How honest do you want me to be?”
Which isn’t really my question — because those who ask sincerely care, and I adore them.
My real questions have been: How open should I be? What is wise and beneficial to share? How much backstory and context do I need to give for this struggle to even make sense?
When I don’t know how to best respond I ask God something along these lines: How the heck do I respond to people asking about how I am/how things are going when I’m in a moment of intense struggle?
His answer this time around has been: You can say “I’m a train wreck. Fortunately, it(life) isn’t about me…”
So, I’ve been saying that.
But today — God’s given me something new to say, and permission to say it here.
So if you’re even still reading after this long introduction, here goes:
I am losing my mind.
I’m not saying that lightly. And it’s not pretty.
Just this morning, I stood in the middle of my kitchen and screamed.
Out loud. Loudly.
One long roar kind of like that woman giving birth in the beginning of the movie Prince Caspian.
Not at anyone. My my kids got dead silent and looked at me from the other room, where they were coloring on the floor(on coloring books, not the floor. Well, probably on the floor, too) to make sure it was still their mom in the kitchen making that scary noise(my six year old told me later she was afraid I was having the baby). My father-in-law(who has advanced Alzheimer’s and dementia) even looked up. He normally doesn’t make eye contact with anyone.
I didn’t give an explanation, because it wouldn’t be understood anyway, but just turned and went upstairs and asked my husband to go downstairs because I needed a minute. Before he had even answered I slammed myself in the closet, put my hand to my forehead and burst into tears.
Burst. The squirting kind of fat, hot tears.
When I heard our bedroom door quietly shut and my husband’s footsteps going down the stairs I crawled into bed and pulled the covers up to my chin and sobbed out some new gray hairs and crows feet while simultaneously praying God would protect my unborn son from whatever chemically was happening in my body due this outburst.
The specifics of what encouraged me to that particular meltdown are not what I should share.
I can explain the combination of struggles a bit more this way, though:
It’s one thing to tritely teach my children to pray: “Give us this day our daily bread…” and it’s another thing entirely for me to learn piercing humility through having to pray daily, for months at a time: “Abba, please give us this day our daily bread…”. I don’t like this whole collecting-manna-one-day-at-a-time thing. I don’t like it.
It’s one thing to say “this world is not our home.” And it is another thing to live, daily, in full awareness that where I am living is not. my. home.
It’s one thing to say “my body is not my own, I was bought with a price” and “children are a blessing” and “I’m open to Your will, Lord”. But to literally have my guts and ribs being pushed out by the presence of a baby who is taking over my body until I come to that final place(that I am fully aware is quickly approaching) of having to actually split open again and allow life to come through me is not. pleasant. I struggle with fear. That being shared — I must clarify this for my son should he ever read these words: “Son, I have wanted you for 12 years. You are a beautiful answer to many prayers. Life is not about me – and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt the LORD has great plans for you. All blessings come with responsibility, and I accept both gratefully. And you have already blessed me more than I could ever express. I’d gladly give my life for you.”
Having a baby is not pleasant, or easy, and my last birth being my hardest is certainly in my field of awareness as my discomfort increases. One of my greatest heartaches over this pregnancy is not that I am uncomfortable or having a child, but that my child is not valued by some dear to me, because they see the responsibility without understanding the incredible depth of the blessing coming with him.
It’s one thing to say Jesus says “blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.” It’s another thing entirely to follow His direction for your life and receive insult, after insult, after insult.
Jesus communicates direction to me that doesn’t always make sense to me at the time. Sometimes, what He has directed me towards, or away from, doesn’t make sense for a long time. So, I accept that my choices to follow Him will not always make sense to others. Even so — to be perpetually misunderstood, I am convinced, is one of the hardest/most frustrating emotional things in life.
There are more struggles — like missing 5 uninterrupted minutes of conversation with my husband because we are constantly on-call due to caretaking with his dad and our kids. And spending hours a day cleaning up bodily fluids and messes from children and a man in his 70s isn’t pleasant. But the spiritual/emotional/mental struggles are far more challenging.
So — I am losing my mind.
And I was crying about this because I was, have been, fiercely struggling not to.
But as I ugly-ugly-ugly cried to God that I just couldn’t hold it off any longer, I couldn’t fight anymore “I. Am. Losing. My. Mind!!!…”
He gently, lovingly, straightforwardly said: “But you have the mind of Christ.”
And in that moment Peace himself went deep, deep, deeper as He explained by His Spirit, in my spirit:
Losing my mind is not a bad thing, and I don’t need to fight it. I can’t survive, much less thrive, with my mind. I need the mind of Christ.
Our minds are not at all the same, and mine needs to go.
The reason I’ve been feeling like I’m losing my mind is because in reality there is a gift He’s trying to give me: His mind.
His perspective. His thoughts. His approaches to people and His responses to situations.
My mind needs to go.
This is all way beyond me… and way under His feet.
So… I took in the deep breath He gave me and let that fight go.
“Take over, Lord. You can have it. Here’s my mind — I want, and accept, Yours instead.”
I slowly got up. Pushed the covers back and drew in that shuddering-breath that comes after hard-ugly-crying. Put my feet on the floor. Walked over and opened the door: “Let’s get on with this mind-losing thing…”