Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Words for the Radioactive Heart

Well, I'm taking a break from my Women's Therapy Center story to talk about something else. Because this is the kind of writing I do; chaotic, unorganized, unplanned, and off the cuff. Tada! It's good to write about things while they are still fresh, if you can. Clearly I haven't mastered that concept but here's to trying! (Clinks starbucks cup to computer screen, makes mess, loses faith in humanity).

This past weekend, we had the opportunity to visit some of our very best friends, the Johnsons! (I still can't believe and get excited over the fact that they are now THE JOHNSONS).  I love that we have friends who are willing to let us come and crash their house and play with their dog and eat all their food. And kindly watch all our weird youtube videos. (There is ALWAYS that portion of the day where youtube videos have to be shown and shared and demanded to be taken seriously).  One of the things I love most about visiting them is getting to visit their church, too! I love hearing them lead worship and always love hearing their pastor preach. This particular Sunday, I felt a lot of words speaking directly to me. You try to put God on hold but he finds a way to patch through when you least expect it. I like to hear what others are struggling with, being convicted about, what their victories are. But it's hard to be the one sharing, especially when it's not a victory but YET ANOTHER STRUGGLE. But, here it is, laid out there in all it's ugliness and candor.

I feel like the song "All I Do is Win" is my ironic anthem. Of course, I know I have a good life and am thankful for it (seriously, I am, these are not token words).  I also feel that I struggle a lot and lately I have been struggling with STRUGGLING. ("put your hands in the air, make 'em stay there!!!" you're welcome). Every. Single. Day.  I am struggling my thoughts to make them less negative, jealous, anxious, sad. I am struggling my body to make it healthier, smaller, better, pregnant. I am struggling to be disciplined in so many areas that I doubt I'm doing anything good or making any progress. But I think the biggest struggle in the last 4 months has been battling bitterness, anger, and apathy. Dare I say even lack of faith?! Yes, it's where I am..might as well own it. I know, deep down, God is good. He has a plan. This world we live in is just temporary, and just the beginning. Ect, ect. But I am really struggling with the wait to becoming parents. The WEIGHT of the wait is getting heavier. There have been so many pregnancy announcements from close friends the last 6 months that I truly am struggling with bitterness and anger. (and of course, joy at their joy. Anger on my own behalf, selfishness, thinking I deserved it too, maybe even more because of all the waiting I've already done.  See?? Ugly).

Sometimes, I feel like I'm the burning man. Like if someone looked at me through infrared glasses they would see nothing but redness and fire. Radioactive. It's always burning but sometimes it's possible to keep it dwindled to a few flames that can be contained. Especially with concentration. Sometimes it wakes me up out of a deep sleep raging with no way of putting it out, except mindful concentration on something else. Or doing lots of physical activity. Or sometimes no physical activity, because all my strength is being used towards putting out mind fires.

To bring it all around to Sunday: one of the songs sang during worship was the hymn "Be Still My Soul". One I've heard many times and have always loved. Sometimes words mean something to you, but you really don't know the depth of them until a particular season in life:

"Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain
Leave to thy God, to order and provide
In every change He faithful will remain
Be still my soul, thy best, thy heavenly friend
through thorny ways leads to a joyful end"

The words "bear patiently the cross of grief or pain" really convicted me. I know I am not bearing this waiting period with much grace or dignity or PATIENCE.   I am convicted to ask God more often for a better attitude, more grace to welcome others announcements with joy and without jealousy and bitterness. I need to ask Him to help me put the anger to good use!!! In the past, usually anger is the best motivator for me. Maybe if I had no anger I would just...cease to keep trying. Give in. Roll over. Play dead. Is it weird to pray that God will help me use my anger in a wise way? Or should I pray for it to leave? I'm not sure. Knowing my personality I probably need the fire to keep fighting, spiritually, physically, and emotionally.

During the sermon, Pastor Rob was preaching on I Peter 3:13-17. (You know the sermon hit home when I can remember the specific passage of scripture, hehe). This passage talks about suffering for righteousness sake. I know, I am not a martyr. I am not suffering for the sake of the kingdom or suffering because I shared the gospel.  I don't know that suffering is the correct term for what I have been feeling, but I did take away a lot from this sermon! Mainly, the idea that if God has placed or allowed a situation in your life, your two different choices are to be angry and resentful about it OR to learn from it and open your heart to what God can use the hard time to accomplish for His kingdom. To potentially bring Him glory and let others see the hope you have even despite struggles or hardships. And be ready to tell them about that hope! To paraphrase (because I can't remember the exact words) he said "you can either drink this cup down and trust God's plan or refuse it". I have definitely been refusing this cup. Refusing it hardcore!!! The cup of what I mentally call "this ridiculous time period of continued extra waiting maybe I should get another cat and call it a day" (LOL).  It's the spiritual equivalent of "is Pepsi ok?" NO, PEPSI IS NEVER OK!!!!! GET ME A COKE, GOD, I WANTED A COKE!!!!!!!

I think honestly right now I'm somewhere in between drinking this cup and refusing it. I want what God wants (I GUESS) but I also want what I want. I'm not sure if those two things are the same. Which I guess is the point. No one WANTS to go through tough periods in life but at least for me, I know I'm always thankful for the trial by fire AFTERWARDS. But during I'm giving God the side eye and asking sarcastically "really????? how many injustices must I endure!!!!!" a million times and being dramatic and whiny.

For now, I'll be concentrating on harnessing the anger. Letting it motivate me to keep working towards my goals in a non sinful way. I'll be working on trusting God to order and provide for what I need, not what I think I need. And boy, am I thankful that God has blessed me with my particular husband and friends and family. I cannot imagine going through these things without them.

I'll leave you, radioactive, angry, overwhelmed, and struggling friends with these words:

"Be still my soul, the hour is hastening on
when we shall be forever with the Lord
when disappointment, grief, and fear are gone
sorrow forgot love's purest joys restored
be still my soul when change and tears are past
all safe and blessed we shall meet at last"


  1. A random memory just popped into my head: During one of our class chapels, your mom had written a funny skit about a "root of bitterness" for us to perform. I don't remember the exact lines, but it was about a man with an out of control root growing out of him and the doctor could do nothing about it because it was too late. Now as an adult, I've seen so many people succumb to that same root of bitterness. Life isn't the way we want it, so we let bitterness take over. I'm not minimizing the pain. Life is not easy, that is for sure. But you are on the right track in that you realize that there is a better way to deal with that deep disappointment and agonizing, ongoing wait than to just give in and let anger have its way. Lately, God keeps bringing to my mind what Jesus said about following him--that it takes denying self and taking up a cross. Not exactly what I want to hear usually, especially when there's nothing inherently wrong with the things I long for. But God somehow connects the dots even when I think they're the wrong dots and suddenly they're the ONLY dots I could ever want or imagine. He's good like that. I'm praying for you. This was a fantastic post!

    1. You have NO IDEA how much it means to me that you not only read but post thoughtful responses !!! I appreciate it to the fullest degree!!! That's a good Maranatha memory:) the root of bitterness is such a good visual to remember when grappling with it. I've seen bitterness turn awesome people into ugly and I don't want that to be me!!!!

      And as a positive note, I can feel all the moms of young children wishing to be me whenever I go to Target (which is always). LOL. Silver lining!!!

      And it's true, we ALL have a life situation we would love to turn out according to our schedule...but I'm often glad God doesn't give me "what I want". Clinging to the promises 😀

  2. Oh, Carrie. I feel ya. The waiting and the suffering is so hard, and can wear you down. When I'm angry or impatient or sad, I find it helpful too focus on the beauty of God rather than trying to force myself to feel or not feel a certain way. I am rarely (ok, never) successful with talking myself out of a negative feeling. But when I turn my gaze to Christ, a lot of those feelings start to fall away. I love you, and I'm praying for you. And I'm always grateful that you share your real-est of real thoughts and feelings here.

    Also, "the spiritual equivalent of 'is Pepsi ok?'" is maybe the greatest.analogy.ever. I WILL be using this!!

  3. You had me at, "Clinks Starbuck's cup to computer screen, makes mess, loses faith in humanity" !
    You wrote what we all think or feel in times of despair, but are too ashamed to admit and drop our masks of perfection and let others see us as we really are:


    Whenever someone is brave enough to drop their mask for even a brief moment, my heart immediately responds, because then I know I am not alone on this earth. I am not the only one without a perfect life. I am not the only one who struggles. Somehow, conversely, this helps my faith and motivates me to keep going - knowing there are others beside me all along the way. Others who I can gain strength and hope and encouragement from. It reminds me of the verse in I Thessalonians 5 verse 11:
    So ENCOURAGE each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
    And Hebrews 10:25
    And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but
    ENCOURAGE one another, especially now that the day of HIS return is drawing near.

    What ENCOURAGES me is when people have the COURAGE to drop their masks and show me who they really are!!! THAT is someone I can relate to, and pray with, and be real with myself.