First, mild language warning with this post. I know it’s not my usual fare to have to give a language warning, but it fits for today’s post.
Yesterday, I was faced with this choice. I was faced with the choice of giving up. It’s interesting that today’s devotion from 100 Days to Brave is about giving up because it goes perfectly with the story I have to share. I can’t believe I’m at the two-thirds mark for this blog series. I’ve been blogging my way through this devotional since February, and it’s helped me a lot. I can recommend this book highly to all of you.
So, anyway, back to yesterday’s story. Spring is a rough season for our family, and it’s been even rougher for me this year due to a lot of things especially in the last couple of weeks. I’ve mainly kept things to myself because I have a hard time inviting someone in (http://thrivingingrace.com/inviting-someone-in/) God and the important people in my life knew, and I was able to write about it which has been my saving grace. Yesterday though was Mother’s Day, the last tough day of spring for me. I almost didn’t go to church because of it, but I wanted to be with my family though I knew I would probably be quiet for most of the morning, My husband knew and was okay with that. When he finished doing his media work for rehearsal, we decided to talk during Bible class. It was a good talk. He told me it was okay for me to “just be” for Mother’s Day. I could be sad, mad, happy, joyful–whatever emotion was appropriate. We finished before service, and I felt like I could smile and at least be genuine in my well-wishes for others. He went back to the media desk, and I went to take care of some things.
When I came back, I went to the area where I usually sat, and that’s when it happened. I was approached by someone; we hugged and wished each other a happy Mother’s Day. Then, she grabbed my hands and said I needed to stop being sad on Mother’s Day–that I had a whole lot of things to be thankful for and that I should stop looking to the past and look to the future. I know I’m blessed, but I also know the day is just a hard one for me. Tears started pouring down my face again, and she walked away. It was five minutes before service started. I had never been so deeply humiliated in my life. This is someone who intimidates the hell out of me–she’s pretty and nothing ever seems to be wrong with her. There was nothing I could really say because it was all faith-related. I know God has blessed me with my family. But, I also know God has given me permission to be sad when I need to be. He made us with tear ducts, after all.
This all happened in an instant, and then I knew I had to get out of there. I went somewhere I was hoping to hide for a few minutes. (I miss the prayer room with the door that shut and locked.) Tears were streaming down my face as I went into the restroom. But, I wasn’t fated to be alone. Two women were already in there and came over wanting to know what was wrong. Of course, at this point, I wasn’t understandable because I was crying. I will always be thankful for one of them who hugged and prayed for me. Then, two other women came in, one of whom had been the one to humiliate me. She continued to say that God had blessed me. I knew that, but I couldn’t stop crying enough to say it. I sat on that bathroom floor wondering what the fuck I had done to this person–this person I admire though they still intimidate me because they have it all together–especially with their faith. The only thing I could think of was that something about me wasn’t good enough. I was completely humiliated. Finally, they left me alone.
I spent a few minutes calming down, and then went back in the auditorium sitting on the back row this time since I didn’t want to risk anything else. I will admit the rest of the service glazed over me. I kept thinking of the ways I could have communicated better, recovered better, hidden away my sadness better. Done all of it better. At the end of the service though, I heard two words that meant everything. “God sees.” God sees, and it’s okay if I’m sad. God sees and understands even if no one else does and even if it’s not the appropriate kind of sadness.
I went home from church, and my family salvaged the day. Window shopping, lesson planning, Wal-Mart, Dairy Queen, and a nap rounded out my day. My husband also fixed dinner, and I was able to compose a neutral Facebook status that gave credence to what I was feeling. I wasn’t interested in repeating hurtful behavior. I just wanted to make my feelings understandable.
Now, all of this might have been an excuse to give up on my journey to becoming brave. It would have made sense. For the most part yesterday, church community sucked eggs for me, and I’m still not sure how I’m going to feel when I see the person who humiliated me again. But, I don’t want to quit. As I said before, I’m two-thirds of the way through this devotional, and I’m at a better place in understanding my faith, yesterday notwithstanding. This is hard stuff, and I am tempted to quit. I looked at the words from the author though and the words from the Bible verse she shared and they encouraged me. I hope they encourage you too. Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” And from the author, “Don’t quit trying to find the brave in your life. Don’t quit the things you’ve involved in that feel just too hard.” (100 Days to Brave, Annie F. Downs)
So, I’m not going to give up even when I’m humiliated, embarrassed, or sad. God sees and understands even when no one else does.
Praying God’s blessings on you all today!