Written about 8 weeks ago...
Didn't have the courage to post until now.
I don't doubt, at least I try not to. I knew it was coming, I just didn't quite expect it to hit this hard, or in these particular circumstances. Where do I find my joy? In the only place that remains firm...but that has not been the case leading up to today.
A few months ago while still in Cairo, I awoke in the middle of the night, feeling the nudging of the Holy Spirit as He whispered a truth to me, a wave of something I was fearful of, but knew was indeed true. My joy was not in Him. When I awoke the next morning, I remember sitting in my flat before work, a new day ahead, yet frustrated. "What do you want me to do Lord? NOT appreciate the blessings you have given me?" I didn't know how to respond, but I sensed a darkness was coming, that my venture home to the States may indeed bring some pain. I ignored it.
Despite the difficult parts of living in Egypt, I was happy there. My work fulfilled me, my friendships brought me daily delight, my students adored me. I felt physically healthy, emotionally capable, and spiritually progressing. I was thankful, loving the adventure of my life and how the Lord had called me into it. I couldn't really complain, so many things were falling into place. Even upon the departure back to the States, I knew it wouldn't be easy, feared it might knock me off balance a bit, but had high hopes that whatever was next was going to be good. Deep inside, a fear lingered that if things did not go my way, I might be destroyed in the process. It's not that I had not dealt with disappointments, but I purposely ignored the possibility that life could stop me dead me in my tracks...and it did.
Within my first week home, I was hit hard. One was a personal issue that literally took my breath away, followed by a whirl of intense issues involving some of those closest to me which I couldn't separate myself from. I am involved whether I want to be or not. The additional stress was realizing that I have no clue what I want to do from here. I feel so removed from my future...it feels blank. I know that's not true, but it feels that way. Just one of these would have been more than enough to work through, but all at the same time, I wanted to throw up. My body didn't know how to process. I sat there, thinking about how my world was literally collapsing right in front of me, and I didn't know how to cope. It's not surfacy stuff...these were real issues. I didn't know what to do. The hardest moment, was when I realized I didn't even know what to pray...so many things hitting me, all at once, not related except that they were working together in the process of literally tearing me apart. I didn't feel safe, not even in communicating with my God. He clearly knew this was necessary, and that hitting rock bottom, as quickly as I did, was what was required. It wasn't ten days before I was in Cairo, smiling, full of hope. But there I sat, on the edge of our guest bed, my hands over my face, feeling something I had never felt before...and I trembled.
When we rely on our circumstances for joy, we are setting ourselves up for disaster. I am not saying we can't find joy through what He does in our lives, but I am acknowledging the very distinct truth that we can't base our joy on those things: stability, people, success, security, family etc...and I think I did. I remember back to that night, when the I felt that knot in my stomach, as if the Lord was warning me...things will crumble, and you are not ready. Over the course of the next few months that I remained in Egypt, there were moments I would stop and think through how off track my heart had gotten, but I didn't know how to bring it back. Life was good, I was happy. I didn't want to think about things that would bring me down. I knew it was going to take some disasters to bring me back to reality, yet I let myself flirt with the risk that I was playing a very dangerous game. I lost.
Cheerful Christy, the one everyone was expecting to return, did arrive, but quickly disappeared...she was no where to be found. I felt that I was disappointing people, and needed to "snap out of it." But that had to take a back burner. The process the Lord was taking me through required dark moments, the quiet I craved, and the reality that silence was part of the healing process. Walking away from the insecurities that I was facing would only delay the lessons the Lord was requiring me to learn. He needed me to hold His hand as I walked through the fire. I couldn't see what was on the other side...but I desperately wanted to get there. He needed me to get burned a bit.
So here I am, waiting on the Lord, anxious, YET, still not demonstrating thankfulness for the good He is doing in my life. There is an abundance of blessings I am witnessing in my life as well, and have witnessed for years. I know they are there, just not in the forefront of my mind right now. It is a simple fact that I am blessed by the positive as well as the pain. I didn't expect things to go this way...I wasn't prepared for the shift in my spirit to hopelessness. This is all new to me. But at the same time, that does not dismiss the reality that I am responsible for picking up the pieces and moving forward with what I do know, that my faithful Father hasn't moved. He has remained constant, and I must seek Him and accept His purposes in my life amongst pain. He will provide what I need.
I struggled with whether or not to post this blog entry, wondering if it was too personal. It might be, but that's okay. It's the tangible reality of where I am today, at this moment in my life. So I will carry on, praying, thanking God for what He is doing, and allowing the process to take root so that it can be meaningful. No doubt I am learning something out of this, and will come out different, of that I am confident. I hate the way I feel, but I know He allows what I need and what is good for me. Nothing about these situations feels right. In fact, I have never been forced to face this much that I would consider wrong. But it is "good", because He allows it and can redeem it. It's a combination of different kinds of pain all working together, or against one another I guess. I can't see past this right now, and that is brand new to me...but I guess it's good to be exposed to these emotions as well. It certainly makes me take life one day at a time...forcing me to live in the present. "Snapping out of it" is not going to happen, but hopefully a stronger Christy will rise on the other side.