Ever have one of those weeks where nothing you do is right? Simply based on your self image? So essentially, I'm having a bad week because I don't feel like I'm good enough/strong enough/wise enough/thin enough/happy enough to be a functioning member of society.
I'm never satisfied. By nature. I'm never good enough. I've lost weight- huge amounts of weight- and I managed to creep back up a little this week. And I could just go in a corner somewhere and bawl my eyes out. I've been holding it in and suppressing it so much this week, my physical heart ACTUALLY HURTS.
And I'm doing it to myself.
Maybe blame it on the Winter Blahs. Blame it on the fact that we had 32 inches of snow. Blame it on how my husband is so dissatisfied with his job that it is consuming his every molecule in his body. Blame it on that darned scale. That stupid scale that just peers at me from the corner of the gym, telling me I'm not good enough. Telling me I'm putting weight on.
So because I refuse to be the victim of my own demise, I started to do things this week to make myself feel better. I've been taking walks during the day, during my breaks. Fresh oxygen is good for you, I think? That's a thing, right? But last night I broke down and went to the Prayer Room.
We've been attending this church- Dove E- and I'm so inspired there. The church we just left was...dead. Just spiritually dead. There was no joy in worship anymore. Everything was a chore. They were bound by the church council. It was shrinking in size weekly. They couldn't stick with a pastor. They made things so hard for the pastors who WERE there, they all left. People were saying mean things about my husband and I. People I confided in were suddenly brash and miserable. My father was being used and abused in his music position- he was miserable. We were miserable. And when we left, we were harassed. Terrible emails being sent to me, "How would that look to the rest of the congregation if you left when the pastor left?" My grandmother was dying at the time, and we received no support. The church across the street from ours brought us food. The pastor who was actually leaving at the time bought us all supper- came and laid hands on my grandma. The pastor who was filling in temporarily incidentally saw my family as they were hauling my Nanny's dead body out of the house, and had the AUDACITY to ask my dad if he was playing piano on Sunday. So we left. And people are still harassing us. I was at home recently on a Saturday morning, just out of the shower, music blasting, Liam and I were having a dance party while cleaning. Knock came to the door. I saw it was someone from the congregation, but couldn't pretend I wasn't home. Do people still just pop in on people unannounced? Who knows. They did. I invited them in- I'm not a beast- but did not invite them to sit down. My heart is sore- I don't want small talk.
I'm spiritually starved.
When we started attending Dove E, looking for a place to fade away, I was swept away instead. The music and the flags and the people raising their hands, professing their faith publicly...telling how God worked in their life during the week. We keep saying we'll try other churches, but we never do. It keeps sucking us back in.
The Prayer Room last for a week and was from 6am to 10pm every day. There were stations set up- a wailing wall to post requests. Places to kneel. Places to sit. Places to stand. Places to ask for healing. Places to ask for guidance. Places to rejoice! Oh my word my soul NEEDED that. I walked into the space and just immediately welled up with tears. When I went to leave, my son cried to come along. And I was more than willing to bring him! But my husband is wise and said, "Your mommy needs this. You stay home with me." He was right. I did need it.
I prayed for my soul sister, Alyssa. Her doctors told her she was having a boy, and then a few weeks later- no, it's a girl. Alyssa has lupus. Her joints fill up with water and need to be drained on a regular basis. It's a painful, painful process. She wakes up in pain literally every day. She has a two year old daughter who needs cared for and nurtured, and Alyssa can't brush her OWN hair without help some mornings. Her soul was sore from the disappointment of the gender reveal. Her body was sore from the lupus. "I'm going in to pray for you tonight." I told her. "We're going to find peace tonight."
When I left the room, after an hour of prayer and meditation- again. Wow. She sent me a video of her belly. The baby was going CRAZY. Alyssa said to me, "I was just asking the doctor, why am I not feeling her move- and now this!" The scenario was reminiscent of John in Elizabeth's stomach- leaping for joy! I'm HERE, mommy! I'm here and I'm beautiful. Love ME. Alyssa said she felt enveloped in love at that moment. The video panned to her husband, kneeling beside her, grinning from ear to ear.
God is GOOD. He is HERE. He is SPEAKING.
The word echoing in my head over and over: Abide. Abide in me. Perfect love? It drives out fear. Fear is associated with punishment. You're not being punished. Life is GOOD! I had been praying very hard about having a second baby. The fear of bringing another life into this world was overcoming my desire to give Liam a sibling. Perfect love drives out fear. Abide in me. I will give you rest. Abide. A baby is not a punishment. A baby is my sign that the world will go on. Perfectly love Me, and I will grant you Perfect Love for this baby. Just...abide.
After the door closed behind me on the room, I took a walk. Yeah, it was cold. Yeah, it was dark. But I needed the air, and I needed to say all the things I forgot to say inside those sacred walls. I came home ready to be a wife, and ready to be a mommy. I cannot wait to see what happens next year.