Have patience with me. I’m going through some stuff. I don’t mean to be melodramatic, but I have no idea how to sugar coat how hard it’s been.
Like always, I’ll just write my way through it. Many dear friends have been asking how I’ve been doing since David’s new diet that restricts several foods and put my world upside down. I’m not sure how to respond. The rhythm of my day looks kind of like this:
freak out on everyone.
yell at everyone, over everything.
guilt. apologies. numb.
You get the idea.
Last friday, it was chicken butchering day. A team of butchers came out to our farm and Knut and his cousin were busy helping them outside, and I was busy inside with the kids, and swatting the 186 flies that had come into my kitchen the day before as Knut was working on fixing the rotted front door frame, and let a bunch of flies in. All day on Friday, as I went around, swatting flies, my chest just hurt. It was a physical hurt, and one I’m familiar enough to know what it means. It meant my anxiety was not in control, and a panic attack was looming. That made me fear, which made the pain worse. It’s how this whole anxiety cycle works. Some of you know exactly what I mean.
My go-to in managing this chest pain is some medicinal tea which works the majority of the time. I have tried several things, and this is what works. I was drinking cup after cup after cup of this tea and I couldn’t shake it. Swat!! Slap!! Flies were everywhere.
Sometimes the walls of your circumstances start closing in on you, even when you are pushing against them with all your strength.
All I felt was a combination of numbness and chest pain. Knut stopped in to see how I was doing, and I told him I was avoiding the kids, and letting them watch movies all day, because I was afraid I was going to lose it, and I just wanted to stay in control. After we talked a bit, and he walked back outside to manage the animals out there, I pulled Silje aside and asked if she would watch the little kids downstairs and basically make sure no one died while I went up to my bedroom and just prayed a bit. She was very willing to help, bless her.
In my room away from the kids and the flies and the food, I just sat there, and waited on the Lord. I just listened to the silence. Glorious silence. My friend Sally says that the Bible is the vocabulary of the Holy Spirit. I like that. It’s so true. When I feel like God is talking straight to me, it’s always Scripture. After a few minutes of silence, an old praise song, based off of Lamentations 3:22-24 came to mind. I sang that a few times, and my heart started to break from the numb shell. Jesus wept. John 11:35. I thought on that for awhile. Even God cried. God cries with us. There are some times where it’s good to cry. I was afraid to let it out. I was afraid of a panic attack coming. I was afraid to relax. God with us, Emmanuel.
I felt like God was telling me that his mercy is here, go ahead and cry. He would be there with me. He wasn’t going to leave me. Stop fighting the tears. Lean into the mourning. Stop fighting. Feel all the feelings that I’m fighting. He won’t leave me when I let go.
Oh I cried. These days have been hard. Oh Lord, it’s hard.
The vice on my chest pain loosened. There was no panic attack. Just all the emotions falling out in tears. Just relief.
I reflected upon the Bible story of 3 Jewish boys, thrown into a Babylonian fire from Daniel chapter 3. The king of Babylon looked into the fire, and saw 4 men. God was with them in the fire. How did that happen? They walked around in there, coming out of the fire not even smelling like smoke.
17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
I love that proclamation. God will deliver us from this! But even if he doesn’t…
The reality of God was stronger than the reality of the fire. One of God’s names is Emmanuel, which means God with us. I kept thinking that over and over. The presence of God is stronger than the presence of the fire. This concept, in this story isn’t some spiritual lofty thought. It’s a grounded reality, and if it’s not then it’s meaningless. I want that reality. I have that reality, though my feelings do not always correspond with reality, on various issues. Just ask my husband.
Yet God does not shame our feelings. He weeps alongside us, even before he does a miracle to deliver. He is one who understands our hurt, and I think even understands our brokenness on a much bigger level than we do. So I’m letting myself feel all the feelings.
God is with me as I walk through it. His presence is stronger than anything I could fear. I’m learning to lean into all of this, diving into the wave, not swimming against it.