Tuesday, January 14, 2020

When I Can't Sleep...

It's almost 6AM and I haven't been to sleep yet.  My mind is going, I'm essentially out of pain medication, and I'm just not tired.  Either that or I'm just SO tired that I can't really tell.  The surgery that was canceled back in August was rescheduled, after a new MRI report that actually said what was wrong with my neck.  It is happening tomorrow at 2PM.  This will be my third neck surgery since summer 2013.  In that time, I had about 2-3 good years where my pain stayed around a 4-5.  I'm hoping to get back there for a few more years.  I am not sure I have it in me to go through this horrendous process every few years.

I have so many worries.  And I know that I am not supposed to worry.  It's the never-ending battle that wages in my mind and some days, I feel powerless to defeat that very shrewd enemy who wants nothing more than to see me fail yet again.

I'm not going to lie.  2019 was a really difficult year for our family.  Our home being broken into last week wasn't a good start to 2020 either, but what can you do?  I mean, really...at some point, you stop being shocked by what life throws at you.  And so even though I'm not "I-could-go-to-sleep-right-now tired," I am still really, really tired.

Being a parent is the most unforgiving, thankless, draining thing a person can ever do with their life.  This year has thrown things our way that I couldn't have anticipated and some days left me wondering if we will survive until all the kids are out on their own living productive lives.

Recovery is also hard.  Earlier in the year I embarked on a journey.  One I wasn't even sure I should be on.  One I didn't know if I could be on.  I joined a group for women who have gone through sexual betrayal, whether it be pornography addiction, adultery, or other similar issues.  When I joined the group, I felt incredibly unworthy to be a part of a group like that.  Sure, I had gone through sexual betrayal, enduring year after year of the same cycle of suspicion, confrontation, lies, eventual transparency, and then ultimately, forgiveness and another attempt, hoping this time it would finally be different.

But even though I experienced over a decade of this cycle, I have always felt as if my affair canceled out any right that I have to grieve what my husband's addiction did to me.  Even though I dealt with the shame and guilt of what I did long ago, this group I joined started bringing things up in me that I didn't even know I felt.  I had to actually bow out of the group due to my health and inability to make it to the meetings each week, and wouldn't you know it, as soon as I stopped going, all of these triggers began overwhelming me.  I would find myself just angry.  And I don't usually get angry about Kris' past issues with pornography.  I think back when it was happening I felt something akin to anger, but it was nothing to the anger and frustration I have been faced with lately.  And for at least 3 weeks, I couldn't even talk to Kris about it.  I was wrecked and bore it alone, because I thought that is what I deserved.  Even after my eyes were open and I learned that it wasn't about punishment, I still wrestle with that very truth.  It's one thing to KNOW something.  It's entirely different to FEEL the truth.

And not only am I feeling anger.  I'm just sad.  I'm finding that there are expectations I had that could not be met, due to Kris' addiction.  For instance, the expectation that our marriage vows would be upheld from the start.  The Bible talks about forsaking all others and being one with your wife.  Even in the actual wedding ceremony, in the vows, we say we will forsake all others.  We will be faithful.  And instead of allowing myself to feel devastated by that loss, which was completely out of my control in the beginning, I have silenced the whispers that say I need to feel and grieve the things that I lost because of my husband's addiction.  Because when I start to think about it and I start to allow myself to work through it, I am quickly reminded that I am also guilty of breaking my marriage vows.  Do you see it?  I was betrayed first.  I wasn't the first one to run to someone or something else.  And yet...it's all I can see.  It's like all of the pain I endured just has to get swept under the rug, because I eventually ran to someone else.  I have allowed myself to stay in this place of limbo, not even realizing that I had things I needed to grieve.  I just assumed I didn't have a right to.

And wouldn't you know it, as soon as I left the group, God began to reveal all of this to me.  And it has not been easy to try to navigate.  Because in the midst of all of that, we have been dealing with heroin addiction, teenage attempts to sell marijuana, a kid going to college, a kid  who we are just praying makes it to graduation, health issues, work stresses, and so many other things I can't even name right now.  To say the timing was bad is an understatement.  But when is the timing ever what we would hope for?

There have been days when I felt like I was drowning.  I stepped down as a supervisor at work, which has been a much needed relief, and yet also leaves me feeling like a failure, even though I can acknowledge that it wasn't for lack of trying.  I have never felt worse as a mother than I have this year, and yet in the midst of it all, something will happen or be said that soothes my broken mama heart.  Because I believe in a God who loves me beyond what I could ever hope for or imagine and I believe that he gives me gifts.  A song at a certain time.  A kind word at the right moment.  A conversation that breathes life into me.  It doesn't SOUND like much, but when you have seen God work as clearly as I have in my life, it FEELS like the world to me.

I have no idea what this new journey to be healthy emotionally will look like.  It's scary, I know that much.  It's hard.  I'm having to now go back and talk to Kris about things we've never talked about and express grief over things he did a long time ago.  It's not easy to ask him to walk through that with me, when I know the hurt I caused him.  And that kind of twisted thinking right there spurs me on to walk through this fire, because I recognize it as the thought of someone who is very broken.  Some days I feel like I will suffocate from the weight of it, and yet, I know it is just something I have to press into and try to be patient with.  You know, my son deals with a lot of anxiety and I gave him some advise the other day that I really should embrace myself.  I told him that sometimes there isn't a fix.  Sometimes we just have to sit in it and FEEL.  And it can be so hard and so painful because we just want the pain to stop.  But sometimes, we have to just sit in it and allow ourselves to feel it, and just know that tomorrow will be brighter.

There is always hope.  Even when there's nothing left.  It's still there.  Maybe it's mangled and torn and bare.  But hope is constant.  It chases us relentlessly and sometimes all we have to do is take a leap of faith, into the unknown, into the pain, into the abyss.  Because if you know God, guess what!?!  Not only will he chase after you, he will go before you and he will catch you when you fall.

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