How Great Thou Art

It’s been hard for a while; life. I’m sure I’m repeating myself here. My last several updates have been about my various struggles. I don’t intend to be a heavy cloud or burden to my friends, or readers. I just like to tell the truth. I can’t not be honest about what’s going on in my heart and my life. I’m an open book, and I like that about myself. It’s very freeing.

I used to be a bottle, sealed shut until I got so shaken up that I burst apart, spilling my guts everywhere, causing a huge mess that could barely be cleaned up. But thankfully, I’ve grown out of that. I’m not much the person that I think I was expected or anticipated to be growing up. I’m thankful for that beyond any kind of expression. I used to cover myself in shame and guilt and rules and structure (not the good kind).

My (amazing) therapist says I’m experiencing overwhelming grief in my life right now. That’s why I’m feeling ALL OF THE FEELINGS ALL OF THE TIME. I lost my mom just over five years ago and I suppose that’s when it all began. I’ve been grieving her death since, obviously. But then life sort of turned into this dark, scary, mean bully. My family crumbled. I grieve that so deeply, and wish we weren’t so…poisoned? That word seems harsh. There is a lot of healing that so desperately needs to manifest in my family. My relationship with my dad and brother. My siblings relationships with my dad. So on and so forth.

As excited as I thought I was to leave OKC and move to Bend, I’ve been grieving my loss of community. I’m so sick of that word, but it’s the only one that really fits I suppose. I miss my people. I miss my friends that I grew up with. Shawn and I were SOLID right before we left OKC. We were so close and having so much fun. We lived in the greatest little apartment and just enjoyed our little life. I’m still grieving the loss of my life before parenthood.

I got pregnant with Nora and was overjoyed, for a while. And then a deep depression hit, it hit both Shawn and myself and we just drifted further and further apart. I grieved the loss of our intimacy and closeness. We are finally beginning to find our love again. It had to be reconfigured and dragged through the mire, but we’re finding it again. This time it’s new and fresh, dare I say stronger?

Then I had Nora and it traumatized me. My body failed me in every which way. I hated having a baby for so long and I felt such guilt for it. She’s such a joy to me now, but it was not an easy road. My body is still having a hell of a time figuring out these nasty hormones.

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I’d been seeing my therapist for a few weeks and felt like I was making progress, when Shawn suddenly lost his job back in May. I completely fell apart. I know nothing. Everything is up in the air. What will we do? How will we survive? Why can’t I stop crying?

I’m so busted up inside. Never have I felt more bruised and fragile and cracked and shattered. It’s not just Shawn losing his job and me not being able to know any kind of stability, it’s the culmination of all the aforementioned life events and feelings. I don’t know how to be. I struggle with WHO to be.

I drink often, more than I ever used to. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not stumbling around with slurred speech 24/7. But I have wine or cocktails almost every night after Nora goes down. I rely a lot on anti anxiety medication to help me survive the fucking day. I have some friends here whom I can ugly cry and word vomit and call anytime. That’s a good thing to have in a season of life like this.

I’ve started gaining weight again. I’ve been treating my body so poorly. I still regularly practice yoga, which is my one and only solace. But otherwise it’s mostly booze and junk food, or no food at all. Shawn has been a phenomenal rock for me during this time. Most days I end up sleeping for 2-3 hour blocks just so I can pass the day faster.

I finally read Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott. It took my soul captive. Read it. There’s some healing there.

The thing about this shitty, shitty season that I’m in, is somehow, I now know God better than I have ever known Him/Her. EVER. I was telling my therapist this. How in the midst of all of my weakness and sorrow and brokenness, I’ve never felt any guilt. That is SO the opposite of the atmosphere I was raised in (church and home, both). Not a single twinge of guilty. Simply God. He often says to me “Just let me love you. It’s okay. When you can’t function, I get to hold you closer.”

I was speaking with my therapist about this recently and she said to me “I see how busted up you are. You’re so broken. You’re walking across this shattered threshold, yet from these cracks is this beautiful, warm light bursting through. And each time you step into that light, you know God more. You step closer to who He TRULY is.”

She’s right. He is LOVE. He is GRACE. He is CONSISTENT FORGIVENESS, without reminding me always “You suck so I’m forgiving you”. He is TRUTH. He is WARMTH.

HE IS FREEDOM.

I will meditate on Your precepts and fix my eyes on Your ways. Psalm 119:55

I will meditate on Your precepts and fix my eyes on Your ways.
Psalm 119:55

I’ve never, ever, ever walked with God as closely as I do in this fucked up season. With my heart full of sadness and fear, with the storm clouds that constantly hover; I have never known Him more truly than I do now. I suppose that makes it all worth it. It’s painful and hard as fuck. But to know that kind of God? To know God in that way? To know NO JUDGEMENT. NO GUILT. Simply freedom. She’s SO BIG, God is. So, incredibly, overwhelmingly great.

I’m hurting and I’m grieving and I’m fearful and I’m sad, day in and day out. But God is so big and so warm and so gracious and so kind, day in and day out. My soul will forever sing this song.

O Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

– Lyrics and translation by Stuart K. Hine

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3 thoughts on “How Great Thou Art

  1. allisondeaver says:

    All of the feelings all of the time: grief, fear, burdens, condemnation, sadness, rejection, etc. I’m so lost. I have no clue who I’ve become or who I really am. I want to believe (in confidence) in my identity in Christ, but I am beyond messed up. Some days I believe I am loved and his (and worthy of being loved and his), and other days I’m like, “What the hell am I doing here?!” It sucks. I’m learning to cling to those moments, to live in them fully, and I’m learning to live in the hellacious moments. It’s like I’m drowning, grasping, clawing for life, and then I get gently lifted for air. Life is back; I’m back. How do we stay there, above water? What really unnerves me is I’ve lived a pretty safe, comfortable life without much loss or change or sacrifice. How in the world will I cope when life really gets messy? And it will. My prayer has been for God’s spirit to completely consume me and direct me and comfort me because I obviously can’t do it. And maybe that’s it; maybe we’re trying to do it, and God’s like, “You can’t.”

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