I recently walked through one of my worst weeks in immediate memory. It was certainly not my worst week ever, and it was all first world trouble to be sure, but it was still a long, exhausting week of emotional drama and relational discord and it took me down to my knees. I'm not typically a crier, but I cried buckets that week in sadness, frustration, and regret.
I kept telling myself to be still, to sit and wait for the next right steps. And in some moments, I managed to be still. Sort of. I didn't press "send" on my email right away and I called that being still. But it wasn't really. My mind was churning away, hosting conversations with imaginary versions of the other persons involved. I was composing email after email in my head, editing and revising to get it just right. I was rehashing decisions already made and regretting or justifying them. I was analyzing the actions of others and struggling to understand. I was really anything but still.
And in my not-so-stillness, I just kept messing up. I took the results of all those busy thoughts and turned them into conversations and emails and actions that hurt people I loved and continued to sow misunderstanding. I meant well, but I was not doing well. And the more my brain churned the more confused I got and the worse I felt until I began to feel that really, the only option would be to change my name and move to another state and start all over again with new people who would be unfamiliar with my particular brand of crazy.
That was obviously an impractical solution, so I turned to the only other thing left to me. I finally, really and truly, got still. I left my kids to their devices, walked out to my back porch with my coffee, a pen, and my notebook, and started praying. I struggle with mental stillness...praying silently is mostly just an exercise in constantly refocusing myself. So when I really need to talk to my God, I write Him a letter. On this particular morning, I confessed all of my sins, I poured out the lies I was believing about myself, and I tried to recognize and write out the truth as well. I was honest with God - He can take it - and I just kept writing what I was thinking and feeling, wavering back and forth between hurt and exhaustion and glimpses of His truth for me. The lies were winning though, so as I ran out of words to pray, I decided to end with a gratitude focus. I began writing out a list of all the things I was thankful for in that moment. In my emotional fatigue, it was harder than it should have been, but I made a valiant effort...and on a whim (or perhaps, at a whisper from God?) the last thing I listed was "the healing I know will come." I decided to be thankful for something that hadn't yet happened, but that I trusted God to provide.
I took a deep breath, finished my coffee, and headed back inside to my kids. And within thirty minutes, I began receiving texts from friends - the friends that my crazy brain had wanted to run away from, the ones that I figured would be so unlikely to ever fully forgive me, that it made more sense to change my name, move states, and possibly get a facelift, than try to face and make amends with. That text chain was amazing and healing and wonderful. There was laughter and teasing and a return to normalcy. And it was an answer to a prayer...a prayer made (finally) in stillness and with a sincere willingness to wait and see.
In truth, some awkwardness remained and maybe still remains. I'm working to forgive my own mistakes and to recognize the traits in myself that I need to be taking to God for further healing and growth. But those texts were the beginning of "the healing I knew would come". The healing that our God will always provide when we ask for it, when we finally step out of our own craziness enough to get still and quiet and receive His love.
"Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him." Psalm 62:5 (NLT)
Jenn is a book-reading, quietly nerdy introvert who has, one choice at a time, managed to completely surround herself with chaos. Wife to one incredible man, and homeschooling-mama to three crazy-awesome boys, life is almost never quiet...but in each day there are moments - brief pauses in the crazy - and it is there that she finds God. He is in a quiet breeze through the trees, in a one-on-one conversation, in a lingering glance at a sleeping child's face. It is enough.