Something has happened to me the past few months....;)
I had my EXTRAORDINARY hair stylist ease up on my ombre....and I started toying with the idea of going back to my old nail polish (from my preferred black of the past three years), Opi's Bubble Bath (my color of choice for some 15-20 years). So today after an amazing brunch with friends, I decided to go get a manicure...I want to look nice for Easter next weekend. ;) Without hesitation, I selected the bottle of Bubble Bath and plopped down in the chair...I mean I had been thinking about it for weeks....months...and I have a sweet little Easter outfit planned...I mean...what is happening to me???
Two strokes in.
I was regretting it....but I did not change it. Something said keep going....yup, I am still talking about nail polish.
I had no more gotten in my car to come home, and I looked at my hands (it was a beautiful manicure by the way) and started laughing....you can't tell where my nails end and my hands begin...it is like one solid color...my nails literally disappear into my hands.
Where was I all of those years? What was I running from? What was I attempting to hide from?
I just looked at my hands. I still can't see my nails. I am not exaggerating.
I had my first counseling session this past week. It won't be my last. In fact, I am not in the least ashamed to say that I am booked out for the next 6 weeks, every single week, and the counselor is developing a six month plan. I am on board. No hesitation. In fact, as difficult as that session was, all 60 minutes of it, I couldn't shake the thought walking out that this was probably the best thing I have ever done for myself. I also could feel God encouraging me to document the process. That makes me cringe. I am not sure how much I will write about here, but I will journal the whole thing. My Sis already had a GREAT idea about getting a journal just for the counseling...and after the pages written this week - her idea seemed even better...that first night those pages looked like a train wreck - lines and words and arrows everywhere...
It is hard to admit that I have expended a ton of energy in my life hiding from the truth of my life. Protecting my family. Protecting the "story" and all that means. Protecting my childhood and creating a narrative around only the very best parts and gliding over the worst...to the point that when asked a point blank question about my childhood....I had the wrong age and no memories of a year of it. Like I had lost an entire YEAR. The truth is that my family is no different than yours. We had secrets. We had shame. We had bad behavior. I just never learned how to deal with mine. I am in no way interested in writing an expose on myself or my family, but I am VERY interested in learning how not to feel responsible for the tragedy that was my family. I am also very interested in learning how not to let my childhood define me....not take on all the blame...maybe stop feeling personally responsible that at the tender age of eight I couldn't do more to prevent the implosion. That maybe everything since hasn't been 1000% my fault. In all of that too, I want to learn how to take responsibility for what was my fault. I have made plenty of mistakes, and I want to get a grip on those...and not repeat them. Ever.
This week as I sat contorted in that chair being asked the most basic questions, I realized (after having it pointed out) that the red string that I use to describe the chain of events in my life has slowly been unraveling...and now it is time to slide down the wall to the floor and begin again. At the beginning. How do you unpack 44 years and figure out what is real...REAL?...what is true? false? Well you don't do it alone. I won't be doing it alone. Not only am I blessed with a counselor I know God picked out for me....there are simply ways one knows. ;) BUT I also have some extraordinary people who are walking with me in this...and to them....here and now...I say, THANK YOU!
There is this beautiful song All Songs & Daughters' Brokenness Aside that I have been listening to these past few weeks. Just now it came up while I was typing, and I thought....those are the words...God makes beautiful things out of our brokenness. I believe that...with EVERYTHING that I am. For whatever reason, God has appointed me now for such a time as this...this year...this counselor....to own my own story of brokenness. You can't start at today though...like any great story, you must begin at the beginning....so, one day I was born. ;) The counselor told me this is going to be "messy" but I can help you. She used words such as trauma and abandonment. There were silent tears, physical reactions to words, and admissions....but in all of that, she had me at "messy" because with that one word I knew God was there in that room...holding my hand. It is the word he has used when it has just been the two of us these past four years....I knew I was safe. That my heart was going to be safe.
Tomorrow, IF Gathering is launching an app, and I am part of the launch team that has been testing it. I can't say enough about it - check it out at www.ifgathering.com, www.ifequip.com - tomorrow you will be able to download it on iPhones and Androids. There is an interactive aspect to it where you are able to write posts, upload your own graphics or photos, shoot video, or even voice memo. You are able to share your gifts with the world on how that day's study spoke to you. Just imagine. I have been blown away by the technology; it was an honor to be a part of the group testing it. It has me thinking about our individual gifts, how we learn, how we share, and who we are....I think the sad truth is that in many ways it has taken the wilderness of this past four years to help me figure out who I am. In some ways the three year purge was just the act of me physically and spiritually digging my way out of mess of things, dogma, people, lies, mistakes...just to get to the bottom. I wasn't digging my way out or up...as much as I was digging my way down....to find my foundation. My core. Now...imagine my surprise when last week, God stuck a chisel and hammer in my hand and said, "Let's go. Deeper."
The truth is that my foundation was built on quicksand, and I have been shoring it up for years...YEARS. God is trying to get me to rip it all out and start again....on solid ground. On the truth...Not of who I am, but on the truth of who HE is...who He says I am....and who He intended me to be. Not the terrified eight year old....that built a million and one masks to hide a terrified adult...but the confident, beloved daughter of God. We have to rip out the lies and the fear....like bad carpet hiding beautiful heart of pine floors. Over the past several years, I have seen glimpses of myself. Here and there. Now I have a real chance to find all of me. That is my hope. I dream of being more whole. I want to be better...a better person.
...but first I have to tell my story.
To a counselor.
That isn't easy...not for me.
...but God is kind...he teaches me lessons at the bottom of a bottle of Bubble Bath nail polish. It is time for me to stop hiding.
This is the last time I will have Bubble Bath nail polish on my hands...so grab a gander while you can....;) The girl who wore that for years is gone. There is no going back. No more wishing for do overs and caves and coveting what is dead and gone.
My friend gave me John 5:1-5 the day of my first counseling session...it is the story of the healing of the invalid. Jesus asks him simply, "Do you want to get well?" The man has an excuse for why he is not getting treatment...for 38 years. Jesus said, Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." She had no idea how God was going to use it.
There is a lot you can take from that scripture, but that night after crying myself to sleep...who are we kidding....sobbed myself to sleep. I had a dream that Jesus was in between me and "them" - defending me - protecting me. It was a gift. In my whole life, no one has protected me or defended me; whether I deserved it or not. It is a wound that is gaping and puss-filled and even up to today impacts me....every. day. For 38 years. 38.
Do you want to get well Heather?
Get up and walk.
There is healing available to us. We have to take the first step. Just one step, and he will meet us there. He is probably already standing there - in between us and whatever or whoever - waiting for us to get up and walk. To have faith. To trust him. Even with the hardest and darkest parts of our souls...of our stories.
I don't know about you, but I am seeking restoration like my life depends on it.
Palm Sunday. Bubble Bath. Lent 2016.
Only God can make all of that come together and teach me a lesson. He is that good. He is that personal. He loves me that much. He loves you THAT much.
Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)