Peaceful Abandon (aka 'Peace')

I got distracted.
I am supposed to be finishing another post. A post I started 365 days ago. A post that I continue to wrestle with and through....*Arrggghhh*
...but I got distracted.
I put a lot of stock in traditions and people. I am the kind of girl that goes back to a well too many times (not one too many times - WAY too many times) expecting a different result. I expect people to change. I expect my feelings to be valued. I expect my work to be respected. I expect that if I show you mine, you will show me yours....vulnerability that is...
...but that rarely happens...and we always want the tradition or person to "show up" for us even after they have shown who they are...again and again. We want those qualities from the people least able to give them to us. I pound my head against that wall again and again and again and again....
So this NYE I am sitting here disappointed again to have bruised my head on the wall again of expectations.
There is this song called Floodplain and it just started playing while I was typing. So typical. God sends the song. I recommend it (and the entire album it is on by Sara Groves) and I recommend reading the lyrics HERE
Some hearts live on the floodplain....that is the heart of the song.
Mine does.
I am frankly a little sick of it. I have spent 2016 figuring out how to live in this space where my heart resides. Most days I feel better, stronger, but then the moments or conversations or days hit that rock me back on my heels and the floodplain turns to quicksand for my heart....and I sink. Fast.
I thought I would end this year feeling stronger, but alas I am sitting here sinking....someone hurting my heart after I opened up mine...again. I just deleted the word stupid. I am not stupid. I mean I feel stupid, but I am not. What I am is slow to learn when the well is dry. I throw my trust and love and expectations into a dead sea (lower case but thinking of the actual).

Dead Sea, Israel 2016 {the beauty is deceiving}

I was in counseling a few weeks ago and they asked, "Why do you believe (so and so) is going to change?" I just sat there...and wept. I know right?! WHY? Because I don't want to believe that all of the time and energy I have invested in that person is for naught. Because I care about them. Because just once, I want someone to come through for me.
....and there it is.
When is the boat coming for me?
*ugly crying*
If there is anything I have learned after nine months of counseling it is that I didn't have one single clue just how deep the wounds of my childhood many areas of my life those wounds touched....or how much unspoken, unfelt grief I had boxed up neatly on shelves...not until a few of those boxes got unruly and reared their head early this year. That is what happens. We contain our grief and pain. We stuff it in closets and corners. We numb it. We mask it. Until....we don't.
The truth is that it isn't the 45 year old woman, executive, writer, friend, sister, aunt, entrepreneur....that is hurt as I sit here today. It is the nine year old girl abandoned oh so long ago who resides VERY much in my present life. That little girl went to the well yesterday and today. That little girl was rejected/blown off/passed over/misunderstood. That girl is brokenhearted.
....and I don't know what to do to help in this moment....except to let her grieve. More.
I am going to finish that post I started 365 days ago. I am going to finish it because there are clues for me in the writing of it. It took me three years to unbury myself from all of the stuff (physical) I used to make me feel safe.
When I was four years old, the twins were born. We had an International Scout. The year was 1975. My parents sat in the front. The twins' were in car seats in the backseat with my older sister sitting in between them. In the back, my father would pack our luggage in a "C" shape and then my toys on the inside of that, and finally there would be blankets/pallet for me to sit on. I would sit back there packed in (snug as a bug in a rug) able to sleep or play the entire drive whether we were headed south to visit one set of grandparents or to Memphis to visit another.
I just digressed BIG time there.
I used stuff to feel safe. I packed it in deep and tight around me. At the end of last year, when all that stuff was gone I was left with just me. Exposed.
Counseling has been a gift and remains the best one I have ever given myself, but it has also shown me that I have a lot packed deep and tight inside of me. That shit isn't coming out easily is fighting like a wild animal, and even when I can finally drag pieces of it is leaving fresh wounds...cuts and bruises as it tries to hold on. The devil tries to hold on. Lord knows that the devil does NOT want me well. At all. I get it. Some days I don't want to get well. It is simply too hard. Screw the boat, I will walk. I am done. You know...that kind of charming attitude. *eye roll*
Today is one of those days. I am tired of being hurt. I am tired of grieving. I am tired of showing up. Again and again. Everything old is new again like a broken record or the movie Groundhog Day (which I have never seen to the kids' dismay). Nothing ever changes.
...but it does.
I just spent three and a half hours making sure it fact....change.
I am writing the hard things. Using ALL the words. Letting my heart break. Grieving. Rejecting the urge to numb.
....and my heart feels a little lighter.
I am reminded I will survive...not by my own will...but by God's.
I wish I could end this year and dust myself off and call it good. That was the naïve girl that ended LAST year. This woman knows that there are more mountains ahead of me. I have a lot to learn. There is more growth ahead for me. I have more work to do in counseling. There is more yet to unpack...and yes, oh yes, more to grieve.

The Peaceful Face, Jerusalem, Israel 2016

This peaceful face. I'm sitting on the balcony of our hotel in Jerusalem amazed by the day we have had...surprised at myself...I got baptized this afternoon in the Jordan River where the Israelites stepped in to cross over into the Promise Land and where Jesus asked John the Baptist to baptize him. It was significant and surreal. I wrote a post longhand on the bus as we left to head to Jerusalem..., and I will share later when I have time to type it all up. That said, sometimes God tells you when it is time to symbolically step out of the wilderness...and as a God who loves stories and symbolism, he gave me a giant helping of both today. I am grateful to a God who loves me. Jesus who saved me. Family and friends who love me. It was the most beautiful and perfect day and I never want to forget the feel of that cold and muddy Jordan River as it washed over me. Full stop. Restoration. This time. This baptism. Just me and you Jesus - US - our relationship - my heart...and a whole crowd of witnesses.
I have been working on my word for 2017...even my counselor has requested of me ("homework")...and the word "peace" kept coming up over the past couple of weeks...and then "abandon." I rejected abandon because my first thoughts were of counseling and the end of that very first session when the counselor looked at me and said, "You were abandoned." and I proceeded to break out in a full body red rash and thrash in my seat. Yet when you Google it, those are the verbs - the action of the word. What about as a noun? It is a state of being.


I went and found the above photo from Israel and low and behold "peace"ful was the word I used to describe myself (included above what I posted with the photo on Instagram).
...and there it is.
Peaceful Abandon.
Okay 2017...with great intentionality I am going to enter this new year and claim peace with total abandon. Not peace outside of me (though that would be nice), but peace WITHIN me. I will do the work to claim the peace that lies within me. I will continue to do the work in counseling. I will do the hard things. The uncomfortable things. I will stop going to the well....and until then I will give myself grace when I expect more than I should from myself and others. I will seek to rest myself IN peace.
I am nervous, but let me say this...I have never felt as peaceful as I did in Israel. I have felt at home in foreign lands...happy and the like, but Israel felt like my soul was at rest. Our guide said to come to Israel is to come home. I thought that was some sort of shtick when he first said it after we boarded the bus at the airport....but especially now I realize how true that was for my soul. As I enter 2017, the memory of that feeling gives me something to hold onto...that peace for my soul IS available to me.
What a promise for this woman...and for the nine year old inside of me.
...especially for her.
What a post to end the year with....YIKES!!!! What a year though....God I should have expected nothing else than you to wrap up this insane year with a giant lesson. I am so grateful to be loved by you. Thank you for coming for me as I sat in tears earlier this morning...stunned. Thank you for whispering...write. Thank you for sending the music and the words that restored my soul. Thank you for not letting me sink in the quicksand that came for my heart. Thank you for being who you are...sovereign and holy and Lord God Almighty. I leave 2016 at your feet. Humbly.