Just fyi, I do not necessarily publish on the day of the included events. Last post was published the day after, this post is a combination of the last three days, because of delays in editing (just for coherence).The reason I point this out is because sometimes I publish good days on very not good days.
Day before yesterday was not an overly good day. Yesterday seemed to end better. Now today we are presented with plummet #2. I keep likening my life right now to a roller coaster of event and emotion; this was one of those swift and unexpected plummeting sections of track. Over the past several months, I’ve been lucky if I get one good day; supremely lucky if I get two or more in a row. I have just enough time to begin to relax and catch my breath…and then something happens. Again. And again. And again.
Another battle. Another challenge. Another terror. Sometimes repeats of previous ones, often amped up from last time, occasionally entirely new issues.
In retrospect, I can see the foreshadowing clearly. I am not at all good at noting it, trusting myself, and acting upon it at the time. I’m not entirely sure how, but I need to work on this. I tend to think that if the person wants to talk about what’s wrong, they will tell me, and they don’t want to be pushed. I try to respect them and not dig. I do not need to know, and I certainly don’t want to pry. I want them to feel safe and comfortable around me. I trust them to come to me on their own.
I think this might be the wrong approach with certain people. Not all, but a few to whom I’m quite close. But that’s an ongoing project that I can hopefully explore soon.
I was so hopeful. I thought I was going to get to go home after a day of me being tired and forced into extrovert-mode (I was kind of grumpy, and my wonderful Dom was encouraging me the whole time, for which I am deeply grateful), and spend time with my Dom. I have been busy these last few weeks, and I miss him, feeling guilty for how my work schedule has restricted our time together, and I want to protect the time we can have together in the coming weeks.
I got home. We began chatting. It was nice for a little while, but not quite what I was expecting and hoping for – which is fine, I’m learning to not hold my expectations too tightly. But then things took this sharp turn into ‘what the heck’ territory.
This is not my story to tell in its entirety, so I am going to deliberately skim. My Dom has things to attend to, and has decided it is best he do so in seclusion, which I entirely support because I recognise sometimes that is the very best thing. And I want my Dom to be well, and certainly free to attend to whatever he needs to.
But I think some of my reaction to our conversation was less than stellar. At the very least, it wasn’t delivered with a lot of clarity, and I really wish I could apologise to my Dom for that – it’s top of the list when we can chat again. The bits of conversation we have had since then have been rather confusing and disjointed, and all I really know is my Dom is not having a fantastic time and I don’t really know what is going on or what will happen.
Edit: Last night we had a short but good conversation, and things were much better. I cried I was so relieved. Today, we’ve swung back. See what I mean about a roller coaster?
I keep ending up in this place. Same issues, same uncertainty, same heartache, same worry, same frustration. Same exhaustion and pain. I am tired of crying. I am tired of feeling beat down. I am tired of feeling a shred of hope and seeing a bit of progress with something and then having it all crash and burn. Again.
Let me clarify, this is not just about situations relating to my Dom. This is a host of things in my life. I get this teeny, tiny reprieve. I relax a little. Then whammo.
I never thought I would be one to consider hope a horribly cruel thing. But here I am, almost wanting to avoid any hope because the aftermath is crushing.
But this time is a bit different.
My first reaction was an achingly broken heart. It hurt. I cried, of course. Usually, I am so surrounded by agony and misery that not a lot of thinking happens until I cry myself out, pull myself together a little, and start to pray. But a few minutes in, I had this moment of clarity.
I realised I could choose to give in to that emotion, that I could pursue that reaction and keep crying my heart out. That I could enter into a state of being sad, alone, miserable, desolate. But it would be my choice. Not me being swept up helplessly this time. Not being overwhelmed.
Choice. Between desolation and prayer.
Which is rather wonderful, in a sense, because I feel like this is the first time in about eight months that I’ve had some emotional stability that wasn’t just a mask I desperately plastered to get through the day without bursting into tears in front of people. One of the best things my Dom has given me is this revival of my prayer life. In short, because this is already a really long post, he is a beautiful catalyst in my life that has drawn me back to prayer, real prayer. His Brother has been instrumental here too, because he is the one who first specifically encouraged me to pray; I have never forgotten that moment, I think of it every single time I feel helpless and scared, and it has brought about such miracles in the last several months.
The only issue is I have this bad habit of ceasing to pray once it seems like that particular trial is over. I get up over the hill, and I stop to catch my breath. And I could pray whilst doing so, but I tend not to. It no longer seems urgent. I go into chill-mode. Which unfortunately doubles as apathy-mode.
Then that roller coaster thing happens. The same thing crops up. Or a new issue, a new hurt, a new emergency, a new tragedy.
I think the reason, or at least one of the reasons, this roller coaster keeps beating the ever-living daylights out of me is that I keep letting my guard down.
I’ve recently started this utterly fantastic Bible study on spiritual warfare, The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer. In the first lesson, she points out that the problems we struggle with, the people, the circumstances, those are not the problem. They are not the enemy. Rather, Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
And I keep forgetting that during the good times. I am gradually getting better at recognising those issues at the time; still not excellent by any means, as I am still missing all the clues leading up to the massive freaking roller coaster drop from hell, and I still keep acting on these semi knee-jerk reactions to what the apparent problem is rather than taking a breath, praying, and considering what the actual problem is (and that is not limited to a belief in a spiritual realm; that’s just interacting with people). But when I get slapped in the face, it doesn’t knock me off my feet. When I feel entirely out of my depth, I am panicking a lot less and praying a lot more (and oh my gosh, does that work incredibly well).
It’s the in-between times where I ought to be building up defenses and securing my family against this stuff that I keep dropping the ball.
But now I know better. Now I know that these repeated attacks are a deliberate attempt to fracture us. That they are designed to discourage me, wear me down, break me.
Here’s something I haven’t been honest about in a really long time: I have horribly neglected prayer and reading my Bible for years. I’m ashamed of it, but that’s enough. I have been under spiritual attack. I have been driven into this apathetic state and thank God for my Dom and his Brother because I’d still be in it if it weren’t for them.
The fact is, I feel stronger this time. It is not that I don’t care or that I am being callous or that I feel no compassion or concern. Heck no. I just…feel stronger. I know who I am in Christ. I know God already possesses the victory. I know that God has this handled, and regardless of how anything turns out, God is still God. And for the first time in I honestly don’t know how long, maybe for the first time ever, I feel real peace in these circumstances. Not the kind of ‘chosen peace’ where I am still grieving and terrified inside and just managing to go about my day looking normal, choosing to trust God ‘because I can’t do anything else besides pray anyways’. No, this is real peace. I really am not worried. I know God is good. I know He is sovereign. I know I am His. And I will fear no evil.
I really did not expect to have this kind of good result this early in my attempts here.
There is so much that is unresolved. My responses over the last few days have not been stellar (a few good ones, I think, but some definite mistakes which I want so much to be able to apologise for, but that will have to wait until my Dom returns to chat). So much that I just don’t know. My heart still hurts a lot. I am trying not to dwell, to not go down that path and end up paralysed with hurt and rendered ineffective. My family deserves better. I deserve better. But it still hurts. The waiting is hard. The not knowing what is going on is hard. I suffer.
But I have this real peace. I am learning. I know I am not helpless because I can pray. I can fight back. I know who the real enemy is, I know where these attacks are coming from. I can defend my family. I don’t have to succumb. I suffer, but I live.
I am not afraid. God is still God.
I fear no evil. God is still God.
I love my Dom. God is still God.
“Perfect love casts out all fear”. God is still God.
I feel God’s peace. God is still God.
God is good.