When I was a junior in high school, the first of many harsh realities were dropped on my doorstep. I learned that humans inhale and exhale inconsistency; I learned that wounds inflicted upon young hearts scar slowly and with purpose; I learned that sadness is stealthy, grabbing the unsuspecting ones. I remember sitting cross-legged on my bed every night for months, hugging childhood toys to my chest as I choked back tears and flirted with the idea of death. I tried to make myself invisible so as not to bother others with my pain. I wrote angry letters to God, asking why?
I never really talked about it, this season of depression I crawled through. Maybe because I was ashamed, or maybe because I wasn’t willing to address how drastically it affected every piece of me. Maybe, sometimes, misery doesn’t actually love company.
Regardless, I’m here. Four years later, and I’m here.
But, for the past year, I’ve started to relate back to that sad 16 year old girl. Death and I are no longer in an open relationship, mind you. But, I will sometimes stay up with the clock until it reads 4am, crying and praying and questioning the process of becoming new. As it turns out, the Lord will let life hand you the same lessons as before, and they won’t necessarily feel any better than the first time.
About two months ago, you could find me pulled over on the side of the road, crying similarly to someone who had just found out a loved one passed unexpectedly. It was loud, it was ugly, and I couldn’t make it stop. Despair had settled into these dry bones, and it was suddenly exploding out of me.
“What the hell are you doing?!” I yelled at myself. “Stop it, stop it, stop it…”
But, that was out of the question.
I hit my steering wheel, over and over, and once again found myself asking God why? Ranting and raving and asking that age-old question.
“Why?” I sobbed, no longer concerned with holding my tongue. “Why do you love everyone else more than you love me?”
I stopped. Covered my lips with the hand that had just been punching leather. Desperately tried to grab the words and shove them back into my mouth. But, I couldn’t. Jesus said it best: “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34), and what filled mine had finally been revealed.
I had been asking for it, though. Finally, I could see the depths of my brokenness. Finally, root issues dusted themselves off and said, “Here I am!” I did not believe the Father loved me. In fact, I did not believe I was extended the grace that allowed me to even call him Father. To me, he has been “Master.” “Sir,” even. Life has hurt and people have left and disappointments came calling, and I thought it was all because I was being punished for my shortcomings.
From that moment, I have not been able to stop recognizing the way I’ve shaped everything around my skewed image of the Lord. It’s been agony. And it’s kept me awake at night. I am completely unable to do the work that needs to be done in my heart to save me from drowning in everything I once thought was true. It’s gotta be Jesus. It’s just gotta be.
And, I’m starting to figure out, it will be.
I’m learning that my 16 year old struggles might also be my 25 and 35 and 45 year old struggles.
I’m learning that some people, lovely people that you tried to weave into your own timeline of “forever”, will leave with no warning and are happier without you. And that’s God’s grace towards you.
I’m learning that, as a woman who feels deeply, some nights are going to be less for sleep and more for tears. And Psalm 51:17 says that God will not despise that.
I’m learning that, perhaps, the question isn’t why, but Who?
I don’t know, yet. But I’m learning. Oh, am I learning.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” || Ephesians 2:8-9