Grieving- February 6, 2017
It’s a scary realization when you become aware that you’re not thriving, but just surviving. When each day becomes a task to be completed and no longer an adventure to be enjoyed. Lately I feel as if I’m barely making it. Awaking each morning with the hope that I’ll just make it through the day ahead of me. It’s not a way to live. It’s not how life was meant to be lived. But in all honesty, it has become my reality. And this week in particular, I’ve felt so far from okay. This week I am lost. I am frustrated. I am angry. But more than anything this week I’ve found myself drowning in a cloud of sadness. Normally, I would never invite these feelings into my space or even acknowledge their presence. But I think I’ve finally realized the more I push them away the stronger they become. You see, just as the sea finds the shore, so too my hidden sorrows and disappointments find me vulnerable and tired. This week I reached my physical, mental and emotional capacity. The wear and tear living with an invisible illness has had on my body, my mind and my heart has finally caught up to me. I am down for the count. With three seconds left in the game and 80 yards from the end-zone, I can’t make it. I can’t win. I think I’ve finally realized I don’t have control. No matter what I do. How hard I work. The grades I get. I can’t control my illness. I can’t choose to be well. I have limitations. I have limitations that others don’t. And for the first time this week I let myself feel angry, I let myself be frustrated. I let myself be sad. You see for so long I’ve tried so hard to be thankful and to look at all the positives. Please don’t misunderstand me when I say this, I am so thankful for all the blessings in my life, but this week I’ve realized that I can’t run from what I’m actually feeling. If I’m frustrated out of my mind that I can barely make it through my classes because I’m so dizzy, then I need to be frustrated. If I’m angry that my limitations hold me back from achieving what I believe is my full potential, then I need to allow myself to be angry. If I’m sad that I can’t give 100% of myself to each commitment I make, then I need to allow myself to feel sad. I used to think that these emotions were not okay and If I allowed myself to feel them and really experience them, then I was ungrateful or selfish. Yes, I shouldn’t stay angry and frustrated forever, but I can no longer cover up the cries of my soul. So for the first time this week I’ve allowed myself to begin to grieve. To grieve what I’ve lost, what I said goodbye to. Every day of school I stayed home. Every dance I missed. Every event I had to turn down. The sports I loved. The friendships that fell away. My illness has taken so much, and this week I’ve realized it’s okay to be sad about it.
In the midst of my sorrow this week I’ve wrestled with where the Lord is in all of this. Where does he fit in? Why does he allow me to struggle so much? Am I wrong for feeling lost and alone? Sad and frustrated? I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s still here, patiently waiting with me to process all of this. I think the Lord doesn’t want us to sugar coat things. I think he desires honesty and our genuine hearts. This week I’ve cried out in anguish and despair more than ever, and that’s okay. I truly believe my God loves me amidst my cries of confusion and is smiling down on me saying, “Just wait, my beloved.” So when I am overcome with despair and lost at the path my life is taking, I will rest in his truth and the joy that is to come. In Romans 5: 3-4 it says, “we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” This verse reminds me that my sufferings are not in vain. As hard as it may be for me to accept in this moment, my sufferings serve a purpose. I would not be who I am today without the battles I’ve fought and the mountains I’ve climbed. My struggles continue to shape me and mold me into who the Lord has created me to be.
After a week filled with frustration, confusion and sadness, I’m reminded of three very important truths. First, its okay to not be okay. Second, God wants us to meet him where we are, not where we think he wants us to be. And third, I am unbelievably and irrevocably overwhelmed by his love for me amidst my brokenness. So regardless of the storms I’ve yet to battle and the tumultuous waters that might lie ahead, I need to be conscious of the Lord’s goodness and faithfulness. I need to be reminded of his promises. I need to continue to grieve and work to accept my limitations. I need to continue to be honest with myself and the Lord. And no matter how much darkness envelopes me, I need to continue to search for my savior in my sorrow.