Saturday, June 23, 2012

Glass Walls

Back some time ago, I made a discovery of about 30 empty liquor bottles.  Though each bottle was glass, no two were the same.  Some were tall and thin, others short, a few were different colors, but each bottle seemed to represent something significant to me.  Some reminded me of painful memories, as the contents seemed to change the love I once knew.  Some represented anger, in that the liquor the bottle once held was so much more important than me or the girls.  Some represented fear of what the future would hold.  Some represented money literally down the drain, because the contents once held inside only created a bigger monster, for instead of taming life's problems the bottles only made life more unbearable for each person in my family.  For a while, those bottles just sat there in the cabinet.  Every time I would open that cabinet, fear, anger, hatred, depression would hit me all over again.  I despised what that cabinet held and hid for so long.  It didn't take much time before those feelings would hit when my eyes would just skim past that cabinet.  A little longer, and those feelings hit the second I entered the room.  As time passed, instead of me feeling any signs of hope, those stupid glass bottles sucked every ounce of joy out of me.  They served as this huge reminder of what my life could have been, had they not taken the place of family and the fun times we had.  I hated those bottles.  I hated the past that those bottles reminded me of.  And yet, I couldn't even fathom doing anything with them.  I couldn't imagine throwing them away.  Couldn't imagine leaving them there.  As silly as this sounds, those bottles began to make me crazy. 

One day, I realized it wasn't the bottles that was making me crazy.  It wasn't the memories or the pain.  It was my inability to fix what my life held.  I couldn't just fill those bottles back up and pretend they had never existed.  I couldn't fit the pieces back together, like a puzzle.  I couldn't continue to look the other way.  At the time, I was separated from my now ex-husband, not sure what steps to take.  I had this dream about there being an earthquake and while the earth was moving and shaking, those bottles in the cabinet all fell out and broke.  And you know what?  Nothing happened.  I put on shoes, grabbed the broom and cleaned up the mess.  I moved on.  I know that those bottles held nothing.  They were empty, full of air.  But what they reminded me of caused me tremendous pain.  That night, I remember putting the girls to bed, and the house was quiet and empty.  I took those bottles, and remember hurling them off of the deck into a trash can.  I remember the way the glass bounced off of the broken glass.  I remember realizing how beautiful the sound of shattering glass is.  One negative emotion after another being shattered to pieces at my feet.  It was freeing. 

I have been walking this new difficult journey for the last 18 months.  This journey has been filled with many moments where I didn't want to allow people to see me.  I didn't want to allow anyone to help me or get to know who I am or where I had been.  I started to put these walls up around my heart, just knowing that without them, my heart would surely break.  While much healing has taken place in the last few months, and the walls have been getting a little shorter, they have still been there.  Making sure no one got in, seeing those innermost parts of me.  Until a phone conversation a few days ago, I thought these walls were working.  Keeping anything from really affecting me.  Late Thursday night and into the wee hours of Friday morning, I realized those walls were just like the bottles that put them there.  The walls aren't made of steel or concrete, but instead glass, which is completely ineffective of truly protecting me.  Glass that could shatter at any moment.  One stone, one pebble could cause those walls to shatter and crumble, causing all of my hidden, protected emotions to come pouring out.  Thursday night, I sat remembering moments of intense agony, remembering what it felt like to wonder if I would ever feel truly happy again, or if I even knew what being truly happy would be like.  Thursday night, I realized how thankful I was that I had the opportunity to remember what those things felt like, instead of having to still live them out firsthand.  I went to bed exhausted, way too late, and woke up feeling as if I had never slept. 

Friday morning, I was listening to little girls play, feeling overly tired, knowing that God wasn't asking me to do something simple, but resting in the truth that he was giving me the strength I needed to do it.  I turned the radio on, as this song was just coming on.  This isn't the first time I had ever heard it, as a matter of fact, I know most of the words already.  But, for the first time, I listened to what the song was really saying and really understanding its message.  I realized that I was in fact still struggling with things that God just wanted me to deal with and move on. 

For several years, I have had this constant prayer, regardless of the situations in my daily life.  I have prayed over and over for God to show me what I am supposed to do, where I am supposed to be, and how I am supposed to go about getting to that place.  I received direction.  I was told what to do.  Specifically told what to do.  But instead of embracing that, I struggled with it.  Fought with it.  Really, genuinely didn't want to have anything to do with it.  I thought about it.  A lot.  I always came back to the same answer, that I had to obey, even when I knew it was going to hurt. 

In early 2011, I had a lady contact me, offering help and hope in dealing with the situation I was facing.  She has been my constant go-to person, and as time has come and gone, I have realized so much of what she has said is true.  She has been in shoes quite similar to mine, and I have benefited enormously from her kind words and past experiences.  I have prayed often that I can be the same blessing to someone else that she was to me.  In reading the book earlier this year, I heard God tell me where I was supposed to be going.  Out of nothing more than absolute fear of what would happen if I didn't obey, I started this connect group.  As I have shared over the last few weeks, I have also been told to hold nothing back.  As anyone who has read more than this post knows, I have struggled with this thought.  I hate having my "dirty laundry" so visible to others.  I hate seeing judgement cross people's faces.  I find it strange my first thought about sharing my story is what people are going to do with it.  I hate that I am so insecure about who I am that I don't want anyone else to see it.  Even when I have learned we are all insecure.  Not one of us is blissfully unaware that people can hurt you. 

But God, in his absolute amazing-ness, showed me some incredible things.  God didn't just let things happen to me in my past, nor will he just let things happen to me in the future.  He didn't just allow Satan to have control of my life.  You see, he created me for that path, specifically because he knew I would turn to Him for help.  That I would know I couldn't do life without him, especially a life filled with so much pain, hurt and agony.  He didn't let something bad happen to me.  He counted on it.  Not because he is some evil God who wants his children to fall, or be hurt, but because he also created me to do some pretty amazing things that would require suffering and healing to take place.  Over the last few weeks, I have felt like such a push over.  You know that one person you can always count on saying yes to anything, no matter how much else they have going on, or what struggles they are walking through?  I have felt a little bitter and upset that every time I turn around someone else is asking for just a little more of me.  But, I was also reminded that I am not a push-over.  I have a heart geared towards helping others.  God created me to be a helper of others.  To be around when they aren't sure who else to call.  He didn't create this problem or that struggle so that he could see how I would handle it, but instead created me ready to tackle this problem or that struggle, not in my strength, but in His.  So tonight, and throughout this week, my healing is taking place.  My weaknesses are being made strong so that His strength can be poured out.  Come Friday night, I am going to speak from my heart, with God's strength running through me, knowing that this is why I was created.  If my past hadn't been there, I would have no purpose.  I would have nothing to base this study off of.  And, remarkably, I am thankful I have experiences that I can and will talk about, for the glory of God and hopefully, the benefit of someone else.  Without those experiences, I am sure I would not be the woman I am today. 

Last week I was worried about what people would think, what these women would say about me later.  Tonight, I am not even worried about it.  God is going to move in this study.  I can feel it.  I have to allow my pride to be taken down, so that God's incredible power can come in.  I may not feel equipped or ready, but that is really unimportant in the grand scheme of things.  God can see the big picture, and I am going to trust that He has a reason and a purpose in asking me to share parts of my life that are difficult for me to remember, even more difficult to talk openly about.  His plans are far more incredible than mine and I seriously cannot wait to see what this week holds!! 

I also want to take a few seconds to thank each of you who has encouraged me through this silly struggle.  I know that it is so easy to say, "Get over it already, Cil."  I am sure I have a few of you thinking that you can't believe I am still stuck on this.  But, even so, you encouraged me.  You held me hand, letting me know I am not in this alone.  I really appreciate each of you, for taking the time to read my silly ramblings, as well as letting me know I am supported and loved, in spite of where my yesterdays held me.  I have the most amazing friends in the entire world, and I am so incredibly thankful!

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