The truth hurts. Sometimes we’ve been living it and not realizing it. And then one day, “Poof!” Truth reveals itself like the rabbit out of the magician’s hat. The silly creature was in the hat the whole time; Hidden by a tricky panel in the hat that we were always aware of. But, it’s not obvious to the crowd that we’ve been on stage with a rabbit in our hat until that final moment of excitement and escalated “Ta da!” Now, everyone knows.
I’ve walked a pretty close line between vulnerability and TMI. Google “TMI,” if you don’t know what it means. Also, welcome to 2018. When you finally reach that place of being so transparent and the things that you’ve been trying to keep hidden behind secret panels can no longer contain themselves, that’s about where I am.
The truth is, I don’t trust but a few people. And, even those people, I expect to get hurt by. The truth is, my formative years as a child were spent on a roller coaster of fear, violence, stress, and pain. I was never abused physically or sexually. Emotionally and mentally, for sure. It is those two areas that are hard to get out of the brain. Those bruises don’t heal as easily.
I went through a season of EMDR to release the most toxic and traumatic of my childhood memories – the worst being the attempted murder of my mother. It is the most painful of the secrets I keep hidden deep down. It was her fault. She deserved it. He was drunk. After my sister and I begged and pleaded for her life, she was set free. Purple in face, eyes barely opened, gasping for air. As she cried on the edge of her bed, I tried to creep past him to the living room to comfort her sobs. “She’s not crying because she’s hurt, she’s crying because she wants you to feel sorry for her.” You don’t forget words.
So, this fear is planted inside of me and the more pain I feel from people, the red flags just go up. Stay away. Keep them away. The more panic sweeps into your pounding heart when you think about being close to those who have attacked with their words, piercing my heart hard and plunging me back to those school-aged days.
Way back when, we pretended nothing happened. We woke up the next day and were the best we could be so nobody would know the secrets pounded into those cheap walls of the trailer. But, they don’t just disappear. They come up when you are 20 and 30 and almost 40. And, here you are in the middle of an act, on stage trying to pretend like the magician that you’ve got it all under control. The rabbit needs to stay in the hat. The show is to keep it all together. You suddenly realize you have only a handful you can trust because you know who causes pain, who rubs your face in your bad ways, who tells you how bad you are. And, there are very few arms that you feel safe to reach to. And sometimes, they can’t take your badness anymore, either, and pull away.
The only reach I can think of that I so desprately want, is the reach to my God. The One who knows me, all my flaws, my hurts, my sadness, my pain. He understands why I hurt the way I do because He is the One who made me. I felt alone, but He was there, through it all, protecting me, making sure I could come out of it.
Perhaps the only reason I did come out of it was so that I could make other’s strong. To help them fight fierce. And, if I don’t get personal, if I don’t reveal what’s up my sleeve and in my hat that I have been so anxiously trying to hide, nobody will see where I have come from and why the pain of life is what it is. And, nobody will know that they can make it, too.
With the strength of God inside of me and with the power of the Holy Spirit, I publish this small account of my life as a testimony to those who may be hurting deep. Hurting way down beneath the depths of what anyone else knows. I feel called to share only that my healing may begin. That I will not be blanketed in thick fear and disgust of who I am. But, that I will be understood, standing tall, victorious in all my flaws, frailties, and the damaged expression of my soul.
I have never been more alone in my life. Just me and Jesus these days. Unable to connect with my husband and kids. Feeling that I don’t belong in my church or my own skin. The only one I have pursued is Christ. Understanding him, putting my faith in him, finding joy in him. It is for Christ alone that we have any hope at all. Amen.