Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Questions, grief, and the need to Trust...

How do you deal with things, when the perspective suddenly changes?

Seriously, I am asking for some feedback.

You know, when things are going along ok, actually, better. Things are looking up, and you are starting to feel like, though there are some things you need to do to help others, maybe things are returning to normal. After so long, to feel normal!
And then something happens, you get bad news, about a friend, or about work, or about a family member. And it forces your perspective to shift. Things that felt safe for the first time in your life; where you felt security and freedom; suddenly leave you feeling unsure, unstable and a bit fearful.

You feel “not safe” again, and you don’t like it.

So, really, how do you deal with it?

I mean, I have never really learned how to grieve a loss. Whether it be of a family member or close friend, I have never experienced anyone close to me dying. I have experienced losses from abuse, or from losing friends, or other things like that. But I never thought of those as losses, so I didn’t grieve them. Any emotions I had about them, even if it was grief, I pushed down. I don’t know how to express grief. I don’t know what is “normal” and I don’t know what to expect.

The emotions that I stuffed down, I didn’t even have a name for.

Were they grief?
What is grief?
What does grief feel like?
What does grief look like?

The crying at the drop of a hat, the wanting desperately to run away, all makes me feel out of control. I don’t like being out of control. I don’t feel safe letting my emotions out. I don’t feel secure. I feel like the rug has just been pulled out from under my feet, just after I finally got my balance.

I am being forced to deal with the finite limits of our earthly existence. I know we continue on in heaven, and that we will have relationships there. But relationships here change, die, new ones form, old ones fade away.

I have recently been brought face to face with that, in a rather sudden way, and I feel completely at a loss as how to deal with it. I don’t know how to be a mom, and still cry. I don’t know how to be a wife, and still cry. I don’t know how to be myself, and still cry. I don’t feel safe when I let that all out. Because it comes out like a flood and I can’t control it.

Is that grief?

I have hidden so many of those emotions for so long. Now I have slowly learned to trust a few people, which has encouraged me to trust a few more, and slowly be real with them. Now that I am real, and more open, my emotions come out more readily.
I have learned who the “safe people” are typically that I can let those emotions out around and they don’t shy away. There are just a few, but they are the ones I can go to that I can be totally sure of their staying with me. I don’t have to hide how I am doing. They can tell by looking at me. Those are the people that have invested in me, but also who have allowed me into their lives and been real and honest with me.

Maybe that is why I have trusted these few, because they have modeled what trust and transparency look like. They have modeled Jesus, His care and compassion, and never failing love.

But this instance was so sudden and unexpected, that I think I was in emotional shock for a time. Then came the anger and tears and ache in my heart.

Is that grief?

I feel like if I slow down too much, I will start crying. I don’t know how to react. I don’t know what to do with this all!

In and of myself, I feel like I am doing all right. I have had some mood swings this week, but they have been moderate, for me anyway, and my husband wasn’t even sure I was going through PMS… so this is a big step in the right direction!

So I know the emotions I am dealing with are directly related to the news I received this week. I dissolve every time I think of the situation, struggle with some depression over it. I didn’t want to get out of bed this afternoon after nap time with the kids. Dave forced me to, and we went to a park and grilled out for supper and the kids ran around and made us laugh… good therapy.

I guess this has brought to the forefront a lie I have been believing for a long time. One that stems from sexual abuse in my very young years, and patterns of other types of abuse all the way through college years and beyond. The lie?

“I am not safe.”

I know I have to counter that with the truth that I am safe in Christ. God keeps me safe. He is my tower and my refuge, my fortress. I have been looking up verses that have to deal with safety and security in God. There are so many that hit me, I can’t write them all down. But here are two that stood out to me as I read them. They seem to link together.

“I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.” Jer. 33:6b

“The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.” Ps. 34:7

Safety and security.

I long for that in the middle of these swirling emotions. Emotions of fears and hurt and loss. The facing the unknown. I don’t know how to handle them. This is new territory for me. God has opened me up enough that I don’t know how to stuff these things back down. I am healed enough to know that my normal coping mechanisms just won’t work… at least not in the long run. Running and hiding won’t help because I end up having to come back and face it.

Grief, and needing to feel peace, security, safety. How do I reconcile these? How do I deal with this news, and work through the emotions I am having, and not pull back into my shell, my walls I have hidden behind for so long? How do I use the correct coping mechanisms and tools I have been taught by my counselor?

Here I was planning on not going to see Tricia this week. Now that I am struggling with this, do I still go? Or do I cancel, and try to work through this on my own, with God?

Please, if anyone has any feed back about any of this. Comment or email me. I could really use some input, and above all your prayers, as always. Speaking of, I know no other, better way to finish here.

Oh God, I feel like I am in such a tangle, such a mess. Please help me be a good wife and mom to my husband and kids in the morning. I am going to be so tired. I am afraid of my emotions, Jesus. I am afraid of thinking about this situation at all, because all these emotions that I can’t identify start welling up, and overflowing. I know that You number each tear. I know that You will wipe them away. I know that You are holding me, and this whole situation, in Your loving arms, even if I can’t feel it. I choose to stand firm, and trust that You, Oh Lord are keeping me safe, encamping around me, and giving me abundant peace and security. Even if I don’t feel that right now. Help me, God. I don’t know what else to ask for. Show me what to do for the rest of this week. Show me how to deal with this. Show me the next step, the next hour, the next minute if I need that. Help me to discern your will about counseling this week, whether I should keep my appointment, or whether I should skip it and wait another 10 days. God I feel so weak. Fill me up. Use me. Help me during this time of pain and heartache, turn to You even more in prayer and petition and praise. Guard me and keep me safe. Oh God, every time I feel like I am starting to stand firm again, I feel like You break me even more, and I crumble again. Form me into who You want me to be. I surrender. I give up. You do it. You show me how to let this out. You heal me. You ease the pain. Nothing I can do, will do all that. Only You will satisfy this weary soul. Help me Lord Jesus. And let me come out on the other side of this praising You. Amen.

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