Yesterday was an extremely hard day. I didn't know how hard it was going to be as I was driving in to work.
I wish I could have taken a picture of all the trees, bushes, and even weeds and grass that stuck out from under the snow. They were covered with frost. Every last one of them, all over them... just white and perfect as could be.
I marveled at it all the way to work, and just from that felt God speaking the word "hope" to me. I didn't know why, but there it was.
I had been working on a "no send" letter to this man in my past who abused me and caused me a lot of pain. Tricia had asked me if I would write it last week at our appointment, and I almost said no to her. I told her I didn't think I could... but by the end of the appointment, I finally agreed that I would try.
Tricia said that one of the things I should try to do is identify the anger. Because there is anger there, but I just don't know where it is or how to get at it. That's why she wanted me to write - because it was a healthy and safe outlet for my anger.
So I had been working on the letter on Monday, on and off as I did other work around the office. I got to a point where it was past my normal work hours and I just sat in one of the offices, in a recliner that was in there and continued to write. I had to stop by 6pm because I had to go and pick up my kids.
Once they were in bed that night, I sat in my bed with my computer and continued to write the letter. It was so hard. I found myself remembering things that I hadn't before, images were coming into my head that I was so disgusted at. I have been feeling so dirty and ashamed.
Yesterday, I had some time at work again, because I was the only one in the office and I was waiting for some newsletter articles to be emailed to me. I worked on the letter on and off, needing to take breaks and work on other things in the meantime, to walk away from the stress the letter was putting on me.
At about 2:30, one of my friends called me before an appointment to see how I was doing. As I shared what I was going through as I was trying to write it, it was all I could do to keep from having a panic attack. She could tell there was a lot of panic there, and talked with me a bit until I calmed down some. She then asked me if the words kept flowing as I was writing. I told her they were. But I just wanted to stop. It was too hard, and too ugly, and to disgusting to me. I was nearly sick to my stomach and hadn't been able to eat anything cause it made me nauseous every time I thought about food.
She said that I knew myself better than she did, so to take what she suggested with that in mind, but she strongly suggested that I keep on writing and get it all out, purged out of my system. She said that she would pray for me before she went in to her appointment and then that she would stop by when she was done.
In the meantime, after collapsing on the couch in the office I was working in, in tears and exhaustion, I sat back down at my computer and reluctantly started to type again.
The next time I looked up was through tears as I saw my friend walking into the building out of the corner of my eye. When she came through the door of the office, I saved my file and closed the computer and nearly dropped it on the floor next to me.
She asked how far I had gotten and I said that I was at page 8 or 9, I don't remember now. Then she asked how I was doing.
I just shuddered at first.
Then I was able to start expressing how I was feeling.
I feel dirty. Used. Worthless. Afraid to look anyone in the eye for fear that they will be able to read me like an open book, that they will be able to see the dirtiness that is so apparent to me. I feel like I am covered in such filth, inside and out, and there is no getting clean.
Those feelings are still there, which is why I put them in the present tense. Now they aren't as strong, and the feelings are more controllable. At least today so far.
We talked some more, and she encouraged me, out of her own experiences, the way I have in the past for her. She cried with me, knowing first hand the pain I was going through. She encouraged me to try to find something, anything to eat. Anything that sounded good. To take care of myself and be gentle with myself.
Prefacing what she had to say again with the idea that I know myself better than she does, she encouraged me to stay here at the church where it was quiet and I was alone, where I felt safe, and keep on writing, as much as I could.
She prayed with me, for me, then got up and gave me a big hug. We stood in the office facing each other and I couldn't look her in the eyes. I tried to pull myself together a little bit, and she said to me that I was going to get through this, and that God had made me a strong woman. I started to cry again and said that I didn't feel like it, and she said she knew, that's why she said it.
As she left she told me that she would keep on praying for me... and to call her later if I needed to.
I sat back down, cried and continued to write until some people started coming in to do some work in the building, and then I packed up and went home to get the kids and finish out my night with them. Once they were in bed, I managed to eat a couple of eggs and some toast. It sat very heavy, but at least it was something.
Then, reluctantly I sat back down on my bed, with my laptop and opened up the letter once again.
When I finally finished writing, I was only 400 short of 10,000 words... and came in at about 15 pages. The exhaustion I felt was total. I ached, my eyes burned from staring at the computer screen so long and from crying. My head hurt and my stomach rolled... and I had run out of words finally... and many emotions had poured themselves out through those words.
I saved the letter to my hard drive, and closed up the computer. Without moving from my bed, though it was almost 11pm, I called my friend. She got on the phone, knowing it was me, and I just said... "I finished it."
She was so glad for me, though I couldn't be. I still am not... though there is a bit of relief that I haven't had to open up that document today at all.
We talked a bit, I cried some more, and she just let there be long silences in the conversation as I needed it. I was shaking and cold and sweating all at the same time.
Before we got off the phone she reminded me to treat myself gently the rest of this week, because I needed to take care of myself. She said whether that was a bubble bath, sleeping in late, eating whatever sounded good to me, trying to get to bed early, making sure I took my meds so I didn't flip out more because of that.... whatever it took.
She also predicted that if I put on some quiet worship music, that I would probably be asleep in 15 minutes or so, because of how drained, how tapped out I was.
She was sure right about that!
I slept, and don't remember too much about my dreams, though I know I had some, and I was very restless.
Today I got into work and sat in the sanctuary. I just sat there and cried and talked to God and cried some more. I tried to just rest in His arms, in His love.
I finally managed to pull myself together because the secretary was coming into the building and started my day. I worked piece by piece on the things that God laid before me for the day. They were simple things, and things I could control, unlike my emotions or my stomach.
At some point in the day, my friend dropped off her son at church to work on a youth project, and she stopped to see me in the office before she left. We talked for a while, and she told me that she could tell I was doing better. I think she is right. I feel more stable now than I was yesterday. I had attainable goals today (including finishing and printing the newsletter - that just finished printing behind me as I type) and I was able to keep focused on those for the most part.
My emotions are still all over, and I need to spend some time with God, another way to be gentle with myself, and nurture myself a little bit. Because right now, being close to God is scary to me, because though I know He sees everything that's going on, when I get closer, well... He sees everything that's going on.
(I know... I know)
Before I go though, I have to share what happened just before I started writing again yesterday afternoon. I looked across the room, out the window and realized that sitting on the window ledge was a little plaque... it was just the carved out letters.... "hope"
I grabbed my cell phone and took a picture of it and got it as the background on my phone. That way, every time I look at my phone, there it is... to remind me that there is always hope... even when I don't see it.
I would upload it here for you, but for the life of me, I don't know how to do that yet from my phone (it's new) so maybe I can add it later.
There is still hope.
Even though I remembered a bit more this morning that I have to write.
There is still hope.
Even though I am going to have to read this letter to Tricia on Monday at my appointment with her.
There is still hope.
God has healed me before, from some horrible things. He can heal this too.
Please keep on praying for me as I continue to process this stuff. The kids are still off of school, and I will be needing to care for them and be functional for them the next 4 days. Pray that I won't go crazy, though I feel like I already am.
I am now off to take some time to remind myself that there is still hope - and then go and lead worship practice tonight yet before I go home.