In December I started writing my goals for the new year, 2018:
- Workout at least three times a week (huge since I wasn’t working out more than once a week near the end of last year)
- Save a specific amount of money for a house (YAY!- we’ve been doing great with this)
- Become a more prayerful woman (prayer board in the kitchen- check, a list of prayers on my phone for the people I love- check)
- Write two blog posts a month (maybe I have eight unfinished blog posts, but really just one finished in all of 2018)
- Read twenty-five books this year (I’ve read two halves that I had started in 2017 and finally finished my first full book of the new year)
Yikes- you can see, goals and I just haven’t been getting along this year. And here’s the kicker, I’m a good goal-getter. Give me a task and I’ll crush it in whatever way I can. I go through life semi- head-on, eager to leave an imprint of my heart on those around me. But y’all, the past few weeks- just yikes.
I wanted to write more because I truly believe God has given me words to use and to glorify who He is and what He’s doing through a messy, try hard woman. I’ve always loved writing and use it most to share and display my most inner parts to my friends and family. I’ve always LOVED reading and still do. I believe that God teaches me a TON through the words of the Bible and other wise authors who’ve written lessons that I believe are from the heart of the Lord. So I love writing and reading, yet I’m failing at my goals. Why? Because this..
In January, I peeled open a book I won at the end of last summer called, Still Waiting by Ann Swindell. The back cover asks, “What if God wants you to wait?” Eww. Yay. Yuck. Thank goodness. All of my emotions were flooded. I wanted to read this book because I heard so much good, but the weary part of my heart wanted nothing more than to just say I read it only if I knew it would have a happy ending. On a snowy night with coffee in hand and sitting next to the fireplace, I started reading it. I cried through it and muddled my way through Ann’s words for the last three months and it has been anything but easy.
I have a toxic friend in my life. She follows me everywhere. Some days she gives me more space and some days she’s suffocating. Sometimes she allows me to do my own thing, and sometimes she controls me from every angle. She shows up in the weirdest places- stores, church, school. If you’re the luckiest, you don’t have a friend like her- but if you’re not, you may. My friend’s name is Anxiety and we’ve been in a toxic, uphill battle since November of 2016. Try as I may, wish as I might, she won’t leave me..and I’m still waiting.
In Ann’s book Still Waiting she shares vividly her journey with trichotillomania. She shares how months turned to years and years turned to decades of her fighting the urge to pull out her eyelashes and eyebrows- an effect of the viciousness of trich. Her words, oh Lord, they hit me at my core. Like the chapter where she describes waiting feeling like suffering and she says:
He knows. And he cares. He is a present and loving Savior. He sees you, and he understands your suffering. He knows the pain you’ve walked through and the days when it all seems impossible and you can barely put one foot in front of the other. God understands. Not one tear has been lost on him. Not a single one. Your suffering is as real to him as it has been to you. He knows what it has cost you, and he wants to comfort you in your pain.
Friends, I feel it. I’ve waited some days patiently, but most days impatiently, for God to take it away. There have been nights I’ve curled up in Ryan’s lap and arms like an infant child and said, “God could take my anxiety away tomorrow, but He doesn’t. He doesn’t take it away. And that makes me feel like He isn’t really all that good.” But each morning I wake up knowing His mercies are new with each sunrise.
This year has been better. Anxiety hasn’t been such a scary friend in 2018. I’m to the point in my journey where I no longer believe my numbed arms and my dizziness are signs of death. I’ve come to a point where I forcefully put myself in hard situations just to make it through. I’ve shared intimate things with my counselor that I’m afraid to tell any human soul. And I have healed some, but not fully.
As I slowly continued reading Ann’s book, my heart broke. I wanted God to fix Ann, too. I wanted Him to make her whole again. I wanted her to taste full healing. But when I read to the end- she didn’t. Ann still suffers with an urge to pull out her eyelashes and eyebrows and she is still journeying through it- years later. Oh, how I wish that wasn’t the truth.
I think the reason I’ve failed at my goals this year is because I’ve been so busy working so hard in other areas of my life. My anxiety is a lot better- although, not gone completely. I’m able to tolerate it. I’m able to lend ears, hands, arms, and words to those who are suffering alongside me and I’m not afraid anymore (except on airplanes and in elevators and in Target..). I’ve had to soak in the suffering this year. I’ve had to ask God to heal me every single day, knowing full well He may or He may not. So although I haven’t written a total of eight blog posts and I haven’t even made it 10% of my goal for reading twenty-five books this year, I’ve gained so much more.
Ann says something sweet when she says:
I am still learning that my weakness is a pathway to Jesus. That the ways I fail and the ways I don’t measure up actually act as a vehicle to meeting Jesus in my daily life.
… I am still waiting for healing, still waiting for wholeness in many areas of my life. I imagine that you are too. Whether it’s a broken body, a broken relationship, a broken heart, or a broken mind- we are all waiting in our weakness for someone bigger than we are to step in and help us.
So friends, as we wait together. Whatever you may be crushing- whether it be goals or not, or whatever you may be failing at- may we fail unapologetically together as we open our eyes and hearts to the bigger purpose. What if our brokenness, the healing that hasn’t come is really just a door God hasn’t opened because we aren’t ready for what’s on the other side? What if our brokenness is just a direct pathway to His heart?
Praying for you weak, and weary, and suffering friends.
You are LOVED.
But I can tell you truthfully, with all my heart, that the Bleeding Woman and I are both recipients of grace. It was grace for her to be healed, grace abundant and merciful. And for today, it is grace for me not to be healed.
Look for more blog posts coming soon! ❤
I won this book from an Instagram friend, Mindy. It was a blessing and joy to sink deep into it.