Posts Tagged ‘counseling’

Coming Up for Air

The NSCO and I have been talking a lot lately about how to find Jesus in the middle of everything going on right now. I admit, it’s tough. It’s tough when you feel lost, abandoned, and betrayed. It’s tough when there are no answers and the questions pile on. It’s tough when the months pass and nothing seems to get any better.

So I say that Jesus and I have been fighting it out, but really it’s more about me weeping and yelling and wondering when the kids and me are going to be rescued. Where is our safety? Where is our solace? Will we ever have that again, or will it always hurt as much as it hurts now? I don’t know, and I don’t know that I’m going to get any answers.

NSCO and I talked about how I’ve walked with Jesus through deep darkness before, and that’s true. But then it was different. It was stuff from my childhood, and my strong anchor was the knowing that, no matter what,  I had survived. These days I have no such security. I don’t know that this isn’t going to kill me. I don’t know for sure that I’m going to make it through this bodily even, much less with my sanity intact. It is testing every bit of who I think I am and what I believe about life and God Himself. I’m failing every single day with letting my emotions take over, with my poor, precious children who deserve so much better, with trying to “live in the unforced rhythms of grace.”

Yesterday on the way to my midwife appointment (did I mention I’m 39 weeks pregnant?!), I was asking Jesus how to know I’ll live through this, or if there is even a way to know. And I heard, “It is finished.” In the heavenlies, this script is fully written and played out. I don’t have to write a word, make any plot line fit, or edit with my fat red pen. I’ve been asking where my rescue is, why I’ve waited so long for the redemption that I thought would come, but Jesus nudged, “To know that, you must first go back to Who I Am.” Indeed. I’ve hurt and wept and become mired in the pain and tragedy that is my life right now. And really, things are as bad as all that. I wish I were just being dramatic.

I spent the rest of my drive thinking about Who He is. He is mighty to save (Zephaniah 3:17), He is alive (2 Corinthians 6:16), He is waiting for me to come to Him, truly come to Him (Revelation 3:20). Did I think that He wasn’t still waiting for me even after I invited Him in seven years ago? Did I think He wasn’t still beckoning?

I don’t know where that leaves me at the end of the day. I do know that I need to travel back, far back, swim through the questions that I’d rather not peer too deeply into. Questions like, “How are You going to make beauty from this, here on Earth? And how will You show me that the Cross was enough, even for this?” At this point I don’t know the answers, but I’m finding the courage to ask the questions.

And that’s where we are. Soon, I’ll have another little princess to love on and imagine that I’ll have more solid direction for my life by the end of the calendar year. Until then, I just have to keep holding on.

From the ends of the earth I call to you,
    I call as my heart grows faint;
    lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

For you have been my refuge,
    a strong tower against the foe.

Ps 61:2-3

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It’s been two weeks, but there’s not really much to update. I’m still in this hybrid grieving/depression thing. The Not-So-Casual Observer and I spent the majority of my session last night just working out strategies for getting through the next five weeks when there should be some relief, at least in the schedule aspect.

We explored both hopelessness and helplessness and spent some time imagining my ideal life. While it seemed silly at first to imagine all of these things I “can’t” do, it was actually pretty helpful in determining what I’m really passionate about.

The bottom line is that there are two areas of my life that need some serious attention: education and marriage. The Music Man and I spent some time discussing those two things, and we’re hoping to get me back in school by next fall. So, while I’m still depressed/grieving and struggling, at least that feels like a start.

So there it is. Still alive, still struggling. Oh, and tomorrow’s my birthday. So happy birthday to me and all. 🙂

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In counseling this week, the Not-So-Casual Observer said, “When I move toward you in compassion, you don’t want to receive it. You try, but you don’t want it.” Ouch.

We sat in silence for a few minutes while I thought about what she’d said. Then I looked her in the eye and said, “That really hurt.”

Which is, you know, huge for me.

She said, “I’m sorry.” Doesn’t make it hurt less, but then, that wasn’t really her plan.We moved on to my ideas of masculinity, and when I told her what I believe to be the definition of maleness (your average firefighter, for example), she said, “I think you like that in men because they don’t expose your hurt. They just let you be Hardass Heather.” (Ouch again! Can we feel me getting it on all sides?! Good thing I love this chick and think we work super well together!)

So I’ve been mulling over the meanings of those three words, and my reactions to each of them. I haven’t been able to come up with a working definition of each of them for myself. I’ve heard the old, “Mercy is not getting what you do deserve, grace is getting what you do not deserve,” but that just won’t serve for my purposes.

So mercy, grace, and compassion, I’m coming for you. However that looks!

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Bold title for me, no? Rest assured, I still have no idea if that’s a place I want to find, but at least I’ve been exploring what it means to seek it out.

It was a long time between sessions, and I felt like I was sinking. Desperate, even. I contemplated calling the Not-So-Casual Observer to see if I could set up a phone session or SOMETHING, but I didn’t want to bother her with her crazy busy schedule. The good thing that came of that was her telling me of course I could call her if I needed to, and we’d do our best to schedule something if I was in a really bad place. Good to know going forward.

We talked a great deal about a new memory that popped up since last time, and how I struggled with believing that God allowed everything in my life to happen, and that it was all in His control. It makes me crazy, knowing that I was little and helpless and abused and exploited. All the while, He could’ve stopped it but didn’t.

And then she shared this gem. In light of Rom 8:28, she said, “No amount of evil has to live as evil for the rest of your life.” I’m letting those words wash over me, the possibility of deep redemption, of redress. Hopefully it will melt some of the rage in my heart.

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Face to Face

Early last week we returned from visiting my family in Ohio. It was a pretty normal trip for me, except that I needed to ask something particular of my mother.

Now, my mom and I aren’t particularly close, and that’s mostly my doing. I’ve been a challenge from the outset, and I can totally own that. But over the last three months I’ve been having some really painful, disgusting memories of things that happened to me at the hands of my father during my toddlerhood.

The Not-So-Casual Observer and I have been working from those memories as if they were true because, well, I have all the symptoms a person would exhibit. But I felt like I needed to know the truth for myself. I’d been praying during the week leading up to the trip that if I was supposed to tell my mother what I remembered, Jesus would make a clear opportunity.

He did.

The first night, I told mom that my father had been in contact with me, and that I was really confused because I remembered X, Y, and Z (general types of abuse, the one I really wanted to know about tucked in there). Not only did she not deny it, she quietly nodded and said, “Uh huh.” I didn’t press, but I did mention the particular kind of abuse a second time, and again, same response.

Sooo, goodbye denial, hello Jesus. And counseling. I hadn’t told the NSCO I was considering talking to my mom about it since I’m only seeing her every other week and hadn’t really decided by our previous appointment, so when I sat down and told her the day after we got back, she was a little stunned. Wide-eyed and slack-jawed, actually. She didn’t actually SAY much about what I’d done, but she was clearly surprised. It was kinda priceless.

Yesterday I had counseling again, trying to work out this Father fathering issue. It’s not pretty, this thing. I don’t like it one. little. bit. Jesus is trying to get me into the presence of the Father, but I’m totally resistant. Yesterday in my session He said there’s something I fear too much to even name and, given the intensity of what I’ve already dealt with, that doesn’t bode well.

This morning He told me something I’ve seen hints of in isolated moments but haven’t wanted to believe, still don’t want to believe. There may be another conversation with my mother in my future, because this one might just drive me crazy, and I have another 15 days until processing with NSCO. Arg.

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I’ve been learning to grieve these last couple of months, and it’s been a real challenge. A month or so ago I placed an open call for songs of lament, and my friend Rachael (besties starting in sixth grade) came through with a Beth Hart song called Lifetime. It’s ripping me to shreds right about now, but in a really holy way.

Of course, since I had counseling today, the Not-So-Casual Observer got a head start on the shredding. We’re just starting to delve into the idea of being fathered by the Father, and I squirm and writhe under the fear-slash-hope of this process. I wish I had counseling every week, but I’m grateful that Jesus trusts me enough to do this with an appointment only every other.

There is more to say, more that begs to come out of my fingertips, but my spirit asks me to hide it away for just a while longer. And so I will, as I’m learning to listen to what I didn’t even know I needed. Oh, so much to say. Sigh.

But back to the song. It’s my life, my past. It’s my radio and, “don’t call, the truth ain’t home.” If you need a good cry, this should get you there.


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Some months ago I was telling the Not-So-Casual Observer about how therapy is like giving birth. What I didn’t know then was that I was right, and that I’d actually be called upon to do this thing. Now I’m able to find comfort in my own writing, isn’t that sweet of Jesus?  He gave me the thing I needed months before I needed it, so today I could roll it around in my palm like a marble, smooth and glassy and cool.

The previous six months have been like pregnancy. The NSCO and I have been building trust, knitting together my stories and feelings with her reactions like connecting bone to sinew. Now it’s time to give birth, and I am as prepared as you can be when you’re walking into the unknown.

She calls herself a midwife. I’m glad that, though she’s never given birth in the natural, and despite the myriad things that can go wrong, she’s attended births as they’ve come through the pain of the past. I am excited to experience my own birth, to discover its nuance, its rhythm. I am grateful.

What I know is merely this: that it already hurts mightily, and will hurt more. That right before the breakthrough, I will think I am being drawn into death’s grip. That I am being ripped in two by some invisible force whose rumblings make me pause and steady myself, grateful for the temporary relief but braced for the next wave of anguish. It’s job is to wrest this life from my death grip, to squeeze out the muck and present this new thing, slippery and fragile, but strong and flexible.

Rest in the tension.
Peace in the pain.
Authentic transformation.
Transition — the sum of all grace.

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