The closer we get to others, the higher chance that their story will be able to reach out and touch us. When that happens, our hearts might break. And when two or more people are standing together with our chests ripped open, and our arms outstretched, and our hands wrapped around each other’s heart-shards, we will become stained with the blood of each other’s history, and of our here and now. It’s inevitable.
This year has ripped me open in an invisible kind of way. I’ve questioned all the things. My beliefs have been both torn down and cemented.
At least 12 things have led me to this place. Some of them are past or present events, others are beliefs. And more are questions, beliefs not yet held. There are probably more things. But growth sometimes looks more stumbly than graceful, so they’ll reveal themselves as I go.
For now, these are my 12:
1. I’m a 36 year old Christian woman who is in her second marriage, and who is currently separated for the third time in five and a half years. I don’t enjoy divorce or math. But here I stand, with both stuck to me like magnets. Sometimes, it feels like I’m the wreckiest of all.
2. I’m not even fully sure of who I am. Here’s what I do know: I am wholly loved and I am fully broken all at once. I am a bunch of pieces, some put together and some still trying to find where they fit.
3. Jesus is my favourite.
4. I’m a Christian and also a feminist. This is new to me. It seems that the idea of men and women being equal is actually controversial in the church, and I wasn’t completely aware. I would like to wave a white flag here instead of my pitchfork. I’ve seen the pitchforks and held them myself. It’s exhausting.
5. Sometimes I feel like the very worst mom/stepmom/wife/friend/sister/daughter in the world. Shame has been a big part of my life for a long time. It’s like a superpower, the ability to take almost any situation and use it to re-baptize myself in my inner shame river.
6. Grief has been my default mode for longer than I even understand yet.
7. Abuse is a big part of my story. I don’t know where or how or why it fits in to my future, but it does. I see it a lot. I see it a lot in marriages within the church. I see denial about this, and that needs to change.
8. The church and I are in an “it’s complicated” relationship. I love Jesus. I feel closer to God than I ever have. But the way His kids have hurt others has broken my heart. And I have probably broken theirs in return at times. Am I the prodigal son? His brother? His father? Or am I just a guest at the party? Most of the time it feels like I’m watching the party from the outside, through a window, hungry for some cake but also not dress code appropriate.
9. Sometimes I get mad at God, like good and mad. He can handle it.
10. A part of me hoping that no one actually reads this. And another part is hoping that humans who have been or are being abused will read this. I want to be known and yet I’m terrified to be known. I have found comfort zones to be so nice and cozy and soul killing all at once.
11. Speaking of comfort zones, God has been teaching me how to speak up. Speaking up, for me, feels like arguing or causing conflict. Neither one of these is awesome. But I want to be a peacemaker and not a peacekeeper, and that means speaking when words need to be spoken.
12. It seems that I have an issue with authority. Maybe that doesn’t mean what you think it does. Maybe it means exactly what you think.
Each of these things is a thought and/or wound of mine, and possibly of others. It’s time to open and clean the wounds out. Some are older and have scar tissue; some are fresh and screaming in pain still. This won’t be pleasant, but it’s necessary.
If anyone happens across this in their interwebs travels, welcome. I hope you find meaning and love here. I hope you see Jesus here. I hope you find hope here.