I jumped right back into posting without any explanation for the approximately four years of silence. It’s not at all unlike me to do things out of order.
Part of me just wants to pretend that it is normal and fine and nothing was wrong.
But a bigger part of me wants to explain, to share my truth. Because, if you know me at all, you know I almost never have short answers for anything. I love to give context, and I’ve definitely (rightly so) accused myself of being an over-sharer.
A lot happened in the four years of silence here.
Postpartum depression feels like the biggest and most overwhelming way to describe that season. It was more than that. So much more. But it was also that.
We got robbed. Twice. We got in multiple car accidents.
The structure of my primary community fell apart in the midst of a relational conflict that left me feeling completely isolated and confused.
The foundation of feeling safe, loved, or accepted within my secondary community (the church we were a part of) completely crumbled, and we left.
The brave boy seemed to tune into all the ways I was feeling and he used his voice to try to express when I couldn’t. So he screamed. Blood curdling screams. Hundreds of times per day. I actually counted once, thinking somehow that the counting might save my sanity. (Shocker: it didn’t seem to help.) This effected my hearing (to this day) and gave me a headache that lasted for more than a year. When I finally decided to wave the white flag, I sent the kids to day care and buried myself in my work. I didn’t write much at all during this season. When I did, it was dark. So dark that I felt entirely ashamed.
The second time we got robbed, most of my journals were among those belongings – journals from when John & I were dating, from all of the brilliant girl’s life thus far, from the moment I found out I was pregnant with her through the days leading up to when it was stolen. That was so painful that I didn’t dare write anything down again for fear of losing it.
The nail in the coffin for my writing on the blog, though, came through a probably entirely thoughtless and not at all malicious comment that someone made at lunch one day. This person was one of the first people I’d known in our city. She was leadership to me within my community. She was a mom to multiple kids when I just had one. She was assertive and seemed confident and bold – I admired these characteristics and being alone in a new city, in a new role as a wife and mom, I watched her, wide-eyed, and listened to everything she said like she’d been studying the truth all her life and was some sort of sage. I say that to take ownership that this next part is really, probably, mostly just on me. I put too much stock in what she said. I didn’t test it with anyone else. I just internalized it as truth, felt unbearable shame, and let it shape me. During lunch one day, this woman said something like, “I think people who blog are just self centered and vain – I don’t think doing that honors God…” I don’t really remember anything else she said. I remember feeling my heart race, my mind started swimming. She’s talking about ME, I thought. At that point, I was writing on this blog all the time. THE LAST thing I ever wanted was to be self centered and not honoring to God – wasting time and energy only to be all about me. All I had wanted was to share what I was learning, process how I continued to pursue hope, and do this in the least confrontational way possible.
About three years later, I was sitting in a worship service at the healing place and I was writing. I wrote out how I remembered that moment. Hot painful shame. And I realized for the first time, well after the time this woman stopped being a part of my life, that she wasn’t the authority. Not then, and certainly not now. That it’s my job to test the things people say. And it’s really only within God’s power to assess the posture of someone’s heart. The posture of my heart was never to be about me. It was a lot of things, but not really that. If it ever seemed like that, that was a mistake. I remembered a truth I’d said many times before – that I am at my healthiest when I write. I’m safe to write. Even if it ends up being dark. When I decided to share the dark writing, that’s when the healing started to happen. When I let people in. Fresh air and light started coming into the darkest place. And despite missing it for far too much of my life, I realized I really was surrounded by people who wanted to love me and help me grow and heal.
Grace started to become real.
And over the last year or so, I’ve been encouraged, affirmed, challenged, and even begged to write. These things came from both exactly where I’d expect them to – those are the easiest to ignore, right? – but then also, from the most unexpected places.
So here I am.
I survived a season that I thought would surely be the end of me.
And from all sides, I feel healthier and full of more joy than I ever thought possible.
I feel particularly compelled to share that this doesn’t mean I don’t have dark days anymore. I still lay in the middle of the floor sometimes, or in my bed, holding on to not facing the day. I still get the chill of isolation down my spine, the whispers of inadequacy, the feelings like I might drown in just trying to breathe. The only difference is that now, it’s not all consuming. I don’t have a formula to follow. It was hard and felt impossible and it felt like I would just be swallowed up – a reality I would have welcomed on so many dark days. Thank God and all the people who determined to let His love flow through them to listen and love and share truth. Gratitude is able to conquer the defeat I was experiencing. There’s nothing perfect about me or where I am. I remember feeling angry at people who could experience joy when I was neck deep in the drowning season. My hope is that if you’re reading this, and you feel the waters of inadequacy rising, that you can see that hope is possible. It’s not nearly as scary as it seems. And there are people all around that want to lift you out of these waters, that when you can’t save yourself, they will come alongside you and build you a ship.
What I found in this season and as I came out of it, though, are treasures that changed me. The friendships formed through struggling together, the light poured into me when I was completely drowning, laughter and joy and redemption.
I can point to at least a dozen experiences and resources and practices that have completely changed my life. I’ll share those soon, but they’re not what saved me.
Love* did, and Love continues to do so.
// i will end with this \\
// if you are drowning in each day that feels like it will consume you entirely, please reach out to someone you know. \\
// risk hoping, have grace that they might say all the ‘wrong’ things, but that if they’re listening or responding to you, they’re probably trying, and they probably care. \\
// if you don’t feel like you have anyone at all, reach out to me. \\
// please. \\
// the world would inevitably be dimmer without you.\\
// you are unique in all the world and within you is the power and potential to love others in a way that no one else on the planet can. \\
you are a treasure.
I mean it. Here’s a contact form to make it easy.