Hard work

I’m tired. I haven’t written in a while. Haven’t really exercised in a while, or risen early to spend time alone in a quiet house with my thoughts or my God. I’ve eaten too much sugar and haven’t stretched my crooked back in a yoga class… but boy, have I exercised my mind. I’ve been doing some really hard work. Therapy and reading will do that for your brain. 

As I sat (online) with my therapist this week and explored the pain of my past, I told her I was just tired. The thoughts we resurfaced made me feel yuck and they were hard, but my brain was tired of holding on to them and it was time to let go. She encouraged me to write about our time so here it is. 

During session, I saw powerful images as we used a practice called EMDR, a technique which allows the brain to remember and let go of what it’s held onto for so long.

I saw a knife cutting the umbilical cords of my 3 boys, the ones I like to keep close and I might add, control. Especially the oldest. He was the sickest and bonds are formed when you rock sick babies. Bonds that may be too strong and need loosening, maybe even severing.

I saw all the years of my dad’s illness, and me trying to save him, in my twenties and thirties, again the control and misplaced bonds and roles. I remembered my younger self trying to control outcomes that didn’t belong to me. 

Then, thankfully, I saw me and my Jesus sitting and watching a movie, the movie of my boys’ life. It was nice to just watch and be available if needed, but to let the Savior write and play the movie as he wished. I was able to watch with Him and not direct every next move. 

How nice that is, to not direct the next move, but to be surprised by what He has in store for them and for me and for others. Surprise, it’s my word for the year. I wonder what all it will entail. Surprise can only come with not knowing though. Am I willing to not know? That’s where I get stuck a lot.  Not knowing is where God and I wrestle. 

Not knowing has taken shape in my life with health concerns for some reason. These all surfaced in my mind during the EMDR session like popcorn… My dad’s illnesses when I was a little girl and then a college student, lastly as a young mom. Never knowing if he would make it, if he would come home or play ball in the yard with us again. Then my first born’s chronic sickness when he couldn’t eat and had a crooked foot and tilted head. Seizures and possible surgery and a feeding tube kept us on edge. And even now some health concerns that haven’t been resolved. And lastly, my own health crisis after the last baby came. He gasped for breath every night, there was more talk of surgery and new doctors, then dad was dying and then we moved homes. 200 blood tests and 2 MRIs with no results. No one knew why I was dizzy and couldn’t remember words and would drop things all while barely getting out of bed…. We discovered my hormones and adrenals had shut down from all the unknowing, all the trying to make things better so I could feel safe in the world and in my skin. Hypervigilance my therapist called it: an enhanced state of sensory activity accompanied by exaggerated intensity. It may bring about increased anxiety that leads to exhaustion. The brain is always at work, scanning for the next problem or a way out. The brain, trying to manage the unknown, instability in the world…

Things seem to be calming down though. Through EMDR, good talk  therapy, reading, yoga, long walks, time in scripture and journaling I’ve noticed my mind more at ease lately.  I don’t yell as much, I am able to be more present, and curious about what I’m feeling instead of afraid of my thoughts…

But the unknown, we are working on our relationship. I think we need to be at peace with each other, having an understanding that we are both held by God. The unknown has no authority over me and I cannot control any outcome as I don’t weld that much power, so we can sit side by side without me crumbling or fighting or fixing….

Surprise is tucked inside the unknown and you can’t have one without the other. 

Trust allows the unknown to take its shape and write the stories in the world that so badly need to be written. Trust lets God be God and lets me take my rightful place as the excited observer. Trust also lets my brain rest  and release more and more of what it’s held onto to protect me. 

So be it. That’s what I’m telling myself these days. My therapist asked me to find a mantra  that brings me back and centers things when my claws of control resurface. So be it. Let God do what he wants to do in the life of my boys and in my health and in this world. And let pain and brokenness come and complete their perfect work because suffering brings us to our knees and closer to completion.  

The beautiful stories He writes don’t need an editor and I’m not really fit for the job and I really don’t know or want that burden. So be it. I pray I can watch with Him all he wants to unfold and only step in if he directs me….

So thank you to my therapist for pushing me and never judging me in these dark spaces. Thank you to my brain for all your hard work these years. You are a problem solver and so resourceful. Thank you to my body for holding out as long as you did and for showing up and wanting the right, safe result. Thank you to my God who made our bodies and brains to heal. Thank you to that part of me that controls to keep everyone safe. You can take a rest now and let God write the stories. He is better at it anyway…..

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