Enough. Part 2

I called one of my best friends around 9:45 pm last night. Sobbing.

My heart hurt so bad that prayer wasn’t enough. I knew I needed a friend to speak truth into my life.

She listened to my laments quietly before responding.

“Jesus has got to be enough. He has to be.”

She was right.

***

A few years ago, I had a chance encounter with a woman with a background similar to mine. She was in her late 40’s, early 50’s, the wife of a church elder and a mother. She had been to counseling for the abuse she had endured and someone suggested I talked to her.

I was sharing my struggles with her when I said, “I just want to get to a place where I’m a whole person.”

She shook her head fiercely. “You won’t be whole this side of heaven. You’re just in the process of being made whole.”

She went on to say that even though it had been almost 3 decades since her abuse, she still struggled.  And she had found a man who loved her anyway. She had found someone who pointed her back to Jesus. She was a loving mother and had a successful career.

I saw what my life could be and I was relieved. Realizing that there was no pressure to be fully healed in order to have the life I wanted was the relief I needed.

***

My friend went on to tell me she reached a point where Jesus was enough. She had struggled with loneliness for such a long time when God finally asked her, Am I enough?

I sat there, listening, everything in me breaking. My heart was crushed. What if God made me wait longer? What if I just keep tripping over feelings and lost hope?

Will Jesus be enough?

***

I demanded an answer from God. I wasn’t interested in a sign or some prophetic message. I wanted Him to speak through His word. What was He doing in my life?

He showed me Genesis 32. In the story, Jacob makes his way back home when he gets word that Esau is headed his way. Jacob stole Esau’s inheritance so Jacob is sure Esau will kill him upon arrival.

 Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. But you have said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted. – Genesis 32:11-12

Despite God’s promise, Jacob sends gifts to Esau to protect himself. Before he meets with Esau, Jacob wrestles with God and prevails. In Genesis 33, Esau greets Jacob with forgiveness and compassion. God honors the words He spoke in Jacob’s life.

Everything in me is terrified right now. I’m scared of giants I can’t see. But God is faithful.

***

I hung up the phone with my friend, her question ringing in my ears.

Is Jesus enough?

He is. He really is. He’s enough through every heartache, every disappointment, every lost dream. He is my greatest comforter. He knows me and loves me anyway. He’ll love me more than any husband or friend will.

He is enough.

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Grace and other words

Sometimes, I wish I were different. I wish I were taller and thinner. I wish I had shinier hair and was more organized. I collect all the pieces I want to be and try to be them.

When I first got treatment for schizophrenia, I thought I could be whoever I wanted to be.

I could be self-composed. Organized. Proper. Unemotional.

I convinced myself for a year and a half that I was in fact the kind of girl that overflows with passion and cries over other people’s hurts. I pretended I wasn’t messy and I didn’t prefer to dress in oversized clothes because it’s just so dang comfortable.

I pretended that I didn’t hate the way God made me.

A friend told me recently that I’m one of the good ones. I’m one girl you can’t let get away. In the same day, I had someone tell me that I’m just some millennial who has to save the world. One person lifted me up and the other tore me down. I didn’t know what to do with that.

I think, for a lot of women, we’re told we’re not enough. I’m not even talking about the media. I’m talking daily life. We have friends that encourage us and others who do nothing but tell us what we’re doing wrong. And somehow, we’re stuck between self-love and self-deprecation.

It’s little wonder our Facebook statuses look like our words are shotguns and the Internet is our target.

Someone told me the other day I should  be orange, vibrant and bright. I scoffed at them. Maybe I’ll be blue, paint my words in green and laugh like pink. But most days, I’m red. I spray crimson paint and sign my name in scarlet. Red colors my tone and follows my walk. The other day, I saw I was slowly trailing yellow as I made my way around the room. I left yellow fingerprints on the door and cried yellow tears.  What do I do about red and yellow streaming liquid down my body?

I know several people who color their words with pity and shame. Well-meaning friends tell them why they’re wrong, why they’re causing problems.

They’re right. It’s just not very helpful. If it was, it would work. People would step away from the computer, dry their eyes and step forward into healing.

But it doesn’t work. They don’t stop.

They don’t need to hear they’re wrong. They need to hear how smart they are. They need to hear that you miss their laugh and their little quirks. That you miss the way they care so passionately about whatever it is they care so passionately about.

They need to know they’re loved. Wanted. Missed. They don’t need your advice or opinions.

We need your grace.

Enough

Recently, I’ve had several people approach me about my blog. They’ve told me what my story and vulnerability means to them. They’ve even shared their own personal stories.

It made me realize what a fraud I am. How could these women be so vulnerable with me and yet, I can’t be fully honest?

I’ve never told anyone this before but every few years, I write a letter to my husband. I write about my hopes, my dreams, my fears. I’ve been writing these letters since I was 13, hoping to give them to him on our wedding day.

I am a hopeless romantic.

I am also disabled.

When we women get together to talk about being disabled, we talk about having to be more than everyone else in order to have a seat at the table.

We rarely feel like we are enough.

I like a guy. I didn’t want to say that. I honestly haven’t said I like someone since Alex. If I thought there was a chance he would read this, I might not write it. And even if he does, he will either not realize it’s him I’m talking about or he won’t care.

Because he doesn’t like me back.

The first time someone told me that God chose me before I was born, I cried. I had never been chosen by anyone before. I have played second fiddle to someone my whole life. I am constantly trying to earn people’s love.

One such situation played out recently where a friend came to visit and didn’t spend time with me. And I tried to be understanding but my heart broke.

I have been a shell of a woman. Insecure, desperate, sad. I’m tired of it. Something in me needs to change.

I saw that guy today and all I wanted to say was I’m sorry I like you. I’m sorry I’m not very pretty or funny. I’m sorry I’m too quiet and not very outgoing. I’m sorry that I am a broken, sinful human being.

But most of all, I’m sorry you can’t see how wonderful I am. I’m sorry you can’t see how strong I am or how my heart cries for the people I can’t help. I’m sorry you don’t get that I have to remember everyone’s birthday because nobody remembered mine. I’m sorry you don’t like the green in my eyes or my big smile. I’m sorry I am not enough.

Ladies, you matter. You are enough for the One who matters most.