Let me introduce you to Amy. She’s a fellow red head (I always find that there’s always an unspoken kinship among gingers). But really, we connect because we are pop culture kindred spirits. Our first conversations were about the films we enjoyed…and how we really liked such similar types of movies. The connection was sealed when I discovered that she too was a fan of “30 Rock.” There’s just a special place in my heart for those who appreciate and love the comedic stylings of Tina Fey. Here’s a classic example of our interactions. On Oscar night, the couple who won the award for best song (“Let it Go” by the wickedly talented Adele Kazeem – sorry still funny) had also won an Emmy, Grammy, and Tony. Within a minute I received a text from Amy saying: EGOT! (Note: a plot line in “30 Rock involved one of the show’s character’s, Tracy Jordan, aiming to EGOT – win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony)
She’s fun, hilarious, a great mom, and a joy to be around. She speaks her mind and I love her for it.
Last year was a rough. Personally, spiritually and relationally, just rough. Maybe it’s my age, but I was finding that some of my long held expectations of life were inevitably colliding with reality. I grew up in a family where the modus operandi was endless conflict. It became every man for himself and in that, I fell by the wayside. I figured out just about everything on my own which, while admirable, is also lonely and certainly not ideal. In an admittedly childish way, I was still waiting for someone to come and take care of me, to tell me what to do, and essentially to fix me. I know it sounds a bit silly that a grown woman would think that was going to happen, but an unmet need is a powerful thing. The process of understanding that maybe it was time to give up this hope became like my personal ‘coming of age’ tale, but not in a John Hughes movie sort of way. It was terribly painful to be on the receiving end of a come to Jesus talk with reality. Combine this with a predisposition to depression and you’ve got yourself a party. Interestingly, I found myself wrestling through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance…I stopped right there. Like a four year old who will not pick up her toys, arms folded, feet stomping. No, no, no, I will NOT accept this. You can’t make me.
I got angry with my life and I got angry with God. And to add insult to injury, just when I felt I needed Him most, it turned out I could not hear or feel Him at all. I started to doubt His very existence. As I described my dilemma to a trusted friend I got back an empathetic knowing nod (i.e. the best kind), “Ah, a dark night of the soul.” Two more people told me the same thing. Knowing that it had a name was oddly comforting and knowing that it had a purpose was even better, it meant that I was not going through this because I had done anything wrong. Instead, it meant that God was in fact there and it meant He was wanting more from me and even better, wanting more for me.
So if you’re taking notes, that’s: loss, expectations, anger, pain, dark night. Not a good place. A few friends rallied around me and one night while getting prayer one of them saw a picture of a little girl touching the hem of Jesus’ garment. Now that was no small thing because as it turns out, that’s my favorite Bible story. There is nothing like the moment when you know God knows your name and I was in desperate need of one of those moments. The story of the hemorrhaging woman is near to my heart. I can identify with everything about it; she was scared, she was desperate, she was weak. She must have felt lost in the crowd, threatened by being consumed by the chaos around her. But she had faith and mustered what she could to reach out to the One who heals. Being ‘unclean’, she should not have touched Jesus and He definitely should not have responded to her. Ah, but He did. He didn’t let her stay hidden in the crowd. The part that gets to my heart isn’t even the fact that he healed her – it is that he saw her and to top of off, called her daughter. She didn’t have her act together, she didn’t even have words. Yet she did not go unnoticed and when my friend saw that little girl that night it was a reminder that I was not unnoticed either. Having felt a bit invisible my whole life, that was not only good news, it was healing news. He sees me, He sees my struggle. I’m okay.
Before I leave you totally depressed, you should know that things are better. With the help of a lot of prayer, good friends, and a stack of Henri Nouwen books, I am climbing my way out. I am still struggling but that’s ok. I’m not angry (well, okay, less than I was), but humbled and beyond grateful that He chose me to go through this because of what’s on the other side. There’s less foot stomping as I grow to understand that life is hard not because He doesn’t care, but the very opposite. Maybe, just maybe, that year and all the other struggles are not a curse but an honor. The creator of the universe wanted me to know that I was not invisible and never had been. He used that pain to call me out, to uncover more of what really matters and of who I really am. As is His specialty, He took an ugly time to unearth some beauty, the beauty of the fact that he calls me daughter and that, when it comes down to it, is everything.
Amy is a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of three hilarious children. She has been married to Brad for 19 years. She loves good coffee, deep conversation, and the combination of the two. Her deepest desires are to know God, see Europe, and go back to school. This is first blog post and she found it to be a terrifying experience.