I laid down writing over a year ago. You want to know why?
Because I felt like a joke. A complete failure. I could not come to grips with why I was still struggling with so many different things. Why I struggled being a mom, doing and saying the right things…why I struggled being a wife, always wondering if I’m doing enough to make him happy. If he’s happy, then I must be good. If he’s not, then I must be bad. If I’ve failed as a mom, then I must be bad.
I struggled with the fact that people just didn’t want to be my friend anymore because I was bad.
On November 10, it was five years since I stood on a stage and confessed to adultery with my pastor. My husband took me back in with love I didn’t deserve and forgiveness I certainly couldn’t possibly earn. And we are continuing to move forward and I’m so grateful.
In the meantime, we still have struggles. I didn’t want anyone to know that I still fail him, that I still can make him mad, that I can still be mean as a snake when I get angry. That I throw away self-control and say whatever I feel like saying.
I felt like that would mean that we had failed and it would be my fault. I didn’t want to embarrass my husband or make him look like a fool for taking me back.
After I had the affair and I lost my church and my closest friends, I felt so responsible for being so bad that people who had loved me at one time couldn’t even stand to see my picture pop up on Facebook anymore. I’m blocked by so many people. (I know Facebook isn’t the place to have the best relationships but it certainly still feels like rejection). I am not worthy. I don’t matter.
As a young girl, I somehow took on the responsibility of making everyone happy. Ironically, that never happened. My mom was depressed all the time. My dad was drunk all the time and I became the mother of two young children because I was the oldest. I kept the house clean and I kept the children out of everyone’s way. I lost my chance at being a kid. If I couldn’t work to make people happy, then I would strive to be the jokester…trying to make people laugh. (I still joke when I’m really stressed out).
But nothing ever worked. My parents still ended up getting a divorce. My brother and sister got separated and we all grew up…confused and broken.
But I never let go of trying to please people. I take on responsibility that is not mine all the time. If someone is not happy, it must be my fault. If my husband had a bad day, I must have done something to add badness to it.
Tomorrow will be two years since my sister died and I realized that I feel so responsible for her death because I wasn’t a good enough sister.
Right now, I’m sick and I have been in bed for seven days literally. I have h pylori which is totally treatable but it has made me feel like crap. But I feel guilty because I’m in bed. My mom spent a lot of time in bed due to her depression and, as a kid who didn’t understand, I judged her harshly for it and it made me angry. So anytime I get sick and have to be in bed, I am set on autopilot thinking that everyone is judging me and thinking bad of me. Except its harsher for me…I project things like “just look at her lazy ass laying in the bed….worthless!”
I laid down my writing because I didn’t want to be THIS REAL. That I hurt. That I fail. That I’m human. That I’m weak. That I don’t have it all together. That I do struggle. That I’ve cried myself to sleep every night for the last week because I feel like such a failure in life. I’ve asked questions like “why am I even here?”
Maybe you don’t struggle this way, but it is very real to me and I would even bet there are plenty of people who struggle like me but where are the safe places you can be real? Transparent? Vulnerable? Heck, when I publicly screwed up, I was placed in front of our entire congregation (including visitors) to confess my sins. There was no one there to make me feel safe. or loved. I was made to feel bad…the worst. I get it, I guess. I literally heard people come away from that experience saying “I will never tell anyone about me and my struggles.”
But I dream…I dream of a place where people can go and be real and be transparent and vulnerable and not be made to feel ashamed. It’s called being the Church. I want to be a part of that.
A friend had the sweetest talk with me this morning and her words shimmered hope in my soul…she said something like “when you struggle, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed…you are struggling forward which means you are going through the normal phases of sanctification.” I asked her how did she know that I wasn’t struggling backward and she said “the only way you would struggle backward is if you gave up and you never give up Debbie.”
I know that is true about me but gosh as I sob right now writing this…I have to be honest that I’m tired and I want to give up sometimes.
This is not what my first comeback blog was supposed to look like but I had to come clean. My heart’s desire is to help people see Jesus…right now I’m clinging to the words from Paul in 2 Corinthians…
2 Corinthians 12:9-11 But HE said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
It’s okay to not be okay…let’s just not stay there. Don’t give up.
Struggling forward with you and I love you already.