I am pretty sure that I am part reptilian. I’m totally serious. I am.
A turtle to be exact. Yep… totally turtle.
Okay, maybe not fully turtle, but I do have one very specific trait that makes me think I might have some turtle in my blood.
When I’m struggling… when I dread moving through a situation- a holiday- I turtle.
I turtle… I suck it all in. Head. Legs. Arms.
I, Alisa, disappear.
I pull deep within myself, praying to God that I will be able to weather the storm. Maybe, just maybe if I hunker down I will make it through this. Maybe if I don’t acknowledge my hurt and pain and keep moving… keep busy… that ache that I often get at holidays will just go away. You should be over this by now, I chide myself, You should be used to being alone by now.
Ahhh… there it is. Did you hear it? Did you see the shame sneak in?
And the worst part is I can’t write when I turtle. Ughhh…. totally cut-off.
But a funny thing happens; not only does my aching heart not quietly fade into the backdrop, but it gets louder and louder until I’m falling apart, which means the kids start falling apart. (insert’ pulling out hair and rolling eyes’ here). What has happened to you all!! You are driving me crazy! That’s it.. you asked for a new version of xbox, well I’m asking for new versions of y’all this Christmas!
Moms, let’s just pause a quick sec for a ‘Come to Jesus’ moment.
Often times when are kids are falling apart and we are getting’ frustrated’ at them (which is the nice Christian way of saying we are freaking fed up and pissed off) they are really reacting to us… to us! This is about our mess! Sometimes we act, dear sisters, as if our mood doesn’t affect our little ones, but it does. It always does…
Moment over. Moving on..
So with my ache getting louder and louder, I finally turned and gave it space. I allowed my pain to have a place. I allowed my aching heart room to voice what was troubling it so.
And when you give your heart a little room to breathe… boy, does it breathe.
I sobbed and sobbed as my thoughts finally had a chance to flow out.
I gave my self permission to ache, to hurt and to be okay with that. To validate and understand why I would feel that way.
It was this space, this sacred space…in the quiet of my bedroom, in the stillness of night, the night before Thanksgiving, where finally… finally… my soul lay quiet.
Rest, dear one, it is quiet here. I am here… I could hear Him whisper.
It was this space that allowed me to enter into laughter and joy as I sat with my family (all forty of them) the next day and be so incredibly thankful for them.
Thankful for my sisters and mom. Thankful for cousins and Aunties and Uncles. Thankful for insanely amazing food. Thankful that I can still dominate and crush my kids at foosball. That’s right, baby, no mercy!
Intense pain. Intense joy… there is room for both, dear sisters.
Now, before you send me your sweet messages of encouragement (which I completely and utterly LOVE), let me share a little more here…
Sometimes, I think we have it all wrong, dear sisters.
We see suffering and aches as something to be avoided, Danger!!! Do not enter!
But, such moments are part of life. How else are we to sit with others if we have never experience for ourselves the depths of sorrow? Do we not cherish the smiles and laughter even more because of such times?
It’s interesting that we act like such moments-such feelings- should be avoided or better yet, not even exist.
But… but is there not a strength that comes in knowing we can we move through such moments. Empowerment.
Empowerment in knowing we can embrace our pain and move forward.
Empowerment in knowing we are not alone, for our Lord walks with us.
So, dear sisters, when you turtle so deep within, see His hand outstretched to you. See our Lord, extending a hand to you, softly whispering to you…
Come dear one.
Come. I offer you my hand. Come. Let me hold you as you tell me what is troubling you so. I will come as close as you let me and know now that if you need me to keep a distance as you learn to trust me, I will do that. I will do just that.
But, share. Share.
Share with me what you fear most.
Share with my what keeps you up at night.
I am here to listen. I am here.
Dear one, do not let your past stop you from coming to me now. Don’t let it.
Your past will often shout to you, telling that I wasn’t there. Telling you that I won’t hear you, or worse yet, that I don’t care, but don’t give it that voice. It does not speak truth.
I am telling you that I am here. I am here to hear you. To listen to you. To cry with you.
Pour out your heart, dear one.
It is time.