Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My Own Padded Cell

For years I've joked about "having some time off" by going bananas and ending up in a padded cell with fuzzy slippers, lots of sleep, and 3 meals a day I don't have to cook.

Until one day last week when I realized I'd created my own padded cell.

I do have fuzzy slippers but don't get all the sleep I want and still cook meals. After an intense bout of depression I'm still trying to conquer and some major life challenges this year I found myself medicating with food and alcohol.

I was eating what I wanted when I felt like the black hole was swallowing me and when I felt good I was eating healthy. Except the dark vortex of pain was present in some way every single day. I didn't feel like eating so when I did, I just ate what I thought would taste good at the time. I didn't drink to get drunk, or even buzzed, just a bit to take away the anxiety of what I couldn't control in my life.

I was on some medicine that was helping my brain but not my body. So I changed medicines. But I kept gaining weight. When I weighed in at my all time bigger than nine months pregnant weight last week I thought again that my family would be better off without me.

 Angry. Sad. Hopeless.

I spent some time with a wise friend and talked and cried. She encouraged me to do what I needed to do to be free. I knew she was getting free herself and I could see it on her face. Her eyes understood my pain more than her words could speak.

Unlike the wind that you can feel but not see, HOPE can be seen even if you don't feel it. When I stop and become intentional about looking around at my beloved ones and the blessings in my life, hope appears.

Having hope doesn't mean my padded cell evaporates. It's still there, tempting me to stay enveloped in the safety it provides. Safe from being truly seen in the heart places, experiencing the comfort of self when I'm tempted to venture out, and narrowing my focus to the minimal life that I might be able to control.

Why leave the padded cell?

I know it will only shrink until I'm confined so much I can't move at all.

I long for the expansive outside world of athletics, not shopping in plus size stores, eating yummy food in moderate amounts, having a glass of wine for the pure enjoyment of it, and not being stared at because of my size. I crave the freedom of water skiing, snow skiing, cycling and looking like I live a fit lifestyle. I want my sons to wrap their arms all the way around me for the first time, to be excited to introduce me to their friends and not be embarrassed about how I look (yes, they are starting to notice).

I desire to be the bride my Love married. Slightly altered maybe since I had babies, but not confined to negative self talk & food addiction run wild. Vibrant, funny, and able to go out on his arm without beating myself up or obsessing about my flaws.

I will get out of this cell. I won't stop until I do. I will open myself up for love and life; letting go of the need to protect myself from the unknown. One day at a time.

Love. Life. Hope.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Unaware of the Blessing Around the Corner

I was walking through the bakery, trying to remember what I might be forgetting when I saw her.

She had shoulder length graying hair and looked to be past 60. Her jawline and facial structure looked like she didn't have many teeth and hadn't for some time. Her joyful smile captured my attention. It was so beautiful. She was surrounded by smaller people, likely her grandkids between the ages of 15 and 7. They were obviously planning something special. I heard her laugh, it was like music to my weary aching heart.

I smiled as I walked on, shooting up a brief prayer asking God to bless them all. I thanked Him for the blessing it brought to my heart to see them all together.

As often happens in the grocery store, they caught my eye a few times more as I wandered the aisles. Each time I smiled, being blessed by watching them, praying blessing over them.

I finally concluded my shopping trip, hoping I landed within my cash budget and saw to my delight they were in line in front of me.

But there appeared to be a problem. The checker was telling her the card she was using wouldn't go through. She was quite polite expressing she had checked the balance earlier in the day and knew it should. She walked away with the kids, grocery cart with celebration supplies left behind.

I was devastated for them. I had watched them pick out items carefully. Finding the best they could with what they had to spend. I rocketed a prayer to Heaven, "Oh Lord, how awful!"

He said it so clearly and so quickly in my heart - YOU bless them.

I looked at the amount, handed my grocery cash to the checker and asked the young girl that bagged their groceries to deliver them.

When that beautiful Grandma turned around with her bunch in genuine surprise to receive the cart, all I could do was blow her a kiss and smile at the gratitude they all expressed with a heartfelt "thank you".

So emotional I could barely speak I pulled my debit card from my purse to pay for my groceries. I knew my Love would understand why I did that, outside of our financial plan. The checker and young girl said thank you to me and I just nodded choking back the tears I would soon let loose in the solitude of the car.

I walked into the store absorbed in my personal struggle and frustrations only to walk out in awe of God's provision for His beloved ones, including me.

Once home, I began crying again and told our sons and my Love the story God's provision for this sweet family and to show their Mommy how much He loves us all. Explaining happy tears is so much easier than talking about the sad ones.

I don't share this to brag, but to encourage. I needed to see beyond my circumstances that night to live what I'm always speaking to our sons, "BE the Blessing!"