I am so, so tired. Exhausted, really.
I have tried and tried and tried to keep up with life over the past three and a half years. I have tried to be “normal”. I have tried to continue living as though nothing tragic happened in my life. I have tried to be a good wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, church goer, grandmother, housekeeper, etc. Now I’m just tired of trying.
Don’t get me wrong, this has nothing to do with wanting or not wanting to live, and doing something stupid to myself. That is not even a thought of mine, though I must admit it was in the first couple of years. I’m tired of trying to be who I was before my son was killed in a car accident. I’m tired of trying to be happy, in the same way I was before, again. I’m tired of wearing “the mask”, as I’ve heard other bereaved parents call it. It is truly exhausting to have to pretend I’m not sad just to keep other people from feeling uncomfortable around me. And I’m tired of having to avoid saying what I’m really thinking and feeling just to keep others from saying inappropriate and hurtful things to me.
I’m tired of fighting the battles in my head, the foremost being the reality that my son is gone forever. I am utterly astounded at how long it takes to believe what happened really happened, that it truly cannot be undone, and that I must learn to live with that reality. I sense in myself hope dying, and it is a very painful thing. The hope in my heart that he would come back seems to have been slowly dying for a very long time, but I feel lately that I am coming to the end of that dying process, and it is mind-numbingly painful. Hope is dying in me. I never for a moment thought a statement like that would come out of my thoughts, but it has. I’ve been told that it is a good thing, leading to “actualization” – a new word for me, from our grief counselor. I need to “actualize” my loss. I can’t write what I’d like to say to that and still feel like a good Christian woman. (I love what Auntie Em says to Miss Gulch in the Wizard of Oz – “……and now, well, being a Christian woman, I can’t say it!”) I don’t want to actualize my loss; I want to undo it and have my son back. I’m a very stubborn person, and the effects of that character trait are more distressing in dealing with this loss than I’ve ever felt before.
The second most prominent battle going on inside me comes from the expectations I feel others put on me that exacerbate my own expectations of myself, though I’m not really even sure anyone is putting any expectations on me; in fact, they probably are not. But I “hear” expectations through my own perfectionistic “filter” I see myself through. I just looked up “perfectionistic” and found this definition: Originally theological, “one who believes moral perfection may be attained in earthly existence;” sense of “one satisfied only with the highest standards” is from 1934. Maybe this belief (deception) I have comes from my early religious training – it’s perfection or hell! I no longer believe that is God’s standard for us humans, but I tend to fall back to that when I am feeling pressure, whether from myself or others, to be more than I am able to be right now.
So the answer, I think, is to press into God’s love and grace and accept myself as I am, rather than always striving to be who and what I think I should be or do, or who I feel others think I should be or do, which seems foolish, now that I think about it.
As I was contemplating what I wanted to write about this struggle, I felt impressed to read the July 23rd entry in Oswald Chambers’ devotional, My Utmost For His Highest, and it brought me much-needed relief from these unrealistic expectations that creep up on me unaware.
“But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification………..” 1 Corinthians 1:30
“The mystery of sanctification is that the perfections of Jesus Christ are imparted to me, not gradually, but instantly when by faith I enter into the realization that Jesus Christ is made unto me sanctification. Sanctification does not mean anything less than the holiness of Jesus being made mine manifestly.
The one marvelous secret of a holy life lies not in imitating Jesus, but in letting the perfections of Jesus manifest themselves in my mortal flesh. Sanctification is “Christ in you”. It is His wonderful life that is imparted to me in sanctification, and imparted by faith as a sovereign gift of God’s grace. Am I willing for God to make sanctification as real in me as it is in His word?
Sanctification means the impartation of the Holy qualities of Jesus Christ. It is His patience, His love, His holiness, His faith, His purity, His godliness, that is manifested in and through every sanctified soul. Sanctification is not drawing from Jesus the power to be holy; it is drawing from Jesus the holiness that was manifested in Him, and He manifests it in me. Sanctification is an impartation, not an imitation. Imitation is on a different line. In Jesus Christ is the perfection of everything, and the mystery of sanctification is that all the perfections of Jesus are at my disposal, and slowly and surely I begin to live a life of ineffable order and sanity and holiness: ‘Kept by the power of God.'”
I am kept by the power of God. What a relief! I don’t need to do or be anything to anyone because nothing can separate me from the love of God. Absolutely nothing.
Thank you, Lord, for reminding me of Your love, care, faithfulness and acceptance. I rest in Your love today. Amen.