This has probably been one of the hardest blogs I’ve decided to write, partly because I rationalized with myself for the longest on how I would write it and whether it was even worth writing. Truthfully, I wrestled with God and myself because I didn’t think I would have the strength or emotional ability to write this. But then, God got me together real quick and made me realize that this life is so much greater than me, and my feelings but it’s about helping others through their journeys, especially when I’ve been in that place myself and am still here to tell the story to someone else.
This journey doesn’t really have a beginning, middle, or end and that is mainly because emotional healing doesn’t have a definitive end or beginning. Only the person experiencing those emotions can say when they are ready to transition from the very things, people, places, and experiences that caused them pain. But here I am and here we go.
Describing this particular place in my life, a scripture and quote come to mind and proved to be the very writings on my own personal wall of life experiences.
Proverbs 27:6 NLT
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
“In the end we will remember, not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
This became painfully relevant for me as of the last couple of months. I greatly value my spiritual relationship and have been making a concerted effort to cultivate a very intimate and personal relationship with God. I had finally reached a place in my faith and within my faith community that I was open, loving, ready to spread goodness and joy to others. I was experiencing the fullness of life that I had heard so much from others, was the foundation of their burgeoning relationship with God. Life was far from perfect in my own assertion, but I was confident and ready to face it with my faith guiding me every step of the way.
Then life came at me head on. Unexpectedly. Without warning. Ripping away everything that I had considered a constant and something or someone I could depend on. I felt burdened by the weight of my own expectations for myself and what life was currently producing for me. Although I understood that God still remained supreme in my life and was in control, I was just trying to make sense of things spinning relentlessly out of control. While I understood his will and purpose for my life, I struggled with him about some of the events I was experiencing, and if they were actually turning out for my good. There were few people who could empathize with the sense of failure that created in my head, and my steady push to do better for myself. Those who could empathize were out of physical reach and supported me emotionally. But it still was a tough period to travel through, especially with what felt like uncertainty hanging over my head daily, and weighing on my heart even more intensely.
In addition to dealing with my own issues, and doing my best to stay positive and keep going, keeping the faith, and believing the best, my grandmother passed. Anyone who knows me knows that my grandmother and my maternal grandparents were near and dear to my heart. In the midst of trying to hold it together for my mother and help her remain strong, I started looking to something that helped me keep going in the toughest of times: my faith and my faith community.
God NEVER FAILED ME. NOT ONCE. I began to understand, appreciate, expand and look at our relationship in a new light. I began to see him as the loving, faithful, merciful, gracious, good Father that I had read that he could be in my Bible.
However, much to my surprise, my faith community much like all human beings will do from time to time, left me with a mix of varying emotions, all with some degree of pain attached to them. The long and short of it is that I felt that after hours of spending time together, discussing faith concepts, praying for one another, breaking bread with, feeling loved, and what I believed at the time was acceptance. Then this eerie shift happened.
I suddenly felt nothing but rejection, abandonment, disappointment, and unmet expectations in a time that I really wanted, needed, and hoped for more but got less than I ever could have expected. I expected and waited carefully and quite patiently for someone to show something more than a shallow expression of forced concern but it never came. It was like a dagger was driven into my heart. I didn’t quite understand why people who claimed to love me never asked, “How are you? Do you need something, anything? Are you mentally holding up? How can I be there and walk through this with you?” It hurt me, in ways that I never imagined that I could hurt. I was so confused because while all the interactions felt real in the midst of doing life with my community, my recent reality had me questioning whether I was tripping, whether I imagined it, or if it was all fake. A mere mirage. Smoke and mirrors.
It was so lonely, heart wrenching, and heart breaking, just because I had so many unanswered questions. I didn’t understand why a community that I had given myself tirelessly to, took a position of indifference and a laissez faire demeanor towards me. I kept racking my brain to figure out where the breakdown happened, and what I could have done differently. And I allowed myself to feel this hurt and walk through these emotions. But after feeling terribly, I decided to not unpack and live there. In the midst of all this, I learned and discovered a few wonderful things.
- I learned a new level of compassion I probably wouldn’t have realized for others going through difficult times
- I realized who was in my corner and fostered a new level of respect and gratitude for them. I even fostered some new unexpected relationships with people who stepped up and filled the gap in ways that I never could have anticipated during this difficult time.
- I began to look at my relationship with God in a new light and realized that he was not like people and still wanted me to spread his love, compassion, concern, and joy as well as, message of redemption to others.
- Everyone has a different capacity to love and to not hold others accountable and feel like there is a fault in you, because others can not meet the level of love you expect from them. Let God’s love be the cup that you receive from and then pour into others.
- Don’t create expectations for others until they have demonstrated that they are actually capable of achieving them. Unmet expectations can breed frustration and therefore you can break your own heart.
- In difficult times, cling to God like crazy and he will fulfill your needs and give you the strength to endure and heal your broken heart.
- Learn to forgive yourself and others, especially with the apologies that you often times will never receive. It’s more for you, than it is for them.
- Keep trying and keep going. Everyone isn’t going to hurt you. Even those who hurt you may not be doing it out of malicious intent but just out of an inability to emote in an appropriate way that you need them to, so accept that and release it.
- The pain will stop, you will get past this moment, and you will be able to assist someone else and let them know that they will get through this as well and reassure them that they are not alone.
While I am not 100% assured of where this leaves me at this time, I can say that I am learning to walk with God through this period and allow him to lead me to a place of full restoration and finality surrounding this situation. I pray that God helps those who feel like a man or woman without a country due to not having a reliable faith community to turn to, and that God mends those broken relationships. I pray he also continues to turn the hearts of his people towards true brotherhood and sisterhood to their fellow brothers and sisters, both in good and tumultuous times.
I pray this ministers to someone who is going through a difficult period and feels alone. I pray that God covers you in his unconditional love and that you remember and are reassured that God is close to the broken hearted and crushed in spirit. I believe that by making myself vulnerable and transparent someone can be guided from the pain of darkness and into the beauty of light.
I would love to hear from you and hear your comments or thoughts so please feel free to comment or leave me a message below!