Life hasn’t been easy these past few weeks. Little E started school, then promptly got stung in the face by a wasp. This led to a weekend urgent care visit (totaling $142) that offered no help for her swelling (thank God for essential oils and ice packs!) before a client consult that afternoon. Trent’s truck broke down so we’re sharing a car (which has it’s perks) and trying to get back on track. I have missed about a month’s worth of therapy visits. Not by choice but, between her and I we just haven’t been able to iron out our schedules so they coincide.
God and I have been dealing with me intensely.
Life is real. It is LIVING. It is fluid. It grows, changes, shrinks, expands, it fills the container we put it in and takes its shape. If we freeze it in place, it doesn’t change things from moving around it. (that statement was deeper than I thought it would be in my head) The only thing freezing does is make it harder to get flowing again. It causes a resistance and a lag as we thaw it back out. We can take snapshots of time but we cannot stop it. We can take snapshots of life but we cannot stop it.
I cannot describe the absolute fear that gripped me at one point, (ok, actually several times), over all that was happening. A highlight reel of all the worst possible outcomes playing over and over in my head. It burdened me down. It put a weight on my shoulders that I’ve had to shake off several times. At times I felt responsible for things beyond my control and guilty over the emotions of others.
When life has placed you in so many scary, intense, painful situations in the past, uncontrollable situations become a HUGE issue for those with PTSD. You literally operate in a primitive, emotionally charged state whenever triggered. My therapist refers to it as “flip top” brain. The logical top brain and the emotional midbrain (limbic) stop communicating. It’s like pulling a plug or “flipping” the top on a container. An example is when you are angry and want to explode on someone but cannot find the words to do it. When you are stressed and cannot remember simple things like, a street name or what you needed. When you are scared and someone asks a question and you cannot formulate an answer. It’s like being a hostage to your own self. Trapped inside, wanting out, trying to get out but you will not let you.
When you are operating this way, it is much easier for the fears you have to wreak havoc on you. Those nightmares come back, that nervous habit (or two…or three) comes back. What you thought you had under control is now in complete chaos in your mind.
When you pair this response with the before mentioned stress I’m under right now, you get a very unstable situation. You get a woman so wound up she can barely breathe. Who wakes up at least five times a night for no reason. Who cries every moment she’s alone just to relieve some pressure. A woman surrounded by her worst fears.
My worst fear is not having the life I had planned. Watching all my carefully made (some paranoidly so) plans come to nothing. Having all my hard work blow up in my face. Crashing and burning into obscurity. There have been times that I have been faced with this possibility. This is one of those times. It is a painful, growing, stretching, groaning time. I heard a sermon a few months ago titled Death of the Vision and it has been bouncing around in my head since then.
The sermon was about Abraham and his test to sacrifice Isaac. God promised Abraham a son to carry his name and consequently make him a father of nations. God gave Abraham this promise 25 years before he gave him Isaac. A whole sermon could be made of that time.
If you have read about Abraham you would see the things he endured, the mistakes he made and learned from, the covenant he created for himself and his family and when he died the Bible states he was blessed in every way. Now, this was just a man. Full of all humanity. He had to walk his vision out. He had to commit to the promise he was given. He CHOSE to honor God. He CHOSE obedience over everything else. This is encouraging to me because that means I can choose just like he did.
The promise given in Genesis 12 was Abraham’s vision. If you notice, IN THE SAME CHAPTER, Abraham leaves his home and begins his travel to the promised land. A famine causes Abram and Sarai to go to Egypt. Once, there Abram and Sarai lie to protect themselves. He tells Sarai that the Egyptians will kill him to have her. Abram is still learning the character of God. He continues to learn for a quarter of a century. It’s really like a Middle Eastern soap opera. Between Lot and his problems, Abram’s mistakes and Sarai pushing him into Hagar’s arms, the drama perpetuated for TWENTY FIVE years.
Then at 99 years old, the Lord appeared to Abram ready to make a covenant with him. The Covenant of Circumcision. God promises blessing for Abraham, Sarah and even Ishmael. While God changes their names to Abraham and Sarah, Abraham then circumcises every man in his home and fulfills his end of the covenant. (This article explains the reasons beautifully)
Then, as a consequence of Abraham’s obedience, Sarah conceives and births Isaac. The promise is fulfilled….kind of.
The Bible does not say exactly how old Isaac was when he was to be sacrificed. It does tell us that Abraham placed the wood for the altar on his back and had him carry it to and up the mountain. Common sense says he was at least in mid teenage years or older.
The point is this. Isaac was old enough to have children of his own. God then tells Abraham to take this promised child and sacrifice him. Abraham was faced with a hard, terrible decision. Honor God and be obedient or try to protect what took 25 years plus obtain.
Abraham’s life was coming apart. His whole life’s work was coming to a bloody, fiery end. He took Isaac, did not tell Sarah where they were going and when asked by his son where the sacrifice was; answered cryptically that one would be provided. The even more heartwrenching detail is that Isaac accepted that answer without question. He trusted his father.
How painful to be the one to literally kill the dream you gave life to.
But, God saw his heart, God saw his dedication and obedience. He allowed Isaac to live. He sent a ram in his place. They sacrificed it instead and praised God.
Now the sermon then said, in order for your vision to have resurrection power, you need to face the death of it. Jesus’ death is unremarkable, it is his resurrection that makes all the difference.
I thought when I got this word that it was to help me make peace with my past and I still believe it does but I now see it was letring me know that my life will continue to experience this resurrection as long as I’m believing in my dreams.
I had meningitis when my son was 4 months old. This led to stopped breast feeding at 10 months (I had weened his sister at 15 months). I worked full time and was always busy taking care of my family, I felt that I missed a lot of him and I felt guilty.
My husband and I have gone through a lot in our relationship. We’ve physically, mentally and emotionally hurt one another. We’ve both been unfaithful in the past. This grieved my heart enormously. I wanted the loving, caring, loyal relationship that I had always dreamed of. Yes, I accepted that my boyfriends could do that to me but the man I married would be devoted to me, care for me with gentleness and compassion and I would do the same.
My heart was still wounded over my families past. It was a weight I carried around, grief for a life, a perspective of the world I would never have. Deep emotional scars left by neglect and abuse that made me feel inadequate and afraid. My heart longed for reconciliation, for us to be close and understanding and selfless.
My prayers revolved around asking for God to make it all better, to heal those broken places, broken relationships. More specifically, how could I meet the need, how could I change, what about me needed to be corrected. Blame and shame wrapped around every self loathing, defeated word.
The truth is EVERYTHING that I desire that has been broken is just in transition. It is coming back from death into life and into resurrection power.
Therapy is really helping me, it is letting me explore myself and place important boundaries around me. This includes boundaries against my destructive thoughts. It’s teaching me to see a middle ground. To see that things do not fall into a category as good or bad, right or wrong but rather choosing what is best for me.
This is also in my concious language study. What is my highest choice here? What serves my divine self best? So I’m gaining wider perspective and deeper understanding into my situation.
I always thought that my victory would come when I could mend these relationships. When I could reconcile these memories and life events. The truth is when I allow them their death I am victorious. God is filling them with resurrection power and at the appointed time I will recieve the desires of my heart.
It’s such a powerful teaching. I’ve been reflecting on it for a month or so now and it just keeps making the rounds in my spirit. Each time bringing another person or situation to mind.
The freedom I have felt has been tremendous. I’m able to let go easier and forgive easier. I’m able to accept relationships as they are. I’m able to step back and see God’s hand on my situation. Most importantly I am able to see it was never about me. I was never soley responsible for the survival of those relationships.
I see God’s love for me and how everything that I thought was ruined is coming back to life. God’s showing me who he truely is. Someone who always has my back. Someone who can literally reach past time and death just for me. His mercy reaching to the very depths of my soul and resurrecting all the dead dreams, mending all the broken desires, fulfilling all my desperate hopes.
What I thought was forever gone is now vibrant with His light and life. My marriage, now seated in his grace. My heart now seated in his love and my dreams now seated in his death. It’s breathtakingly beautiful.
I pray that you allow God the pleasure of breathing his sweet love over you and your dreams. I pray that you trust him to resurrect your vision. I pray that light, love and life be yours abundantly, forever.
In his life,