As I entered into my young adult years, I struggled with various mental health problems as I left the comfort of the scripted world of formal education and entered the work force. As a result of much love and patience from my family including my very new husband taking me to several doctor’s appointments when I had nothing to give back to him but misery, I made it to the other side to eventually find, for the most part, a happy and purposeful life as an adult.
I say, for the most part, because there are times that I still struggle. There are times that I get “triggered,” and my first response is to fight. This can be due to someone intentionally, or not, making me look stupid, lazy, unwilling to communicate . . . or anything among a long list of offenses that I have deemed unacceptable. This fighting includes returning the perceived hurt in the form of insults, hate, or just chaos into the other person’s world. Not only do I feel horrible afterwords, but I’ve usually created such a barrier between me and the perceived perpetrator, as well as any other witnesses, that I am now forced to build my way back to them to restore what relationship is left.
It is often in the midst of this decision to restore these relationships that I have another decision to make: Do I stop fighting all together? Have I messed up so badly that there is nothing to redeem between the two of us? Have I ruined all that we’ve overcome over the years? Have I so invalidated the truth of Christ that I profess that I need to stop trying to be a light for Him? In these moments of contemplation, I often hear God’s reassuring voice, “Not now. It is not your decision to make. What I have started, you can’t stop.” To which I reply, “I can make it look like an accident so that it doesn’t ruin your reputation, so that they don’t have to explain to my boys what I’ve done, but most selfishly so that I don’t have to keep fighting. I am so tired. I am tired of feeling like I have to push back constantly. I am tired of trying so hard then failing so badly. I am tired of apologizing and asking for forgiveness. When will my family have heard their last apology and decide to no longer trust me? When will my boys no longer see Christ in my life.” And His response is, “When that day comes, I will decide. I will make sure that your life shows Me, and when it doesn’t, it is My decision.”
So, good, bad, or indifferent, as long as I am on earth, my job is to, no matter how hard it is or how tired I am, keep fighting and doing my best even when I’m devastated, embarrassed, and exhausted. Even on those days when I have nothing inside of me to give that is positive, I have to keep digging. I have to keep searching for any light I’ve not extinguished (2 Corinthains 4:6-7). When I do this and go back to the Bible, God has always filled me back up (Romans 8:18). It’s not that He doesn’t stop me from spiraling down like a loving parent watching their child throw a fit when boundaries are established. He just waits until the emotions are gone, and I’ve committed to walk towards Him in faith: the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
I am not always sure what is on the other side, but I know what I am doing by myself is not working. I don’t know how people will react to my truce, but I do know that what I am hoping for – love, joy, peace, and patience in my life and those around me – will eventually come. Not because I have physical evidence at the moment, but when I look back, I can see all that He’s done for me. He has always multiplied what I’ve done in faith by more than I could ever imagine. My boys are more caring and giving than I could possibly teach them to be, and they continue to amaze me at their insights into life and the world around them.
So to all of you that are fighting, continue to do so (2 Timothy 4:5-9). He has given us what we need when we need it, and He will not waste our sorrows (Isaiah 53:3). As long as we are here on earth, we have a mission to represent Him and His truth (Matthew 5:14-16). We have a mission to show others how to love. It is not always easy, and it may often be messy, but it will be purposeful and rewarding as long as our eyes are on Him. Think of Peter in the storm. The only thing that kept Him afloat was keeping his eyes on Christ instead of the storm around him (Matthew 14:28-31).
And to those family members and friends that refuse to believe the lies that others believe about themselves, “Thank you!” Your commitment to truth first and those around you is seen, heard, and appreciated. May God strengthen you as you strengthen those around you in His name (Luke 6:38).
“For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
– Psalms 30:5
— Written by Kati
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