I have so many thoughts swirling in my head and feelings in my heart, that I have to get them out before I explode. This week has been a fascinating process of watching myself break down every long held belief until I was left bare, vulnerable and wide open to being who I truly am. God is merciful, and he is good, but he doesn't make things easy for me, which I am glad of.
Since the very day after Sean and I got married, life has become overwhelmingly humbling. The first month was one of the hardest times in my life so far, even to the point (because I'm being completely transparent in this post) of wondering if I really wanted to stay married. It was hard. I was in a dark, dark, place that I wanted to stay in on my own, I didn't want any help from God and certainly not from this strange man who said he was my husband. But God is merciful, he hears us, he knows us, and he loves us with a love that is past being able to grasp. I am so blessed that I have a husband who listens to God and asks for wisdom, because the both of them were able to meet me inside of those strong, thick walls that I've built up around my heart, and for the first time in my life, I wasn't alone in my depression and loneliness. They didn't break through the walls with the strength of superheros, but they melted them away with the strongest and most overwhelming love I've ever known.
It was a long road, this road that Sean and I travelled to marriage. I knew, before we even dated, that I never wanted to be apart from him. I knew, just weeks after meeting him that I would marry him, which I was angry about because I had just turned 20 years old and by my so carefully thought out life plan, I wasn't supposed to meet my husband until I was 26 so that we could marry by 28 and I could have children by 30. HAH. I had spent a good part of my life up until that point harshly (really...very harshly) judging every couple I knew who got married young. I talked about how they were missing out on life and they should get an education! Travel! Experience life! What did they think they were doing?? I would NEVER be that person who just threw away her life to marry some guy. Through the two years that Sean and I dated before we got married, I violently switched back and forth between "I want to marry him desperately" to "I could never marry this man." Weekly, daily, I would switch back and have torturous conversations with myself in which I would bury myself into a deep hole of misery.
You see, (although I didn't) that I never once thought about leaving Sean. Never. I knew I wanted to be with him for the rest of my life, but I couldn't understand what was wrong with me. It took two years to realize that I was denying myself what my heart wanted more than anything in the world, and that I was a hugely subconscious hypocrite. I was insanely jealous of all of those people who had gotten married, who had chosen the life that I could never admit to myself that I wanted. It hurt, especially once I was dating Sean, to see these people have what I couldn't, because I wouldn't let myself have it.
I've never known what my calling from God was, okay, rephrase that, I have ALWAYS known what my calling from God was, but I refused to see it, because it couldn't possibly be right. In the world's eyes it's stupid, it's against all that feminism accomplished (according to some people), and I never thought it was worthy, because it seems so small and insignificant. There is nothing my heart desires more than to be a wife, a nurturer, a teacher, a homemaker, a creator of brilliant and magnificent beauty in the world. My heart desires to love people with a love that is so strong that it scares most people. It desires to live with a love for God that will grow exponentially through the years and it desires to reach out to people who have felt stifled by the world, and give them the courage to do what they feel called to do. I don't want a career, I hate traditional schooling with every neuron in my body and I will never return, (there's a whole separate blog post in that topic), and I will probably never pick one singular thing to "be when I grow up." That's not me. And after years of trying everything BUT what God was calling me to do and being miserable doing it, I can not only say this all to myself, but say it to all of you. I am smart, regardless of what traditional schooling told me for so many years, and I have learned more in the past year of being out of school than I did in the entirety of being in school. I challenge myself not by writing papers, taking tests, and getting good grades, but by making a marriage work, by asking God to help me love those who I find completely unlovable, by reading everything that interests me, by problem solving how to create the perfect baked goods with limited ingredients, by creating beautiful art out of nothing. It seems like nothing to many, but it is everything in the world to me.
This week was especially hard for me...my period was late. Very late. Later than it has been in my entire life and I was terrified. I have spent many years of my life nannying and babysitting until the point in which I began to hate children with a spite that scared me. I couldn't fathom choosing a life that these mothers had chosen, being sick, tired, miserable, and having to deal with little brats day in and day out. What I didn't know is that over the years, I was becoming sicker and sicker and depression liked to accompany that sickness and make it worse. That along with these not being my own children, but yet feeling as tired and sick as if they were, was a bad combination. Sean and I had had a few conversations in which I told him flat out that I refused to have children. Later he told me that even though he loved me and wanted to be with me for the rest of his life, there was an honest possibility that he wouldn't marry me if I didn't want kids. Before we married, we compromised and I said that I would have one child. That was it...and if it wasn't completely awful, we would adopt a second. I was scared. Every pregnant woman I've ever been around has had the absolute worst and traumatic pregnancies...and there was no way I thought that I could ever willingly get pregnant, knowing what it could be like. I have spent years being sick and would (still) get panicky at the thought of being trapped inside of horrid sickness for almost a year.
When you get married, people ask you a lot of stupid questions, such as "are you excited??? (no, you idiot, this is an arranged marriage and I don't love my future husband in the least), and "how's married life" (it sucks, how's yours!) and...of course, "Omg!! Are you like, SO excited to have babieeeeezzz??" To which I reply, "You know, we've decided to wait at least 5-8 years before having kids." To which they ALL reply "Oh that's really great, I think waiting is a good idea...it gives you time to get to know each..." Hah. Just kidding...they all say "Ohhhh riiiiight, hehe, we'll see about that! I'll bet you'll change your tune in a few months!!" To which I shoot daggers in their general direction and hope that their demon baby keeps them up all night. So, that was all to say that I have spent pretty much my whole life adamantly telling people that I don't want kids until I'm thirty...and then, a little over a month after we get married, there's a possibility that I might be pregnant. This is where the hugely hypocritical part of the story comes in. At the beginning of the week, all I could think about was how scared I was, how badly I didn't want this to be happening, and how annoyed I would be when all of those stupid people said, "Tee hee, I tooooold you sooo!!" But as the days wore on without any sign of "auntie flo" I started to have some pretty serious conversations with myself. Sean and I talked a lot about what we would do if I were, how we would react, and we decided that we would meet this challenge head on and with abandon. We would throw ourselves into being parents and we would rely on God to be the best parents we could be. But these conversations always ended with, "...but you're not pregnant, right?" "No, I don't think that I am." I was lying. I took pregnancy tests that came up negative but I didn't believe them. I sensed something different and somewhere along the way, my thought pattern changed. I was at work all day, and every child that passed, I wanted, every pregnant lady that came in, I found beautiful. As I scrubbed the heck out of the sinks at work, my head was a swirl of yelling, talking, praying, and arguing with myself. It hit me all of the sudden that I would be devastated if I WASN'T pregnant. I wanted this baby so badly that my heart felt like it was breaking. And for the second time this year, I admitted to myself another part of my calling that I had always written off as being illogical and unworthy. I want to be a mother. I'm crying just writing that, because there is such a release of guilt, of lying, of not being true to myself and to God that is gone now. This melting of my heart, this week of torrential emotions have broken down more walls of resistance and have freed me to be who I am called to be. I was talking with God on my way home from work and told him that I will never go back to the bitter, fake, lonely strength of not wanting kids. If that was his purpose in all of this, then it was accomplished. I am a vastly different person than I was last week, and I will never be the same again. My period started this morning, but I am at peace, because when the time is right, I will be a mother, and now I know that I will anxiously await my child instead of anticipating it fearfully.
I have been singing this song all morning, and once again, JJ Heller speaks the words of my heart.
Scenes of you come rushing through
You are breaking me down
So break me into pieces
That will grow in the ground
I know that I deserve to die
For the murder in my heart
So be gentle with me Jesus
As you tear me apart
Please kill the liar
Kill the thief in me
You know that I am tired of their cruelty
Breathe into my spirit
Breathe into my veins
Until only love remains
You burn away the ropes that bind
And hold me to the earth
The fire only leaves behind whatever is of worth
I begin to see reality
For the first time in my life
I know that I'm a shadow
But I'm dancing in your light
Teach me to be humble
Call me from the grave
Show me how to walk with you upon the waves
Breathe into my spirit
Breathe into my veins
Until only love remains
"Only Love Remains" JJ Heller
Thank you for listening.