Who am I?
Before you notify my next of kin to have me committed, hear me out: Who am I, really?
I have long scoffed at hearing people talk about midlife crisis. I have thought, ‘how can a person become so confused about who they are’? I remain skeptical about the behaviors that some attribute to midlife crisis, but I do know what it is to be confused about who I am.
Little Lost Girl
Though ribbons of shimmering light wove through my childhood, most of my preteen years were filled with sooty ashes. Secret shames I carried, plastered over by silly showy behavior. I was all too entirely lost. As I shifted into puberty and the gates of High School enveloped me, I felt swallowed whole by a life that I didn’t truly want to live yet lived anyways. I stumbled into college with dreams of escaping the life I had lived until that point. College was miles away from those who might see the shame laced in my smile or might stumble upon some stash revealing my guilt.
Perfect. Or at least, as perfect as I could get. I aspired to be the perfect student and person and for so long, that is what I thought I became. Yet there was a part of me that knew others who were closest to me could see the blackness of my heart through soot in my tears. I tossed myself into the workforce and church activities, hoping that if I kept on doing the right thing that somehow I would fix myself.
The Day the Wall Crashed: March 12, 2009
I kept up appearances. I got just close enough to people to not be lonely, yet far enough away from them so they couldn’t smell my heart rotting inside me. Deep into anxiety & depression I fell – even with medicine, yet I painted the good girl smile on & to everyone else, all seemed fine. Fine & dandy, indeed.
Until. THAT day.
March 12, 2009 holds little significance to most. As I laid in the big city hospital that morning, the doctor chanted to the the specifics of what would happen next. For that morning, I would look at my daughter, Delani Rose, for the last time. Her heart had stopped.
The next morning, I would go through the process to help remove her remains from my body. The china doll I had been for 12 yrs walked into that hospital & came out a corpse.
Alive & Yet Dead
Existed. That is what I did. My desire to pretend scrapped away, and the ashy existence I had always been shone through.
I wish I could say that I did all the right things following Delani’s death, but I can’t say that with honesty. I knew I needed to reenter counseling, but I just didn’t care about getting better.
People began to see the ugly pain that they couldn’t understand as some sort of rebellion against what I was suppose to be. 18 months of living with the living dead ended my first marriage, & I found myself where I didn’t want to be yet needed to be: ALONE.
With help from my divorce, I found myself isolated from the earthly family I still had left. All the text books would flag such an occurrence as dangerous, yet it was what I needed – emotionally. Three weeks into the exile, I found Him. I found who I needed.
His name is JESUS.
Now that you have rolled your eyes & scoffed at me, let me share what happened.
When I began my new existence, I had a deep gut knowledge that I needed to be in a church. Church was an all-to-familiar thing to me having grown up as a PK (Preachers Kid), but I didn’t just want to find an ordinary church. I hungered to find something authentic.
I found so many white washed tombs filled with the zombies of legality, that I wondered if authentic church actually existed. A colleague suggested a young church startup in a neighboring town, so I decided to visit. It was there I found an authentic church.
There were no expectations of perfection. There was no pretense that all of life is flowers & teddy bears. It was a church that taught GOD’s Word straight up & talked openly about how when JESUS saves us, sometimes the process to being made whole doesn’t happen it an instant but is rather a process that will bring Glory to GOD & draw others to Christ.
So, on the three month anniversary of me being alone, I stepped into the waters & pronounced to the world that I was ready to find what GOD intended for me to be.
It has been 19 months since I first set foot into that church.
And now, I am ready. I needed time after Christ reclaimed me from the darkness to heal my wounds & to resolve many questions that I had about faith & love. Though my scars remain, I know I have waited long enough & it is time to find who I truly am. In Christ.
I still fight often with my past guilt & regrets, but I must trust them into the hands of Savior who will crumble them & reshape them into something useful in my life. There can be no more pretending for anyone. There can be no more redistributing my load so I can carry more regrets and shame. It is time to delve into greatest adventure of my life: finding out who I am (in Christ) & living that out in a flagrant way.