Monday, August 25, 2014

Little Orphan Annie

From the time I was little, flawless perfection was the focus. Shame overwhelmed me each time a mistake was made. The God of my childhood loved me in spite of them. My logic was IF a mistake was never committed then God’s ability to love me was a little easier. My emotions, opinions and even my body were not always under my control. No matter how hard I tried to be good, obedient and flawless it would end up the same: failure.

I would pray until I fell asleep begging God to fix it. I cried out to him:
To be my refuge.
To make me feel safe.
To save me.

Fear and chaos ruled my mind.

I was 14 when I stepped on the scale. It said 100 POUNDS.

100 marbles rolling across the floor.
100 people in a room.
100 pounds was heavy to pick up.
100 things was a lot of things

I looked in the mirror and words from boys in the past echoed: You’re fat.

I pinched an inch and in the mirror I saw Lulu from HeeHaw. The way I felt about myself and life up to that point became concrete: fat was out of control. Gluttony was a sin. I couldn’t admit the chaos within. To be anxious was worry. Worry was a sin. Therefore how I felt was a lack of faith.  If I could control fat, then I could control everything. I wouldn't have to be afraid anymore. I could be safe.

Since prayer hadn't fixed it, then fasting would. Jesus said so. If I could control what I put into my mouth, then Jesus could deliver me. Jesus would heal me. My sin wouldn't keep him away anymore. I spent the next 7 years controlling every thing I put in my mouth to keep my safe number of 98 lbs. When life became too chaotic, a blissful peace of a fast would bring me peaceful sanity. I lived a lie of control and contrition: a false submission to God.

The truth of this dis-ease is fear.

Fear of losing control
Fear of mistakes.
Fear of all the things that could go wrong.
Fear of not being perfect.
Fear of….

Almost 23 years ago I found abstinence. In recovery I put away the god of my childhood and met a God who unconditionally loves me. He equips me with what I need to get through the day. I recognized what was within my control and what wasn’t. God gave me the wisdom to know the difference. I was led to people who counsel me in true grace. Mistakes and shortcomings are ways of redemption, not prisons.

The little voice’s name is Little Orphan Annie. When life gets stressful, Annie tempts me with control. Divine love answers with: Taste and see that The Lord is good. I go to yoga and practice being still and knowing He is God.

When my clothes don’t fit right and Annie suggests how out of control fat is, Divine Love reminds me how perfectly I am loved. The choice to believe that love quiets my fear. Divine love leads me.

Thinking I was fat was only a symptom. It never was about being fat. It was always about fear. Anorexia was my medication for anxiety.  Only growing in Divine Love brought me to sanity and true peace.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Nest With A Revolving Door


I was not prepared for this.

I did what they told me to. Those older wise women in ministry as they reflected reverent behavior. They told us not to slander. Not to drink-if you do, not too much. We were admonished to love our husbands and children. To be discreet in our actions, make sure all of our flirtations and obedience was towards our husbands and NOT make friends with other men. Don’t act like Jezebel. Defer all final decisions to the husband. It’s ok to make suggestions, but in the end his word is law.

It was our job, to make sure God wasn’t blasphemed.

Over the last 20ish years of marriage and kids, I’ve watched my friends feel shame when the economy soured and they went back to work. Those who chose to send their kids to school defending it with, “My husband…” Those who did homeschool explain why their kids needed to go to school. I had friends who wouldn’t invite people over because she wasn’t a good housekeeper.

The cycle continues with the younger moms today. They carry a heavy millstone of obligation to everyone else.

And here I sit.

Two kids in college and yesterday I dropped Girly off for classes that we’ve added to the homeschool schedule. This season is coming to a close.

The season of children.
The season of being that hot wife.
The season of running the home.
The season of everyone else’s agenda.

I’ve spent the last year looking forward to this and also dreading it because it exposes a nasty, uncomfortable question:

What about me?

Friendships were directly tied to who the kids were friends with. Now that most of the boys’ friends are off to college, those moms are off on adventure of discovery. Their nest is completely empty while mine still has a fledglings and a rotating door.

I feel lost.

What about me?

Somehow I got the idea through the women’s ministry to not ask that question. It’s about Jesus. It’s about being God’s representative. It’s about the husband. It’s about the kids.

I feel confused. I’m not the kind of mom who wishes the kids were small again. I’ve loved every stage. Every moment that we passed through was savored. I like being their friend and mentor now. I like watching them make decisions and mistakes themselves. The question haunts:

What about me?

I become irritated with myself. The question sounds pathetic.

So…

In my struggle to find an answer I reflect on all of the women’s retreats, bible studies, groups, sermons and mentoring for an answer. It eludes me. I’m not an older woman who could mentor. I am not a younger woman eager to learn home management, child rearing and husband happiness techniques.

I am in a middle and feel a bit abandoned. I have no clear answer. My thoughts fall to my youth, when the focus simply was loving God and serving others. I wonder if that should have been the message all along.