Waves of Emotion

In really hard times, emotion sweeps over you in waves.

I’m talking about the intense ups and downs that come at the most unexpected moments. So much so that you’re scared to go out in public for fear you’ll end up sitting in a cheap camp chair in the front of Five Below in tears while your girls are shopping.

Just when you’ve accidentally convinced yourself that you’re doing better.
Just when you start to think you’re really stronger and that the hardest feelings have passed.

BAM. A switch flips, and after several hours of almost acting normal, you’re sobbing  uncontrollably on the floor of the dark laundry room.

I think it’s important to feel the hurt when it hits and to spend your time around people that you’re comfortable falling apart with. Otherwise you’ll do lots of stuffing, pretending and avoiding the feelings. And that won’t get you very far down the road.

I have a husband who pulls up a spot on the cold hard floor beside me and sits there with me. He just gently puts a hand on me and sits there in the pain.

I have a friend who understands that I may enter a store happily chatty and looking for a couch but come out of the same store 10 minutes later in a deep funk. She’ll ask me what I’m feeling and let me talk and feels it with me.

I have a daughter who is watching my every move. She may not say much out loud about feelings, but she is fiercely loyal and protective. She fights for me when I’m weak like no one else.

I could go on and on, because there are so many people in my life who are giving me permission to feel things in my own way and helping guide me through. They’re extending so much grace in this season when I’m more irritable with them or just can’t engage in normal conversation at times.

There are moments of strength, and those are the moments to do strong and hard things. Because ever so quickly, the tide may turn and you’ll feel weak again.

So I’m trying not to expect too much of myself. I’m trying to breathe in and out and float ever so peacefully on my back while letting the waves of emotion hit when they want.

Expect the unexpected. Trust that the overwhelming moments of hurt and pain make way for the strong moments and guide you through the process to healing.

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My Tiny Corner Chair

Four days before I was diagnosed with cancer, God told me in the night that he had given me everything I needed and more. This story is about one of the “and mores” that God gave me.

About three days before the diagnosis I started trying to clean up my bedroom. For a while there have been areas of my home that feel too disorderly and cluttered for me. I like order, but with a house full of people with their own priorities, that isn’t always possible.

I had almost given up and quit trying to be orderly myself. It was difficult for me to relax at home because things were too out of order.  I was frustrated with myself and everyone around me every time I tried to find a place to sit and truly feel at rest.

So I finally decided to tackle the bedroom and do some cleaning out of my own. As I created space and cleared areas, I could see the potential of the room and glimmers of hope for a peaceful space. I began picturing a sitting space in my bedroom. I needed a quiet place of my own to to sit and be still, pray, or work on the computer.

Because of the layout of the room, there were only a couple of spots where this could work. I brought in one of my dining chairs to the bedroom just to get a feel for what it would look like to have a chair in the corner of the room. The space was tight and it would be hard to find a really comfortable chair that was small enough for the little space.

Fast forward to three days later. It was the day after I’d been diagnosed. I was being carried through life for those difficult hours by my husband and a precious friend.

That day we desperately needed to focus on something else, so my friend and I decided to take our girls shopping. She picked me up and we didn’t get too far down the road until she started telling me about this chair we were about to pass on the side of the road. She said it would look good in my bedroom and we could stop and get it if I just said the word.

But I said no. We didn’t have space in the van, we’d have to turn around, and it’d be a hassle. The chair was kind of cute from a distance, but I didn’t want to change course. So we drove on (although she was very reluctant to do so).

About two hours later, I got a text from my husband. He sent a picture of the same chair on the side of the road and said “How about this for your spot in the bedroom? “

At that point as I laughed out loud, I said “YES, Get the chair.”

When we got home that night, he’d already moved it into the corner where it fit perfectly.  We call it my  tiny chair because it’s also low to the ground, clearly made for a short person like me. It is adorably cozy and comfortable. People enter my room and sometimes don’t even see that I’m there because it’s so tucked away.

I’ve sat in this cute chair every day of the last week to cry, read, think and pray. It’s my sacred space that God gave me for this hard season. A space that I didn’t have to have, but that is bringing me comfort and joy. God and I are having long talks here. I’m writing words (even now) here in this chair that help me and that I hope will ultimately help others.

God brought about circumstances and some feelings inside of me that motivated me to start cleaning out and making a more peaceful space for myself before I even knew I had cancer. I know that he was preparing me and even helping me prepare my home to be ready for the days to come.

Every time I walk in my room,  I see this chair in the corner.  I think of God’s deep love for me. I think of his promise that he spoke so clearly to me to provide all I need and more. I think of the treasured people he’s put by my side on this journey.  They know what I need but they also understand the “and mores” and are watching for them on the side of the road.

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God gives good gifts to his children. In the midst of hurt and struggle and every emotion under the sun, he leads me beside still waters and restores my soul. These days, it’s usually while I’m in my tiny corner chair.