Starting A New Chapter, Part 1

I feel like a chapter of my life is coming to a gradual end.  I am beyond thrilled about this, because it has not been an easy chapter.  I’m so ready for the next one.

I think it was in August of 2009 that this chapter started, five months after I was healed of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  I had had five months to adjust to the realities of Life as a Healthy Adult – it took some doing.  Happy doing, but doing nonetheless.

We went on our annual Family Camping Trip with a handful of close friends, and I remember starting to cook dinner one night and being so overwhelmed with emotions that I had to turn off the stove and quietly walk away from it.  Without telling anyone where I was going, I trudged a minute’s-walk down the road to watch the sunset.

This action in and of itself was monumental.  This may have been the first “taking care of me” moment I had ever had.  I actually felt guilty for doing it, but my need was greater than my guilt so I did it anyway.  It wasn’t just that I thought it was wrong to walk away from preparing dinner for the family – even then I was able to reassure myself that they could wait a few minutes.

It was the fact that at that time, I was so completely under the control of my husband, I never did anything without first consulting or including him.  I could not.  If I did, he would get hurt that I had “left him out.”  If he was at work and I took the kids out for donuts, he got upset.  If I took the kids to the park he sighed about how nice it must be that I could just take a break like that and not work (he obviously didn’t realize how much work is actually involved in taking four kids to a park). I lived in a constant anxiety of accidentally offending him by doing something without him.

And that night, just as I started the burgers, I had had enough.

I suppose it took being healthy again for me to really come to terms with this – I was so physically unwell before this, I had just survived from day to day and let him tell me what to do.

I sat on a tree stump that night, gazing at the sunset, with tears pouring down my face. I cried out to God and told him, realizing it for the first time as I said the words, just how unhappy I was.  “I feel like I’m living someone else’s life,” I cried.

I was suddenly and completely aware that something was very, very wrong, and I didn’t know exactly what it was or how to change it.  But I knew that something needed to change.

“What do you want of me?” I asked the Lord.  Because if I was going to change something, I wanted to make sure I changed the right thing.

He told me to go back home and wait. And so I did.  I waited, with anticipation, for everything to get better.

It didn’t.

There was no quick fix.  There was no deus ex machina – no Holy Spirit swooping in and making everything okay.

There were, however, a few steps down a new road, a road that would prove to be long and winding, but in which every step built on the one before it.

My entry into healthy adulthood, as it turned out, involved far more than not needing to take a nap every day.  He hadn’t just healed my body.  He was healing my spirit and soul.

In 20-20 hindsight, I can see why it wasn’t instantaneous.   I couldn’t just unbend and untwist from years of hoop-jumping and believing lies.  So the physical healing was not the “arrival” I had thought it was.  It was merely the first step.

Because, to quote a commenter on my last post, “I’m learning God is not nearly concerned with my comfort as He is my character.”   It’s not about my happiness.  It’s about becoming more Christlike.

And I did ask Him to show me how to change… 🙂

To Be Continued..

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