I often avoid writing publicly when the storms are rolling in. I’m not talking about the overcast skies with a passing drizzle here and there. No, I’m talking about full blown thunderstorms, complete with hail and possibly a tornado or two to knock everything down. It’s quite ironic that as I write this, as the storm brews, swirling its thick, gray, and saturated clouds, spreading a dark blanket over everything beneath it, the sky outside the window beside me reveals a clear blue sky and leaves dancing in the breeze.
The storm resides in my soul.
I’ve come to learn that these storms come and go. Sometimes they bring a wrath of destruction on my self-worth and self-esteem, but sometimes they also bring emotions of frustration and anger, which can often show up on the surface and how I interact with people. You see, normally, though these storms pass through my life, they rarely rear their ugly heads beyond the borders of my heart. I quietly deal with each episode, and have learned a number of healthy and unhealthy coping mechanisms. Sometimes I immerse myself in scripture, finding hope in the Word. Or maybe I sing (not necessarily on key) but I sing out loud, reminding myself of the goodness that God brings in the darkness. I seek the Light, and I stay in the light – avoiding the dark. Healthy or not, it works.
Other times I find myself overwhelmed, and I shut myself out from the world. Scrolling aimlessly on social media or spending time looking up current news, celebrity updates, recipes, random articles, exercise or eating plans – all to avoid the depths of my soul and to stay on the surface – where it is safe. Sometimes my brain itself shuts down (or screams out in pain – you be the judge) consuming my whole physical body with the grip of an unforgiving migraine, and I have no choice but to push through it blindly or sleep it off. Either way, I’m no longer thinking about the storm in my soul. Healthy or not, it works.
And the storms pass.
Today is different. Today I write to you from within the storm. Today I write to you as a fellow woman, a fellow mom, a fellow human. I write to tell you that you are not alone. I write to confess to you that I am not alone.
For so many years I’ve not told a soul, and today I tell the world. Why? Because maybe you need to hear it. Maybe because I need to hear it.
Maybe we need to hear that it’s okay to not have it all together.
Maybe we need to hear that we don’t have to be the perfect mom/wife/daughter/sister/friend – and we need to believe it.
Maybe we need to hear that it’s okay to cry on the bathroom floor when you finally have a peaceful moment to yourself.
Maybe we need to hear that it’s okay to have these storms.
Maybe we need to hear that we don’t have to hide these storms.
Maybe we need to hear that these storms do not define us.
Maybe we need to hear that we are not alone.
There have been many moments when I felt so alone on that floor, in fact I did today. Ugly, snotty tears and all. I didn’t think anyone could understand the hurt, the anger, the frustration, the confusion – to the point where I don’t even know WHY I felt the way I did.
Today I texted a friend who I know is going through the same thing. While our hurts stem from different places, our storms are similar. “Tsunami waves” is how she describes hers. And you know what? I’m still in my storm – right now, in this very moment – but there is a small comfort in knowing that there is another human in this boat with me right now.
And let me tell you, it makes all the difference.
It makes all the difference when the thunder roars in your ears, shouting at you that you are not worth anything, let alone a friend who understands you. It makes all the difference when the lightning flashes, illuminating all your past mistakes and current faults. It makes all the difference when you feel lost at sea all alone desperately trying to cling to a God you cannot see.
Today. Today I do not fight alone. Today YOU do not fight alone.