My 8 year old is obsessed with watching kids on YouTube review toys. This is a big thing. It is super weird and obnoxious but, it is a big thing. They call these “Toy Unboxings.” My daughter has always had a huge love of baby dolls and as a result loves Baby Alive unboxings. If you are not familiar with Baby Alives’s these are dolls that you feed special food to with a tiny spoon and then they proceed to go to the bathroom. I am going out on a whim here in saying that the only thing more magical than that is watching someone else feed a doll and change its diaper because these people are making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year making these videos. My trip to Minnesota was a lot like one of these infamous toy unboxings. I really needed to be spiritually fed and a whole lot of mess had to be changed.
Last Wednesday was the beginning of my week of firsts. The first time I swallowed all of my questions and need for “why,” boarded my first flight, and attend the Ezer Collective in Minneapolis. Before Wednesday I had never been away from my family. I have put my dream or goal I had for myself on the back burner the moment I found out I was pregnant with my oldest at 17. A part of me has been bursting at the seams trying to get out for years, but I always thought the better way to love my family would be to box the dreams of mine away and focus solely on them. Boxing up our goals, dreams, and giftings, can cause other boxes to topple and fall, leaving a huge mess all over the floor. Boxed up fear, resentment, abandonment were spilling over in all areas of my life and I could not figure out why. Wounds from my childhood left my heart weak in places resulting in me developing hyperfocused defense mechanisms. “If I am 1000% committed and involved with my children all of the time, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with no leeway, they would never have to endure the pain I have fought so many years to suppress and hide.” Hiding does not work. Suppressing emotions does not work.
Let me take a moment to try and articulate how guilt ridden I have been. How I have strived to be the perfect wife and mother, and how much we have all suffered because of it.
Healing only happens when we are ready.
And as I sat not so subtly, snot everywhere, ugly crying, in a full sanctuary of women I did not know. My start to full healing started unexpectedly. My eyes were drawn up to a beautiful stained glass piece of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Finding out my grandmother has only 3-6 months left with us has taken me into new depths that I really never wanted to go. Here I was sitting in a church in Minnesota face to face with the fact that when my Meme goes back home, I will still be here. The person who has always placed me first will no longer be able to, and I did not trust God to be able to fill that void.
I thought about you in that garden. I am not going anywhere.
I felt him speak to the darkest parts of my heart. The Holy Spirit held me tight as I lost all control of any hurt that was still inside me. Sometimes our tears are needed to water the seeds God has planted in our hearts, and what will grow of these seeds is always something much bigger than we could have ever imagined on our own.
Our flight to Minnesota was ideal. My friends kept referring to it as “First Flyer’s Luck.” The plane was practically empty. We could choose our seats, and the flight attendants offered us snacks galore. The way home was a very different story. We boarded a jam packed airplane full of angry, tired, Virginians…and a cat (that meowed loudly for most of the 2 hour trip.) I was not expecting the ache in my heart once we boarded that plane headed home. A part of me fell in love with Minneapolis with its diverse culture, kind people, and chilly weather. It was a mile marker city of hope for me. The world is much bigger than it seems when you’re immersed in motherhood. My heart ached even more to get home to my family. My Eric who has gently tried to tell me,”It is okay if you do not want to be a stay at home mom.” My girls who can not understand why I am so angry and exhausted. I was going back to them with hope. The moment the engines started I was washed over with a new wave of adrenaline.
Now it is time to take off. Follow me. We can do this.
Minnesota transformed into a million tiny lights dancing below us as our plane quickly climbed the skies. Then before I knew it everything was gone as we hovered high above the clouds. This past year has been filled with heartache and pain but has also birthed something beautiful. Trust. Trust that he has seen all I have been through and all I have prayed for. Every tear has been bottled up and recorded. I have hope that this story is not finished yet, but most of all I have found love. A love that is big enough to house continued transformation and bless the deepest pits I may come to.
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”
Psalms 56:8 NLT