How Are You, Really?

4/14 How are you, really?

We’re changing things up a bit around here. I have been tempted in the last couple weeks to take down this website and stop writing for a season. When I’ve struggled in the past it seems my go-to is to stay home and figure it out on my own. You know, hide until the storm blows over.

You may not even notice a change if you come by for a visit every once in awhile, but I will always remember this post as the one that invited you in. Good Friday seemed like an appropriate day to do so.

My friends laugh about the ways I ask this question. I tilt my head, wait in silence, and usually stare obnoxiously until they hit me straight. Sometimes tears come as a prerequisite to the words. Sometimes we stop at "I'm good" because it's just not the time to get into the real answer or maybe- they really are doing well.

So how am I, really?  

I've been better you guys.

I have struggled with stomachaches and stomach issues for over a year now and it’s been a debilitating/frustrating/confusing journey. I’m convinced it’s not pregnancy (now that I have a four month old), which means it’s time to get some things checked out.

It’s become the very worst since Remi has been born. I have lost weight- which brings me a lot of shame. I have lost energy, tears and sometimes the hope that things will change.

Last week my stomach woke me up at 4:30 am and I stayed up. I wrote in my journal that waking up like this used to make me sad and upset, but now it feels normal enough that I’m numb to it- and that scares me. I wrote words but didn’t really feel anything. I come from a long line of feelers, so to not feel means there’s something that needs to move. A wedge, or dam in my soul that needs to release.

So, I went to the only room with a door that didn’t have a sleeping person in it, closed the door and cried. I fell to my knees and cried. And cried. And cried.

Feeling awful has added so much guilt to the ways I’m ‘underperforming.’ Feeling awful has made way for new amounts of isolation. Feeling awful has discouraged my normally encouraged heart. And yet, feeling awful has made me pray, ask for prayer, and soak myself in truth more than any other season I can remember.

So I don’t know you guys. I’m not okay. And I am practicing the mantra that “it’s okay to not be okay.” Are there days that are better than others? Yes. But is this the hardest season that I can remember in recent years? Yes.

So even though all I want to do is go on a writing-hiatus, I am inviting you in.

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There is a scene from the movie version of Little Women when the German professor kind of disses the writing Jo has tirelessly worked on and given him to read. She defends it by saying 'this is what the people want.' But he gently encourages her instead to write from life.

So that’s my promise, attached to an invitation. I will write from life. The current. The struggle and what I pray is the one-day victory.

Even though pain makes me want to hide, I felt as though God impressed upon my spirit that there is too much pain ‘out there’ to keep mine huddled ‘in here.’ All I want to do is fight to keep my pain folded, neat, manageable and to myself. But that isn’t working anymore and it isn't real either.

Pain isn’t about comparing to another’s to weigh whether or not we ‘deserve’ to feel sad, alone or heartbroken. Pain is pain. We all have it. Having it makes it valid. So today I invite you into mine so we can acknowledge together: this life thing is hard. It’s not the way it’s supposed to be but it may just be the way to see God clearer than ever before.

Through this season God is real. He is present. He is kind. And he is worthy of my praise. Let's all take a step closer toward expressing how we really are, and taking him at his word. 

Share with your people today how you really are. If you are in a good season, thank God and celebrate. If you are in a hard season, thank God and let people into it. We are not meant to do this thing alone. I am almost teary-eyed knowing it's not just me.