When the Walls Come Tumblin’ Down…

Walls

On July 3rd 2013 I will have been in South Florida for two years.  It just doesn’t seem possible that two years have gone by since I loaded up all my stuff from my parents garage in WV and moved over a thousand miles away to Sunny (and HOT) Florida to marry a man I met just a few months prior.  As I look back over this time I am amazed at just how fast God has changed me and my life.

In this short amount of time I have become a wife, a resident of Florida, a member of a new church, had two jobs, and am now getting ready to become a mommy.

That’s kindof a lot.

I would love to tell you that my transition into these new facets of my life have been the stuff of Disney movies; ya know…little birdies flying around my head and other such things.  But honestly, it’s been more like a messy, awkward Indy movie that you aren’t sure whether you love or hate it, you spend the majority of the movie a bit confused, but you know somehow that it’s full of truth and beauty and so you keep watching.

My expectations for how things would be in this new adventure didn’t match up to reality.  It’s not that reality is bad.  Quite the contrary actually. It just hasn’t necessarily looked like I thought it would.  I knew I had heard from God that I was supposed to move to Florida and marry Tony, so where were the damn birds that were supposed to be flying around my happy head?!  If God led me here, then why is it so hard?

As someone who is a control ninja, I can tell you that when my reality and my expectations don’t line up, I do my very best to change my reality to meet my expectations so that I can get back to the business of being comfortable and (seemingly) in control.  And as someone who has done this many times in life, I can also tell you….this typically doesn’t work.  But, I’m stubborn and sneaky and I also think I know what I want and need, so I spent many-a-day plotting and planning on how I could get what I wanted.

It didn’t take long for my old frenemies depression and anxiety to show up.  They can smell the pungent odor of self-protection, self-deception and self-focused striving.  I tried to divert and avoid them per the usual means, but something was different this time.

I couldn’t run away.

All my usual tricks didn’t work this time.  I found myself having to face the anxious feelings and thoughts head on.  Have you ever had that feeling when you’re on a roller coaster and it is just starting the slow climb to the top of the first drop-off, and all you want to do is get the hell outta there, but you’re strapped in?  Well, that’s pretty much how I felt.  Years of avoided and hidden thoughts, feelings, and emotions were knocking at my door, wanting to be noticed and dealt with and I couldn’t hide from them anymore.

When I finally opened the door and let them free, I realized that they weren’t the enemies I thought they were.  They were actually my friends, trying to help me overcome the anxiety and depression that I had been struggling with all my life.  Anxiety and depression had lied to me! They told me that if I would just stay in my comfort bubble and not let people see the emotions, needs, and feelings I had locked up, then all would be well and I wouldn’t inconvenience anyone or be rejected.

But what was different this time?  Why was I able to finally face my vulnerable, real self?  I mean, clearly it wasn’t because I wanted to.  Believe me.

I am sure there are several reasons, but I believe one of the main reasons is that in marriage, you really can’t hide anymore.  Something happened with Tony and I when we took those wedding vows.  God actually took our words seriously and answered our prayers.  He blessed us with the life-giving, life-changing opportunity to be free from the things that keep us from true intimacy with each other, with our neighbors, and more importantly, with God Himself.

Amen and Hallelujah, right!?

I’ll be honest with you…His answer to our prayerful vows seemed more like punishment at the time.  When a roller coaster of emotions and feelings let loose after years of carefully being tamed and hidden, it can certainly feel like something is wrong with you.

Tony and I have only been married for a year-and-a-half and for most of our marriage while all of this is going on inside me, I have felt like I am so broken.   I’m not the wife I thought I would be.  I’m not the friend I thought I would be.  I’m not the Katie I thought I was.  I don’t know who I am at all, really.  That might sound like the scariest, most horrible place to be ever in life, but something amazing has happened in midst of it all.  God has shown me that I’m not broken or being punished.  I am actually being set free!  As His answer to my prayers, He lovingly removed everything from my life that I had used to hide behind or use as a crutch.  Every part of me that I had tried to build myself, or that someone else had tried to add that didn’t belong, He deconstructed until I found myself down to my very foundations.

Freedom came in the form of deconstruction.

Being deconstructed is such a vulnerable place to be.  All the walls come down and there is nothing between you and all the things you’ve been avoiding and hiding from.  With no place left to hide, I had to learn to face my fears head on.  Each time I’ve stepped forward into the unknown, God and I have added a new brick of truth to my foundations.  Every panic attack I’ve pushed through, I’ve learned that I am stronger than I thought I was.  Every need I shared when I would rather hide away, showed me that being vulnerable is so very beautiful.  Every emotion I expressed without holding it in, I’ve started to see myself for who I really am.

I’m not broken.

I’m not an inconvenience.

I don’t need to toughen up.

I don’t need to be “fixed”.

I just need to be FREE!

Being deconstructed and working through all of this while being pregnant has been interesting to say the least, but I am telling you, even though it’s not always easy…it is SO very worth it.  My husband and my son are worth it.  My family and friends are worth it.  I AM WORTH IT!

Many of us know that we have some junk we need to deal with, but what we tend to do is try to deal with it on our own.  Away from our friends, family, and community.  Away from God.  We feel we are free from our junk, but really we just filled the basement and attic with it.  We don’t allow God into our mess and let him do the heavy lifting.  We lift what we can carry and we do it over and over again thinking that we are getting somewhere.  I really thought that I had dealt with some of this stuff already, but what God is showing me is that I tried to deal with it by myself and that can only get me so far.  When God deconstructs, He does it with Grace, Love, Peace, and even Joy.  He doesn’t take a wrecking ball to our facades.  He takes each unnecessary brick or piece of junk out and talks with us about it.  He takes the time to show us why it doesn’t belong and then he replaces it with Truth.

Truth that can’t be removed or shaken.

As I get ready to become a mommy any time now, I am so very thankful to Jesus for not giving up on me when I tried to run from this amazing blessing of freedom.  Maybe the thought of deconstruction doesn’t sound very “freeing”, but for me, I had to let God take away all the junk before I could begin to deal with those things that had me all locked up.

My heart may be open and vulnerable, which scares me, but that means it is also ready to love my little man…and that is a priceless gift.

I am no where near the end of this journey, but as I find myself in the middle of the story, I am proud of the woman that my son is going to meet.  God, Tony, and I have been working hard at bringing healing and freedom into my life.  I pray that as my son sees me be vulnerable and imperfect, he will learn compassion for himself and for those around him.

Love,

Katie

Comments

  1. This is so good, Katie…I’m so proud and happy for you guys! You know I’ve lived a lot of my life thinking something was wrong with me. For so long I’ve lived with so many doubts about myself…I’ve lived in crappy states of worry that I was letting people and most importantly God down in everything I did. From how I walked, talked, expressed emotion, everything!

    So many times I’ve sat and asked God, “Will you just fix me already? I’m ready to be fixed now.” What I’ve come to learn is that God doesn’t want to fix me, He wants to make me whole…and that starts with my relationship with Him. Building that solid foundation of truth you speak of is something I have to fight for everyday….it’s not easy…but so worth.

    I love you guys…yall still inspire me more than you know.

    • We love you too, Jeremy, and are so excited to be a part of your journey! It’s exhausting worrying about everything you feel or do or think or say. It’s definitely not easy to let go and allow the deconstruction, but like you said, that’s where God makes you whole. I think it’s really important that we all be kind, graceful, and patient with ourselves, even when the world and people around us aren’t. We are all in the process of becoming whole. Some are at different places along the journey and the last thing we need to do is compare ourselves to each other (something I do all.the.time.) Sometimes the process is quick and sometimes it takes years and years. Whatever it looks like and however long it takes….it’s your story and it’s just the way God designed it to be. 🙂

      Big hugs to you, Paige, and the girls!

  2. Bethany says:

    Katie,
    Once again your are inspiring. Know you are loved deeply and a hero to many. Love from the WV Hills! Can’t wait to see pictures of your son!
    B~

  3. Andrew de Carion says:

    It is so true that sometimes letting God in can feel so difficult, but ultimately freeing. I love what you said about how when God desks with our problems He does it with grace…. And even joy! I love that perspective.

    • Thank you, Andrew! I think it’s easy for God to deal with our problems with Grace and Joy because He knows He is so much bigger than them. We struggle with seeing our problems through that perspective, but it’s not hard for Him. If only we could deal with ourselves and others with the Grace that God does, I think we would be more likely to be vulnerable with each other and stop the comparison and competition. 🙂

  4. WOW! This is a wonderful way to express what happens in “real” and “healthy” relationships. What is a relationship if you can’t be you…vulnerable you, happy you, sad you, wonderful you, excited you, hopeful you, depressed you…LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE your analogy! 🙂

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