Allie got a new jewelry box for Christmas. She had been keeping her jewelry in random boxes, containers, tins, etc. Earlier this week I was trying to help her put everything in the new box and we discovered that the majority of her stuff was in one massive ball of knots. I wanted to throw the whole jumbled mess in the garbage but I knew that there were a few good pieces of jewelry mixed in there so I sat down on the bed and spent the next hour detangling necklaces and bracelets.
As I was doing this, my mind got this mental picture of my own life in this big jumbled mess. I thought back to the first year and a half after Emma passed away and I knew that I had been all tied up in knots just like Allie's jewelry. I wanted to be strong and inspiring but instead I was lost and weak. At times, I wanted to just throw the whole mess away but God kept reminding me that there was something worthwhile mixed in there that needed to be found. I was slow to listen. I just kept letting the knots get worse and more tangled together. I was filled with dread, fear, anxiety, sadness, loneliness, dependency, and even despair.
If I am being honest, I barely remember the first year. I can bring back bits and pieces, but for the most part it is a big blur. I remember that sleep became all but impossible so I started taking Ambien. For over a year I depended on it to get some rest. Next I started to take antidepressants. Anything to numb the pain I was feeling all day long. And then came the anxiety attacks. My heart would pound out of my chest and I would lose my breath. The thoughts would get all jumbled up in my head. More medication. I remember people talking to me and I would just watch their mouth move but I wouldn't hear a word they said. I was just going through the motions. I lost some friends that year. It wasn't their fault. Some relationships I just let go because I didn't have anything to give. Some became too hard because something about them or their family kept opening the wounds I was trying to cover. I know now that I didn't handle it right but I was just trying to survive.
In March of 2007, I started to feel God nudging me to start living again. It came in little ways. I would know I should feel emotion but I couldn't feel anything. I wanted to feel my pain. I wanted to work through it. I wanted to be the mother that Allie needed. She had lost her sister. I didn't want her to lose her mother. I started to fight my way back to the land of the living. I stopped taking all of the medication. As I did, the pain and emotion hit me full force. It was like starting the whole process again. Only this time I trusted God, not a pill. He was the one who could hold me up.
When I wanted to take an Ambien I read scriptures that talked about peace and rest. When I felt anxious I would start praying. And when I felt the pain and hurt I would cry out to God and find comfort in His word. With His help, I started to untangle all of the knots. And, yes, there was a lot of garbage and junk to throw away, but I discovered that in the midst of all of that mess God had placed so many preci ous treasures. Beautiful memories, rare friendships, a lovely family, new and shining hope.
I am so thankful that I didn't just throw it all away. I am still untying the knots but I am not doing it alone. I have a Friend who is with me. And there are still treasures yet to be discovered.
The Lord your God is with you,
He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.