when you don’t want anger or grief to be part of your story.

When she said the word, fragile, I almost started crying.

This was it. I had been feeling especially something but hadn’t known what until she said the word. It felt like permission and grace and relief to name what was true for me. Only a matter of days before, I had named how utterly depleted I felt, but this felt like a new layer of understanding for where I found myself today. I was fragile.

The other day, my daughter broke a wine glass. It was an accident but it shattered and wasn’t great timing (when is it?!?) and it made me feel so angry. As I responded with a calmness that I didn’t feel, I sent her from the room while I cleaned up tiny glass shards. Moments later, the floor was cleaned and I could feel the Lord speaking to my heart.

This is one of the first times you didn’t waste time denying your unwanted feelings. You named them and got to work responding to your reality right away. 

I don’t want to be angry about a wine glass. But I was.

When the Lord spoke those words over me, I knew that he was right. So often, I spend energy denying my emotions because they are uncomfortable and unpleasant, especially to my peace-loving heart. I lament that I am upset, almost in an attempt to control what is happening, as if I have the ability to change something terrible into something good.

I don’t ever want to be angry. I feel so clumsy at anger.

I don’t want to be sad and unable to hold back tears.

I don’t want to be fragile or depleted or empty.

And if I’m honest about the place where these desires stem from, it is a place, deep down in my heart that says,  It is not okay to be me. It is not okay to be needy. It is not okay to be anything than whole and perfect and healed. 

Even saying that makes me cringe, because I know that I would never say that to someone else, especially someone I love. But here’s what I’m still clinging to, in some dark place; the belief that it isn’t okay to be dependent. I have to be self-sufficient. It isn’t okay to still be in process. It isn’t okay to be messy. 

These words from Ruth Chou Simons‘ book, Gracelaced, have stayed close to my heart in the past days, as I wrestle with my fragile state and unwanted emotions and undesired circumstances:

I’ve been finding comfort in Joseph’s story lately (if you haven’t read Genesis 42-50 recently, you should!), as it has brought assurance to a season of pain and impossible situations in my own life. As I read these chapters, it’s easy to assume the climax of Joseph’s story is his brothers seeking forgiveness at the end, because that’s what we long for–glorious blooms. But that wasn’t the lesson the Lord taught Joseph.

Joseph fixed his eyes on the ultimate purpose of his affliction: to know the Lord’s faithfulness to accomplish His will in and through a life dependent on Him.

God demonstrating His glory through your dependency is your real story, and He’s writing it day by day through deepening roots and newly formed buds. (57-58)

This notion of what defines my real story has been sinking deep into my soul.

My real story is my dependence on the Lord.

My real story is not what I see with my eyes or feel loudly in my heart.

My real story is not certain relational resolutions or being understood or a mountain-top-kind of moment.

My real story comes when I trust the Lord’s faithfulness.

My real story is when I don’t waste time denying my unwanted feelings or undesired circumstances.

My real story is when I name them and invite the Lord to be my story-teller in the midst of them.

My real story is when I submit to a story that is good for me and for his glory.

My dependence on the Lord is my real story. 

I would still love to not be so fragile and depleted and empty. Of course, I would love to be in a season where healing feels more like the distant memory of pain rather than the aching wound it is today. But that isn’t in my control. What is mine is whether or not I will allow the Lord to teach my heart that it is not just okay to be needy and hurting; that being dependent on him is my real story.

This is where the Lord meets me.

In the mess.

In my anger.

In my grief.

In my frustration.

In my journey.

He is patient and kind and good to me.

He loves me.

He is with me.

He tells my real story.

 

I’ve followed Ruth’s Instagram for a while now and always appreciate her beautiful watercolors and vulnerable truth-telling. When I heard she was coming out with a book, I knew I wanted to read it. I have not been disappointed in the slightest. Gracelaced is one of the most beautiful books I’ve read in ages, but the wisdom and space to reflect in the pages have fed my soul in some deep ways. I’m savoring this book in my time with Lord and found myself sharing the things I was learning after only being a few pages in. This is a treasure of a book. And the companion journal is BEAUTIFUL too.

*Harvest House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255

*affiliate links included

 

5 Comments Add yours

  1. ghoyum says:

    Alison, I can’t tell you how much your blog posts mean to me. Your journey into emotional honesty impacts me so much. It is something I’m working on a LOT right now, and it is a difficult but important path. It helps me so much to see you demonstrating it, because if someone I respect as much as YOU has the courage to acknowledge and accept the “bad” feelings, then maybe I can as well. After all, when we deny our negative emotions, we are denying ourselves the opportunity to grow, to experience true dependence on Christ, and to connect even deeper with those we love. I love you, Alison!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so beautiful and I am very thankful I get to be apart of it. YOU are helping ME so much! (I could probably cry for at least an hour about this one blog 😦 )
    Love you forever,
    Mommy

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Plus the flowers!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sarah Beals says:

    Wonderful blog post. I also loved Ruth’s book and quoted the same Joseph quote in my review. God’s grace is AH-MAZING. Just stopping by to say hello from the FB group. ;0)

    Like

  5. Ruth@GraceLaced says:

    Alison, He is so faithful…much more than we can know with our earthly eyes. Press on in Him! I’m so grateful and honored to be a part of this post. Thanks for sharing about GraceLaced.

    Liked by 1 person

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