Confession: Ever since I was a little girl, I have possessed the super-human – and arguably, completely unhealthy – ability to repress memories. Like literally, there are chunks of my life that I don’t remember!
The last year is no exception.
“Its all just a blur,” I told God while away at a lake house a couple of weeks ago. The only memories I can think of off the top of my head being, the months I wasn’t able to make eye contact with my husband, the physical impossibility it was to fall asleep without the aid of sleep meds – lots of them – and the panic attacks, each one more terrifying than the last. One, can never forget the panic attacks…
Other than that, there isn’t a lot I clearly remember about the last year.
Maybe that’s a good thing, I told myself while at the lake. Maybe not remembering the traumatic was God’s way of protecting me and helping me move forward. But it wasn’t, I knew it wasn’t. Not right now at least.
I could feel God asking me to remember…
I could feel Him asking me to break down the wall of what I recall and what I don’t, so I could fully lean into His presence and take inventory of how my heartache has changed me – how it has changed the way I see Him! How unlike I had made myself believe, not remembering wasn’t helping me move forward, it was preventing it.
I looked down at the dock from where I sat, and watched the rain making ripples in the lake as it fell…
I imagined God in much of the same way, looking down from Heaven as the rain fell in my life and my heart. Envisioning the way He saw each traumatic moment I had hidden away, watching from His vantage point as my desperation unfolded, in much of the same way I was watching the rain fall on the lake that day.
I imagined what God must have seen looking down on me the moment my heart broke.
…Watching as I writhed and screamed out, “ … this can’t be happening… this can’t be happening…” as both Him and my husband stared on as I broke down on the couch that night. In that moment relinquishing all innocence I once had, never to be the same again.
…I saw from God’s perspective how after the betrayals and lies surfaced, I asked my husband to hold me. Just one more time. So desperate for comfort, that I cried myself to sleep in the arms of the one who hurt me.
…I saw how the sweet little girl donning footsie pajamas and cuddled up tight in her bed, became my greatest liability on the heels of the confessions made that night. The weight of being her mom, a single mom, an unfathomable reality.
…I saw God looking down on me when months later, I was thrown into a deep dark depression, like a tunnel I couldn’t see my way out of. How I broke the news to my mom around her kitchen table that I couldn’t go on much longer, how I couldn’t bear to live any more because it all hurt too bad.
…How my mom must have believed me, because each conversation proceeding always ended with a plea,“…Stay away from balcony.”
As I continued to recall each of the traumatic memories, I scribbled them down in my journal until I could no longer see the pages though my tears.
There was so much I had forgotten.
…Yet, God never had!
At that exact moment, the rain picked up and pounded furiously on the lake below, bringing a beloved verse to the forefront of my mind,
“You [God] keep track of my sorrows.
You have collected my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each in your book.”
And I realized,
Each tear I have cried was like the rain in the lake, collected. The severity of my every sorrow, recorded.
There is nothing I have endured that God wasn’t there for, nothing I have forgotten that He doesn’t recall in detail and hold in His hand.
Since that day – since seeing my heartache from God’s perspective – something has changed in me.
Because what I didn’t realize I desperately needed was for someone to validate my pain. To publicly declare it a miracle I am still breathing, still married and that I haven’t been locked up in a mental ward after what I have endured. That there must be a significant reason I am still on this Earth – because on so many days I told God, more than anything, I didn’t want to be.
Validation was what I had been searching for.
And unbeknownst to me, validation was what had been there all along.
All the while, God had been looking down from Heaven and affirming,
“…You have been through so much, I see that.”
Instantly the rain stopped, and everything became still again. Still on the lake that day, and something stilled deep inside me.
In Lamentations 3:49-50 it says so beautifully,
“My tears flow endlessly,
they will not stop
until the Lord looks down from heaven and sees.”
God sees every day that we wake up against our will and the declarations we’ve made when we’re sure we can’t hold on much longer. God sees every earth shattering confession, each terrifying breakdown, every secret we’ve never told and every moment we are certain we will never recover from.
He sees the miracle it is that our hearts are still beating, and that our marriage and sanity are still hanging on by a (microscopic) thread.
We have been through so much…
God sees that.
When we allow ourselves to lean into His presence and embrace that truth, the tears that once flowed endlessly, quiet. And something stills in our restless souls knowing through every tear and every trauma, both those forgotten and tirelessly recounted, God was right there by our side.
That the validation we have been searching for was there all along,
Looking down with compassion from Heaven.