Have you ever closed your eyes a moment too long whilst driving and almost veered into the oncoming lane? Or as a kid tried to walk around the shops with your eyes closed but kept running into things?
I often find blind navigation daunting. You see, I like to be in control. I like knowing what lays before me. Prior to pulling out my driveway, I’ll already have my route mapped out. Walking into a shop, I’ll already know exactly which isles I need to go down and where to locate what I need. I’m not one to blindly navigate my way anywhere.
In saying this, I have found myself encompassed in a season of life where perhaps blind navigation is more applicable. Learning to be content in not having control or knowing what lays before me, has been one huge ‘trust fall’, if you will. I’ve needed to regain my faith in God and trust that He has placed people around me to help me navigate my way through this season. This hasn’t always been easy.
You see, much has changed since my last post in October. I began writing this post in the first week of November, it’s now the first week of March in the following year. Though the idea behind this post is as relevant now as it was then, these last four months have still been chaotic to say the least. Between hospital admissions, a rapid decline in my health and a deeper delve into my depression. However that’s not what I’m here to discuss today. That post will come, in its due time. I assure you I’ve begun writing ‘my story’ and one day I’ll share the events that have occurred. Though this post is about where I’m at in terms of blind navigation and my faith in God.
I sigh at the thought of unpacking the topic of God and my walk with Him. I feel like such a failure as a Christian. I feel overwhelmed as I ponder where to begin.
Let’s begin on the first of December. This was the day where I first realised how distant I felt from God, the first moment I realised how far I had strayed and how desperately I needed Him. The water was cold, the sky was dark and the rain poured in a soft drizzle. Rain drops trickled down my cheeks and collided with my tears as they simultaneously met the sea. The soles of my feet exfoliated against the ocean floor and with each step I felt everything. I waded out and believed this was it. I couldn’t feel God’s presence, all I felt was hopelessness and emptiness, as they seeped deeply into the crevices of my being. Pictures flashed across my mind as I relived the deep pain, as I relived the traumas. My skin crawled as I once again felt the handprints that so cruelly covered my body. I continued to walk until the sea lapped over my upper lip. The voices in my head echoing.. “you deserved the pain”, “you’re not worthy of life”.. As the sea covered my mouth, I paused and cried so hard, my body trembled and I lost my breath. Under. I submerged my body beneath the raging sea and let out a cry. This was my first attempt at taking my own life. I questioned, where was God in this?
Flash forward to the fifth of December when regret crept in. The voices began yelling in my head, harshly condemning me for not following through that wretched Sunday night. I fell to my knees as the weight of everything felt unbearable. Thursday night, lights out and door locked as I lay in the corner of the bathroom. Surrounded by darkness with my body pressed against the icy tiled floor. I could hardly breath as my body trembled. Tears streamed as my hand wrapped around my mouth as to not make a sound, the way the strangers hand had not too long ago. I was taken back to the traumas, to the rape, the assaults and abuse. From when I was a child up until only recently. The voices screamed, reminding me that I was weak and that I deserved everything. The weight of living bad again become merely unbearable. My fingers ran over the flesh of my wrist where the old scars had healed, I could feel the blood pumping through my veins, each pump telling me I didn’t deserve the breath I took. I impulsively reached for the blade that laid near me and held it against my flesh. I pressed down with all my might, all my hurt and anger, all my frustration and heaviness. All I needed to do was slide the blade downward and within moments it would all be over. Easy enough, wasn’t it? This was my second attempt at taking my own life. I once again questioned, where was God in this?
What stopped me? I mull over those three words often out of both regret and shame. I pondered whether I was too afraid, too weak, a failure? Perhaps I didn’t want to hurt anyone else? Or maybe I couldn’t follow through because of my dwindling faith in God?
Growing up I attended Sunday school from a young age and as soon as I was old enough, I began attending the regular church services with my family. I grew up blessed with God fearing parents. I grew up in a home where prayer was before each meal, before the day began and ended. God was always at the centre of my life. I was taught that He is good, that He is loving. I was taught that even when my earthly father could not love me, my Heavenly Father still did. I was taught that God would never leave nor forsake me. The verse God has constantly placed upon my heart, Isaiah 41:13, even teaches me that I need not fear because He will hold my right hand and help me. Yet there I was and here I am, confused and alone.
The questions that keep me up at night.. Where is God? Where was God when those men hurt me? Where was God when my cousins shadow stood towering over me in the darkness of the morning hours? Where was God when my uncle felt the need to show his power? Where was God when those men on New Years found me? Where was God when that man raped me over and over last year? Where was God when I decided I was no longer worthy of life? Where was God when everything began to fall apart? Where was God in the hospital? Where was God each time I laid in the corner of the room crying myself to sleep? Where is God? Does He even care anymore? Does He even exist? Is all of this my fault? Are the traumas my fault? Did I bring them upon myself? Is the eating disorder my fault too? Do I actually deserve this? The voices tell me that perhaps I’d be better off dead.. are they right?
Surely it’s not okay for me to count the hours, wishing I was dead? It’s not okay to curl up in the corner of a room and cry in the dark on the floor for hours. It’s not okay to feel the way I do, to feel like it’s my fault, to feel unwanted handprints over my skin, to feel disgusting and unworthy of love. It’s not okay that I do often want to destroy myself and cease to exist. It’s not okay to lay in the bath with my head under the water wondering how hard it would be to drown. It’s not okay to drive to the beach wanting to end my own life because I don’t see a reason to live. It’s not okay that I spend hours a day listening to sad songs, watching clips that encourage self destruction and eating disorders, that I read and spend so much time on those awful websites. It’s not okay that I drive to the beach late at night and jog until I drop then walk out into the sea imagining what it would be like to go under the waves and never come back up again. It’s not okay to relive the traumas, it’s not fair. It’s not okay to wake up in cold sweats from nightmares where I’m forced to relive my past. So much of me wishes I could go back and change their minds that I wasn’t something for them to use to meet their needs. Some men were worse than others but all still dehumanised me. I became an object, I became nothing. Now when I see my reflection all I see is disgust, an object involuntarily used, I see unwanted handprints like stains I can’t remove, I see a failure and worthlessness. On top of that my eating disorder reminds me that I am not good enough, not thin enough or beautiful enough. My depression reminds me that I’m not worthy of love or of life. It’s moments as such where I question where God is.
Now it’s important to note that as I lay here in bed and as my chest rises and falls with each breath, I know that God is the only one to thank. Though I am ashamed of the way in which I have neglected my faith, almost blaming God for the season I’m amidst, I know He is still there. He meets me here. I can’t remember the last time I prayed or went to church with an open heart, ready to receive Gods goodness. As I reflect, I realise that perhaps over these last few months, it wasn’t God who left me but rather I who left Him. The voices tell me that I’m unworthy of God’s forgiveness and that I don’t deserve to re-enter His presence. However, I know I am loved by Him. I know that though I’m not deserving of His forgiveness or grace, He still freely bestows them upon me each and everyday.
R reminded me of that truth this afternoon. I’ve known her since God blessed me with little A. It’s been a year and over the last few months my friendship with R had deepened. Through prayer and Gods guidance, the two of us have grown close. I have valued our friendship so deeply that I’ve been afraid to share my vulnerabilities with R. I was afraid of rejection and loss. It wasn’t until two days ago, when we were sitting by the sea, that I felt peace in sharing. Though faced with one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, the response I received from R was overwhelming. With her hand placed around my shoulders, she looked into my eyes and simply said, “I know, God told me”. In that moment my heart fell and a spark of hope lit inside of me, surely God still cares if He cared enough to tell R of my struggles. It turned out that R had known of my vulnerabilities for months and through this time she’d continued to love me and reach out to me. I no longer feared sharing with her because I knew God had planned for this moment and for our friendship. I am blessed.
My GP once told me; “My dear, you need to allow those whom God has placed around you, to take hold of your right hand and lead you where you can not” ~ t.
Perhaps she was right? Perhaps it was time to allow those around me to hold my hand and lead me? To lead me the way J lead me to pray and seek help. To lead me the way my GP, T, had lead me to my first admission where she held my right hand the whole drive to the hospital. Thus I had begun learning to allow those around me to lead me. I believe God has purposely placed people in my life to walk alongside me and lead me as this season of life is blindly navigated. I have lost control. That’s one of the most difficult things to admit, yet it’s the undeniable truth. I’ve reached a place where I need to close my eyes and trust that God will navigate my way through this season. I need to trust that the people Gods surrounded me with, will follow His guidance and lead me where I can not.
Oh how God has blessed me with people who love me unconditionally, despite my struggles and my flaws. I have been abundantly blessed with strong women who are grounded in faith and led by Gods spirit. I so deeply appreciate them and trust them to take my right hand and lead me through this season of blind navigation. Women like J, R, TR, TC and my GP, T.
As I conclude this post it’s important to note that I am only human. I can rawly admit that I am struggling with my faith and whether or not I believe in God right now. I am struggling to accept help from those around me. I am struggling to heal and fight the battle. I am struggling to understand why this season is taking place. After all, this season is far from easy but at least I know that I am not alone. The knowledge of that is in and of itself reason enough to wake up again tomorrow morning and fight another day.
– c x