How Things Come Together When God Tries To Get My Attention Part 4

*A note before you read this. After doing an audit of my blog in 2022, I have decided to leave content that speaks to the Christian I was at the time this was written. I no longer identify as Christian (and haven’t for a very long time.) I chose to leave these posts because it is who I was then and it is important to me to be honest and true with every iteration and evolution of self that I experience. I may decide to add comments to the end of posts like this as well

In this (long) series:

Sometimes Things Don’t Turn Out As I Planned
Shepherds Aren’t Always Nice
How Things Come Together When God Tries To Get My Attention Part 1
How Things Come Together When God Tries To Get My Attention Part 2
How Things Come Together When God Tries To Get My Attention Part 3

From last time…

As I was drawing that tree and writing on it “I am the vine” I also drew some wind and wrote on it “and He whispers on the wind” I heard that small, still voice in my head telling me “Give this drawing to the first person who tells you it’s beautiful.”  But no one did. So I put the drawing away and I chit-chatted with some girls at a nearby table.

Then, this special friend I met, Stepahie Bowman, sits down next to me and says something…

“I saw you were drawing something. May I see it?”

In a moment I was hesitant and confused and a little excited, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up.  The drawing was in my purse, so I dug it out, flipped to the page and handed it over to Stephanie.

“It is beautiful.”

I smiled knowingly, not knowing that I was something special, not knowing that my drawing was spectacular, but knowing that I was praying, God spoke, and I listened.

Monumental.

Because I usually argue.

Stephanie was staring at the drawing and I think I kind of snatched it from her. I started tearing the page from the sketchbook, she asked what I was doing. I remained silent. Handed her the drawing and said this is for you. She cried, thanked me, we parted ways. I didn’t tell her why I did it.  I simply obeyed.

to obey is better than sacrifice

In the grand scheme of things, it seems less than important that I drew a picture while I prayed and gave it away. I didn’t change the world. I didn’t provide money for a well for clean water to those in need. I didn’t do something spectacular or live-saving, or live-giving for that matter.

but I obeyed.

The weekend was over as quick as it had started. The airport was bulging at the seams, splitting and leaking. Flights were so overbooked, passengers were sent in cabs to cities hours away. I was flying standby. I kinda knew I wasn’t getting home Sunday. Brooke McGlothlin, my roommate, offered to take me to her home five hours away so I’d have a better chance of getting home. Stephanie  (and another Stephanie) were also in the car for most of that trip. Yeah…God already knew that would happen.

We chatted about the conference. Again, I felt a little out of place, misfit that I am. After we dropped off the Stephanies that were riding along, Brooke and I talked.  It was a deep, spiritual talk. The kind that I’ve not had–I can’t even remember the last time. maybe never.

One of the subjects stemmed from this:

The day before I left for the conference, someone I respect immensely, took a kind of big risk and told me something I might have reacted badly to.  (I didn’t, but could’ve) I lugged the burden of my iniquity around not realizing the weight or impact.

In hindsight…pun totally intended…there may be cause to believe that God timed this person’s comments in such a way as to cause a complete emotional breakdown. The comment wasn’t intended to send me tailspin.

In summary, the context of the conversation was regarding my position in ccPublshing. Paraphrasing, this person believes and feels that I come off as cold and unemotional at times and I sometimes don’t appear to be conversing, but want instead to be obeyed.

And yeah, I’m a hard ass. I know.  But I didn’t think, for a moment, that I was being dictator-esque. I took those statements and tried to wrap my brain around them. I was pretty certain that in all of the discussions, board meetings, and brainstorming sessions, I’d prefaced my ideas with, “I think maybe…” or “What are your thoughts…” or “I wonder if we should…” or similar lead-ins.  I’d learned years ago, from a book called Jesus, CEO that to lead, you have to put yourself at the bottom of the flow chart.  And dude. I take that to heart. So yeah. Those statements bothered me. A lot.

Enough that I kept discussing things with Brooke.  She asked me some hard questions.

“You say you’re not emotional & tender. But you sure seem like it to me, why do you keep saying this?”

Because I’m not as emotional as most women. I have my moments, but for the most part, I’m just not.

“Is that who you are, or is it something you’ve done to yourself?”

I know the answer. It is hard for me to say it here, out loud, to forever be recorded–because I’d rather keep it hidden, where I can somewhat control it.  Part of me fears someone in my family might read this and I don’t know what will happen if they do.  Part of me doesn’t give a flying fuck if they do read it.  It’s a two part answer.  Maybe more.  The easy answer is: both. Being less emotional than other women is actually part of who I am, who I was created to be, but the other part, I’ve done to myself. Maybe not intentionally at first. And it’s difficult to unravel the answer because it goes way back.

I don’t know where it all started, I don’t have access to those memories. My dad was a door-gunner in Vietnam. He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and he’s also bipolar. But back then, these things didn’t have names and there was no help.  What I knew then was I was the target of my dad’s anger.  What I didn’t know was that he had no control of these things. I hated him. He beat me and I hated him more. He yelled at me and called me a slut and I hated him more. I disliked the fact that my mom didn’t leave him. I thought she should’ve protected me and removed me from harm’s way.  I didn’t understand. I didn’t know he wasn’t in control. The fight of flight instinct? I’m a fighter (as if I had to tell you that?)  I want to make it clear though, that several years ago, our relationship was healed. I’ll tell that story someday. And I have forgiven him. Fully.  I’m telling you this stuff because it deal directly with what is happening in my life right now. This instant.  I didn’t really make peace with my mom about it. I kinda did, I talked to her on her death bed. But that was just me talking to her and I don’t know if she heard.

Another facet to this thing I’m dealing with, whatever it’s called, is the fact that I was sexually violated as a child.  My grandma (mom’s mom) lived across the alley from us and her father moved in with her. They both drank. a lot. He would touch me inappropriately in front of her and she’d pretend she was watching TV, pretend she didn’t see it, or she’d fall asleep on the couch in the living room and didn’t stop it and I didn’t know how to stop it.  If there was more that happened, I don’t remember. This was violation enough.  I talked to my grandma on her death bed, as well. But it was just me talking and I don’t know if she heard.

I did not have a safe place. And I didn’t believe there was a God. I didn’t believe that someone who loved me would sit back and watch all this.  So truthfully, I didn’t think ANYone loved me. Because I’m sure a whole lot of people knew and saw and just sat back and did nothing.

That’s how it came to be that I shut down emotionally during stress or trauma, or emotionally charged times. It’s called survival.

I’ve worked so hard through the years at healing and learning to trust and I gotta be honest, I think I’ve done a pretty damn good job of it. Some of it happened during years I didn’t follow God and some it happened when I was walking with Him.  I understand now, that He’s redeemed those years of pain and He knew all along how I’d best learn and change and be formed into this broken, but healed girl.

I’m pretty sure the deaths and grief I’ve had to deal with the past five years are bringing these things to the surface. Because honestly, I’ve not thought about this stuff. It hasn’t consumed me.  I haven’t blamed all my shortcomings on my past. I have dealt with it, I have moved forward.

But it’s back and I guess I have to deal with it again. Different parts of it, I think.

Because the most influential adults from my childhood are now all dead.

I keep hearing this in my head:

He will sit as a refiner and purifier of sliver

and

Remove impurities from the silver and the silversmith can craft a fine chalice

and

He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more.

malachi 3:3. proverbs 25:4. john 15:2.

Along with the metaphor Brooke used when I argued with her that I didn’t think God would want me to go digging around in wounds that were already healed.  The one where she told me that sometimes there are wounds that have little bits of shrapnel (for lack of a better term) and sometimes those pieces get infected. And I ended the metaphor knowing that if an infection gets bad enough, it will take over and poison the body.

I know this intimately.

Painfully.

While undergoing chemo, with really good chances of a full recovery, my mom’s white count dropped drastically, she developed several infections, which poisoned her body–and this is how she died. She was gone within days. Not because of the tumor, not because of the cancer, not because of the chemo, but because of the infection.

(sorry again) …to be continued.

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5 thoughts on “How Things Come Together When God Tries To Get My Attention Part 4”

  1. Oh, wow.
    I have to agree with Brooke – what do you mean you’re not emotional? You FEEL things. I can tell by things you create. (Besides, if you truly weren’t emotional you wouldn’t care whether people saw you that way or not.) 😉 Do you mean you’re not OVER-emotional, or controlled by your emotions? Is it the fact that you control them, rather than being one of those women prone to losing control and crying at the drop of the hat? I’m just guessing, because as much as we’ve shared over the net, I still don’t know you as well as if we were friends in real life. But my guess would be that it’s the “control” part that’s the biggest deal for you. (I get that, because control is a big deal to me, too. But in other ways.) Hardest for me is to realize that I’m not *supposed* to be the one in control. God is!
    Many HUGS and HUGS and more HUGS for you while you pick the junk out of these scabs so that God can finally heal them for good.

    Reply
    • Yes, I mean I’m not over-emotional & not controlled by my emotions. The control part is probably the biggest problem. When to let them go, when it’s ok to feel certain ways, when it’s not appropriate, etc…

      Reply
      • I tend to be of the other sort. I often feel ruled by emotion and wish I could control them better. It frustrates me to no end when someone upsets me and I start to cry and I think “I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry” and the tears flow anyway. I’ve always been an open book and people can read every emotion on my face and I hate that. I wish I could be more stoic. My control issues have more to do with a feeling of lack of control and a struggle of always trying to fight for control. Of me. Of my kids. Of my day, my circumstances. And then of course failing because I completely stink at self-discipline which you really need for self-control. Which accentuates the “out of control” feeling. I have to constantly remind my self that GOD is in control. And continually work on self discipline of course.

        Reply
  2. Oh Michelle, there are so many things I want to share and say here. First of all THANK YOU. For sharing so much of yourself. You have absolutely no idea how your words are reaching me at just the right moment. God’s timing is, of course, impeccable.

    Also, I’m somewhere in between you and Amber on this “emotional” scale. I tend to cry at the drop of a hat, but have had this “control” over what I let people see of me for years and years now…I’m learning to let go of that…but it’s a long long process.

    Finally, as I was reading your post, and then the comments between amber and you, I had an almost out of body experience…hard to explain, but I felt myself sort of float away from my physical body, and just take all this in in a surreal spiritual way…it makes no sense to put it into words, but whatever, it happened and I figured I was supposed to share it. 😉

    I have more to say, and share, but I’m going to put it in an email, because I need some time to compose it and put it together…

    HUGS!!!!

    Reply
  3. My shrapnel is different, my pruning in other places, the impurities in the silver come from elsewhere, but the work of God is the same here. I am laid open and bare, facing things I’ve long buried and turned my gaze from. Thank you for sharing what God is doing — it reminds me that He is after good even when it hurts and I kick against it and shut my eyes from seeing what he wants me to see. And control is something He wants me to give.

    Reply

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