Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Don't Tell Me It'll be OK. (Mommy Needs Help, Part 2)

Faithful are the wounds of a friend [who corrects out of love and concern] but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful [because they serve his hidden agenda]   Proverbs 27:6
Several years ago, I was an avid runner who wanted to make her best time running across her apartment complex to get her laundry. Like the graceful swan that I am, I tripped over my own feet, and skidded across said parking lot at an impressive speed. Fortunately, I hit that parked car, or I'd have gone another 10 feet for sure. After a few blood-curling screams, I peeled myself off of the pavement and whined all the way home. My arm felt like it was on fire, and I was a little terrified to look at it. Turns out, I was missing most of the skin off of the underside of my forearm. That wasn't the worst part: 
I had to clean out the wound.
Gripping a wet washcloth in my mouth, I sat there for about 5 seconds – too much time, and I knew I’d overthink it – and grabbed the nail brush. I had gaping nastiness from my elbow to my wrist – caught in the nastiness was half a pound of gravel from the parking lot. It had to come out. The wound would never heal with all of the asphalt in there.
So… I scrubbed. And I thought I was going to pass out.
I alternated with running COLD water and scrubby brush until I was satisfied all of the gunk was gone.
Then I went in with betadine. I might as well have set myself on fire. It burned like I've never experienced pain before. Eventually, though, the pain from the antiseptic leveled off. 
Fortunately, I worked at a veterinary clinic. While they were impressed that I had the courage to clean it out, I was chastised by one doctor for the amount of lidocaine that I had spread over my arm like buttercream icing. The oldest doctor, who was a mix of a loving grandfather and Sam Elliott's character in The Ranch, told me the best advice I've ever heard in my life:  
"Do you want to just make it feel better, or do you want it to heal?"
Everything that I was doing to make it feel better was actually slowing down the healing process. He gave me a tube of antibiotic ointment that is normally used for eye infections. Super high-powered, and with NO analgesic qualities. None. And on almost a square foot of broken skin, it burned like crazy. But it healed in less than a week. There's no scarring. If you've seen my arms, you'd never know one of them looked as mangled as it did.
Fast forward 10 years later. I’m sitting in a training about crisis intervention. We were going through things never, ever to say to someone going through a crisis. Number ONE thing never, ever, ever to say to someone: “It’ll be okay.”
Her husband may leave her, and he may take the kids. She may end up getting evicted from her apartment. He may be going to jail for quite some time. She may lose her license permanently. He may lose his job. The damage may be worse than you think. 
It may not be okay. At least, not right then.
I remember for years I was in quite a bit of denial about how BAD things were with my (now) ex-husband. I remained in blissful ignorance until that world came crashing down. For years, I was in denial that all the abuse I had put my body through with my eating disorder wasn’t really a big deal. I challenged that people had it WAY WORSE than I did, and they were still living…
But it really WAS "that bad." 
I knew anything that I did was going to be painful and probably feel like the wrong thing. But I had to do something, because the covering up that I was doing was only causing more damage.
I had to start scrubbing.
And I couldn’t worry about making myself feel better. I had to stay focused on what exactly I needed to do because it was right.
I could either “feel better” or I could start healing. 
I challenge you today to start taking an honest look at those scary areas in our lives where we are trying to make ourselves “feel better” And decide to start healing instead.


Because this isn’t a way to live; it is a way to die.
You will eventually "feel" better. But it may not be for a while. God will have to put your heart back together. You will HAVE to do the hard work of facing your mistakes and failures. You will have to do things differently, probably than you’ve ever done them before in your life. You will have to surrender to the thought that you've totally screwed this up, and you've been doing things your own way, and that you actually have to change. 
You will have to stop medicating the problem. You will have to feel the wounds again. You will have to confront the demons. 
But you will win. 
Get out the brushes. A cold wash cloth. And do it. Don’t overthink it. Don’t over-analyze it. Don’t rationalize it away. If you have to justify your actions, then they are not justifiable. If you have to rationalize them; they’re crazy.
Sorry, mommas. But it's time to get that help. 

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