Have you ever tried to grasp reality only to realize its ever changing? Like trying to chase a mirage, the closer you think you’re getting to reality the more it changes. There have been so many times in my life where my reality has been changed, challenged, and completely uprooted. I don’t handle change very well. Sometimes I forget how much I hate it and I beg for change and then fight against it when it happens and find myself grasping at the way things were because they were at least known. Sometimes I try to go back, see if I can re-create life the way it was only to find that everything there has changed as well. I have learned though that some things never change and those are the things to cling to with all your might. I would like to invite you into my life. This is a scary proposition for me because I’m a very private person and detest emotions, so to open up and let the world take a look is terrifying. Then why would I do this, you might ask? My husband and daughter have both convinced me that my story should be shared. My prayer is that someone who has been or is going through something similar can find hope. Not hope like “I hope I win the lottery” type of hope, but the real kind.
Romans 5:3-5 “And not only that, but we glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character, and character hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
This is the kind of hope I’ve had to learn to cling to through my journey and it’s the kind I pray you find.
My story, as do most of ours, starts as a child. My childhood wasn’t perfect, I learned a lot of inaccurate “truths” (those would also be known as lies) that I’ve had to wrestle with to find where reality is. One of the biggest ones I’ve had to conquer (I haven’t fully conquered it) was that I don’t have to be perfect to be loved. My folks tried but what I learned was that the better behaved you are the more lovable and acceptable you are. I decided at an early age that I would become the perfect child and do and say whatever my parents wanted me to so I could be loved and accepted. There are multiple problems with this, the one I recognized right away was that it was an ever-changing target. “Truth” was what they wanted to hear not what was actually true. I had to learn to read people very well and to mask my own thoughts and feelings even better. The other issues I didn’t realize till later in life.
I carried this theory with me into my marriage and become even more obsessed with being perfect. After all my parents had been stuck with me but if my husband realized I wasn’t perfect he could leave me. The stakes had been raised and I was determined to meet them. Unbeknownst to my husband, I was desperately trying to maintain perfection, something he never demanded or even expected of me. I had been creating a fortress of perfection to hide myself behind, fearing that one day it may start to crack, and people would see the real me and I would no longer be loved or accepted. What I didn’t realize was that I wasn’t really being loved or accepted because no one really knew me, they only knew the carefully masked version I showed them. When you build a fortress as good as I had it was going to take something big to destroy it and that’s what God had in mind. I often wonder if I had been a faster learner (less stubborn) if maybe He wouldn’t have had to use a wrecking ball. The tool He decided to use was a genetic disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and the cleanup crew was going to be the love of my husband. It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t quick, and He’s not finished with me yet, but I can say at this point in my life I’ve begun to see the beauty in being broken.