I didn’t intend to write today, but it needs to be spoken. Honestly, for my own heart.
I truly do believe speaking gives power over that which contrives to remain hidden. So I need to continue to put it into practice. It is what began me journaling all those years ago. Writing it down helps me understand and see it better – whatever it is.
It’s sick day today. I feel guilt about it. There is a very busy season we’re in with work and I have responsibilities and projects and fires to put out. My boss and my team depend on me and we reciprocate depending on each of us. I worked from home yesterday to try and heal. I do feel a little better as the day progresses, but my brain didn’t have a shut down opportunity and it eventually won out – needing rest.
Today is CHD Day. Congenital Heart Defect awareness. My super-hero nephew has CHD so we wear red for him today and others wear red for their own heroes. I posted a photo of my no-makeup, warmed in blanket, red-sleeved shirt this morning in Gabe’s honor. I noted that even though it’s a sick day, I’m wearing my red.
It was a one-sentence mention, and I went on to speak about my buddy.
But my friend saw that one sentence and did what I’m sure she thought was a small thing: texted me to see if I needed anything.
“Lady, I am free pretty much all day today (all my classes were canceled). I see you’re sick. Do you need anything or can I do anything for ya?”
I smiled immediately and texted back a thank you, but I had gone to the store the day before and I had plenty. It didn’t hit me until almost two hours later – where the Spirit made sure I paid attention to a big flashing sign of something I forgot I still needed to hear once in a while: there are people who sincerely care for you.
It’s not flattering or mature or holy or pretty, what I’m about to share, but it’s deeply rooted fact and it’s wormed its way into the foundation of my life and thoughts and beliefs. The ever-revolving record that plays in my head most days and years is this:
People tolerate you Leigh. They put on polite smiles and put up with you. They don’t actually care, they are just keeping the peace and taking one for the team.
This is not half-hearted belief. This is the life and “truth” that has echoed in my head for 28 years (started as a little girl). Through various circumstances, rejections, words and actions, this has been the battle of spiritual warfare that I’ve fought the hardest against out of any other struggle in my life. The facade that I actually matter to the people around me. The sheer pathetic-ness of admitting this makes me nauseated.
Yet there is a win today with the selflessness of a friend who had no idea she would be the voice of our generous Father. The shield against the arrows that continually fly. She didn’t voice it for anyone other than my ears. She typed words for my eyes only. There was no ulterior motive – it was a deliberate movement of showing compassion, consideration, and love to someone she considers a friend.
This awareness, almost two hours later from her initial text brought spontaneous tears rolling down my cheeks and God did more than nudge me a little into waking up to what just happened and what He deliberately wanted to show me.
I confessed to my friend what He did with her words and she was just as gracious as always. I am reminded as a person who has moved many times in her adult life – there is a Body waiting for me wherever I go. He will take care of me and allow me to care for others even more than how He already gives me a drive and passion to do – when I allow my own self to be strengthened and aware of my own importance in the work of the Body. That is always lacking, but with the support of others to show me areas of lie versus truth and to patiently await the time when I, too, can finally see it and work towards believing…it’s momentous. It’s massive. It’s necessary to continue to grow.
Amber Haines speaks my heart splayed open in many ways (especially in her book Wild In The Hollow – read this y’all!). One of the many, in this:
“…I found myself begging like one who had never known herself to be loved.
If I give you more and buy less, will you love me?
If I lead another Bible study, will you make me stable?
If I teach them more Bible verses, will they be easier to handle?
There was no rest. There never is for the one who desires to fit but doesn’t believe she is loved.”
What I want to leave here is the testimony of the evidence of community. Of letting others in so you can truly be the outpouring of love and support you were designed to be. I kept hearing the age old saying of “to love others, you have to first love you”. I always rolled my eyes at that because I would always think “Heck no! If I loved others the way I loved me, that would be mean. I will love them better. That will be my gift and holy work.” How little I understood (and honestly still fight to understand) that my capacity for deeply loving others is built upon my capacity to understand my own worth apart from that, not because of it.
Moments like today’s help me get there. They help me see how believing and living the truth of my own worth in Him is possible. Seeing how He seeks to prove it to me by using His love and using others as evidence as well is an abundant act of kindness and speaks so sharply into my pain that I cannot help but notice.
So thank you Katherine. I can’t even fully explain how your simple kindness has rocked me today. I tried to here, but there’s even more beneath this surface and He’s moving still.