anxiety, Church, Counseling, Divorce, domestic violence, Family, God, graduation party, Reality, Single-parent, social services, Word
I have been away from the blog for quite a while. Moved one daughter home from college, and the other one into a new apartment, and then she graduated from her college. In the middle of it all, my mom had surgery, and was in the hospital. Throw in a graduation party, and our own packing because we have to move soon, and endless financial aid requirements for the next round of classes for everybody in the fall, and you have an idea of how our summer is going to go. We sleep, shower, and run. We’re tired.
The graduation party. In my mind, I love parties. I like to plan them, go to them, dress up for them. I’m a very social person… in my mind. In reality, I have social anxiety, and this is how it plays out: I plan a large party for one of my kids, and buy a lot of food, and decorations, flowers, and balloons. Then I freak out and don’t invite anybody because I can’t make phone calls. There is no help for this; I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember. It’s embarrassing, and frustrating. I have a hard time going to their school events, or anything else that involves large groups of people, or strangers. Graduation parties, weddings, receptions, reunions, work, school, church, you name it, I get sick over it. Not with friends and family, and never in counseling, but pretty much anything else.
My counselor once said she really wouldn’t have time for someone like me until she was at least partially retired. A fair, but cringe-worthy observation. I am not an easy problem to solve. I never really knew myself what was wrong with me, until I went to a clinical training on children and anxiety. I ended up in the back of the room, which was a good thing, because I cried all through it. It was the first time I had ever heard myself described so accurately. Turns out there are a lot of people who grew up just like me; afraid to make phone calls, uncomfortable around anyone except close friends and family, too afraid to go to school. I don’t do well in staff meetings at all, and my internships were so anxiety-provoking (because of the performance aspect) that I was sick most of the time. I wouldn’t have made it through at all except for two things: an absolutely unshakable knowing that this is what I am called to do, and my own weekly appointment with my counselor. How I will manage grad school I don’t know, but hopefully this situation will be resolved by then.
Anyway, we have to move in less than twenty-five days, and once again, we have nowhere to go. I miss owning my own home so much. I just want to be able to paint my bedroom the color I want it, and plant my flowers, and actually see them come up and enjoy them. I miss our yard, and our trees. Losing our home has been the single biggest factor in our financial security. Well, okay, losing my husband was THE single biggest factor – many women who experience divorce immediately plunge below poverty level, along with their children. One minute I was eating appetizers with local politicians and celebrities, and the next thing I knew I was sitting in the Civic Center downtown, waiting to meet with the domestic-violence worker who would sign us up for food stamps and other social programs. Nothing prepares you for that; what in the world do you wear?
I’m tired of living in other people’s houses. I don’t mean to be ungrateful, but it is depressing to live everyday in an environment that isn’t yours to change, or to make pretty. We have had our share of slumlords, and terrible problems with mice, bees, and squirrels. (In the house.) People tend to not take care of their rental properties, but because of our limited finances, we have had few choices along the way. It’s been a matter of we-have-to-take-whatever-we-can-get-because-we-have-to-move-next-week for the most part. The last house was the best so far, but, as has so often happened, the house was put on the market, and it sold to someone who wanted $400.00 more a month than we were already paying. (Oddly enough, I think I saw her in church tonight, too. Weird.)
What do I want? I want what most single moms want: a house, a home, a husband, security. Peaceful, quiet, private, and safe. I want to drive, for once, with the gas light on the dashboard not always on. I want to read a recipe, and actually have the money to buy all the ingredients. I want to plant flowers, and paint walls, and unpack boxes, and rest. To stop this incessant moving. Everyone is telling me I have to be realistic; that I can’t keep expecting God to help me out of all the messes I seem to get myself into; that God doesn’t always give us what we want, and I have to stop expecting so much, and asking God for more than what would be possible under normal circumstances. I already know this.
I serve a big God. That’s all I can say. Do I deserve anything? Nope, not on my own merit. I have messed up more times than I can count, intentionally or not. I don’t even feel particularly loved most of the time, and sometimes I question if God even exists, or if I’ve fallen for some kind of fable, or fairytale. But at the very core of my being, under all the doubt and disbelief, I know that God exists. I do know that He loves me. And I know He delivers. Every time. Always has, always will.
Good-early morning people.
“In the day that I called, you answered me. You encouraged me with strength in my soul.” ~ Psalm 138:3
Janice Metot said:
Really Stacey? Have you messed up that much? I don’t think so. I’ve known you a long time. YOU are a beautiful person, inside and out. You inspire me with all the beauty you surround yourself with, as it IS a reflection of you. You are soft-spoken, and you inspire me with your gentleness. You are one of the most tenacious people I know, I am inspired by that as well.
I write this because my heart goes out to all of us, myself included, that had a difficult time dealing with life, just because we were not prepared for it. The wind changed about 50 years ago, and we have all been floundering since. Our children don’t get it, they can be so cruel. Yet still, we love them. Like God loves us, Like God loves you. I see the attitudes my own children. They feel ripped off, because of a great sense of entitlement, more than a realistic view of life. They separate themselves from us as if we were some disease to be avoided. Since when was life ever easy? Yet in all of this, still our love continues on,trying to set healthy boundaries, never rejecting, in our attempts to define and experience healthy and godly love within our own walls.
So your fears got the best of you?..Good,.maybe that was your protection against a very cruel and intensive world. Now that you know that fear cannot rule you, you can walk in the beautiful person you are. You can walk the world as a giant, Stacey. HIs grace is sufficient. People are mean. But have overcome. Love you.
Yes, my friend, I have messed up a lot. Not beyond the grace and reach of God, but enough to step back and look at my life, and say ” Who in the world made all these stupid decisions in the first place?! Oh, yeah- I did.” Just me, nobody else but me.
That’s what Grace is for. And yes, we extend it to our kids the same way God does- no strings attached, just because they’re ours, and just because we love them, unconditionally. (But not without boundaries!! 🙂 I love you, Janice. I miss praying, and singing with you. Blessed and happy memories, during some of the most horrible times, lol!! But I do so love and appreciate you, with all my heart, my friend. Thank you so much for everything you wrote, and for seeing good where I don’t sometimes.