I sat in the bathroom last Sunday sobbing. The words I feel so alone and abandoned throbbed in my heart.
Buc was leaving that morning. I’d known it was coming, but it wasn’t supposed to happen so soon. He was supposed to stay with me for at least half the day before leaving for his eight-day trip to Texas. Instead, he’d woken up worried about a rumored buyout in his company, saying he had to get on the road by 8 a.m.
Don’t leave me! My mind screamed, and I’d frowned at him and wrung my hands and then run to the bathroom. Don’t leave me all alone with our two small children.
It felt, at that moment, like the worst thing in the world to be left alone, although I didn’t know why I was reacting so strongly to this planned business trip.
Maybe it was because, for the past week, worried about the buyout, he’d already been gone—mentally. Maybe it was because I already felt like I was failing as a mother, even with him here. What was I going to do with him gone?
Maybe it’s because I have a negative root* in my heart, I finally thought, and asked God to talk to me about it.
Roots of Abandonment
No doubt my reaction of abandonment stems from roots laid early in life, when my mom left our family to start another, and when my shattered family left me without a safe place to call home. Those roots don’t go away very easily, I’m finding, as I tie other behaviors in my current life to fears of abandonment and aloneness. (Who knew I drank coffee because I don’t want to be alone? Because I just want to have a tangible comfort available to me at all times?)
Silly as it may sound, it came as news to me that I—an authority on “ending pain”—still suffer from a fear of abandonment.
It is humbling, being attacked head-on by an old fear I thought was gone. It is a call to pay attention: pay attention to the beliefs in my heart, and pay attention to the Author of my soul, who can right any wrong beliefs.
Over the last five years, I have learned that I am never alone; God is with me, and he even provides the human support and support systems to help me where I lack. I believe this with every breath of my body. And I am so relieved to have met my Lord and Suffering Messiah, Jesus, who also suffered being alone and abandoned in his time of need so he could identify with me. Now that I have re-realized the roots of some of my behaviors (fear of abandonment and being alone), I can pray through them, and I can connect my story to Jesus’ story, and ask him for his strength when I feel alone and abandoned.
This doesn’t mean the sense of aloneness and abandonment will ever, completely, go away on this earth. It does mean I can trust Jesus to comfort me in my heart, and I can also ask him for wisdom to get help in the physical world when I need it.
Seeking and Accepting Help
So I poured out my heart to Jesus sitting on my toilet last Sunday, telling him I didn’t want to be alone for the next week, that it felt like more than I could bear.
I sat and cried and prayed a good while, until Buc knocked on the door. “Are you alright?”
“No,” I sobbed. Not yet. “But don’t come in, I’m using the bathroom.” (With two little kids, you have to use every available opportunity.) Still waiting on you, Lord.
Then, a crazy idea sprang up. What if I went with him? This, despite my vow four months ago, the last time we did a family business trip, that I would not subject my kids and myself to the craziness of traveling so far away, for so long, again, if I didn’t have to.
If I went, sure, we might mess up the kids’ sleep schedules again. There might be hours of crying in the car. I’d lose a week of writing time to travel. These things were certain. And I might go a little nuts at my in-laws’ house for a week.
But then again, I might not.
And if I went, I wouldn’t have to be alone.
I wouldn’t have to be alone.
That settled it.
My writing and house projects could wait, as could our week’s planned menu and errands. As long as I could have help with the most difficult part of my life (my parenting), I would forgo my happy writing plans and comfortable kid setup at home.
I was a little annoyed remembering how many times my plans had been stalled over the past two years for these family business trips; but the state of my mental health told me that going with my husband was the most important thing right now. And so I write this blog post from a hotel room after our life’s latest interruption.
Tomorrow I will head back home to resume my Writer plans and projects, namely preparing four talks for a women’s retreat this month and a new book I am co-writing (more on that later)– AKA, the professional parts of my life, or the parts of my life where I feel most comfortable and polished and put-together. Strangely, I haven’t written anything about these projects on this blog since beginning them because it has taken every ounce of energy I have, after mothering and wifing, to do them. It has been hard juggling all of these parts of life–so hard that I don’t know what I have left to offer blog readers.
Maybe this admission is enough (and I guess I felt that it was worth posting): that I am still struggling with bad roots. They still strangle me at times. But I am still trusting God, and by His grace, I continue to take the next breath.
By the next time I post, I will have spoken to a large group of women four times at an inspirational women’s retreat. Please pray for me as I prepare for this exciting, yet intimidating errand for God. I look forward to seeing him show up yet again in my messy life!
*On this blog, I use “root” to refer to a negative past event or lie from Satan.
Love the honesty of the post. I can’t agree more on having our bad roots reappearing. Wish and pray that you would be a blessing at the retreat to many more. May Gods name be glorified in and through you.
Lots of Love
Thanks so much, Vindodhini. Another reader’s response to this post was basically to put on my big girl pants and be happy my hubby didn’t leave for good. Which I am. But I wanted to show how real Satan’s spiritual warfare is in our minds, to expose it, so he loses his power. Thanks for the well wishes on the women’s retreat. I’m sure God will bless and use even this broken vessel, if I ask him! Many blessings back to you!
It takes experience to really see the depth of your writings. I’ve been constantly tempted and failed miserably many times with Satan’s tricks. And its His grace that gives us strength to carry on. God bless you dear as you continue to share God given responses to everyday life’s situations as a woman.
Good luck with the retreat, Lindsey! My thoughts are with you. I hope that God will show you the way to a skillful therapist who can help you dig out those “roots,” brush the dirt off them, wash them, chop them up, cook them and eat them, because you may discover that will be the only way you’ll be able to neutralize their effect on your life. It’s tough work but well worth it. I’ve been there. Cinda
Thanks for the kind thoughts, Cinda. I could be kidding myself, but I feel like more than a therapist, I just need a support network to help raise my kids and keep me sane for the next year or two, until the kids get a little more self-sufficient. This mothering of two under age three is a wild trip! I handled my roots much better (or was able to let Jesus handle them better) when I used to have more prayer time, by myself and in small groups. It’ll get better with time. And God has blessed me with some part-time help with the kids even when we are in MO without family nearby, which does help when I am able to use it. We all continue to be works in progress. Best to you, Cinda!
Lindsey! So glad to have found you! I just finished your book which I purchased for our academy library. Can’t wait to recommend it. You opened my eyes to looking at suffering from a new perspective. I think your book is going to impact so many lives. Thank you for your obedience to God’s calling.
Beth, what kind words, and how they have uplifted my soul today! Thanks for taking time out to send me a message (and thanks for adding my book to your academy’s library!). I indeed hope that it will bless many readers in your corner. Thanks for your ministry, too. God bless you!