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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Funeral in my Mind

I think my head is finally in the right time zone. 

It's been one week since my trip to southern Italy and without a doubt it was one of my memorable experiences with EMERGE.

Mainly because while I went to minister, I also found that I was ministered to.

I think life is meant to be like that. When you give out, or of yourself, there's some cosmic reciprocal mystery that happens and you open yourself up to receive as well.

You offer friendship you gain a friend.
You give compassion you receive hope.
You see a need, someone fills yours. 

It's a miracle.

me & Valeria
One of the highlights for me on the trip was the snippet of a testimony I was able to share on Saturday morning as we met with women who were leaders in various arenas. 

I told them this story:

I can always remember being afraid. Even as I child I was gripped with fear. My mind constantly imagined worse case scenarios that almost always ended in my death or the death of someone I loved. 
At school I imagined I was shot.
I was sure the shopping mall would blow up,
that the car would crash or
I would be snatched out of my own backyard. 

Even into adulthood as a new bride, I would lay in bed next to my husband and imagine his death and subsequent funeral. 
Who would come?
What would I wear?
Like a movie playing across the screen of my mind, I would see myself standing beside an empty grave.
Most nights I would cry myself to sleep which was ridiculous because I was grieving over a man who lay beside me sleeping peacefully. 

I secretly wondered if I was going crazy.




It took a lot of time and a lot of work, A. Lot. Of. Work, taking over my thought life. I used to believe I had no control over the paths my brain traveled.
Now I understand I control my thinking. My thinking doesn't have to control me. 
It was a long journey which included Joyce Meyer's Battlefield of the Mind and journals full of brokenness and confessions. 

Today while there are moments of anxiety that creep into my soul, I am a mother after all, I rarely spin out of control with horrible imaginations. 

My story resonated with a beautiful lady attending the event that morning. Valeria approached me immediately with tears in her eyes. She too understood what it was like to feel insane when the mind runs rampant with unnecessary funeral plans.

She was relieved she wasn't alone.
I assured her she's not.

I also told her what I've learned from vulnerability researcher, Brene Brown.
"We dress rehearse tragedies so we can beat tragedies to the punch."

Sometimes we feel so happy that we are just sure the other shoe will drop at any moment. Brown calls this experience foreboding joy. That feeling when you look into the crib of your your new baby and while your heart bursts from exuberant love, the mind comes in like a bad back draft with the notion that tragedy is one blink away. 

So now I know I wasn't going crazy nor that I was alone in my struggles with fear. I understand I am human. Also, Valeria in Italy knows she doesn't have to live gripped in the fear of impending doom.

And knowing your not alone is often the first step in healing. 
It's when we hide within ourselves that we begin to believe no one "gets us".
And feeling alone often spirals downward into feelings of abandonment and worthlessness.
Which is untrue.
You are worthy.
You are beautiful.
You are on a journey that includes tragedies and fear and happiness and joy.
That's the beauty of life.
It's also the very elements required for living a great story. 

Seek joy. Be free. No longer do you have to brace yourself for a blow that may never come.
But if it does know you're not alone. You're never really alone.


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