Saturday, June 4, 2011

And the Truth Will Set You Free

In the entire year I could not remember it being so dark. The pain had seemed an ever present torment for as long as I could remember. The dark was darker than it had ever been. It was harder to get on top of, and the "feeling good" didn't last...long at all. Every time I thought it was getting better, it seemed to get worse.

I couldn't remember the last time I had even had a good day, one where I didn't cry or feel my heart was being ripped out or simply didn't hurt. Every day hurt.

I couldn't do it anymore.

And I couldn't change it.

All I could do was go to God and be blunt. "You have to do something. I'd quit if I could, but I have two children depending on me. You have to do something to get me out of this hell."

A simple, but oh, so clear response as audible as my children in the room with me: "You have to tell."

The thought had crossed my mind multiple times in the last year, but along with the thought came chest pain, the inability to breathe, and deep soul sobs. With each wave of fear, I had declared, "I can't tell."

This time, I only asked, "Who?"

My dear friends Kenneth and Joy came to mind. Yes, I could tell them.

I went in my bedroom, closed the door, sat on my bed with my computer, and pulled up a new email. I had no idea where to start, how to word things, or what the end would look like. I simply had to tell, so I started.
 
"I do not expect you to have answers or…really anything. I just need to tell someone..."
I told them about my struggle with God, not understanding Him, trying to figure out what trust and faith are all over again, feeling totally abandoned by Him for nineteen years, and yet, knowing He was faithful. Strangely that was the easy part.

Then I told them about 19 years of marriage that left more scars than I believed would ever go away. I told them details, things I had never told anyone. I would write, stop, breathe deep, keep writing...and cry. 

I told them about the shame. I typed, fought the desire to vomit, laid in a fetal position on my bed, sobbed until I ached, and then got up and typed more.

Then I said it, the thing that had tormented me that I couldn't admit, that hurt me to my very core, the truth.

I typed:

"He...didn't...want...me."

I stared at the blurred words while hot tears rolled down my face, and I read it over and over.

Really, that was what it all came down to.

He didn't want me.

It wasn't my hair or the way I kept house or my ironing or any THING. It was me. He didn't want me.

And I closed my computer, lay on my bed, and soul cried over nineteen years of truth.

I have no idea how long I cried. When I sat up, I opened my computer and finished writing the letter.

Four hours, ten pages, and a soggy pillow later, I ended the letter with:

And I wonder if I will ever not feel so completely destroyed, crushed, and shattered.

Thank you for listening.

Love you both.

Jerri
I hit "send", closed my computer, and put my head down. I was tired, and I needed to rest.

The next day I woke up, went through the day, got to the end, and realized...it had been a really good day.

I texted Kenneth and told him. He and Joy rejoiced with me.

The next evening I texted, "Okay, that is two great days in a row."

After day three of my string of great days, I allowed myself to think maybe...possibly...

Then came the fourth day, and it was a great day, too. That is when I realized....

I wasn't sad. I wasn't fighting to be happy. There was real joy, and I wasn't having to fake it or fight for it. It was coming naturally. The smiles were real. The laughter was real.

The peace...was real.

And I knew it wasn't just a sunny time out in the prison yard before going to the cell again. I knew I was out of the prison...completely. I had been released from the dungeon and was in the sunshine. I was breathing, moving...living...hoping. I was also...

...sleepy.

In nearly eleven months I could not remember a time when I felt sleepy. I had been mentally and emotionally exhausted. I had slept to try to escape my thoughts, but I didn't remember when my mind had been so settled I could feel my body want to sleep. I don't think I have ever been so excited to be sleepy in my life.

I wrote that letter nearly three weeks ago. Since then I have...
...cleared the flowerbeds that previously brought me to tears.
...trimmed limbs (from ground level because I don't get dizzy standing on the ground) from several trees.
...assisted Anna as she redecorated the study and made it into a guest room.
...made a wonderful trip to Galveston and enjoyed the beach and churning water.
...relaxed....honestly relaxed!...with friends.
...enjoyed a house guest so much I really hated to see her go home.
...rejoined Habitat for Humanity.
...enjoyed time with my brother.
...laughed deeply.
...developed smile lines.
...slept.

...had one great day after another, and at the end of each one, I am delightfully sleepy. :-)

12 comments:

My daily walk in His grace! said...

Amen. You ARE an overcomer, through Christ!
God bless
Tracy

iona said...

So thankful to read this! Giving praises to YHVH! Still and always loving you.

Anonymous said...

Praise God!!!! How wonderful it is to read this post. I cannot begin to imagine the pain that must have accompanied you during those years of marriage, but I am excited to read about what God has in store for you.
Alexandra.

Jerri Kelley said...

Tracy, He is so faithful!

Alexanda, I am excited, too!

Bless you, ladies!

mizzbrizz said...

So glad that saying it out loud allowed you the freedom you'd so long been seeking. Addressing what is at the root of the pain is so essential. Very happy for you, Jerri!

Lisa Buffaloe said...

Oh sweet friend, I'm so grateful for your freedom. Man, it's been hard living so far away from you during this time. How blessed to know my prayers have wings that fly to the throne and wrap you in His love.

Love you, sweet friend!

bouncergriim said...

Some of the best spirtual advice I have ever heard for confronting our demons (and I mean the real ones is this).

Acknowledge the lies we tell our selves.
Expose the truth, by vocally renouncing the lies
Pray for those who have hurt you and forgive (Jesus told us to pray for our enemies)
And accept the love and grace our Lord has given us and accept that you are a beloved daughter of THE FATHER and therefore a member of the royal house of Our God of all Creation seen and unseen.

But always remember renounce the lies, accept the truth and forgive those who hurt us. And walk with Christ always as your brother.

PAX Thomas

Jerri Kelley said...

Thomas, sometimes you can't forgive them until you forgive yourself. :-)

So appreciate you, dear friend!

bouncergriim said...

all in His time, when you are ready. Also remember as Amy so reminded me: Pray to be filled with Him and His Love after you empty out the evil and hurt, for if you want to keep things that are unwelcome out of the temple that you are you must fill the temple with God so there is no room for the uninvited.

Jerri Kelley said...

Thomas, good word!

Filling the void is essential. Otherwise, as Anna says, "It is like a thing that follows you and sucks you back in."

She's a pretty smart cookie. :-)

I'm good, my friend. Forgiveness is a daily act...in my opinion, if we want to be well nourished, forgiveness of others and self has to be the first bite of our daily bread.

Love to you and your beautiful wife!

Anonymous said...

Oh Ms. Jerri!

I am very happy to know that you are doing well. God is indeed awesome!

And boy, is He ever! This post is a confirmation for me. I too, have been convicted to write a letter to him. I keep getting constantly urged that part of the healing process is setting things straight. Is telling the truth. Is finally being able to open up after two and a half years of keeping things in. Is heading toward a place where I won't have anything to hold against him because he would know everything.

I keep telling (the audacity!) God that I don't need to do it since I already have confessed it to Him but I keep getting reminded that I also have to confess to the one I want forgiveness from and wanting to extend forgiveness to.

I've experienced glimpses of that joy. Of that peace. And I want my full portion!

Thank you once again for your life, Ms. Jerri!

PX

p.s. I have been e-mailing you for the past few weeks but I keep getting a failure to deliver message.

Jerri Kelley said...

Iona, I can't believe I missed your comment!!!! Love you, too, my friend!

Lisa, I know. You would be right here, holding my hand, handing me a kleenex, crying with me. Love you deep.

PX, hmmmm...weird. Let me email you and see if you can email back. I've been praying for you, that you would know how to move on in peace. Perhaps God answered this way. I'd feel honored. :-) Hugs, courageous one of God!