This is a story from some of the worst days of last spring, my hope is that writing these stories honestly will bring transparency to those hard seasons and glorify God for sustaining and ultimately, in His timing, delivering us.
It's 3:18am, am I having a heart attack? I feel like I'm exploding, I'm going to lose it. I'm already losing it. I think I might be having a heart attack, like a real heart attack. Maybe I should wake Austin up, I think something is wrong. But he has to be up so early and work so late. Maybe I'm just losing my mind. Maybe I'm finally breaking under all the pressure. My jittery hands come up to my pounding chest.
I've lost it.
I walked to the bathroom hoping that maybe I was going to be sick to my stomach. Hoping that somehow this was the onset of a nasty virus. As I sat in our tiny bathroom with green tile everywhere, claustrophobia closed in on me. I was inwardly frantic and absolutely terrified. Was this the moment that my life would change, never to recover? I couldn't snap out of it. Shaking from head to toe and drenched in fetal-position fear, I was sure that I had crumbled. I was sure that I had broken.
Then God pulled me away from the questions circling my mind and instead he asked, "Who AM I?"
Slowly I grasped for answers:
God is the rescuer.
God is loving.
God is kind.
God is gentle.
God is peace.
God is power.
God is light.
God is truth.
And then the answers picked up pace.
God is in control.
God has a plan.
God is good.
God conquers fear.
God delivers the captives.
God sees us through.
God makes a way where there is none.
God loves me.
God defeats the enemy.
And gradually my heart settled into a steady rhythm. Eventually I stopped trembling.
"I might actually be losing it. But I won't be lost. I'm safe," I hoped on the good promises. "I won't be plucked from His hand." Many nights I'd face the monster of the anxiety emerging from within me and each time I'd be rescued by the Deliverer.
I believed those promises of faithfulness, barely. I clung to frayed faith, night after night. During the day things would look a little better. And when they didn't I relied on people who believed for me. I'd let them hold up my arms in this massive battle for our joy, for our brokenness, for our desperation, for our trust.
I hid most of this...pretty much all of this from Austin. He was far past the breaking point, and I was scared that if I broke in front of him at home, the both of us might never find our way back. Because the thing was, I had day time to recover and read God's word and turn to friends and family. But all day long he lived in a pressure cooker. And when he came home, he needed a place to break a little bit. Every night.
One night, as he treated his mouth ulcers before bed, I noticed a horrible rash covering his entire back. I was shocked. I asked what had happened to cause this huge rash on his back. And I'll never forget the matter-of-fact way he answered me while he put medicine in his mouth facing the mirror. He said "It's just stress babe." He was physically coming unraveled right in front of me.
We were coming unraveled.
But we had each other, despite how hard life was around us we were still on the same page and such a source of joy for one another. And that would get us through...for a few more weeks at least. And then we would really see the end of ourselves and the endurance of His love for us.