As I sat sipping my coffee on the outrageously picturesque deck of the house we vacationed at in the mountains of Colorado, I knew one day I would tell the whole story of this amazing trip. With each perfect snapshot I posted online, I wanted to zoom out, not in in the span of my photo but in the reality of my life. As I’ve been reading 7 Women, seven short biographies of world changing women in history, I’ve been struck most by how these women simply worked with what they had even though some of them were stuck in incredibly difficult circumstances. I’ve been inspired to live the same way, with resolve and with truth. But if I can’t tell the whole truth, then you would never know the whole span of God’s goodness to me in it. I want to change the world, not with strength--but with truth, with the whole story...which includes my shortcomings and weakness.
The whole truth is that we had an opportunity to go on an amazing vacation for a week without our kids to meet up with some of our best friends from across the country and it was glorious, but it was a painful road.
Six and half weeks before we left for our trip I had a panic attack out of the blue and then continued panicking for more days than I want to remember. The nuance and details of panic and anxiety are complex; and lots of people have opinions about what it is and how it should be treated. (Ironically, some of the most opinionated people have no first or even second hand experience of mental illness of any degree) So I’m not going to open that can of worms today. I’m not here to take a stand for anxiety sufferers or educate anyone. But I do want to stand here with the whole story, the truth of what happened in my life and what God did in it and through it.
Let me also say this: I know that it would have been totally okay to have gone on our trip if there hadn’t been some really hard build up--that was the original plan after all. A fun vacation isn’t a bad thing or something to feel guilty about, but a fun, easy vacation wasn’t my reality--no matter how it seemed on Instagram.
It was terrifying to think about getting on the road and driving for hours upon hours away from all that seemed safe and risking that I might not be able to handle it. I poured pages of fear into my journal and spent hours in counseling confronting those lies with Truth, chasing trust in God’s plan. I sat in appointments with trusted professionals and asked them if this was really okay, listened to their permission and wrote down their advice.
And we had a really wonderful trip. I had some anxiety, but we’d come such a long way in learning how to deal with it together, Austin and I both. The whole truth, the whole story of the vacation is that it was overwhelming, scary, and daunting AND it was fun, relaxing, and beautiful. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.
I share all this because I know there have been many seasons of life when I have been almost angry at the glamorous lives and adventures of other people. Either because of having such little children, or far away family, or lack of resources...it was just so infuriating that I didn’t get to go gallivanting around the world like “everyone else.” And I just want you to know...there is always more to the story and your time is coming too. Whether you’re waiting indefinitely for the seasons to change, or if God chooses to restore you right on the heels of hardship-- the whole truth is that God wants to use you and bless you in all of it.