I’m no expert. I don’t have a degree in psychology, nor am I a life coach or the life of the party but I love connecting with women. I love listening to their stories, raw, tragic, and beautiful. A deep thread of strength runs in each one. I shared one such moment with a friend the other day when I had no idea what was really going on in her life, nor did she really know what was happening in mine.
From the outside life looked normal, typical of any American mom and wife as we exchanged waves in school pick up lane. But this moment was more than that, it was a chance to shed our coverings and be in our skin of motherhood. After we left that sweet spot of no pretenses mixed rich bold coffee, sugary sweet food (for the love of God, we women can connect over ANY carb-filled offerings), we hurried back to our crazy, messy lives.
I ran into another friend, we chatted and then parted ways, she went home to her family, I went to the gym since I’m training for a half marathon. My feet found a steady pace with my thoughts swirling. Sifting through shared secrets, unpacked pain, and naked souls–I realized we are each fighting to make sense of our lives. Strangely enough in the swirling, I found one common perpetrator. We as women don’t know why we are experiencing the pain, the self-doubt, and the messiness of what was supposed to be simple life lived. In each woman’s eyes, I see this nagging sense of self-doubt, that we don’t have what it takes. The loss of clarity over why we are hurting.
Breathing deep, my body pushed through another mile using the pain of a recent situation with my own daughter. Anger and failure ached in my heart as much as my muscles straining to keep pace. Overwhelmed and undone by this magnitude of brokenness in the lives of women I know and in my own, my soul wrestled with God.
Salty tears ran down my cheeks. Exhausted and hurting. I heard Him ever so gently say, “Wait. Wait on Me into tomorrow. I have the unknown in my hands.”
I thought of Jesus and what must have been His worst night on this earth. Him laying face down in the Garden of Gethsemane the eve before He was to be killed. He prayed on His face for hours. Perhaps His heart swelled to the point of breaking as He thought of the pain His people were going through or (would go through) in this life. Maybe he offered intercession as He prayed for God to take this cup from Him.
My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. He said to them, “Stay here and keep watch with me,” Then he fell with this face to the ground praying, “Father if is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will but as you will.” (Mark 14:34-36)
The story continued as Jesus prayed to the point of sweating blood, anguished over what he would face. Perhaps like the anguish I was feeling over the choices and actions of my child. Maybe even my friends felt the same anguish in the midst of their own circumstances. Each of us, alone in the quiet of our homes, faces planted into the carpet, tears streaming, pleading with God to make it stop, to rescue us. Yet, Jesus knew rescue wouldn’t come the way He might have wanted it. It would not come to Him laying face down on the ground, drowning in his sweat and tears.
His rescue was much different. His rescue meant yielding to the pain. To stay in the place, the circumstances that broke His heart. His rescue happened three days later after defeating death. It is the same kind of stay He is teaching us in our stories. That self-doubt we feel is because our marriages aren’t supposed to be crumbling, we aren’t supposed to feel drained, sold out and dragged down by motherhood. We aren’t supposed to be mentally and emotionally gutted from balancing a child with special needs, the demands of work, and feeling as if we are all alone.
We don’t want to stay here but we don’t have to wait here alone. It’s the same kind of wait Jesus encountered the night before the cross. And there’s beauty in that because Jesus is here in the midst saying, “I’ll suffer with you.”
Jesus whispers to our doubt and struggle, “I won’t rescue you because this kind of struggle leads to deep roots, community with others, and legacy of overcoming…”
When shed our Facebook perfect posts and lay bare the ugly before another woman, we don’t stay stuck in self doubt. We move forward into tomorrow leaning on each other. Suffering no doubt, but healing. So turn your face to him, open your heart and embrace the stay, open your heart to another.