Home » exploring the gray » Shaking off The It around my neck

Shaking off The It around my neck

I hate when something I thought was long buried suddenly rises from the dead. It sneaks up behind me and hisses in my ear, making me jump and exclaim, “Where did YOU come from?”
“Boo,” it whispers, and it sneers. “Surprise!”
“Go away,” I say.
“No.” it replies.
“You don’t belong here. I’m done with you. I was done with you a long time ago.”
“Sorry, sister. You’ll never be rid of me. And, by the way, you’re still selfish and spoiled. Your opinions are wrong, and your feelings are not valid. You’re still not worth all the trouble it takes to love you. It’s a miracle you’re still married and your children don’t hate you every minute of the day. You are such an embarrassment.”
I stick my fingers in my ears. “LALALALALALA! I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” – but it doesn’t budge. It jumps on my back, wrapping its arms around my neck, holding on, mocking me.
Crap. Just when life was looking up. 
I get angry. I cry. I scream. I flail around, frantic and helpless. Still the It hangs on, digging its nails further into my skin. So I do what works. I run to the nearest waters of Truth: clear, cavernous, cool. I dive in – deep, because simply wading up to my ankles won’t shake off the It, the lies, hissing in my ear like cicadas.
The waters flood my ears with a great whoosh, and the It loses its grip, thrown backward by forceful and resonant currents. I am free.
I rise to the surface – wet and clean, refreshed – treading water, then tipping my head back to float. To rest. To feel the warmth of the sun on my face, the coolness of the waters cleansing my heart.
God has sent a redeemer to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
…to comfort all who mourn, 
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
And my kids – who suffer the fallout of my brokenness…
They will be called mighty oaks,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
    that have been devastated for generations.
Who God is…
You are light, you are light
When the darkness closes in…
You are here, you are here
In your presence, I’m made whole…
The riches of your love will always be enough
Nothing compares to your embrace3
Who I am…
Because of his great love for me, God, who is rich in mercy, made me alive with Christ 4…so that I, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep in the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that I may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God 5.
I am fearfully and wonderfully made6.
I am holy and beloved.7
I have been redeemed, summoned by name. I belong to Him.7 I am precious and honored in His sight.8
I am chosen and not rejected.9
I remember, too, where I am now and how far I’ve come. I remember the last twenty years and the kinsman-redeemer God sent to heal me, to show me what love is supposed to look like – its patience, kindness, goodness, humility. Michael, also flawed and broken, cleaned the mirror and helped me see who I really am. Only then, when I see a clear reflection, can I live as I was meant to live, fulfill my purpose, find completion.
These waters are not unfamiliar. I’ve rinsed my hands, dipped my toes, sponged off in its coolness. But within the context of my brokenness, the framework of my history, these words draw me in as they never have before. They compel me to immerse myself, drink them in, be surrounded and filled.
I am not the sum of my broken pieces. I am more than that. I am whole and being made whole. Complete, and being completed. Secure, and being reassured of my security.
The It lingers around the perimeter, waiting for an opening, waiting to pounce. And pounce it will, undoubtedly. But next time, I’ll be ready. I’ll be armed. Maybe next time, it won’t hang on quite as long. Maybe next time, the damage will be less.
For now, I choose to swim.
I’m a good woman, with a good heart
Had a tough time, got a rough start
But I finally learned to let it go
Now I’m right here, and I’m right now
And I’m open, knowing somehow
That my shadow days are over
My shadow days are over now 


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