Soul struggles and the New Year

The past few months have been a bit of a struggle for me. I am not sure if it is an identity crisis, mid-life crisis, spiritual warfare or all of the above. But thanks to some good life long friends and text therapy, I finally think I have had a breakthrough. I have a hard time sharing my struggles publicly because I am used to being the “strong” one. I am not sure how that persona ever got started but it seems to be the role I have “played” best lately.

I told a friend a few weeks ago that I felt like none of the people in my current day-to-day life knew me for the first 20 years of my life and vice versa (family not included). What I haven’t shared very often (that I remember, anyway) is that as a teenager I became convinced that I was going to die in a car accident before I turned 30 years old. As each new year brought me closer and closer to that age, I began to wander what life was going to be like without me. As a teenager I imagined all the bullies would finally feel bad for the all the tears I had cried over their words or perhaps one of the boys I had crushed on would finally stand at my casket and admit his undying love for me and how he would never love another – bit dramatic, ya think? Now you know where my kids get it from.

As I moved into my 20s I had children to raise and love and try not to destroy and even one to be held for two weeks straight until it was her time to be called back to Heaven. God worked amazing details during that time in November of 1993 but that’s better saved for a different time. I am pretty sure I chose to ignore many of the dangerous situations I allowed myself and my girls to be put in. Perhaps I had that underlying death wish guiding my way or perhaps God was directing my misguided steps to lead me to a new life.

30 seems to be an important number for me. As the idea of dying started to fade, I started to make deals with God, such as “if I am not married by the time I am 30, I am never going to be married again.” – haha! good joke! I know without a doubt that God sent Andy to me just a few months shy of my 30th birthday. And I know without a doubt that God orchestrated things in such a crazy way that would find us married 2 days after I turned 30. I don’t know how God found any man in this world that could put up and be so in love with the crazy that is bottled up inside this 5’2″ brown-eyed girl – but he did and I am ever so thankful! Our 18 years together have not been perfect but I remain convinced that God sent Andy to save me from my self-destruction and I know he is perfect for me!

My thoughts have been obsessively controlled for the past few months on that person and that life I had before I turned 30. Give me all the 80s songs and big hair and neon colors please! I have been reliving conversations and moments in time and I am not even sure which ones are real or fantasy anymore. I prayed and prayed that God would win this battle for me because I knew it was a spiritual battle and satan was working to keep my mind off the present and the plans God has for me. I felt like I had no safe place to vocalize what I was thinking because of the judgement that would follow or that my messed up mind would be taken the wrong way and people would be hurt by the endless rambling that kept me awake at night. I would share bits and pieces here and there with trusted friends and my husband but never felt free enough to let it all out. I just kept saying, “I think I am going crazy!”

Through some text therapy with a dear friend (one whom I have known over 30 years) I finally felt a break through. She didn’t say anything I didn’t already know. She just said things in a way that only she could that had me crying and laughing and not feeling guilty or shamed for the things we remembered from all those years ago. I slept so peacefully for so many hours and woke up with a smile on my face and laughter still bubbling from my soul.

In some ways, maybe I did die before or as I turned 30. I am not the girl I once was but I want to be allowed to remember her with laughter and not shame, or sadness or tears. I want to put aside all the pretenses of being a grown up and responsible adult every now and then. Because as my friend pointed out last night those years before 30 had a LOT of hard times but I was surrounded by an amazing close-knit group of friends and it is that feeling of acceptance that I think I miss the most.

Adult friendship is hard and it’s different and it is far more lonely than I think anyone wants to admit. We are busy in our roles of wives, mothers, grandmothers, employees, bill payers, house cleaners, and so on and so forth. and so very few us take the time to make our friends a priority. Somehow society has told us that if we spend too much time on ourselves or our friends than we are selfish and this diminishes our chances at wife or mother of the year. And many times, I think that we are just so tired of trying to be everything for everyone that it is all we can do to drop into bed at night and then lay there thinking of what the best school lunch menu days were or remembering that one time “when the lights went out in Jackson”. And then we shame ourselves because that was long ago and far away and my thoughts should be on the blessing God has bestowed on me today and how I can love better and serve better and mother better and just be better…and we wake up exhausted and do it all over again forgetting why we walked into the kitchen or where our phone is while it is in our hands.

y’all, I love Jesus and I love God’s Word if you know me at all – you know this to be true. But somewhere inside of me is a barefoot, big haired girl who misses driving down dirt roads with the sun beating down, windows down, music full blast and forgetting about the cares of day-to-day life. I still struggle to find a middle ground, but I think I can and I think God will approve. I suppose a part of me did die when I turned 30 and this life after 30 (closer to 50 now) is my best life but I wouldn’t have gotten here without those dreams and memories and people who came before. So I wont let Satan lie to me anymore. I will laugh when things are funny whether they occurred in 1987 or 2019. I will cry when the memories reach a tender spot in my soul. I will reach out more to the people who have always played an important role in my life and I will make it a priority to spend time with them beyond the “let’s get together for lunch someday” – and then someday never comes.

Will you join me in 2019, with windows down, music up and barefoot feet upon the dash? Life is a wild ride but let’s vow to find the joy in everyday!

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12 comments

  1. I am so glad to hear you woke up with a smile on your beautiful face this morning. Your words speak volumes and are so very true. I vow to start each new day of 2019 trying to find the joy. Thank you for reaching out and reconnecting.
    Love to you and your family.

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  2. Do I dare say Mad Dog! Do you even know how much this touched every possible feeling inside of me as my heart beats and outside of me as tears flow. Always working hard and dreaming harder, how do we ever stop. We don’t beautiful friend, we just keep those that have walked this life close and trust true love and bonds NEVER break. I love you❤️❤️❤️

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  3. Gena, I will gladly join you with windows down, music up and barefoot feet upon the dash. I wish we were closer but on my road trips you will be with me. I miss you my friend!!!!

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  4. Gena, this is awesome beyond words! I admire you so much! I’m glad that Andy found you and brought you into my life! I have seen you struggle and search for answers for something that seems to be alluding you! You have continued loving God and continued with your questioning and doubting and searching with God smiling and holding you in an embrace! You are doing an amazing thing right now in your life. Love you, daughter Gena!

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  5. Hi! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group?

    There’s a lot of folks that I think would really appreciate your content.
    Please let me know. Thank you

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