I come to you in my late 20s, a mother of many, and in some ways; broken. When something breaks, typically we inspect it to determine if it can be fixed- if so, we must decide if it’s worth fixing. I may not want to fix a broken glass jar if I only paid 5 dollars for it and fixing it would require 10. However, when it comes to a person being broken, there is no price too high for them to be “fixed”.
The funny thing about people though, is that once we fix the most noticeable cracks we see a thousand more than need fixing! In other words, this is a lifelong process of healing those fractured lines. The first step is to acknowledge that we do indeed have cracks that must be fixed, and some of us are more broken than others.
When I was a preteen, I decided that I didn’t want to live anymore. I stood on my wooden balcony in my two story rented home and wondered if jumping onto the concrete below would suffice. Images of broken bones and still surviving kept me from that jump. I had many daydreams of tying rope onto my ceiling fan and hanging myself there, I pictured the reactions and my funeral. I thought to myself, then they will know my pain.
As a young teenager, barely past 14, I gave up all pretenses and let it all go. My mother spent the next several years desperately trying to keep her only child alive. The despair is not something that words can ever adequately express; something akin to drowning daily, but hopelessness is the what drives the thoughts of suicide.
Hopelessness. Think about it for a moment! What gives a laboring woman the strength to go on in the midst of her worst pain? Hope! She is fighting for that baby, the hope of holding him in her arms and cradling him against her skin. The pain is overwhelming for many of us, but yet we dig deep and find the strength to push our baby into this world and into our arms.
Hope keeps her strong. Hopelessness is what drives the severely depressed person to finally end it all. They cannot see a way out of the suffering. Maybe they have tried, almost certainly they have. They have probably tried many, many times; because people do not give up on life easily. Death is not the first choice in one who suffers, it is only the last act of one who has abandoned all hope.
I know. I didn’t try it as a preteen, but when I was 19 and in the military (a horrible attempt at stability) I went into a bathroom stall and methodically swallowed an enormous bottle of pills. There were only a few remaining, my stomach could not bear a single one more. I wrote a quick note about how sorry I was inside my pocket bible they gave to us all before boot camp, and then I made my way to my bunk for my forever sleep—only I didn’t make it. My bunk-mates noticed my woozy behavior due to the pills shutting down my ability to speak or walk properly, and urgently called one of our drill sergeants. He picked me up and put me over his shoulder. I remember seeing ambulance lights before the world went black.
I assume they pumped my stomach but I have no recollection of it. I woke up attached to a lot of tubes and machines. I didn’t feel relief, nor did I feel sadness or anger. I felt only indifference.
My story is too big to be told in this single blog post, but my brokenness was a constant battle for me. The simplest things in life caused my strength to go falling down like a house of cards. I just could not endure- until I could!
Slowly. Very slowly.
Painfully. Very painfully.
In spurts and sputters and stops, I started to make my way down this long journey called recovery.
Along the way, I have gathered more beauty to myself than I ever imagined in even my wildest dreams. How does a dead woman feel when she comes back to life? This is me, every day that I breath; every day that I live this life with these beautiful children and husband.
Nothing is perfect. There have been more falls, more mistakes, more backsliding than I wish to admit were true. I wish I could say that at the age of 21 I was baptized in the water of redemption, in a magnificent lake surrounded by wonderful people, and I never messed up again. Those old broken lines never showed up, and new ones never formed. But that would be a lie, and I am not here to lie to you.
I will be honest, even brutally so. The truth will set us free, and what is said in the light the darkness cannot grab a hold of. So, here I am. A mother. In recovery. Living. Alive! Open my heart and see if anything reflects your experiences. Take what is helpful, and leave the rest. Forgive me if I lack insight, or the ability to say the right thing. All I offer is my story, which has not even begun to end; and my hand open to your hand, so we can pull one another up as we walk this road of recovery and motherhood together.
I wish you peace today. Shalom.
Psalm 143:7 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.