I walked into church today and was hoping they wouldn’t notice.
I had even put on my favorite dress and curled my hair to try to make sure they didn’t. I stood up straight with my shoulders back and the baby on my hip, my two other littles toddling along behind me. My husband was walking behind us, he was trailing back just in case, because he knew that this could be a day I tried to run out.
The usher handed me my bulletin and I took a deep breath before walking in, my heart was pounding out of my chest. I felt my husband’s steady hand on my back and together we walked in and took our seats in the pew.
What if they could have seen me yesterday? Or this morning? I thought to myself. What if they saw the things that go on behind closed doors? What if they knew?
I looked around the room at all of the faces and I dropped my head in despair. My biggest fear is that they will see me the way I see myself.
Not the polished woman sitting in the pew, but the shaking, anxious woman in her robe on her daughter’s closet floor struggling to catch her breath.
The woman whose skin is crawling when she has to go somewhere and be in a group of people.
The woman whose heart starts to race at the sight of piles of laundry, dishes in the sink, and consuming thoughts about all of the “what ifs?”
The woman who doesn’t feel like a woman, but a small child who just wants to be held and told that everything is going to be OK.
The woman who is tired and full of shame from her anxiety. And that is who they would know me as. How I see myself.
But if they were to see that woman then, chances are it would be the things that happened next they would remember. The things they would know me for. The things I need to see myself as.
They would see me wipe the tears from my eyes and keep going instead of staying in a heap on the floor.
They would see me bravely take the medicine that helps me be the best mother and wife I can be instead of trying to be strong without it.
They would see me learning how to cope with my anxiety instead of pulling the covers back up over my face each morning.
They would see me relying on His strength within me and from those around me instead of trying to do it all on my own.
And they would see me choose to get up off of that closet floor.
And again after that.
By biggest fear is that they would see me the way I see myself. But perhaps my biggest step of healing could come from seeing myself . . . the way they see me.
As a warrior of hope.
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