A temper tantrum.
Typically used to describe what tends to happen when a toddler aged child doesn’t get what he / she wants. It’s a part of being a parent to watch your toddler try out his or her independence as you continually work to guide the child in the testing of his or her boundaries. It’s tough on a level I know for sure I was not understanding of and completely unprepared for. Anyone who is a parent has seen their cherubic toddler in the throes of frustration and desperation because they are not allowed to have what they think they want. It includes kicking and screaming and crying and wailing and back arching and loud pronouncements of exactly why this shiny new or yummy looking item HAS to be theirs so they can be blissfully happy for about five minutes. I’ve been there. So yes, the picture that is triggered in the mind upon hearing the term “temper tantrum” is usually that of a toddler at WalMart or the grocery store who is being denied something.
So why all of a sudden am I thinking about toddler temper tantrums?
Well, I had one of those. When I say I’ve been there, it has a double meaning. I’ve been there many years ago as a mom, and I’ve been there personally, just recently.
And I hear you…you’re thinking “Ummmm…OK. Whatever you say.” But please just bear with me here and let me show you how awesome My God is.
Let’s start by an admission that will take a bit of explanation. I will share a secret that may surprise many as it is only those who know me well that understand it and see the overwhelming evidence. I am a living not alive person. A living dead person. Seriously. I have been this way in varying levels for many years. This way of “living” began long ago and has escalated to the point that I am quite good at not allowing myself to feel too much of anything. As in: Any. Thing. And while of course anger and crying are strictly guarded and not allowed most all of the time, I sacrifice when I successfully control those emotions because it’s all or nothing, and I have chosen nothing. So that means I also severely ration joy and happiness and love and feeling loved.
It’s a mess. I’m a mess.
So recently, I had a situation that did not go like I just knew it would go. I was not happy about it, and I was confused and sad and a bit hurt. That sounds quite normal for our daily adult lives, right? Sure. But this hit me hard. When it started its off course snowballing journey, I knew I had to work to accept it, and I also knew that it would most likely get worse before it got better. If it got better.
So yes, I was sad about it, and I began to do what I do when I find myself in this state of mind and heart. I begin my writing (typing) therapy. This is my go to and has been almost since the day I learned to make letters into words.
So this is a normal, comfortable, and therapeutic thing for me. I’m going along typing out the words that form in my heart, transfer to my mind, and end up in my fingers that fly across the keyboard. It’s all good.
There I was, bee bopping along in my comfort zone space typing out my feelings so that I can better understand them, when… BAM!!! Sudden and loud and red hot and shocking. A lightning bolt hit right in the middle of my keyboard, just barely missing my hands. And without thought or plan or understanding, I set my laptop aside and rushed to get into shower. In the late afternoon time. I don’t do showers in the late afternoon.
And then, God showed up BIG. I found myself in a state of feeling so many emotions at once that I could not process anything. I was…so scared and ANGRY and hurt and confused and humbled all together at the same time.
And if you had seen me in this no holds barred chaotic hour long meeting with Jesus, you probably would have thought:
I am an… ahem…middle aged adult having a very intense toddler temper tantrum. Complete with sobbing and whining and pounding my fists against the wall and stomping my feet.
I’ve completely lost every last one of my marbles and I am certifiably crazy and maybe now it’s time for you to have “a talk” with me about my future institution home.
If you will allow more explanation though, you will see the truth.
Yes, I had a childish temper tantrum. But I can’t begin to put into completely accurate words what else was going on. But I’ll give it a shot.
There was this monstrously huge boulder of a milestone that blocked everything in my purposely small world. The boulder was the edge of my safe world that I dared not climb. Until I did.
God moved it out of the way after I mastered it with no climbing gear and no hiking boots and no gloves. No preparation at all for this girl who does her very best to always be prepared.
I landed here, in the shower, old wounds bleeding, new ones announcing themselves. And I had an encounter with Jesus that didn’t just rock my world, it upended my world and more than a little bit of the pent up fear and anger and pain and sadness and sorrow came gushing forth and I didn’t know what to do with it. Let’s just say I freaked out.
But yet, through sobs, I also got real with my Creator. Which finally allowed Him to get real with me.
He calmly, lovingly, and softly put His arms around me and spoke gentle and tender love and grace and mercy in whispers that resonated so deep. Oh my God…so deep. He listened to my crying and unintelligibly sob soaked words. He knew. He had always known. He had longed to hold me like this for so long and He had grieved so many times when I would not allow Him in. Jesus is such a gentleman. He would not come into the crazy unless I gave Him permission. And I did. And I thanked Him over and over while I raised my hands in praise…and I didn’t even think it was weird to raise your hands in praise in the shower. Because it wasn’t weird. It was awesome and incredible and so much more.
For the first time in so many years I don’t remember when it was different, I felt. FELT. Deep. DEEP. I praised my God as tears mixed with the water flowing on and around washed me clean, on every level. At some point I turned off the shower and just sat and let the panic calm. And inexplicably, He came down to the shower floor and stayed with me, and He continued to give, and give, and give. Freely give. Knowingly give. Whisper the words I had never really understood. What I needed so much and had needed for so long.
It was so ugly and yet so beautiful, so horrible and yet so wonderful. I just held it close for a while before I shared it with anyone. I treasured it. Cherished it. Stayed in awe of it, of Him.
But now is the time for sharing and being vulnerable and transparent for so many people out there who are so much more broken than they will acknowledge. For as I fully relaxed in the arms of my Savior, I knew that this is just the beginning. And there is so much more that He will help me see in His timing.
And I hope that after this indescribable experience, I will take to the second time more readily. And the third, and the fourth, and however many times it takes. I know it’s necessary. I know its hard. But I’m done at being done and shielding myself with coping mechanisms that are all hurtful lies. I want to be ready to be undone so I can learn more to be more like the One who gives me everything and somehow more than everything.