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this #whitespace is a mighty work because I’m moving a mountain

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Today at 3:15pm I purchased Elizabeth Esther’s book Girl at the End of the World: my escape from fundamentalism in search of Faith with a Future.

I finished the book approximately 6 hours later. If you know anything about me and books, well…that says something right there.

I expected to find myself in the words of her book, just as I have found myself in the words of her blog over the last three years. And I did. Her story is vastly different from mine, but there are enough parallels in thought and dogma to draw me back to her story time and time again. If there was ever a blogger who has had a life-changing impact on me, it’s her.

I finished the book and then laid on my bed face down crying quiet tears. Not huge emotional sobs, just a little bit of a release. It’s a lot to take in.

Then I pulled out my journal and started writing. Some of the stories that she recounted of her childhood stirred up some painful memories of mine, and I had to get at least one of them out on paper. The words came, the details vivid, as I poured out a memory of a very fearful experience I had as a little girl that caused weeks if not months of anxiety and paranoia for me.

I think that the biggest thing I took away from the book today is that my struggle with anxiety, fatigue, and stress is more far reaching than simply being the result of being married to a combat veteran with an anxiety disorder. The roots of anxiety, fear, paranoia – and the resulting inevitable byproducts of grasping for control, perfectionismlegalism, and a frantic-paced life – run deep. Deeper than I want to think about.

Locked deep inside me is still a little girl lying to her mom about feeling sick because she is petrified to go to school but can’t find away to put into words just exactly what she is afraid of.

I love how Elizabeth Esther concluded her book.

You see, the fundamentalist inside me doesn’t know how to give grace or receive it. But me? I’m learning. Slowly. I’m so thankful God allows us the freedom to leave places that scare us and find safe places where we can rest.

I once heard a story about a woman who asked God to move a mountain. God said okay, and then He handed her a shovel. I think that’s a good analogy for how my story ends. I’m still shoveling. I’m still uncovering, sorting, rexamining. But I am working on it. And giving it a rest.

I don’t believe in perfect closure. But each day, I can choose to take care of myself. I can choose to let God love me.

He has given me a future and a hope.

I am not afraid.

And it was in these words that I found such comfort, and yea, even a bit of validation in this gentle trek to finding mental, emotional, and spiritual whitespace this year.

These seemingly small choices…like a quiet week on the blog, choosing to watch TV during naptime, ignoring the to-do list for an afternoon, sleeping in, saying no, writing a sloppy incoherent page in my journal…

this choosing of whitespace, it’s a mighty work.

I’m moving a mountain of stress, anxiety, fear…

one shovel of scary crap and deep breath at a time.

____

Linking up today with a not-really-five-minute-Friday-post at lisajobaker.com. Today’s prompt is “mighty.”

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13 Comments

  • Meredith Bernard

    This is beautiful, Aprille. I love the thought of small choices making a big impact. That’s how it works, right? I need to start making better small choices to make a better whole. I appreciate your words and I can so relate to you. I need to check this book out. And I have never read a book in 6 hours…but I would love to. 😉 Blessings.

    • Aprille

      I haven’t read a book that quickly in ages! I probably should have gone through it that quickly and taken more time to digest and emotionally process but I just couldn’t put it down.

  • Marisa Slusarcyk (@hidethematches)

    Your a great writer. I think I am going to have to get that book. Sounds like you have lived through a lot of ‘hell’ like I have and unfortunately with the world the way it is now we hear how normal that really is. A blessing in disguise since we have each other to lean on for support instead of living in silent fear. Your mountain may be mighty but the view from the top is incredible. You will get there. On the wings of an eagle you will fly!

    • Aprille

      Thanks Marisa. I don’t like to think of it as hell but sometimes memories hit me and I realize I’ve been through some pretty tough stuff. It just seems so normal because it’s my life, ya know? But thanks for your encouragement.

  • LKH

    I love this I don’t believe in perfect closure. But each day, I can choose to take care of myself. I can choose to let God love me
    so profound Thank you so much for sharing your story. Heading to look her up!

  • Jacque Watkins

    Oh April, love your candid honesty, and may your willingness to soul search deep inspire many to do the same. Stopping by from FMF and sending much love…xo

  • David Ozab

    The cover caught my attention because I bought Elizabeth’s book too. If you haven’t already, you need to send her this post (tweet, facebook, email, whatever) so she can see how much her writing touched you. As a writer myself I know it will make her day. God bless!

  • carol525

    Hey I was stopping by from FMF. I loved the whitespace idea. I have anxiety in my life as well, but it sounds like from a different source. Finding that time to breathe is a goal I have and I loved what you shared. Thanks!

  • Ashley Larkin

    Aprille, so proud of you as you search for true life in God. Allowing yourself freedom in that white space seems like a significant move toward embracing peace and releasing anxiety. Bless you on this healing journey, friend.

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