So with a painted grin, I play the part again,
So everyone will see me the way that I see them…
Are we happy plastic people, under shiny plastic steeples,
with walls around our weakness and smiles to hide our pain,
but if the invitation’s open,
to every heart that has been broken, maybe then we close the curtain,
on our stained glass masquerade….
Casting Crowns in Stained Glass Masquerade
Casting Crowns has a lot of songs that speak to my heart and to my life as you will see.
I could not believe what I was reading for this week's quote. This was my life a few years back. Back when I was going through the pain of a divorce from my unfaithful husband, a divorce which was the product of an affair that left his (just out of the teen years) mistress pregnant, while I was trying to raise our 4 year old daughter practically alone at the age of 32.
Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feelin' so small
Cause when I take a look around
Everybody seems so strong
I know they'll soon discover
That I don't belong ~ Stained Glass Masquerade
This quote was my life after the divorce as I struggled to figure out who I was as a single mother, one who had been stuffed in a box during my marriage ("You're not welcome or wanted to go out with me and my friends. Stay home with the baby."), pushed aside in the care taking of my daughter ("She's MY child, I'll take care of it/her, go away") and fearing to fight him because it would have resulted in so much pain, even more so than I'd already been in emotionally, mentally, spiritually and, yes, physically. And, I didn't want our daughter to be subject to the name calling, the yelling, the shoving and pushing that her dad would do to me in front of her ("She's two, she'll never remember it, so therefore it doesn't matter what I do to you in front of her.").
The performance is convincing
And we know every line by heart
Only when no one is watching
Can we really fall apart ~ Stained Glass Masquerade
So I pasted the smile on my face and kept trudging on. Weary, disillusioned, angry, humiliated, hurt, numb, but always with a smile plastered on, hiding the pain, until I was alone. Until night fell. Until the lights went off and I was alone, no longer needing my façade, my masquerade. Then I could just sink into the chair, the couch, my bed, and stare. Wondering what I did wrong, wondering what happened in my life to bring me to this place of desolation, desperation and disillusionment, wondering if it would ever change.
But would it set me free
If I dared to let you see
The truth behind the person
That you imagine me to be ~ Stained Glass Masquerade
I struggled to take care of my daughter the way I KNEW she needed to be taken care of. In all honesty I didn't do such a good job for a couple of years because of the road I was walking and that's painful to admit. In spite of those shortcomings at the time, really, it was because of her that I kept plugging on, going about the day to day as if by rote, one foot in front of the other, one breath after another. It was because of her that I didn't have the breakdown so many thought I was entitled to, even my own counselor/psychologist. If I wasn't strong for my daughter, then I couldn't do what needed to be done on a daily basis and I could not afford to fall apart. Ever. I would most likely lose her to her daddy if I did. But even then, even though she (literally) was what I was living for, working for, going through the motions for, I was brittle, on the verge of breaking.
Jesus, hold me now
I need to feel You in this place
To know You’re by my side
And hear Your voice tonight
Jesus, hold me now
I long for Your embrace
I’m beat and broken down
I can’t find my way out
Jesus, hold me now ~ Jesus, Hold Me Now
Several of my long time blog friends were with me through this time of depression and hurt and questioning. Some as far away as England, but always just as close as my heart because they became those "grown up" glimmers of encouragement, those lights in the darkness of my spirit. I knew God was there, but I couldn't feel Him and at that point I really needed to feel something other than lost. I tried to figure out who I was again after all the pain and after a while in trying to figure it out I made a wrong turn somewhere and got even more lost than I had been. I was just so tired of being alone without a corporeal human to lean on.
She is running
A hundred miles an hour in the wrong direction
She is trying
But the canyon's ever widening
In the depths of her cold heart ~ Does Anybody Hear Her
Rather than try and struggle through happy lies and fragile fronts I dropped the blog altogether. I just couldn't face in the light of day, and under the scrutiny of friends, what I was doing, what I was becoming so I stopped coming around and sorting through my disjointed and fractured thoughts because it was just too painful to be put under a microscope and criticized by everyone. I'd already been unfairly and wrongly criticized enough in my own marriage because he had been trying to shift his faults, sins and responsibilities on me so he didn't have to look at himself and what he'd done to his family. I just couldn't deal with the pain, the sympathy, the advice so I walked away from a part of myself that had been important to me. The path I trod kept me from where I needed to be going.
Curse this morning sun, drags me into one more day
Of reaping what I’ve sown, living with my shame
Welcome to my world, and the life that I have made
One day you’re a prince, and the next day you’re a slave
Lord, I just looked up today
And realized how far away I am from where You are
I don’t know what else to pray
Broken at Your feet I lay
The life I’ve torn apart ~ Jesus, Hold Me Now
I didn't want to face how I'd lost so much time out of the life of my beautiful and precious daughter by being selfish and wanting to "live" again. It's one thing to find oneself, but it is another entirely to try and find oneself by losing oneself in the wrong things because in doing so, so much is lost in every other part of one's lives. In the most important parts and with the most important people.
So she sets out on another misadventure just to find
She's another two years older
And she's three more steps behind
Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?
Or does anybody even knows she's going down today . . . ~ Does Anybody Hear Her
Eventually, after I got tired of looking at myself in the mirror in the mornings, after I got tired of the guilt of my mom taking the bulk of the care of my beloved daughter, after I couldn't stand the loneliness of a different kind that I found myself mired in, eventually I started to get it right and to do what I should, instead of being what I shouldn't. It was baby steps though. But it was baby steps forward with God's help. And that's what mattered. Abba. Father. Friend. Healer. Confidant. Savior.
Daddy, here I am again
Will You take me back tonight
I went and made the world my friend
And it left me high and dry
I drag Your name back through the mud
That You first found me in
Not worthy to be called Your son
Is this to be my end
Daddy, here I am
Here I am again ~ Prodigal
However, when I stopped doing what I shouldn't and started being who I should, I didn't know how to come back. Didn't know how to face the questions that might be waiting – for anyone who might still be out there. After almost 1½ years after I started to get my life back in order, I felt the overwhelming urge to blog again. It was so very heartening to hear from my two very dearest Brits (one an ex-Pat), thank you Graham and MiPa, after my first blog post in about 2½ years, except for an update in January of 2009. That, in itself gave me the courage to continue to start blogging again and bring me back to where I can write what's on my heart, instead of turning away and wearing the mask to hide the plastic smile and disjointed movements of someone who was just going through the motions. Presenting to the world what I wanted it to see instead of what was really going on inside.
Your mercy saved me
Mercy made me whole
Your mercy found me
Called me as Your own
Here I stand a child of Yours
Broken and in need of You
Break these chains and wash my guilt away
Healer of my brokenness
My weary soul will find its rest
You are my strength, the lifter of my head
You're greater than my yesterdays
You hold me close today
You're the Lord of my tomorrows
My heart will always say
You're greater than my yesterdays . . . ~ Mercy
Only through God's help, grace and mercy am I here today, do I have a truly wonderful bond and relationship with my (now) 8 year old daughter, a job I completely enjoy and take pride in, a new husband I love, a 3 month old son who is a true miracle and an 11 year old high functioning special needs step-daughter who is a great challenge but whom I do love regardless of the difficulties right now and a closer, more trusting relationship with my God, the lover of my soul. I've closed the curtain on the masquerade, the one that included broken glass as well as stained glass. I no longer need it anymore. I can be who I am and I am on the path to who God wants me to be. Still baby steps, but they're bigger baby steps and they're still going forward. Now when I smile, that smile is no longer in danger of cracking, but is instead bright, genuine and full of hope and promise.
. . . And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side . . . ~ Praise You In This Storm
Please visit Loni @ Writing Canvas for more perspectives on this week's In Other Word's quote.
And, now I am going to implement something that I used to do back in my earlier blogging days before I stopped for a couple of years to take a break. I will be posting the HDQ answers again on Wednesday. What is the HDQ, you ask? The HDQ is the Hump Day Question. Basically, I answer YOUR questions that you pose to me. Anything you want to know about me, my life, my family, beliefs, opinions, humor, hobbies, etc. Please submit your questions in the comments and I'll have them answered on Wednesday.