My mother-in-law (Anji) is one of the most inspiring, hard working, kind women that I have ever met. She has raised and loved seven children, then went to work in a care home and went from cleaner to manager and just is an absolute trooper! She chose to retire a couple years back, after years of hard graft. Then as she stopped and rested, her body as she says, started to give up in areas. She had to take it slower and she is on the mend.
You hear of this happening a lot. Policemen who retire and suddenly they have a heart attack as they were so used to going so full pace. People having a mid-life crisis (I love the sound of that, for mine I plan to get a tattoo and dye my hair pink then travel round Antarctica finding penguins) because they have had their identity so in work or their situation then everything changes.
This is helping me understand the weirdness I have been feeling on and off since maternity leave and now..whatever this bit of life is called! Mummyness?! Please before I continue, know that I love being a mum and nothing of this is a moan about that, my little Lion is my joy and has given me a life purpose, to do my best for him and help him grow into a man who knows God’s loving voice.
Yet personally in who I am I have on and off felt like a void. I had so much identity in being a prisons worker, living in a deprived area and all that stuff. Even my blog blurb needs changing and I am not sure what to say. As everything has changed. I do believe I am being called by God to ‘Rest’. I have been praying to be in a ‘wide and spacious place’. We are now living with my parents in a beautiful place and it is spacious..well kind of when you have a 19month old! Yet my soul hasn’t caught up on this change and my mind dips in and out of everything.
Like a child who wants to dip and jump in every puddle then cry that she is wet..my mind does that with every thought and emotion! That makes sense to me, and maybe only me!
I have flashbacks. At weird times I have images or maybe even just a feeling and when I try and recall why I might have felt it, I remember a situation. The other day I was watching something with my mum, then suddenly remembered and felt deeply sad. As I remembered a girl who I worked with just sobbing her heart out on me as she told me the terrible details of when she was younger watching her Dad be murdered.
Why is that what I thought of?
Maybe because something triggered it, but it happens even just walking down the street. I get a feeling (I see the puddle) and decide to delve in and recall where it is from (jump in the puddle) and sometimes it turns out nice as I remember the healing or the joy that came after (splash in the puddle). Sometimes though it is a shock and I remember things that I had forgotten. Times of being scared as I am trying to help an officer stop a girl from self-harming and the smell and mess of blood on her face and arms is overwhelming. That feels like suddenly the puddle is deeper than I thought and I get soaked.
Why is it coming back?
Maybe because, like Anji, I have stopped. I was going and going emotionally and physically. I would have a day where I would talk through a woman’s terrible story of abuse and then have to compose myself to run a session then the next day get straight back to it. Now I have had almost a year since being inside a prison, I work 2 days a week doing an admin job. A job which I can do my best at and then clock of and not worry about till the next time in. I do things slower because I am helping a baby walk with me and I chill when he has his naps (I am not a super mum who cleans the house while he naps, I chill too!). So my body is having time to recover, and for me it is more my mind and emotions than the physical.
So I am not going to worry about it all. I am going to take each one as it comes. Maybe write it down, but count them now as prayers. Where the darkness is wanting these flashbacks to become fear I am choosing Love. That as I remember these women’s faces and the time I had with them. I can now pray for them and hand them to Jesus. To the one who is always with them.
As for me. I am learning to just be happy in me. It feels funny as that’s where my ‘identity’ monologue came from, learning to be content with who I was and confident in me in Jesus when in prison. Now I am now a mum and wife and am doing my best with what God has blessed me with. I know that if I look for it there are moments to be found, like the best times in prison, where healing can come. Where I can seek Gods voice and speak prophetically into a life or a situation, where I can show kindness and see breakthrough. I also know that there are some more puddles to jump in and I might need to chat through some of them like I did during ‘Elijah Rest’ time. We’ll see.
Yet in all things I know I am loved so greatly. I needn’t do one more thing. Just who I am, right now, in this moment, about to end my lunch break and carry on ticking bank statements, I am exactly where I am meant to be. In me He is well pleased. What a freeing, life speaking, love filled Hope He pours over us. I pray you know this freedom, you needn’t do a thing-
Just stay a little longer..listen.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uUwIiBaStE
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[a]
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.