What does rutabaga and trust have in common you ask? In a small silly way, they both illustrate the growth that this last year has brought.
Once every few weeks this year I’ve had a dawning realization of some of the drastic changes happening in me… both physically and emotionally. This month marks a year. A year out of my house that was filled with mold. A year since the phone conversation where my husband revealed he had returned to his addiction… in the most extreme way. A year since I found out my already touch and go marriage was officially over. A year since I had to come to terms with the fact I would lose 95% of my earthly possessions to mold. A year since the peak of the mold illness that threatened my life…
This past year has been a journey back towards normalcy in many ways. But, the path back is much different now because I am different. Now I am clothed with the breakthroughs and strength only acquired through strain and trauma and the recurring choice to remain faithful or grow bitter.
As I walk this path, I’ve hit familiar road markers. Places I used to know before years of illness and betrayal tried to break me.
The physical changes began happening immediately, but the emotional and mental changes were more subtle.
The first thing that came back to me was a love of music. Something I feel I’d shut away because of the emotional impact it would have. I had shut down healthy emotions to survive. After my ex first broke my trust years ago, music became painful.
Then, a love of art. I threw myself into creating… even though it wasn’t all that good, it was an expression of me. Something I used to do for fun. I hadn’t had much time for fun when I spent all my time plugging holes in the boat called “family”.
Then poetry. If you want to understand my emotional journey this past year, look no further than the poems posted on my blog. I don’t purport to be a great poet, I’m sure my college creative writing teacher would cringe; but, the overflow of my heart tends to be best expressed in words.
Next came a recognition of my beauty. Now that may sound prideful, but I don’t mean it to. I had hated my physical form for years. Blaming my “attractiveness” or lack thereof as one reason my ex chose to pursue what he did. But, as I was removed from that toxic environment I slowly began to appreciate my feminine form again. To dress it in ways that made me feel beautiful. And to take compliments and actually believe them.
Then, I entered a new relationship. And, challenges quickly ensued. Not externally. My boyfriend and I connect and have a level of chemistry and communication that I had no idea was possible. But… I had so many internal records on repeat in my head that i had to learn to turn off. And just about every one centered on my ability to trust.
As I kept bringing this to the Lord and he led me through, step by step, my internal lies stilled. The day I realized I was fully trusting my boyfriend, it was like a light illuminated my whole life. Because it wasn’t just trusting Nathan, it was trusting God. It was trusting the good things he had for me. It was trusting that my life could be better than the things I’d lost.
Tonight, I hit another marker. A signpost named, “love of cooking”. Cooking was always one of those things I did because I loved it, and the more depressed I was, the less I cooked. Tonight it was rutabega and baked crusted cod. (I told you Rutabega fit in)
I am fighting a head cold, I’m under more external stress this week than I’ve faced in months… but still I slowed down enough to make a meal that took a great deal of time, energy, creativity and love.
So, it may be small. But it is meaningful. It reminds me that I’m living in an outward expression of joy I haven’t felt for a decade.
Maybe all of these changes are small. Maybe they seem insignificant to some. But as I look at the path I’ve traveled this past year, I hardly recognize the traveler that began the journey.
There are still sign posts to pass. I know vaguely of areas I haven’t seen and felt in decades… but I know deep in my heart that they are coming. I’m walking hand in hand with Jesus, observing the beauty along the way. Marveling in his goodness and faithfulness. And enjoying some delicious home cooked meals as I go. Rutabega anyone?