these have been more difficult kind of days lately.  ones where i feel like not trying to be social, overcome with fear of rejection mixed with bursts of "i can do this!  i'm going to make this (or that) happen," with a few subtle moments of sweetness.  all of this in regards to friendships and motherhood, but mostly the yearning for a deep connection with someone other than my husband (who, after all, can't meet all of those complex needs God has given me).

facebook isn't helping this matter.  i feel even more isolated recalling those friendships that are fading just due to basic geography, and the hopefulness of rekindling those authentic friendships is also waning.  i burn with jealously at those who seem to be thriving in their friendships and in motherhood.  i remind myself that hey, they haven't uprooted themselves to live in an odd corner of the world and had to basically start all over again.  so i've been comparing myself i guess.  which i know--because i vividly remember when and where my pastor kindly spoke these words to me--comparison is the thief of all joy.

but i still feel like waving my white flag and yelling, what about me, world?!  i'm over here hurt and isolated and feeling like shit and no one cares!  can you hear me?!  don't let the facade fool you--although i'm trying to pick myself up from my boot straps and putting on a good front most days--i feel like i'm flailing in plain sight and no one is noticing.  and to all of this, inwardly i hear that voice that says, you're being selfish.  so self-centered that of course, if you sit in all of this, it will drive you deeper into despair.  here, lies are easily made into truths.  yet at the same time:  when i was 19 and my suicide attempt brought me to the hospital ER, i remember the nurse disdainfully said, how selfish i was for this act.  and then the next evening, before i was discharged, i told the doctor, who urged me to seek counseling, that i would be fine--the best way to find healing was to give myself away to the poor and needy.  then my light would burst forth like the dawn and i would be made whole.

so these things are at war within me:  selfishness and the super righteous get-over-yourself.

but i think this all, my struggles here, don't fit in either of those.  really, i think it's okay for me to validate my pain and feelings of isolation.  they are real, and with a mature perspective, quite normal even going into our second year abroad.  and let's face it, there aren't many out in facebook-land that can relate.  sure, there are a few, and i'm thankful for those women.  but at the same time, this is uniquely my experience filled with my unmet longings for a mentor-friend.

but yeah.  i'm holding both of those extremes in my hands and figuring i'm not really at either place because i don't think either of those are healthy places to be at.  i'm not all consumed with my selfishness:  i am trying to remember the caring moments when others have reached out to me, and the loving conversations ben has had with me, and the giggles i've shared with my sun-shiny girls.  but i don't feel like shoving all of these feelings down and going out in my corner of the city and serving the poor and going crazy giving myself away.

so i ask God to shape me and mold me.  for His purpose in all of this is far greater then i can see.  and i have to trust that.  how can i?  well, i look back at my life and see those times when i felt like this before.  it was so completely apparent when i traced my days back to when i was 19 and left the unhealthy ministry to move back with my family.  those were long but glorious days (and years) of growth.  where i felt the peaceful, unshackled love of God in such a pure way.  there was so much beauty in that time of semi-isolation.  and even though i don't recall having one intimate mentor-friend, God was sure to send me people to encourage my heart and point me to Himself.

and i yearn for that again in many ways.  there is richness in the desert if we trust Him.  this could be a time of great forming and shaping of my soul and in my motherhood.  i will try to remember God's goodness and not be filled with bitterness.

the prompting in my soul has led me to read books about mothering.  one that i've written about all ready in past posts, "desperate:  hope for the mom who needs to breathe," and now, "the forgotten desert mothers:  sayings, lives, and stories of early christian women."  i feel the sense of wrapping myself in these pages of mothers, symbolizing the arms of a loving mother who is not physically present with me now, all in hope that soon i will know of strong-caring mothers who will take the place of the metaphysical arms.  but of course, always in the arms of Father who said He would never leave me.