Have you ever cussed at God? I certainly have.
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Grace is messy,
You’re not who I thought you were.
You don’t want what I thought you wanted. You don’t treat me how I expect to be treated. Sometimes, I don’t know what to do with you. See, I spent years trying to be good enough, trying to be what you deserve.
Shouldn’t a king have the best of everything? That’s not me. I’m sick and I’m toxic. You can’t want me.
But you and I, we see differently. What I call strength, you call fear and self-preservation. What I call weakness, you call beautiful dependence. In your eyes, the best I could offer you was precisely what I wanted to hide. All I could give was myself, broken as I was.
So thanks for letting me cuss at you.
Why don’t you fix me? Why don’t you just wave that *%#$ing magic wand I KNOW you have up there? I called you a liar, would slap your face if you showed it. But you withstood my storms. You were patience and peace, never matching my explosions, meeting me with ridiculous grace. You knew it wasn’t about you, and you were willing to take it. I don’t think I’d understand “steadfast love” if I hadn’t given you every reason to walk away.
Thanks for letting me make my bed in hell.
You’d just come down there after me. We spent a lot of time there, you and I – me in a fetal curl of panic and you patient, rushing nothing. Darkness was my closest friend, the only one I thought I deserved. I never imagined another life. But I couldn’t escape you, even there. You’d sit with me until I was ready to take your hand for the slow climb out.
Thanks for infuriating kindness.
I never deserved it and I knew it. I wanted to protect you from myself. I thought I could push hard enough to make you leave me alone, but you never budged. You weren’t scared. My brokenness couldn’t shake you, still can’t on my worst days. I expected punishment, but you only showed mercy. I expected harsh tones, but you only spoke kindly. It took years for me to listen, to stop pushing back, stop expecting you to set me up for pain. But kindness turned me to face you, called me from hiding.
Thanks for not forcing wholeness on me.
I begged for change, pleaded you to break my defenses by force, to stage the revolution I thought I needed. Why are you withholding healing? Why won’t you fix me? You insisted on tenderness: I will not take what you won’t give. “Fixing you” would require intimacy that would feel like a violation. That process would be more terrible than this. I want you whole, but I refuse to damage you in the process.
Thanks for teaching me to cry.
I remember icy walls of numbness, years of not being allowed the luxury of tears. Warmth made me melt, the slow thaw of spring’s first sun. It was compassion and pain, sharing your affection. You insisted the things that break my heart for others – hurts, betrayal, abuse – should break my heart for me, too. It took so long for the fog to lift. But I learned to feel the highs and lows, to cry when I should, to say I’m sad and come for comfort.
Thank you for the long road.
I hated it, screamed at you more times than I could count, weary of the journey. How often did I want to quit? But you proved too much of your love for me to leave. Where else would I go? I know you’ve got the only words of life.
You knew I still wanted you and the long road to wholeness was the right one. Though the path was sometimes terrifying, I learned the Healer as I was healed. I met the Comforter by being comforted. I resented you for that long road, but I wouldn’t trade it now.
And that’s the beauty of story, isn’t it?
This long ugly road, my bed in hell, screaming and tears and fear – oh, God, I wouldn’t trade it for a second. You’re not who I thought you were – you’re better, infinitely better. See, now I know the one I’ve believed, a deep and real knowing I wouldn’t have without this.
And now you’re teaching me to overcome with a story. And it’s not just for me. A million messy thank you’s can well up in my soul, and I can own this because maybe somebody else will gain permission to live their own long road. And that is worth every moment.
PS – Sorry about cussing at you. I wish I could promise to never do it again.
Still reading? Check out Steve’s latest for The Mighty, “11 Marriage Tips from a Husband with Mental Illness”. Just click here.