Tuesday, March 4, 2014

when the ache tries to suffocate

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know…

The advice seems to make sense, when there is something to hide, something that might embarrass us, or hurt someone else. And yet it suffocates, and one can’t help but ache for Elsa and her secret.

For ourselves, and our secrets.

The mask gets heavy sometimes, doesn’t it?
The pleasant smile, the patient voice-- it’s not all phony, of course, but sometimes it is.  

The heaviness of this place can suffocate, too.  
Sin-- our own, and that done too us-- presses down heavy on our chests.  
Conceal, don’t feel.
Distract yourself.
Don’t ask that question.
Hide it. Numb it.
Smother it with melted cheese and a huge smile.

“Where is God in all this?” we wonder to ourselves in the darkness.
And there, in the darkness, our enemy begs us to stay:

Don’t ask that question. Pretend you already know.  Pretend you’ve never wondered.
Pretend you’re just “too busy,” or you’re “fighting something,” or it’s “just a headache.”

Conceal, don’t feel.

How often I am tempted to numb my own heart.

Surely there are circumstances when we must simply keep moving, and do the work in front of us, despite the way we feel, despite our Big Questions.

And so I don’t try to discuss the issues of my own heart with my preschoolers.  I may ache, but regardless, they still need to eat dinner.  I (try to) put on my pleasant voice and pray to be upheld until I can take off the mask, put on my PJs, and exhale.

But, oh, how I need to exhale.  I need to let it out.  We all do. The ache and the questions, the heaviness of this place, the way it weighs on us, the way the fog rolls in and it seems like the enemy is winning every battle.

Adults are supposed to have all the answers, and yet here we are, in grown-up bodies, with skinned knees, and heavy questions.  And we are still afraid of the dark.

And the enemy whispers:

Chin up.  Be tough.  Fake it till you make it.
Don’t ask for help. They’ll think you are weak.
Don’t be a wimp.
Don’t search His Word, call your pastor, or lean on your church family.  

Don’t run to God like a terrified, hurting child.  
Grow up already.

No, I argue.  I cannot grow up, not if it means being hard and strong and cold.  I refuse to numb the ache, and I can't hide it, either.

So I join the others, those weary sinners in need of grace, and we bring our aches and our big questions to God, where He promises to meet us.  

In His church, in His Word.

And there, we hear others speak for us, those shocking words which we do not dare say,
words of grief, or anger, questions of the aching heart:

“Why have you forsaken me?” David cried aloud.
“Why have you forsaken me?” Jesus moaned from the cross.

The question lingers, but we are not the only ones asking it, and that is some comfort.
Others have breathed in the stale air of a dying world, and they, too, have gagged and choked.
Others have questioned like us, and hurt like us, and sinned like us.

And those others have been helped, forgiven, redeemed, rescued from this place.

God’s promises cut through the cold air, like a warm breeze carrying a hint of spring, and we breathe.  We inhale hope, and exhale pleas for more; for spring to hurry.

Free us from this place, Jesus.
Deliver us from evil.

Deliverance is coming, because Jesus has come.
And again we pray, come, Lord Jesus.

Today, I dare you to ask your questions.
Ask others, and ask God.

This is the fifth post in the series: 

Will you (re)learn how to be a child with me?
I double-dog dare you.

If you liked this post, consider sharing it with a friend!

You may also enjoy my published works:

an inspirational story of God’s grace

and for Mothers who tend to everyone else— May Jesus Himself Tend to YOU. 


  1. I just so relate to your writing. I hear you where you are....even though this was several months back! It was a blessing to read. Thanks for sharing your heart.


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