Thursday, October 16, 2008

A heart revived...part deux

#2 reason why God brought me to the Revive our Hearts women's conference: to show me that I am indeed...wait for it...a woman.

As I alluded to in the last post, I'm not, nor ever have been a girly-girl. Some people may take this to mean that I was/am a tomboy which was never/is not the case. Are you enjoying the way I'm encompassing my past/present in each sentence? Let's move on.

I have always enjoyed prom dresses and makeup and though I prefer green, pink is definitely in my wardrobe. I try to be very sensitive to others' feelings. I could be the spokesperson for how chocolate eases all pain. But part of my identity seems to have been wrapped up in the fact that I don't cry very easily. My husband, coming from an estrogen dominated family, appreciated this quality from the moment we started dating. He also appreciated that I didn't need him to bring me flowers, and that I may have laughed in his face if he ever wrote me a poem. I was the girl who wasn't very needy or prone to spur of the moment weeping for no reason.

And then I got pregnant.

I knew I was in for it when I was only about 8 weeks along with Jake and I started tearing up when I heard the song "Butterfly Kisses." In the past that song had either made me roll my eyes and groan, or actually physically ill. Then the tears started flowing freely at about 10 weeks every time Extreme Makeover Home Edition was on. "It's just so wonderful!" I'd sob as Dan stared at me wide-eyed. I had to change the channel immediately if I saw a Hallmark commercial because I'd have pretty much been a sobbing heap on the floor. I was sure I was headed straight for an institution. Poor Dan. Poor, poor Dan. He thought he'd married a rock. The pregnant me was more like an overstuffed jelly donut ready to burst at any moment. And I'm not talking physically, though looking back at pictures that is quite an accurate analogy. When Dan reads this he may think I'm exaggerating. First of all, I NEVER exaggerate. And second of all, I tried my darndest to hold it together when he was around. I was tough, I wasn't an emotional basketcase. I didn't need him in an institution also.

ANYWAY, back to the lesson learned. I knew during pregnancy that God was rocking my world, but instead of embracing it, honestly...I fought it. For a while I thought I would have to learn to accept my new perpetually tear-stained self. Don't get me wrong, both my boys have brought me to a new level of emotions, and I am truly grateful. But after the hormones subsided a bit, I was able to rebuild most of the wall that holds back my tears. I had an image to maintain, you know. I'm not needy. I don't let emotions cloud my judgement. Here was my kicker: what I believe should effect what I do, not how I feel. Faith wasn't about emotions for me. It couldn't be, because emotions are deceitful, aren't they? I might allow myself to feel like something was right, when I knew it was wrong. But I was WAY past that balance between fluffy faith and rigid faith. Shutting down my emotional self led to a very boring and thus quite unfruitful spiritual life.

I was squelching the Spirit.

I can't tell you exactly when it happened, but somehow about a week before the conference, God started to prepare me for some serious soul scrubbing (I stole that phrase from Joni Earekson Tada). I began to feel that spark in my soul, and it moved me to tears. My wall, a wall built mostly with pride, was starting to crumble. More pieces fell to the ground at the beginning of the conference. And then it happened. My wall was demolished during an incredible time of worship. I knew I was on holy ground, and I let God's presence wash over me like a raging river, and He burst my dam of pride.

I surely couldn't fight it, so I decided to go with it. And there I was, in a room full of 6,000 woman, shamelessly sobbing my eyes out. I have to interject here that I am not an attractive crier. Some people have the sweet angelic face with waterfalls of tears magnificently cascading down their face. Personally, I go for the bloodshot-eyed-don't-own-waterproof-mascara-snot-cascading-down-my-face look. It was not a pretty picture...and yet it was. A beautiful picture in fact. I'm a woman. Women cry. Good golly do we cry. I swear that the sheer liquid weight of tears I cried this weekend was more than all of 2007's tears combined.

Then again, these were the soul cleansing tears, and I'm pretty sure they weigh more.

I will always battle my pride, as long as I am on this earth. I don't want to be weak. And yet what have I learned? "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." When I am weak, I am strong.

I don't want to be needy. But that's what God calls us all to be. You know why? Because we are. Needy for a savior. God, please don't let me forget how perfectly right it felt to need your presence.

11 comments:

DidiLyn said...

The absolute BEST post ever. I don't exaggerate either.
But I am a cryer. Possibly the Queen Cryer.(we have a queen, not a president or CEO.)
Welcome to our world.
Again, loved this post. God is good.

Kristi said...

Hey Angie! I don't comment often, but I do read your blog a lot. =) But I felt compelled to respond to this...You and I are VERY similar in this. I don't cry (at least I didn't used to) I'm tough..I can take it...And yeah, I was broken too =) Not in exactly the same way as you, but I WAS pregnant! All I can say is get ready for a ride! I have to tell you now that several years down the road for me, my relationship with God has totally changed..He speaks to me and I can hear Him. I don't think this would have been possible years ago because my 'toughness' would have gotten in the way of His communication. Anyway, I hope that made sense. Just buckle up because your life is about to change. It will become richer and fuller in ways that you didn't even know were lacking. Thanks for sharing this!

Kristi said...

Oh yeah...I'm still tough and I can still take it and don't you forget it! =)

Jenne said...

Yeah, I am tough. And yeah I am pregnant. And sheesh - I am incredibly needy. So needy, in fact, that I am a real pill to be around if you are married to me or were birthed by me. Not a fun household these days. Poor Dan? POOR RYAN!

Thanks for the encouragement in your post. I needed it today.

Randy Alcorn said...

Ang,

I've always known the tenderness of your heart, as well as your strength, but this was very moving to hear you rediscover it. I love you and thank God for your experience at the conference.

Dad

kirsten said...

You don't know me, but I think God sent me to your blog. I needed to read this post. I am another "strong" woman who cries, but doesn't like to. Thanks for the reminder that our tears and weakness can be used by God.

Marla Taviano said...

Um, I think we're more alike than I realized.

I think you're awesome for sharing this. Wow!!

Jon and Erin said...

Thanks for sharing your heart Angie.

Tonya said...

Ang, I want to say thank you for letting us glimpse into your heart.... what a beautiful one it is! I think we as women tend to lean towards the "holding it together" "stay tough, dont show weakness" yet God does really show us who we are when we give ourselves over to being perfectly broken and needy, for it is only then He can build us back up... Love ya girl, you are more awesome than you know!

Sovann Pen said...

Angie,

Awesome, beautiful post. I hope God will continue to revive your heart and grow you spiritually, emotionally and as a woman, wife and mom. That sounds like such an amazing life-changing experience.

Don't worry about Dan too much, he'll adjust :)

Fully being you will be the best thing you can be and do for your guys.

I am very happy for you.

Amy Guerino said...

"Here was my kicker: what I believe should effect what I do, not how I feel."

This is my kicker too and I've become even more emotional BEYOND the pregnancy/post partum years and I'm FREAKING out! Your post is encouraging me to ride it out. You have made me laugh and reflect. How do you do it?