I’m really hating on Ohio right now. I miss home so much. It’s such a long drive and there’s no good way to fly home because the airlines absolutely suck, are too expensive, and are just as likely to get me home 24 hours later than if I’d driven than to save me any time. I don't mean to sound petty or make light of anyone who is truly suffering physically in anyway, because I do realize how 'good' I have it, when it comes to my situation. But I want to be honest and transparent. Maybe there are other people out there going through a similar time.
You know it’s bad when you get home from an hour long boxing class and still all you want to do is punch something.
For some reason I keep thinking back to a coach I had in high school when I was captain of a Civil Air Patrol cadet drill team training for the national competition. Part of the competition included volleyball, and that was a major weakness for our team. Our coach had a very unique style of training. A lot of it centered around developing me as a leader, which I’m thankful for now, but I hated him for it at the time, because his method meant breaking me down in front of the team in order to build me back up.
One of his favorite tactics was to play God as the volleyball ref and change the rules on us, especially when I was on the court. He would make B.S. calls, award the point to the other team when I aced a serve or repeatedly spike the ball in my face while heckling me about my inability to return a simple hit.
I usually handled it with the opposite of grace. Meltdowns in front of the team weren’t uncommon, and it was especially awkward since I was an emotionally unstable 17-year-old girl trying to lead 12 teenage boys.
One scene especially is burned in my brain, especially because I feel like I keep repeating it in life.
Coach was giving me a particularly hard time on the court, blaming me for the team’s inability to succeed, and punishing us when we did win a volley by giving the point to the other side. When a wayward spike beaned me in the face the next point, I dropped to my knees fuming. It hadn’t hurt so much as finally broken my resolve to stay calm and control my emotions. I started crying, and the guys all around me assumed I was physically hurt. They gathered around asking if I was OK, and I looked up and just screamed with rage, “I’M FINE!” The irony of the words I was saying versus what I was actually saying didn’t really sink in at the time.
Coach told everybody to take five so I could recompose myself, which I did. And the next time he pulled a fast one on us with the rules or the reffing, I was tougher and calmer. But a little part of me hated him for the way he had played with my emotions, pushing me to my breaking point.
I feel like that’s what God’s doing right now. God only knows (literally … I have lost count) how many nights I have all but screamed from my bed asking God where He is and why I can’t feel His love. But my coach certainly didn’t love me the way I’m told God loves me. He liked me, and he saw a lot of promise in me to serve his ultimate purpose of leading the team to do well at nationals, so he did what he saw fit to groom me for that. So when I feel like God is pushing me to my breaking point – taking away the people, places and routines that I love – even if it’s to strengthen me or make me tougher under pressure, my response is resentment. Because I don’t want to be a tougher Christian. I want to experience His love, and from that be able to love Him more, and by His power love others more. I appreciated my coach's results, but I still resented his methods because they weren’t motivated by love; they were utilitarian.
If you’re worried about me, please pray for me. I'm not fine. But I'm OK, and I'm hanging on to a thread of hope that things may get better, or, to be honest, that the next 21 months will go by faster and I'll get to return home. In the meantime I am seeking help to sort out some of the devil’s lies that I know I’m believing, but it’s a constant struggle and I’m exhausted.
This is a verse that I want to make my own and recite with confidence. Maybe someday…
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. – Psalm 91:2.