I have failed.
It’s strange to admit that and not find it utterly depressing. I gave everything I had and more than I ever thought I could. I put my whole heart and soul into something I felt worth it, and, for a long time, helped it survive. But at the end of it all, I have thoroughly, completely, and absolutely failed. But you know what comes as a result of this colossal failure?
It’s a strange thing to put your whole soul into something and watch it crumble, even as you work desperately to pile up the pieces and try to force them back together again. There is a sort of shocking existential experience when you realize how your entire focus and efforts have been pointed in completely the wrong direction. For me, it was like imagining myself appearing one way, and looking in the mirror and seeing something completely different. Not just in the way that happens as we age, and we forget about those gray hairs and wrinkles, but seeing an entirely different creature. It’s jarring and terrifying.
Even though this is the most painful thing I have ever experienced, there is an element of peace in recognizing the fact that I simply can’t do it anymore.
I am not strong enough.
A few weeks ago, I sat sobbing in the driveway of someone I thought I could trust and count on, expressing that phrase over and over: “I’m sorry, but I’m just not strong enough. I need a break. I’m not strong enough.” This sentiment was met with scorn instead of sympathy. I received a “You knew what you signed up for. None of us are strong enough, just deal with it.” My desperation turned to anger and I left, determined never to reach out for help again. I had to be strong enough, for no one would help me, no one else could handle what I had to deal with.
And that is the moment I truly began to crumble.
For a few more weeks I attempted to remain in my survival mode, just going through the motions and fulfilling my duties at home, at work, with my church, all the while just looking forward to sleep, the only time I could truly escape to a safe place. But even that was interrupted or forestalled with…him. The obsessions, the manipulations, the incessant never-ending talk, talk, talking until all hours of the night with me begging, pleading, weeping for him to stop, to leave me alone, to give me peace.
And finally, the last morsel of my strength fled, and I truly had nothing left to give. To him, to my kids, to my work, to my church, to no one. I had nothing. I was nothing. And I realized, I am not strong enough. No mortal is. No one on this earth could ever be strong enough to carry what I was carrying, but someone else can take it. Someone who already took it, already suffered for it, already sacrificed everything–that someone is already strong enough so I don’t have to be.
And now, I happily proclaim, “I am not strong enough!”
I shout it from the hills, “I am not strong enough!”
I cry into my pillow tears of pain and also relief, “I don’t have to be strong enough. I don’t have to carry this, to carry him, anymore.” And I turn it all over to the One, the only one, who is strong enough.
I have failed. I am not strong enough. I don’t have to be. In that knowledge alone I find peace and can begin, through the power of His infinite atonement, to heal.
2 Corinthians 12:9
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
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