I sat in the middle of my floor.
I heaved in bursts.
I was crying, but it was an angry cry—
He sat on my bed, quietly.
I looked at him, then the door.
Him—then the door.
I jumped up, dashed to the other side of the room,
Screaming, crying, beating the white-washed barrier with my little fists,
Kicking with my tiny feet.
I called for my mom.
I felt him behind me–
He scooped me up,
Gently, firmly placing me back on the floor.
Returning to his seat, waiting…
This is an accurate picture of my relationship with my dad from the time I was little to now.
Both of us, relentlessly stubborn.
Determined to have our own way.
Him trying to teach me things.
Me refusing to be taught.
I don’t remember what this fight was about. Probably vegetables.
It’s a story my parents share of my temper—our shared wills.
They say it jokingly to talk about my personality. His.
Tempers in lock step.
They tell this story to explain their parenting decision to reverse the locks on my door when I was two.
I then counter with, Well there’s a reason I became a therapist…
This pattern, this feistiness,
This refusal—at times, it feels like an inability—to let go.
It is with me today. Ever present.
I can see how relentlessness has served me. Sometimes.
I am not easily swayed.
While I love people, I do not allow people to influence me beyond what I am convinced of.
When I set a goal, I will achieve it. Even if it breaks me.
I will do something over and over AND over again, convinced with enough practice, I can get something right.
I love people like this—I will get in their face, sometimes forcefully, looking them in the eye—saying words over and over again to make sure they know they are loved. I wait for them to believe it.
I’ve watched the 2019 version of Little Women on repeat this past year.
I can’t get enough of it.
I relate to Jo so much.
Two of my favorite conversations between Jo and her sweet sister Beth…
Beth: It’s like the tide going out—it can’t be stopped.
Jo: I’ll stop it.
I’ve stopped it before.
Beth: We can’t stop God’s will.
Jo: Well, God hasn’t met my will yet. What Jo wills shall be done.
They’re talking about death.
I am with Jo—I hate death so much.
And yet, I’ve experienced death enough to know I can’t stop it. While my heart beats with Jo’s in these passion-filled statements, I know my frame. It’s small.
Contrasting the word relentless,
I have been introduced to the idea of surrender early on in my walk with Jesus.
Songs like, I surrender all and sermons about God’s unwillingness to allow us to hold anything back from Him. His gentle nudging against compartmentalization. Reminders that He is a jealous God—not like we are jealous, but in a good way.
Surrender is my Christian cuss word. I honestly hate it.
My therapist asked me why, not to long ago.
I equate surrender with giving up. Failing. A white flag in a battle you were determined to win—meant to win. Not trying hard enough.
Where the fight against my father regarding vegetables seems silly now,
It was a rep I practiced over and over again, in more significant battles.
Some, I was on the right side of the argument—sometimes wrong.
And sometimes we got in conflicts that were not a matter of right or wrong, but something else entirely.
Something of that sort.
In any way, I find myself in a different battle now.
Instead of with my earthly dad, it’s with my Heavenly Father.
We have fought badly like this before. Regarding death.
It took me a solid 15+ years to release—to surrender.
To believe He is both good and all powerful, AND death still happens.
But won’t forever.
To realize we actually agree about death. We both hate it. It’s an enemy.
It’s a rival God will relish in defeating when the perfect time comes.
I beg Him to make it come quickly.
And He hugs me with spiritual arms and tears, nodding in agreement.
My battle now is regarding my life.
It’s not as I imagined it when I was a little girl.
I want things that I cannot make happen.
I am looking over my shoulder at God with a glare in my eye,
Running away from Him to the door I think will offer me freedom.
And He has locked it.
Maybe temporarily. Maybe forever.
And He gently scoops me up over and over again as I beat that door begging for what lies on the other side.
He sits with me.
I cry, I scream, I hurl insults.
I don’t understand why He won’t just open the door.
And He repeats the gentle scoop up.
He repeats firmly placing me where He wants me.
He locks doors that are not good to pass through.
He is unrelenting in His promises towards me—even those I don’t quite believe.
The ones I would trade to get my way.
And He waits with me, while I cry.
I wish I had a better picture of His face.
So much of the pain of those fights with my dad were believing he wasn’t FOR me.
As an adult, I see more clearly that he has always been for me. In the only ways he knows how.
Even when we disagreed in what was best.
But I couldn’t see the kindness in his face when I was 2 wondering why he was making me eat peas. Why he wouldn’t let me have cake.
I can’t see the sweetness of my God.
I can’t see the tenderness of His face as He says no to what I want. As He makes me sit in what is good for me now.
Is He crying with me? Does He know how much these pains hurt?
I know He does.
And I still sit in the middle of my floor, looking at the door, away from Him.
God, help me turn to You.
Help me see Your face.
Help me surrender.
I can’t-won’t do it alone.
I need You to help me.