So here I sit, in my broken leather armchair in my broken country, trying to think clever and deep things to say to you after such a long cyber absence.
We took a step back from face book because it felt like the healthy thing to do, and it was, and we're not really up for getting back on the promo wagon. Freedom from living life in the light of other peoples' eyes, freedom from comparison and striving and also in my pregnant state I have a tendency to non-filter the rage that spews forth from my face. Status updates were getting a little bit offensive, because the inside of my head is often quite offensive, and it was time to step back and cool off a little bit.
I've avoided writing the blog because honestly I haven't felt like anything I could say would be worth reading. Have been quiet in myself lately, not needing to rant or vent, perhaps because I've been concentrating on growing a mini human in my tummy while nurturing the other mini human in my house. John can be so demanding.
Just didn't feel like my thoughts were worth inflicting on the internet, felt like I needed to go away and be quiet and helpful for a while.
But, well, the last month happened and I think maybe it's time to break the silence.
Because we need to punch fear in the face.
It's time to step up to the mic and shout down the panic until it's left the building. It's time to shame the enemy, by pointing at the King.
So we've been here in Ukraine through revolution, peaceful and violent. We've been here through panic buying, gas shortages, power cuts, shootings in our city, street blockages, wars and rumours of wars. We're here as a certain captain naughty pants strolls around on land that isn't his, parading his big tanks (compensating for anything?) and his big missiles (really? You're making this too easy) telling the world to be afraid. And the BBC, whom I love, jump up and down shrieking about the apocalypse until we're ready to panic buy all the train tickets home.
Our conversations strive to pick apart a future that hasn't happened yet, we say words like contingency plan more than once a day. We're planning for visas and passports and airplanes and embassies and the kinds of things that normal people don't have to spend that much time discussing. We go for dinners and wonder aloud who it was that our friend saw shot that afternoon in the park. We go to parties and debate how many months until we're made to leave the country in a hurry. We make plans like 'I'll row you across the river to Moldova in a blow up dinghy', which was reassuring thank you husband.
The thing is, the panic can build. The peace can be diminished. That Human Rights degree can backfire when your head is full of Amnesty reports on war crimes, when you know the awful things we can do to each other, when you know too much to remain brave. When your nights are packed with nightmares of war. When you fear for your children. When you freak out when your husband is home late, imagining his face covered in bruises. When you've booked your tickets home a thousand times.
The thing is, all those worries, all that anxiety, it's whispers of hints of possibilities made huge by fear. It's not real.
Hosea says that God wants to be acknowledged.
I need to acknowledge him. The things he has done.
And the thing is, I've learnt about Him and fear. He's bigger.
A few years ago I was told by a doctor that I had an anxiety disorder. I was offered a lot of treatment options, a whole world of band aids to slap on the wound, an array of things to pacify and soothe and heal nothing, just to numb the symptoms. I opted instead to go a bit deeper, scrape this thing out from the bottom.
Not many people know about what was going on in this season of my life, but the line I used with the people who did know was that I'd been through some stuff in my life and had healed but not quite right. Some bones needed to get broken so they could be re set. Some scars had to be cut into again so we could heal them better. Broken to heal.
Counselling, with a gifted and kind woman who loves Jesus, got me a long way. Broke the bones to reset them, this time with Jesus doing the operations instead of me in my ignorance. DTS finished the job. By the time we came home, baby in belly, a revolution in Egypt witnessed, a world of poncy travel pics and pretentious stories to tell, I was better.
I've been better ever since.
It's not been that long but I'd like to venture that a woman given to worry doesn't pack up her seven month old infant and move to a new country to live and serve people she barely knows. With no formal wage, no pension, no insurance, no ASDA (ASDA is my happy place), no family, no security.
Furthermore, I don't think worriers sit around in a war zone making jokes over pudding.
There is a peace in myself that reaches beyond what has happened, what is happening and what could happen. There is a woman in this house who mothers and works and wives (that's not a word) in strength and I think her name is me. The person who was crippled by fear doesn't recognize those feelings when they try to crop up, the worry that became my identity for some time has no place in the life I live now. Fear is alien.
So to acknowledge him - I've been writing this to 'see beneath your beautiful' by Labrinth and Emilie Sande and it needs to be said: I am healed because He has healed me. What's inside me is Him.
I am brave because He is King/ Lion/ Ruler/ Volcano maker.
I am here because that's where He's said to be.
I am whole because He loves me.
He used counselling and DTS and my friends and my pretty darn perfect husband and he took those opportunities to take my crap away and give me happiness instead.
So yup, wars and rumours of wars.
And we're not going to panic and run about in our pants wailing, although that could be fun, we're going to stay until He says go.
Because fear and me?
I'm over it.