I've been (mostly) offline for three weeks. I entered a time of deep silence--I actually went away for 12 days, tucked myself into quiet. I turned in my iPhone, my computer, wrenched myself away from the Internet. Somehow, somewhere along the way I'd lost myself. There was so much noise in my head. I was over-exposed, frantic, torn.
I went away because sometimes leaving is the only way you can come home to yourself. And I did. I came home to myself. I came home to my life. I came home to my family.
This is the part where I tell you that I have a very real, very scary problem with anxiety. I project a very confident, gutsy, fearless image online. But what I need you to know is that for all my life I've been running scared.
Scared I'll be abandoned. Scared I'll get Left Behind. Scared of rejection. Scared I won't be loved. Scared of the panic that sweeps over me like a black tsunami, sucking me under. I had--what my therapists call--a traumatic childhood.
What I need you to know is that even though I am safe now, I struggle with nearly debilitating anxiety--every single day. What I need you to know is that every single day feels like a fight for my life.
I also want you to know that there is hope. This smile you see? It's real. Because I am getting better every day. I have fought for this smile and I will continue to fight for this smile because I deserve to live a happy, healthy life.
I am free to be happy. I am free to find joy each day. I am free to laugh and be silly and enjoy my life. I am free to let my children laugh and be silly and enjoy their lives.
Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning....especially when these two girlies crawl up into my bed for a morning snuggle.
Joy comes when I take my sons to water polo practice and watch them play their hearts out.
Joy comes when I watch my beautiful ballerina graduate from middle-school with honors.
Joy is quietly resting in love's sacrament....
I am Elizabeth Esther and this is my story, this is my redemption song: God has rescued me. God is rescuing me. God will continue to rescue me.
My deepest thanks to Jennifer Imus for taking these beautiful family pictures. If you're local to Southern California, check her out. She is one talented lady--and amazing with children! (She handled all five of mine better than I did!) Jen is on Facebook & Twitter, too.