What I know to be true about my body, my spirit, my soul, is this; living in wholeness means embracing emptiness.
I traveled a dark road, incapable, unwilling, and unable to watch what was taking place all around me when I was just a young girl; a breaking of my childhood family – divorce – a tearing of souls.
My body found a way to cope on its own. I was unaware back then of my brains capability to pattern itself, but this didn’t matter, because the body survives how it has to; so it did it anyway. How wonderful the God we serve has that created our bodies to find ways to survive, to keep going.
And by God’s grace I somehow, despite the pain the divorce brought, I continued on. I lived. I loved. I grew.
I grew in spirit.
I grew in height.
I grew in anxiety.
I grew in mistrust.
I grew in family.
Now 20 years later with kids of my own, I am seeking to foster a place where seeds, my children, can grow in love, faith, trust, God and family.
Leave it to our children to challenge us. My children teach me daily that I need awareness, love, patience, and peace. But awareness, true honest awareness, is scary.
When I am alone, I quiet myself and all I can hear are the whispers of turmoil, pain, Fear – deep Fear. This Fear has resided within the deepest parts of me, in my bones, in my brain and in my heart. This Fear had become my name, my breath and without it I was empty.
When you can’t handle what you hear inside, what do you do? When you look deep within and there’s only darkness, where do you turn your head? Who are you? What is your name?
Adele Alhberg Calhoun summoned me in her book Invitations from God. She says:
“Transformation and healing always begins with cooperating with God where you are—not where you think you should be as a mature disciple, but where you are now. Transformation for Jonah began in the belly of the whale. Transformation for Peter came out of denial. Transformation for Thomas began in doubt. Transformation for David was possible even after adultery.”
What if I became present RIGHT NOW? Right here for this very breath?
There is a cost for full body and spirit awareness. The consequence is you will likely hear, sense, smell, and taste things inside of you that long for wholeness, for salvation. And I’m beginning to realize, that the only way to wholeness and transformation is through the valley of emptiness. We must let go of the patterns that no longer serve our bodies – those we were born into & those we created for defense in order to survive.
What might happen if I begin to fully feel the emptiness and space those patterns leave? And what if I let healing fill that space? Not tomorrow, next week or next year. Right now, right here, where I am today.
And today here I am. I practice listening. Not with my ears, but with my soul. I quiet myself in the mornings before the little feet find my doorway. I sit in the morning darkness, trusting in the Light that is to come.
The Light tells me, “Be still. Let me fill you up. You don’t need to squirm about your day. Let me carry you. You don’t need to run around filling the space inside, rest and I will come to you. Listen and you will hear me. Stop trying to escape from yourself, I am inside of you, just past the fog, I am here.”
When I do this, I am aware that I carry Lightness – not the heaviness of pain. And it’s the Lightness I want to pass on to those around me. Freedom. Healing. Restoration. Redeemer.
And so I journey on, quietly, living into wholeness.
Annika Johnson lives in Brooklyn Park with her husband, two children and their yellow lab. Her days are full of kids, peanut butter & jelly, heaping loads of laundry and running the Early Childhood Program at her church. When a quiet moment finds Annika she’ll be reading, writing or walking. Annika found herself on a healing journey just over a year ago when she became sick with vestibular neuritis. You can read more of her story of living into wholeness here on her blog.