I continued to feel tremendous guilt for many things. The guilt I felt over my children's deaths from my alleged lack of faith was now compounded with guilt over how I was feeling. All the unpleasant emotions and thoughts seemed wrong to me. "I don't have the right to feel this way;" so I shored up the wall of guilt. We were in Slovenia to help, and now I was in a position of being unable to fulfill those expectations. More guilt. So many things whirling through my emotional world, yet somehow they remained inaccessible to be confronted and healed. They were, in effect, "locked up".
I realized what I was experiencing was cyclical in nature. For long periods of time I would live comfortably and without mental torment, but then something would happen to bring it near the surface. I noted that my first experience of emotional upheaval occurred during a time of prayer with Peter and Kristina when they were stateside. I journaled the following; "For a couple of weeks after, I felt "stirred up" and "troubled" all day long, every day. It consumed my focus. After a couple of weeks, it gradually became less and less so."
I recognized the same feeling after a time of prayer in Slovenia. In my journal I wrote that it "felt the same way. The 'hornet's nest' has been kicked up again- consuming my thoughts, emotions; troubling me and interrupting my sleep. Now that several weeks have passed, I told Rob I feel better to a degree, but not because it is better, but because it's submerging again. It's not going away, it's just going into hiding again, and it will undoubtedly reappear again sometime." This would be a prophetic word.
I wondered if this was my "thorn in the flesh", or if it was something I could actually be freed from. I suspected the later, as I began to realize this had less and less to do with culture shock, and much more to do with my deeply suppressed, and greatly unresolved grief. So many ravaging thoughts in my mind, the many lies I had believed over the years, were now manifesting themselves in wave after wave of mental assault.
"I must not have performed to God's expectations. Cannot achieve it; can't reach the standard. Rejected. Even helped others, but still hurting myself. God can't or doesn't want to heal me. I deserve it." My brain knew these were ridiculous thoughts, but my heart wouldn't let go, so they cycled through my mind over and over again.
"Walls of protection from further hurt...still protecting my kids. I have to continue protecting them in my mind because God didn't, or couldn't do it. I think He refused to." (In reference to the image of Jesus and Satan mentioned above). "They are locked away where no one can hurt them or find them. They are deep inside of me. Keep them safe. Emotional bond.... Being free would be letting go, or stopping my protection of them- abandoning them. Not being there to keep them safe. Maybe there's guilt because I didn't save them."
I knew I had mentally and emotionally never released the babies; I was still clutching on to them the only way that I could. I had become an emotional sarcophagus, holding death inside of me. I was alive, but not really living.