Two weeks ago, I was paralyzed.
No, I wasn’t injured. Nothing like that. But I was definitely not moving. Not moving forward. For about a four week period, I experienced a return to deep despair, deep hopelessness, and a real desire to go home. I did not doubt, during this time, that God existed. However, I certainly doubted his attributes. I doubted that He was a God who sees and knows. I doubted his love for me. I doubted His goodness.
It was, a very low time. A time when nightmares haunted me several nights in a row. I time where for three solid weeks I went absolutely nowhere. A time where I worked very hard at work and at parenting crew, in order to not slide so far as to fall off of the cliff I was clinging too. I also, during this dark time, continued my daily spiritual disciplines, even though they felt empty and shallow. But I knew–I knew–from previous experience that to abandon those was sure defeat. I clung to that early morning time–4 am, 5 am–almost as if it was medicine. And, in some ways, it was–medicine for both my soul and my mind.
But even in doing the things I knew to do, the despair lingered, which increased the fear–what if it didn’t lift this time? What if I continued in this vein? I spent a lot of this time–and I mean a LOT of it–berating myself. Angry at myself. What was my problem? I experienced such a sense of extreme failure–failure as an employee, failure as a parent, failure as a friend, as a church member, as a human being.
The men from our church went on a paintball extravaganza yesterday, including my oldest son. He was describing a “free for all” battle that sounded intense. And listening to his description, I thought “Yes, that’s it.” During those weeks, I was in the midst of a battle–sitting in the middle of the blasted battlefield and neither fighting back or running to the shelter of my God.
But I share all of that to say that even in the midst of the darkness, I knew my God would not forsake me. Yes, I doubted His goodness, I doubted whether He could see where my mind and soul were at. But somewhere in my mind was the constant refrain from the song “Not For a Moment”:
God is constant. God is good. And, my soul, God is sovereign. And even in the very darkest moments, He has never forsaken me. Not as a child. Not as a teenager. Not as a young pastor’s wife struggling with deep unbelief. And now, not as the single mother, ex-wife of a prisoner convicted of heinous crimes.
Slowly, slowly the weight of darkness is lifting. I’ve been to church for the past two weeks. I’ve taken my kids to do some fun things, and I even attended Dinner 8/9 this past Friday–and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I’ve reorganized and committed a new plan to paper and am following it. And I finally received insurance, as I wrote about in my last post, and so I’ve begun my neglected medication again.
But so much more than any of these very good things, I’ve pushed myself to do two distinct things:
- Worship: When I worship, my focus is removed off of myself and is placed on my God. When I worship, even if I do not feel like doing so, it makes a difference in my soul. So I’ve worshiped through writing. I’ve worshiped through prayer, and I’ve worshiped through singing–loudly. Real worship, the kind that seeps into your soul and can’t help but make a difference. If you are struggling like I have written here, I would deeply, deeply encourage you to worship. It may be as simple as putting on some worship music while you work. Or it could be that you need to get on your knees—-which is not language I use often—and worship God in prayer. Psalm 19:14 reads: 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. I think the same thing can be prayed about worship—–Let the words of my mouth and the worship of my heart be acceptable in your sight….O Lord….
- Remembrance: There are so many places in scripture where God implores the Israelites to remember all the amazing wonders God has performed for them–his protection for them—his bringing them out of Egypt. And in the New Testament, Jesus initiates the Lord’s Supper–to be done in remembrance of Him. So that his followers–even today–would remember His sacrifice upon the cross for their sins. So I’ve spent time remembering all that God has done for my crew and I–how far He has brought us. How much he has protected us. How He has provided for us. Maybe you, too, need to do this. Maybe you, too, need to pull out your computer and type up a list of all that God has done for you. With reverence. With remembrance.
While I’m not quite out of the woods yet, I do see hope. I see my God. I am pushing myself, hard. To engage life. To embrace the grace granted to me. I came across this quote this week, by an author that I respect tremendously. His name is Justin Holcomb. This quote is from his latest book “On the Grace of God.”
I think this quote completely and utterly sums up exactly where I have been, and where I am now. And I think if you really consider it, you, too, will be able to say “Yes–that’s it, that’s it exactly.”
Our God of grace carries us all our lives, even and especially when we are unable to move forward on our own. In fact, it is in our weakness that God’s grace is made perfect. In our state of disgrace, he continually and always gives grace. “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you.'” 1 Corinthians 12:9
How grateful I am. How grateful I am to know that, even when I’ve not sensed it–His grace has carried me my entire life, even and especially when unable to move forward on my own.