Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Sept. 9, 2014



And just like that...the sun came out.  Not outside.  It's actually been pouring torrentially off and on for the past 6 hours.  I helped serve the students tonight at Simpson College's "Food for the Soul" (area churches take two nights a school year feeding the students at the religious center) which meant going in and out of our church and then in and out over there and then in and out back again at church- in a downpour.  I made my way home in rain so heavy I could barely see, praying that I wouldn't drive into a flooded area on the road.  I came home absolutely drenched and chilled.  Even though it was only 7 pm I announced to the kids that I was going to take a shower so I could, "dry off," (thinking ahead to after my shower when I would be warm and dry again).  David looked at me and said, "Uh, I don't think taking a shower is going to get you dry!" 


But inside my soul, the sun is shining.  I know others have been praying for me.  I have no doubt.  As far as depressions go, mine really didn't last all that long.  I know people who live their entire lives in depressed states.  Personality-wise, I actually fall into the "Melancholy" category which doesn't mean I'm depressed, but it means I have a creative, deep-thinking type of personality and those types of personalities do tend to lend themselves to depression more than the other three types.  I do not live my life on a "high" either - I'm not a people person, although I like most people.  I'm not sanguine, I'm don't bounce in excitement, and jump from one high spot to another.  I'm really pretty steady and usually rather content, neither happy nor unhappy.


Until the last few weeks.  Looking back, I think I've been in a steady decline since the anniversary of Paul's death.  It's just been in the past few weeks that I became acutely aware of my unhappiness and frustrated as I sought to escape its burden.


Sunday changed things for me.  I don't mind going to church.  I have continued to go faithfully for the kids' sake, if not my own.  A great deal of my social life and emotional support is found in my church.  But it's been more of a struggle this summer to actually listen.  When you are grieving it is so easy to dismiss a lot of what you hear  especially if the speaker has not walked a similar path of travail.  The kids were not the only reason I've continued to be faithful to be church, of course.  I know it's the right thing to do.  I also instinctually recognized that if I was ever to recover from this malaise, it wasn't going to happen of my own doing.  God was the only one who could recognize me and who's to say He might not do it in church?  Seems like a good place to start to me, anyway.


The first thing that caught my attention Sunday was the little Horizons insert in the bulletin.  This week they had an article written about trusting God's sovereignty in both the little frustrations of life, along with, of course, the great trials.  What caught my attention the most was a series of points the author drew out of Psalm 139.  That particular psalm is the one most commonly used to point to God's view on the value of life in the womb.  That's what I've pretty much associated it with.  But here are the points that so captivated me:


V.1 God has searched us and known us

(My thoughts) He KNOWS me.  He knows me right now, while I'm hurting and depressed and unable to think like I normally do


v.2 He knows when we sit and when we stand

If he knows even these minute details about my life, then how much more does He know about my pain and troubling thoughts?


v. 2,3 He discerns our thoughts, and He is acqainted with all our ways

He knows what's typical for me and He knows that I've been struggling with isn't normal


v. 4 He knows our every thought, even before we do

Not even Paul could claim that, and he knew me better than anybody


v.5 He has put a hedge or protection around us and laid His protecting hand on us

Widowed, I feel so vulnerable without the protection of my husband.  But I have a Protector even greater than Paul ever was


v. 7-12 We can never slip out of His sight

No matter what and no matter where my frail mind may take me


v. 10-12 He leads us and holds us

Oh, yes, he does.


v. 13-16 We learn that He had laid out His plans for us before our bodies were even formed

Billions of people throughout history, but yet He has a plan for ME!


v. 16 We learn that He thinks of us constantly. In fact, He wrote our very "members," or parts, in His book

Paul used to sometimes list off  to me all of his favorite body parts of mine, from the obvious to silly ones, like the back of my knees.  I am so precious to God that He has written down everything there is to know about me!


v. 19 He will slay the wicked

Those that have wronged me during this time of grief, and other times, too, will be held accountable.  Maybe it shouldn't, but that fact does give me a certain amount of satisfaction!


v. 23, 24 He will search us and try us, and know our hearts, leading us in His everlasting way

Because I am so loved, testing will happen in an attempt to refine me and make me more like Him.  I am THAT important to Him!


* Credit to Trisha Johnson who came up with these points in her article


During the Sunday School hour I read these truths, repeatedly. I just couldn't get enough of them.  I suddenly felt hope. I also pulled out the 3X5 card I had written the passage I'm memorizing on and worked on that.  I'm sure Pastor did a good job with Sunday School, but I didn't hear a lot of it!


Then, church started.  Pastor always begins with reading a passage of Scripture.  This time he read two chapters of Psalms, 42, and 43.  Now, I know I have read these chapters before but suddenly, I was hearing them with different ears.  It was like this shell that formed around my emotions and soul this summer began to crack.


As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?[b]
My tears have been my food day and night,
While they continually say to me,
“Where is your God?”

When I remember these things,
I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go with the multitude;
I went with them to the house of God,
With the voice of joy and praise,
With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.

Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him
For the help of His countenance.[c]

O my God,[d] my soul is cast down within me;
Therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan,
And from the heights of Hermon,
From the Hill Mizar.
Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls;
All Your waves and billows have gone over me.
The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime,
And in the night His song shall be with me—
A prayer to the God of my life.

I will say to God my Rock,
“Why have You forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10 As with a breaking of my bones,
My enemies reproach me,
While they say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”

11 Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.

Prayer to God in Time of Trouble

43 Vindicate me, O God,
And plead my cause against an ungodly nation;
Oh, deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man!
For You are the God of my strength;
Why do You cast me off?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

Oh, send out Your light and Your truth!
Let them lead me;
Let them bring me to Your holy hill
And to Your tabernacle.
Then I will go to the altar of God,
To God my exceeding joy;
And on the harp I will praise You,
O God, my God.

Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.


I found my eyes welling up and as soon as we were praying, I was whipping out a tissue to wipe them as fast as I could.  You know me - can't let anyone know I'm actually human and shed real tears sometimes.

I didn't put two and two together right away, so I was delighted when I realized that Psalm 42 was the text of the morning.  For the first time in forever, I took out the note sheet that was also in the bulletin and managed to secure a working pen out of my purse.  I couldn't jot things down fast enough. 

I wasn't alone.  A long time ago, King David also dealt with depression and felt far from God.  He was a mighty warrior, chosen by God to lead His people and yet, He was reduced to running for His life and hiding in caves.  He knew what it was to walk closely and intimately with the Lord.  But he felt abandoned.

 I know he felt.

King David felt overwhelmed by life's trials.  In verse 7 he says, "deep calls to deep" which sounds terribly poetic.  What it means - and I didn't know this - was wave after wave was crashing in on him.  How often have I felt that since Paul's death?  How often this summer alone, have I had that very thought of feeling like the hits keep coming. that I am drowning in despair?

But in this chapter, we see three things David chose to do.  He did these things even though he was discouraged and depressed.  He didn't wait until he felt better.  He talked to himself of God's truth, rather than talking about his circumstances to himself, as my pastor put it.  He forced himself to remember the good things God had already done in His life, the ways He had shown Himself to David over and over.  David challenged himself to do what he was supposed to do.  He vowed to put his hope in God.  My pastor said that word, "hope" actually translates in Hebrew to a word meaning to "wait on God's timing."  That one hit me.  In the last few weeks I've just had myself tied up in knots, trying to figure out my future.  Suppose God might just show me His plan for my life if I wait?

And then lastly, David chose to praise God.  You know, in the months since Paul's death I have pondered the phrase taken from  Psalm 50 - offering a "sacrifice of praise."  Just what is a sacrifice of praise?  The words don't seem to go together.  Could it be - and I am conjecturing here because I honestly have no idea - that a sacrifice of praise is one we make and is especially honored when it's one we make when we least feel like praising God?  It's praise that comes from a heart riven in two by our circumstances?  I don't know - just a thought I've been pondering for awhile. 

Well, this sermon about did me in.  I know it wasn't written specifically for me, but sitting in that pew Sunday, it felt like it was.  I felt the hardened, weary edges of my heart crack and fall away.  I can't even write about it without getting weepy all over again.

So am I "cured" after one really amazing Sunday morning?  Uh, no...I'm not so sure it really works that way.  But God moved and He answered my prayers for deliverance.  It's not that I'm not going to continue to struggle with depression and sadness and weariness.  I'm only 15 months into this journey. My entire life has been turned upside down and I am bearing overwhelming burdens. I don't say that dramatically or to engender sympathy from others.  It's simply the way things are right now.   I'm pretty sure that these things, the depression and so forth,  are  going to be nipping at my heels for a very long time.  If nothing else, I have gained a new understanding and compassion for those that struggle in the grips of depression on a regular basis.

But depression is not going to have the victory.  I'm not going to let it.

I've been reading a book by Beth Moore lately, without knowing much about her life or ministry.  The book is really opening my eyes to the insidious way that Satan works in the life of the Believer and his intense hatred for those of us who claim Christ.  I think I've been pretty naive and insulated for most of my Christian life.  But now, looking back on the past weeks, I can see that Satan was at work.  No, he didn't tempt me to fall into any great sin and I haven't shamed my name or that of Christ.  But He was whispering lies to me and allowing me to focus on how I felt instead of what I knew to be true.

So that's where I am right now.  The sun has come out.  Tomorrow I might be sad again and feel sucked down into the mire once again.  But I don't have to stay there.

I feel free.


I have a whole list of other things to write about, but they're going to have to wait.  My melatonin are kicking in and I still have to do my nails and eat something before collapsing.  Tomorrow I take Ben to Iowa City for his teeth.  I don't know how long that will take but I'd like to hit a couple of children's consignment stores out there and still get home in time to drop Ben off at the farmer's market to work, go home, whip up some supper, and go retrieve Ben again,  and get to church on time.  I promised to help with the Patch Club kids tomorrow night (since two of them are mine, I'm kind of obligated, I think!) if Ben feels up to going at all with his mouth.  It will be a busy, busy day.








































































1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for the update and praise the LORD for sunshine :) I know that the summer of 2007 was very difficult for me. It was like the first year was all about survival and then I hit a wall. I emotionally and spiritually sat for awhile. It was so draining to even stand. I think for me it was a combination of life events, plus grief, plus attack of the enemy, plus a lack of rest. I am just so thankful full that even though we don't understand what is going on ourselves that God does and HE knows exactly what we need and what will speak to our hearts.
    Many hugs and prayers