I am going to say I had a miracle this weekend. I have had a brutal cold, thanks to my son ( I knew I never should have taught him to share! haha) So it’s a week and half still coughing to the point when I have a real coughing fit, I have to put my back against a wall because it hurts. So Friday after a bad coughing day and went to bed coughing and sputtering, ( I made a model T sound like a purring kitten) but as I lay there I said “Lord I am so tired I need sleep please let me get some sleep tonight.” I woke up at 8am – I didn’t cough once all night. I felt so good I couldn’t believe it.
Friday my husband had a really bad day at work, with a co-worker, he was very upset. That Saturday morning I was so elated to not cough and felt rested that I lay there Praising God for giving me what I needed most. Then I put my hand on my husband and prayed for him. My man is very heartfelt, conflict like that bothers him very much and he will play the events over and over in his mind. I felt God poking me. Poke, poke, poke, the message I was getting “you prayed in silence now pray it aloud”. I did what a normal human does – ignored it. So after a few more pokes, I started to pray aloud. We felt uplifted, it was a good day.
It is a lesson on trust. Trust is one of the hardest things to learn. Depression takes away that trust. You know your mind is not processing things right and you distrust everything. Your emotions carry you away like a tornado from Kansas. The darkness takes away your ability to see where you are stepping, there is no light upon the path; that you can see, and as a result you curl up in a ball unable to unclench your eyes afraid of the dark afraid to open them because you won’t see the light and you become paralysed.
I was reading about Peter the other day – I love Peter (if you have never read about him look it up in your bible – well worth it). Peter is the sum of humanity. He is a man’s man. He is a fisherman, aware of nature, rugged, hard-working. He is loyal, not afraid to grab a sword to defend himself or his friends. He is real, he knows who Jesus is and is the first to say go away from me I am a sinner. He also speaks out of turn, lets his enthusiasm get the better of him, so he is heartfelt. He denys he knows Jesus 3 times – he is like the rest of us. There is a story of the disciples in one of their boats and they are crossing a body of water and a storm blows up. Its bad and they know they are in trouble – even though most of them were fishermen by trade, they are panicking. They look up and here comes Jesus walking in the storm on the water. As what is happening sinks in for these guys, Peter asks Jesus if he could walk to him. Jesus asks him to come and he does and is doing ok, for a bit, then realizes what his feet are doing and sees the darkness around him and begins to sink, Jesus grabs his hand and helps him. The meaning of the story is obvious. But as I rolled this story around my mind I was thinking more of the storm than of Jesus. The storm is a great example of our trials in life but also of the storm of depression.
The portral of people, who suffer from depression on TV, to sell the latest drug, shows people quietly sulking, at least that is how it looks. There are times I curl up in a ball and can’t move, but the mind is nothing like what the body is doing. The mind is swirling like a perfect storm. Thoughts, voices, misconceptions, twirling around, you feel the coldness of the loneliness, the emptiness and you can’t shake it. The fear of the wind of lies blowing from all directions as you feel yourself being blown all over the map. You see the darkness below you the abyss that wants to suck you down and never give you up. This is exactly what Peter experienced, the wind of divisiveness, the dark abyss below, the fear, the coldness of the emptiness, alone on the water out of the safety of the boat. The doubt of what you see to what you feel.
The next thing that happens in the story, besides Jesus saving Peter, Jesus calms the storm. The winds stop, the lake becomes like glass, and they are at their destination. This is the season of Lent and beside it being a time of repentance, and lets face it, praying and repenting doesn’t last that long. 40 days of ‘forgive me God’ gets old. Don’t get me wrong, I need every second of that time, for I am a sinner. but, Lent is a good time of introspection but it is also a time for expansion. Expansion of thought, of trust, of faith. This lent I have had some up moments, but I have been mostly down, but not lost in the dark. Of all the readings, services and things I have done this Lent one thing sticks in my mind (which is saying something cause my memory doesn’t stick well 🙂 but it is the 5 words: I don’t know my place. God is Holy, divine, and I am not. I don’t think of myself as wonderful and divine, but I do think I am; or am desperate to, be in control. Don’t we all. Depression takes away your control because chemically your brain misfires and you can not control it. When I heard that, it felt like an arrow hit me in the heart! I have had a couple of things that have bothered me through out this process of depression. Why will God not take this from me? When will it be over? I miss my old self. I can’t believe I am suffering from this and how frightening it is to be really low. And then comes the thought. As a christian one of the major problems we have is not knowing our place. As it says in Job, God asks ‘who is it that speaks words with out widsom’. That be me! I do not know my place and I want God to ‘fix’ me.
The reality of all these thoughts. I am suffering from depression, it may and could last the rest of my life, I have an amazing Lord, Father, that is divine and powerful, and knowledgable. I am not. These thoughts have made humble, they have made me repent, they have brought me closer to God. It has put me in the right place. I know God is in control. I have put myself in the place I should be, it has increased my trust in God and it has increased my faith.
So now what? I am still a sinner, I am still struggling, I am still suffering from mental illness, I have up days and down, but the days don’t seem so hard, my heart feels more full. Maybe this is just a moment in time. Tomorrow could be a dark and evil day for me. But if it is there are a couple of things I have to hold on to. I have the memory of the fullness of my heart and the joy I feel today. I have a wonderful supportive husband, family and friends, and most of all I have hope…. amen
till next time………………………