Thursday, July 10, 2014

Battered But Not Broken

After a couple of weeks off, I'm again joining up with Bonnie Gray at Faith Barista for Whitespace Thursday.

Lately even my quiet times have been filled with turmoil.  We've had some stress, which is largely resolved now.  Usually I can trust God with my circumstances.  I know He is in control and I can rest in that.

However, my depression has come roaring back.  It's wedged a wide gap between what I know and what I feel.  I know that God is here with me, and I remember His promises.  Yet I don't sense His presence.  My stomach is doing backflips and I feel like doing nothing more than curling up in a corner and crying.  (I haven't given in to that because wallowing in the misery has never helped at all.)

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Yesterday was an especially rough day.  I tried everything that has ever helped open up the dark clouds.  I prayed, I read psalms, I read fiction, I rested, I listened to good music.  None of that helped.  Finally, when it was time to start making dinner, I asked my son to stream some good music.  He found a station that played mostly worship music.  Singing along with the music and keeping my focus on the Lord, I felt the waves diminish.  They didn't completely go away, but the improvement was dramatic.  God is so merciful.

Later I thought back to Psalm 77, which I'd read earlier.  It starts with this (v. 1-2):

I cried out to God for help; 
I cried out to God to hear me.
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands,
and I would not be comforted.

Then it transitions to this (v. 10-12):

Then I thought, "To this I will appeal:
    the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
    yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.

12 I will consider all your works
    and meditate on all your mighty deeds."


What a beautiful example of relying on what we know rather than what we feel.

Emotions are not trustworthy, especially when they shift with the direction of the wind.  I know this, even though my brain chemistry or whatever is telling me that something is terribly wrong.

Reminding myself that circumstances are fine doesn't help.  Reminding myself that Jesus is walking alongside me ... well, it doesn't always help when I can't sense His presence at all.  I have no peace.  I feel battered.

Sometimes it requires asking the people closest to me for help.  My husband holds me and comforts me.  Two other friends pray for me and with me.  They remind me of the Truth:  God promised always to be with us.  That's true whether I feel it or not.

I still don't feel it.  I still don't have peace.  But I can trust in knowing that God is here, He is in control, and I have friends to remind me of that when I start to slip.
And nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in Your hands
I’m holding onto Your promises
You are faithful
(from "Whom Shall I Fear," as recorded by Chris Tomlin)




3 comments :

  1. You're so wise to have a tool box of things you can pull from when you feel your depression sinking in. I have to remind myself often too that my feelings are not trustworthy, that they are not who I am--I go much deeper than my emotions, and my emotions aren't always accurately indicating anything.

    Praying the cloud will continue to lift. But until then, that you'll keep trusting God anyway. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Depression can be so tough. Sometimes even God's promises seem to mock us. But God is so faithful. I'm so glad He lifted the gloom. Yes, God promises to be with us even when we can't feel it. It's hard though, isn't it? That ship shows the struggle so accurately. Praying God will keep calming those waves and speak peace to your heart, Melissa. Hugs!

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  3. Depression is so ugly... and I hate that you have to deal with it...
    Just remember that God has plans for you.. We might not know what is going on and why... but He does.
    Hugs to you....

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