His Sufficient Grace in the Darkness
I've written this post in my head a thousand times unable to put words to paper. It was supposed to be published in time for Easter. It was supposed to celebrate the greatest day in human history. The day when the groans of a creation burdened by sin are hushed by Christ's victory over the grave. But that day came & went. When I finally was able to type something with clarity I was told it was too church-y, I was preaching. The only emotion I could process was, "well, that's a @#& response." More time past and this weekend celebrated a year. One year, since our family drove to Chicago to meet a new adventure head on. Even now I labor for the right words.
Back up several months prior to our move when Matty lost his job. We were devastated and confused. For the first time, we had been able to stay put in one place and build. We built friendships & community. We built a home. Now what? Matt ended up with two different options for a new job; in two different parts of the country. One was much like what he was already doing in Florida. Plus it was in a city we had already lived in. It was safe. Familiar. The other would stretch Matt's job skills and the faith of our family. One morning I shared a devotion about the Reubenites in Numbers 32. The Reubenites chose to stop short of the Jordan and settle on the eastern side. They chose immediate gratification over the promises of God. It would take more work and future battles to completely settle in the Promise Land. This devotion spoke to Matt & I - "don't choose the easy & comfortable over the difficult things that could hold great promise from the Lord." And so, we packed up our things and "crossed the Jordan."
In my effort to not copy the failings of the Reubenites, I fell prey to other mistakes the Israelites made in the Old Testament. I questioned God & complained. Years of continual change, hurt caused through ministry, and weariness brought on by "being strong" finally took its toll. I'm just going to be honest. Too many times this year I have crawled into the darkness of my bed wanting to hide my broken soul. Angry phrases would roll through my thoughts followed, by whispers of defeat. How can I feel this way, I'm a Christian. How can I doubt? If not in the hidden places then a raging storm that destroyed the peace of our home. In my attempt to remain strong, anger was shoved down and covered with head knowledge of freedom and peace; mine to possess if only I knew how. Eventually it would erupt & mommy's brokenness would taint the hearts of those I love most. I was left with the struggle to reconcile what I know to be truth with the emotions that consumed me. In the darkest moments, I considered walking away. I thought to live for myself and find gratification in the present. I was tired of smiling as I continued to march myself into church like a good Christian, while leaving weeping.
Jesus doesn't leave us alone while wandering in our wilderness.
365 days. One year. So, where do I sit now? I still feel displaced. Still lonely. Still asking why? & what? on some days. On those days the darkness is tempting. But something has changed; while I was marching myself to church out of obligation, God was still working. Truth shines on our darkness & the darkness cannot remain. Every message for the last 6 months has spoken to the sovereignty of God. I was being reminded that Jesus calls us to fix our eyes on Him. He didn't promise us an easy life. He didn't promise us blessings now. Rather, He promises that it will hard. But hardship doesn't mean I'm doing it wrong, on the contrary it provides an opportunity to lean in on His strength & grace. He promises that faith comes from obedience. Faith side steps the emotions and chooses to continue forward instead of stopping. He promises that His grace is sufficient. When I truly believe His grace is sufficient for me, a life of sacrifice is not a burden but true freedom. So that I may love deeply, live humbly and declare boldly. So That God gets the glory!
Ps. Dear one, you are not alone. Depression is real. It is not a battle that can be fought alone. It is a war of our physical, mental and spiritual bodies. Sometimes there is a need for professional help and always the need for a friend. And it is not weak to admit you need help. If you are battling depression reach out to a friend or loved one. I am here to pray for/with you. Seek medical help if needed. And more than anything seek Jesus. He knows and loves every ounce of your being.