-originally written August 14, 2018.
I look a lot like my momma. I have her dark hair, fair skin, bright baby blue eyes, and her nose. So many have mistaken us to be sisters rather than mother and daughter. While two of my kids tower over me and one is sure to as he gets older, I rather like my short, petite frame – which I got from her, too. We love sappy, ‘warm & fuzzies’-laden movies, long naps on rainy afternoons…and don’t dare speak to us until we have our morning espresso. We wear our heart on our sleeve, love more than we oughta, and cry over everything: when we are happy, sad, mad, worried – yep, all tears. Keeps people pretty confused, I imagine. We definitely are old souls – pursuing the deeper things so many pass by. Loving deeper often sadly means hurting deeper, too – which we do. Our emotions run unbridled in a world of clamped mouths, “shhhh,” and hidden, hurting hearts. Our words can’t wait to speak out to try to encourage others about things that matter so much more than what people drive, or make, or what latest and greatest thing they own. To us, life is too short to indulge, and for others, it’s too short not to. We both long for fellowship – yet, because of how different we are, most times we are alone – unless we cover up who we are – in the name of “fitting in.” Is it so wrong I’d rather be myself with a spare few, than with many and pretending to be someone I’m not?
It is scary to stand alone.
For someone with severe depression (like me), it’s also quite sad.
I’ve never been able to pinpoint any one cause for it. I’ve just always had it. Even my earliest memories hold scenes where I knew I was depressed. I blamed myself ever since… thinking, “why can’t I just be like everyone else – ‘normal?'” Or less intense – I’d be happy with that! Anything… anyone…but like me.
I never fit in. I wanted to – thinking that might be the answer. Still, the more I tried to not be “me,” the more “me” I was. “Adolescent years” and “social outcast” do not pair well together. I definitely tried way too hard just to be accepted. I placed way too much weight on the whole peer-to-peer scene.
And the whole time, my depression worsened and worsened. I smiled on the outside and was such a pitiful mess on the inside.
Now my mental health is at an all-time low. I’ve fought so hard every step of the way. I didn’t want to ever get this far. To fall that fast.
And I never liked the dark.
Both I and others to me have said, “get help for whatever is at the core of this dilemma.” I’ve been looking… but in all the wrong places.
It wasn’t until tonight actually – hence, the reason why the long (writing) hiatus and suddenly “here I am!” post – that I realized:
I am depressed because of sin messing in my life. I am also depressed because the way I am clashes so harshly with everybody else.
Because I’m different.
I hate shallowness and self centeredness.
I hate pretending.
Looking out for self before others.
Things taking the rightful place of God, family, and priorities.
Wait… These are all things that the Lord hates too. So – for me to get help, would mean I’m trying to get these things to bother me less? No wonder the more I try, the more I pray, that it continues…
And He is silent.
He’s already said where He stands – did we catch His reply the first time?
God didn’t create me to be “me.” He created me in His image.
Separate from the world.
Not part of it –
To be different.
Could it be that the reason I’m so depressed is my tolerance for things apart from God is wearing out? That could be God’s intention… to transform me to be like Him. Not anyone else.
Jesus already said I’d be an outcast. Hated. Unlike the world.
Because I’m His.
He did absolutely nothing wrong – and yet the world demanded His death. Perfect man and perfect God, He bore my sin so that – with His death – I’d be free in His presence. If even Jesus stood boldly, unwavering, with His head high, alone, and different, and was totally okay with that – surely, He can do the same for me. What if – instead of praying to be free, or asking Him “why, why” – I prayed for help in embracing this calling, this life, just as He did?
Because, if my thoughts are right and making sense with the Word, then I have my answer already to “why”…
He wants me to carry this cross like a trophy – cling to it as if my next breath depends on it (and it does), to be a light in a pitch-black world, showing not perfection but what a submitted, faithful life to God should look like – in the middle (not when it’s over!) of my mess.
After the call comes.
When the test results are in, and it’s not what was hoped for.
When the hand you hold grows cold this side of heaven.
In the silence of the night.
When your trust is crushed…again.
When all I can do is breathe in and breathe out…
When my heart is racing, when my hands are shaking, when my eyes seem like they couldn’t possibly give one more tear…
In the waiting,
Oh, all the waiting.
Just as my momma and I look like near mirror images of each other, so was I made to look like a mirror image of my Father. I can choose the world or choose Him – but there is no in-between. He is jealous for my affections and won’t settle for anything but first place.
Oh God, I choose You. I choose You. You made me, and You don’t make mistakes. How dare I accept the criticism of anyone but Yours? Even my own.
If what ails me is against Him, I cry out to free me and know He will answer – for He is faithful to His promises. And if what ails me is exactly what He wills, I cry out in worship (however painful) – yet I trust and say, “not mine Lord but Thy will be done.”
Dear ones, I do hear you, and I write to you from in the middle of the absolute worst time of my entire life thus far. Yet, I tell you with all certainty that I am learning a new boldness, with a new voice, to care less and less about what the world thinks about me – and more and more about His will, His ways, His purposes, and plans for me.
We are never going to understand it all. Just because we don’t know every last detail does not mean God negates His sovereignty, power, or rightful place above everyone and everything. He deserves our praise – in the summers and winters of life. Whether we like where He is leading us – or we want to throw ourselves on the floor in the mother of all hissy fits. And I absolutely am convinced that God created reality discipline as the perfect Parent to help all us flawed earthly ones stay some kinda sane in the interim.
God gave us life – we don’t own any of this, and if you are reading this, it’s because He allowed you to live long enough to do so – and that’s it. He deserves all glory, honor, and praise – regardless of highs, lows, tearful seasons, sending our kids to school in their Minions pajamas because they pushed their luck with not getting dressed the first time, or laughing just a little too hard and realizing – oops – maybe that last swig of water was not such a good idea after all.
Life will bring heartache, disappointment, and sorrows. Yet I will not fear – because I belong to the only One who overcame it all…for me, and for you. For the world.
Yes, for us all.
Teach me, O God, Your ways, and help me hide my heart in You. May things that You love be what I love, and may what You desire be mine. Give me a burden for what burdens Your heart, and remind me every day to thank You for making me different – in Your image. Help me to wear forgiveness like a crown and live out the life You planned for me – with all its fiery darts and arrows – with joy and boldness.
Because I’m Yours.
Purposeful Pause: What would need to be in place for you to not just make it through your days – but find beauty, satisfaction, and joy in the total absence of any hope of your circumstance/problem/thorn as Paul said changing – and soar?
Worshipful Praise: Reason To Sing – Acoustic – All Sons and Daughters
Digging Deeper: Rather than a list of scriptures, I’d like to share something profound I’ve learned in this season about one passage I’ve never understood until now that has been really the inspiration for this entire entry – and (I feel) – set off the spark of returned hope for my recovery (returned – that’s correct – because I feel I had lost all hope). Please turn and read 2 Corinthians 12:1-11.
For many years, I wondered why – when Jesus could have just taken away Paul’s thorn (read: problem), why did He reprimand Paul – His response confused me so much, didn’t seem to fit. It wasn’t until this season that I found my thoughts reflecting again to this passage randomly and then – I realized – that’s IT! – Paul – like us – was saying, “Jesus, please take away this problem! – Then I will be good to go!” Jesus replied saying – “that’s not the answer – I AM the answer! You have Me, Paul – and I AM enough! You think if the problem goes away, you will be strong enough again – but I never intended for you to stand on your own! Life has problems – I am Your strength. Rely on Me – not the presence nor absence of problems – to get through life.”
I think I see light bulbs popping up above some heads here! Yes? I thought to myself – “wow, that was obvious, how did I miss that for so long?” The Bible can become too familiar and cause us to gloss over passages – thinking “oh I’ve read that so many times already” and skip over it. Dear ones, don’t! Thar’s treasures in ‘dem ‘dere hills, argh!!!!! So dig deeper!!! I know it hurts, it’s hard, it’s not fun, and I write you from such a place where I did not think I could get any lower – I am with you, I hear you. It’s not easy. But I promise you…. it’s necessary.
You will spin your wheels, writhe those hands, rub your eyes, and keep hindering your dawn of hope just like I did until you stop fighting what you’re facing… and you embrace it. Goodness, that is scary! It is, it is. But just for a second. God, we embrace the road You have us on – only because You are with us. And though it’s scary, we know You would not have us here if it wasn’t totally necessary and for a perfect reason and Your perfect will.
Will You trust His love for you more than Your fears – more than (insert your own here)? And guess what… it’s not easy for God either. He hurts when we hurt. He collects our tears in His bottle. Yes that is a verse – but I am not going to do the work for you – get to digging 😉
Trust, child. Trust. I stand with you, for you, together.