But the Word of God in me opened. His word sustained me. Religious cliché? No, just the simple truth.
I was a year out from the epicenter of the origins of the depression. All this while, I moved through life. Teaching. Working. Churching. Life moved and unfolded continually around me.
Perhaps, you ask what the origins were.
In 2015, a perfect storm collided, intersected in my life. Two events of extreme elation and devastating loss occurred within two months of the other.
In August, Westbow Press published my first book Growing Room: For Life in Tight Places. I remember the day my author’s copy arrived in the mail. My husband and I stood in the break room of work, and I cried into his chest, the book clutched between us—my top bucket list wish held between two covers. In September, my local library held a book signing event for me. I sat at the desk and signed the inside of book covers. A hundred people talked to me, spoke to me, bought my book, and shared with me. My local and hometown newspapers shared my story. Messages poured into my social feed. I was humbled. Undone by the response. Still am.
In October, Steve and I went to Gatlinburg to celebrate—a hand-holding, sharing ice cream, kissing on the streets kind of weekend. After a couple of days in the heart of the town, we went to bed exhausted. In the middle of the night, my phone rang. The perfect storm arrived unannounced and unpredicted. Two fronts collided. My only brother, eighteen years younger than me, had been killed in a car crash.
How do I write from here? I’ve led you into a series, and many will dismiss the subsequent posts because they are heavy and quite frankly, depressing. But this is the geography of depression. And for me, because it was mild to moderate I still functioned.
I write because I know many struggle as I did. I share because others need to know they are not alone. They are not isolated in their darkness. They are not excommunicated from the community of faith because this entity has a daily appointment.
Many beautiful, faithful, committed Followers of Christ inwardly battle the creeping fog and the pressing dusk. I know; I’ve talked with you. In my living room, through text, through email, through Facebook messages, in cafes, and in the aisles of grocery stores. I’ve heard the laments, the cries, the anger, and the frustration. I’ve heard it vented and whispered.
I know where you are. Where you abide right now. I know.
Many, if not all, have experienced a perfect storm in your life of one kind or another—a collision, and the fallout, the debris, the consequences, and the chaos loom. A clear path or way through to the other side is not visible. And everything inside you seems to be breaking into splinters and shards, and you’re being cut and wounded by your own brokenness. There’s a slow leak of life-blood, a hidden hemorrhaging. You are plugging the holes of the dam with your own fingers.
And you’re (I, we) are crying, “How long, Lord? How much more can I take? How many more bad things will happen. How many more hard situations will we face? How long will you wait, O God? Where are you?” We whisper these questions inside our souls where no one can hear them. Breathe them quietly so no one can point out that our faith is weak or that we doubt or offer us flat platitudes when we are bailing out the water in our boat in the middle of the whipping storm.
But, my Friends, there is hope.
A precious friend told me to convey this truth to another friend recently. She said, “Tell her there is hope.”
There is hope. An anchor.
An anchor that will hold in the fiercest and wildest of storms, and we will get to the other side.
Out of the Land of Shadows, Part 4—The Other Side is coming.