I've been drowning. I've been sinking in the cold dark abyss of pain and fear and doubt. I thought in pride in might never happen again, but it did. I've wanted to slip away and make it all end. Saturday, the sun was shining, the birds were chirping and my beautiful, healthy and happy girls were riding bikes just outside the open window with my prince, Dan. I sat here wondering how I could make sure they would be okay if I just couldn't be. No amount of gratitude or positive energy or Scripture or hymns or spiritual songs I could will into a prayer changed the paralyzing depression.
A friend who I rarely see messaged me, "Can I come by at 4?" She brought me a big rock. It is engraved with the word "HOPE". Of every single person I have known in my life she is the one person I could tell how I was feeling. She had been there. Before I ever knew her my mom and dad visited her in the hospital when she tried to die. They had taken her a picture of Dan, Delaney and I. My mom told her about me. How I had wanted to end it all too when I was about her age. She told her how God saved my life and how He redeemed me from sadness. Exactly five years ago I finally met this twenty-three year old mess of a girl, and I became a mentor of sorts. God has rescued her in almost every conceivable way since and is making a beautiful trophy of her. He also made her my friend. He moved her to visit me when she did and to bring me a tangible life raft to hold. I love this.
I've been wrapping myself in Truth and Grace since. If you've been here you know when your lungs have filled with so much water and you have stopped breathing from the pain the journey back to the safety of shore is slow and arduous swimming. If this was just a spiritual journey for me or a psychological one or even a biochemical one perhaps it would be easier, but I am physically broken in so many ways that I can truly only float some of the time and pray the waves are headed toward land instead of deeper into the sea.
I read this today while hanging on. It is a blog post written by singer, songwriter and author Andrew Peterson titled Five Things I Want My Children To Know.
1. The world was good.
When you walk outside, breathe deep and look around. Think about the air in your lungs. Think about air. Think about lungs, expanding and contracting. Think about the gravity that makes walking possible. Think also about the difference between inside and outside: we tend to dwell in structures with walls and ceilings because we are comforted by boundaries, by order, by knowing our place in the world—but then we walk outside and move about on the surface of a planet with nothing substantial overhead, nothing but atmosphere between us and billions of miles of space; this is our home: order, boundary, place. In this world where we live, there is air to breathe, earth to tread, light to see, and wonder to last your whole life if only you stop to consider the simplest, most abundant beauties around you.
2. The world is fallen.
There’s a secret your heart knows. It has known for a long, long time, though you may not have told a soul. The older you get the more you will feel it, the more you will see it in the eyes of your friends and family, and in your own eyes when you look in the mirror, the more you will understand why Jesus had to die. Here is the secret that everybody knows: this beautiful world is broken. Something is wrong. People hurt each other. People hurt themselves. Sometimes you feel afraid and lonely. Know that everyone, from the President to the janitor to your parents to your friends to the kings of distant lands, everyone that has ever lived—knights of the Age of Chivalry and samurai warriors in ancient Asia, servants and spies and soldiers and singers, preachers and authors and plumbers and pyramid builders—everyone has felt the same. You are not alone in your loneliness.
3. The world will be redeemed.
We need rescue and God is the only one who can do it, the only hero able to complete the quest. Jesus lay in the tomb as dead as a doornail—and then he woke and kicked down death’s door. Light burst forth. Believe that! Notice the way your heart leaps at the thought of it! The clock is ticking down to the last sad heartbeat, the last flash of anger, the last dark thought, the last selfish impulse, the last cruel word, the last broken heart, the last weeping baby, the last dying mother, the last wicked laugh—and it is Jesus who waits at the gate astride his warhorse, watching for the Father’s signal, ready to gallop out of the skies at the head of his angel army to set us free forever. The world will be redeemed.
4. You are broken.
But until then, child, understand that you need Jesus. You need him because your heart is under construction. But from the moment you invite Jesus into your heart, the song of your life is written into the symphony God is composing. Every bad decision, every stray word, every sinful thought laid on the altar of his love becomes a shadow in a beautiful painting, a dark tone in a beautiful song, the conflict in a good story that propels the character toward the joyful ending. This is complicated. To remember your sin is to deepen your gladness that God is good. And that is the final thought.
5. God loves you.
The Lord of Life, the maker of lightning, lions, mountains, tides, moonlight, meteors, the vast silence of the stars, and the music of laughter—the one who not only spoke it into being but whose good pleasure alone binds every molecule together—that is the God who loves you. He loves you. He loves you (somehow!) even more than I do, and that’s saying something. You will spend a joyous eternity exploring the mountain of that truth. Lean into it, believe it, delight in it. Now walk outside, breathe deep, and look around at the good world. Notice the ache in your heart. Remember the resurrection. Be humbled by your helplessness. Remember the kindness of the King.
Thank you, God, for making joy possible for me through these timely words. Continue to deliver me from this fallen world and my own brokenness and help me to see my Redemption is finished and Your love for me is always sure.