What God will Use…(exhibit E)…

to remind you that there is a purpose, a plan, and a Perfect Planner.

 

Good Company

 

It goes right along with that great cloud of witnesses thing I referenced in the post below. The realization that we are not alone. I am fully convinced that one of wormtongue’s most pervasive and most sadly-effective lies is that we are each of us islands. Alone in our misery. Unique in our sufferings. Outside the realm of human experience.

 

And while it is true that no one save God Himself can really, truly know precisely how you are affected by something, it is an unequivocable fallacy to think that one is beyond the reach of a compassionate and understanding soul who Has Been There And Lived To Tell The Tale.

 

We are to comfort one another with the comfort with which we have been comforted.

 

(Say that three times fast.)

 

Which necessarily implies that we are not alone. It would not be putting too fine a point on it, I believe, to say that it is a form of pride to think that you are. Don’t bother looking for help; you’re hopeless. You’re the One In All Creation Who Can’t Be Reached. What an honor!

 

Those that struggle with depression and find any measure of victory and comfort in the Holy Spirit are expressly urged to bolster those in the pit. Which made reading this man’s story in the midst of my own floundering yet another way that God reached out to me.

 

I’ve read Shaun Groves’ blog over the years, and he’s not just a brilliant musician and one of my favorites, but he’s also one of those deeply convinced types (like me) who is very, very certain of Things, and The Way Things Should Be. So reading the story of his own plummet into the pit and subsequent lifting-from was very comforting.

 

There is a truth about depression that cannot be overstated: it is humbling. Once you reach the point where you stop believing that you are beyond help and reach out for the help that is offered, you naturally wind up with a greater appreciation of others’ weaknesses. Less quick to judge just how such-and-such should do this-or-that to solve their problem.

 

There is a new humility to Shaun’s blog that I have not seen there before. There’s a new humility at work in me that I know could only happen through being broken–repeatedly–and being utterly incapable of putting myself back together each time. When someone comes along, picks up a piece of your fragmented soul and pats it back in place, gratitude is the proper response. And gratitude necessitates humility.

 

I find it really interesting that Shaun received a harsh word concerning his witness right before his descent began. Often a criticism has been the trigger to my plummets as well. There seems to be an inability in me to simply receive a criticism without spiralling downward. I’m trying to submit to the Holy Spirit in this area.

 

I don’t believe that depression is God’s will. I believe, however, that He can use it for His glory; turn it into something beautiful. Redeem it. And what greater victory can be had than to find humility waiting on the other side?

 

    O for a thousand tongues to sing
    My great Redeemer’s praise,
    The glories of my God and King,
    The triumphs of His grace!
    My gracious Master and my God,
    Assist me to proclaim,
    To spread through all the earth abroad
    The honors of Thy name.
    Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
    That bids our sorrows cease;
    ’Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
    ’Tis life, and health, and peace.
    He breaks the power of canceled sin,
    He sets the prisoner free;
    His blood can make the foulest clean,
    His blood availed for me.
    Hear Him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb,
    Your loosened tongues employ;
    Ye blind, behold your Savior come,
    And leap, ye lame, for joy.

~Charles Wesley

What God Will Use…(exhibit D)…

to remind you that there is a purpose, a plan, and a Perfect Planner.

 

You Guys

 

If I didn’t already make it abundantly clear, your comments, every one of them, those that sympathised, empathised, offered advice, hugs, and prayers…they were rays of light shining the way to the stairs that led out of the pit.

 

So great a cloud of witnesses, indeed. With so many voices cheering one on, one finds new strength. Your words led me to His word, which is where wormtongue gets an ass-kickin’ every single time.

 

As I have been reading through your words again, I wish you could see me, tears running down my face again in gratitude to Him for not leaving us as orphans…sending His sweet Spirit to inhabit the the body of Christ and reach out to those who are floundering. I want to share some of these words with you, so you may take them to heart also; they are truth for every one of us.

 

So thank you again, my friends; although we’ve never met, we are His Bride, and I believe that when we encourage one another, we are most beautiful to Him. Be encouraged today. His banner over us IS Love.

 

We’re here for you, holding on to you by the ankles, keeping the devil from gulping you down

 

 

fortunately for us, Christ’s specialty seems to be in those who are broken. There is no one he cannot reach and there is no way he will allow that lion to swallow you

 

 

The thing I love about recognizing our own darkness is when He shows us that He sees us as beautiful even in the midst of our crap…

 

 

It is just as inspiring, thought-provoking, and, yes, even encouraging to hear about the bad times as the good. If people never tell the truth about being depressed, then all the rest of us who are depressed feel even more alone and crazy!

 

while you can admire someone up on a pedestal, you can’t really know them very well

 

 

You are not alone in your struggles. Ever.

 

 

Praise God for the hope we find in Jesus Christ that we cling to daily.

 

 

May you soon FEEL enveloped by a very different Lion. Because He will never release you to that other one. I know you know He’s there, I’ll just pray that you’ll FEEL it soon.

 

 

I have been so lifted up to read that you come out of the dark times, even if momentarily, to praise him and trust him. It encourages me to have hope too. There is also no room for pride when we know we rely so heavily on his hand for provision. If we were perfect we would not need him.

 

 

I love history, my history with HIM. It is good to remember my history with HIM. My Rock, My Beloved, My Provider, My Protector, My Rescuer, The Truth, My Unconditional Father, My Healer, My Faith giver, Gift giver. It is unbelievable what he has done and will continue to do. I know it is HIM who gives freely.

 

 

I also struggle with depression and my own dark place and I used to get so frustrated and desperate every time it resurfaced because I thought it was an indicator that I was somehow losing the battle despite all my best efforts and God’s intervention. I’ve learned that it is not the absence of my struggle that means progress. It still comes around all the time, but has less and less power over my life. What used to paralyze me for months, even years now may only take hold for a few hours or a couple of days. And God continues to be faithful to teach and refine me so none of it is wasted.

 

 

Depression is a dark, lonely place. Your words allude to feeling all but smothered by that black blanket and that you feel unworthy of the words of “praise” from others about your faith. But, dear Jenni, although your faith may seem as small or smaller than a mustard seed to you, that’s okay. You may not see the growing branches of the mustard plant, but they’re there. We can see them through your writings. Your words are so often that beacon of hope to us that you want them to be. You may not feel that way, but they are.

 

I just wanted you to know that even in the depths He has often allowed you to be in as of late, He is using you mightily… perhaps even more mightily than you would have otherwise been used.

 

 

You are not alone.

What God will Use…(exhibit A)…

To remind you that there is a purpose, a plan, and a Perfect Planner

His Word

…after the carpet was saturated with my tears…He used His servant David, speaking my heart’s cry, somehow knowing what I’d need to hear 3,000 years later…

 

Psalm 27

 

The LORD is my light and my salvation;
         Whom shall I fear? 
         
The LORD is the strength of my life;
         Of whom shall I be afraid? (of whom indeed…)
 2 When the wicked came against me
         To eat up my flesh, (halfway down his throat…)
         My enemies and foes,
         They stumbled and fell. (oh the glorious thought…)
 3 Though an army may encamp against me,
         My heart shall not fear; (are you listening, heart?)
         Though war may rise against me,
         In this I will be confident. (pay attention now, you wretched organ)
         
 4 One thing I have desired of the LORD,
         That will I seek:
         That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
         All the days of my life,
         To behold the beauty of the LORD,
         And to inquire in His temple. (what peace is found there, at His feet)
 5 For in the time of trouble
         He shall hide me in His pavilion; (He SHALL)
         In the secret place of His tabernacle
         He shall hide me; (He SHALL…i’ll take that promise)
         He shall set me high upon a rock. (goodbye, pit, your days are numbered)
         
 6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; (satan’s gonna get it in the teeth)
         Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
         I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD. (my voice is almost inaudible amidst the yammer of Wormtongue, but I will sing…)
         
 7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice!
         Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. (please oh please)
 8 When You said, “Seek My face,”
         My heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.” (I have, I have…You know I have…and I do…)
 9 Do not hide Your face from me; (it feels like you have…)
         Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
         You have been my help;
         Do not leave me nor forsake me, (it feels like you are…)
         O God of my salvation.
 10 When my father and my mother forsake me,
         Then the LORD will take care of me. (damn the feelings, THIS is the truth!)
         
 11 Teach me Your way, O LORD,
         And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies. (I don’t want to stumble forever…)
 12 Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries; (not him, Lord…he’s licking his chops…)
         For false witnesses have risen against me, (he’s just so good at framing his lies…)
         And such as breathe out violence. (he’s threatening to consume…)
 13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
         That I would see the goodness of the LORD
         In the land of the living. (I believe…I do…I know there is more…the land of the living is my home…)
         
 14 Wait on the LORD;
         Be of good courage,
         And He shall strengthen your heart; (it’s not something I have to conjure up…HE promises to do it…)
         Wait, I say, on the LORD! (okay. You know where to find me.)

I Would Be Remiss

If I did not take a moment to tell you of the buoying effect your words have had upon me.

 

Every…single…comment. Every single comment (yes Carol, even yours…perhaps especially yours…) was used by the Lord to give that blackout curtain a good swift kick. The sun is shining again, and though I know it is a battle that will continue til Kingdom Come, I find the strength again in both the Lord’s Goodness and His great cloud of witnesses.

 

I hear your cheers of encouragement. Those that sent up prayers, be assured that I felt them. God spoke to me in so many ways in the days following that post that I cannot wait to share. But for now I’m just letting it percolate.

 

Percolate all the way to my heart, a drip at a time.

Transparent

I need to say something before I take my little homeschooling-bloggy-break. Some of your comments have convicted me, and I’m taking time to write this in the interest of truth-in-advertising and all that jazz.

 

I’m not the person you think I am.

 

Not full of faith.

 

Not full of joy.

 

Not full of gratitude.

 

Most days, I feel about 99% darkness.

 

The bible tells us that Satan goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, and friends? Sometimes I feel about halfway down his throat.

 

Everything I do here…my posts about thankfulness, my prayers and poetry…they only tell a portion of the story. They are the hope that I cling to, the hope that one day all that I know in my head will make it into my heart.

 

But I am nowhere near that point. Right now I doubt I will ever get close.

 

Depression is a heavy blanket laid upon my heart. The decision to see God’s hand at work, the deliberate focusing on His gifts each day pushes it back, incrementally, and allow rays of His light shine into the darkness and provide relief from the weight. But some days it won’t budge. No matter what. And I feel utterly bereft.

 

I have struggled with being truthful here. We aren’t supposed to cause others to stumble in our words or actions. I want to be a beacon of hope. But I feel that only hinting at the depths to which I struggle is becoming dishonest. I just want you to know: I’m broken. I’m floundering. Sometimes I think the heart-soil into which His Word was sown has been irreparably poisoned and its fruit will constantly be choking and dying.

 

I don’t know how to do the job He’s given me. Many times I don’t believe He gives a shit about me.

 

Yes, I just said shit. I do that sometimes.

 

So I doubt Him, and I argue with Him, and I tell Him that it would be far, far better to just take me home now via an out-of-control bus or a fatal disease, but He doesn’t listen. For some reason I am still here.

 

And some days are so full of joy I can hardly breathe. I marvel at His goodness, and I cling to His grace. I feel His love around me and I believe He is big enough to fix even me. I walk in His light and am directed by His hand and even if all doesn’t go smoothly, I am reassured. I know He sees the Big Picture, and I trust Him.

 

(today is not one of those days)

 

I say all this to warn you: sometimes I will be unpredictable. Sometimes I will say I am giving up blogging only to return after a couple of months because I realize that writing is therapeutic and even essential to me in working out the tangled mess that is my emotional life, and having someone to read it and give me feedback buoys me up. Sometimes I will say summer is not over, only to say it is in the next breath. Sometimes I will say I am going on a bloggy break in order to prepare to homeschool, only to then immediately post one more thing.

 

Sometimes I will cuss.

 

Hello, my name is Jenni, and it’s nice to meet you. I hope you don’t expect perfection.