Institutions, ideas, traditions, people… my own self ~ it can all disappoint or fall short of what I want this world to be, what I want to be.
I talk so much about looking for hope, for light, for beauty.
I have to, because I have to fight for all those things in my heart. Being aware of hope is also knowing what hopelessness feels like. Staying attuned to the light comes from seeing what darkness tries to do. I’ve had a real fight to hold onto hope over the last months, like so many people. I’ve had the old goblins trying to invade and settle in: depression, disconnection, disillusion, dread. I’ve felt shame and frustration to be here again.
Here, but not alone.
A panicked vortex spinning inside, but an anchor in the center that held steady, that did not move.
Jesus sits with me, even here, on the edge of this abyss. Especially here. When I can’t feel Him and when I can. When I can’t feel the victory over darkness, the truth of redemption holds me anyway.
He speaks life ~ in poems & family & music & worship & friends who don’t turn away & love that doesn’t leave.
When nothing else seems trustworthy in this world, He is. He is who He says He is and doesn’t change. He doesn’t condemn. He never brings shame. He is consolation and compassion.
He keeps bringing me back to life.
Sometimes it feels like, as a people of faith, that we shouldn’t say too much about the struggle. It’s like we think admitting that we still fight battles ~ mentally, physically, emotionally ~ somehow undermines what Jesus has done. But it doesn’t. Isn’t it the whole point? We need help that is found outside of ourselves because we walk a road that is narrow and pot-holed in a world that is difficult and in minds & bodies that are not perfect.
His manger-birth, the life He lived, the suffering of the cross, the empty tomb ~ all of it given because we need a Savior who is able to sympathize, to understand, to give us what we need for healing here and now & what we need for the one-day redemption of everything, all things. The day of no-more-disappointment. The day of hope fulfilled.
Silence is a hard habit to break, but I am trying. Because I need you to know, if you ever find yourself in this place, that there is no shame here. Shame is sneaky and suffocating and will keep you from the help you need. We wouldn’t hide sickness or broken bones ~ why do we try to hide our inner struggles? Whether the battle is spiritual, mental, physical, or some combination of all these things ~ reaching out for help is not weakness.
It’s what we are SUPPOSED to do ~ share one another’s burdens and run boldly to the throne of grace in time of need.
(Ephesians 6:2 / Hebrews 14:6)
Do I believe in supernatural healing? Yes. Do I also believe in (and participate in) counseling, in therapy, in talking to a doctor about what your body and mind might physically need to find health? YES. Asking for help has changed the trajectory for me, for my family.
Our stories are all different and so our paths will look different ~ but what I know for sure is you are worth the journey toward healing.
If it feels like nothing matters, if it feels impossible to do anything, if you can’t sleep, if everything feels exhausting, if it is difficult to believe that hope will not disappoint us…
I want this truth to stay in the corner of your mind like an alarm bell that just won’t stop ringing & ringing ~ you matter. Your life matters. You are not alone.
I went back and forth with whether or not to say all of this, but it’s the truth of where I’ve been and how can I not remind you of what I’ve needed to hear over & over again?
We have worth & we have a future & we have purpose.
We are loved, with a love that is deeper & higher & wider & more present & full of more goodness than we can begin to imagine. (Ephesians 3:17-19)
And Jesus ~ yesterday & today & tomorrow ~ is here. (Hebrews 13:8)
That is Advent. That is hope that won’t let me go; grace that fought and won for me. At the end of the day, in the middle of it all, despite my feelings & fears ~ that is the hope that just won’t let me give up on light & beauty & believing in good to come.
“Long lay the world in sin & error pining,
‘til He appeared & the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices ~
for yonder breaks a new & glorious morn…”
~ “O Holy Night”