“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Saturday, August 21, 2010

God's Chronic Love and Comfort and Mercy

Star Trails at Mt. Hood
(see if you can find the shooting star)

Okay... okay... so I admit it.  I am struggling.  There.  I said it.  Maybe I will start to feel better now.

It has been sunny and beautiful here.  Even a heat wave which I relished.  I have been in my garden.  I have been visiting with friends.  I have been doing my Bible Study.  I have even been seeing God at work.  I have been getting to bed at a decent hour.  Christopher is enjoying his lazy summer.  Anthony has been leading us on hikes and new adventures (like watching meteorites flash through the sky)... and within a week we will be celebrating our 22nd anniversary. 

I have nothing to complain about.  Yes, there are stresses in my life, but I am confident in the One who is able to walk on water.  I am being obedient in a task that God has assigned me that will require Him to show up in a big way... and He already has.  I have even been enjoying the birth of a new friendship. (She brings me licorice flavored black jelly bellies knowing they are my favorite flavor!)  There is nothing I lack.

But here I am.  Not even wanting to type the word.  Depressed.  Lately, a malaise that I wake up with and visits me frequently throughout the day.  An uncertainty.  Bewilderment.

Most of you who are able to interact with me would even be surprised.  Of course, I hide it.  Keep it secret.  I want to be used by God to be your encourager.  So, I do my best to keep my depression in my back pocket.

Okay... and the other truth is that... I don't want you to feel sorry for me.  Or feel like you have to make it better.  And I'm not sure why that is... because I would want you to tell me, so I could be there for you.

And sometimes I think that I should be healed of this by now.  Considering all of the counseling and medication.  But here I am.  With my thorn

All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! 

He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.

We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too. 

When we suffer for Jesus, it works out for your healing and salvation. 

If we are treated well, given a helping hand and encouraging word, that also works to your benefit, spurring you on, face forward, unflinching. 

Your hard times are also our hard times. When we see that you're just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times,
we know you're going to make it, no doubt about it. 

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (The Message)

Because here is the thing...  I know what it is like to depend upon the Lord daily for my depression.  It is not something that I have dealt with and now have moved on.  It is something that is chronic for me.  But so is His love and comfort and mercy.  And it is all very real to me... and so each time I encounter someone who is struggling with depression... or have a loved one who is struggling with depression, I am able to come alongside and offer hope and comfort that God has given me.

My struggle gives me authenticity and credence when I am speaking to someone else who is struggling.  I find my vulnerability offers me many opportunities to reach out to those who suffer from depression.  It may not be the most glamorous ministry, but  it is a necessary one.

And perhaps... just perhaps... I needed to write this post just for me.  So that I would be reminded of how faithful God is to fulfill His Word.   But if you needed to hear this today, I just wanted to let you know that... I "know you're going to make it, no doubt about it."


Amy said...

Powerful post, Sheri. Part of growth, a significant part of growth, comes when we simply state and share what is going on inside of us. When we hide our struggles we stunt our growth, but when we open up and allow the pain to be known, then we begin growing. You, my friend, are not only an inspiration to us as you openly and authentically share your journey, but you are also well on your way to significant growth and healing.

a portland granny said...

First of all, that is one of the most spectacular pictures I have ever seen!

It was wonderful to see you yesterday and to meet Christopher and his friend. Weren't they good kids as we visited?

As always, you are a breath of fresh air to visit with. I was sorry to see in your post today that your depression isn't lifting. You alluded to it a little bit, but didn't realize it was "living" with you.

You have a nice way of covering how you are feeling and thank God, you are still ministering to people and allowing Him to love through you.

(email coming)

Beth E. said...

"He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us."

I thank God for bringing me alongside you and this post. I needed to read this, and the scripture reference was perfect for the post. Thank you, Sheri.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

You write it for all of us; I hear you, I understand to a degree (I've experienced some of this as well, although never diagnosed).

Keep walking it through, something I was trying to get across in my post "a toast to daily grace." You're living it, sister, as am I. I think you strong and resilient and beautiful, and you will live to see a brighter day. Of that I am completely certain.

As you know I've been going through stuff of my own; not long ago, I wrote a fairly "vibrant" post... perhaps a bit more upbeat than some others. I received a couple of comments that I seemed to "be back." I wanted to say, "I've never left"... but I didn't. Some people aren't comfortable with authenticity, even when it issues forth from a real, Jesus-lovin', place of living. I know you're there... "doing" all the right things. And I wouldn't want you to be any other way. It gives me permission to do the same.


elizabeth embracing life said...

Keeping it truly real Sheri is all I ask. Thanks for sharing your heart honestly. Praying that there is comfort in just holding His Word. FYI, I clench my teeth ( a new thing in the past month) and have cried almost everyday. Each tear reminds me that God is my one and only provider to me in all the ways I need. I guess since I know that, I keep to myself on many matters.

gideonmommasita said...

Thorns...reading about that tonight, they don't go away do they, yet we can rejoice in them. Thank you for rejoicing.

LittleWomen21 said...

You expressed this so well - I suffer from depression on and off too, it used to be just in Feb/March but now it will hit just about anytime, and for no good reason (even when all is well, when I have so many blessings). It is so hard sharing it because you don't people feeling sorry for you or those who have never been depressed wondering why we just don't get up and get over it.

I love how you described it as your thorn, like Paul's thorn - does the Message really use the word "depression"?