It should come as exactly zero surprise to me that just as soon as I climbed out of the postpartum trenches, God would have me dive right into another one. There I was, enjoying the bliss that is daily life sans the fog, and God started bringing thoughts into my head. I’ll spare you the details but God was very specifically calling me to give attention to an area of my life that I had kept secret (even from myself, which is impressive). I was not exactly the most enthusiastic participant but I am blessed with great accountability in my life, and by telling my husband and my therapist (God bless these two. They put up with a level of crazy that makes a Trump-Twitter-Tantrum seem reasonable) that meant I had to be brave and do the work. I went from almost going bi-weekly with therapy to twice a week because I was a hot freakin’ mess. I had long bouts of depression, thoughts of suicide, and nearly broke my 3 1/2 years of sobriety.
But something about this was different.
Had God called me through this 3 years ago I would have been convinced that He hated me and was punishing me. God had used the challenges of the last few years to prepare me for this. I trusted Him in a way I could not have before. I knew I could call out in my shattered state and find sweet relief in the God Of All Comfort. I knew I could bring my brokenness to Him and ask Him to bring healing to it. I knew that God was doing something beautiful, even though it hurt worse and on a deeper level than I had ever experienced before. He brought lies to the surface and spoke His tender truths to me, even when I could not believe Him. I prayed for vulnerability and surrender before Him so He could have His way. This wasn’t about punishment, this was about freedom. God wanted me to be more His, and I couldn’t be with this burden I was carrying with me.
I worshiped deeper and more freely because now I knew the character of God; that He was big, mighty, and good. God’s goodness is not defined by circumstances but by the truth of His Word and the accomplished work of the cross. I knew these truths, I knew them deeply, despite the fact that none of these truths felt true. My heart and mind didn’t know they were true, but my spirit surely did. I kept telling myself in those I-can’t-take-any-more-of-this-I-want-to-quit moments that God has been faithful before, He will be faithful again. I can trust Him.
So I dug and uncovered and wrote and cried and processed for nearly 6 weeks. Imagine having to function when you feel like your body is full of bullet wounds. That’s super neat. But I had my closest friends, my sister, my husband…all praying me through this and pushing me to keep digging. When I grasped at straws to take the pain away, they stood by me and helped me stand. A season that is hard no longer means a season of destruction and self-defeat. It means a season in which I get to know the very heart of God better and watch Him make beauty from a heap of ash.
Listen to me: God is for you. He is for your healing; be it physical, emotional, spiritual, relational, whatever. He wants all of you, and will compassionately but unequivocally tear down whatever stands in His way of the intimacy afforded you by the work of the cross. His love is reckless and overwhelming and the cross proves that He stops at nothing to redeem His beloved. If we let Him (heck, even if we don’t) He will demolish every stronghold that cuts us off from full intimacy with Jesus. It is scary and painful to lay down the garments and marks that have fit us so comfortably, even though they’re slowly killing us. But God rewards this surrender by covering us with His dignity and righteousness, and offers an abundant, intimate relationship with Himself for which there is no substitute. I’ll leave you with lyrics that the Lord has sung over me in this season:
“There’s no shadow You won’t light up, mountain You Won’t Climb Up coming after me There’s no wall You won’t kick down, lie You won’t tear down coming after me” (Reckless Love, Cory Asbury)
Press on, dear ones.