Sunday, January 22, 2006

A Beautiful Testimony

This is a very good description of what it feels like to be depressed. It is taken directly from a post entitled, "Diving for Pearls" which was posted on my birthday.

I was hit with a wall of depression. I was physically and emotionally exhausted. It was at this time that I experienced the real grief and loss of my Dad in addition to all the other areas of loss I was dealing with. I had no experience with grief of this magnitude. I felt like part of myself was gone and it caused me to question myself in all area of my life.
-Who am I now?
-How am I living or not living my life?
-What is important to me?
-Where am I in my relationships? Etc., etc…

I was overwhelmed. I felt like a cat hanging from a cliff by its fingernails. I wasn’t sleeping or eating well and I was losing weight. I remember being afraid, confused, sad and hard on myself. With the help of counseling, medication, the support of friends and my faith, I slowly came out from the weight that was holding me down.

I searched the bible and wrote down every verse I could find on fear. Courage was my theme! I hung on to scripture and especially these words from Isaiah 43:1-5 “…this is what the Lord says – He who created you ….He who formed you…”Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; and you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass though the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior….since you are precious and honored in my sight because I love you….do not be afraid, for I am with you.”

Anne Lamott, in her book “Plan B”, says “Fear is the worst part….but underneath the fear I keep finding resilience, forgiveness and even grace.” She also says, “When God is going to do something wonderful, He starts with a hardship. When God is going to do something amazing, He starts with an impossibility.” She urges us to “practice radical hope.”

I remember praying one night asking God to take controls of the veritable “plane” that was going down again, surrendering it all to Him. I thanked Him for His power and presence in my life and for His unfailing love even thought I didn’t know where all of this was going. It’s at this point that you hang on to God’s promise that He has a plan for you and that it is good. I had a visual image of a “pilot light”. I thanked Him for keeping the pilot light on in my soul. That is all that I felt was there but it as there.

Another quote describes what I was experiencing come from a book by Ann Grahm Lotz called “Why?”, It says, “The burden of suffering seems to be a tombstone hung about our necks, while in fact, it is the weight necessary to keep down the diver while he/she is hunting for pearls.” During that time, God gave me the power to hang in there and remain deep as I searched for these pearls. Even though I was in a depleted and sort of “suspended” state, God was good. In the midst of my pain, I experienced a new capacity to trust God and know His grace!

I have received so many unexpected gifts during this season of loss ; too many to mention, but here are a few:
-A new appreciation for the support of women friends. They are critical for our survival!
-The importance of the gift of music in my life which brings me joy and connects me to God.
-The ability to slow down and look for God’s presence in all areas of my life.
-A depth of appreciation of simple moments of beauty and the presence of “the sacred” in “the ordinary”. It is like my vision and heart have been expanded for these things.
I loved the beautiful illustration of suffering as a "weight" that is necessary for divers to find pearls. I may have to do a study on the "weight of suffering".

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