Journey – Part Nine

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Photo courtesy of Jamie Marie Photography

We accept and thank God for what is given, not allowing the not-given to spoil it. – Elisabeth Elliot

If you had been one of the few people who received an email or phone call during the Darkness, it likely made little sense. Even after I began eating and sleeping somewhat regularly, my memory did not return. My short-term retention was shot–I would literally say something, hear a friend’s response, and not be able to remember what I’d said moments before. It was infinitely frustrating, especially when people thought I was just being inattentive or doing it on purpose.

Life in a fog of oppression, fear, and abuse (self-inflicted or otherwise) is no place for God’s children to linger. As I have said before, I wanted to keep going. I determined that I would prove that “I can do this!” Actions speak louder than words. Blind and numb, my wounds went unnoticed until one day it was over. I gave out.

I did not care anymore. Proving myself, completing self-imposed goals, controlling things on which hopes were set…I was too tired to care anymore. Though it is humbling to write it, I am not ashamed of where God allowed me to fall. I fell deep, deep into the Darkness. No will to live. Pain and fear drowning out any memory or hope.

There is a place where the human fails, breaks down, turns to ashes. Hope has not a single foothold. In such an hour there is a perishing of everything unless the soul waits in silence for God only. Amy Carmichael, “Gold Cord”, 392

When you are smothering in the fog, survival is all you can think about. Eternal significance? Long-term benefits from the current battle? In an intellectual assent you may nod their existence but anything beyond that must wait until later. I could not see the steady, deliberate turn my life was taking–I was too busy struggling through the mire.

I knew God held my hand. My cries for help, for relief, for something were heard. But He allowed me to stumble onward until weariness rendered even forming words impossible.

I knew God could help me. But I did not count on it. I did not “trust Him to help me.” My pain had seared my vision and I saw Him in His incomprehensible wildness. He does what He pleases. It may be that He pleases not to help me. He did not spare my friend from losing her husband, or another from a brutal martyrdom overseas. Who was I to expect relief from my minute pain?

Broken and spilled out… I felt a hollow shell of a girl–not worth paying any heed to. Well-meaning words of encouragement only tempted me to respond in derision or anger. “He doesn’t promise us that things will get better! He never said that. So I refuse to hope for it.”

Before any great achievement, some measure of depression is very usual. – C.H. Spurgeon

There are times when God asks nothing of His children except silence, patience, and tears. – Charles Seymour Robinson

Within two minutes of meeting Dr. S., a warm and hearty 6’5” Swede, he had nailed me. “Nyquist,” he mused. “That’s a good Scandinavian name. Are you Swedish?”

A nod and half-hearted smile came in reply.

“I figured as much. “You know, Natalie, Scandinavian people are known for their hardiness and ability to survive even in tough circumstances. We Swedes do not want to admit we are ever bested. We can keep going–until we fall over dead.”

Still warming up to this man, I just stared. His words pierced deep.

“We don’t know when to stop. We just keep going–keep trying–keep fighting–keep proving ourselves. And you don’t have to wait until you are extremely sick to ask for help!”

The doctor’s words loosened an inner chain. He was right. It’was time to not only cry out to the Lord anew, but to allow His Body to be His answer to my plea for help.

Read the entire Journey series.

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4 thoughts on “Journey – Part Nine

  1. Wow, Natalie. I had no idea you had gone through depression. While not having gone through depression specifically, I had a short period where I had debilitating anxiety attacks and can identify with the feeling of hopelessness that brings. It even affects you physically! I think it’s great that you’re posting this though as there are so many people that believe that “good Christians” just don’t or shouldn’t experience this. While there can be spiritual causes, it is most often a REAL illness that can be TREATED! Good for you for delving into what is considered taboo for so many people. There is hope!

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    • Lindsey, thank you for your sweet comment. You are right that this is rather a taboo topic for most believers. Some say you’ll be healed if you just have enough faith. I believe God sometimes allows us not to be healed because that is what will bring Him the most glory and make us most like Him.

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  2. Natalie Natalie thank you so much for re-posting the journey series.
    thank you so much, because i remember myself just in that kind of state only 5 years ago, i was so afraid, so sad, and only God pulled me through..sweetie i wish so much i was there 2 years ago when you wrote this and gave you a big hug..You needed it..But Look HOW far God brought you and how far you’ve come..!!!
    How far he took you out of that darkness!! You are married now, and so blessed beyond mention! It’s amazing how God takes us as clay and molds us into His likeness…Just remember dear friend, HE is the potter..not us. He can chip away at us however long it takes until we listen. And i listened to your wisdom today.

    I know if i continue in the way i have in relying on myself way too much and thinking i can save myself when i can not…I know if i continue like this, i will fall into that darkness.
    I will heed this warning.

    Thank you…this came at such a good time!!!!!!

    THANKS!!

    blessings & HUGS!

    In His Love, Jane

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  3. Archived Comments:

    At 1:58 AM, Lisa of Longbourn said…
    I was praying yesterday that you would write again about The Journey. And I was praying for you as you write.
    To God be all glory,
    Lisa of Longbourn

    At 6:55 AM, Bernadine said…
    Natalie, thank you so much for sharing your heart. I know it must be very painful to speak about but I am identifying with so much of what you’re saying.
    God bless

    At 11:49 AM, Mary Kate G. said…
    Dear Natalie,
    In one of your posts, you noted that two types of people would read The Journey: those who would be nearly offended by the implication that a “good Christian” could possibly experience depression, and those that knew exactly where you were coming from, and could nearly write the post for you. Unfortunately, (or fortunately …depending, I suppose, on point of view) I fall in the latter category. Thank you so much for the courage it took for you to share such a deeply personal experience with us. I can stand as a testimony that God is faithful to bring you out on the other side…even if it feels like you will die in the process, or worse yet, that the other side isn’t even worth reaching.
    Thank you again for your encouragement and refreshing honesty!
    Lots of Love in Christ!

    At 2:57 PM, HeathersBooks said…
    Thank you so much for sharing from your journey, and your honesty. May God richly bless you.
    In Christ,
    Heather

    At 5:18 PM, bellemj said…
    thank you for the journey posts. they have been such a blessing. i too have been in such a place. i could totally relate when you said, “I did not trust him to help me…He does what he pleases. It may be He please not to help me.” When i read this i was just overwhelmed. I tried to explain this thought to so many people and they never understand. yes, i trusted God. but i wasn’t assured of his love for me. thank, God he has brought me to the point that now i know how to remind myself that he loves me and he wants what’s best for me. i know i have more “dark spots” in life or difficult tests/trials…but looking back on how he’s brought me through. i know i can make it through those as well. thank you for sharing. we aren’t tired of them yet! luv, ~lisa

    At 5:37 PM, Anonymous said…
    Thanks for sharing, Natalie. A lot of what you said really resonated with me. Some trials I’ve been through and are going through now are quite similar to yours (esp. one- I stubbornly pursued a dream and almost died in the process (spiritually, if not physically)…my extra stubbornness/intensity/
    determination can definately get the best of me sometimes)). It’s hard beeing so “delicate”, but I’m learning to accept that God made me this way on purpose and according to His pleasure. I just have to do things a bit differently and I’m learning to accept the new path He’s given me to follow (even though I never asked for it or expected it). Thanks for sharing- it’s comforting (and encouraging to hear from a survivor of “the darkness”). -a sister in Christ

    At 6:54 PM, Anonymous said…
    Praying for you *sweet sister* and I can identify with much of what you have written. Thanks for writing, and sharing. Your past is part of who you are today.
    You have your whole life ahead of you to serve the Lord with your beloved Rick! :) God is so good! “Because He lives I can face tomorrow.”
    Love in HIm,
    Carla

    At 9:13 AM, Anonymous said…
    Thank you for sharing, Natalie. I too was hoping you’d share more, as I can relate so well to much of your journey. Please keep writing as God gives you the grace. We need to hear this. Praying for you!

    At 2:32 PM, Anonymous said…
    Hi Natalie
    A BIG THANK YOU from me as well for sharing about these deep wounds and this part of the difficult journey!!!!! The quotes are so meaningful, too! :) Sometimes I lack the words to describe what I’m feeling deep inside or to understand what’s really going on. You sense something, but you can’t articulate it clearly – yet you suffer. The experience that God is sovereign and we so insignificant and powerless has been very overwhelming and frustrating for me, too. And I also relate to the effect of well-meaning words of encouragement from people who don’t know what’s going on – making the pain only worse… I’m happy you met the hearty and good Swede! Be blessed and encouraged! Hug, Debbie

    At 5:26 PM, Laura Anne said…
    Love the E. Elliot quote– I have that written down somewhere. Wish I could say I lived by that more.
    LM

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