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.