Tag Archives: depression

Getting Out of Broken Places

I tried to cry it all out the first day, Lord—the big decision, the pain of it hitting me harder than it ought, confused with other losses, making me feel small and broken and alone. I sat on the stairs in my barn boots and flannel shirt in the early morning stillness before the thermostat started the furnace. I didn’t even wake the dogs.August 2015 081

In the mirror I looked so like and so unlike myself.

Child woman, shivering.

I asked You why there’s this stabbing longing in my heart, this feeling there’s a person inside me who cannot get out, a woman there’s no room for? And You said, “Now we see in a mirror dimly; but then face to face.”

I repeated this to myself as the household wakened and the girls arrived–someday I’ll know why.

I wish now I’d gone right back to the Source to see what You were really saying in the dim of the stairwell. But I didn’t. Not then.

Instead, I berated myself for self-indulgence when there’s so much need in the world—families who don’t have stairs or boots or mirrors—families who would be grateful for just one sandwich to split up amongst themselves. This self-beating seemed deserved, but it wasn’t from You.Aug 2015 EOS 006

The second day I forgot to look for Your words again. I put on my big girl panties to get back to work. But self-talk and grinding away alone, all the while telling myself someday I’ll know why couldn’t lift me out of my brokenness.

So that day rolled over and squashed me, too. This wasn’t You, either.

On the third day, the sky hung gloomy, dark, and NOTHING—no rain or sun or wind or bird calls—just the feeling of waiting  so heavy over me. By then, I’d forgot all about seeing dimly in a mirror and understanding someday. I cried like I was falling, falling, and never going to fly again.

But I desperately wanted to be lifted up. So I did something I rarely do. And this was from You.

Though I was raised in a “don’t need nobody” home, I emailed a few folks about how I felt. Then I took the girls for a last-day-of-summer outing to the Children’s Museum where, away from the worry, we played, laughed, and wondered at Your amazing world.

When I checked my Aug 2015 EOS 040email later, people had sent love, encouragement, sympathy, empathy, sweet offers of help, and “ginourmous hugs.” Thank you to all of you. Though I felt embarrassed at sharing, you made me feel better. And this was God’s doing, too.

Then I searched the Bible for the mirror reference. You know what? It’s in the Love Chapter. 

I Corinthians 13 is about world-changing face-to-face love—one truthful confidence, one selfless kindness, one generous offer, one “ginormous hug” at a time. It’s about growing up to discern what lasts. It’s about the inclusive we instead of the self-sufficient me. It’s about how “Love never fails” even when we’re embarrassed.

Did you hear that? Love NEVER fails. That’s a 100% success rate.

And the promise isn’t about someday we’ll know the why of things–it’s about someday knowing the Who—this God who IS love, fully.Aug 2015 EOS 016

“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” 

(I Corinthians 13:12 NIV)

God already knows you and me fully because He created us. And if He made us, He also has made room for us. It may be we just have to learn to ask for help.

Someday we’ll see God face to face—our faces together with His. We’ll see Him in all His beauty, glory, and essence without vaporizing to particles. Like Job, we’ll realize our questions are profound as the color of toilet paper, our sorrows fleeting as grass.

“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows…and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4,5)

Lord,  You know me. You made the squeezing pump of my hearAug 2015 EOS 062t and the function of my tiniest cells.  You know my secret longings and prayers. Help me with my brokenness. Forgive me when I try to overcome the hard things alone.

The Cry of Lambs

I set the puppy in the grass. Ghostly clouds of white mosquitoes rise from the verge and trail after me. “Breakfast is served!” they whine. Avon Skin-So-Soft is becoming my second-best friend.

In our neck of the woods, some mosquitoes carry the deadly West Nile Virus. I remind myself this is out of my control. I lay that worry at God’s feet and breathe in the briny wind.

Still, it reminds me of walking early to the barn one winter. In the far back pen, a ewe expelled the second of her lambs, licking it eagerly. I leaned on the rail, sighing happily at theOldCompBackup 3055 new arrivals. Their breaths rose in the frosty air. I squatted to look closer.

Despite the cold, the barn smelled warm nearer the ground, saline and blood poured out in love and sweat, silky lanolin gleaming on wool. I smiled at the new babies–wondered what sex they were, imagined the rough feel of their fleeces.

Then I squinted, trying to make sense of the first lamb. My heart thudded in my chest.

I picked up the tiny black ewe, cataloging her parts. Her woolly spine twisted like a corkscrew. Her legs splayed at odd angles, all four jointed like front legs–no back ones. Her lower jaw was missing. The lamb breathed shallowly, struggling to cry.

The lamb’s mother bellowed for her return.

I was once a teenage runaway, bellowing in my heart, peddling angrily into the night, my face wet. My bicycle basket overflowed with hastily-grabbed clothing and a toothbrush. I didn’t know where to go. Only away. I stayed in a barn for two weeks, then other places.June 2015 011

Like that lamb, I struggled to breathe, broken in every part of my corkscrewed mind and spirit. I was dying inside.


But I didn’t know anyone who wanted me back.

The ewe pawed her lamb. It couldn’t stand and nuzzle its way down her belly to the life-giving udder. Its defects, possibly caused by a mosquito-borne virus early in pregnancy, were insurmountable in this world. No veterinarian could stop the inevitable.

Some people thought that about me.

For ten years after I ran away, abuse was my comfort zone, depression my blanket–between visits to church on Sundays. But even the day I perched on a tenth-story windowsill and prepared to fly down to the sidewalk couldn’t thwart God’s love or plan for me.

He is the Great Physician, the Incomparable Healer, and it turns out He makes house calls. He saved me that night and forever after. Over the next decades He untwisted my heart and mind and made me whole in ways I’d never imagined.

I could only leave the lamb to die in it’s mother’s comfort, in the oil of her fleece. But God can do anything. He stood me upright, like a beautiful tree. The healing oil of His love and mercy soothed my pain.

This world can hurt us and knock us down. It can even kill us. But all the deadly mosquitoes and other bloodsuckers will eventually get smacked and fall because God, through Jesus, smacked down death once and for all to make us rise whole and clean.

Isaiah 61:3 says God gives His lambs who cry out to Him “…beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.”

So–take a breath, little lamb. Cry out to Him. Accept His healing oil of mercy. Then rise up tall, you beautiful one.June 2015 002