relationships

All posts tagged relationships

Nevertheless

Published July 26, 2017 by Dawn

“Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love” (1 Kings 11:2).

Solomon had a problem: he loved women. He loved all women from all kinds of nationalities and many times, he took them home with him. He made alliances with other nations through marriage, and get this … he had seven hundred wives! You can add them to his 300 concubines, and Solomon had a colossal problem. One thousand women in his life!

Did you notice the “nevertheless”? It’s referring to the previous verse, in which the writer explains that God had warned the Israelites against intermarrying with other nations because their idol worship would lead them away from God. Nevertheless Solomon married nearly every woman who caught his eye, or conscripted her to his harem for his own pleasure without putting a ring on it, because he could and because he wanted to.

I woke up super early this morning, so I picked up my Bible for companionship. I began reading where I left off, but I didn’t get very far. I kept coming back to this verse.  “Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love.” It kept beckoning me back, so I began to meditate on it. Why is this particular verse nagging at me? What is it trying to get at in me, and why can’t I just get past it and move on? Finally, I prayed. Lord, what is it? Why is this verse taking up so much space in my heart and mind right now?

It was the nevertheless.

God had spoken to His people. His children. He had given them direction – a warning, really – because He loved them and didn’t want them to have to endure a lot of unwarranted heartache. He wanted them to be wholly devoted to Him and He wanted them to have His favor and blessing. Solomon, their king, specifically asked God for wisdom and gained that and so much more. He was recognized as the wisest of all men, and his kingdom was the richest and most prosperous kingdom on earth at that time. But then it happened: the nevertheless.

Solomon, despite his wisdom and the favor he enjoyed from God, let his own desires (or weakness, if you will) come before the will of God for his life. Not only his own, but also the lives of all the Israelites. He married unscrupulously and his wives led his heart astray into idol worship. He built shrines for other gods in the land and then, the whole country began to believe that such idol worship was acceptable. Solomon’s sin in defying God had very far-reaching consequences and affected so many people. He probably did not intend to create such a catastrophe in Israel, but when the smoke cleared, his waywardness had led astray an entire nation and would eventually lead to the downfall of his kingdom. There was a lot on the line and Solomon shrugged it all off. Nevertheless.

It’s a word that signifies a stubborn self-will. A will that has decided, in spite of the wisdom of God inside, or even the word of God on a matter, to have its own way instead of His. Nevertheless represents the will of a person bent on his or her own satisfaction and gratification, despite God having already had a say in the matter. Nevertheless was Eve taking the fruit, eating and giving to Adam to sample. It was millions of people ignoring the prophets, giving way to the flood in Noah’s time, and the fire in Lot’s. It led to the captivity of an entire nation over and over again because they had no regard for the Lord or His expressed desire for them. Nevertheless led Jesus to the cross, and is still leading people away from God over 2000 years later. It has taken over churches, families, and cultures entirely.

Have you recognized it yet, in your own life? It’s there, friend. We all have a nevertheless. We all have a will of our own, bent on destruction unless completely surrendered to God. It might not seem that way at first. Surely Solomon never thought his lack of fidelity to one woman or one nationality would lead to such chaos. But his infidelity in marriage mirrored his infidelity to God. Just as he was not satisfied with one woman, he was not satiated in his relationship with God either. But it wasn’t God’s fault, it was his own. God promised to be with him just as He was with David. Solomon didn’t have the same heart as his father. David’s heart desired God above all else; Solomon’s loved women.

What is it that you love above God? What desire have you placed before His will? What self-knowledge have you exalted above the wisdom of the Word of God? Know this: your story will have a nevertheless. I do not write this in judgment, but rather in fear and humility. I have experienced my own already. I tremble to think what my own self might decide at any point, and steer me away from God’s will for my life. I watch my life closely because I know the power of my own heart and my naïve willingness to blindly follow feelings instead of God. I have caught myself in the middle of rebellion before. I know this, though: it doesn’t have to be that way. God would prefer it not be that way, and eventually so do we.

There’s only one way to avoid the error, and that is on our knees. Prayer enlightens us to the depths of our own sinful natures, and our wayward desires. Prayer awakens us to our need of God. Prayer enables us to admit our faults, and lay down our pride. Prayer makes crooked ways straight and hardened hearts flesh again. Prayer is the only way to destroy the commitment we’ve made to our own flesh. Prayer is the only way to avoid nevertheless.

Dear Holy Father,

You know us. Thank you. You know us better than we know ourselves, for you have made us and we are yours. Your ways are higher than ours and often, because we cannot see what you see and understand what you know, we follow our own weak vision and near-sighted understanding of things. We follow our deceitful hearts and end up making a mess of things where your Will would have done something redemptive and holy. We’re a mess, Lord. Please forgive our waywardness and the way we jump so quickly into our own actions. Help us to pray. To linger in prayer until we know your Will. Help us to obey your Word and your Will as you give us understanding of it. Give us an increased measure of faith to drown out our fear. We long to walk in your ways.

Have your way, Lord. We love you.

Amen.

Judas is Alive and Well

Published June 23, 2017 by Dawn

“Then Jesus said also unto the twelve, ‘Will you also go away?” (John 6:66-71)

Am I the only one who reads this and immediately asks, “Why didn’t Judas go then?” He had an out, and obviously no fidelity to Christ, so why didn’t he take this opportunity to turn away? I’ve spent hours studying this and I think it’s because Judas had access through his relationship to Jesus, to something that greatly benefitted him. His image, and thereby his ego: He was the keeper of the purse … and he was a thief (John 12:6).

I can’t imagine he was comfortable in his position. After all, Jesus alluded to him early on by saying that one of them was a devil (John 6:70). Did this memory ever prick Judas? Did it come to mind as he reached into the purse while no one was looking? Did he remember Jesus calling him out while he stood in the shadow of the synagogue waiting for his thirty pieces of silver?

Obviously, Judas was a snake in the grass all along. I mean, I imagine when Jesus sat down to eat with Pharisees, Judas sneered and jeered right along with them. We get a glimpse of his true colors when Mary anoints Jesus’ feet with precious perfume … Judas couldn’t imagine a bigger waste. “Why wasn’t this sold and the money given to the poor?” He couldn’t stand her devotion to Christ, but he covered his hatred with a piety that likely caused division in the room. His comment likely sowed seeds of distaste among everyone there. After all, the poor were a Godly consideration, were they not? Her humble way of honoring Christ was disputed and I can’t help but wonder if Judas leaned back at every table they supped to with his arms across his chest waiting for an opportunity to condemn the graciousness of God for the sake of the law.

Unable to shake his disapproval, Judas eventually stood in the outer court and pilfered Jesus out to the highest bidder. He was willing to deliver this man who called him friend. Why? Satan had entered him. How can Satan enter someone who is walking next to Jesus every day? All he needs is an opportunity, it seems. Judas provided that opportunity by esteeming his position and his access more than he esteemed his Lord. His rebellious nature was evident in the way he questioned Jesus instead of rejoicing with him. He welcomed Satan by refusing to submit to Christ as his sovereign Lord. To him, Jesus was a man. A man he hardly valued. Thirty pieces is a small price to exchange for eternal life and everlasting love, but Judas took it and betrayed Jesus with a kiss.

Let’s pause here and notice the kiss: Judas betrayed Jesus, but still acted like his friend up until the very end. I have thought about this part all day long. How did Jesus respond to this betrayal? I reflected on it first by asking, “How would I?” My immediate response would have been to steel myself against the blow; act as if the crushing weight of it hadn’t affected me at all. As I thought about this, I realized that this approach is the place bitterness firsts digs in. When I have been betrayed, my response is to ignore the feeling of it. But the result is not what I imagine it should be: with every memory, the pain hits me fresh and I have to bury those feelings again. No, Jesus did not respond like that because such a response inhibits immediate forgiveness. To feel such betrayal is sometimes unbearable, but I have intentionally felt betrayal, to see what can be done and there’s only one thing: to cast that upon the Lord (1 Peter 5:7), or be crushed by it. I know this is what Jesus did. It’s very scriptural. He felt the betrayal wholly and then cast it immediately upon his Father so he could stand up under it (1 Corinthians 10:13). After casting betrayal on the Lord, His help enabled me to forgive, and I know Jesus immediately forgave Judas for hurting him because holding on to hatred is sin and Christ was without sin (1 John 3:15, 2 Corinthians 5:21).

As Christians, we will be exposed to the person of Judas in one of two ways – I won’t exclude the possibility that we can be exposed to both.

Firstly, we can be a Judas, loving the office in God’s house more than we love God. Loving the attention and the access more than we love and honor our Heavenly Father. We can be Judas by hating in our hearts those in the church who display any kind act toward Jesus, and justifying our hatred by drawing attention to the folly that often accompanies their efforts because God knows how to humble people. We can be a Judas by betraying Christ, or his workmen, by something as seemingly innocuous as slander or undue suspicion. God’s children do well to cultivate self-control under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit, to avoid doing harm to His Son!

Secondly, we can be exposed to Judas through others. Every church has a Judas, and every individual will know one. Here, we have to lean upon the example of Christ. Jesus allowed him the money bag. His thievery was evident to all but ultimately, between him and God. Jesus allowed him to self-implode. Judas no doubt experienced deep conviction while traveling with Christ. Jesus was holy and shared a message of righteousness. Judas had opportunity to repent, but embraced his sin instead. Jesus let him. Jesus didn’t turn away from Judas’ kiss, which I am sure made the impact of Judas’ betrayal all the heavier to bear. Jesus heaped the burning coals (Romans 12:20); he didn’t respond to betrayal with hatred in like manner. Jesus defended the innocent from Judas’ charge, but he didn’t berate Judas or publicly humiliate him.

Jesus was (and is) in all ways gracious to everyone, including Judas. This means two things to us: God’s grace will forgive the Judas in us, and we should be gracious when hurt by the Judas in our lives. This much I know is true: Judas is here to test and betray us. Jesus calls him the devil (John 6:70), and the devil “has come to steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10). However, Beloved, Satan could not defeat Christ, and he cannot defeat those who are completely surrendered to Jesus and sheltered by the Almighty! Don’t be Judas, and don’t be defeated by him either.

The Boyfriend Bonfire

Published June 3, 2017 by Dawn

I’ve only been in one serious relationship in my life, but it was enough. Enough to experience one of the greatest acts of liberation to womankind: the boyfriend bonfire.

No, I did not roast him. Not in the 20th century or 21st century use of the word … I did, however, burn every last vestige of our relationship outside on my lawn one night in my last-ditch effort to get him out of my mind and out of my heart.

Everything good about our relationship sleeps around the corner while I write this. For a long time, though, I kept mementos of things we did together that I wanted to remember forever in a little brown lock box. Movie tickets from our first “official” date (you know, the one someone else drove us to because we were fifteen), the promise ring he bought me (which was thrown in a fit of madness and recovered a few months later having been worked over by some car tires), pictures of us, letters between us. All the things that would have been a cute story to tell our kids if things would have worked out between us.

I did hang on to them for a really long time, hoping to share this part of my life with my kids when they grew up, but just looking at the box became unbearably painful as I tried to eradicate him from my heart so I could stop crying and move on. Opening it was a day-trip to hell.

I saw the bonfire idea on an episode of Friends years before, and seeing it work for Rachel (kind of) sold the idea to me. So, one day, I took my box outside, opened it and burned each piece of it individually on the sidewalk. When everything that could burn was burned, including the box, I threw everything else in the trash and sat down and cried my last cry over all those memories, the loss of love, and the brokenness in my heart. Then I prayed to God this one prayer that I will never regret praying and which, mercifully, He granted. “Please, God, replace every thought of him with a thought of you.” I thought about this man every second of every day. It was a self-inflicted torment that I couldn’t seem to stop on my own. But those thoughts had to be replaced by something and I wanted it to be my Savior.

I’m telling you all of this because it occurred to me yesterday that separation from sin requires this same kind of desperate act. A bonfire, if you will, of everything that draws you to that sin. When the Holy Spirit begins to deal with you about sin in your life, your responsibility is to do whatever is necessary to end your relationship with that sin so you can be in a right relationship with God. God does not appreciate a half-hearted devotion. He doesn’t want a lover who is often in the arms of the world. You cannot love both. You will hate the one and love the other (Matthew 6:24), and God says if you love the world, you don’t love Him (James 4:4). You might be able to convince yourself that you do, but it’s not an acceptable relationship in His eyes. Who appreciates being cheated on?!

There’s no doubt we love sin.  We were born into sin, and from our earliest recollection, it was wooing us. We find out at our first lie how well sin works in our favor. It guards us from discomfort, protects the ones we love from heartache, and keeps our pride intact. Don’t believe it’s true? Try admitting you lied to someone who holds the key to your job … I’ve done it and it’s awful. Ever cheated and then admitted it? Then you’ve seen the devastation on your lover’s face and hated yourself for inflicting it. Let’s face it: sin has a beautiful side and it’s easy to love. It’s easy to embrace and easy to give yourself over to it.

If we consider ourselves Christians – the bride of Christ making herself ready for her wedding – we cannot love sin on the side. Grace came to save us and purify us from sin, but God will not abide this continuing love affair with the world. We have to separate ourselves, and if it’s hard to move on because of the memories and the feelings, then we have to do something drastic … like a boyfriend bonfire.

How do we properly break up with sin? We take all the things that drum up memories or feelings for it, all the things that increase our desire toward it and we torch it on the front lawn! We turn away from those things that feed our visual sickness. We turn the knob on the radio, switch the channel, avoid the road that goes past the bars. We pause before the word comes out. We take the high road instead of the low road. You see, the Bible says that when we are tempted, God provides a way out so we can stand up under it (1 Corinthians 10:13). We will not be tempted beyond what we can bear. We just so often choose the comfort of sin than the discomfort of taking authority in our lives.

I’ve no doubt that as you read this, the Lord is reminding you of sin He’s been trying to deal with in your habits. He’s asking you to be His, wholly. You are being wooed by the lover of your soul, but it’s time to break up with the world. It’s time to break up with your proclivity for things that displease God. And as you step away from them, as your purposefully avoid them and say no to all the things that would lead you back to sin, you should pray, “God, please make every thought that would be about this sin about you instead.” God is faithful, friend. You can be free from the grip of sin.  That’s what Jesus died for. This New Age message that tells you that you are hopeless in your sin, so thank God Jesus died, is keeping you a captive to something Jesus died to break you free from. If without holiness, none shall see God (Hebrew 12:14), then holiness is a good and proper pursuit for the Christian in love with Christ. But you can’t chase holiness while chained to sin.

If the Holy Spirit is convicting you right now, it’s time to have a bonfire. Let the holy fire of the Spirit of God burn up all the things that need to go in order for you to accept Christ as your One and Only. Do it now, friend, while the fire is hot and the Spirit is ready. You will not regret this break-up. You won’t even shed a tear.

Praying for a Man

Published May 3, 2017 by Dawn

I hate confessions. It’s weird to let you into my soul. I’m not purposefully this open about things, but I feel like if God is speaking something to me, most of the time, it’s because He wants me to share it with others. So here goes …

A dear friend of mine invited me to a concert not too long ago. It wasn’t something I would have showed up to on my own because I’m not that cool. I like to sit at home and drink tea and avoid my phone … or any other form of communication with the outside world. I’m the kind of person who’s only an extrovert because I’m an introvert …

Anyway, I went to this concert and had a great time. It wasn’t just entertainment; it was worship. I love worship. I love getting lost in love for a while with my One and Only. And I love watching other people worship too. Music is one of my greatest passions and in a room full of people using their talents to worship my King is exactly where I want to be for eternity. Heaven, I can’t wait to meet you!

Ok, on to the confession: So, there was this guy … singing. On the stage. I had to close my eyes to keep from being distracted because 1.) he was gorgeous; 2.) no ring; 3.) his voice; 4.) his was lost in the worship.

I’m not saying everyone else on that stage was purely entertaining, because I don’t believe that at all. What I am saying is that this man was exuberantly worshipping. Without a ring on. Singing to my King. Gorgeously.

I kept my eyes closed most of the time so I would focus on the One I came to see. Not this guy, because before this concert, this guy did not even exist on my radar. I went home that night feeling very refreshed, released from some shackles and focused despite the distractions in my own head.

Imagine my surprise when, a few days later, God recalls this man to mind and tells me to pray for him. Here’s how that conversation went (relatively … I didn’t record it exactly):

(this guy comes to mind while I’m praying…)

Me: Ooooooo, I rebuke you, Satan!

Holy Spirit: Pray for him.

Me: … I probably shouldn’t be doing this. It’s not a good idea, Lord.

Him: It’s my Will. Pray for him.

Me: I know you mean well, but I can’t have this guy on my mind. I’m not strong enough for that. Can’t someone else?

Him: If you had a husband, you would pray for him all the time. Who prays for the single men in ministry?

Me: Their future wives. Come on, Lord, please! I can’t … I’m not strong enough to handle this.

Him: But you aren’t salacious. Pray without coveting. He’s your brother and his integrity is important.

Me: This isn’t fair.

Him: Be obedient.

So I started to pray for this man. I pray for him daily. I don’t even know him, but I guess I don’t have to. My mind revolves back to God’s question in the matter: Who prays for the single men in ministry? And while I know there are single women everywhere praying for a husband, how many of us are willing to spend our time just praying for our brothers in Christ? After all, many of them struggle with the same things we struggle with. Loneliness. Isolation. Temptation. Distractions. And the battle intensifies when we minister for the Lord.

So many of us despise the single life. So few of us are willing to let it be anything more than a waiting room before we’re ushered in to our “happily ever after.” But what if it can be more than that? I offer to you that it can. It can be a time of fulfillment in the presence of God. It can be a time of undistracted worship, and obedience, to His will. If we allow God, He can use us mightily even if no one else ever knows our names. We can be a face in a crowd at a concert, but the prayer warrior in the closet holding up the weary arms of our brothers and sisters in Christ. So to the one guy on stage without a ring … I’m praying for you, Brother.

Made for War

Published March 28, 2017 by Dawn

Funny story: I was standing in line at the check-out yesterday at Wal-Mart. My kids were bickering and had been for the last two years of my life, and I look around at all these people with their cute little kids twirling around like they don’t have a care in the world. As I’m telling my kids to stop talking to one another for the millionth time, I inexplicably start laughing. “What’s so funny, MOM?”

She said it just like that, too. I just kept laughing. I didn’t tell her why, because she doesn’t share my sense of humor and wouldn’t have appreciated it, but here’s what was so funny: all of those people enjoying their little kids like they won’t one day be teenagers. I laughed until I cried. Or maybe I was laughing to keep from crying and it didn’t work. I don’t know.

But seriously …

I was lying in bed last night, rolling around trying to fall asleep. It’s my nightly song and dance that, frankly, I could live without. Finally, I turned to God and said, “You know, this is hard. This daily grind. This constant friction. There’s so much hurting my kids right now and I feel a lot of resentment and bitterness toward you and a lot of other people. I’m trying to lean in to you but at this point, it’s about as comfortable as hugging a porcupine. You could do so much in our lives right now, show yourself mighty on our behalves, heal our wounds and hold us – comfort us – in our troubles. But though we lift our cause to you over and over again, you keep us here in the fire.”

I fell asleep praying for peace in my home, peace in the hearts of my children and restoration and healing in our deep wounds.

I woke up this morning and made tea, like usual, except I made it for my son, who on top of everything else, has a severely sore throat (that almost made me bitter but he left it without drinking it, so I am having tea while I write). I put some eggs on to boil (easy breakfast) and sat down to read my Bible. I opened it where I left off yesterday, and just started reading from the top. Because God is faithful (but mysteriously patient in our pain), He started the conversation right away.

“If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?” (Jeremiah 12:5).

Just in case the meaning is vague here, let me make it clear: things are going to get rougher than this. How are we going to manage the larger battles, the fierce persecution and constant attacks of the enemy, it if we can’t handle life in relative comfort?

When things started heating up in life for my kids, I remember praying to the Lord and asking Him how He could stand to put my kids through the fire. He told me that every child of His is made into a warrior, and the training for war is fierce. In His mercy, God could shield us from every attack, but that’s not how muscles are made. Muscles are made through the constant tearing down and building back up of muscular tissue. If you never use your muscles, they disintegrate.  Warriors have big, strong muscles. Because God is no respecter of persons, He even trains our kiddos. He trusts them with The Holy Spirit. He trusts them to grow in faith. He trusts them to grow in their relationship with Him. In my own life, these precious things have grown through suffering. How can I expect anything different for my kids?

So, here we are being strengthened though, at the moment, it feels like all of Hell is on special assignment Code Name: Dawn’s House. We’re going through training to be warriors in anticipation of greater battles in days to come. And they are coming. Anyone who spends time in the Word knows that prophetically speaking, there’s nothing else left for God to fulfill before Jesus comes back for His bride. The next fulfillment of prophecy will be the breaking of scrolls and the outpouring of the wrath of God. At that time, the Bible says Satan will be unleashed for a time. Unrestrained. God is growing His people to handle the onslaught of Satanic activity against the church. Everything that comes our way is to prepare us to face our enemy as we have never had to before. Here in America, we have been blessed and sheltered from a mighty storm but we won’t be shielded forever. Rather, we are being trained to withstand a mighty tempest. We are being strengthened so that in times of great tribulation, we are as unmovable and unshakable as the rock we are founded on. These last few years have been hard, but I have seen exponential growth in my children. I just want to encourage you: don’t look at the storm anymore. Look at the Maker of the Wind. He can stop it’s blowing, or He can show you how to stand in it. He can shelter you or He can show you how to be as fierce as the storms you’re in. God is making a warrior out of you. Trust Him.

“So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good” (1 Peter 4:19).

 

 

The Silver Lining

Published January 4, 2017 by Dawn

I was driving home from work one day feeling about as gray as the sky. It’s been a dreary winter here, with more rain than snow, but a lot of precipitation anyway. That dreariness had settled deep within, not just because of the weather, but because … well, life. It’s been rough this past year.

Anyway, enough about me. Here’s what I’m aiming at: I was driving home on this particularly drab day, with the radio blaring in a vain attempt to distract me from my thoughts. In truth, I could hardly hear it over the mess in my head. I looked up at the sky as I pulled up the off-ramp, easing on the brakes because of the red light ahead. I’m a sucker for a beautiful sky, and I was hoping to see something more up there than the dark gray cover. As I studied the heavens, I noticed a beautiful streak of silver between the lighter gray above and a deeper gray below. The silver lining.

I heard it in my spirit. That’s the silver lining. No matter how downcast, there’s always a silver lining. There’s always a place where the light is breaking through the darkness. There’s always a place where the Son of God is showing himself in the midst of pain and suffering. It’s the heritage of the children of God.

I needed to hear that so badly. I studied that silver lining all the way home, glancing back and forth between it and the road. Admiring the beauty of it. In the middle of such depressing colorlessness, this streak of shimmering silver promising that light was going to break through at any moment. What a promise for a child of God! No matter how dark things seem, how colorless, how severe, the Lord is our silver lining. He’s our promise. He’s the beauty in the midst of our suffering. He’s the Light breaking through with wisdom, peace and comfort. We just have to fix our eyes on Him. Admire His presence in our trials. Delight in Him, no matter that our situations seem severely trying.

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

Published October 5, 2016 by Dawn

I have just survived a dark and stormy winter, and I’m ever so grateful that seasons change.

The sadness drifted over me subtly. In fact, I didn’t even notice it was there at first. What I did notice was minor irritations becoming major. Things I often overlooked suddenly choking me. Moments became endless. Bad moments were torturous. Every detail of life was hitting me with gale force.

For the first time since my early twenties, I found myself in a deep depression. Overwhelmed with life and overcome with a sadness I didn’t know how to deal with. My kids had no idea what was going on, but they did finally know what was for supper: “Whatever you can find.” I couldn’t even feed my family. I went to work faithfully every day, complaining to anyone and everyone about everything because there, everyone pretends to listen while they look over your head for someone else to talk to. At home, I scurried around doing all the chores and refusing to talk to anyone because here, no one’s patient enough to endure that kind of nonsense.

I sought refuge in sleep. I curled up on the couch every afternoon and took a nap for as long as my kids would endure it. If I were awake, I’d sit there listlessly while helping with homework. Inevitably, my son or daughter would start talking to me and I’d do my best to not let them see the frustration building up in my chest. I wonder if my face said what my mind was screaming? Please stop talking to me! I’m trying to focus on the battle I’m losing inside!

The severity of the storm wasn’t obvious to me until my daughter started calling me out on things. She was sick of cereal for dinner. Apparently I slept too much. Why was I so angry all the time? Couldn’t we have a decent conversation without me arguing or my eyes rolling into the back of my head? So of course, at this point, I realized something had to change. I felt like I was dying inside. When I was a teenager, I felt like I had nothing to live for and then, I would have rather let it happen than put up a fight. Now, I have a family whom I love with every fiber of my being. Depression can’t have me!

I put up a weak fight at first. I told my sister. We had too many things in common. It was winter in her home too. So I mentioned it to my mom, but I managed to sound casual about it. She took it casually. Finally, I sent my best friend a text. I hadn’t talked to her in several weeks and hadn’t seen her in over a month. Our friendship had grown a little cold on the back burner but I needed someone to know how desperate I was to get out from under this storm!

Her response was deflating. I poured out my heart in a text because that’s all I had in me. My last ditch effort to enlist someone to help me and my best friend didn’t even ask what was going on. She said, “I’m sorry … I love you.”

I just needed someone to save me from drowning.

Hopelessness settled over me. Strangely, it was like a soft blanket I was holding around myself. I just wanted to curl up in it and lay down. I wanted to stop struggling and sleep.

A very discerning coworker asked me how I was and really looked at me while I answered. She noticed my darting gaze, the tears behind my eyes … she softly suggested I look into medication. This winter had gone on so long, I took her suggestion home and danced with it for a few hours before my spirit shook me. You have to fight it, but how will you?

I will be real honest here. I’ve never bought into the world’s take on depression and mental illness. I’ve read my Bible and I know the battle is much bigger than chemical malfunctions in the brain. I’m not saying that isn’t a part of it, but I also believe there’s a spiritual component to misery, and he has a name. Satan.

Depression is manufactured in the pits of hell and hand-delivered. At my house, we take it in like everything else. Not because we like it but we’re often too busy to notice the package.

At the end of myself one afternoon, with no other option but to take medication against my better judgement, I threw myself across the couch after the kids went to bed and began to pour out my heart in prayer. I told God everything. I even said all the things that, on another day, I might have thought I shouldn’t. I got real because I needed to be healed. I needed sunshine in my heart again. I needed to be able to live again, not merely exist … and hate it.

He met me there.

What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear.

Jesus met me there. Jesus, who battled depression at Gethsemane. Who, in his deepest hour of need, was left alone to grapple with his pain and suffering. His friends slept. When death arrived, his friends ran home. Jesus, who faced that foe way before I did, met me in my living room that night. He delicately unraveled the soft blanket that had shimmied up around my neck and was choking me. He cast it back down to hell where it belonged then he pulled me into his embrace and held me tight while I fell apart a while.

I came out of that moment healed. Not because a friend had all the right words to say. Probably more so because my friend had nothing to say and that put me in such a dire place, I had to run to Jesus. In one night, winter was over. I didn’t weather the storm with Him. He saved me out of the midst of it. He saved me from drowning. He ended my suffering by holding me while I fell to pieces. He didn’t urge me to move past anything. Or implore me to keep going despite the pain. He took my burden without question or remark and held me until grief was finished moving out. One evening in the arms of my Best Friend replaced untold years of medication.

I’m not saying the battle is over. It’s not. I’m just fighting proactively. I’m being more offense than defense now. I’m fighting through praise and thankfulness, instead of wallowing under waves of life. I am fighting in prayer and through time in my Bible. Time with my Bestie. What a friend we have in Jesus.