I was in 10th grade, away at a boarding school where my clothes did not compare to my classmates. Field hockey had been a source of competitive and social fun in middle school. Not in high school. My head was filled with questions.
Why did we have far less money than any other family at this school?
Why did I get nauseous when it was time to play field hockey? Why did my eyes fill with tears if I missed the ball?
Why, why, why?
High school, then college. Counseling, drinking, hidden depression.
Why did my mom die at age 40? Why was there no treatment to help her cancer?
I didn’t know it then, but I would go on to graduate school to become a marriage and family therapy counselor, mostly to try and satisfy the desperate search for reasons.
Why was this my life? Why was I the strong one for so many years and now I can’t seem to get it together? Why am I alone all the time in my mind? Why do I think differently? Why do I hurt all the time about something, even nameless things?
It was a depressive habit, you might say, asking why. Since I did not believe in God, I was not asking Him. It was a constant lonely question thrown into the universe with an ounce of hope someone would notice or care enough to answer.
On the flip side, It helped me survive …
pushing for answers
for something to fill my heart.
Several years after my mom died, I wanted to email her brother (my uncle) with many questions about my mother’s life. There were so many blanks minus the multiple-choice grid. I can’t recall whether I did or didn’t. And maybe they were just more answerless questions …
Just this fire smoldering in the center of my hollow soul.
The need to know grew into the need to have control. If I couldn’t have answers, then I would choose the way.
No matter my success in school, jobs or with friends, I was never satisfied. There was never enough praise of my work to keep the fire burning. Never enough fun to make me forget about losing my mom or all the things I didn’t understand about my life.
Sleepless nights were harvest for anytime worries.
In my good times, I was resourceful, productive, and a good friend. In my secret bleak times, I was full of fear. It was a barren, unnamed abyss. I pushed through so I would not leave my brother alone. I pushed through because somewhere inside of me there was tenacity, a willingness to fight.
Marriage was hard. My metaphorical baggage was so heavy yet anonymous. So many moments of loss and confusion and fear stacked. An unidentifiable fiery mess. When you cannot name what is weighing you down, when you begin to figure out there are no answers to your life questions, giving up is attractive.
Empty souls have holes that lead you to reach for the quick fill or the numb.
As soon as something lands at the bottom, it spins around and siphons out, not staying long enough.
Lots of conflict bubbled early in our marriage. I loved being pregnant with our first son, but having him did not cure my age-old unresolved grief. Then, my dad died when Braedon was 14 months old. In fact, I was just starting an antidepressant when I got pregnant with our second son.
Post-partum blues after Jackson seemed to just stick to my weary self who really did not know who she was anymore. I looked forward to going back to work and drinking wine in the evening.
1 Thessalonians 5:7-8
“Night is the time when people sleep and drinkers get drunk. But let us live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing our helmet the confidence of salvation”
Productive by day and numbing at night. That was my plan, my hope.
Numb began to feel better than echoey and empty. Numb meant I had a reprieve from the pain … until the next morning.
Oh the moments, days and years I lost wallowing in untreated depression while I stuffed the grief further with each aromatic sip.
But look what Our Lord has done! I sought Him with my broken heart, desperate not for answers but for help. Jesus wasted no time. He blessed me, swooped into save me. He squeezed His holy self into my every heart crevice He could find. He extinguished the greedy pride-fueled fire with his living water and promised me I would never thirst again.
John 4:14 “But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
I guess I just missed the part where He whispered, “Trust me while I move memories around in here. We have a lot to get straightened out.”
Stormie Martian in her book, Lord I Want to Be Whole commented on Philippians 3:13 and Paul’s urging for us to look ahead:
“What he means is that we shouldn’t be living in the past from which we’ve been set free. Yet we can’t be set free from something we have not brought into the full light of God and exposed for what it is. Only when we do that will we find healing for it, and only then can we forget and move on.”
In Fall 2014, the Lord spoke telling me NO MORE ALOCHOL.
I stopped drinking right away.
What my counselor helped me see in this recent depressive episode was even though I removed alcohol from my life, I still had patterns of escape/denial in place. Sleep and comfort eating.
A pattern to retreat from the pain. Avoidance, denial.
Yes, even 25 years after my mom died, I still had unshed tears. Jesus, my Shepherd, led me back to the deeply hidden dark room in my mind/soul. His light was dim but still present.
Soft light, gentle spirit, loving arms and hands holding me, showing me and reassuring me I will never feel alone again. Abiding like I never had before. A surrendered trust unto Him with my whole being.
Instead of seeking answers, I seek Him.
Am I healed from all depression?
I have learned not to boast about tomorrow. My life is in His hands.
Proverbs 27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what the day will bring.
Do I have a peace about unresolved grief? With the loss of my mom, I do. I sense the Lord will walk me through losing my dad again, when He deems the time is right.
Trusting the Lord gives me peace.
May the burning you feel in your soul be only for Him. May you feel the forever love of Jesus every day.
I am open for any questions about my post, about my life. I believe sharing our stories is a way to connect and glorify Him and be strengthened in the process.
I pray so much that all people lost and empty find Jesus who will take up residence in their lonely souls. I honestly do not know where I would be without Him.
Short faith-lift videos found at https://Facebook.com/jdibble4Him