I don’t consider myself a “Christian blogger.”
That label seems to be laced with all sorts of baggage that I don’t want to take on. I don’t want to come across as a “Jesus freak,” someone who can’t stop talking about God and who sees God in everything everywhere all the time. Someone who is unapproachable to non-Christians because God or Jesus is never far from their lips. “Praise the Lord!” when you don’t get the speeding ticket you deserve. <Eye roll>
And don’t get me started on White Jesus. No. Absolutely not.
Yet, I know Him. I love Him. He loves me. And I want to be His servant. My life means nothing without Him and His grace and mercy and love. If I know nothing else, I know this.
But I’ve been sick for many years, and my faith in God has been shaky. I hate hearing how some Christians talk about mental illness. Yes, God can move mountains. Please, do pray for me. But don’t tell me that taking medication means that I don’t trust Him enough. Don’t tell me that if I would just pray more, He’ll heal me. Don’t tell me that the depression is a tool of the Devil, and I can cast it out by saying the name of Jesus.
No. I don’t want to hear it.
This week, there were several times where I felt like I wasn’t going to make it. As I drove back and forth to work, I thought, more than once, about driving off the road. While I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to do so, the thoughts were scary. “Scary” doesn’t really come anywhere close to the deep-seated fear I had every evening as I drove home. And “pretty sure I’m not going to kill myself” is really certainly not acceptable.
Lately, I feel like I’m at war. I’m in a constant battle for my sanity and wellness. Against whom? I don’t know.
I think God allows pain for reasons unrelated to evil; sometimes pain is lesson, sometimes pain is a burden, sometimes pain is a testimony. Sometimes I understand the pain, and while I’m still fighting, I’m winning. More often I’m completely at a loss and am suffering a beat-down of epic proportions. The thoughts of driving my car off the road? My tearfulness at work, the uncontrollable sobbing, and my complete shut-down on the weekends? I’m losing the war.
I don’t think its the Devil. I feel like God has left me. To navigate the battle by myself.
I’ve not gotten far from God, which is what some Christians would say is at the root of my depressions. That’s not what I feel.
I feel that, even though I’m hurting, He has turned his back on me. He’s not supposed to do that.
If the depression was about me moving far from God, the answer would be to move back closer to Him. The ball in is my court. I choose. I decide.
But when you feel like God has turned His back, there is nothing you can do. It’s like you are standing right next to Him, but He pretends not to see you. It’s like when you want that lover back, but they refuse to answer their phone or respond to your text.
I’ve felt this way before. When I was hospitalized, I felt a hole, an pregnant emptiness. This time, again, there is a deep grief in my heart. In my chest I feel broken and the ache is physically draining.
This time of year is so hard for me, as I reflect on another year gone by, the things I didn’t do that I wish I had, all while the constant darkness beckons me to hibernate. Last year at this time I was calling emergency meetings because I didn’t think I could finish my dissertation. This year feels worse as I’m working full-time, something I haven’t done in the past eight years. I don’t have the time I need to shut down for a couple of days the way I used to. I’m working but I’m not making enough money to cover our necessities.
I am missing God.
This week, however, I’ve learned that through the work of others, He is not missing me. The events of just the last two days have shown me that He is aware of me and that He is watching me. I’m too embarrased to even reveal what folks are doing for me. But I know He’s using His children to care for me. They are coming to me. I may not feel Him, but He reaching for me through them. And I will hold fast to them, because through them, I can feel Him. I have never been more grateful for the kindness of others than I am right now.
His back is not turned. He’s just speaking to me in a different way, through the mouths and actions of others. I know.
I never intended to be a Christian blogger. But here I am.
Blogging. And Christian. And okay with that.