Broken kitchen sink…
Swollen index finger… on my dominant hand…
Disconnected cell phone…
Frustration while babysitting…
Doubts and fear of my future parenting skills…
Cancelled birthday plans…
That’s how last week went for me.
If it wasn’t bad enough that I had been jobless and without income since June 22nd or that I experienced an unexpected and expensive car issue at the end of July, then all of this had to happen in the last week of August.
And then, just when I thought the week had been hard enough, I heard of the passing of Pastor Andrew Stoecklein of Inland Hills Church in California. Pastor Andrew had battled mental health issues for an unknown period of time and died by suicide on August 25th. Hearing of his death caused me to think of my own mental health issues, and when coupled with some earthly stressors, I [momentarily] sank into a deep place. I began to question why God was allowing me to be thrown into a spotlight that so many were ending their lives to avoid.
Didn’t God know that too much stress, judgment, and requirements would cause anxiety in my life?
Didn’t He know that I was only two years removed from my last big bout of depression?
Didn’t He know that my method for coping with life’s issues normally involved a permanent solution?
I recalled Robin, Lee, Anthony, Kate, and many others- people who appeared to have it all, yet they battled internal issues that caused them to take their own lives. As I recalled them, I sincerely wondered how I would be able to handle anything additional that God would add to my plate.
Would I consider it again if life got to be too hard?
If considered, would I actually attempt again?
Those are real questions that ran through my mind this week but, no, I am NOT considering anything and, no, I am NOT in any immediate danger.
The truth is, I am in recovery for my mental health and substance use issues. And as with any person in recovery, I have to fight daily to avoid the triggers that would send me into a relapse. One of the truest statements that has ever been told is that in order for someone to overcome an addiction to one item, the item must be replaced with another item. For me, that replacement was God; I chose to replace food, substances, sex, depression, and anxiety with God.
So, as the issues from last week arose one by one and I felt the familiarity of old thoughts creeping into my head, I had so many questions for God:
Why all at once?
We’ve always heard not to question God. Truth is, we can question Him….but we need to be ready for His response. His answers are NEVER what we expect, and they NEVER arrive when we want them…. but He will answer.
Today is my 32nd birthday and, like every birthday, I just wanted to have fun and have a wonderful day, filled with laughter, music, and lots of dancing. But like every year (as you read earlier), everything fell apart in the days leading up to my birthday. Since it happens every year, you would think I would be used to it by now… yet every year I hold out hope that this year will be different. However, 2018’s birthday was not appearing to be different thus far.
So as last week took turn after turn, I did ask God those questions, repeatedly, and His response was this:
“Because I have many plans for you. I have called you to do so much in your life; there is great work for you to do. My child, you must endure a caterpillar and cocoon phase in order to come out as a Butterfly. Because you are poised for My work, you wear a target on your back and the enemy wants to break you. Do not give into him and his tricks. I promised that this was your Butterfly year, now trust Me. Continue to hold My hand and know that I Am who I Am. I am the God of yesterday, today, tomorrow, and forever more. I will never leave you and I will never forsake you. Hold my hand and let us walk together.”
With God’s response in my heart and His Word (the Bible) in my hand, you would think that I would be okay and ready to conquer the world.
Yeah, that’s not how my life works.
In fact, I had to continue to pray and seek God, just to be able to make it through the week. I also solicited help from those in my life by putting out requests on social media. I needed prayer- round the clock prayer- to get out and stay out of deep, dark places. In all fairness, I never said I was “healed”… I said I was on a healing journey.
As God would have it, everything did start to turn around as I began to let go of my grasp on the situation and truly trust God.
The sink got repaired.
The swelling went down and my finger returned to normal.
My cell phone was reconnected.
God gave grace and patience in babysitting.
He reminded me that He is still preparing me for motherhood.
A new set of birthday plans developed.
So, as I roam through Washington, DC with my sistah friends today, my mind and heart recall a picture that I captured last week.
I was on my morning walk and as I crossed the street, this rainbow was greeting me with its beauty. I heard the words that God said to Noah in Genesis 9:12-17 and I felt peace. The rainbow was so radiant in the sky that I just had to sit down and take it all in.
God had remembered me.
God had remembered His promise to me.
God was going to fulfill His promise to me.
As God said to me, I say to you, Beloved:
In life, we will go through caterpillar and cocoon phases, but it is all for the beauty of the butterfly season. You will come through on the other side, just hold His hand.
To hear more about this subject, please tune into my Initial Sermon by clicking here. Please note that the sermon will not air until Wednesday, September 5, 2018 at 7pm. Lastly, if you or someone you know needs to talk, regarding thoughts of suicide or self-harm, please call 1-800-273-TALK.