Some days it’s hard to put on a pretty face.
Tears welling up in my eyes make the mascara goopy instead of crisp and thick, sloppy smears pool at the corners as I attempt to apply it. Gotta pull it together, pretty girl, my voice speaks to the reflection in the mirror. You have things to do.
Why can’t I summon the will to live right now? Sometimes there are days when all I can say is “I’m sorry.”
Désolé. (Translation: inconsolably sad or sorry)
Last week, I asked my husband to take all the narcotics prescribed for my last bout with depression, anxiety, and suicide threat two years ago to the health department with no real explanation except we didn’t need them in the house anymore. These are the “numb-ers” that keep me from feeling anything, the ones that keep me in the middle ground. I hated taking them (really, any pill reminds me of all the Ducolax tablets I used to abuse as a teen) because I couldn’t string together thoughts or sentences. I slept all the time and gained weight (major horrorshow for a lifetime-borderline-anorexic). I stopped taking them one day because we just couldn’t get the recipe right and I was sick of trying to work through all the side effects. My doctor friend would tell me this was dangerous; you’re supposed to step off of those, but I didn’t care.
I’m so tired of feeling right now. So tired of therapy. So tired of so many things. So tired of me.
Christopher had no idea I had fantasies about swallowing them all at once. In fact, he has no idea that in the last ten days I have considered leaving to be with Jesus way more times than I’d even like to admit.
Désolé. (Translation: desolate and afraid)
Hopelessness rises to blot out my spirit. I feel like such a coward as a Christian, knowing that I should have more joy and peace, that my faith should be more solid and hope should be stronger than what I have right now. The darkness is winning today, and the flicker of light gets smaller.
Soul-weariness. I don’t have the energy to fight the good fight. Listening to Scripture, I feel coated with a sheen of detachment; my soul tethered to a weight that pulls me deep into the earth.
Does Jesus work for people like me in real life?
The eternal salvation aspect I don’t doubt; I know I’m saved for eternity and will spend it in heaven because of the blood, cross, and resurrection. It’s the “mess of me” right now and I’m not sure if I want to take the time to sort through with Him. There’s just too much to heal in a broken life, too much to figure out, and too much visceral pain. As I listened to the sermon last night, I wondered if there is a trauma survivor’s translation of the Bible and whether or not many pastors could even begin to understand the depths and complicated nature of mental illness in the people to whom he preaches. These thoughts were all between leading praise and worship.
Désolé. (Translation: contrite or penitent)
Put on the face and get out there, Girl.
Lord, I am such a fraud. Who am I to even be up singing and praising you on stage while these thoughts plague me in the seats? I guess it’s my sacrifice of praise to sing and give thanks even while I don’t feel like it. Silently confessing my weakness, unbelief, and lack of trust in the God who has been by my side and never left me, I pray for true godly repentance, but what I really want and need is forgiveness and absolution.
Jesus knows all this and, yet, He lets me sit in it with Him. Wait, no, He’s sitting with me; He’s not a pushy savior, but a kind and gentle one. He’s not making demands for me to just “get better” or “figure it out” nor is He pleading for me to “look on the bright side” or see that “tomorrow is a new day” like anyone would say to someone who doesn’t know this desperate wasteland. For many of us who have walked the swirling sands, we don’t want to even consider, let alone see, tomorrow.
Like a father with his reassuring hand on his child’s shoulder, He just sits with me, ready to listen. The Holy Spirit hovers quietly nearby, like a shield or forcefield keeping the enemy at bay for now. Gratitude, like a butterfly’s wings, brushes my heart for this reprieve.
Father, forgive me. What do I do now? I murmur. I don’t want to worry anyone; I’m not to a point where I’m unsafe.
Faces come to mind, so I shamelessly reach out to my prayer partners, and, though I’m so ashamed of my weakness, words tumble through my fingers onto the keyboard. Would you mind praying for me? I’m in dark places and am trying to break the surface.
Immediately the enemy pounces. What must it look like for a supposedly mature Christian woman to be on the edge like this? “She of little faith,” he hisses.
Psalms of Strength and Stories of Courage
Before I answer, a text interrupts the demonic conversation before it can begin by praying part of Psalm 91, the Warrior’s Poem. She knows I have been working to memorize this psalm.
If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter,
no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.
They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
You will trample upon lions and cobras,
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
Another text follows reminding me of Peter on the water with Jesus in the storm. Knowing we all have walking-on-water moments and one where we are sinking, she asks for the shelter of security under the comfort of God’s wings. She requests God to grant me the courage of Joshua and Caleb in the land of their enemies, that I would remember God is greater than any dark forces that come.
So I praise God for the trials, praise Him for the pain because I know He identifies with me through it all. He’s the One who rescues me. Hiding in the palms of His capable hands, I’m covered in love, acceptance, and grace. Not fear. No shame. A safe place, my name is inscribed here forever. What God’s hands hold, He never loses.
Today, I place my confidence in that truth. It’s enough.
For other posts like this, please see Don’t Let Go, Hold On, and How Can You Help Someone With Anxiety? Give’em a Toolbox.