A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?Proverbs 18:14 English Standard Version (ESV)
At least once in your life, you will face a devastating, overwhelming storm of the soul. Maybe you are facing it now. It’s that storm where the proverbial wind beneath your wings is sucked into a vacuum, plunging you towards the rocky earth. The spirit-crushing hit knocks the air from your lungs; your struggle for the tiniest breaths become unproductive gasps. You are alone in what feels like a barren desert, wondering if continuing is worth it to keep going; to keep fighting for something better. Menacing voices taunt and tease that hope is an empty promise. The enemy of our souls always gives us more than we can handle; it’s his job to destroy us. It’s a carefully concocted plan to strip our spirit, to make life unbearable, to crush us to dust so that we don’t rise again. It’s in the heart-numbing, suffocating pain, the void of encouragement where we must make the feeble decision to go on. How do we do this?
29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.Isaiah 40:29 New International Version (NIV)
I remember during one of the hardest nights of chemo, thinking how much easier it would be to surrender to this force that wouldn’t stop until I was dead. In this dangerous, helpless state, life can go either way. I searched for hope, and in the quiet of this barrenness, a calm voice spoke from the depths of my spirit. I reached with feeble doubtful hands; this is faith at its purest. Through the thundering storm of guilt, the stinging tears, the sorrow, and searing pain of the heartbroken soul, the voice is hushed but steady like a mountain. My mind argues the futility of my steps as I walk toward a tiny light of hope. This is faith. It’s primal, and it’s weak, it’s the smallest of action in the hardest of times that makes me strong. As I continue, I find His love within its voice. He doesn’t condemn me for being where I am. His unbound love seeps into the dry cracks of my parched soul like a slow soaking rain; I’m coming alive in the hope and His love.
35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”[a]) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.Romans 8:35-37
Temptation is a smooth path. I fantasize of being the very least I can be, no one’s critical eyes, no bearing other’s burdens, no one needing me, yet the spark remains. Can I just blend in, embrace a mediocre existence, live, and then die? I wouldn’t have all of this strife and war. Can I be like those for millennia and give up? I can, and no one would be the wiser, except for my God and me. I wouldn’t have these battles, getting the wind knocked out of me, getting beaten down, struggling to my feet again, healing the wounds, and moving on. The thought caresses my mind. The ease of it and the rest in it draws me in, like my bed calls at the end of a hard day, and I teeter on the edge of temptation. I still teeter today. I’m angry by being manipulated and bullied into submission to nothingness, no impact, but mere survival. I fight, fear, and doubt, but something inside me keeps me moving forward. I know that the life I built and those around won’t allow me to curl up.
These critical moments sometimes end with an instant transformation, but it’s rare. I didn’t blink to find myself sitting on a cloud, joyfully singing with angels. I’m a soldier recovering in the medical tent as the battle rages around me. I wanted to give up and watch Netflix and numb into a show and crunchy salty chips, a nice pairing with my tears. However, I pushed through to share my pain, to share the truth to others that they aren’t alone in theirs. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, but I place tomorrow in His hands. Though I want to melt into a catatonic state, I set my intention on being productive. I have to fight and push, but I will get up and work out. I will clean, cook, work, and bless others. I’ll be slow, I might not be very effective, but I know that my God still loves me. I pray that he gives me wisdom as I sleep. I will read his word and keep lifting this broken heart for healing once more. Knowing that He has brought me through the worst before, and He can do it again.
Hebrews 4:12 English Standard Version (ESV)
12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Tips and Tricks
The Sword – Ephesians 6:17 and Hebrews 4:12 refer to the word as a sword. The special power in this sword is that it is able to separate the soul from the spirit. Our spirit is pure from God our soul is a combination of the mind, will, and emotions. It’s where we get tied up. The word of God is able to cut through the confusion, chaos, and also the pain so that the hope and strength that lies within our spirits can bloom.
The Friend – I had a plethora of things happen simultaneously, I share certain things with specific friends, the whole story feels burdensome for one person. We underestimate the power of a friend. I called my sweet friend who knows one part of my devastation intimately. She cried with me and prayed with me, I said my own prayer of submission in this non-judgemental space. During cancer, I needed to speak with the cancer counselor who knew how to deal with those specific situations.
The Opposite Action – I realized that to get out of where you are, you need to do the opposite of what you want. I wanted to lay in bed, cover up my head, and forget. I took a walk, cleaned, made a cake, (cakes to me symbolize celebration). I got out of the house, helped my mother, installed some wallpaper in my writer’s retreat, so cathartic for me. We consider those who laugh in difficult situations to be crazy, but it’s healthy. I later watched a comedy and laughed. There is so much power in laughter, God created it as a healing, stress-relieving tool.
The End Is Not The End
I don’t know what the end will be, but I do know that God is with me. He has been there before to help me, and He will be there again. I trust His faithfulness. He may not answer the prayers the way I want or the way I think He should, but He knows what’s best, and I don’t doubt this. I leave you with Psalm 61. When my heart is faint and overwhelmed, He will lead me to the solid rock. Keep moving forward, in the nearly immortal words of Lenny Kravitz, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over”
If you have thoughts about ending your life, it’s time to reach out. There are so many options to help someone to cope. Call the Lifeline for confidential support. The line is open for 24/4 call 1-800-273-8255.”
Love and Blessings,