Sunday, August 26, 2012

It's the Worst at Night

Over the past several weeks (or maybe it's been a couple months, I don't remember when it started) life has been quite a roller coaster ride of ups and downs emotionally. I'm not exactly sure why one particular thing has been such a focal point issue lately. There are a couple days in a row where I'll be perfectly fine. The overwhelming emotions subside and I am content with where I am and confident in what I can do. Then other days its a back and forth fight where I can be alright and then without warning a great sadness will come over me. I fight as much as I can in the down times, but sometimes I get so tired and I give in to the emotions for a little while. I tend to give in towards the end of the day when I'm physically tired and emotionally strained from fighting off the sadness.

I have gone through loneliness this intense only one other time. It wasn't a happy time. I was plagued with depression and felt alone in everything; spiritually and physically. The depression had got so bad that I began thinking up ways to end it all. Thankfully I was too afraid to do anything. There have been other points in life since that season six years ago where the loneliness has come, but only for a glimpse.

This time around, the loneliness is different. It is definitely intense and overwhelming at times, however it's only been in a physical sense. I haven't felt separated from God, which is a great blessing. (In fact I can sense His presence almost all the time.) Sometimes I can be hanging out with friends having a good time and then out of nowhere I can feel so physically alone in a crowd. Maybe it's being brought on from the marriages/engagements/relationships of people that I know around me. (Not that there has been a significant amount, but still.) Maybe it's because the hope of a husband coming around soon is almost non-existent. I absolutely believe that God can do something and change situations within a second; He is all powerful after all. I don't know the exact reason for this loneliness, I just know it's here and has been for a little while.

The worst is at night, when I'm trying to go sleep and the obviousness of the empty half of the bed is right there. It makes me anxious and worried that maybe God is gonna make me wait for years. I may have many years ahead of me, but when you've been waiting for Mr. Right since you were 15 or younger a couple more years is a little daunting. All the doubts come forth in the dark when you try so hard to shut your brain off and not think about how utterly single you are and the possibility of being that way for a while more.

Being single has it's advantages. I have more freedom right now than I will when I am married. I can do whatever I want and go wherever I want and manage my own money without consulting with someone else.The free time I have is pretty great. My room is my space that I don't have to share with anyone. And yet my heart aches to have someone to share life with. Being married doesn't fix the problems of my life or bring incessant happiness, I know this. I just want the loneliness to stop.

Sorry for being kind of depressing.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Paralytic

As I was out picking thimble berries this morning behind my Grandma's house, I was trying to think of some profound way that picking berries relates to God. There's a lot of different symbolism that could be used. However, there was no heavenly inspiration or thoughts. Eventually I stopped trying to come up with something and forcing the Holy Spirit to work His magic and give some revelation. So I just kept working my way through the berries...and then a thought came to me - 'look at how far you've come, there's no way you would have been out here comfortably picking berries last year'.

I started thinking about that and remembering where I used to be in life. A couple weeks back telling others your testimony was talked about in church, how we should be able to condense who we were before and after Jesus in a couple sentences. For example - Before I knew Jesus I...After Jesus I... . We practiced at the end of the sermon condensing our stories. Mine was "Before I knew Jesus I was paralyzed by fear, unable to move anywhere. After Jesus I found my strength in Him and moved forward despite the fear".

When I was a kid, going into the woods alone terrified me. I was scared to the point that any little noise from anything would induce the flight instinct in me and fear would grip my body. I never went anywhere outside the confines of our yard alone. The woods (or nature in general) and I did NOT get along. The possibility of a wild animal coming after me and eating me alive was always present. Even the thought of stumbling upon a snake in the woods petrified me. Funny enough (though not really) I lived in the middle of nowhere surrounded by woods for nine years of my life. And once nightfall hit, the woods went from being scary to being horrifying. Being left to take care of my siblings at night when my parents went to go pick my sister up from dance was torture. I would lock myself in my room and listen intently to every sound wondering if it was a serial killer or wild animal trying to get into the house.

Fear literally paralyzed me from being able to do anything. I couldn't call anyone on the phone for fear of getting the wrong number or running out of things to say. For a long time I wouldn't even talk with someone on the phone even if they called me. I wasn't ok with leaving my mom's side in the grocery store to get an item from the next isle over because I was afraid she'd forget me and leave me there. There were so many things I couldn't do because of fear. (But the important one here is the whole issue with being in the woods alone.)

Thinking about how I had chosen the word 'paralyzed' got me thinking about the story of the paralytic in Luke 5. The summary of this story is there was a man who was paralyzed. His friends climbed on the roof and lowered him down, and Jesus healed him. Verse twenty is quite interesting - "When He saw their faith, He said to him, "Man, your sins are forgiven you" - then later on Jesus heals him. Jesus didn't heal this man because he believed it could happen. Jesus healed him because his friends had great faith in what He could do. They brought him to Jesus and they had faith when the man had none. His friends saw he needed help and gladly came to his assistance. 

I was like that man. I wanted to be free from the paralyzing fear, but I didn't believe it could happen. At one point I remember thinking with dread that I was going to be fearful in everything for my entire life and that was scary. But I didn't know what to do. I didn't have any faith that it could get better. For many years I tried to not be so afraid by myself, and things got a tiny bit less fearful but it was still there. It wasn't until I really got involved with a church and had people who came after me to help me, even when I pushed them away, that things started to get better. And yet I still didn't believe that fear wouldn't rule over me anymore. 

Then I went to college and got my butt kicked by God, a well deserved and much needed butt whooping. People who cared about me stood in the gap and prayed for me and had faith when I had none and could only see that fear was still there, even when it was getting better. I started becoming aware of when fear would come around and how to fight it off. 

From the time I was 18, God has been strengthening me with His strength and bringing His confidence into my life. Every year it increases...Praise the Lord! He kept bringing it in even though I couldn't see the progress and was very negative about things changing. I wholeheartedly believe that it was because of the faith others had for me that the changed really took place. And although my healing wasn't instantaneous as the paralytic, it has come. Fear is not completely gone, but it is very minimally there and even when it comes I am able to act regardless of it. Fear only has as much hold as I allow it to have.

So going back to the picking berries. This whole thought process occurred as I was standing out in the woods, by myself, tangled up in thorns bushes open to any attack if a wild animal or estranged human came around, and I was ok. I was listening to music for a little while because I love being in the presence of God and not to drown out the sounds of nature around me as I did last year when picking berries. I wasn't rushing to avoid the possibility of spooking an animal and only sticking to the path in case I got stuck in the bushes and couldn't get out. After a while I turned the music off and just walked around enjoying where I was and what I was doing. I climbed through everything and there was no fear of being overtaken by an animal even though I know there have been bear sightings. It was peaceful.  

An intense desire to share with the world about my testimony of no longer being paralyzed came over me. So here I am sharing with any who will read. There is freedom from fear. I did something today I wouldn't have ever dreamed I would be able to do. Jesus holds the keys to freedom, and it might take years to be completely free as it has taken me. Or you could be freed right now. Don't give up. God won't look over you because you are lacking in faith. He didn't overlook the paralytic or see him as unworthy. There are people around you who will have faith for you even when you don't. 

I keep hearing God say to me, "Look at how far you have come".

I am no longer a paralytic!!!!