Boasting of Weaknesses

I woke up this morning feeling so heavy and weighed down. Today was my day off, and when it starts off rough, it usually keeps on going downhill with nothing to stop it. Around noon, I decided to get out of the house and go for a drive and get some sunshine. As I was driving, I thought about a journal entry I made a few months ago. I pulled over in the exact spot I originally did when I wrote it. I pulled it out and it brought me so much peace and encouragement.

I don't know what I'm doing with the whole "sharing my writing" thing. It's so hard for me to be vulnerable and put myself out there. It's easier to do it with close friends that I know I can trust. It's easier to share things that I'm going through. It's a lot harder to share my feelings that feel so raw and messed up and make me wonder if I'm better off not telling anyone. It's also hard when I feel like I've presented myself a certain way for so many years. Deep down I've always felt so full of disgrace. So I constructed this idea of a person who I wanted to be. I made these standards and rules that made me be like the person I thought people would like. I fought hard to become her.

As I sat in the parking lot today and pulled out my Bible, I read 2 Corinthians. I've been learning a lot from this book lately. It's changing me. I can feel it. Once again I felt peace and could feel myself being brought back out in to the light. Truth was building me up. There in chapter 12 those well known verses stuck out to me. "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

What more could I ask for? Paul boasting of his weaknesses. I can only hope to do the same. And with that, I knew I should share the journal entry I wrote back in January...


Saturday, January 18, 2014

The last few days have been hard. Hard like they used to be. The depression is thick. The lies are so good, so deceiving that I believe them. I’ve given up hope. I’m self destructing my life. Thursday morning the guy called to set up the schedule to work on my house. First bit of good news I had in awhile. The smallest glimmer of hope. By that afternoon I wanted to not only cancel the rehabilitation of my home, but also sell it.

This morning I woke up and thought about how the depression and darkness was taking over. I hate the struggle. I hate that I’m here once again. The last year I walked through the valley of the shadow of death. I had weeks where it felt like I camped out there. And yet I’m back to the same place. What’s the point? Why put people through this again? And things are so much different this time. I’ve become more deceiving. I’ve learned how to make people happy again. Because I hate seeing their disappointed faces when I’m honest about how I really am.

I’m in the hole. I see no light. I can barely breathe. I sit at home alone in the darkness. My house is a mess. It is a comfort. I like it when it matches my soul.

I’m lost. I can’t see the path. I have nothing left in me to search for light. I don’t want to seek Jesus. I can’t look to God.

I remember yesterday. I couldn’t handle being at the church for a minute longer. I grabbed my things and got in my car. I drove.

As usual I made it to Giant City. It’s always my refuge. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get out of my car. The anxiety was so thick. So I pulled in a parking lot in front of the bluffs. I was right in front of a tree. And there my heart overflowed. I couldn’t do this anymore. I said it over and over again. Gently the tears came. I cried. And I cried and I couldn’t contain it anymore. I saw something out of the corner of my eye and looked at the hood of my car. A tiny bluebird was there staring at me. I saw his bright blue back and soft pink belly then he flew away. I saw him land in a branch nearby.

A gift. A wonderful gift of love that God knew what I would appreciate. That was for me. But I didn’t want it. I didn’t want to receive. I covered my face in my hands and cried. Over and over I whispered it. “I don’t want to do this anymore.” I cried about where I was at in my life again. I cried about how hard the last year was. I cried because I was stuck. Staying felt like it was killing me. Going would hurt those around me. But staying also hurts those around me when I’m in this place.

I heard a noise. I lifted my face and there was the bluebird again. He was clawing his way up my windshield. His wings were flapping frantically trying to make it up to the top. He kept slipping down then finally rested on my hood again. I saw his tiny eyes resting on me. I knew this was a miraculous and precious moment, but still my heart was hard. God was giving me this gift. The little bird flew away again to the tree. Eventually my tears stopped. I turned the ignition and put my car in reverse. As I was pulling out of the parking lot I heard the small voice. “I’m giving this to you. I knew you would appreciate this. I know your heart.”

I didn’t feel all better. But there was a tiny piece of relief. The smallest bit of heaviness taken off of me. I didn’t run to God. I didn’t get down on my knees. I didn’t cry out in prayer. I felt sad and hurt. I felt overwhelmed. But I headed back to the church and back to work.

I don’t know what is in me that even resists writing this out. I want to get better, but part of me wants to keep me squashed down and small. I want the depression to leave. That’s why I fight it so hard. I set up the meeting with the counselor. I’m sacrificing my money to show that I’m willing to get better at all costs. But it scares me to death. These are the things that I don’t want to deal with. These are the things that I know are going to make things messy.

But then I get to these places and I self-destruct my life. I don’t call back the people who are going to remodel my house. I plan out an email to quit my job. I ask around to see who wants to buy a two bedroom house. I lie in bed and talk myself into just being done with all of this. I go through all the faces of those I would leave behind and list the reasons why they’d be better off without me.

And something that Jon said comes to mind. This is going to happen. You are going to take two steps forward, then three steps back, then three forward and one back, but progress will be made. You can’t get everything right in the bad times. But you can fight in the good. And you can fight with what you have in the bad. And no matter how far you fall, you are a different person. You’ve come too far for things to go back to the way they were. They can’t go back to that even if I want it to. Too much has happened.

I think of where I’ve been the last two days. I think of the darkness. I think of the depression that sucks the life and joy and color out of everything. I think about how I give myself over to it. I think about how part of me finds comfort in what I know. But I also think about how it’s slowly killing me. And it’s hard to believe that the last year has done something. It’s hard to believe that I am changed.

I think about how I chose to miss the women’s conference at my church. About how I didn’t set my alarm and I told Jesus that if he wanted me to go he needed to wake me up in time. I picture looking at the clock as I woke up and seeing I had 45 minutes before it started. Instead I chose to lie in bed. I couldn’t do it. The thought of going and faking it in front of hundreds of women made me curl back up in a ball and hide under my covers. I think about the two friends texting me, wondering where I am. I hate that I always disappoint them. I hate feeling like no one really understands me. I hate that I cannot receive their love.

But this morning I also pictured that little bluebird. I took a shower. I planned on leaving my house to drive around, but I sat on my couch in the darkness. I pulled out my computer. I felt it. The urge to write. So I sat down and wrote this. And somehow it helped.

I think of that small bird looking at me. I remember the feeling of my face flushed and wet with tears. Emotion. That’s something that I barely had last year. I remember the night almost a year ago where I had my first crying meltdown as I drove home on a Friday night. I was shocked because I NEVER cry. I think about how that night I woke up with the vivid image of me being wounded and bleeding in my affliction. The sign of the year to come. But this time was different.

This year I have a small bluebird looking at me. I also have a gentle whisper. “This is for you. I know your heart and I want you to know I love you.” 


Today I had that same peace that I did on that day. Everything wasn't all better, but I knew God had a plan for where I was at. I know that God is close to me. Regardless of how I feel, or how I'm flawed, God is working. He knows where I at. He knows what I need. And he's so faithful in the road I'm on to healing. And today he added to that story from month ago. 

I closed my eyes in that parking lot and did my best to seek God despite the resistance. The sounds of the birds singing calmed me, my breathing slowed. I heard another whisper, "I will meet you where you are." He's not afraid of my mess. He sees where I am.

I pulled out of the parking lot and headed home. And no joke, as I was just leaving the park, a bluebird flew right in front of my car and landing in a tree right next to the road. He was so close I saw that soft pink belly and bright blue back. I laughed out loud. I was still smiling when I pulled in my driveway.


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