I have prayed that this story may be as moving to you as it has been to me. I have prayed that you may be convicted once again of God’s overwhelming faithfulness to His children; of His relentless love and pursuit of us, His priceless creation.
This story was entrusted to me by a dear friend and spiritual mentor. A woman who is as spiritually strong as anyone I know. A woman whom I would have never guessed would have any struggles like this. Who, just like so many of us, can keep it all together so well that if I shared with you who it was, you would feel the same initial shock that I did. Father, let us all remember that every person we meet is fighting some kind of battle.
To the writer, who understandably wants to remain anonymous:
Praise God for your courage, sweet sister. Praise God for your humility and transparency. Praise God for the victory He has won in your heart and continues to win as you put your hand in the hand of our Savior each day. Thank you for adding your brick to this house of praise; for adding your stone to this memorial altar that we are building to remind us of the faithfulness of God. I didn’t think it was possible to admire you more, but after reading this outpouring of your heart, my love and admiration has increased ten-fold.
Her beautiful words, untouched by me because I believe they were Spirit-given:
Despair, Hopelessness and the Relentless Pursuit of God
How did I come to this state of existence: despair and hopelessness? I was married to a wonderful, supportive man and had two beautiful children. I worked at a challenging and fulfilling job. I was an active member of a local church. So how did I land in a pit of despair and hopelessness?
I grew up in a mildly dysfunctional family. However, we never lacked for anything: not housing, food, clothing. Our parents provided us excellent educations from pre-school to college graduations. Our extended families loved us and supported us.
Perhaps this despair and hopelessness was rooted in a need to be perfect and an overwhelming sense of responsibility. As the oldest, I was often left “in charge” of my siblings. Of course, I had no authority over them, but I felt a great sense of responsibility for their welfare. For example, we lived overseas when I was a pre-teen. While there, I devised a detailed plan to care for my siblings and get them back to the states to our extended family members should anything happen to our parents. I don’t think my family ever knew about this concern. Then later, as an adult, I felt responsible for a co-worker’s divorce because I had not prayed hard enough. And, of course, the demise of my parents’ marriage was my fault because I had made my father feel old by giving him grandchildren.
The irony of the timing of my fall into this pit was that I was simultaneously delving into scripture as a participant in an in-depth Bible Study. I was also meeting regularly with a prayer group. However, the scriptures only convinced me further of my worthlessness. I hid my despair from those in the Bible study and the prayer group. O, I knew God was good and amazing and loving. I knew He was worthy of my devotion. I understood that Jesus had died for my sins.
But, I could not see myself as someone whom God could trust, because I couldn’t trust myself.
As a teen I fell into an eating disorder that vacillated in its control over me. There would be months in which I seemed to have conquered it, only to be followed by years of being obsessed by it. Why would God trust someone who couldn’t be trusted to care for a body that was supposed to house His Holy Spirit? Someone whose pride and shame caused her to refuse the help her husband tried to get her? Someone who had proven herself untrustworthy with all the responsibilities He had given her.
Someone who was a complete and utter failure.
The eating disorder and related depression consumed me the older I became. Satan whispered and I concurred with his assessment: I was a hopeless, impossible, worthless failure who only brought pain and shame to her God and her family.
It was time to bring relief to them.
I gathered all the left over pain medicines I could find and wrote a letter to my husband. I was just so tired of fighting this battle…
But then a friend called. The only person other than my husband who knew about my eating disorder. A friend who worked in an urban trauma emergency room; a “no one takes a break” – busy emergency room. We talked for ten minutes. I didn’t tell her about my plans.
After we hung up, I curled up on my bed and slept for three hours. When I awoke I put those medicines in a bag along with the note and gave them to my husband when he came home.
My friend later told me that she had a nagging thought run through her mind all morning telling her to call me. The thought kept coming over and over again to the point she had to stop what she was doing and call me. We both believe the Holy Spirit was prompting her to call me. That call saved my life.
And so began my ascent out of that pit of despair and hopelessness onto the path of abundant living. It was neither pretty nor instant. Many times I slid back down the slippery, slimy sides of that pit.
That was when Jesus, who would not give up on me, jumped into that nasty pit and carried me out.
My walk on the path of abundant living has not been perfect. I stumble often and many times wander off the path of abundant life to the old trails that led to that pit. But each time that happens, Jesus comes and says to me, “Hey, remember Whose you are. I am never going to leave you. I will never abandon you no matter what you do nor where you go. I am with you always. So let’s get up and get back on the path I designed for you to walk.”
Satan still reminds me of my failures. Jesus reminds me of His constant companionship. I continue to be overwhelmed by His grace and mercy. Do I feel worthy? Not really. But I know He thinks I am worth taking off His royal robes, removing His crown and diving head long into my sin sick world. I know He thinks I am worth giving up His life so I can live with Him. I know He thinks I am worth pursuing when I stray. I know He thinks I am worth encouraging when I don’t think I can take another step. I know He thinks I am worth chastising when I become focused on myself and not on Him. This knowledge is too much for me to comprehend.
It is unfathomable to me that He considers me worthy but I know it is true.
I cannot express my amazement and gratitude for Him.
He is mine and I am His always and forever. With His hand in mine, I can go and do amazing things.