a woman holding a sparkler

A Friend in the Darkness

Do you ever just have a day where nothing seems to work out? You feel overwhelmed, under-appreciated, and like life is just one swift kick to the backside after another?

Fortunately, I don’t have those days very often. But yesterday, yesterday I did. It was a rough one! An “I’m gonna need a bigger mug of caffeine” day, without a doubt.

As wives, mothers, grandmothers, women in general, we have all been there. We know how it feels to be sitting on the bathroom floor, tears flooding down our faces and wondering how on earth we got here? Or, maybe it’s just me?

Leading up to my mini-meltdown were several factors that all seemed to hit at once, as they so often seem to do.

I finally broke down and called (actually dialed, not a text message as I’m not really a “phone person”) my mother.

In-between tears and blubbering sobs, I verbally vomited every singe thing that was wrong in my life. And trust me, at this point, in my shattered state, it was a lengthy list.

My 10-year-old son happened to be asleep in my bed in the next room. I shut the door to the bathroom so he would not overhear mommy’s meltdown. But I am sure he could tell something was wrong. He is a highly sensitive child and very in-tune to his mother.

After ending the call with my own mother, I wiped the tears from my face and vowed to get up off the floor and do something, anything, even if it just meant make a cup of much-needed coffee.

Before I could successfully peel myself off the wooden floor of my bathroom, I heard a faint knock on the door.

“Come in,” I said as I wiped the last year from my stained face. It was my son, who I thought was fast asleep.

He quietly entered the bathroom, took one look at my face, and gently walked over to me, embracing me in a hug.

“I love you, Mom.”

That was all. A hug and a proclamation of his love.

Well, of course, I tried to keep from wildly convulsing as this simple act sent me back into a tailspin of emotion. I kept it under control and hugged him back, quietly and feebly uttering a thank you.

Did my son have any idea? Any at all, that his hug, his simple statement, his just being there and caring, was just exactly what I needed in that moment?

So many times, we do not know what to say to someone who is intensely hurting, when we really don’t have to say anything at all. An embrace of love, a simple look, an “I’m here,” are all gentle gestures that can dry the eyes of the mourning and send a shot of joy straight into their hurting heart.

Still in a bit of a downward quagmire the next day, but not nearly as emotional, I needed a shot of joy, peace, comfort, enlightenment, something, anything other than the downward spiral I tried unsuccessfully to repeal from my mind.

“Alexa, play a podcast on depression,” I loudly shouted to the only other human voice in the house.

What came next was thirty minutes of a message so in-tune with how I was feeling that I knew it was sent directly from Heaven.

The speaker was Greg Laurie. I knew I recognized his name, but I didn’t know why. Turns out, he was the mastermind behind the uber popular movie, “Jesus Revolution.” (Well, technically, God was the mastermind), but He very much used Greg (under the same first name, in the movie, which is why I knew the name sounded familiar) to spread a big message to a very needy world.

The message I heard this morning was one of such hope, such deliverance, such inspiration that I could not help but jot a few stand-out statements down to pull out when I most need them:

“When you are walking in faith, you will see things others do not see.”

Emotion follows motion.” (You may not feel like doing something kind for someone else, but do it anyway, and the emotion will surely follow).

Keep moving.” (On depression, and what to do next after experiencing a time of bitter lows after an extreme season of victory, which is very normal).

And my personal favorite, all stated by Greg Laurie in this podcast on depression:

When you are feeling down, look up.

I clearly needed a reset from yesterday’s very intense, personal, emotional struggle.

I prayed about it. I talked to my mother and my best friend about it.

My son provided a shot of “You got this” and so did Jesus, in more ways than I can possibly count.

The podcast that mysteriously came on was just what I needed in a time of having no idea what I needed.

I saw a really fat groundhog slinking around my office building this morning. That may mean nothing to you, dear reader, but to me, anything nature-related does something viral to uplift my soul. I had a few positive interchanges with co-workers which added to my mood-enhancing journey.

But mostly…

Mostly, I felt Jesus surrounding me. No, He did not directly speak words into my listening ears. But He provided sights, sounds, special circumstances that only I, in my temporary state of depression, would notice.

Jesus does that!

He speaks in specific ways His friends are in tune to.

For me, it’s a groundhog; for you, it may be an advertisement for a new skincare line with a tag line that thrusts you into tears because it is so meaningful. We all see, hear, and react differently.

Jesus knows you inside and out, better than you know yourself. Only He knows what will fulfill your tired and weary soul. And He proceeds to provide it; day after day, time after time, with no end to this faithful blessing poured out upon His precious child.

No matter how bad the day I am having, how rough the sleepless night, how many tears escape my swollen eyes, I know, more assuredly than anything else in this world, that Jesus will always be there.

He is like the child slipping into my bathroom to give me a hug and tell me He loves me. Heck, He likely encouraged that little scenario, knowing I needed the physical touch of a loved one.

No matter what storms life swirls around my head in this life, I know Jesus will help to pick up the pieces, lovingly help me off the floor, dry my salty tears and gently urge me to “keep moving,” in the very same way He did when faced with depression in this life.

He is my lifeline and daily provides strangers, animals, friends, podcasts, books, anything and everything that I will pay attention to, when I desperately need to hear His voice.

Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for helping me out of the pit. I know you have done it before, and I know you will do it again.

That assurance is my victory in this round. And that victory will only provide the strength, knowledge, and desire to “keep moving” with Him close by my side.

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“When you are walking in faith, you will see things others do not see.”

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