I realized in yesterday’s blog that freedom did not necessarily look like being a bird and flying away from all my problems, but rather finding the strength to stay in them and learn.
Last night at group therapy as I shared about the overwhelming pressure I’m feeling with dealing with my husband’s depression, the counselor encouraged me to find my strength in a connection with God similiar to that of John, the Beloved disciple, who laid his head on the chest of Jesus. She encouraged me to be still and listen to the quiet strength of His heart beat. This is a beautiful picture of connection and peace that my heart yearns to aquire, but finding my way to this place is another story.
As I tried to go to bed last night I felt this immense pounding pressure on my head. It’s been happening a lot lately and I’ve started to worry about how much longer I’m going to be able to function feeling this way. And I asked God for the wisdom of how to connect with Him.
I thought of the words others used to describe me in group therapy earlier. A few of them called me strong. Being called this made me feel good. Because more than anything else I want to be strong so that I won’t get hurt anymore.
But I am still being hurt, still taking too much responsibility for my husband’s state of mind, and still trying to figure out how to deal with it for the most part on my own. And I recognized that what I believed was my greatest asset, my strength, was actually what was keeping me from relying on Him.
Even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NLT
Although Paul wanted to live a life free from whatever it was that caused him to struggle and feel weak, God didn’t grant him this freedom. The bird in me that wants to fly away and escape all of my struggles is loudly opposing this. I’ve begged God to remove my husband’s terrible depression, but since his mother’s death it has only gotten worse. I feel weakened, powerless, and ill equipped to deal with it, yet at the same time I’m trying to use my greatest tool – my own emotional strength to deal with it. Maybe if I do the right things, say the right things, and comfort him on the days when things are really hard that we can get through this together. But what I think looks like a loyal wife dearly committed to her husband, which I am, is too many times a codependent trying to manage his life and my own which is too heavy a load to bear. If I continue on this path I will not be able to stand, but if I go to God in my weaknesses He promises to give me the strength that I need.
If there was somewhere else to go I would have found it by now. All of my attempts to fix and find peace outside of God have only led to more pain. He is the only One with the Words of Life who can lighten my load.
So I’m laying down my strength this morning at three a.m. in surrender. Acknowledging that I am not strong but totally incapable of surviving this without Him.
So like John I’m laying my head on His chest and acknowledging that I am weak and cannot do this without Him. I’m closing my eyes and attempting to rest in the knowledge that He is always with me.
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
Zephaniah 3:17 ESV