Winter’s Balm

There is something lovely about the insulating snows that pile up outside my home. They obstruct view and though cold, I feel warm and cozy inside. A white cocoon of protective isolation.

I finally opened up and asked for prayer from my smallest group of people on social media who I trust. I didn’t keep the post up for long (shame is hard to overcome and vulnerability feels too hard), but I felt strong enough to ask. Finally. Isn’t that a kicker? That it’s been weeks and months of the spiralling down and only now, can I manage to ask for prayer from a wider group of supporters.

I resumed our walk through the Psalms during our schoolday. We covered Psalm 7 and it was another good connecting time with my kids. Their “meat and potatoes” verses were:

“O righteous God, who searches minds and hearts, bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the rightous secure.” (vs9)

“My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart.” (vs10)

“Arise, O Lord, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies.” (vs6)

I loved how verse 13 mentions God “makes ready his flaming arrows.” When someone mentions flaming arrows, my mind immediately goes to Ephesians and the flaming arrows of our enemy, so it was strengthening to read that God is getting his weapons ready and getting his bow ready to shoot his own flaming arrows at our enemies. Our God as Warrior.

I read through a PK’s heartbreaking story of life in ministry and how she has been traumatized by her dad’s mistreatment in the churches he ministered in. I identified very strongly with her experience. As I processed through the re-opened wounds and cried my way through my shower, a paraphrased portion of Matthew 16:24 (“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”) popped into my head. I kept hearing, ‘deny yourself’ and I cried back, “That’s what my whole life has felt like! I know that I have not lived unselfishly – I have many things of luxury or indulgence (I’m thinking of the chocolate bar on my bedside table and the lovely soaps and bubble bath supplies) but when it comes to people – I have constantly had to deny myself for their benefit and my survival.

I don’t want to live life for myself alone. I want to be Jesus’ disciple. I just wish that it was easier.

Or that this pain would end.

That I would overcome this season of struggling and suffering and move into living life with greater joy.

The snow is falling and all outside my window is a giant snowglobe of white feathers. They cover our steps and vehicles and trees with their cold beauty. My husband and I are to head out in this bluster to prayer meeting. Everything in me wants to stay home. I cannot. A quiet sigh of resignation and knowing that once I get out and get going and get together with our sweet people, I will be glad to be there. But for now, once again, I must deny myself.

I wish I could explain adequately how depression isn’t about the particulars… it isn’t about the people or the weather … I just long for the quiet of my bed and cozy duvet and comforting warmth of my electric blanket and a hot cup of tea. I don’t want to talk – am too tired to open my mouth – too tired to express all of the storm in my soul or push breath out in prayer. I can think silently and pray silently and when I pray – I cry – and I’d like to avoid crying in front of others right now. It’s all too much effort. Like shoveling the snow before the storm passes (which I actually like to do to lessen the overall job) but in this – in the middle of this heavy snowstorm in my heart and mind, I just want to hunker down by myself and be swaddled in the cloths of Christ.

Bind my spirit and flesh and being with all that You are, Christ-child. Meet me in the manger and let me sleep. Cover me up, Teacher of Spirit. Help my eyes to see beyond the swirling snows and my ears to hear your voice amongst the crowd. Heal me, Miracle-Healer. You know where I’m broken and bleeding. I need a good Samaritan who doesn’t ask why I was on that road with the robbers and try to blame me for my wounds, but who carries me and cleans me up and pays for my care and rest. I need that rest, Shepherd of Souls. I need your provision and guidance and protection as I rest. Pick me up, Father, and hold me as I rest.

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