The Champion of a Cause

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I may come to regret it later. I may have to go back and delete this but I think I’m going to try to blog a lot right now. I might change my mind tomorrow and this disclaimer will be obsolete. I’m not totally sure why I feel the compulsion to put it all out here but I’m just going to go with it and ya’ll can watch me fail publicly if that’s what happens.

I have come to believe that one of the things that killed my friend was that she was the champion of too many causes. Too many other things got married into the one cause we were all drawn to her for- the crazy, lavish, sufficient, radical love of God. How many of us drug ourselves up her front steps, or opened our front door to find here standing there in crazy bright colors, usually with some gift in her hand, and tenderness in her brown eyes and it didn’t matter what crazy thing we spewed out into her lap she just brought us back to the loving sufficiency of God. And we were comforted.

How wrong then? How wrong is it that after talking so many of us down off the edge, after visiting us in the psychiatric unit, after completely diffusing the fear that we were too far gone with her radical acceptance and undaunted gaze she quietly slipped off, and succumbed to lies. She silently imploded and took her life and left us.

And in so doing she made herself the champion of one last cause.

I imagine for some time depression (mental illness, spiritual warfare, anything else it might be dubbed as depending on what circles you run in) will be a running theme here. I’m couldn’t write this blog honestly and not talk about it. And while her death likely thrust many of us into a jarring examination of “how could this happen” this will not ultimately be the cause I choose to champion.

My purpose in life isn’t to fight depression. It isn’t to deliver people from it’s grasp. It’s not to expose its intricacies and plunge it’s depths. It’s not to debate the appropriate method of treating it or rally everyone to the cause of awareness. I’m going to talk about depression because it is the battlefield on which I intend to see my champion, Jesus Christ, most glorious in victory. I am going to talk about it because I intend to feel the Love of my Heavenly Father most acutely in this place of deepest pain and experience His Holy Spirit most fully in my greatest weakness. Some of you will relate to that battlefield. Some of you have a very different place that Jesus will have to prove your Champion.

But through all of this I intend, ultimately, to be a champion of one cause… one message.

God is love. Jesus is glorious. His Spirit is present always and available to anyone who wants it and that is enough for us. No matter what. His love is enough for us. It can fill any need. Heal any wound. Calm any fear. Steady any storm. It can feed you when you are hungry and quench your ceaseless thirst. He accepts us, radically, fully, purely. He cleanses us completely. He considers us intently. It’s okay. He is for you. The world is dark and twisted. He his not. He can handle your rage and your rebellion. He is bigger than it all and so very patient.

I wish that the truth of this statement meant that I didn’t have an uphill battle to fight. I wish it meant that I was going to feel better everyday for the rest of my life. I wish I wouldn’t ever lose sight of this truth. But I will and it will hurt. Manna may be the divine provision of God but you have to gather everyday. You can’t grab it once. You have to keep going out and admitting your hunger and partaking in His goodness. I fear the entrance to our tent is sometimes barred with many enemies who oppose and distract us from gathering the good manna of His love each day. But he promised that ultimately NOTHING can separate us from his love. This something I have not yet mastered the application of. Too many days I feel separated from His love despite the fact that He tells me it’s not true.

Still, I believe it is true. He loves me and that is enough. No matter what.

 

p.s. I’m not going to edit these very much so please bear… bare… (hmmm?…) with my egregious typos. I’ll send my editor (husband) in to fix them later. 

 

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A War

black-and-white-person-woman-girlMy friend died in a war.

I don’t know how to put it all down here. In fact, I have no intention of putting it all down here. But somehow I felt the need to put some verbage out there. Something… why? I’m not really writing about her. I’m writing about myself. Despite my refusal at so many twists and turns I have to acknowlege that somehow her story is inexstricably linked to mine. More like tangled or fused to mine.

Her war is now my war.

At the end of the day it was the lies that killed her. There were factors for her. There are factors for me. Biological factors. Social factors. Spiritual factors. But those aren’t what kill you. They are just places for the lies to get in.

I often think I would have been a woman who snuck out onto the battle field with the men. I would have charged. But this is not a war where the lines are neatly drawn. Where the sides are neatly labled and the banners flying high. It’s more like Vietnam. It’s hard to tell friend from enemy. I’m not talking about people. I’m talking about thoughts. It’s really hard to tell which thoughts will protect you and which one’s will stab you in the back the first chance they get.

Sometimes I think I’ve had so much time learning from her death that I’ve still never grieved it. Three years to the day. A blink and an eternity. But I’m still sifting through the ashes. The fallout.

I don’t believe that its a crap shoot. Sometime when we talk about depression as a disease it makes it sound like it’s cancer. Maybe you’ll get better. Maybe you won’t. I believe depression is a real thing. A real factor. Even a physical factor but I don’t believe that we’re left to chance. Like I’m left to chance. Maybe I’ll make it. Maybe I won’t. No that’s not a complete picture of what’s going on here.

The fact is there’s a war in my head. It’s the most complicated, icky, boggy mess I’ve ever encountered. At time I struggle to recognize friend from enemy. It’s one of the reasons I’ve determined to keep people around me and trust them when I just want to pull back and stick to what I can see. It’s hard to admit that sometimes my perception is terribly off. And it’s hard to trust others. But I don’t think I’ll ever win this war if I fight alone.

I don’t know where you are today. This is a selfish blog I know it. I didn’t write it to invoke sympathetic responses or to declare some holy resolution I’ve attained (But love is not a victory march. It’s a cold and it’s a broken halleluiah.) The resolution I feel is still a very fragile seed. I’m writing because I hope someone who doesn’t know me will read this. Someone who isn’t part of my life and trying to read through the lines to know what’s “actually” going on with me. Someone who is struggling with severe depression and despair… and I am screaming at the top of my lungs. REACH OUT!!!!!! Get other people in your head. Get them out on the battle field. Confess every morbid awful fear and thought you have. Let them sit beside you and sift it. Get a counsellor, get a pastor, get 70 year old person whose been through some stuff and still stayed soft and talk to them and listen. Oh, and get a doctor. A really good doctor. Get my doctor. She’s amazing.

The hardest thing is to trust someone else. Not being able to trust your own thoughts is perhaps the most scary and vulnerable place I’ve ever been and admitting that I’m there (even too myself) feels like dying. It feels like I can never come back from that reality. That if I can’t trust my thoughts now I’ll never be able to trust them and then I’ll never be at peace within myself. That can’t be true! We’re not at peace within ourselves now! We’re at war and if we are alone we are losing! Don’t fight alone.

Find people. Find God. Adopt a pet! Seriously, do anything other than nothing. The lies will kill you.

No more casualties of war.