Until a few days ago I was living day to day in this dark place. I had been hiding from myself at work, burying myself in the lives of the kids I worked with, and it was working for a time but then I got sick. I've been home for a few weeks now, barley able to go into work for a couple of hours here and there to drive the van. I can barely talk and struggle to do even the most basic things. My hiding place was stripped away from me leaving me exposed and in pain with no where to go but inward. I didn't share any of this with my wife, at least, nothing real, choosing instead to sink into depression and 'spare' her from having to deal with my anxiety as she was going through her own struggles at the time.
Things quickly fell apart, my illness reeked havoc with my lungs and stole my energy leaving me joyless and without hope. I know I will heal and that this is not the way my life will be from now on. My quality of life will improve as I get better but then again, remember when I said a person caught up in anxiety does not think rationally? Finally I hit bottom a couple of days ago. Connie and I got into a rather big argument. It was over something dumb in a video game, one of the few things I seem to be able to do without stressing out my lungs, and it had me absolutely furious because the longer the argument went the more pain I was in and the more helpless I felt. Finally I left the room, I could not take it anymore and laid down on a couch in our spare room. The cats of course wanted to comfort me and crawled all over me while I struggled to breath, my mind locked in a hell of pain and self recrimination.
I laid there for over an hour before my breathing became easier, my lungs felt like someone had been punching them from the inside and my strength was completely depleted. I wanted to cry but could not even bring my self to move, I was 'locked in' in the worst way with no escape from the mental and spiritual attacks I was going through. I wanted to die, not in some flippant inconsequential way, I truly wanted to get up and find a way to end my life, but I was in too much pain to do anything about it. As I went through the various ways I could end myself and put myself out of my misery I fully understood that I was spent. I had nothing left and begged God in my mind to end me and take me home. Thankfully God was with me, He watched over me and helped me come out and talk with Connie, it helped but did not fix the spiritual exhaustion. I knew I would not kill myself, I was too tired and in all reality could not put my wife through that, but the desire was still very much there.
The next morning I did something I had not done in some time. I picked up my Bible and began to read. Connie had said she was reading I Thessalonians so decided to start there. I didn't make it very far before God stepped in. God will never force Himself into your life, He wants you to open the door for Him. I started writing and pouring out my frustration and fear, my pain and above all else, my exhaustion. It was then that God spoke something very profound into me that changed my view. I am going to write down here exactly what God spoke into me that morning:
This will change. How I feel in the midst of my circumstances is not real. It is hard to see past it right now, to fight against it, but it is when my strength fails that God's strength begins. No platitudes, no empty promises of prosperity, He endures and through His strength so do I.
The relief of knowing that I did not need to carry the weight, that He was there in the midst of that pit with me and wanted to shoulder that burden... It had me in tears. No matter where you are right now, no matter how alone or how hopeless you feel you are right now, I have been there. I can tell you with absolute certainty that you are not alone. He has His hand on your shoulder and weeps right along with you. No matter the weight, no matter how broken you think you are you are not beyond God's ability to mend your heart. If you hear nothing else I have said today take that one thought with you. You are not beyond God's redemption.