A Long Overdue Thank You
Time for some hard truth...is there any other kind? As I’ve stumbled my way through these past several weeks, it seems every beautiful, honest thing that has come tumbling out of me has done so with great struggle and requiring tremendous effort. Why do I find it so hard to share these bits of honesty and authenticity with myself, with my friends, with the world? Because I feel like a fraud. Because deep down inside me, that voice that sounds an awful lot like mine keeps whispering to me “No way, girl. Not you. Not like this. Not after what you’ve done. Not after all the mess ups, mistakes and heartaches you’ve caused. Not after the countless times you’ve come up short, been too much, outright failed. This is not for you.” And I believe her. Oh how I believe her. Who am I to be sharing my mental health struggle so publicly and openly and asking anyone to read it let alone comment, respond or converse around it? Who am I to ask those who are hurting or struggling themselves to reach out to me, to connect, to be vulnerable, to risk being known? Why would anyone bother to read my story? Why does it matter anyway? Who am I? These are the thoughts and doubts that play on a loop reel inside my head over and over day in and day out begging me to listen, roaring to be heard, trying to silence my voice.
Overwhelmingly, the response to my writing has been positive, encouraging, supportive. I have a tribe of people who have come alongside me affirming what I believe is a call from the Lord to share my mental health struggle. Trusted pastors, new and lifelong friends as well as family members keep exhorting me and reassuring me that my writing is meaningful, articulate and important. And yet I waver—day to day, moment to moment as I wrestle with uncertainty, with doubt, with trepidation that I’m not worthy, I’m not capable, I’m not intended to answer this call. I live with the constant nagging worry that I am going to say or do something to mess it all up, to cause the other shoe to drop, to invoke the Lord of heaven to reach out His mighty arm and yank back the clear call He whispered tenderly to my aching heart in the middle of a quiet night. I fear that I will make a mistake, commit some sin, uncover a long buried transgression that will somehow negate the message He has given me and thus discredit the messenger and bring shame to His name. Who am I?
I am human. I am fragile. I am unsure. And yet I know I am assured?
As I stumble and struggle and weep and pray and praise and write and step forward and pull back, a beautiful phrase plays over and over in my head, “But I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day,” an old, old hymn that still lives in my head and my heart that has been there since childhood. I know Who I believe in. I am certain He is able. He has made His presence and His power known to me both firsthand—in a still small voice, as well as through the words, stories, and experiences of those around me, through the divine Scripture, through the beauty of a sunset. And so I hold fast to that which I know is true. I cling with desperation to the certainty of my Jesus and His Word. I reach out to those friends whom I know I can trust and depend on. And I press forward in the midst of all my weary wariness daring to believe that He will carry me through. That He who has brought me through the dark valley of depression, anxiety, addiction, & despair—yes even from the very edge of the grave; HE will carry me through this terrifying and brave new opening.
Because He did not bring me this far just to leave me. And because He loves me just as I am but He loves me too much to let me stay this way. Broken. Ashamed. Hurting. Weak. No. He makes all things new.
“For I am going to do a brand-new thing. See, I have already begun! Don’t you see it? “ —Isaiah 43:19
Yes, Lord!!! Yes I see it! And I believe it and I claim it and I will PROCLAIM it again and again and again because I am NOT ashamed. I am NOT afraid. I AM chosen. I AM assured. I AM loved. I AM worthy. I AM HIS AND HE IS MINE.
These are the truths I will surround myself with. I will repeat them over and over and over until I believe them to the very core of my being.
I reached out to a very wise and trusted friend earlier in the week and asked for his help with this blog post. I wanted to be sure I was using the following Scripture passage accurately, “For God’s gifts and His call can never be withdrawn; He will never go back on His promises.” —Romans 11:29
I believe the Lord is calling me to this purpose—to share my story. And this scripture assures me that He will not change his mind. Although I falter, He does not, He will not. And again, He gives me a beloved friend to take my hand and stand beside me and assure me that Yes, I am reading and interpreting the verse correctly. He agreed with me saying, “He never goes back on a call, or revokes a gift for use. The question is...what will we do? How and when do we obey? That is what you and I are working through now, in the journey.”
Thank you, Clayton, for walking this journey beside me, for never giving up on me, for working with me and helping me to see all that He is doing in me and through me and around me from the very start of our God-ordained friendship. You are most certainly the older brother I never wanted or knew I needed until now and I am so very grateful for you. This thank you is long overdue. Love.