Our conversation started as I saw you try to pull yourself together, try to make believe that if you say you’re okay, that you really are. I saw the pressure and the weight that sits on your shoulders. The tired eyes. The tears that threaten. And you say what has become a familiar tune: “I’m okay. It’s just…I’m feeling discouraged.”
You feel like you’re alone. You feel like you’ll let others down if you admit your deep sadness and loneliness. You can’t even fully put words to the feelings, so it seems better to keep it inside. But inside you feel like a dried up piece of wood. You don’t deny that you are here for a reason. Deep down you know it’s the right place. But how can the right place bring you to such depths? How can you know you are in the right place but still long for something else?
A year and a half ago, I was you. My downs were becoming more regular and I was finding it hard to get back up. I would lie on the couch, crying, telling my husband that I didn’t know what was wrong with me. Something was broken and it felt like it couldn’t be fixed. It went beyond being pregnant during hot season and running after two other kids. Sure, I was exhausted and extremely hot all the time, but it was deeper than that. My husband said I could go back to the States early (we were scheduled to go on furlough several months later), but it felt like I would be letting the whole world down if I admitted how low I had actually become.
I think living overseas, we feel the added pressure of trying to live up to real or perceived expectations. Are we doing enough? We think to admit that we have these deep needs, is to somehow admit that maybe we shouldn’t be here at all.
So what should we do?
I’m reminded of the children’s book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. They encounter all of these crazy things and the chorus is:
We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. Oh no! We’ve got to go through it!
As much as I know you’d like to avoid the darkness, to deny the depths, to go around what you cannot explain, you have to go through it. And how you go through it will look different than it does for someone else. The great thing, though, is that you are definitely not alone. Our Father wants to lovingly guide you through this time. He will not let you go.
I know this, for He led me through the depths for several years, and when I wanted to let go, when I wanted to throw my hands up in despair and give up, He was there. He brought me friends and counsel and rest. He will be there for you too. Will you trust him and walk through it? And will you stop saying you’re okay? Because, really, your brokenness is what He wants to use the most.
What about you? Have you come through the depths as well? Or are you in the middle of it right now? Here’s a safe place to share, among ladies who really, truly understand. Let’s be with each other…through it!