Her words sucked the air out of me. While the ragged syllables settled on my heart, my mind raced to understand what would have prompted her to speak them.
It has been some time now but that sentence will still loop in my head. And when it does, I’m still tempted to defend myself. I decided then, and I keep re-deciding that Jesus can do a better job of that so I just keep giving her words and my shame back to Him.
But if I did find an opportunity to speak to her, I might say something like this…
I’m not sure what prompted your words–those hard words that made me feel judged and disqualified; those words that nailed my feet to the ground. I’m sure you had no idea the indictment they would become. I’d like to believe that they weren’t intended for my harm–that you simply had a lapse of grace.
You see, I am here, in the walls of this church today lifting my heart to Jesus and extending my hands to serve. I keep showing up. I don my greeter tag, put on my best smile and offer Jesus’ love. I lift up my face and worship the God who redeems and I declare through tears, You are Lord and I will trust You!
You see, my friend, I have chronic depression and PTSD and a racing mind that demands a lot from my faith. And then there’s the cloak of shame I throw off every day of my life, the one left by my molesters and neglecters. But I keep showing up.
My sister, what you may not know is that this has been a year of grief for me. I’ve watched helplessly as my daughter’s marriage disintegrated. I anguish as I observe my grandchildren’s lives and hearts be uprooted. In the process I have lost a son and our entire family limps with the loss of him as well. I have been leveled by the grief of it. But I keep showing up.
If I seem, dear friend, to be crawling out of a hole it’s because on some days I am doing just that. It’s the choice I’m given every day: will I stay in the darkness or will I move out in blind faith, in the Truth that supersedes my feeling?
Each day I put on my unseen prosthetics and maneuver life as gracefully and grace-filled as I can. And yes, some days all I can do is reach my hand up through the hole and let Jesus take a firm hold. Every day I get the privilege of living this miracle life, this life Jesus touched by grace for His glory. And I keep showing up.
More than you will ever know, I want Jesus to shine brightly through the shadowed side of my life. I want my witness to say: There is Hope–He never leaves and He never forsakes.
Let me speak for those of us battling mental illness, those of us carrying broken hearts, those of us sifting through loss, or those of us picking up the pieces of our shattered dreams; on the days we don’t make it out of the hole, Jesus shows up.
In the furnaces, in the caves, in the lion’s dens, in the storms, in the deserts, in the besieged cities, and in the broken lives JESUS KEEPS SHOWING UP!
He speaks life-words, “My grace is sufficient for you…my power is made perfect in your weakness.”