Isaiah 61:3 she said… we had just been discussing things that made me feel the crippling anxiety that has burdened me these many months. And I cried in her office on that couch that is older than me for the thousandth time this year. It’s been six months. I emptied the Kleenex box. Six months since this journey to healing began.
I’ve asked all the “why” questions… especially “why me?” And “why am I still feeling this way?” The answer I’ve come to? There is no why. Sometimes life just happens and because I’m a feeler first and foremost and forever. And when someone feels things in life so deeply it’s easy to get caught up in it and sometimes the wires in your brain disconnect. And then this thing we call anxiety can take over.
But this week feels different. It’s not the same old fog anymore. Probably because I’ve learned to reach out in the fog and find His arms again. Find His PEACE. I don’t mean that there isn’t fog anymore, there is. I just mean that I know he’s there in the fog. And so He makes everything bearable.
But back to what happened this week to make the difference. It started out with me in corporate worship at my beloved churchy.
(I clarify the corporate because there’s something about Sunday morning church that I just can’t manufacture at home. Oh I can worship and fall deep into his presence at home for sure! But when I’m at my local church where God has planted me, it’s a thousand times different. I can not only find His undeniable presence but I can also open my eyes and see my best friend and her husband lifting their hands in worship even though they’ve been through the wilderness this year. I can see my other dear friend leading worship with everything in her and dancing wildly before her Lord, even though her body has been through surgery only 6 months ago and her body still feels the pain… but she DANCES! Because she knows He is greater and He heals and her spirit is stronger in the waiting than her body is.)
So as I stood in this place of corporate worship… all of us chasing the One who passionately chased us down in the first place… I closed my eyes tight and I saw my secret place and Jesus there. I said, “show me the pieces of my heart again… my emotional heart, functional heart, and guardian heart.” And he did and Emotional was sitting down (she has always up until this point been lying on the ground wounded) as though she was still lame from the battle she’s been through this year. Functional was sitting beside her caring for her. Guardian was standing further off protecting my heart as she does. Jesus was standing right there and he stretched out a loving arm and said very clearly to my Emotional heart (the place I’ve lived out of until last year when she broke and Functional and Guardian didn’t know what to do so they went into defence mode)… Jesus said, “RISE UP AND WALK!”
I’d been praying for healing… was this possibly the time? Could I be free from anxiety?
I went into the week trying to feel better. I really believed this was it. But Tuesdays come in all shapes and depths of emotion. And I couldn’t even get out of bed. What resulted was another one of the worst weeks I’ve had in this mental health journey. It was discouraging of course. But in the midst of the brain fog, the stomach cramps, the crying for no reason, the doubting everything I’ve ever done with my life… in the midst of the cloud was the light of Jesus. And he said: it’s ok to be you. It’s ok to not do things the way everyone else does things. It’s ok to still have anxiety. It’s ok to still be going to counselling. It’s ok to feel every pain and peace and triumph of this journey. It’s how he’s wired me. But I can’t give up on the journey.
Do I believe Jesus heals? Absolutely. Do I believe he could have taken away my anxiety that Sunday morning? Undoubtedly. But I also know he’s after intimacy with my HEART in this season. He’s in it not to make me unbroken, because we’re all broken somehow, but to make me broken and strong.
“It’s ok to be broken and strong.” She said. This counsellor who has walked me through this long journey (and likely will be walking alongside me for some time yet). “Not all of you is broken. But God has plans for this and even though you may see this season as a waste… He wastes NOTHING! So go ahead and cry. Empty the Kleenex box. Let it out. You’re gonna be ok.”
And then she prayed and she saw Isaiah 61:3… she didn’t remember it all so we looked it up.
It didn’t end in that office on that old couch… I went home and saw and heard beautiful things from Jesus for myself. Because it’s ultimately not about the people he’s placed in my life, though they are the ones that are his hands and feet when I can’t see him, but it’s about me and him. After the lights go out and I’m alone… but not alone. He is there.
And I am his ruins he’s rebuilding. And he’s giving me a crown for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise for despair. And I am who he says I am – his daughter. I am not my anxiety. But if I have anxiety days, I’d rather have the day with Jesus in it than not have the anxiety day and not have Jesus.
So this journey through the fog… I can’t stop. I won’t stop. Why? Because: He. Is. Worth. It.