June 21, 2017

A Life Interrupted

Life interrupted. The phrase stirs a variety of meanings for each of us doesn't it? With every one as unique as the next.

December 16, 2014. That's the last time I posted anything here on my blog. Ironically, the subject of that post speaks more loudly to a place where I found myself in the months following than I could have ever imagined. Though I spoke truth in my writing, truth that I deeply believed, I soon lost all focus and any grip I had left, drowning in a sea of darkness like I've never experienced in my life. I allowed the very thing, the very truth I wrote with my most earnest stance, to be forgotten in the trail of my dust as I forged ahead in my own strength, leaving behind the presence of my Savior as I chose to walk through difficulties and pain without Him by my side. All because I refused to choose His way. I thought I had it all together, but when I decided that, although somewhat subconsciously, my way was better, it would culminate in what I now fondly(?) refer to as the Crash of 2016 - a year long journey through deep depression and anxiety...

Interruptions. That's just life isn't it? Interruptions, much like stress, can be not only positive but also negative in nature. We all know they're really just the circumstances of life that present themselves in a variety of packages that, whether small or big, simple or difficult, short-lived or time-consuming, joyful or painful, quick solutions or long endurance, occur and require our attention. However, because they're unexpected and usually create a need for some kind of action, they also tend to produce a profusion of responses such as joy, hope, disappointment, irritation, inconvenience, to name a few and if we're not careful, can send us in a tailspin. Especially if these so called interruptions come at us in overwhelming intensity and quantity we're not prepared for. Our reactions to them have the potential to send us down a path of choices that create seasons of far greater harm than any interruption or circumstance should have on their own. All because we reacted without reminding ourselves of the truth we know, seeking counsel, and most of all, including God. 

Truth is, He is with us already, that much is easy enough to know. But when we forget and ignore the many principles of life He has made available for handling all kinds of circumstances, we often make the mistake of thinking our way is better...and because of that, we find ourselves in crisis. But there is hope. There's always hope.

Crisis is exactly where I was just about a year ago. A full blown meltdown. A place of intense anxiety and the darkest depression I've ever known. I was lost, without purpose or hope. I did not want to be around people much less be at church (that's kind of hard when your husband is the Lead Pastor of your church). I was tired, tired of trying. Tired of hiding behind the Christian label and the title of Lead Pastor's wife, always having to do what is right. Life became just overbearingly hard. I was at an all-time low.

For the sake of not comparing our experiences to one another, I won't go into all the details of what I believe played a role and catapulted me into this very dark season. Some are just not worthy of mentioning but let's agree that everyone's story plays out differently yet has no less or no more degree of value than another's. Let's just say it was numerous events of great stress both good and bad along with various hurtful situations caused by the unfounded and sometimes unintended words and actions of others. I also must not forget what role I played in it all because of my own unhealthy choices and reactions. I often did not process well if at all.

My heart grew hard. I fell into patterns of self-condemnation, baseless guilt, fear of the unknown and the future, and lack of confidence (many of us struggle with these low self-esteem characteristics on a regular basis anyway, as do I, they just grew into a heightened level). I became resentful and bitter. I chose not forgive and had no desire to. I was angry and believed I had a right to be. I isolated. I self-medicated with food, too much TV and social media. My mind became foggy and confused. I questioned and all but lost my faith. I was miserable. I was sick. Mentally, emotionally and spiritually sick seeing no end to the misery. This looming dark cloud settled in with no indication of lifting for ten long months.

However, the trouble with all those things listed above... I didn't know at first that they were the very things that were causing my despair, at least not yet anyway.

At the end of July 2016, I took off to the beach by myself for 3 days just to get alone with God. Scaring the heck out of Jeff, I had to assure him that he and I were OK ("it's me, not you" speech, ha ha - no really, we're good!). I sent texts to a few trustworthy girlfriends and asked them to pray.

I needed to clear my head. I needed to figure out my next step. I needed Jesus. I needed to hear from Him. I wanted God. I needed to be rescued by the only One I knew had the power to rescue. The only problem, I had no idea of how hard and painful the journey to being rescued would be...

I came home and revealed my deep despair and need of help. Sharing also with close friends, they recommended a counselor that I began seeing that week on a regular basis starting my journey to healing.

One of the many scriptures that I've held onto during this time is one from Ezekiel that just kept popping up. It was what I needed to make my prayer and trust God for. It is still the wallpaper on my phone.

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you.
I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.
Ezekiel 36:26 NLT

And He is faithful. I know He is alive and active in me. And if you will let Him, He wants to be active in you too. 

There was so much I had to learn about myself. So much I had to learn and own about the lies I had been listening to, the hurts I'd experienced and my choices. My goal is to begin sharing parts of my journey with you. To return to writing not only because it is such great therapy for me but also to be obedient to my Father and allow Him to use me as He sees fit. This is my next step.

My goal is to write and post weekly. I hope you'll return with me here and I hope you'll be encouraged as I re-engage in exchanging whispers of my Savior with you. 

In the meantime, as you listen to the following song, remember that the King of our heart is good. He is our only refuge and He is trustworthy. There was a time not long ago that it would've been hard for me to sing this, but now I know... as I go back to that last post in December 2014 and can attest to you with all my heart, that He indeed does see us in the dark, and as the final verse in this song states... 

"When the night is holding onto me ~ God is holding on."

There is hope, my friend...there is always hope.





5 comments:

  1. Lanette, Thank you for sharing your story. I, too, battle depression and sometimes there's a stigma attached to mental illness. Just being the wife of the Lead Pastor must be extremely stressful but on top of that you have a family, a home to take care of and you have to be Lanette (not just Jeff's wife), those added stressors would break just about anyone. You are strong, brave, beautiful! We have to control the depression and not let it control us. Again, thank you for sharing. I really enjoyed reading this.

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    1. Thanks for your encouraging words Rhonda! I pray I will be an encouragement of hope to you and others by sharing my journey.

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    2. Oh! And I'm so glad you enjoyed it! 😉💞

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