I’m gonna be honest; I struggle with depression.

I think the title says it all. I do struggle with this demon called Depression. Sometimes he’s small and easy to squash like a worm, and sometimes he is a giant bigger than Goliath and much more like the Greek god Aries. He is brutal. He can be sitting on my shoulder whispering in my ear until I flick him off. Sometimes he is much harder to battle. He can be a giant man standing in front of me shaking my shoulders and screaming in my face. When that happens, all I want to do is hide in a corner behind the pages of a book and ignore his presence.

Sometimes it can be really hard to remind myself that God is with me. Since I have finished Uninvited I have taken to quoting,

God is good.

God is good to me.

God is good at being God. (25)

That’s not always easy to say, because it doesn’t always seem true. My Tulsa Best Friend once called me out on trying to be God. She really challenged me with that idea. I came to realize that I do tend to take my life out of God’s hands and try to drive by myself. Let me tell you: There is a reason I don’t like driving and am sometimes scared to do so. I tend to crash and get into accidents. (Truthfully, I’ve only been in two accidents, last summer, and neither of them were my fault.) I am scared of my own ability and yet I am also scared to trust in God’s ability.

Are you catching that? I’m scared of trusting in the God who created the world. God created everything good–cats, dogs, oxygen, cookie dough ice cream, these words I am writing–and I’m doubting His ability to help me be happy…. Heck, God created happiness. He created Joy. “The Joy of the Lord is my strength!” (Nehemiah 8:10).

Why then do I feel like I’m living Lamentations?

I hate to say it, but it’s a choice. I can live just outside of Jericho’s walls being ridiculed and mocked, or I can march and make my way into the promise land, the land of the living, flowing with milk and honey. Although, marching seven times around a wall… without talking… without advising God on how to do His job… requires trusting God.

My old youth pastor once said,

When you don’t know what to do, do what you know.

I don’t know if I’m quite there yet, but sometimes, all I know to do is to walk and meditate on God and how faithful he is. Sometimes I’m yelling at him, sometimes I’m crying. Never once was God not there. There are times when I don’t feel like God is talking, but I think just as much as we need to take time to listen to God, God certainly takes time to listen to us.

Yes, there are times when my Lamentations season is a punishment for sin. Heck, the Israelites were kept from the promise land for 40 years because they sinned and disobeyed God and did not trust Him and his timing. But I think we get so used to the 40 years that we drag it on longer than we have to. Can you imagine being in a desert for 40 years and when the time is up God says, “Yay! You can enter the promise land today!” and in reply, you say, “That’s great, but today’s Saturday. I get to sleep in. We’ll see about Monday.”? Can you imagine???! We get used to living in Lamentations, in pain, that sometimes we don’t even leave when we can or we put ourselves back there. Sometimes we put ourselves back in the place we so desperately try to get away from. Why? Because we try to do it ourselves; we can’t; we fail; we get scared; so we run back to what we know.

One of the several books I’ve been reading is Celebration of Discipline  by Richard J. Foster. Before Foster jumps into any of the disciplines he quotes Heini Arnold:

As long as we think we can save ourselves by our own will power, we will only make the evil in us stronger than ever. (5)

I know how to be angry. I know how to be depressed. I know how to be the victim in every situation. When things don’t go my way, when I have a plan and that plan is derailed, I run straight back to being angry and sitting in my depression. I will fail every time I try to save myself. I know I can walk in the promise that God has giving me, in the blessing of Abraham, if I trust Him, but it is so much easier to sit and wallow. Wallow in pain (mental, physical, or spiritual) or trust God? One is instant, the other is a little bit harder, requires a little more faith, but has a greater reward.

Today was hard. Today I wallowed in my anger and my unbelief of a few things. I made quick assumptions. I hated myself. I was mad and upset. I laid in bed on my phone refusing to acknowledge the presence of my family (even my dear Athena). Today was hard. I’ve almost cried several times.

“Elizabeth, this is terrible. This is really raw. Why are you telling us?”

Why am I telling you? Good question. I should probably be telling a counselor or my mother. However, while I don’t have anything against them, I don’t want a counselor, and in due time my mother will read this post. And I’m telling you, because if you’re like me you’re not alone.

All God has been teaching me this year is trust. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I have the concept down yet. Haha. *That’s awkward laughing.*

Some days, like today, are really hard. But some days, like yesterday, like all of last week are really good. Yeah, sitting and wallowing is a choice, but if you can’t decide in that moment to take on your giant and to fight it with nuggets of truth (Lysa TerKeurst always said that lies flee in the presence of truth, and she is sooo right.) then know, and remind yourself, that it’s only for a moment, not a lifetime.

“Elizabeth, you don’t even know how old I am.”

I don’t have to. Lifetimes can be long times. Who’s lifetime are you going by? My great aunt lived to be a hundred. Some people in the Bible lived to be over a hundred. Jesus is still alive. I don’t live by the laws of this world, but by the laws of heaven.

Today sucked. I took my life into my hands, and it was the most terrifying thing ever. But now, I give it back to God. Now I am choosing to trust God. God is good. God is good to me. God is good at being God. (I might cry writing this.) I’m not going to give up. Please, you too, don’t give up. You don’t have to fight alone. If you need to tell a counselor tell one. If you need to tell your mom, call her up. If you need to tell me, I’m here.

Today wasn’t the best day, but tomorrow can be better. I believe in you. The Joy of the Lord is your strength. God is good. God is to you. God is good at being God.  Today was just one day in a lifetime. Don’t let it define you or tomorrow. We can do this together. We can fight together. We can trust God together.

Fighting! 加油!Good luck!

 

*** Two songs I listened to while I wrote this:

Thy Will by Hillary Scott & The Scott Family

Here’s My Heart by Lauren Daigle

Lament

Lamentations 2:11 – “My eyes fail from weeping.”

Lamentations 2:18 – “Let your tears flow like a river day and night; give yourself no relief, your eyes no rest.”

Ya’all, I don’t cry. If I cried last semester it was because I too happy and on very little sleep, or I was too stressed and still on very little sleep. Since I’ve been home I haven’t cried, and I don’t think my best friend has ever seen me cry. When life goes south I don’t cry. I handle things. If I get to a point when I need to cry, I imagine gates closing in front of my tears and stopping them like a dam. If I need to cry, I don’t. Now, here is the Bible saying that when things get bad, that I need to be on my face weeping to God until my eyes fail me. Ha!

Am I in a season of lamenting? Not particularly. Do I feel like God has left and turned His anger toward me? No. Not at all. Do I feel like God isn’t listening and doesn’t really care about the small things I’m feeling? Yes.

I know God is always with me. I don’t doubt that. But currently, I don’t feel like God has much to say on anything except “Trust me.” I mean, half the time I don’t know what I’m really feeling, but I’m just restless. I want to be doing something great, and I’m not. Every time I try to pray, there’s nothing. Nothing from me and nothing from God. (Oh look, just another way I’m failing. I didn’t even know it was possible to fail in prayer.) It’s hard and it hurts. I feel like I’m being ignored.

I think the people of Lamentations probably felt the same way. The only time God speaks in Lamentations is to say “Do not fear” (3:57). Do not fear?! That’s a joke, right? Mother’s are eating their children (4:10) and God is telling Daughter Zion not to fear? HOW DOES A PERSON NOT FEAR?

Depression. Anxiety. Fear of failure. Fear of not being good enough. I have fears, and you’re telling me not to be afraid?! That’s a joke. This whole thing is a joke. But I’ve never related more to a book in the Bible than this one.

The people are in pain, being punished for their sins. (Classic.) But they are still aware that God is God. They are crying out for Him to help. They are begging for Him to listen for just a moment. Why? Because they don’t have anything anymore. They can’t do anything to save themselves. Their enemies are mocking them, laughing in their faces, killing off their men and princes, taking their crops, and leaving what’s left to die and rot.

Sometimes things, situations, have to get way darker before they can get better. But even with that, God is still God (Isaiah 43) and He is always with us no matter what (Joshua 1:9).

Reading Lamentations was like slapping myself in the face over and over again. I didn’t connect with what was happening in the book per se, but the emotion was real. I connected with the anguish, with Daughter Zion’s own anger. Dude, she was pissed that God was doing this. At first, in the first two chapters she understands. In chapter 3 she states that she still hopes in Christ. Things are too bad. I mean, things are horrible, but there’s hope. Then in chapter 4 mothers are eating their kids! Things went from horrible to this is truly hell on earth. By the time chapter 5 comes around Daughter Zion is tired. She’s exhausted and can’t keep fighting.

Lamentations 5:19-22 – “You, Lord, reign forever; your throne endures from generation to generation. Why do you always forget us? Why do you forsake us so long? Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return; renew our days as of old unless you have utterly rejected us and are not angry with us beyond measure.”

Job. He endured terrible things, and was given everything back, more than he had before.

There are a lot of things I’ve been pondering about the books of Lamentations, but only one sticks out in my situation right now. If we remain faithful to God, He will remain faithful to us.

“That’s great, but when and where was God faithful to Daughter Zion?”

I don’t know. I don’t know the history of the books of Lamentations. But I know God. Job experienced crap, but he remained faithful to God. Jesus experienced the cross. He himself lamented crying out to God asking why He had forsaken him, and Jesus experienced literal Hell for three days, before he rose again and entered into the fullness of Heaven. As horrible as it is, sometimes our faithfulness isn’t rewarded until Heaven, but there is a reward.

Sometimes, this fact is the only thing that keeps me going. There is a reward. We will all get to our breaking point eventually. We’ll get to our Lamentations chapter 5. But push on just a little bit longer; hold on just a little longer; remember that hope back in chapter 3, because when we get to that point is when we truly surrender to God, and he shows up with our healing, our salvation, and our reward.

Lamentations 4:22 – “Your punishment will end, Daughter Zion; he will not prolong your exile. […].”