How do I start this one? I don’t know. Will it be more of a private journal entry? More blog-like? How deep will I go? How vulnerable do I want to be… How vulnerable can I be? Where is that fragile balance between wisdom and privacy, versus surrendering enough of myself that the power of His glory truly shines through and is not diluted or diminished? Alright. I suppose it’s time to find out!
This year I suffered pretty bad postnatal depression (PND). To actually be publicising this is testament to how far I’ve come. The fear of judgement and stigma was all encompassing. However without open dialogue, others may also experience the sheer loneliness of suffering mainly in silence. I can also see that it doesn’t really matter if anyone sees me as ‘weak’ as a result. I know, and my family knows the sheer strength I possess from what all I have walked through, and I also know that my identity is certainly not defined by outside perceptions.
It was rough. Really rough. There were times I didn’t want to exist anymore. No, that’s not it… There were times I couldn’t see how I could possibly exist anymore. I wanted to, I just didn’t know how I could. This isn’t a piece about PND. It’s a piece about hope. About glory. Right now, I’m setting the scene. I’m showing the context. Part of the story. There is a whole lot more of the story that won’t be shared. But put plainly, me and my cherished little family have had some challenges to come through, that at times seemed impossible.
THERE! That word. ‘Impossible’. Keep a close eye on that one. It’s not as it seems.
It sounds like that word should depict ‘the end’, ‘a dead loss’, ‘no way out’, ‘hopelessness’. ‘Impossible’ is the word that comes to mind when you have exhausted every plausible avenue and there is no. way. out.
Well, in the darkest moments I have ever come through and with challenges that completely took over, traumatising my mind and my body, in the IMPOSSIBLE, God broke through and saved me. This happened a number of times in a number of different circumstances, at the lowest points when I felt most helpless. In those desperate moments, fragments of His glory broke through!
Here is how:
- He Sent Me ‘Angels’ from Unexpected Places
When there was no way out, and in a moment of trying to escape all I was feeling, thinking, experiencing, I took off in the car to distract myself and ‘run away’. (Not from my little family, but from my thoughts and from so many external factors). I needed air. I needed to breathe. I needed space. I needed to get away. I needed to escape. And in that moment, sat in my car overlooking a field with some sheep still grazing in the dusk, a message came through from a family member living far away. A message of concern. A message of compassion. A message of hope. That was the beginning of a lifeline of support that I can only describe as God given. I often think of that person as being like an angel – a messenger sent from God to deliver hope and support to me, in that moment and many more besides since then, with a level of understanding and loving care that I will forever be grateful for.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them’ – Psalm 34:7
Another person had been a friend for years, but we were able to open up to a much deeper level as we both journeyed through the transition of being new mums, together. At a time when I felt so lonely with all I was experiencing, ‘new mummy’ related or otherwise, God placed this person back in my life to a deeper level and enabled me to have someone I could open up to about anything and everything. Someone who would show me no judgement, who wouldn’t ‘balk’ at whatever I came out with next, but who encouraged, loved, shared experiences, vented, commiserated, raged alongside me and showed solidarity throughout. Someone whose friendship lifted my spirits and let me see that all was not lost. Someone who knew me ‘before’ and constantly reminded me of who I was and who I am, regardless of any other opinions out there. Someone who believed in me and cheered me on.
Despite the ‘impossible’, His glory shone through. He sent these two people (or as I like to think of them, my ‘angels’) to help save me. I pray in Jesus’ name that they will be richly rewarded for the blessings they were to me – ‘Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you’ (Luke 6:38)
- His Still, Small Voice
I think the trauma of some of the nights I experienced has made me unable to remember the specific words that I heard. But there were some moments, usually in the small hours of the morning, when I would literally cry out to God. Sometimes I couldn’t form the words to pray. I would just repeat over and over, ‘Please help me, Jesus. Please help me. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Help me’.
There is such power in His name alone (See: https://rootedinfaith.blog/2018/03/16/10-power-in-his-name/)
‘The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to is and are safe’ – Proverbs 18:10
I experienced times when I would hear a still, gentle voice come to mind. The Lord would whisper encouragement to me and pour into me – His comfort, His love, His peace. He would gently ‘draw me out of deep waters’. Without those tangible words spoken, without that small shard of His glory piercing through the overwhelming darkness, I don’t know if I could have come through. Thank you Jesus. His name is powerful! His love is never ending. He will seek you and find you and draw you out of dark waters. His loves knows no bounds and comes without conditions. His grace is enough.
‘The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him, into His ears… He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters… He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me’ – Psalm 18:4-6, 16, 19
‘The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing’ – Zephaniah 3:17
‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ – Romans 8: 35, 37
‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.’ – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Fragments of Glory
I recently listened to an episode of a podcast called ‘Mid Faith Crisis’ in which the hosts were discussing seeing God’s glory in the mundane and everyday happenings of life, rather than constantly chasing the ‘highlight’ moments. One of the hosts read out a wonderful ‘poem-ish thing’, as he described it! I found it really striking (particularly verse 3), and hope you do too:
‘Glory be to God for dogs, and beer, and laughter,
Kisses, handshakes, conversation,
And all the everyday wonders of our lives.
Glory be to God for rust, and moss, and dappled sunlight,
Wet stones, ploughed fields,
And all the surprising beauty of the world.
Glory be to God for decay, and illness,
Aching joints, hard truths, confessed sins,
And all the unwelcome guests that lead us Christward.
Glory be to God at all times, and in all places.
Not because all times and places are good,
Not because they’re all as God wishes,
But because all lives are fragments of glory
And one day we will see that glory,
Clearly, and everywhere.’ – Nick Page, Mid Faith Crisis podcast
I am so grateful that I experienced what I did, for a number of reasons. But above all, glory be to God for the impossible, because through it we get to meet with Him face to face.
Thank you for sharing that, you are very very brave.
What really struck me was that people meet each other in random places in town and presume that the sun shines brightly for the other, when in reality the other is wrestling as she smiles and exchanges conversation. That describes me so well Abbie but I never would have ‘seen’ you this way and your sharing really helped me to ‘see you’ better, and to acknowledge again that struggle is human and no one has it all together and this should help motivate us to walk in oodles of compassion for ourselves and others.
From my own experience, all that I can say is: I know not how but somehow He came through. When the whirling mind can’t concentrate on reading, when emotions are tumultuous, still He is there and He can speak, speak in a way that we can hear, although sometimes we don’t recognize it until later. He turns dry places into deep pools of water, He sustains us.
Just thought I’d share a poem that has really spoken to me in recent year.
Poem by Amy Carmichael
Shadow and coolness, Lord,
Art Thou to me;
Cloud of my soul, lead on,
I follow Thee.
What though the hot winds blow,
Fierce heat beats up below?
Fountains of water flow—
Praise, praise to Thee.
Clearness and glory, Lord,
Art Thou to me;
Light of my soul, lead on,
I follow Thee.
All through the moonless night,
Making its darkness bright,
Thou art my Heavenly Light—
Praise, praise to Thee.
Shadow and shine art Thou,
Dear Lord, to me;
Pillar of cloud and fire,
I follow Thee.
What though the way is long,
In Thee my heart is strong,
Thou are my joy, my song—
Praise, praise to Thee.
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Thank you so much for your lovely message, I really appreciate it ❤️ I wonder how many people are in similar situations – sometimes the harder I’m smiling the more I’m struggling inside. Not always, but sometimes. I think vulnerability is so important and it’s good to show that not everything is perfect all the time. And that’s ok. If everything was perfect, we wouldn’t have opportunity to see the magnificent power of God’s grace and His all-encompassing love. We would miss the opportunity to truly see His character and Father heart.
I really love the poem you shared, it made me cry!
Sending lots of love and hope you are experiencing His grace and perfect peace in this season as you remember your beloved Frank ❤️