*This post is not intended to garner sympathy or attention for myself, but rather to help you understand what it feels like to sink into/be in despair. If you have never experienced this (be thankful), my hope is that this will help you understand those around you who are struggling with this darkness.
We KNOW that life isn’t is bad as it seems in those times, but we feel stifled by the despair nonetheless. A hug is more helpful than being told to “suck it up”.*
I’m sitting in a hospital bed right now, fighting two battles.
The first battle is and infection in my foot. It started Wednesday afternoon and took a hold of me swiftly and severely! At first I thought I had caught a crazy stomach bug – I’ll spare you the details. My husband came home from work to find me under 5 heavy blankets shivering violently. After he added a heating pad my body calmed down a bit.
The next morning I saw the doctor because my foot was getting painful and I knew there was more to this than the flu. He gave me antibiotics and strict instructions to monitor things closely and go into Emergency if there is even a hint of spreading.
10PM that night we called a friend over to stay with our sleeping kids while my husband took me into the hospital where I was started on Intravenous antibiotics. Perfect, I thought, a couple days and I’ll be as good as new! We left the hospital with crutches and an appointment for my next dose of IV.
I’m not sure what I was expecting, but the next morning did not find my foot better. I was hoping for some improvement, at least a little. Deep down inside of me, the other battle was beginning.
This was Friday morning now and my weekend consisted of laying on the couch with my foot up and going to the hospital 3 times daily for IV. By now the pain had subsided (mostly) but the swelling was not going down.
Monday morning I saw the Doctor again and he pleaded with me to let him admit me into the hospital.
“What about my kids? I have to look after my kids!”
“Please think about it. We should be seeing better results by now.” he gave one last plea.
I hobbled to my van and texted my hubby what had just been said, put the phone down and drove to the hospital for dose #11.
The nurse gave me the same pleas. My phone buzzed. I opened the text from hubby telling me he will take the week off so I can get better. I got one of the good ones!
I relented and the process started to get me all set up in my tiny cube of a room. Sterile and windowless. That is how my soul was beginning to feel too. The ticking of the clock and the hum of machines to keep me company I was feeling forgotten. I’ve had visitors and that has been great, but where has God been for the last 6 days?
I chastised myself for letting my emotions get the better of me. I know – I KNOW – that He has not abandoned me, but the invisible infection of my heart was telling me differently.
Maybe if you were a better person, the infection hissed, this wouldn’t be happening to you. It’s because of every bad thing you’ve ever done. You deserve this.
You might as well give up now. They’re not telling you everything – this is way more serious than they’re letting on and now your kids have to grow up without a mom. Just pull the blanket over your head and go to sleep. You can’t fight it – just give up.
STOP IT! I scream inwardly. Lies. All lies!
Not that I’ve never done bad things, I have and do and will because I’m human. But I’m a forgiven human washed clean by the blood of Christ!
But there are moments when “standing on the promises” are not enough and the infection overwhelms me. Last night I struggled, but held it together. Today I couldn’t. Today is Tuesday which makes tomorrow one week since this started and I’m no better off physically and definitely worse off in my heart.
Today I have cried. A lot. Today I am not strong. The nurses notice and are being extra delicate with me. Today Christ’s strength is made perfect in my weakness [2 Corinthians 12:9].
In my darker times of depression, I find myself running to God almost superstitiously. Maybe if I pray just right, or read the right number of chapters of my bible, etc. then God will heal me. I know that’s not how it works. He’s not a genie in a lamp that needs to be rubbed exactly 3 times then will grant me my wish. I’m believing for healing. I’m expecting for healing. But I’m listening for what God has to teach me in this too.
As I type this, I’m listening to “Blessings” by Laura Storey. If you’ve never heard it, please take a moment to listen. This song has seen me through many a dark time and it is perfect for where I am right now.
So where does this leave me?
I will fight, I will persevere because I know I am not fighting alone. God is with me. Family and friends are praying for me. I’m anticipating a few more days here yet. The battle rages on, but ultimately it has already been won.
Today is the following Monday. Almost a week since I wrote this last post. I have been out of the hospital since Thursday, but have since developed an allergy to one of the medications. The beauty is, I can laugh at that now. It’s a testimony to how far God has brought me out of this pit.
Last Tuesday, when I wrote the original post, I did one of the hardest things possible when in such a deep depression – I reached out.
I called a few of my trusted friends and told them that I wasn’t doing well at all and that I couldn’t cope on my own. These people prayed for me, and they prayed hard. That afternoon already saw a huge improvement in my mood.
My husband brought me some of my favourite comedies to watch and smuggled in some popcorn for me. All the little things like this definitely helped pull me out of my pit, but ultimately it was God who healed the infection in my soul. He also continues to heal the infection in my foot and each day sees great progress!