From the age of sixteen until one Sunday morning when I was thirty-one I looked for God. Then on January 11, 2009, I wrote in my journal: I went to church today, alone, [Erin would have been working] it needed to be done for reasons I am having a hard time understanding… I have been feeling so down lately and everything is so great. Couple that with an overpowering urge to worship and it could no longer be ignored. It was as if God knew it was time for me to realize the next step. It was as if the sermon was directly for me…There seems to be a weight lifted off of me now.
It would seem logical that something that brings me such comfort and hope the way the Lord does would not be something I would so easily dismiss. But we are fickle creatures, quick to dismiss that which we cannot see in favor of our freewill and hubris. Like a sulking teenager who thinks he knows it all and does not want to share or connect with his parents, I tend to turn away from God— most often in the times I need Him the most. When this happens, I am at war with myself, simultaneously telling myself I can go it alone while berating myself because I know I’d be better off if I just reached out and connected. Acting like that sulking teenager is a sure sign that my depression is leading the tango.
This happened most glaringly after my father’s death in 2012. I thought because I had known death before and because I was a follower of Jesus, I would have an easier time with his passing. This hubris created a false hope that left me unprepared for the hurt, anger and crushing emptiness that consumed me. I had prayed to the Lord to take his pain away and now my dad was gone, and my mother was alone. I thought that surely I had hastened his passing. With all these thoughts reeling and depression staunchly in control, I pushed God away, certain I could wade through the grief and life without Him. Eventually, I found my way back, but I am no less fickle. With the heavy bouts of depression I’ve experienced over the last two years, I have frequently found myself trying to go it alone. When the cycles of questioning and berating have been particularly brutal and chaotic I’ve even wondered if I believe in God anymore.
Thankfully God is always there for me, and like that parent I don’t want to talk to, He is looking out for me and waiting for me to come back to him in my own time. Coming back to him does not mean I need to spend hours studying the bible but, it does mean I need to pray. The length of the prayers does not matter only that I do it often. I need to slow down and breathe deep. He knows full well I am a sinner, that I stumble, that I fall and at times I wallow in the mud. Yet He still loves me and wants to be a part of my life. The chances of me losing touch again are high, but I can take comfort in the fact that God will always be there for me and is willing to meet me where I am, even if that is face down in the mud.