As I continue to marvel at the life of Joseph and glean much from studying his life and all that God desires for me/you/us to learn from his life….God continues to put people right in front of me who are in the middle of their own “pits, chains or prisons.”
Back in April when my mother was in her final days on this earth, Gail, a mentor who meant so much to me on the front 9 of life, who taught me many things about life that I still draw from today, died just 2 days before my mother. Thankfully I was able to see her and visit with her just days before she died. Her pain was almost unbearable from cancer. Her heart was figuratively splattered all over her hospital room with grief. Her only son who was in prison could not be there by her side.
Leaving the hospital knowing it would be the last time I would see her, I was overcome with grief and burdened over not being able to help her after all of the times she had helped me. I drove through blurred tears to stay with my mother knowing the day of her death was near. I experienced a choking feeling that would not go away. I didn’t know my mother would be gone just 2 days later.
My heart was so heavy…I remember getting a call from my sister-in-law Virginia…she and my brother-in-law Charlie wanted to come and visit the day before the funeral. They had a “trip” planned and were not going to be at the funeral. Little did I know when they arrived….that the trip they were going on was to see their youngest daughter, my beautiful niece, Frances, in Chicago where she was seeking help and recovery from depression and a suicide attempt. Upon learning of this news…I felt like my heart was expanding in my throat…….”a true choking feeling!” Air was scarce.
Looking into their faces of love and care…as they were there to comfort me in my pain…I looked into their eyes which were filled with choking pain as well. I don’t really remember anything else about that day except finding time to be alone…and fall on my knees before God…lying at His feet asking Him to “take the pain” or at least help me bare it….and begging God to help Charlie, Virginia…and especially Frances.
God was right there….He did give me the peace that cannot be understood…it came…like a rush of a wave from the sea…it washed over me and covered me like a warm blanket…just out of the warmer….like the ones used to cover you right after surgery. He met me right there on the floor of my parents’ house. Jesus tells us to do just this in Matthew 11:28-30, “‘Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’”
Today, whatever pain….you are feeling…even if it is layered… and continues to pile on your heart…load by load…I beg you to fall on your face before a Holy God…who cannot only withstand your pain but can take it. Read the story of Joseph to the end. You will see it has a happy ending and I just love happy endings.
I have a happy ending too. My mother and Gail are no longer suffering. They have been made whole….and are with Jesus in heaven. As for Frances….I am absolutely thrilled…thrilled…thrilled about her decision to be “public” about her “pit, chains and prison” to the point that she now has a blog in which she seeks to offer comfort to those who are struggling. Her first entry just released days ago reads like this:
“My name is frances lee and this blog is focused on recovery through art, music, and writing. In march of 2014 I had a suicide attempt and landed in rehab at Timberline Knolls in Lemont, Illinois for bulimia, self injury, and depression. Through hard work and a great support system I am now a recovering gal and glad to be alive. I am here to offer words, support and accountability.” The address for her blog ishttp://bradshawfl.blogspot.com/p/about.html.
I love that she is taking her pain….and turning around and offering a “hand” to those who are experiencing “pits” or have a “chain” of imprisonment in their thinking. I also love that she uses the word “accountability”…I will leave that for another post but it helps me to know that she understands we all need accountability in life.
I encourage you to share her blog with others. One of Satan’s greatest attacks on all of us is to trick us into thinking, “We are all alone and no one else ever feels the way we do.” Satan likes to separate us from the flock….to trap us into thinking…no one else struggles. He also has been a “LIAR” in the most successful way, creating a “stigma and shame” associated with depression and someone wanting to die. I can see my niece hasn’t caved to Satan’s lie because she is being so “public” about her struggle.
I am sure there are still struggles, but she is no longer “trapped” by the lie of “isolation” and “cover up” of her pain and pit. Go, Frances. Go!! I am one of her biggest fans. I cannot wait to see all that God will do in her life as a result of being courageous and going outside of herself to “help others” because she knows that others struggle as well.
Go to God with your pain…Go to someone and tell them…seek help. There are people who suffer just like you do and there are people who will help. God’s Word offers much help…and direction for your “pits, chains and prisons.” His Word is the “key” and the “ladder” to unlock and give you the assistance you need to climb not just out of the pit….but to scale mountains as well.
Psalm 69 is a beautiful psalm that expresses pain very well yet provides encouragement that God will help. May the psalmist words be your encouragement or prayer today. You can read the entire psalm for yourself. I just want to end with verses 1-3, 14-16, and 32.
“Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God.
Rescue me from the mire, do not let me sink; deliver me from those who hate me, from the deep waters. Do not let the floodwaters engulf me or the depths swallow me up or the pit close its mouth over me. Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me.
The poor will see and be glad—you who seek God, may your hearts live!”