I remember, over two years after my nurse overdosed me, openly professing to everyone I how I would hold my head high and not be ashamed. I remember trusting the Lord with all my might and clinging to him with everything I could. I remember writing blog after blog from the depths of my heart processing all the loss and frustration. I remember the ups and downs – the tears – the confusion and the anger. I remember feeling out of control when we did not yet know I was having seizures. I remember stumbling and falling on the way to the bathroom. I remember depression so dark that I had no hope, no dreams, no joy and certainly no peace. I remember.
Yes I remember so much – but as I am slowly emerging from the worst of this season of my life – I am realizing I also learned so much too.
Though it is difficult for people who haven’t gone through a traumatic, life altering experience to understand, suddenly being rendered utterly helpless shakes a person to their core. The relentless cycle of doctors appointments, medications, therapies galore, rest, practice, surgeries and countless interventions, ups and downs…successes and failures…dreams realized and dreams lost slowly chips away at resolve and brings settled issues of faith into question. Hope deferred easily turns strength to weakness, and resolve to a tender fragility.
The above describes the very real world of pain I have lived in on and off for the past two years. There have been moments of incredible highs bolstered by incredible faith and other moments filled with such devastation my ability to believe seemed utterly gone. Through those ups and downs I was committed to one simple thing. I was going to be real in the midst of my story — through the good, the bad and the ugly. After I thought, what did I have to lose?
Putting my own personal struggle aside, what has been the most interesting to me has been the reactions of others to my feelings through this very, real, pain. Some seemed horribly uncomfortable with my honesty. Others seems offended. Others still fell into pat answers and piety. One time, I even received an email telling to stop whining. I needed to get off the pity train and get back to living the good life. sigh.
And then, there were the ones, who have suffered themselves and know what it is like to be crushed deep in their souls. These people, these angels in disguise, didn’t lord over me, or judge my questions. They didn’t try to fix me, correct me or even sway me. Instead they wept with me. Their understanding of grieving with those who grieve brought hope to me when I thought all was lost. Because of them, I learned that we all can enter into someone’s grief and while there, bring the restoring, healing and comforting love of Christ into the midst of their pain.
I also learned we as Christians err when, in the name of spiritual maturity, we deny our struggles, suffering, confusion and trade it in for inauthentic and frankly fake facades. In doing so, we miss out on gifts [yes I did say gifts] that God brings when we are broken, crushed and confused.
Psalms 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Why would the Bible be filled with scriptures about how the Lord reacts to the broken hearted, if his heart was not tender towards them? The Bible says, the Lord rushes to the side of those who are weak, confused and crushed in spirit. He brings healing. He restores souls. He draws close. He binds up wounds. He strengthens. He rescues. (such incredible gifts of mercy and love!)
My life, two years after my nurse overdosed me, is living proof of all of these things. Though I was devastated, I now have renewed hope. Though I was broken, my body is healing. Though I thought my life was over, I am finding new purposes, new dreams and new hope. This is no small thing. This is a miracle and evidence of Jesus in me.
Instead of shaming those who are questioning, those who are hurting, and those who are confused I have learned that we should rally to their side. Like Romans 12:15 says, we should, ” Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” And, just like 1 Corinthians 13:8 says, we should…”always protects, always trust, always hope, [and] always persevere”…with each other…even if our struggles are deep and our pain confusing.
Corrie ten Boom is one of my heroes. She survived a Nazi prison camp and while there experienced things you and I can hardly imagine. She struggled with bitterness, anger, confusion and hatred, yet she learned incredible truths in spite of her suffering. Years after she was released she said something that has carried through the past 2 years.
“There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.” ― Corrie ten Boom
I have learned, through my very painful experience, when someone you love is in a deep pit, you don’t need to fix them…you need to cover them with God’s incredible love.