The Recent Journey…(from December)
**This post is from december 2012**
This morning I woke up at 3:44 am. I never wake up in the middle of the night. I usually wake up some time after 6 or slightly before. As I lay there in bed, I had the feeling that I was starting my period. I finally got out of bed to empty my bladder and discovered that sure enough I needed to soak my underwear. I never start my period in the middle of the night. I think I did once when I was 17. This was most devastating because I really wanted to be pregnant. We started a new fertility medicine this month, and I was very hopeful that we would finally be pregnant again. What a great Christmas present that would have been, right?
After taking care of business, I lay in bed for an hour tossing and turning with sleep evading me. I had a horrible headache and equivalent cramps. As I lay there, a few lines from the song “Your Love Never Fails” kept rolling through my mind. “There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning…your love never fails.” I lay there somewhat numb. I knew the Lord was probably speaking to me, but I didn’t really want to hear. The lines kept repeating. For an hour. You would think I’d take a hint. About a half hour into the attempted comfort from the Holy Spirit, God added, “When the oceans rage, I don’t have to be afraid.”
Finally I got up, recognizing that I wasn’t going to sleep and I was miserable (on more than one level). The intelligent person would heed God’s hints and make the choice to spend time with him. I moved to the couch and pulled out the iPad. I played games for about an hour, soaking in the depression. Around 5:30, I finally decided to eat something so I could take some ibuprofen. I returned to the couch and picked up my “Thankfulness” journal. I knew I needed to spend time with God, but I honestly did not want to. I looked at the stack of books that included my journal and Bible and the only book I could get myself to grab was my thankfulness journal. The most motivation I could muster in spending time with God would be to add entries to the growing list of things I’m thankful for (inspired by the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp). I’m a tasky person by nature. I like accomplishing tasks. I thought maybe I would feel better if I pounded out a few things to add to my list.
If you have ever been depressed, then you know that finding things to be thankful for is no easy chore. I wrote of my thankfulness for having “Your love never fails” running through my head when I woke up. The minute I wrote that, the clouds parted for a moment, and God’s light was allowed to shine through. Once his light began to shine, there was no going back. I wanted more light.
I pulled myself off the couch, and I got my phone that has some songs on it. I played the song that had been in my head: “Your Love Never Fails” by the Newsboys. I listened to the song and as each word seemed to be written just for me, the rain came – in the form of tears. God began to methodically wash away my grief and sadness. Most importantly, those tears began to fall on a heart that had grown quite hard. What happened brings a smile to my face.
Before I share, I need to show you the songs in my “purchased” folder on my phone so you can see the loving hand of God at work. They are in this order:
- Glorious Day
- Greatness of Our God
- Our God
- In Christ Alone (My Hope is Found)
- Para Exaltarte
- Desde Mi Interior
- Poderoso Para Salvar
- Remind Me Who I Am
- Your Love Never Fails
- God’s Not Dead (Like a Lion)
I clicked on “Your Love Never Fails,” so naturally the next song to play should have been “God’s not dead.” Instead, “Remind Me Who I Am” played, then “God’s Not Dead,” then “Your Love Never Fails” again, and finally “In Christ Alone (My Hope is Found).
Reading about God rearranging the natural order of songs may not seem like a big deal unless you see what he was doing in me in the process. The first run through of “Your Love Never Fails” brought the initial wave of tears as I began wrestling with God. I believe his love never fails, but I have felt far from his love for quite some time. I have been determined not to fall into a pattern of being depressed and despairing. I spent the better part of 2 years worrying that I would never get pregnant again. This was 2007-2009. God taught me so much in that time (the inspiration for my book), and I was determined to live victoriously.
The problem was that I was trying to live in a victory that I could achieve without relying on God’s power. I was relying on my own wisdom and the lessons learned to help me stay free from depression and despair. This didn’t work, obviously. So I am thankful for what unfolded this morning as God slowly softened my heart and spoke the truth I needed to hear. I want to share with you the lines from each song that he highlighted (made me cry when I heard them).
“You make all things work together for my good.” (Your Love Never Fails)
The bookmark in my thankfulness journal says, “Your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” ~1 Cor. 2:5
“When my heart is like a stone and I’m running far from home, remind me who I am.” (Remind Me Who I Am)
My heart cried, “Who am I to you, Lord,” as the song played out. I heard: Beloved. Adored.
Then the song continued, “If I’m your beloved, can you help me believe it.” More sobs. God was lovingly pointing out that my heart had been hard and I had been running from him. I had lost sight of his love. I knew he loved me, but I couldn’t honestly say that I believe it – if that makes any sense. Depression keeps us from feeling the things we really need to feel.
God was ministering to my heart as the songs played on in His chosen order.
“Let love explode and bring the dead to life.” (God’s Not Dead (Like a Lion))
I felt God showing me that my heart had been as good as dead. His love makes us come alive.
“Now I’m lost in your freedom. In this world, I’ll overcome. My God’s not dead; he’s surely alive. He’s living on the inside, roaring like a lion.”
I got this crazy image of the lion in Narnia (a character like Jesus) roaring inside of me, causing the forces of evil to flee. We were once at the Louisville Zoo in the summer and we kept hearing the most ominous, terrifying sound as we were walking through the zoo. We discovered the source of the sound that penetrated our peace when we visited the lion exhibit. The lions were in matting season and boy were they vocal. I remember thinking about how terrifying it would be to meet one of those creatures in the wild or to hear their roar, knowing that they were not locked up.
God’s power was stirring in me.
“Nothing can separate, even if I run away. Your love never fails.”
My honest prayer, “Lord, I’ve been running away. In my head I haven’t, but my heart has run for the hills.”
Then these truths filled my head, “You can’t get away from me. I live inside of you. My power is great and I live IN you.” (2 Cor. 1:22, 2 Cor. 5:5, Eph. 1:14)
Then In Christ Alone Begins to play and it was then that I realized that God was hand-picking songs for me. It occurred to me, then, that the songs had played in a weird order (without me pushing the shuffle button). God knows that “In Christ Alone” always moves me to tears (usually the part that talks about Jesus rising from the grave and standing in victory). This time as I listened, these words first filled my heart to overflowing in the form of tears (yet again).
In Christ alone, my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song. This cornerstone, this solid ground. Firm through the fiercest drought (barren womb) and storm (the fierce battle for my joy). What heights of love, what depth of peace. When fears are stilled, when striving cease. My Comforter. My All in All. Here in the love (that love that had been alluding me until now because of my hardened heart as of late) of Christ I stand.
As we head into this Christmas season, hear the rest of the words from this amazing song:
In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless Babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
‘Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live
There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ
No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From a life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
‘Til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I stand
Here in the power of Christ I stand. I am genuinely full of joy and hope and peace and thankfulness – all things that are extremely difficult for me on the first day of my period if it is my power I’m relying on.
God was right, the joy did come in the morning. Good Morning. I’m red-faced, with swollen eyes, but it is well with my soul…