“Explanations are a substitute for trust.” Tullian Tchividjian, Glorious Ruin
I didn’t understand, my family didn’t understand, my psychiatrist didn’t understand, my counselor didn’t understand, my friends didn’t understand. Aren’t we always looking for explanations? Aren’t we always trying to understand what God is doing instead of believing that He is at work. That is my truth.
I was at the lowest of lows. I thought I was headed straight to the fiery furnace, and thought that’s what I deserved. I had caused so much heartache and pain for my family and friends, especially my beautiful daughter. My mind wasn’t functioning the way I knew it was supposed to, and I thought I was being punished. I had lost months of sleep – living on less than 3 hours per night, and would wake up in panic mode like clockwork around three o’clock every morning. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t think (other than dread and doom thoughts), I lost lots of weight (I needed to, but not in that way), I had panic attacks throughout the day. I was ready to give up if this was going to be my lifelong destiny. Yes, I was suicidal.
I prayed like crazy – mostly short prayers like this – “God help me!” “I’m so desperate, Lord!” “Lord, please let this all be a nightmare, please let me wake up and everything be okay!” “Lord, I need your grace and mercy!” “Lord, I’m so scared!” I spent countless hours on the phone with family and friends (my poor mother) hoping they would in some way have the answers. I read my Bible, but it wasn’t making any sense to me in the state I was in. I felt condemned by it.
My friends and family prayed for me and did all they could to help, but I could sense their desperation too.
For the second time, I sought help from the Lord through an inner healing prayer ministry called SOZO. I had been months before in a state of weariness, and it was a wonderful experience, but the second time I went in utter, absolute DESPERATION and just laid it all out on the table. I went in knowing that at that point only God could get me out of this mess. He was the only one with the answers and he wasn’t required to give me an explanation, EVER.
Shortly after the intense prayer session, I got a revelation that something physiological was going on with me, so I visited my primary care doctor and asked her to test me for vitamin deficiencies. I found out a few days after my visit that I was extremely Vitamin D deficient. The doctor encouraged me to begin taking 4000 iu of Vitamin D every day. Within 2 weeks, I was sleeping over 5-6 hours per night. I was beginning to focus again. I was starting to believe again that I was loved. Hope was creeping back in slowly but surely.
Then, I started listening to sermons by a pastor named Tullian Tchividjian. I saw his name, and an icon of one of his books, on some guy’s blog that I had found by clicking on the comments section of a friend’s blog. I was curious about this pastor with the weird name and found out he was Billy Graham’s grandson. I also found out that he had a very rebellious past, which I could totally relate to. His sermons were balm for my soul. I have heard many beautiful, uplifting sermons over the years, but something about his sermons cleared the clouds in my mind and had me in a state of overwhelming gratitude for what Jesus has done for this broken, desperate, grace-hungry woman. His sermons gave me the diagnosis – I am a desperate sinner, I will never be perfect as my father in Heaven is perfect, I can’t keep all the commands no matter how hard I may try, etc.; Then the GOOD NEWS – Jesus paid it all, IT IS FINISHED, Jesus has saved me from this body of death by the blood he shed on the cross. From the understanding of what Jesus has done for me, I can move forward knowing that I am DEEPLY LOVED, and that in turn gives me the desire to love my neighbor as myself and serve in the areas God has gifted me. I started to see the Bible with a different set of glasses (and Tullian says that is his job as a pastor, to help us take off our old muddied up glasses full of lies and put on our new glasses – the good news).
My desperation led me to the doors of Celebrate Recovery. Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered recovery program for people who deal with all sorts of hurts, habits, and hang-ups. Vitamin D may have been an underlying physiological cause of my depression, but I knew deep in my heart that I was dealing with intense shame, fear, and generalized anxiety that I knew I had to get to the root of and get help for. I was so scared in that first meeting. My tensions were eased a bit when I saw the sign at the altar that stated “No Perfect People Allowed”. I can’t remember if I went up front to get a chip that night or the following week, but I felt love and the presence of Jesus in that room. I love the first principle of recovery – I realize I am not God. I have found the voice that I had locked in the dungeon long ago.
Additionally, my friend Christyn started teaching a Bible study titled Beauty from Ashes, based on the Book of Job. Christyn was dealing with her own difficult struggles at the time but was faithful to what the Lord called her to do, and shared the lessons she was learning about God’s sovereignty with a packed house of women every Wednesday night. It was a reminder every week that no matter what I may be going through, God will never leave me, and that explanations will never bring me the peace I seek.
Note: I have written more about this healing journey in previous posts. If you would like more information on these tools, I’m happy to share these links with you:
Tullian Tchividjian – www.pastortullian.com