My bedroom walls are light blue, the color of the sky as I see it through my window.
I sit this morning on my bed, window open, oversized coffee cup in hand. Bibles and journals strewed around me, half filled, pen stained. Mornings are for wisdom-seeking, God-chasing. Trying to be quiet.
I painted my walls the sky for that reason. Four days ago, pumping music loud, paintbrush in hand, I stayed up late so that they would be just the right color when the sun came up. I wanted to wake up each morning to light, to sun, to sky. So I walked up to the paint man in the paint store and told him I wanted the sky on my walls.
I’ve been searching hard these days. I want to find it more than buried treasure, more than my dreams, wealth, grades. I want it the moment I wake up and as I do laundry and write papers and laugh with friends.
Unquenchable, ever present, with me. Joy.
As a child, I celebrated joy in the light. I knew nothing but my mother’s love and freshly mowed grass and TV after school and so I thought nothing of it but somehow regarded it as mine in someway. I was happy so I had joy. I went to church so I had joy. I was regarded highly so I had joy.
But life is not always in the light.
My greatest love for my God is how He views my brokenness. My dirt. Mud. Life in shards, as it sometimes is. Those moments that you look back on your last few days, months, years, and see yourself slowly falling into nothing, forgetting any sense of who you are.
And you lie there one day, blinking into reality, and realize that you are a pile of broken pieces, scared. At a loss.
“I have known many dead waiting to die”, Ann Voskamp says. And I know, it is only for Jesus that I am not one of them. I have known death – not physical, but real. Death inside of me, the kind that forgets hope, feeling the darkness shroud me from anything that once beat blood into my heart. Burn out, real and present, sucking the life from me.
But I was struck, hard, as I sat in Truth for a moment. Jesus. That is why He came, isn’t it? I have known many dead waiting to die. “But I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full”.
Five months ago I sat in a mid-sized doctor’s room and was handed my first bottle of anti-depressants. How did I get here? Mouth clenched, living in a bubble of anxiety, trapped. And so I took that bottle like it was my Living Water, prayed for strength as I awaited the three weeks for the meds to kick in.
I think back to a year before, dark theatre and panic coursing through me. Unknown to me at the time, that was only the first wave in a year of storms. Thrashing, trying to toss water overboard, I clutched the theatre seat and saw only waves, vaguely having the mind to remember another’s description of a panic attack. “Jesus!”, closing my eyes I cried upward, “do you not care that I am perishing??”
Thinking He was miles away, forgetting that He was simply below the boat napping. Ever with me, all knowing.
And yet I fought, for a year, as if an army was chasing me. Panic. Anxiety coursing through my veins, becoming my blood. Every day, waking to a dimmer world. Afraid. Any concept of trust in my Lord vanquished, gone. I was led by my fear, driven by shadows. I ate of distrust. I was alone with the darkness I prescribed to me.
I have known many dead waiting to die. My mind was dead waiting to die.
“… but Jesus…”
I am in love with His eyes. Tear stricken, as I sat in this Truth yesterday. Any pride I once had gone, I know my real place. I know my zombie-identity, my inability to find light, save myself. I was in the ship, going down. Scooping frantically to throw water overboard, feeling the fatigue set in.
The diagnoses came. Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Depression.
How did I get here?
The greatest paradox of all time. Aside from salvation, the more you fall into darkness the more you are lost.
But with Jesus, Sweet Jesus, the farther and farther you fall, the more and more He can use you. The more broken, more humiliated. When you are at the end of yourself. That, my friends, is when you are exactly where He wants you to be.
Four months ago, I lay on my couch, head in mom’s lap. Tears. Depression clouded my vision, panic pulsated through my heart down to my toes. I cried and tried to apologize because I didn’t understand, didn’t know how I got there.
Forehead stroked by mom, nose running, I knew. I needed one thing and only one thing. To get back to school, to find rest for my mind, to see past the dark cloud, for independence from the pills. This is a fight, and I needed only one thing.
For I have known many dead waiting to die, and I wasn’t going to be one of them.
I am not one of them.
Because Jesus saw me then, and day by day I began to hear His whisper.
You are still in My plan. In fact, now, in your brokenness, you are closer to it than you have ever been before. Trust. Daughter. Trust.
And so I painted my walls sky blue because I can. Today I am saved, from lies, from mind-death. I want a blue sky on a rainy day because I have learned to seek beauty.
Freedom. Mind clear, pills simply a formality. I have found healing that can only come from the Messiah.
But I am humbled, because I know. Without my God, my Light, my Life, I don’t know where I would be. I feel I would still be in my mother’s lap, crying into the darkness.
And somehow, I know that is the point. I am nothing without my Jesus, empty without His Water, dark without His Light.
I have known many dead waiting to die.