Last night, Chris and I attended a vision meeting for our gospel-driven church. This video was played, as part of the service:
Yep, that’s the two of us on the couch, about a minute in. I posted it here for a few reasons.
First, for every one or two people who comment here, there are a few hundred to a few thousand who visit and read each month. I see them in my analytics. They find my posts via Google and Stumbleupon and other tools. I’m posting this for the people who are now where I was before. Who have been told they are hopeless cases. Who are wondering if they should just give up. People like the guy who stopped my commute a few weeks ago.
There are no hopeless cases, where God is concerned. Really.
I’m also posting it is because it’s time I shared it here. I’ve been looking for a way to do that for a long time now, and this video and the timing of some other things have made it abundantly clear that this is the right time. Every time I’ve written here in the last few years about the part of my story that I don’t share, this is mostly what I was talking about.
So now it’s out there. I’ve been watching the “views” tick slowly upward on that video, and knowing that over the last three weeks, probably over a thousand members of my church have seen it. I’ve realized that this part of my story needs to be out there. I needed it to be out there so I could be free. Because a secret chains you into keeping it secret. I needed the story to be redeemed, and for that to happen, it had to be released into the wild to encourage and help other people. It can’t do anyone any good stuffed into my dresser drawer. And it really is a powerful story.
I struggled with depression throughout my twenties. At one point I was hospitalized on suicide watch. Eight years ago, I was so depressed that I found myself in my kitchen in the middle of the night, a knife pressed against my carotid, weighing whether living or dying was the more painful option. I put the knife down when my five year old son walked into the room.
I had almost no friends, my self-worth was so low that I was afraid I lacked the basic competence to hold down a low-paying job, and my husband was involved with another woman, a coworker who was also having marriage problems.
We were working opposite shifts at the time–I worked from 6:30am to 3 and he was working from 2pm to 11 at night. We barely saw each other. I started taking No-Doz and basically not sleeping for days at a time so I could compete for his attention. Everyone was telling me that I should just give up. There’s no coming back from that. At one point, the other woman told me I might as well kill myself, because from what she heard, even my own family wouldn’t miss me.
And there are more details, and this could quickly get sordid and all Lifetime unOriginal “Elin Woods, Sandra Bullock and me,” but the bottom line is, I am both the victim and the villain of my own story. I had been a mess for a long time. I wasn’t at rock bottom because my husband was considering turning me in for a newer model. I was at rock bottom because I looked at the Cross, believed it was true, and still decided that wasn’t enough to make life worth living if I didn’t matter to my husband.
That’s pretty effed up. If you believe someone willingly died to give you life, but if you can’t get this one thing you want, then they can just keep it–that’s fundamentally effed up.
But here’s the beautiful part, and the reason that this isn’t a sad story.
I didn’t stay effed up.
There is no rational explanation for why I’m still here. There is no rational explanation for the fact that our marriage isn’t just rescued–it’s amazing, and has been for nearly a decade now. There’s no rational explanation for the fact that I’m a productive, respected creative professional who functions just fine without medication. There’s no rational explanation for the truly amazing man I have watched my husband become over the past eight years. Or that we have two healthy, confident kids who are thriving despite junior high angst and kindergarten drama.
There’s no rational explanation for the fact that my mom and I worked out our issues a year before she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. There’s no rational explanation for the healing that’s taken place between me and the family I grew up in. There’s no rational explanation for the trusting, strong friendships I have with other women.
We have left black and white Kansas behind, people. Welcome to the technicolor Oz of the kingdom of heaven, where anything is possible.
I get that, now. I get how, in the middle of the whirlwind, you find a peace you can’t explain, because it’s beyond all understanding. Like fake hair in an aerosol spray can, it’s not natural. But in a good way.
Chris and I submitted our applications in to begin training in gospel counseling last week. In the words of 2 Corinthians, we want to comfort others with the comfort we’ve received. I’ll let you know how that goes.
Thanks for reading.