Wednesday, April 18, 2018

What I Need Is...

I've read this verse many times over the years, but only now has it really hit deep and come to life (I love how God does that).

Like a good spoon of sugar helps the medicine go down, so are joy and laughter great at getting us through the hard times; times of pain, times of sorrow, but if the spirit is crushed it drys up the bones. That word never really made sense. Bones?

Ah, but what if you say "skeleton" instead? And I did. 

When I heard that it made me think in terms of writing. Because I'm a writer, we use words like Skeleton to call the beginning of a writing project, to where we form our ideas around! And if we don't have a healthy skeleton it's going to be that much harder fleshing out. 

Then I began to think more realistically, too. People with bone problems, from young to old, genetics to chronic illness, if they have weak bones it makes the everyday things like walking or picking up a gallon of milk hard, even just getting out of bed, sometimes near impossible. 

I've had my limitations, even been knocked down more times than I can count. But I've always been able to get back up, be the one to help so many others who've been through some rough stages of life; their spirit so crushed all I could give them was a shoulder to lean on and words of encouragement or acts of kindness to make them laugh or smile, even if just for a moment. I loved being that person for them, serving them. 

I never fathomed one day I would be here, dealing with what I had only so far seen but never really experienced: A crushed spirit. 

My Bible (NLT) translates,

 “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”
(Proverbs 17:22)

And that's exactly what happened to me. My spirit was broken. 

Sure the past few years have been rough and bumpy, but never like the last 10 months. From spiritual and physical attacks to overwhelming church hurts and broken/lost friendships.  

One day the final blow was dealt, I didn't see it coming and before I knew what had hit me I was down, this time for the count.  

Days started going by without me. One. Two. Five and then weeks. I'd get lost in these deep sea thoughts of just nothingness. 
Not having the strength mentally to talk to family or friends, write, even pray. Physically unable to do simple things like washing a few dishes or even getting out of bed. Feeling nothing. I was depressed. 

Has anyone seen the movie, "Kubo and the Two Strings"? I saw only the beginning recently but when I saw Kubo's mother, I nearly cried in front of strangers. Because the way she acted, broken and depressed, here a moment and gone the next. 
I'd have spouts of time where I was awake and happy but it didn't last, all of a sudden I'd slip away again. More inwardly expressions of my depression than outwardly. Most people would and never will know because of the mask I wear so well. 

Okay, two things you outta know about me!

  1. I'm a writer. It's my best way of expressing myself to others and most importantly God. I journal all the time, for hours and pages at a time. I love it!
  2. I'm a cryer. 

I've always been cryer, I've always found crying comforting. For me, it is my way of making my feelings known to God, my joys, and my sorrows, and His way of washing them away and/or refreshing my mind/heart. When I cry I am releasing myself to God. 

I stopped crying... more like I wasn't able to cry. 
The flower pot had cracked and spilled all the water. 
I had absolutely no strength or knowledge of how to fix it. And then like any living thing, without water, it begins to dry up; like those dry bones. 

I no longer desired to reach out to people; I'd forgotten how or seen the reason to anymore. And when I did try, I found myself unintentionally and so heavily guarded that anyone who did approach my walls sent me into an anxiety attack, even long after they'd gone home.  

Honestly, I still can't remember who I was before or who I'm supposed to be now or how to just be. 

How did I encourage and love people? 
How do I trust people again? How do I just talk? What do I talk about now? 
What does it even mean to be a friend anymore? 
How do I be there when I still feel so far away? Too far for anyone to even bother reaching out for. 
And why would they? I'm dry, wilting and withering. And who wants a dying flower? 

That's how life has been for me recently. I don't even know how people perceive me because I don't know how I perceive myself anymore. 

However endless it feels to me, I know God doesn't leave me alone. He may be silent; he may be trying to teach me or give me the chance and choice to just lean on him, but never does He leave. 

And that's where this verse reached beyond just Proverbs. As I was reading and thinking about it God shouted to me this reminder. 

Jesus says he is the living water in which all life springs forward (John 4:14) reviving the dry and dying flowers in God's garden. God is the gardener pruning us so we can bloom bigger and produce more fruit (John 15:1) Jesus being the root at which my branch on the grapevine is still living on. 

Like any plant that has been crushed and dried out, it takes time, patience, and tender loving care before it can be fully restored. 
That's the process I am in right now. And for a while, I kept believing that something was wrong with me for not being myself again. Not blooming vibrantly like I had before. Am I not believing enough?  But like any good gardener knows, when tending to a recovering plant (or dehydrated anything: plants, animals, humans), too much water and you end up either shocking the system or drowning the wilting flower. 

Things are getting better. I'm trying. Some days are harder than others. I'm still wilted but getting a little bit stronger every day. And when the time is right, my roots will be strong again, stronger even, and I will bloom in the time God has planned for me. 


Do you feel broken, drained emotionally, or spiritually dry? It can be tempting to pull back and want to hide. However, it is vital to pour your heart out to the Lord. 
Are you able to be completely honest with God? How can you improve in this area?


"Because I place my hope in the Lord my strength is renewed." (Isaiah 40:31)
Originally written August 2017.

I wanted to share it as it was written at that time. I've grown more since then and been renewed that much more because of what I wrote. I know this will speak to others out there struggling as I did. Thus, keeping in its complete original text even after many months past original date. 

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