It was going so well.
Ash Wednesday began my no-tv journey. My goal was to use the time I was wasting on tv to spend time with the Lord, or to minister in my home doing the chores I usually put off in order to watch what seemed like drivel. I wrote about it here, if you feel like reading.
It was going so well, until the spiral started. That's what I like to call my own personal descent into depression. Depression. Such an ugly word, but one that is familiar to me. I've dealt with it off and on for most of my life, thankfully most of the time only briefly. Only once have I had a clinical case that required doctors and medication. I say only once, but that "once" lasted a good two years.
Two years of thinking there must be something wrong with me. That I must not be a good enough Christian. That message came from outside and inside the church. Depression is so misunderstood inside our Christian subculture. I feel like that misunderstanding keeps alot of hurting people in the dark. Alot of people who need doctors and medication avoid them for fear of appearing weak in the faith. Silly. I've never once thought my Mom was a weak person for taking her diabetes medication. She has a medical issue, she treats it.
But still the feeling was there. Maybe I should pray more or read more or worship more or...or...or.... until one day Richard Blackaby handed my husband a piece of paper with a Doctor's phone number on it. My journey to freedom began that day. That little pill was not a "happy pill", but it put me on a level playing field where I could deal with my issues, and I am thankful for it.
But still, every now and then I return to the spiral.
Strangely, it's the little things that trigger. Give me a large task, I can handle it with ease. Give me six small tasks and I duck and run for cover. If I have too many places to go, too many errands to run, too many chores that I'm behind on, too much STUFF to worry about - I tend to panic. And sometimes I mean that literally, I have panic attacks. The attacks usually come when I don't realize how stressed I am and my body likes to tap me on the shoulder and say "woohoo, you can't handle all this, so I'm going to decommission you for a while", and then the fake heart attack starts. At least, that's what panic attacks feel like - fake heart attacks.
The spiral began last week. It was an especially bad day of stressful mothering and I lost it with my child. I mean lost it. I blew it BIG time. One of those nights of praying that I did not scar my child for life with words that should never have been spoken. That night ended in very little sleep because of my incredible guilt over the whole episode - which led to a day of being overtired from lack of sleep - which led to a grumpy mother because I was tired - which led to grumpy children who had a grumpy mother - and you see how the cycle goes. Then comes the spiral. It's a physical feeling, the sinking into the pit. It stabs. It taunts. It aches.
It hurts. Depression hurts.
And Monday night it led to insomnia. One of the worst parts of depression is the insomnia. You want to sleep all day because you are so mentally weary, then night comes and you can't. Monday night I couldn't read, I couldn't pray, there was nothing distracting me and I deeply did NOT want to go into that pit. So, lent was broken.
My promise broken.
Grace is for promises broken.
Grace is for sometimes-depressed, panicky, hot-head mothers who can't seem to control themselves.
I'm trying not to beat myself up about it. It's easy to do because I am not a finisher. I make promises to myself (all the time..) that I do not finish. Satan has definitely been reminding me of that over the last few days. And I've been reminding him right back that there is GRACE! Because of beautiful GRACE he cannot convince me of my failure! Because of GRACE I know that God loves me even when I slip, even when I break promises, even when I speak words that should not have been spoken or let my mind dwell on thoughts that are unhealthy. Grace, grace, grace!
The cross brought hope, forgiveness, GRACE! Tonight is Maundy Thursday, the day of the last supper and the betrayal that led to the cross. Tonight the feet were washed, the bread and wine were passed, the tears in the garden. His pleas for them to watch with Him, and the wine-heavy sleepy disciples who couldn't. There was grace for them as well. Grace everywhere, He gives it so lavishly!
Tonight as the kids are in bed on the way to blissful sleep, as my husband is away at the service that keeps him late on Thursdays, I contemplate Maundy Thursday. I think about that cup that Jesus asks the Father to take from him, I think of what's inside. I know that in that cup is my sin, my depression, my selfish nature, my hurtful words, my secret sins. The ugliness that I hide from everyone, the things no one knows - they are there swirling around like bitter nasty herbs.
And my Lord drank it. He drank it.
I contemplate "love so amazing, so divine. Demands my life, my soul, my all."