It was 1997. I was a junior in college, and I was desperate. A long time emotionally abusive relationship had turned into a bondage issue that I couldn't seem to get away from, and I was sinking fast. On a Wednesday night (I rarely attended Wednesday night church...) I slunk in late - quietly - and sat in the back row. Our pastor asked us to turn to Lamentations chapter 3. I remember thinking "oh great, why am I here?"
Funny how God never thinks that about us.
This "gone to church since 9 months before I was born" girl had never read Lamentations. I mean, why should I have? It's a random small book in the middle of the Old Testament, which at the time I steered pretty clear of.
And then he started reading.
"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, his compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness! I say to myself "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him" The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young. Let him sit alone in silence, for the Lord has laid it on him. Let him bury his face in the dust - there may yet be hope. Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him, and let him be filled with disgrace. For men are not cast off forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men." Lamentations 3:22-33
And I broke. Boy did I break. I remember the embarrassment of my tears (I am a private person) and the inability to stop. I felt like God had spoken directly to me and said "you won't be consumed by this. Seek me first, I will work this out for your good. There is grief, but compassion will come because I love you unfailingly!"
Since that time in 1997, Lamentations 3 has been a passage that my Bible opens to on it's own, because I go there so often. I shared the last half with you, but you really need to go read it from the beginning. I'll wait.....
This passage has brought me through:
emotional abuse, depression,
hard marriage times,
and now my panic disorder.
I share this because most of the comments or emails I get from this blog are people dealing with the same illness I am. People reaching out, desperate to know they are not the only ones, to know someone else is struggling along side them. We are in this fight together.
You need to know, HAVE to know "The Lord is good to those whose hope is in HIM, to the one who seeks HIM; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord".
When you feel like it may never end, like this may be YOU for the rest of your life (and wow do I know that feeling), cling to this -
"I called your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: "Do not close your ears to my cry for relief." You came near when I called you, and you said...
do not fear."
(as a side note, I wanted to let you know that I would love to hear your stories. It's so much easier to know how to hold each other up and pray for each other if we know what to pray for. If you would like to share your story with me please email! email@example.com)