Let Me Not Forget

Let Me Not Forget

When nature hints at spring, let me not
forget the frost of winter and
its bleak landscape, sharp with barren trees,
the cold hitting wind-chapped cheeks.

When the buds burst forth, let me not
forget the harsh, stiff ground and
my body moving across a frozen pond,
cracks spider-webbing the surface.

When the world explodes in color, let me not
forget the inescapable gray and
the way my cries were swallowed by the wind,
soft as a whisper, loud as a siren.  

When finally the sun’s warmth returns, let me not
forget the chill I could not shake and
the many ways I tried and tried
to thaw my frozen heart.

–Erin Mount

bare tree in the middle field covered in snow

Photo by Todd Trapani on Pexels.com

The Hard Fight

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I am not sure of the origin of this quote, but it describes my life right now. If I’m being honest, everything feels hard right now. This time last week I was  in an inpatient mental health facility because things had gotten so bad that I thought almost daily about ending my life. I even had a plan that I didn’t realize was so specific and actionable until I voiced it to my therapist during an appointment that was a true provision from the Lord, since I originally wasn’t even supposed to meet with him that day, but was able to because he had an unexpected opening in his schedule. Thanks to the Lord and my therapist’s intervention, I did not act on my plan but instead checked myself into Lakeside in Memphis last Tuesday. Admitting to the people in my life that I was there was incredibly hard, and I have battled a lot of shame and guilt about this. But it truly was what needed to happen, and I left Lakeside feeling better than when I entered. I had a lot of time there to focus on myself, and I learned some valuable lessons and processed some hard things. 

However, none of that fixed me. I still came home with depression. The only difference is that now I want to live, whereas before I was ready to give up. I was tired of fighting all the negative, intrusive thoughts swirling around in my head. I was tired of trying to fake it through the day. I was tired of feeling alone in my pain. I was tired, full stop. But when people are tired, they rest; they don’t give up on life. I am so thankful that I didn’t give up. 

One thing I realized while I was gone is that despite all my thoughts to the contrary, a lot of people love me. When I let my family and close friends and some people at church know about the situation, not once did anyone act with anything other than love, support, and care for me. I don’t know why this surprised me since I surround myself with awesome people, but I had believed the lie that I was alone and unloved for far too long. I found myself overcome and humbled by all the love being poured out on me, all the prayers being prayed for me. I realized that, as my pastor told me, people are with me and for me. What a blessing that has been to me!

This week my husband gave me a small gift. It’s a squishy boxing glove, and he got it so I will remember to keep fighting and never give up. It’s also a reminder that I am not alone and that I am loved.IMG_3783

The boxing glove is also a reminder that I need to choose my hard. Living with depression is hard. I don’t know when this cloud will lift. Everything requires tons of mental energy, and I am exhausted by the end of the day. Then I learned at Lakeside that I need to change a lot of things in order to help improve my mental health: my thought patterns, my coping mechanisms, my sleeping and eating habits. Add to that adjusting to new medications and just living life, and all of it feels completely overwhelming and hard, and I know it will be. But as hard as all the change will be, it will not be harder than how I have been living. I resisted going to Lakeside initially because I didn’t want to put my family through that and I didn’t know what it would be like, but I also realized that my family would rather me be gone for a week instead of being gone for the rest of their lives. Then going to Lakeside didn’t seem quite as hard (although it in fact was one of the most difficult things I have ever done). Learning to change will require work and diligence, but I know that by choosing this hard thing I will hopefully one day lay aside the other hard thing—depression. It may be hard, but hard is not impossible. I will keep telling myself this, day after day, moment by moment, choice by choice, until I believe it.

I told my therapist that he saved my life, and I truly believe that. I also believe that it was no coincidence that I got that therapy appointment when I did. No, that was an act of the God who loves me and sees me and cares for me, even when I think He is far away. He marks all of my tears and keeps them in a bottle (Psalm 556:8). He will not restrain his mercy from me but will preserve me with His steadfast love and faithfulness (Psalm 40:11). 

I don’t know why I have to walk this road, but I hope that the Lord will redeem this struggle and use it for His good and His glory. The story is still being written, and I look forward to seeing where it goes. If you are reading this and relate to it but don’t know what to do, please reach out. Don’t be silent. Don’t give up. Fight the hard fight. 

A Matter of Time

The other night at church, a friend asked me if I’d read any good books lately. Much to my chagrin, I had to tell her no, I hadn’t. My response was not because I have read books that just weren’t good but because I haven’t read any books at all, for a few months now (I know, I’m an embarrassment to English majors everywhere). As I was thinking about my lack of reading, I realized that I’ve fallen into an unhealthy habit of escapism. Every night, almost without fail, I watch Netflix. Most of the time I watch an episode of Gilmore Girls, an episode I have probably seen 5 or 6 times previously, and then I’ll watch one or two more. While watching I’ll scroll through my Facebook feed or text a few people, but mostly I am just completely checked out, lost in the world of Stars Hollow. Then I look at the clock, discover that it’s 10:00 p.m., and I wonder where the evening went.

My church recently finished a Wednesday night series on spiritual disciplines, and the discipline I’ve been thinking the most about is stewardship, specifically stewardship of time. I’m a terrible time waster. I’m always complaining to myself that I never have enough time, and yet I always find time for the things I truly want to do. I “don’t have time” to properly clean my house, but the truth a lot of the times is that there are approximately 2,345 things I’d rather do than clean my house, so I do all of those things instead. I “don’t have time” to read good books, and yet I find time to watch 1.5-2 hours of TV at night. I “don’t have time” to pray a lot or memorize Scripture, and yet I find time to stay caught up on all my social media feeds.

My priorities are terribly skewed, and it’s no wonder I have felt so discontented and out of sorts. It’s no wonder I feel as though everyone’s life is better than mine, when all I’m doing is comparing my life to the snapshots of other people’s lives I see on the internet instead of working to improve my own. It’s no wonder I spend time wondering why I haven’t managed to do anything terribly significant with my life, when all I’m doing is wasting time feeling sorry for myself.

God has given me this life as a gift, and this day is precious, for this day is all I’m guaranteed. When I die, am I going to wish I had watched more episodes of Gilmore Girls? When I die, am I going to wish I had more “friends” on Facebook? Or am I going to wish I had spent more time coloring with my daughter or reading God’s Word or ministering to those around me? Am I making time for the eternal things, for the things that will outlast Netflix and Instagram and even my piles of dirty laundry, or am I burying my head in the mire of a mediocre life when there is abundant life waiting for me?

What am I going to do about all of this? I don’t think it’s bad to watch TV, but I do think it’s bad if watching TV is how I spend the majority of my nights when I could have been using the time to pursue godliness. So instead, I’m going to focus on being more intentional with my evenings. Charlotte is in bed by 8:00 p.m., Lord willing, so I have a solid 2 hours to spend writing or reading or cultivating relationships. I’m not going to change the world in those 2 hours, but I can certainly work on my little slice of it.

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

Beauty in the Broken

running shoes

Confession time: I feel a little sad every time I wear these shoes. I bought them while training for the St. Jude half marathon and then only a few weeks later had to stop running altogether because of problems with my hip. When I wear these shoes, they’re a reminder of what I didn’t accomplish. They’re a reminder of a dream unfulfilled (I know, it’s so unfair to my poor shoes to put such a weight on them!). I look wistfully at social media posts of runners posting about their latest run or their most recent race experience, and I remember when I used to do those things. Now I think of my running in the past tense. I WAS a runner.

It’s been 6 months since my last run. I don’t know when I will be able to run again, as I’m currently dealing with pain in both of my hips, pain that I experience with simple tasks like walking around the grocery store or sitting at my desk at work. It’s very tempting to live in a place of negativity and to let reminders of what I can’t do stagnate me. But I can’t let my discouragement about my health shape how I approach all parts of my life. I have to place my hope in what I know to be a strong and true foundation. Ultimately, all of our bodies are broken, and they will let us all down some day. So while my flesh and my heart may fail, I must let God be the strength of my heart and my portion forever. I must choose joy. I must choose hope. I must choose gratitude. I will ask God to redeem what is broken and make it beautiful.

And the next time I wear these shoes, they will remind me to be grateful for the body I have, for the legs and feet that support me, and for the faith that keeps me walking when I’d rather just give up.

Psalm 147:3: He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.