Looking back over the first four entries in this blog, I see that I was drawn to write about four big truths from God that can anchor our lives – especially when we are mothering through chronic illness and/or depression.
1) God will get me through this one day at a time.
2) I am precious to God.
3) It’s OK to need help.
4) Mom guilt is not from God. In Him, I can live in peace and joy.
Those are four very simple statements. They aren’t hard to understand. The concepts are easy. But do I live them out? Do they comfort me in my daily walk? Do I feel them?
When I was first fighting chronic illness and depression, the answer was always no. Intellectually, I could know that God loved me, but I didn’t feel it. There was part of me that didn’t really believe it.
What is it that keeps us from really believing truths we know? Each person’s answer is probably a little different, but for me, it has been the experiences and influences of my life that have gotten in the way. When I first started dealing with illness that didn’t get better no matter how much I prayed, I started to wonder if God really loved me, and that doubt took root in my heart. As I looked around and saw all the things other moms could do for their kids that I couldn’t, I felt I couldn’t be as valuable to God as them, and a belief in my worthlessness took hold. As years past, more and more experiences reinforced these beliefs until they became part of who I was.
I think that’s one reason Jesus said we have to become like little children to enter the kingdom of God. Children have such a simple, pure faith, and they haven’t had years of disappointments and criticism and brokenness to mess it up.
So, how do we start moving forward? How do we start restoring or learning truths that will be the bedrock of a more peaceful life?
I suggest starting with prayer and meditation on a simple truth or scripture. It’s simple, but not easy. When I am in pain or depressed, it can be hard for me to even find the mental energy to pray. When I’m hurting, I can’t feel God’s presence, and it can be hard to even put coherent thoughts together. It’s a struggle I still deal with every time a migraine comes on or I’m feeling down. But find a simple truth from God’s word that you know your heart needs, and begin asking Him to make it real to you. Ask Him to show you the lies that may be in your heart that are blocking this truth. Just take 10 minutes a day, get as comfortable as you can, and repeat a simple scripture to yourself as you slowly breathe in and out. “You are precious to me and I love you,” or “They will run and not be weary, they will walk and not faint.” God is faithful. His words will not return to you empty. It is always in His will for you to understand His truths, so you can expect answers to your prayers.
I first started this process with my therapist. (See? You’re getting free advice from all my therapy :) It was slow going at first, but eventually it was transformative. Finding the holy truths your heart needs and letting God teach them to you will lead you to Christ’s abundant life. God is still showing me attitudes and beliefs in myself that get in the way of living in His truths. Oh, and then I also start seeing them in my kids – groan! – but we’ll leave that for another time….
“Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.” Ps 119:116