It's not been an easy week. :) I felt so oppressed that I just wanted to turn off and never turn back on again.
The call to suicide has come haunting me a lot this past week - since writing blog #5. I've found less worth in the eyes of loved ones, and I also arrived at a place where I just could not be bothered hoping for anything anymore. I had, I now like to say, gotten to the end of my 'hope rope.'
On Sunday morning, I attended a church I'd never been to before, at the request of two dear friends - who threatened me with kidnapping if I didn't go. ;) In worship, after a week of heaviness and finding less worth, I realised God was trying to show me that I was looking for my identity and worth in Him in "man's" opinions and reactions and actions, again...without realising it. I was using my natural eyes to see spiritual matters, and it was backfiring on me. (More on that another time.)
On Sunday, in that church I'd never been to before, the visiting preacher called me out to be prayed for. He declared that God was planting hope into my soul, and it would grow. Then stated that God delights in me when I walk in hope.
If you haven't heard it from my lips before, or read it in some of my writing somewhere, my favourite word is hope. It's what I believe God impressed upon my heart years ago, that I was to offer to those who cared to listen to what I have to say, or to know me. (see also my blog "To drink from your cup.") So I was thrilled to hear that word - especially after arriving at the end of the hope rope.
Hope is a very good thing, as far as I'm concerned. :)
You see, when I cried out to God for help 21+ years ago, I did so when I was longing to suicide. I had a daughter at the time, whom I couldn't leave behind, nor dare to take with me, so suicide was out and God was my last choice. Suicide comes to those who have no hope left... so to fill me with hope, so others may drink of it, makes sense, for they will hear it more clearly when they know I've also sipped from the cup of suicide... However, because I was living to please man rather than God most of the time - even as a Christian, without realising it - faith stumbled, allowing hope to slip from my grasp. Bit by bit life chipped away at my heart, taking hope from me, and now here God was/is seeking to restore hope to me, yet again. Only, I believe, this time it won't be taken from me because I've learned (the hard way) to heed the voice of God over the opinion and judgement of man.
Anyway, on the Sunday night, returning to that church, to the same visiting preacher, I, along with several others, was prayed for, seeking healing and release from anxiety and stress. Which I trust, will lead to my eyebrows returning! lol (See blog #4)
That night I went to bed with peace... within the following 3 hours, when it came clear to me that sleep was not going to be mine that night, I felt oppressed for the umpteenth time this week. It was as though hope had leapt out of the window and left me to wrestle with stress and anxiety. I finally fell asleep after 5, only to wake four more times before having to get out of bed at 7, during which time I dreamed of aliens and the power I had over them with my words... lol. Craziest dream I've ever had, I'm sure...
Monday was a "fun day" due to being so tired, and come today, Tuesday, I felt as though I was still wrestling with stress and anxiety, as well as frustration and what felt like pure hatred.
This evening, (it's presently 8:23pm) I shared with my hubby that I was feeling oppressed - and this after I sent out a prayer request to a couple of friends over this matter. I couldn't turn off my thoughts but I soooo wanted to. I tried writing here, again and again, only to end up feeling worse. I was so over it... I was going to go to bed early and just try to turn off for awhile, but sat down on the lounge with Tim while he watched a movie, soon moving to lay on his lap with his hand on my face. lol... What can I say, it proved to be highly soothing - the only thing that was. As I lay there, I asked that the Holy Spirit would lead me to whatever it was I needed to read, thinking of the Bible. Actually, it was a prayer, but may have sounded more like nagging, whingeing and whining. ;)
During this time on the lounge, with one daughter and one son in the room, also, there was a bit of lightheartedness going on every now and then, especially when daughter was curious over "dad's" hand on "mum's" face :) and this humour proved to soothe me, also... but I still could feel the oppression and shared with Tim, again, how I was feeling...to which he said something like, "Sounds like The Dark Night of the Soul that Richard Rohr speaks about... A time when God is working on you in order to deal with your ego-" or something like that... Well, that had my attention... Tim then had to go pick up another son, so daughter and I went for a drive, too, and, while doing so, I used my 'smart phone' to Google info on what Tim was talking about...
Before I found it, though, my daughter pointed out the song playing on the radio at that time....and I must share that with you now. You see, I heard this song for the first time today. I had to pick daughter up from school 3 1/2 hours earlier than I normally do and, while driving, I had the Christian radio on and this song started playing, with the line, "I'm still awake tonight...broken up inside..." catching my attention, and that because I was feeling somewhat troubled inside, but mainly because it had me thinking, "I could've used this song on Sunday night!" when I couldn't sleep.
And how great is it that I heard it for the first time today, and again tonight for the second time, while in the car - the only place I listen to the radio...unless I can't sleep and the earphone goes in! What's the odds! :)
But after hearing it twice, I just had to share it... especially because it was used to bring me peace and hope. And that when I sang, for the first time, "If you can [do all that!!!] I know you can change my life!"
After I'd listened to it tonight, I continued to Google for 'The Dark Night' info, and this is what I found: "A Dark Night of the Soul is a Period When God Works Deep Inside You." Unfortunately, I don't have the right to copy any of that blog, but the link should take you to it if you care to check it out.
Before I say anymore, though, may I encourage you to read the HOME PAGE of that site if you are troubled by the word 'mysticism' and 'neomysticism'. Many of you will be fine with it, but some may mishear it as 'new age' or something like that. And it's not what the guy's on about. He has faith in Jesus... God knows my first impression was not to keep reading beyond that word, but I'm so glad I did, because he touches on what I'm going through!! Besides, the guy who owns the blog writes on his home page that the name 'neomysticism' has caused him a few problems, and apparently is planning on changing it...
Upon reading about this, I felt soothed in my soul and a great hope grew within me, which was instantly followed by a greater trust for God.
God was still with me. God was still in control. God was still working on and with me - and it had to do with finding my true identity!
I cannot tell you how swiftly the sense of being oppressed (or extremely anxious) slipped away upon hearing of this, with hope taking its place...
To know that I've not being missing God, to know that it's not the enemy attacking me, to know that God is still in control, even in this place, is so soothing to my soul. And to know that this is to do with finding my true self, my true identity, and a greater intimacy with God, brings far more joy than I could ever explain or express.
God is good, isn't He!!! :)
Oh, I just remembered what I said to Tim to bring on his response, "It sounds like The Dark Night of the Soul that Richard Rohr (a Franciscan priest) talks about." I said, "I'm starting to think the dumbest thing I've ever done is set out to find my true identity and worth in God... because I've been feeling oppressed ever since..." :) I just didn't realise the 'oppression' had so much to do with my own ego being dealt with. :) And I know now that it's not the dumbest, but quite possibly the smartest thing I've ever done. :)
Anyway, before I go, I just want to say, don't mishear what this is about. Don't let the word that guy used -'mysticism' - freak you out.
What he is saying, and where I know I'm at, is not about moving away from God, but getting closer to Him. And it's definitely not about stepping around Jesus!!! Jesus remains Lord and Saviour... And I am trusting the following blogs I post, from experience, will show I mean that with all my heart. :)
Tonight, after what felt like a major wrestle in the spirit, after feeling "oppressed" so many times this week, after struggling with writing, patience, loving and everything else - including harmony with God, I can tell you, upon learning that God is still in control and this is more about ego than enemy, and it is about finding my identity in Him and getting rid of a false me - that lived as a man-pleaser to certain degrees throughout my life - I am experiencing far more peace, and love for God and Jesus, than I have for some time now. :) And THAT is a good thing.
God bless. :) And peace to your soul. xxxxxx
Our God is an awesome God...and it is my desire - more than ever now - to glorify His precious name, and His precious Son, for as long as I live...and beyond...! :)