The calendars were thrown away and the new year came and, just like always, I did not think about the old until the new was firmly tacked up on the wall.
I don’t want to share everything about 2010. Just one thing. The one I have not written about yet and that will probably help what I’ve written in the past to make more sense. I don’t like posts that seem depressing, which is why I’ve skipped this one. But it isn’t really depressing, despite being about depression. Its really about hope and joy and lots of laughter. I promise.
Its the one thing that made last year blare out–like a roman candle exploding before you step back.
Years are like firecrackers.
Some singe the eyebrows. None go off exactly alike.
This one burned deeper and the lights at the end lit up the sky.
In the middle of the cold winter, January of last year, a darkness exploded, which it can, and covered my faith and my moments in fog and I go back to the black ink in my old journal because it tells me more than I remember myself.
About the terror that I felt when it first came, how fragile I felt, and how I couldn’t talk myself out of it. It tells me that I was so tired I felt I could not move some mornings and how I wept because, earlier, I had written in the early light of January
“I will not turn. I will not flee the barrenness. I will face it, reach out and finger the dry sand….letting it bite my eyes and dry my mouth. No other lovers…no wine to lift the spirit. Only God”
And suddenly the barrenness was reality. The barreness of doubt and anger and a heart broken. And God seems more than light years away. And I didn’t know why it had come now, when I felt more shattered than ever before.
And never before had I reached bottom so bad, and never, especially, without any reason as to why. Which is what drove me even deeper–because I had nothing to claim as a cause, therefore I couldn’t fix it.
And I tried to answer my own doubts within my own mind and my brain sizzled and crackled and left grey fog over everything.
And I lay on my bed and clung to the cross, not because it seemed to help, but because the rough wood did not candy coat the answers.
And then I remember, on my own, how people prayed and prayed and how one day the enemy pressed so close that fear was the air, and I was too tired to fight.
And I saw myself, lying broken in a black field, laying limp,and closer and closer came the enemy and I could not get up. Weak, I turned my head from him and saw an army behind me, and the faces were beautiful with friendship, and I knew them all.
I managed to keep up with the semester, with the help of those who loved, and then, slowly, like the spring, I pushed out of the dark shadow.
I called friends, and jogged, and bought flowers and learned to let go of my need to figure everything out. I drank sunsets like jasmine tea and ate mountains like Oreo ice-cream.
I learned to let go of my frantic desire to know the purpose for the whys. I told myself did not need to see or to reason out a purpose in order to have hope.
And I learned I was more sin-crusted than I imagined.
There were months filled with picking up the pieces in prayer and learning to breathe faith again–
–and letting go
Then came the sunrise I wrote about here, and suddenly the heart cracked wider than I knew it could be, and the darkness only made the coming of the light more tangible and fierce in its beauty.
The cracking kept letting in more hope.
And I still smile, remembering one dark night, as I drove home from work in the warm moonlight, how I laughed tears of wonder, and cried joy out loud, because the theory I clung to in the darkness was no longer just a theory.
It is one thing to believe hope comes for those that touch ashes and taste barrenness–it is quite another to feel it deep.
And if the darkness lacked answers, the hope that imploded in on it was all the more unreasonable. And it was the not the hope that changed me. It was the burning and splintering that healed me.
I still don’t know what caused those months of sudden blackness. I don’t know why doubts clouded faith. Maybe I’ll never know.
But I do know that through it I discovered how deep my pride ran and a lifelong frantic need to control how others saw me.
This past year, has been for me, a loss of answers. Not much makes sense to me anymore.
But I’m closer to being okay with that now.
And I have never felt joy like I have the last 10 months since.
Esta, I have been blessed by your posts the last several months. Thank you for sharing this. Thank you for struggling. . .as Jacob strove with God and won and was named Israel. . .wow. God bless you for your honesty. Thank you for showing us that there IS joy in the morning; that though life isn’t all roses, it is still worth it to press on clinging to God. .
.when sometimes all we have is a Psalm and a prayer. . .God bless you.
Sheri Nisly said:
I am in tears… So beautifully written. I cannot thank you enough for sharing this…
I am still struggling in the dark and cannot wait for the coming of the light – more tangible and fierce in its beauty.
In the meantime I want all the cracking to make room for hope and like you said, hang onto the cross which does not candy coat answers.
You have given me fresh courage to hang in there until all the theory becomes reality afresh in my heart and there is healing through the burning and splintering. I know God is Redeemer, I have experienced that in the past, and yet when months drag on and on it is hard not to despair and wonder if he will actually bring beauty from these ashes.
from one weary pilgrim to you I simply thank you for sharing your journey…
may God bless you incredibly much with deeper and deeper revelation of his heart towards you in this coming year!
Dalton Hege said:
Esta, Thank you so much for your willingness to open your life in such a way that others are able to see the mercy and grace that Christ continues to shower on you. When we see that others struggle and come out victorious, it lifts those of us who are facing our own struggles and sheds abroad the wonderous light of hope to all those who trust in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
tears squeeze through my eyes — i could have written this — my story . . . never so broken — but i’m learning, broken is a good place to be .. .
Love your Live With Passion candle. 🙂
Amber Avery said:
Thank you, Esta. For sharing your heart, for saying what others, like me, are to afraid to.
Nastya Andreyevna said:
I came back and read this today because I needed to hear it again. I’m still in the dark, and it seems like it’s never going to end. It goes on and on, and instead of getting better, I just get more used to it. Sometimes I don’t think I’ll ever experience joy, or dawn – it’ll always be this way.
So thank you for shouting from the end of the tunnel, and for being a little light on the way. I needed this. 🙂