I am incredibly honored to feature my very first guest blogger. My dear friend Sherry has been going through an incredibly difficult time in her life and asked if she could preserve the experience here on Keeping the Flame. I am proud to be her friend, and to feature her empowering journey.
Today I graduated! This is my celebratory treat.
I graduated from my intensive therapy treatment program.
You see, many of you don’t know this, but I enrolled myself into treatment a month ago after being pushed into the coldest and darkest pit I’ve ever seen. A place so dark that I could not see the way out. I couldn’t see my family or my friends. I couldn’t see God. I just simply couldn’t see.
It was dark. Very dark. I found myself struggling to breathe, struggling to move, and struggling to face the day. I struggled to find a reason to keep going.
I had never been in this place before and I did not know how to maneuver it.
I gave up. Twice. I gave up on my family, my friends, my God, and myself.
It seemed as if nothing and no one could get me out of this dark pit. But Jesus did! And treatment helped.
I had spent so much time crying out to God and not hearing Him that I thought I needed something else.
But the problem wasn’t not hearing from God. It was me. (Isn’t that a surprise!).
I was not ready to listen. Time and time again, God has instructed us to “be still.” However, when you are in the darkest pit of your life and do not see a way out, being “still” seems impossible.
It took two hospital visits and seeing my family gathered around my bed for me to finally see a light.
I was ashamed. How could I, the girl that lost everything to gain Jesus, how could I be in this pit? How could I let a man ever push me in this pit? How could I doubt the Lord’s promises to me?
And there, in the lowest, coldest, and darkest place I have ever been, I could finally see. I found the way out.
I had the answer all along but I was too busy wanting instant resolution to see Him. For Jesus was in that pit with me all along but I was not ready to be still and see Him.
I was not ready to know that He was there with me. I did not want to know.
I wanted my life back.
I wanted the beautiful wedding that I had finished planning. I wanted the future that we had planned: the husband that I saw in my fiancé, the careers that we discussed, and the family that we dreamed of. I wanted us.
But that was not the plan anymore. And I did not want to accept it.
I did not want to accept my new future. The new future without the man that I loved and agreed to spend the rest of my life with.
I could not accept him asking me to marry him, planning our wedding with me, and then deciding that he “didn’t feel the way [he] wanted to feel towards the woman [he] was going to marry.”
It hit me hard. It confused me immensely. His answers were not sufficient for me.
But now that I can see through the tears, I can’t imagine a future with him.
While I was in this pit, which I know now is called depression, I learned a lot about myself and about God. I learned about grief and why I was going through these emotions.
First, depression is a very real and very dark place to be. Many people struggle with it daily. I was struggling with it because it was part of my grieving process, grieving the loss of the future that we planned.
Often times, family members and friends do not understand depression and that’s normal.
It’s hard to understand why someone does not want to get out of bed, why sleeping is appealing, why talking to your best friends is hard, or why being alone is the easiest and most comfortable feeling. And a depressed person doesn’t understand either.
But hear me say this—that person does not want to be there.
I learned that the easiest, and sometimes the best thing that others can do is to just sit in silence and be there. Talking is difficult and most of the time, we don’t know what we want to say or how to say it, so…just sit in silence and be there.
There will be a time for talking.
Second, if you are a busy bee like myself, finding time for yourself is almost impossible. But it can be done. When you are in this pit, it has to be done. You need it.
For me, it meant withdrawing from law school, temporarily, so that I could focus on me. I could focus on my health.
Withdrawing from school was THE most difficult part of this process. I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer. It’s always been my dream and now it seemed to be just that, a “dream” and not reality. I was crushed.
It was significantly difficult to watch everyone move on when I had not. I was left behind. But in this time of watching everyone move forward, watching everyone have fun, and watching them succeed without me, I learned something about myself.
I remembered that I was happy before I started my relationship and I could be happy again without it.
I found hope.
Lastly, but most importantly, being still is not as easy as it sounds. And just because you cannot hear God does not mean that He is not there.
More likely than not, you can’t hear Him because you are not making time for Him, you are not ready to listen, you are not ready to “be still.”
God promises to never abandon us. As a matter of fact, we know that the Psalms tell us that He is “an ever-present help in trouble,” yet, its hard to “be still” and to know that God is present during those troubled times.
Why isn’t He making it go away? I found it difficult to accept that the all-powerful God would not make this go away for me.
However, in my immaturity I realized that He IS making it go away.
Everyday I wake up and feel a bit stronger. I am healthier. I laugh. I smile. And I am beginning to heal, slowly albeit, but healing.
He was doing something! I just could not see it because it was not the something that I longed for.
That was the problem! (I was the problem.)
I wanted it to go away by getting my fiancé back, but God made it go away by not giving him back to me.
Now that I am healthy, laughing and getting back to who I am, I have learned that I AM enough. For the right person, I am enough.
I want to thank my family for loving me through this. I thank my sisters for always being patient and encouraging. And my best friends, to whom I owe everything. I love you.
“Harmony will prevail. After darkness, there will be light. The light cannot come without the darkness. Better days are bound to come now.” ― Sook Nyul Choi