Stars shine bright into the bedroom I now share with my husband and son. Our bed is pushed up against the corner. Our feet are hemmed in by stacks of boring brown boxes. One fella snores. The other steals my pillow and presses his hot feet against my leg. Anguish keeps me awake. Tears wet my cheeks. And sleep evades.
I stumble down the hall, literally feeling my way in a strange house. I slowly realize that the walls and roof covering my sleeping husband and son aren’t the only things keeping me weary, wondering, and crying. Shrouded in a veil of depression, I lift the corner just a bit. I know what must be done. The living room windows offer starlight and I find my way to the computer, drag a chair over, and wait for a connection.
Because disconnection has been my dark brewed tea for a few weeks, I know in order to drink of joy, I must ask others to take a sip from my cup. Asking for prayer for anyone or anything other than my sorry little self is easy. Bending knee for family, friends, strangers is doable. But asking others to do sit at my table, drink of my concoction, lighten my load, and plead to God, all on my behalf, that is a hard invitation to deliver. I plunk out a plea and hit “send” before praying my way down the hallway and back into bed.
Morning dawned, like it always does. A ten-acre tall slope covered in golden rough grass swayed and swished in the wind. My eyeballs have not adjusted to seeing golden and brown, where lush green ferns and moss once abounded out my windows. God, my family is together again, why can’t I find enough peace in that? Why am I feeling selfish for wanting my western Oregon home, for wanting my neighbors-my friends, for wanting my yard with plenty of room for boy and dogs to run and roam, for wanting my home with walls that know me, for wanting to touch the folded hands of friends who pray and laugh with me…
My mood improved as the day birthed and grew into evening. With trepidation, I checked my email, some of the ladies got my plea and started praying right there in emails. Words of encouragement were laced with love. Scripture references were placed in my open hand and heart-felt prayers shot heavenward and me-ward as I read what they where praying. Thank you, Lord. You know that I have been in the pits of depression, struggling with unseen giants that bind and gag and trick and lie. You also know that I am a Believer now. I wasn’t then. I didn’t ask for help. From others. Or from You. Thankfully, that is different now.
Another day flittered onto the scene with the snowflakes dancing down with random raindrops. What happened? Where did my lightened mood disappear to now? Oh, help me, Lord. I want my son to be okay. I don’t want him sad because I am sad. Help me be the woman, the wife, and the mother You want me to be. Sunlight fades faster here. Darkness comes sooner. Husband leaves in the dark. Comes home in the dark. Wife is living in the dark. Trying hard to pretend otherwise.
Son calls old neighbors to hear familiar voices filled with love. To ask about his chicken that they adopted. To ask about mushrooming. To tell about the bear in the creek. To tell about the cougar in the yard last night. No answer. Not two seconds after putting the phone down, it rings. He grabs it for me. I answer. “Hello” twice comes from my mouth before I hear her.
A stranger. Talking fast. At first confusing me with what she knows. Then like a dim light at the dark end of the trail, her fast pace slows enough for me to follow.
Some time ago when summer heat shone down, gardens grew, and peonies bloomed, I had sent her a note. A card. And a photo. Encourage her–God told me to do it. Love her–He instructed me as I penned a note. Give something of yourself to her–my Father put upon my heart.
Now, out of the darkness, she was there in the strange bedroom talking into my ear. Chattering about what I had done for her, did she realize what she was doing for me? At that very instant? Connecting with a sense of long-nourished friendship. Creating a sisterhood in Christ’s light. Calming my heart with motherly balm.
She shared her triumphs. Her joys. Her good news.
Her happiness flooded into my marrow and replaced my soggy-with-sadness sorrows. In those precious moments, she and I connected. We held hands across miles and the borders of our countries.
She asked how she could pray for me. Then, she was silent. She listened, I mean, really listened while I opened my heart. It felt good to pour off some of the anxiety. She took it in her precious hands and turned it into encouragement. And most of all, she painted it with strokes of Truth. His Truth.
With a bit of wonder, I sheepishly told her that I had sent out a multi-person email prayer request a couple days prior and that I had sent one to her daughter. Immediately she told me that she knew nothing of it. That God had orchestrated her call at just the right time. Oh, God, You are good. Thank you.
I blabbered and carried on like a stream routing out a path in the desert. I felt like a fool and I admitted it. I wanted to sound eloquent and good with words. I wanted her to think I was something. Something I wasn’t really. Mingled with her shared scripture was a kind laugh and ease of conversation. When I told her I felt like a “loon” cuz I couldn’t think of all the right things to say, she said, “That is okay. God loves us loons just the same.”
She shared how finding my phone number and calling me were way out of character for her. She was nervous. And wondered what I would think.
What do I think? I think that our conversation was warm and honest and full of love. His love shared between two sisters in Christ. Two women that God saw fit to unite at just the right times. First, I ministered to her. Second, she ministered to me. And in the middle of it all? God. His glory. His infinite wisdom.
“wait in expectation of the good that is coming…”
~ my new friend said to me the other night
To those praying for me, my family, and our discombobulated situation, thank you. God is bigger than all of this uncertainty. He is holding my hand. And my heart. He is here in the midst of this stinky house, in the yard traipsed by a cougar, in the muddle of stacked boxes, underneath this veil of depression, and on that sloped brown hill looming outside my window.
He is good.
He is my light in darkness.