daniel 6:27-27

“for He is the living God
and He endures forever;
His kingdom will not be destroyed,
His dominion will never end.
He rescues and He saves;
He performs signs and wonders
in the heavens and on the earth.”

the darkness

was all around.  nothing made me happy.  i couldn’t find happy.  there were glimmers of light.  but they were just that, glimmers.  the light crept in, brought a slight smile to my face, and then it quickly left.  the joy of my life, my husband, my children, my friends, my family, even(and this is a hard one to admit) the joy of my Lord, were all well beyond my reach.

i was in a pit.  a pit of despair.  i couldn’t see my way out.  i felt alone.  i felt sad. i felt ashamed.  i felt ashamed because the Lord had given me so much, and i felt so ungrateful.  i had been blessed with a faithful husband, three amazing children, a safe home, a phenomenal church, wonderful friends.  and every day, all i wanted to do was crawl into my bed.

the Lord did not remain silent during this time.  in fact, He often spoke very loud.  “come on kirsten.  how stupid(i am not sure if He would actually call me stupid, but it was totally warrented at the time) can you be?”, He would say.  “I am here.  right here.  see My hand reaching down to pull you out?  all you have to do is lift up your hand and take hold of Mine.  that’s all you have to do.  get it together.”    i could see His hand and i could hear His voice.  but i couldn’t move.  i had been paralyzed in my despair.

for a few months, i remained in the pit.  putting on a smile.  pretending to be happy.  i couldn’t pinpoint why i was in such a dark place.  my marriage isn’t perfect.  my finances aren’t either.  i am barren.  my children came to me from a terrible place, a future potential pit of their own.  my home is unorganized and unfinished.  but none of these things seemed to be upsetting enough to hold me down for so long.  i couldn’t figure out what in the world was wrong with me.

then it hit me, satan had gotten a hold of me.  “for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” ephesians 6:12.  yes, satan had gotten a hold of me.  he was robbing my joy.  he was pulling me down into the pit of despair and he was holding me captive there.  how long would i let him have control?

one night at church we sang, “You are the Source of life, and i can’t be left behind. no one else will do, i will take hold of You.  cause i need You Jesus to come to my rescue. where else can i go?  there’s no other name by which i am saved.  You capture me with grace, i will follow You.”  “yes Lord,” i thought.  “i need You to come to my rescue.  i need You to reach down into the pit and pull me out.”  i could picture myself in my pit,  it was so dark and i felt so hopeless and alone.

the next song.  the very next song.  “Savior, He can move the mountains.  my God is mighty to save, He is mighty to save.  forever, Author of salvation.  He rose and conquered the grave.  Jesus conquered the grave.”  are you kidding me?  seriously?  this time was meant just for me.  the Lord was speaking so clearly.

i started to feel some hope again.  but, i didn’t think i could face the climb out of my pit alone.  i wanted to ask for help.  but i didn’t know where to turn.  to whom do you divulge such information?  is there one that can be trusted to hear the anguish of the heart and at the same time withhold judgement?  i know the Lord is my only truly safe friend.  but He already knew where i was and how i felt.  i needed someone tangible.  someone whose hand i could touch and whose face i could see.  someone who could understand my heart.

dinner with a favorite friend at a favorite restaurant would prove to be the answer for the tangible help i was seeking.  i divulged slowly.  i wanted to see if she could follow where i was going.  if she could see the depth of the pain in my heart without me spewing it all over her. she sought answers to her questions of me.  she sought examples of my feelings during this dark time.  she agreed that i was in a pit.  she agreed that it was satan keeping me there.  and she prayed for me.  and she prayed for my husband.  and she prayed for my daughter.  and she prayed for my sons.  she prayed for us by name.  and as i heard her speak our names out loud, as i heard her lift them up to the Lord, i physically felt myself begin my ascent from my pit.

during my climb, the Lord reminded me of 2 timothy 1:7, “for God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of sound mind”  and for the first time He urged me to continue reading as paul shares “so do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me His prisoner. but join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, Who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. this grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

HE destroyed death.  HE brought life.  HE gave grace, before the beginning of time.  because of HIS own purpose.

HE destroyed death.  HE brought life.

He could destroy my pit.  He could bring me back to life.

last weekend i heard lamentations 3:28.  “when life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. enter the silence.  bow in prayer. don’t ask questions: wait for hope to appear.  don’t run from trouble. take it full-face. the “worst” is never the worst.”

whoa.

then i read more of lamentations 3.  i was overwhelmed.

“i’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
the taste of ashes, the poison i’ve swallowed.
i remember it all—oh, how well i remember—
the feeling of hitting the bottom.
but there’s one other thing i remember,
and remembering, i keep a grip on hope:
God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
His merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
they’re created new every morning.
how great Your faithfulness!
i’m sticking with God (i say it over and over).
He’s all i’ve got left.
God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
to the woman who diligently seeks.
it’s a good thing to quietly hope,
quietly hope for help from God.
it’s a good thing when you’re young
to stick it out through the hard times.
when life is heavy and hard to take,
go off by yourself. enter the silence.
bow in prayer. don’t ask questions:
wait for hope to appear.
don’t run from trouble. take it full-face.
the “worst” is never the worst.
why? because the Master won’t ever
walk out and fail to return.
if He works severely, He also works tenderly.
His stockpiles of loyal love are immense.”

even typing it now, i am overwhelmed. i feel like i am out of the pit.  i am not far from it.  but, i am out of it.  i am standing on the edge.  but, i am out of it.  i can see its’ depth.  but, i am out of it.

Jesus has destroyed death.  Jesus has brought life.

and for the first time in a long time, i am looking forward to a new morning tomorrow.  “God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, His merciful love couldn’t have dried up.  they’re created new every morning.  great is Your faithfulness” lamentations 3:22-23.