Hello, I've been gone for awhile. Not for any 'one' particular reason, but a conglomerate of reasons--namely, Joshua, Soph, Wes, Jeremiah and Owen. Oh, and the hubs and homeschooling have had me busy, too. And let's not forget the snow. The snow has gotten us all a bit out of our routine. In a good way, though. Practices and events have been cancelled and we have gotten to hang out more at home--one of the very reasons I love snow days!
Anyway, today is a difficult day because it marks the anniversary of my mother's death two years ago. I have been anticipating it for a couple of weeks now. Each day that comes, I remember what I was doing on that day leading up to today two years ago. These days have been marred with discouraging thoughts. I have been having to keep my mind focused on God's promises and His truth while the enemy throws every discouraging thing he can think of at me. His tactics never change, do they? His main artillary is discouragement.
This day has snuck up on me. It just hit me last night that today was 'the day'...the snow had gotten my days off a bit. Because of that, I just feel kind of 'unfeeling' at the moment. Ever feel that way? When something hasn't completely hit you yet?
My Oswald devotional, though, was very fitting for this morning. And I know that I will be able to draw on it today and in the days to come when I have moments of sadness. It is centered around 1 Kings 19:5 which simply says 'Arise and eat.' In this passage, Elijah has been fleeing for his life. After being in the desert for a full day, he lays down under a tree and pleads to God to take his life. You see, Elijah has come to the end of his rope. The circumstances of his life have overtaken him. He is in an all out depression and he's ready to throw in the towel.
So, you'd think God would come to Elijah at this moment with some glorious vision or a pep talk of all pep talks from the angelical hosts, right? My sports-centered mind is envisioning the locker room scene in 'Hoosiers' or 'Facing the Giants'. I mean this guy needs some serious rallying right about now.
But God doesn't do that at all. He sends an angel who touches him and simply says, 'Arise and eat.'
Oswald goes on to say this:
'The angel in this passage did not give Elijah a vision, or explain the Scriptures to him, or do anything remarkable. He simply told Elijah to do a very ordinary thing, that is, to get up and eat. If we were never depressed, we would not be alive--only material things don't suffer depression. If human beings were not capable of depression, we would have no capacity for happiness and exaltation. There are things in life that are designed to depress us; for example, things that are associated with death. Whenever you examine yourself, always take into account your capacity for depression.
When the Spirit of God comes to us, He does not give us glorious visions, but He tells us to do the most ordinary things imaginable. Depression tends to turn us away from the everyday things of God's creation. But whenever God steps in, His inspiration is to do the most natural, simple things--things we would never have imagined God was in, but as we do them we find Him there. The inspiration that comes to us in this way is an initiative against depression. But when the Spirit of God leads us instinctively to do something, the moment we do it the depression is gone. As soon as we arise and obey, we enter a higher plane of life.'
There are two things that were affirming to me in this devotional. The first is the fact that it is okay to be depressed and sad. Did you hear that? IT IS OKAY TO BE SAD! It is a completely normal emotion! This is refreshing to me because sometimes people, in their humanness, make you feel like you are doing something wrong. That you are not being strong or something. Or that you are not being 'spiritual' enough; you know, rising above the pain. Also, I think it just makes people uncomfortable and they don't know how to respond. It's easier for them if you are not struggling with anything. The fact is, though, sometimes you are going to be depressed--it is just a part of the struggle of living in this world where we have to experience loss, pain and death. Yes, through God's supernatural, unexplained ways we can experience peace, strength and even joy amidst our sadness. But the sadness doesn't just go away--you have to go through it.
Secondly, I could relate to the simplicity of 'get up and eat.' Even when we are sad, discouraged or depressed, if we choose to continue to trudge through our mundane tasks, often we are able to shake off the sadness. God meets us in our day-in, day-out jobs and we are able to experience Him. He gets our focus off of our pain and onto our work.
Today, I will trudge through and I will in faith believe that God is going to meet me where I am and give me His peace and joy. Even if I have moments of sadness, that is okay. I am human.