I had become very familiar with the carpet on the bathroom floor. The gray-blue color, the places where the thread was worn and pulled and torn.
The small bathroom tucked away in the back corner of an empty room at work had become a sanctuary. A quiet place where I could retreat and hide. Like an old friend, it welcomed me with arms wide open every time I needed it.
And six years ago, I needed it often.
In the darkest season of my life, when I found myself at times unable to breathe and unable to stand up straight, all I could do was collapse on that bathroom floor in pain, weeping into the already tear-stained carpet.
No one around me knew what I was going through, and I wanted it that way. I was too prideful to let anyone in, to let anyone know that I was not okay. I suffered silently and alone, completely shattered.
The world seemed dark and bleak, tinted by the lenses of grief and heartache and depression.
It did not seem possible for things to ever get better, and a sense of hopelessness left me feeling weak and isolated and weary.
Six years ago.
When I was in the depths of my suffering, my vision was clouded. I wondered out loud everyday “God, where are you?” He felt distant, and I felt forgotten. It seemed as though I was stumbling around in the dark, desperately reaching out for something to hold on to, yet my hands remained empty. The lies from the enemy told me that I was not loved, that this was my fate in life. That God in His disappointment and anger had turned away from me, leaving me reeling and without any remnant of solid ground to stand on.
I was searching for Him, but I was convinced He was not there.
I knew all the good Christian things to do. Read the word more, pray more, encourage myself in the Lord more. But I was in a season of life where I could not do those things. I did not feel like I had one single ounce of strength left after just getting out of bed every morning. I looked at my closed Bible, knowing I should be reading, but feeling too weak to even turn the pages. I opened my mouth to pray and instead found myself in tears. My voice trembled, barely a whisper, as I tried to speak life over my situation.
But one night as I lay in bed, a scripture suddenly came to my mind:
The Lord is my rock, my shepherd, my deliverer.
I can remember putting those words on repeat in my spirit that night, begging myself to believe and to know:
The Lord is my rock, my shepherd, my deliverer. The Lord is my rock, my shepherd, my deliverer.
And in the morning when I opened my eyes, another scripture was on my mind:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.
And as the day went on, scripture after scripture flooded my soul:
His mercies are new every morning.
Take heart. I have overcome the world.
He always provides a way of escape.
When I could not do it on my own, the words of Life that were already rooted inside of me came springing up. They overflowed inside of me, filling every corner of my mind and giving me something stable to rest my head on.
I cannot really remember the exact day that I knew things were starting to get better. There was not a specific moment when the weight was completely lifted off my shoulders or the pain was no longer unbearable. There was not one special prayer or church service or altar call that changed everything.
All I can tell you is that little by little, as the word of God continued to infiltrate every part of my brokenness, it was easier to put one foot in front of the other. Little by little, I cried less and laughed more. Little by little, one day at a time, my heart was healed.
The darkness was lifted, and when it was, I saw Him more clearly than I ever had before.
I saw that there is no pain or suffering so deep that His love will not meet you there.
I saw that His goodness is an anchor that will sustain you in every situation in life.
I saw how He held me in my pain and collected every tear that I cried. And when I thought that the pain was destroying me, He was indeed rescuing me. Every single day. Refusing to let me fall.
Loving me. Holding me. Saving me. Over and over and over again.
Six years ago, it hurt to breathe.
Six years ago, I did not want to wake up in the morning.
But today, I have peace. Today, joy is the undercurrent of my heart.
And to whoever out there needs to hear this – you are going to be okay, too.
I know it feels impossible. I know that you cannot imagine a day where the hurt does not overtake you or when your heart is not broken. The day when hopelessness no longer makes your chest tighten or makes you feel sick to your stomach.
But I promise, there will be a day when you look back on this moment of your life and feel nothing but waves of deep gratitude and appreciation for the way that Christ in His unchanging and never ending love picked you up and set your feet back on solid ground.
Please hear me. Whatever your current situation is, however helpless it may seem, God is near to you. He is making a way where there does not seem to be a way. He is faithful to rescue and deliver and save and love. Your mountains are powerless before Him.
Hang in there, friend. Help is on the way.
And while things may not change immediately, and you might have to sit with the pain for a little while longer, please know that Jesus loves you so dearly and sits with you right in the middle of it all. And He alone satisfies every need. He binds up every wound. He pours wells of living water into your thirsty and broken soul. He is your dwelling place. He is your peace.
He holds you, sings over you, weeps with you, rejoices in you, and sustains you in the midst of it all.
Hold on to the promise that your Good Shepherd will ensure your safe return.
And know that the day is coming when you will laugh again, love again, smile again, be free again.
I know all too well that sometimes the pain can be so deep. But oh my friend, His love runs deeper.
Cling to it with me.