I didn't know who I was anymore. I didn't know if I'd ever write again, or take pictures again. I didn't know if I'd ever work again. I didn't know if I'd ever make it through a day without feeling sheer terror again. I told my husband several times to leave me so that he could have a better life. I told him that I was sucking the life out of him. He believed for the two of us that the woman he married would come back to him again. The woman who cooked for him, laughed with him, had a sparkle in her eye, loved him deeply, spent hours writing on her blog, and took pictures in order to capture the beauty of nature and architecture and other subjects. The woman who could read her Bible without crying and feeling condemned. I thought I was doomed to be an invalid for the rest of my life. There were days when I got home that all I had the physical and mental strength to do was take a shower and pass out on the couch for the rest of the day. I looked through old Facebook photos and didn't understand how the woman who threw her husband a 30th Birthday Bash in May, complete with several friends, old fogie attire, and dozens of homemade cupcakes with hot dog gummy candy on top could have disappeared so fast.
The illness that hijacked my mind was threatening to kill me, and I was quickly slipping away. I could barely hold a conversation without feeling overwhelmed, frequently zoned out, and constantly felt like I was jumping out of my own skin. I was heavily medicated in order to sleep as I tried to drown out the screams of those who were much sicker than I was. It was torture. I missed my husband, and he was working 12 hour shifts and was two hours away. I used my calling card to hear his voice at night, and I would cry on the other end of the line. He fought for me, even when I was a shell of the woman I was before.
He took me home when I was still too sick to take care of myself. He loved me unconditionally when I was utterly unloveable and emotionally unpredictable. He made the decision that we should buy a house and move to the town about 12 minutes away from where we were renting a 550 square foot home. A town that had a grocery store and our bank, and other places I could walk to when I felt the need to get out and run errands. He bought a house that he knew would help pull me back into the land of creativity, and decorating, and writing, and organizing our finances. A house that has been the first place we've been able to call home since we were married in 2009. A house that he went to the bank for a mortgage pre-approval for alone while I hid under the covers in bed and cried. I was the financial planner of our household, but the thought of buying a house was more than I could fathom at the moment. He walked out the door with the folder I had mustered up the energy to organize for him with his paycheque stubs and other necessary documents. He walked out the door afraid. He had no idea what he was doing as far as mortgages went, but he knew what he was doing was best for us, even though I didn't understand that at the time. He made the decision to walk away from the lot we'd bought in the town we were currently living in. He made the decision to buy instead of build. He made the decisions when I was at times incapable of making the smallest decisions. Even picking out clothes in the morning was overwhelming at the time.
As I walked upstairs tonight in our new house to begin writing again after deciding the pain of depression and loss and grieving what was was no longer going to hold me back from speaking out in love to those who also walk through deep valleys, I stopped to admire the door frame as I walked into our office. There were sections where the white paint had worn down and old paint was showing through. Sections of brown. Glorious remnants of history in an old house that I have fallen in love with because my husband chose to give me the gift of space and freedom and beauty when I couldn't comprehend that what he was doing was best for us. I paused to feel pure joy welling up in my heart as I thanked Jesus for the sweet gift of this house and a husband who honors his wedding vows. How much more has Jesus given all of us the gift of beauty and freedom and love even when we couldn't comprehend what he has done for us. I was sick, and now I'm not. I was lost and I've found my voice again. Through the broken memories, shattered dreams, and nightmares of what has happened, ashes have been traded for beauty as my heart slowly begins to heal.
Healing is a sweet gift. If you don't know who you are anymore, let others remind you. When you're lost, let love find you. You can survive the seasons of tragedy that threaten the very core of who you are. You can walk out with courage, and hope, and realize that you are stronger in Jesus and in the love of others than you ever were before. You can let your heart begin to melt and your smile will begin to creep up on you in life's littlest moments until you realize you are able to feel joy again and you are just so happy to be alive. I am privileged to journey through healing with you. I am privileged to be loved.
How has love sustained you in times of loss and struggle?