Dark Days: Finding Footholds in Troubled Times

I need to write. I need to write because if I do that, maybe the screams that sit just beneath my vocal chords will fall back into the pit in my stomach. Maybe the depression that weighs on my physical brain and all it’s attempts to be positive will lift and float away like Pooh’s little black rain cloud. Maybe, just maybe, I can write away the reality of the evil in my world that has become my personal tornado, blinding me with stinging sands  and sucking me into fear of uncertainty. I want to write the chaos into calm.

John 14

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

I’m sure you relate. You can plug your own story into the print, because we suffer in the same way.  Situations differ, but not the consequences of living in a fallen world with fallible people and failing bodies.

Stress, self-imposed or placed upon us, wreaks havoc on our physical, mental and emotional selves. When unchecked, it erupts like the scalding, poisonous lava from the Mountain of Resentment.  Sadly, that angry river of lava holds the heat for years!  It sears the words we speak into the minds of those we love. The smoke blinds our way to the rational path of sanity. The more we suck in the poisonous gases and ash of our own meltdown the more toxic we grow. Depression grows in the desolation left behind.  How toxic are your thoughts, your words?

Psalm 94

17 Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. 18 When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your love, O LORD, supported me. 19 When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul. 

I’ve been front-line parenting for a long time since we have children from 12 to 28.  We will be old before we experience empty nesting.   I have seen such a disintegration of society during my active years of parenting, that when I summarize it in my psyche, it resembles a dark and twisted sci-fi flick from childhood.  What once would have been the far out imaginings of an author are now the news headlines, playing out in real life before our eyes.   While taking in the horrific atrocities occurring daily throughout our world, combined with the realization that I am watching crime shows depicting gruesome rapes and murders for nightly “entertainment” , I feel the wind pick up.  The skies of my complacent day turn threatening and I want to gather my young and run for the basement. Our spiritual/mental/emotional well being ….. our innocence is at stake. As a military and law enforcement family, our very existence is threatened. I am grieved that my grandbabies will never experience the level of freedom we enjoyed throughout our childhoods.

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Helen Lemmel 1922

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s a light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conquerors we are

His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

Discouragement seeps under the door of my fortress as I realize my mother’s love, my grandmother’s love, is not enough. Regret for all the failures, from becoming inpatient with a toddler to major deficits in sound parenting with teenagers, flood in. The Father of Lies doesn’t whisper but screams “you haven’t done enough, you haven’t been enough, and any bad that visits them will be because somewhere, you failed.” The tornado grows in strength, engulfs me and I digress.  Which of Satan’s lies are you listening to?

Ephesians 6
10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 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. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

I beg God when I don’t ignore him.  I’ve developed a spiritual bipolarity where I can lift my hands in praise one moment and be angry at Him in the next.  I feel HIS joy.  I feel HIS presence.  I feel MY sadness.  I feel MY pain.  Guilt is a byproduct of my flimsy spiritual backbone.  I kick myself for stepping out of His Word and what I know to be true, to mentally explore the possibilities of our present times.  I have grown acutely aware that while I know I don’t  grasp how high and how wide and how deep my Fathers love for me is (Ephesians 3:18), I also can’t comprehend the evil Satan injects into the hearts of men.  Oh, how I am grieved.  If, as a mere human being, I feel this way…how does my Lord and Savior feel?  How does this pervasive evil grieve HIM?  How does my spiritual bipolarity break HIS heart?

Romans 5

8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

I will run to him like the prodigal I am every time I find myself squandering away his riches of peace and safety in the city of my sinful thought life.   I will run to him every time I wake up in the squalid conditions of fear, anxiety and distrust.  I will run to him.

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