This week the recurring thought that keeps rising has been the thought of how as Christian women our lives are so complex and how joy and depression almost in a parallel rhythm run alongside each other. If we are aware and obedient, we can still see the glimpse of beaming light that God is shining through. But we have to make a choice to be fully present at the moment with sober bodies, open hearts, and fresh eyes to see Him show up.
I know that you might be going through a hard time, and you might not be able to see clearly nor see the light for that matter. Maybe even getting out of bed right now is difficult but I want to tell you that you reading this right now is not a mistake.
Not because of me but because God is still with you trying to point you towards His Word, and if you start looking at your day I am certain that he will soon give you a new sight to see Him clearly again, even though the tears.
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)
Two years ago after being in the midst of major depression, when my medication was no longer working, and suicidal thoughts tormented me. I decided that I had to take my journey with God to a different level because the alternative would have ended up being the end of me. All the negative thoughts seemed to hit me in waves and I held on to the Lord as my only lifeline, and I am happy to report that I am at a completely healthy place.
One of the resources that I found that I was blessed by was Corri Ten Boom’s story; she was a Dutch girl who during World War II had been captured with her family and taken into a concentration camp; after hiding Jewish neighbors in her home from the Nazis. A Dutch informant had informed the authorities of her family’s whereabouts. In the book “ The Hiding Place” she recalls her experience with her sister Betsie when they were sent to the infamous Ravensbruck concentration camp in Germany.
When they arrived, Betsie thanked God for everything including the fleas. Corri recalls being able to thank God for being with her sister, for her Bible and for the other women that were with her, but she could not get herself to thank God for the fleas.
Corri and Betsie knew how desperate the situation was, and how the other women in the camp needed to hear, that God had not forgotten about them. So they wanted to hold a Bible study, but they were scared that if the guards would find out they might be killed. They decided that they would still honor God and hold their Bible study, and they found it strange that even though there were guards present at all times that they were miraculously left alone.
When Betsie looked around she realized why; the guards did not want to get close to the flea-infested area. Women were able to praise God, pray and study without harm because of those fleas and they discovered that they could thank God for everything after all. Betsie died a few days before Coori was released but her life of undeniable forgiveness, love, and faithfulness marked Coori for the rest of her life.
When Coori was released she later opened a safe home for survivor victims; she was an amazing Christian, who spoke throughout the world about Gods love, forgiveness and the need for reconciliation.
Her story was not yet over, and in one of her speaking engagements her faith was tested again, after speaking a man who she recognized came to her and said that he was a guard in the Ravensbruck concentration camp. He had now given his life to Jesus and knew he had been forgiven by God. He wanted to see if he could be forgiven by her for his cruelty and in those moments Coori spoke about how those moments seemed endless. Corri knew that God wants us to forgive as he has forgiven us and she prayed in her mind “God I am showing up by extending my arm to his starched hand but you have to show up and do the work.”
“Jesus, help me!” I prayed silently. “I can lift my hand, I can do that much. And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.
“I forgive you, brother!” I cried. “With all my heart!”
For a long moment, we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely as I did then.”
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Colossians 3:13 (NIV)
“making the most of your time, because the days are evil.”
Ephesians 5:16 (NIV)
I can’t even imagine the strength of Corrie and Betsi but I am so encouraged by their lives and their steadfast example to live for the Lord regardless of their circumstances. So the question today that remains I; will you in the midst of your pain run away and have to numb the pain of will you run toward God?
Only you can make that decision but I pray that you run to His loving arms and that your life story can impact generations to come.
“Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2:18
This week Walking In Joy; Next Step
– Write down three positive and or thankful thoughts when you wake up and three before going to bed.
– Try to get a folder or journal dedicated for weeks to come. You will get better, and you want a dedicated place to see your progress.
Music has been a huge tool for helping me recover from major depression so I will be sharing a short clip of some of my favorite Christian music, and I hope it motivates and inspires you.
My pick of the day is Hillsong United’s Oceans.