the

MENU

I remember the day very clearly. It had been a hard year and I had really been struggling for the past few months.

I sat in the church pew, not really wanting to be there. I was exhausted, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I bit my lip to keep the tears that threatened at bay and swallowed hard to get rid of the lump in my throat. I didn’t want to start bawling in front of everyone. It was time for the worship part of the service and I heard the leader say, “Let’s all stand.”

Oh great, I thought. All I wanted to do was go home, crawl under my covers, and try to rest and get away from all the things. But, I was a pastor’s wife, so I knew I needed to be there. The beginning chords of the song began to be played by the guitar players, softly, and the lead singer began to sing the song. I’d never heard it before, but somewhere inside I felt my heart began to stir. Then the lead singer began the chorus:

And all my life You have been faithful
And all my life You have been so, so good
With every breath that I am able
Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God”

The lump in my throat got bigger. Then came the next verse….

“I love Your voice
You have led me through the fire
In the darkest night
You are close like no other
I’ve known You as a Father
I’ve known You as a Friend
And I have lived in the goodness of God”

The tears I’d been trying so hard to hold back came pouring out. I closed my eyes and didn’t even try to stop them. I bowed my head and began to pray quietly. I don’t know what other people thought, and I didn’t care. I had been reminded of my Friend and my Father, and that I had lived in the goodness of God. He had been there with me in the darkest night and the fire.

Thank you, I whispered. It was all I could say at the moment, my heart overflowing with gratitude and peace….at last.

I walked out of the church service that day feeling lighter than I had in months. After so many months, I felt hope.

Let me back up and explain.

We had just moved to a new state at the end of 2020 when I was 31 weeks pregnant with my daughter. Not long after we moved there, I got Covid, and then so did my husband. He got a new job which is why we moved and then a couple months later, our daughter was born. Nothing leading up to her birth had been easy and I hadn’t really had time to prepare myself to have a newborn again while also taking care of my two year old son.

I also was not prepared for how much I would struggle after she was born.

She was a hard baby, always crying (or so it seemed). I often felt hopeless, not knowing what to do after trying everything. I felt like a bad mother because I couldn’t comfort her. And I was so exhausted since we also had our toddler son and my husband was working a lot. Neither one of us had family nearby and since it was a new place, I knew no one.

I look back now and have realized that I was struggling with postpartum depression/anxiety. My emotions were all over the place and I would be okay one day, then the next day I’d struggle. It manifested differently for me, I wasn’t depressed all the time, but I felt anxiety, discouragement, and so lonely. I truthfully didn’t recognize myself and felt like I was drowning in hopelessness. I felt the pull to withdraw and isolate myself, and a lot of the time I did. I was unhappy and felt irritable and even angry at times. I had a hard time bonding with my daughter and felt guilty about it, convinced I was a bad mother for it. I cried all the time it seemed and had a hard time thinking clearly. It was like there was this inner battle going on inside of me because I knew what God’s Word said about all these things, yet I was still struggling.

I dreaded being around people, because I knew I’d have to try to put on a happy face and pretend like everything was okay, when on the inside I was drowning. It was a dark time and it was really rough.

I didn’t really have anyone that I felt I could reach out to and be that vulnerable with (except with my husband, but poor guy didn’t know what to do or how to help). Some of that was my own pride and trying to deny that I was, in fact, dealing with postpartum depression. I’m not one who hides her emotions very well, so I know it was written all over my face that I was miserable. I desperately wanted to cry out, “Help!” and longed for someone to talk to, but I didn’t feel that I could. I didn’t know anyone well enough to open up and it be a safe place for that.

{ Side note here: I think that sometimes we, as those who follow Jesus, can think that we shouldn’t struggle with things like depression or anxiety because we have the Lord. But that’s so far from the truth! Many strong characters in the Bible struggled with anxiety and depression, but God always ministered to them at just the right time. There’s also many verses on worry and anxiety, which leads me to believe that God knew we humans would oftentimes struggle with it. Even pastor’s wives.}

As I mentioned before, I felt utterly alone. Until that day when I heard “The Goodness of God’ at church. That was the day that God got through to me, reminding me that He was there. That HE was my safe place, my refuge, my very present Help in time of trouble, and that, even in the darkest of night, HE was good. It was a reminder for me that He had been there for me before in a dark season of life.

That day was a turning point for me. I don’t even remember when it was exactly. I just remember walking out knowing that I wasn’t alone. I had Jesus – my Hope, my Anchor. Even if it was storming all around me – or within me – all I had to do was cling to Him. ( I still get tears in my eyes when I hear this song!)

Things didn’t change overnight. It was a long process and journey. In fact, it was probably around my daughter’s first birthday that I started to feel normal again, that I started to find joy in the Lord again and the life I had been blessed with. Even after that, it was still a process and God had to do some work in my heart. Because, as a sinful human being, I can sometimes be a little self-focused and focused on the negative, just as we ALL are at times. But God wasn’t going to let me wallow in self-pity. I resisted at first, but knew that I just needed to surrender. He’s a good Father like that.

I write all this, not to draw attention to myself, but to give God all the glory. I didn’t know much about postpartum depression and since I didn’t experience it when my son was born, I just figured that it was something I wouldn’t struggle with. (Part of the reason I was in denial.) I also didn’t understand it and what I was feeling. Now, I know how real it is and I want God to use this to help someone else.

There is hope and I want to be able to say to someone else who might be struggling and hurting, to say what I so needed to hear: “It’s going to be okay, sweet momma. You will be okay and you can get through this. I’m praying for you and I’m here. I’ll listen.”

I want to be able to be more aware of those who are hurting and struggling, to serve them and minister to them, and to ultimately point them to Jesus. Because He is there when we feel alone and He is there in the darkest night. He is close like no other. And He is GOOD, so so good!

God used this season in my life to refine me and to teach me to rely on Him, to depend on Him. He also showed me I wasn’t alone.

He also helped me to see that I’m not the only one hurting. People struggle every day. My brothers and sisters in Christ struggle with things too, and sometimes I think that we believe we have to do this thing called life by ourselves or at least pretend that everything is okay. That’s not what I see in Scripture. Being a part of God’s family means we are family, and families are there for each other, in the hard times and good. It is true that ultimately the Lord is the only One who is there for us no matter what, but we also have our family in Christ to lean upon during difficult times.

Not long ago, I wasn’t having a great day and I was at church, not feeling particularly chatty. And of course, I’m sure it was noticeable to others that I was in a mood (I’m not good at acting like everything is just fine when it’s been a rough day). The next day, I received a text from a lady at our church, another staff members wife, who said that she could tell something was wrong the night before and was just letting me know she was praying for me and hope everything was okay. I was so overcome with gratitude that she took time out of her day to tell me that! It truly meant so much, just knowing that someone saw and could tell I was having a rough day and offered some encouragement.

This kind of thing should be the norm for the body of Christ. I’m guilty of just typing a comment on someone’s Facebook saying, “Praying for you!”

We must do better to see hurting people and minister to and serve them with our ACTIONS, not just words. It might be uncomfortable at first, but isn’t this what being the body of Christ is all about? We are supposed to minister to and encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ especially! We are supposed to do life together and that means being vulnerable and admitting when we struggle.

Paul talked about this many times in his letters to the different churches. He commended the Philippian church for their concern and generosity to him while he was in prison,

“I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity.

Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble.” (Philippians 4:10, 14)

He reminded them to “…look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4)

In Galatians, Paul wrote, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

James, Jesus’ brother, wrote that we should “confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”

The writer of Hebrews stated “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

Friends, we were not meant to try to live out this life for the Lord by ourselves. So many people quote the first part of the verse in Hebrews about not neglecting to meet together, thinking that it means going to church. But if we look deeper and think about the time when this book was written and what the believers were experiencing, we find that more than likely these believers were meeting in people’s homes in secret. It was a time of persecution and they could lose their lives for meeting together to pray and worship.

But that’s not all the write of Hebrews wrote. The author clearly stated that these believers were to encourage each other. This life is hard, y’all. And we have it easy compared to these believers in Hebrews. There is something about opening up your home and inviting people in.

I know that I want to be better about this, about encouraging others and reaching out to make sure people are okay and showing hospitality. That’s part of why I am sharing this testimony of mine. But ultimately, I want God to get the glory, to point others to Jesus, and for others to see that the body of Christ should be a safe place to admit our struggles and be vulnerable, but where we can also find encouragement.

As I said, I have my days when I’m more focused on myself than on others and I don’t always do or say the right thing. I’m still a sinful human being and God is still working in me.

I hope it’s both an encouragement and a challenge for us as the children of God to do better about being an encouragement and reaching out to those who are struggling and hurting. I know that’s what I want to be doing.

And….I know it’s what my Master would do and DID.

“Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

Let’s follow His example.

God’s Goodness in Dark Seasons

November 9, 2022

Bible study, Personal

Lindsay

Thanks for Reading!

Share with a Friend:

  1. Tammy Rogers says:

    I love you, Lindsay! I wish you had told your mama. I went through virtually the same thing in Lake Jackson after your brother was born! We were planning a church, so e were all alone down there, but it did teach us to rely on one another and more importantly, on the Lord!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *