(6) A letter to the lonely

Hi, I feel so deeply your pain. Feeling lonely, has often led to some of my worst decisions. The isolated nature of it is soul destroying. It makes the strongest of people just completely weak. I remember last year I went through an intense and despairing time of loneliness. It was so bad, that there reached a point where nothing helped. I was too far in it, that I couldn’t get out of it. Spending more and more time alone was hard, especially when I was used to always being around people, but even when I spent time with friends, it didn’t help. Because the root of the issue wasn’t going to be solved in a simple dinner.

Part of my loneliness came from the simple fact that even when I was with people I was hiding. I was doing so much worse that I or anyone else realized. And I was finding being honest with people was hard, so hard, because I wasn’t being honest with God or myself.

And this wasn’t easily solved, because even when I was honest, the people around me tried their best but often didn’t know what to do, especially when their schedules meant they were busy. And normally I would be too (all you need to do is ask my mum how it is like to try and get me on the phone, some weeks I call a lot because I am freer but other weeks only on Sundays am I free) but I was isolating myself more and more in the depths of deep depression.

However, the current climate of the day (i.e. in lockdown from the coronavirus, I am in the UK for context so not the strongest lockdown but we are still confined), will mean that more and more of us will be facing what I did. We are restricted on the amount of contact we have with the outside world. The difference between last year and now is we are all in the same boat. As a family member said last night, we are all in all the time, which means when people spontaneously call we are more likely to be available. But I am also aware that some of us are more connected than others. And therefore, some are finding this easier than others.

For all of us though, this stripped back world we now live in, reveals our deep-rooted need for community and for God. We no longer have busyness to distract us from the horrible ache that we are deeply lonely.

This may seem to contradict itself, however as I have already said, being surrounded by people often means we feel lonelier. Because even those with the busiest of schedules can struggle with the fact that very few really know them completely and love them infinitely. And this combination is what I think is the remedy of loneliness.

I believe that God gives us both of these things perfectly. And even so, we can feel lonely. So Abbie if you have just said what the remedy is and you have said we can find this in God, why do I still feel deeply lonely?

Well hypothetical person, this is because we often forget this truth, it doesn’t feel enough. But I believe the more we spend time with God the deeper sense of peace we get. And we may still feel loneliness because we live in a broken and sinful world, that is so far from perfect, even though this barrier of access to God is removed in Christ (as he died taking on all the sin we commit and others do), we are still here. We still feel this brokenness, and that is why we still may feel this loneliness.

But as a cavate God also made us to be in relationship with other human beings. This means knowing that God has forgiven our sin in Christ, we spend time with one another allowing others to truly see us, see everything. And I know that is scary, this is one of the battles I face every single day (and even writing this is causing huge conviction on my part) so friends and family of mine who may read this continue to bear with me.

I don’t write these blog posts as someone with everything figured out, but as someone who rests in the knowledge of God’s love and forgiveness through Jesus, who is figuring life out as I go.

But I know, as we bring these big and hard feelings to God and truly spend time with me, he will begin to heal us, not of it completely yet (I mean he might but that isn’t my experience) but piece by piece until one day we stand before him completely healed because of the grace of God and the work of Christ.

(5) A letter to the desperate

Hi, I don’t know what you need, I don’t know what you are desperate to happen in your life, I don’t know what you plead with God at night when everybody else is sleeping, and you can’t. I don’t know what you are missing. I don’t know any of the ins or outs of your feelings and emotions. However what I do know is this: your desperation isn’t ignored. 

And as annoying as it feels, God gives us exactly what we need. But to this you may say, ‘wait Abbie, you say you don’t know what I’m desperate for and you are right, you don’t know what it’s truly like’. And you know what? You are right, I don’t. 

But this what I do know, I have been and still are desperate too. I have been desperate for my mental health to improve. I have been desperate for a relationship with certain people. that I can’t have. I have cried, I have screamed, I have been silent. I have begged God and I have ignored him. I have done everything possible to make God give me these things. And I haven’t got them. 

And I think we need to remember that more than God’s gifts (which are beautiful and great), we have access to God himself (which is by far better). We have access to the one who is everything that is missing and empty in our lives. And as painful as it is to face the loss of the thing we want so bad, we can take great comfort in knowing that he is enough. And as a small child doesn’t truly know what is good for them, when they want chocolate for every meal instead of the vegetables that their mean parents force them to eat, we often don’t know what we truly need. I know I don’t.  

I have wanted things in my life that are so opposite to good for me, I have wanted to do this that seemed like a great plan at the time (like the time I tried to get on a train to Scotland with no things, money or a plan at 9:30/10pm on a sunday when no trains where running, or like the time when I disappeared cycling into the night about 11pm with no lights and no idea where I was going or whether I’d be back or not, and if you want confirmation I am sure my friends would be happy to supply the stories) and maybe you are smarter than me and wouldn’t be so stupid. But at the time I genuinely thought it was the best idea since sliced bread (as a gluten free human I need to come up with a better line than that). 

But I was desperate for relief from my mental illness, a good thing to not want, yet doing what I wanted wasn’t going to be successful anyway. 

And sometimes God giving us himself doesn’t help with the fact i need a job when I graduate but spending more time with him allows us to see that he is in control and the more we know of his character the more we know we can come to him and we can rest in him even when nothing makes sense. And this breads contentment in us. And I’ll be honest this isn’t not something I have achieved yet, but I see people who have been a christian for decades and they have this. I know it’s possible. 

And even if I don’t get everything I want, but it is well with my soul because the one thing I do have is him. 

A letter to the anxious

Hi, this world is scary. Oh my gosh, this world makes my anxiety attacks get worse. I was sat in an exam today thinking that I was going to die, the fear was so great. I mean i am still feeling it, even a few hours later. Some people live in fear their whole lives, I am guessing that might be you. I’ll tell you a secret that’s the worse kept one in the world, I live in it too. 

And the dark walls that press around you, the terrifying nature of walking into a room full of people you know or worrying about whether you will be missed when you have to leave to have an anxiety attack. It sucks all the fun, enjoyment and thrill of life, when all you feel is the tightness, the closeness of this world. For around a year, I had around 3 big anxiety attacks a day. I couldn’t sit through a church service all the way through, I struggled in restaurants, I avoided any big crowds. Even after that subsided I still have anxiety that threatens to overcome nearly every day. 

There is nothing comforting about closed spaces, when they cower over you in a threatening way, in a way that makes you think you will never be able to get through. Doubting your own actions and thoughts, is a common occurance. The anxiety attacks mounts, and what do you do? All you want to do is escape the intense feeling. But you can’t. And this trapping feeling makes you more anxious. It is a perceptual cycle that never seems to end. Did I mention how lonely it is? And can someone let the air in please? Where is the oxygen in this place? 

But come back, if you fell into the cycle of anxious thoughts, just listen to me. 

I’d love to tell you that the three steps that you can take to make you feel better, I wish I had them for you just as much as I wish I had them for me. But before you click of this post, keep reading, just try to trust me. 

But this is what I do know, the intense pressing feeling, is limited in space. What I mean by this is, there is a lot of space in this world that the anxiety doesn’t fill. And all around it and all through it is God. He is so much bigger than your current overwhelming feelings of anxiety. There  is a God who gives a sense of order to the chaos. A God who gives freedom and peace. A God who allows us to feel this pain so that we can understand truly how big God is. If we can get so overwhelmed by fear and anxiety, and if we feel so crushed by it, God must be a very big God in order to not only cover it but completely envelop it. But if this God offers peace, why don’t I feel it? I have been a christian for 3 years, and I still battle with intense anxiety, so does this mean I just don’t trust him? Why do christians claim that we have access to this peace, if not all christians feel it? 

I want to be careful here, because I don’t want to suggest for one moment that anxiety isn’t real and important. But, anxiety can come from a place of trying to control your environment and being afraid of the outcome. Therefore trusting God would in theory allow you to take a tight grip of your outcomes and truly giving it to God is so helpful and necessary. But this can over simplify a complex issue. 

I think anxiety, also requires you to fight. You may be so defeated by this statement, because all you do is fight. All you do is play the offensive. But a very important part of fighting is defence. Holding your own, protecting yourself from the oncoming attacks, and bit by bit moving forward, advancing on the opponent. Clinical anxiety (which is what I have, generalised anxiety disorder, if you were interested), requires you to understand that it doesn’t control you. God is in control. And more importantly, it cannot defeat you. It can wear you down, it can make it seem like it will win, but it will not. Why? Because you have God on your side. He is outside this pressing fear. And he tells you that walking straight through it will not kill you, in fact it is the only way to stop it from killing you. But he has your back. He will not LET it kill you. Your anxiety is horrible. And it is not gonna be easy. Protecting yourself means absorbing the blows, which is when the anxiety racks through your body, like it racks through mine, it is horrendous. I won’t deny it. But there is hope, God is bigger than this. And he loves you more than you ever realise. Trusting him, doesn’t make them go away, but it does start the process of slowly making your way through. And the other side is a real thing, that is ever moving forward towards you. 

Granted, I don’t know when the other side will come. I have asked this many times, and I still haven’t reached the other side. I may not in this lifetime, but what I do know that he will keep me until this time comes, absorbing the blows, bit by bit advancing through the fear, until you reach the other side. 

A letter to the depressed

Hi, the world feels like it is getting darker, more crowed, brighter and louder all at once, every day. You want everything to be dialed down a couple of notches. You want to be able to enjoy things, people, and life. But everything is a chore. Everything makes the world around you harder and harder. And you want to get out of the cycle but as all these things get bigger and louder, you want to stay in bed more and more. Showering just isn’t as important anymore. It’s just not what it once was, or maybe it never was. You’ve lost your appetite to eat, and all you want to do is to crawl up in your bed and let the pain lift. 

You are asked to remembering what you were like before. you may have a before, you may not. I didn’t. I was a psychologist’s worst nightmare (I know that because I take a clinical psychology class). But in the darkness, is the paralyzing pain, in the utter isolation, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. A gentle light, not a blinding light, a place where you can truly rest, where you can truly be at peace. 

Peace, it seems such a far off concept, a concept that you wish you had a stronger grip on. Because if it did maybe you would feel better. Maybe your thoughts wouldn’t be getting increasingly darker, increasingly concerning to the outside world. But you can’t bring your self to care. I mean deep down you do, deep down you feel so tumultuous, all you want is this peace but you can’t reach it. 

It’s like a carrot that is dangled infant of a starving child, and every time they get close, it just moves further and further out of reach. But what if a told you that you can reach it. And not a false sense of peace that comes from when you give in to your depression. But a true sense of peace. A peace that permeates every part of you. 

And this peace comes from a person. From a person who knows every single part of you. Parts of you, you wished just didn’t existed, because if they didn’t maybe the shame would decrease. Maybe the strong sense that the world just isn’t right, and you are the reason for it would just decrease. But there is someone who knows all of that. And he agrees with you, partly at least. He agrees that the world isn’t right and that you are part of it, but you among every other person in the world. You have some responsibility but not all of it. He sees your pain, your trauma, your ache for home. And he accepts you. All he wants is for you to trust in him. All he wants is for you to accept him. Accept that he as the perfect sacrifice paid for all of the things you did wrong in life. 

But Jesus also knows that depression is a mental health condition. He meets you where you are. He meets you in the pain, in the heartache. And this peace sometimes floods and comes straight away. For some it takes wrestling, it takes slowly allowing him to heal certain parts of your heart. And some times it happens in a heartbeat, other times it takes years. 

But regardless of how long it takes. You are not alone. You are beautiful, you are wanted, you are worth it, you are imperfect, you stumble, you fall, you have emotions, you sometimes lack any, but you are wanted. You are NEEDED. I wish I had the magic answer, to take away of the pain. I wish I had it for myself too. But you know, that everything you are going through has a purpose. Take it from someone who has been anxious and depressed, who lost her dad, who has been bullied, who has been suicidal, I have been there. And as pointless as it sounds, there is a point to it. I promise. 

Now that may be unhelpful, sometimes it is the last thing we want to hear. But honestly, I am glad there is a purpose to it. The thing that hurts more than anything is thinking that everything I’ve gone through is pointless, meaningless. I’ve come to understand that this just isn’t true. 

And as hard as it is, I promise, he’s with you, I’m with you, there is a point to it. 

(2) A letter to the grieving

Hi, I know you probably don’t know me and I don’t know you. But we have a shared understanding. I don’t know your exact situation or circumstance. I don’t know whether you cried, screamed or just stayed silent. Honestly, I barely cried at my dad’s funeral, but I seem to break down in the most inconvenient of spaces (like in the middle of town, or on the train). 

The pain you feel, is deep, is real. No matter how quickly or slowly people think you should be over it, you may never be over it. And that isn’t meant to scare you. I don’t know that I will ever get used to not having my dad. It was nearly two months ago and I still catch myself wanting to ring him. 

People will tell you how to grieve, they will tell you to be quite, or to be louder, they will say you need to move or you don’t care at all, they will make judgements and predictions and explanations of what you should be doing at any one time. But no one really has the right to do that. 

No one had your relationship with that person, I am the only person who know what it was like to be my dad’s specific daughter. That doesn’t mean that people can’t be there for you, and empathises with you, it just means no one will truly get it on this earth, and that is okay. 

People will say hurtful things that were meant to be comforted, they may be grieving too and if they aren’t well they may just not understand. Your relationship with your loved one may have been complicated and full of twists and turns. Therefore grieving them will be complicated to. But know, that no matter how long it takes, no matter how many tears or how many days you spend staring into space (I get caught doing that a lot) or how many times you scream into the abyss, that’s okay. 

You are okay. It’s okay to not be okay, it’s okay to hurt like hell, some days will be nearly normal and some days will be horrific, I think there is a good reason that the day is only 24 hours, and we sleep for 8 hours of that (or 10 or 12 if you’re me, because I am seriously like a child). Even if you have a horrendous few days each evening the night will come and promise new beginnings in the morning. Maybe like me the nights are the worst, and maybe you haven’t slept for months, or years, maybe all you do is sleep. 

Grief isn’t discriminatory. It gets everyone. It doesn’t care about your ethnicity, gender, nationality, political party, demographic or age. It’s universal. Grief was around right at the beginning of the earth, and it will be around until Jesus comes back. And that may be a sad thought but there is some comfort in it. 

1.) Multiple people, around the earth right now and across time have experienced the same earth shattering, heart-breaking pain you are experiencing now. The God of the universe lost his only son. And when he was on the earth he grieved for his friend. Even when he was about to raise him from the dead. Now, I am 99.9999% (occurring) sure that God will not raise my dad from the dead in this life. I guess he might but he most likely won’t. But it does mean that Jesus gets it. And he took the time to properly grieve. If that was me, I would move forward and not grieve at all. I wouldn’t need to. But even though Jesus raised him from the dead, he still (Jesus’ friend) died eventually. It will happen to all of us and that means you aren’t alone in your pain. 

2.) No matter how soul destroying, painful and life alterting your loved one’s death is, God is in it and has a purpose for it. Now I normally hate this reasoning, because if your not careful it will negate a person’s grief. But know it isn’t pointless, your pain isn’t purposeless. I honestly believe God works through everything. And he doesn’t drop the ball on anything. Therefore he will see you through it, and is with you in it. Often it takes years to actually realise what God’s plan is. I may never know why I, and all my family lost two close relatives in 9 weeks. But I know there’s a point in it, just hold on. 

3.) Because grief doesn’t discriminate there is always someone who has lost a loved one. And therefore you can turn around a help other’s through it. 

4.) Grief is grief. It doesn’t matter who you lost, if you are struggling with it, it’s important (even if you aren’t it is still important, but if you aren’t struggling with it, just make sure you don’t negate other people if they aren’t getting over the death as quick as you would like). 

A letter to my father: Things I never said

Hi Dad. I love you, we always said it after every call, but I’m gonna change things up and say it at the beginning. There is so much I want to tell you, so much has happened, that I can’t tell you. I could never explain how much I wish for just one more conversation. Just one more hug. You were far from perfect, but so am I. I held so much pain and without realising made you pay for it. 

But you also didn’t know what to do with all of your emotions. I know that. You were also quiet with your thoughts, and emotions. I always had to drag information out of you, sometimes it was like pulling teeth, but once you said it, it was always so important. 

Before you went, I held grudges, I struggled with unforgiveness. But now it doesn’t matter. I spent so much time trying to make our relationship something that it wasn’t. But now all these feelings are irrelevant. I wasted time. 

I sometimes still think that you are still here. I have thoughts that I haven’t spoken to you in a while, and I should ring. I have nearly placed that call more times than I care to admit. I never did though. You know I am also like you, I find being completely honest hard. Because it is hard. 

But I’m going to give it a shot. 

You did things over the course of my life that hurt me really bad, but you also did things I’ll be forever grateful for. You taught me how to fight for what I believe in, you taught me to listen more than I speak, you taught me to treat others like they are going through hell because they often are. You gave me life. 

Every wound I gained in my short 22 years so far (I know I’ll have more, I know you’ll think it’s nothing, ‘wait until you reach 50 Abbie’) is purposeful. But I know you had your own. You had more than I will ever know. The pain you were in, was tremendous. But you kept going. You taught me resilience. You taught me that it’s okay to cry. Even though you rarely did in front of others. 

We are different you and me. In a lot of ways. But I’m still your daughter. I’m still half of you. And that means more than you will ever realise. 

I really want to give you a hug. All of the songs about grief, don’t give it justice. It doesn’t explain the immense pain, that never goes away. It doesn’t explain how much I miss you and I can never ring you, I can never speak to you, even if it was just 10 minute conversation. 

All the times I said I couldn’t speak to you. All the times, I didn’t answer your call. Now I wish I did. Because even though sometimes it was difficult, there was a beauty that I didn’t appreciate. There was honesty, there was love. There was you, in the centre of it all. 

Dad I love you. More than you ever know. And I know you love me. It still doesn’t feel real that you are gone. I don’t know that it ever will. But you will always be my dad. I know you are not far. Your love and memory I will always carry. I will never let it go. I will never let you go. 

MY will or HIS will

On Monday, I was on a bus on the way to a connect social (connect is my churches bible study), and I was angry at God. I was angry at him because my life doesn’t look like I want it to. I have struggles I wish I did’t have, that I want to get rid of. But more than that, I want to disregard what the bible says about it. Because I know God isn’t telling me what I want to hear. And that is hard. 

I want MY will for MY life, instead of HIS will. Because he is asking me to give something up and that is so against what my heart wants to do. I feel so uncomfortable in my own skin because I don’t want my experiences to be MINE. I don’t want my story to be my story, why? Partly because of shame. I’m scared at what people would think if they knew. I’m scared that they would leave me. And my identity that I know is secure in God, feels trapping. Because, do I want the identity if it is going to cost me so much? 

Is Jesus really worth it. Is this pain, this discomfort worth it? Is it worth all the tears, all the lonely times, all of the scary thoughts? Because when your angry at the person you know is there all the time, what do you do? Especially when you know he is right. 

I am never ever going to understand why my story is what it is, and if you really knew everything about me, maybe you would leave. Maybe it would be  too much (which would be a fair response). And that scares me, but what scares me more is being left alone with Jesus. 

The one who is perfect, who redeems everything, but the one who asks more of me than I think I can give. The one who doesn’t want 80% but wants 100% of me. Who knows it all. It feels like a battle of my wills, do I give up the battle, give it to him and know that this life may bring about more suffering than I want, but will eventually bring life? Or will I do what I want to do, even though it won’t end well?

This week I tried to do it without him and although being with him scares me, being without him is just unbearable. Although I have tried this week to live without him, it hasn’t worked. I can’t. I physically cannot do it without Jesus. So where does that leave me? 

What trumps? My love for Jesus (or way more important his love for me) or my love for earthly things? That may satisfy me for a moment, but won’t bring about ultimate satisfaction. 

I know that deep down, my relationship with God is too incredible to give up, even if that means that my fleshly desire won’t be satisfied. 

Why am I sharing this with you? Well for 2 reasons, 

1st, these struggles are ones that most christians face, but people have this perception that Christians have it all together, that we never struggle, that we never feel the consequences of this world. Jesus is better but that doesn’t mean I won’t cry about my circumstances (because I do and will). The 2nd reason is that we never go through problems (unless very niche but generally we don’t) that at least one other person won’t understand, won’t resonate with. And that one person needs to know they aren’t alone. 

I know lots of christians who think their story is boring (which I have very strong views about – no ones testimony and no ones story is boring), but I have the opposite problem. I worry that mine is too much. That people won’t want to be my friend if they knew. And sometimes that happens, but for the one person that this may help, I want to share it. 

Being a christian is hard, it means giving up things we don’t want to give up. And that may result in crying and overwhelming pain. But in the end, Jesus is worth it. He is worth all the pain, he is worth giving things up for, because he gave himself up for us, he went from a perfect relationship with the father and the spirit, to come to earth and be a man. And then die on a cross for the payment of my sin. 

Knowing this means, I can give up what he is asking me to. He is worth it, he is better.  

Anxiety – a symptom of being homesickness (part 4)

If you asked me about the future when I was growing up, I’d often say psychology. That that is what I want, that is what I’ll do with my life. I wanted to help people, I truly did. But at the same time I didn’t expect to find out, I didn’t expect to truly know if I’ll make it in that field. And this was because I had a 19 year old deadline, a thought that permeated every part of me. What I mean by this, is that I thought I was going to die before my 20th birthday. Now I didn’t necessarily think the way I would die was by suicide but I did think that I wouldn’t be alive longer than that. I was so so scared of the future (I honestly still am) that I decided it wasn’t for me. I didn’t want the failure, I didn’t want to continue in such a painful world. I just wanted to feel safe. I wanted to feel truly secure. And nothing this world could offer me gave me that security. I was a safeguarding nightmare (and I still can be to be honest). 

My home sickness, meant that I knew this world wasn’t my true home, I knew that it wasn’t where I would truly feel safe. And because I knew I could never experience this feeling of being truly safe and secure until I was with Jesus, anxiety was the result. You know when you are anticipating something great and you can’t concentrate, it’s all you can think about? That’s how I felt, but there was a problem. There was something in between me and that future hope and reality, and that was life. What started with homesickness and my feeling of anxiety, ended in a mission to die. The anxiety got worse and worse, and I still experience this to a very high level. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t feel the pain of anxiety. Where I don’t feel the darkness of it. 

People say life is a gift, and it is. But Jesus is so so much better than anything this world can offer. He is everything I know I need. And I feel it. Deeply. I want a relationship with him without the presence of sin. More than anything. And the waiting, is painful, hard. Some days I cannot move for anxiety, the depression overtakes me. And opening about that it very difficult. My anxiety tells me that it’s better to keep everything a secret. Why would I tell people when I know they would freak out? Why would I tell people when I knew they just ‘wouldn’t understand’? But that sells them short. It’s hard to hear that this is a struggle for me, but its harder for them to not know, and find out I’m in hospital. 

No matter what my anxiety tells me and how homesick I truly am, my days are numbered. And I will not go a day before God want’s me to. That may scare you, but really it should be a comfort. If God wants me to live until I am a 100, I will. And nothing I do will change that. For me, I have to trust him. 

Even though nothing makes sense. Even though everything is confusing and painful, God is still God. He is still Good. And he has a plan for me. For this life, for all the pain and all the laughter, for all the crying on my kitchen floor (or more like my bed, I wouldn’t lie on my kitchen floor), for all the heartache and joy. For all of the things that make no sense. They don’t because I don’t know the ending. I don’t know the reason I have the struggles I do. But I do know that there is a point to them. And there is a point to yours too. The anxiety we feel, the longing to be truly home, there is a point to it. Maybe we won’t know what they are in this life, but even if it is to encourage a person that you have no direct contact with. We don’t live without impacting other people. Every person we meet, is affected by our decisions and what we do with the struggles and situations we face. 

I don’t ever what to be known because of my struggle with anxiety or depression, I want to be known by those in my life, as someone who loves Jesus and them, imperfectly this side of heaven, despite of my anxiety and depression. 

I have said before and I’ll say it again, all the days of my life, our struggles do not define us. My past doesn’t define me. It impacts me, but it doesn’t change my identity. If it was, I would have a very unstable identity. 

But as hard as it is, I don’t know want my past to be a secret, if it could help someone feel less alone. If, what was meant to harm me can be used for the good and saving of people, no matter what I go through, it’s worth it. 

(3) For the homesick – denying yourself picking up your cross daily and following him

Luke 9: 23, is potentially one of the most well known verses in the bible, but also one of the most forgotten or scoffed at verse in the bible. If you haven’t read the first two posts in this series it will make little sense, so please go back and read it. 

When we think about picking up your cross daily and following Jesus, in the context of a sermon people generally nod as if this is something every christian should experience. However when you talk to friends about it in real ways it because much less accepted. I think it is because it sounds dramatic. It sounds like I need to stop being so melodramatic, but I don’t think that’s true. 

I firmly believe that I ’should’ be dead, as far as the world goes, people with my persistence shouldn’t be here, my life screams, why is she still here. But I also know as far the Lord goes, I was always meant to be here, always meant to be writing this post (when I should be revising – I’ve got resits), I was always meant to go what I do to show you how powerful the lord is. To show you when he says he transforms lives, he transforms people who you would least expect him too. 

Without the lord I wouldn’t be alive (ask any of my close friends), without the lord I would be a 20 year old memory in 20 years, instead of a 40 year old (honestly the thought of a 40 year old Abbie is weirding me out). He literally saved my life (salvation and prevented my attempted suicides from actually working – if you want to know the details send me a message). I still don’t know why he did that, and sometimes I wish he didn’t. I know this is hard to here especially if you love and know me, but it’s important, because if this is my experience i can’t be the only one. 

You may be on the verge of going through with your attempt, you may be sitting in a hospital bed just after it. No matter where you are, you are homesick. You long to be in a better place (regardless whether you are a Christian or not), and the God of the bible wants to offer you a permanent home, and all you have to do is to admit your sin and trust that Jesus has paid for it. But even for the christian, if your homesick I am going to assume that, that doesn’t fill you with comfort, because you feel all to well how broken this world is, how broken you are, how broken your life seems. And you want that truth now, I know I do. But I will say that for us, we need to hold each others hand and walk forward one step at a time. Because you know that although it is possibly the hardest thing you will go through, there is a beautiful thing about him choosing to show his redemptive story through broken sinful people like us. 

To live through my homesickness, I have to deny myself. Because as I said in the last post, it isn’t something I can easily cure. There is no godly way to get rid of it, obviously there is ways to deal with it, but not to get rid of it completely. 

To live through all of the symptoms of homesickness, all of the yearning and the longing, takes me to have to lean on my lord. Because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do it. To live through the clear difficulties in my communication with my Lord, is very difficult. 

To live through my depression is denying myself. It goes against everything I think or feel or feel I know. It is very easy for me to give up. For me to know longer care about fighting, about God, about myself. 

But whereas some of my other struggles and the struggles of a lot of other people face is that they are private (which is not necessarily a good thing) but it does make things challenging. When I slip up, when I give up people know. This is because my ‘slip ups’ normally land me hospital (and I have found that is a very difficult thing to hide). But not ending up there, is difficult. It means going against what I want, what I feel I need, it means that I can’t indulge the thoughts, it means that I have to lean on the Lord. When I don’t, things can get very difficult very fast. 

The thing about me, is my depression is very public. Partly due to my own doing (i.e. the blog, but there is a lot I don’t share on here), but partly due to how my depression fleshes itself out in my life. My suicide attempts are public without my agreement, just because of the nature of it. 

But there is a beauty to it, there is a beauty to denying yourself, because through denying your flesh it’s desires and choosing to lean on the one that knows your desires and wants but more importantly your needs, that is where you truly find yourself, but even better it’s where you truly find him.

Depression – a symptom of homesickness (Part 2)

I have already wrote a bit about what I mean by this phrase so please read that post first (titled, homesick – yearning for your true home). 

But here I want to talk about how homesickness causes depression. General homesick doesn’t, because you can easily get home. But being homesick from Jesus makes it complex and complicated. 

The gap between you and your true home feels to big, and this can cause despair. We know that the new creation will be incredible, so we feel trapped in this world, in this broken, sinful world, that creates a gap, a chasm between you and the God who made you. Between you and the people sitting right next to you. 

It can be easy when the homesickness gets loud to what to get home by any means necessary, but to do that means suicide. 

Something that is massively misunderstood, that people don’t want to think about and think people can easily snap out of it. But you don’t usually shave unless you depression (I think, correct me if I’m wrong). And it is clear from the bible, from society and from pretty much anyone who isn’t suicidal that it is a bad thing. 

Many people will say that if you aren’t a christian and you are suicidal it’s because you don’t know Jesus. And while this may be true, that doesn’t count the people who Jesus didn’t cure of depression. Who didn’t take away my struggle. Many told me he would (and while he definitely can), I want to talk to those who are saved but still struggle. 

Because as a christian you shouldn’t have depression, you have nothing to complaining about right? You know Jesus so that should be the end of it, right? 

But that negates the fact that we still live in a fallen world. We know this world isn’t as it should be, we know that things are still difficult. But we act as if they shouldn’t be. We shame people who still struggle. And we shouldn’t, why? Because it makes no sense too. 

We all have our struggles, and we shouldn’t feel ashamed to talk about them, with mine I have three common responses either they act awkward, tell me I shouldn’t say it. However this response is mainly because people operate out of a if I act as if it isn’t there it’ll go away, or if she doesn’t tell me its no longer my problem. This response is at best unhelpful and at worse dangerous. Because we aren’t talking about capacity (that’s a different topic) we are talking about people not wanting to deal with it because it’s complex and difficult to hear. The second response is they treat me as if I’m fragile and could break at any second, people forget that if I can cope with this (with God’s help) I can handle most things. I am stronger than you think. These people try to fix you, they think it’s there personal mission to make you all better, and when it doesn’t happen the way they think it should they get frustrated. 

The third response, is less common, but these people accept you as you are. Don’t see you as fragile. But see you as a person, a person loved by God more than they could ever love me. They are there to talk, to listen, but don’t freak out. They get sad at what you are saying, but instead of letting go they hold you tighter. Instead of creating a chasm between you and them they move in closer. 

I am lucky to have friends that fall into this last category. 

Having suicidal ideation is serious and often people need help, but they need love too. Because fundamentally they are homesick, and just like a child who craves to be home we crave to be home too. Just like you would hold a child and cry together, we need you to do that for us too. We aren’t fragile, holding us closer won’t break us, and though we may hurt you (just like any human being would) it’s worth it, because we also can show you what it means to suffer daily, what it means to pick up your cross and follow Jesus, which for us to just keep breathing.