Redeeming Love - Being Real With God In The Fire
I’ll never forget it. The sound of my three year old’s sobs. It wasn’t an “I’m hurt” cry, or attention seeking tears. Heartbreak was pouring out of her like a broken dam. Recognizing it was easy. I am no stranger to heartbreak, but seeing it in your child is an ache that can ever be erased.
Weeks of neglected parenting were culminating in this poignant moment. Household chores were piling up, much like the stack of dirty dishes overtaking my sink. Unrelenting needs of a toddler became a nuisance. Screaming demands from a baby, plagued by sleepless nights, were echoing in my head. The only thing ringing louder was my own thoughts.
You should have never become a mother.
This rage inside you will never go away.
Your children would be better without you.
I was working tirelessly to will this anger inside me away. If deep breathing techniques and reading self-help books were manual labor, I would be dripping with my own sweat and blood. There are no physical scars, only emotional reminders. Tears from a weary mom trying to hide her pain. Mom guilt over too much tv and not enough genuine interaction. And worst of all, my daughter’s desperate plea for mommy forever burned in my heart.
The anger inside me was a slow burn. Moments of frustration turning into unkind words. Unkind words turning into yelling fits. Yelling fits turning into an uncontrollable urge to scream. Once it got to that point, it felt uncontrollable. Sparks of aggravation growing until my whole body was consumed. Pillows were helpful in muffling the screams of anger. But inside, there was no muffling.
Something was wrong. What was this? It certainly didn’t feel normal. I sat in the flourescent lights of my doctor’s office. The room felt cold and clinical, which ironically was how my heart felt. Sounds of office gossip leaked into the room, like an unpleasant aroma. All I wanted was some peace, I had enough drama of my own. My hands drenched with nervous sweat as the doctor gave voice to the words I had been dreading for weeks, “you have postpartum depression.”
First, came confusion. Then, slowly an understanding began to settle in. My PPD was manifesting itself in the guise of anger.
No longer could I hide behind the curtain of pretending. My life wasn’t a play production, no more living between the acts waiting for the heavy curtain to drop, allowing me to escape my reality. It was time to take action, to get the help me and my family deserved.
Being real with myself came naturally, but being totally vulnerable and exposed to God, was just plain hard. Healing meant embarking on a journey of letting God seeing me in my most raw form. Timidly, I started small conversations with Him, giving only tiny crumbs at first.
Cold and clinical, like the room where I received my diagnosis, was a reflection of my relationship with God. But, as I leaned into a new type of relationship with Him, my heart got access to His different characteristics. My Friend. My Comforter. My Redeemer. Moments when my depression threatened to destroy me, in explosions of anger, He was the one I could run to. Our conversations turned from, “God, I HATE this, take it away!” to, “I don’t understand why I feel this way, help me understand,” and now, “I know I can’t do this without you, be near.”
My sweet sister in Christ, if we can’t be vulnerable with our Creator, then we never have the chance for redemption. And His story of redemption is better than any best selling book. Postpartum depression was not my fault, and that was a lie God helped me wrestle through. But my reaction to it, my heart’s stance was something I had to own. Allowing my life to be run by the overwhelming emotion of being upset with God for making me this way, was a sin I had to confess.
Grace took over and His lavishing love saved me. In the final weeks of my pregnancy, God placed these verses on my heart, unaware that they would become my heart song during this journey.
“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”” Isaiah 43:1-2 ESV
When anger tried to consume me like a boundless raging wildfire, God saw something I couldn’t see. I wouldn’t be succumbed by the fire.
I don’t know what flames are surrounding you. But, the feelings as their heat intensifies and sparks falling all around, those I understand. It’s a combination of fear, anger, confusion, and overwhelm. Those emotions don’t stand a chance when we get vulnerable with God and allow Him to write our redemption story. He is calling your name.
Standing on the stage now with Christ’s spotlight illuminating the brokenness inside me, reflecting His glory, I am ready for my curtain call. No bowing, but kneeling in front of God, letting the sound of applause be replaced by sounds of worship for His redeeming love in my life.