Christian

A believer consumed with grief?

Count it all joy.

Those are the last words anyone wants to hear when struggling with grief.

This probably wont make much sense, but I will try to explain it the best I can. God shows me pictures or sometimes shows me a singular word. The Holy Spirit won’t reveal it to me at that moment when it’s given. I have to go and seek understanding or confirmation.

These pictures or words usually are given to me during worship or prayer. It’s only when I am alone with the Lord or in His presence, that I will receive these promptings. And like a mad man (well woman) I am driven to the edge of insanity trying to figure out what He’s telling me.

“Joy”.

That was my word. As elementary as this sounds, I thought I didn’t have it. How can a believer, be a believer if they have no joy? The Bible talks about joy a lot. 430 times to be exact. This bothered me deeply.

My whole life (since the ripe oh age of 8) I had been plagued with suicidal tendencies, depression, anxiety and grief. To the point where I couldn’t leave my bed or room most days. I was in a mental prison, weighted down by this grief that consumed me. I considered taking my life three times. This thought was the first thing that greeted me every morning.

In 2016, I believed God had delivered me from suicide. So, imagine the confusion I wrestled with when grief still followed me. I couldn’t understand it. I believed that it was my thorn, kind of like what Apostle Paul dealt with in 2 Corinthians 2.

It was a Friday night. I had been drinking, taking drugs and couldn’t fall asleep. I laid there on the bed next to my husband (who was just my boyfriend at the time) and I watched him and my two boys as they slept peacefully. I was broken because they deserved so much better. I told myself, that I couldn’t do this anymore. The grief was too overwhelming. My mind racing with thoughts of how I could end it; how I could free myself from this pain. They were so loud. This time it was different, I knew I had reached a place of no return.

I remember making up my mind. This was it. I was done. I began to weep. I told God that I was sorry, and couldn’t understand how I got there. I told Him that I couldn’t come out of this on my own, that He was going to have to come in and get me. I’ll never forget how quiet the room soon felt after saying that. He showed me a picture. I was surrounded by darkness and all alone. I knew I was in the wilderness. My thoughts stopped, and I couldn’t hear a thing. It was completely silent and I heard the Holy Spirit whisper, “Come to my house, you will find me there.”

Like a movie, He showed me memories of myself, when I was walking with Him and when I had got saved. (I was 5 years deep into my back slid at this point). My heart broke seeing that. I told Him that I was too far gone and couldn’t get back there. I had lost my way. “Come to my house, you will find me there.” I hadn’t heard His voice in five years! I told myself that I would go to church that following Sunday but if I didn’t find Him there, I would finish what I had planned two nights before.

For the sake of time, I’ll just say that I went to His house and He was there. And I got super naturally delivered from drug addition and I recommitted my life to Him that Sunday. I told Him that I would pick up my cross and follow Him.

Fast forward to seven years later and I am “delivered” but with no joy.

It was to the point that this thought never left me. I would watch people intently, noticing the joy that they had. I saw their laughter, was envious of the smiles that shined brightly on their faces. I wanted that. I wanted joy. I was always near it, just never close enough to grab it.

I hated this wilderness. It was like one spiritual battle after the other. I fasted, I prayed, I cried out, and I waited. Some nights I would just lay on the floor curled up in a ball with all the lights off. Asking Him to at the very least, not let me give up. Holding the weight of this secret that no one could see. It grieved me.

One night, as I was in the shower crying again. The thoughts were loud. As the water was pouring down over me, God showed me the same picture He showed me years ago. It was me surrounded by darkness. The only words I could get out was that “I don’t want to be broken.” I didn’t want to be suicidal. I wanted to love my life, because He gave it to me. I wanted His joy. The joy He talked about 430 times in the Bible! Why can’t I have it Lord, I desperately need it? My thoughts stopped, the loudness died down and it was silent. I heard the Holy Spirit whisper…

“Count it all joy”.

That confused me and made me angry. I got out of the shower and went to bed.

The next day as I was in the car on my way to work. He showed me surrounded by darkness, and I heard His voice again. “Count it all joy”. And I yelled out (like a mad man) “how can I count it all joy! I don’t have it!” Then I just broke down completely and wept. “I’m sorry Lord, I don’t understand.”

As I sat there in silence, I waited to hear Him speak, desperately needing to hear His voice and you know what He told me? The Holy Spirit told me to “count it all joy because I was no longer a slave to brokenness, no longer bound by suicide, drug addition or even death. He told me that I can now choose to dwell in it or walk away from it, because I was no longer a slave to anything anymore. I was His.”

It’s true. I wasn’t bound by it. Everyday that I continued to get out of bed every morning. Every time I chose to pray and ask Him not to allow me to give up. Every time I thanked Him at night, that I didn’t give in to that I lie that it would be easier to be dead. That was me choosing the freedom that He gave to me. That was His strength in my weakness! I had to reach that place to understand that its by His grace, His mercy and His Spirit, that we can do anything. Even live.

I read a quote recently that said that “things don’t change when we talk to God, they change when He talks to us.” What God taught me was that joy is not a feeling. It’s not based off our circumstances or emotions. We can choose to be a slave.

There are people that live everyday, enslaved to grief. My heart is broken for them. It’s the darkest place, loud and all consuming. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. That day I was going to take my life many years ago, God stepped in and spoke to me. He lead me back to Him which saved my life physically, but it was my spiritual life that needed understanding. I wasn’t delivered from grief until I understood that I wasn’t enslaved to grief or anything else, because where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Is His Spirit with you?

The Bible says in James 1:2 to count it all joy when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. It says when we allow perseverance to finish its work, we will be mature and complete, not lacking anything!

Truth is I wasn’t lacking joy, I was lacking the understanding of what joy represented. It represented the freedom we have in Jesus Christ. The joy that we can choose to walk in, knowing that His word never comes back void.

The other day as I was sitting in the car, listening to worship music, God showed me another picture. It was light shining through darkness. I knew He was leading me out of that wilderness.

When I tell you that nothing could contain the joy I felt deep in my spirit when I saw that image. It’s the first thought that greets me in the morning. I give God all the glory! Thank you Holy Spirit, for another day not promised!

3 thoughts on “A believer consumed with grief?”

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