But as I listened to the proclamations of weather doom for the Midwest yesterday, my mind drifted back to nearly 4 years ago when another storm raged.
My oldest son Andrew was only 3 weeks old when the electricity went out. We were facing a severe ice storm. When my husband Alan had said he was concerned about the power going out, I thought, “What’s the big deal?” I grew up in a small town in Indiana where the longest I ever remembered the power being out was 4 or 5 hours. He mentioned the possibilities…the complications on the farm, no power for DAYS. I seriously thought he was being overly dramatic (he loves weather and so I thought he was a bit excited). I sarcastically said with a rueful smile, “Days?!” He didn’t look amused when he said, “This is Iowa!“ He was serious!
I still didn’t take it seriously myself…never imagining that when the power went out it would stay out for EIGHT days and NINE nights! The longest eight day and nine nights of my life! I couldn’t be Amish, ya’ll!
When the electricity went off I wasn’t prepared for what came next. We had to pack up our stuff including everything required for a 3 week old baby (and that’s a lot of stuff folks!) and head up the road to Alan’s parents’ house. They didn’t have power either, but they did have a brand new home that was well insulated. We would run the generator 2 hours a day…1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the afternoon/evening. Those were some long days. Do you know how quiet a house is when nothing is running, not even a refrigerator? Do you know how loud a baby sounds in the middle of the night without any other noise? Do you know how hard it is to play UNO by candlelight?
Today, it probably would be tolerable. But under the circumstances it was terrible.
You see, worse than the storm that raged outside was the storm raging on the inside…of me! I was facing down a severe case of postpartum depression. Not the baby blues. No, outright, suffocating, deep depression. The kind of depression that feels as if it’s gripping you around the neck and is pulling you down into a pit of despair.
Only a couple of weeks before I had been on “cloud nine.” The highest of highs. Rejoicing over the birth of my first child! I was thrilled to be a mommy. I had the most beautifully perfect son, a loving husband. My life was perfect, everything I’d ever dreamed of and I praised God for it! Yet, that didn’t keep the depression from seeping in. A chemical imbalance the doctors said and perhaps they were right. Yet, a spiritual battle quickly broke out as well. The Father of Lies saw his opportunity and took full advantage. It was scary. It was lonely. It happened despite the fact that I was a born-again Christian. Despite the fact that I knew God’s Word and His Truth.
The electricity came back on. We went home. My mom came from Indiana to help out. Still the storm raged inwardly.
I spent a lot of time crying. Wishing I would die. Wishing to not feel. Wishing I could just go to sleep. Yet, when I did sleep, I experienced terrible dreams and woke up in a cold sweat. Being a Christian, I felt guilty. Shouldn’t I be able to overcome this with my faith in Him? If I really loved my baby, wouldn’t I be able to "snap out of it" and think of him instead of myself? Boy, the Enemy was coming at me from every angel. If he couldn’t get me with anguish, suicidal thoughts and fear, he’d be sure to get me with guilt.
Torment! That’s the best word to describe it.
Despite the pain, despite the lies going through my mind, despite the darkness that consumed me, there was another voice whispering still. The Truth! Yes, the same Truth that fills my earliest memories. The Truth that penetrated my heart day after day, month after month, year after year before this storm came raging. As the lies of the Enemy filled my mind, the voice of Truth quietly filled my heart. Sometimes the words came through my husband, other times through my mom and even a couple of times from Christian friends. Sometimes (often to my own surprise) they came out of my own mouth as I cried out to God for help. Out of my heart flowed the Truth that filled it long ago, even though it was now harder to hear and believe.
I held on to small glimpses of hope. My mom read scriptures over me. She sat on the floor, crying and praying with me. My husband was my rock, solid and steady. Each of them pointed me to the Truth.
Like the storm outside, the storm within me eventually subsided. Thankfully it didn’t last too long, although it seemed like an eternity when I was in the midst of it. I saw the Truth for myself and I held onto it! He lifted me out of the pit and steadied me on my feet once more. Again I rejoiced over my blessings! Perhaps rejoicing even more than before, because now I grasped how blessed I was to have a God who protected me through the worst storm of my life. I realized how faithful He was, shining bright even in the worst of my own inner darkness. Despite the lies of the Enemy and the torment in my mind, God never left me. He saw me through the storm!
No matter what STORM you face, He is in control and will see you through! Fill your mind with His Truth! Prepare yourself now for the storms that come...and even as it rages, grab onto the Truth and hold on! Know there is hope in the Truth! TRUST Him to see you through...and be safe in any storm, friends!
"When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the godly have a lasting foundation." Proverbs 10:25
Thank you LORD for your powerful, loving protection! You promised you would never leave nor forsake us, your children. Help us to stand on that Truth so that we can see past the storms of this life. They come to us all at one time or another, in one way or another. Help the Truth of your Word to penetrate our hearts in such a way that we will be safe even as we face the darkest of times, both inside and out, because of the hope and peace that we have in You. Thank you, dear Jesus! Amen.