Darkness into light

Hitting the upload button on my last blog post felt like sending a tear-stained scribble of an SOS in a bottle off into dark, stormy seas. And just off shore, there was a cruise-liner waiting, full to the seams of loving, kind, wise friends, who got the message and sent off flares, blew trumpets, jumped into lifeboats and rowed off to find me. I have been totally overwhelmed by your prayers, support, words of affirmation and acts of kindness and solidarity. You have been tangible, vocal signs of God’s love. THANK YOU.

I’ve been trying to work out how to tell this next bit of the story, knowing I must be careful to be discreet but longing to find a way to share what’s happened. Here goes:

On Tuesday, the situation that’s been at the root of my struggles these past months was miraculously resolved. And since Tuesday, I have not experienced even the shadow of a passing cloud. The depression has lifted. God has turned my darkness into light.*

The situation was that I’ve been working for a charity that supports preachers as the only Christian. This on its own would have been manageable but there’s been a bit more to it that I can’t go into. A few months ago, a search for a new leader began. During the recruitment process all mention of the charity’s Christian vision and purpose was omitted. I was beside myself when I found the job description and person spec online, but I set about trying to fix things by finding my own candidates who would understand and care about the vision we are here to carry out. Two of the people I found were in the final three to be interviewed. I gave token thanks to God, but rather smugly felt I had sorted out a big mess by myself. It was the third person who got the job. She had come in through the recruitment agency, and there was nothing to suggest she was a believer. There was then a two month wait for her to start.

During those two months, God spoke to me repeatedly through Isaiah 30. I wanted to make an escape plan, to jump on a horse and head to Egypt (that’s from Isaiah: I wasn’t having a psychotic breakdown thank the Lord!). But God was saying, “Trust me. In repentance and rest is your salvation.  In quietness and trust is your strength. Soon you will know what to do- you’ll hear clearly: this is the way, walk in it.”

On Tuesday I met my new boss. She’s a Christian. And she is absolutely the right person for the job. And since Tuesday, I’ve been giddy with hope and optimism and energy for my place in this funny old organisation.

Another significant conduit of God’s grace and help to me over this last little while has been reading the David stories in 1 and 2 Samuel in the company of Eugene Peterson’s book, “Leap over a Wall: reflections on the life of David.” Writing about David’s time living in Ziklag and serving the Philistine leader Achish, Peterson says,

“The primary concern of the spiritual life isn’t what we do for God, but what God does for us…We’re taught in many and various ways to resist the undertow of the world’s culture. It is, though, a story of what happens to us when we find ourselves overwhelmed by our culture with seemingly no way out- a story of God’s hidden providence, God’s behind-the-scenes efforts, doing for us what we aren’t doing for ourselves….

God is perfectly capable of working out his purposes in our lives even when we can’t lift a finger to help.”

One last little thing: I am nearly entirely off Prozak. One more week until I start Venlaflaxine. This all seems much less scary now.

 * I am not saying here that I have been “healed” of depression forever, or that I expect such a dramatic turn around to happen again, or that this can be taken as a blueprint to be applied to any other situation or person. I’m sure you know that, but thought it was worth saying anyway.