Finding Joy in Brokenness

There's this piece of me that is broken.  So broken that time and time and time again, the bandaid over this unhealed wound is suddenly torn off and the raw, damaged patch of hurt is exposed once again.  It doesn't make sense, this brokenness.  But it is there, and I continually try to make sense of it.  Sometimes I cry out in desperate loneliness, realizing that no one in the world can possibly understand this piece of me that even I don't understand.  I often pray that it can be healed, taken away, made better, or at least made understandable to me.  But it remains.  And it might always remain until my broken brain is made whole someday. 

At times when the hurt seems unmanageable and the pain feels like it will engulf me, God answers my prayers, not by taking away the hurt or the pain, and not even by helping me to understand it (I'm not sure there is much to understand about it), but by giving me someone to sit with me in that dark moment until I can find a portion of light again.  Most often, this is my angel husband, the man who loves, cares, and comforts me like no one else can. 

I usually try to avoid telling him why I can't stop the tears from falling, because it hurts to admit that I'm no more healed at that moment than the last time this happened, but when he wraps me in his perfectly loving arms, I know that he is my safe place, and that no amount of frustrating sorrow can come between me and him. 

Over the last six years, five of which have been years of struggling with depression, I have learned so much about joy.  That finding joy is possible, even in the darkest times.  That joy is not about my circumstances but about my perspective.  That joy is a matter of faith in God's perfect plan, even if that plan includes many, many evenings with a splotchy face and puffy, red eyes.  That finding joy takes effort, but the result of increased faith and an overwhelming sense of God's mindfulness of me is so worth that effort.  That joy somehow turns my feelings of bitterness into feelings of gratitude.

I had one of those broken moments tonight, but what started out as a desperate prayer filled with hurt and tears later turned into a prayer of gratitude for the wonderful man God has given me to help me find joy, even in my brokenness.  And once again, I am reminded that finding joy is always possible.


8 Good Months

I have had 8 glorious, beautiful, wonderful, light-filled months.  That's honestly the longest I have gone without struggling with depression in the last 6 years.  Before that, my record was 4 months.  And that's about it.  1 year in the last 6 years has been good and depression-free. 

In the last couple of weeks, I have felt the darkness of depression creeping back into my life.  I'm sure it's partly the weather-- dark, cold, and depression seem to go hand-in-hand.  I'm sure it's also partly the fact that I'm still not getting as much sleep as I need with a baby who needs me in the night.  And then, of course, there's the fact that my baby is difficult and cries on and off most of the day.  It's wearing and exhausting.  But whatever the cause, I have felt the darkness creeping back in, slowly and steadily.

First, it was a night when my husband was gone, and I cried for a couple of hours about how I was sure that I was a terrible wife and mom, and he deserves better than me.  Thankfully, he came home, wrapped me in his arms, and reassured me that he loves me and needs me. 

Then, it was another night when I had made a mistake, and I was positive that my husband would stop loving me and would leave me if I told him.  Once again, thankfully, he wrapped me in his arms and helped me see things clearly.

And finally, it was another night (hmm... notice a pattern?) when I was at church for the women's session of General Conference.  I was already feeling the emotion filling inside of me when one speaker started talking about how mothers are primarily responsible for gospel teaching in the home.  Suddenly, the tears started flowing as I felt so much inadequacy, fear, and panic.  As soon as he was done talking, I ran out of the room and cried in the bathroom until the meeting was over.  I was positive that I was not cut out for the task and was failing.  This time, I knew what to do.  After some hugs and comforting words from friends, I hurried home, melted into my husband's arms, and felt his calm reassurance that I am not failing at this.  Once he started listing off things I have done/am doing, my mind could see clearer and my heart felt some peace. 

All of these times, the depression was so deceptive.  I was 100%, positively, unmistakably sure that what I felt was true.  It didn't seem like there could be any other way.  It wasn't until my husband acted as my eyes for truth that I could see clearly. 

I'm not sure that I'm ready for this again.  The last few times I have struggled, it has been at least a year before things improved.  That's such a long time to look ahead and see struggle.  But I've done it before, and I can do it again.  I'm guessing more writing about joy is coming in the future.  I think I'm going to need it.

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