It should be the most wonderful time of the year. But for many people, including myself, the holiday season brings an unwelcome visitor. Depression creeps in steals our joy and, try as we might, we can't seem to get it back. The grayness is oppressive and heavy. It feels as if we carry the weight of life on our shoulders. It tugs us deeper and deeper into a storm of sadness and frustration. But it didn't used to be this way. I once reveled in this time of year with the gathering of friends and family, warmth and good wishes abounding and the contagious joy. Then life happened.
I lost my Dad unexpectedly in December 2009. The pain of his loss left me reeling that Christmas. The following year in September my dad's dad lost his battle with leukemia and the year after that we lost my grandmother. Memories of Christmases past haunted me. Christmases would never be the same without these people. And depression found a cozy place to stay. Some days it was so intense that not even the excitement of my children lessened the ache inside.
But this year my holiday squatter never showed. The boys were bouncing off the walls, we visited family, there was a new baby to play with, we sat with our church family and received the Lord's supper together and it was reverently beautiful. The season was a wonderful mix of rowdy joy and blessed quietness.
And then I get the call.
My other grandmother has had another mini stroke and is not recovering well. Here comes the dread, here comes that sinking feeling and, in an instant, I am drowning in helplessness and fear. Not again.
I feel like the psalmist in verse 3 of chapter 42 where he writes,
"My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all day long, 'Where is your God?'"
Exactly. Where are You, God? Why is this happening AGAIN? Haven't I had enough? I was just getting past the depression, my heart was healing and now THIS?? Where. Are. You?
It is then, in that honest wailing, that He calls to me.
Psalm 42:7, "Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me."
With this verse, God reminds me that I am made in His image. I am cut from he same cloth as the Almighty; I am a tiny, miniscule piece of His majesty. And because of that link, when He calls my soul responds to Him. Because He created me from Himself and not just dust, He is the only One that can soothe and satisfy the chaos and self pity that threatens to consume me. He says that when the world threatens to sweep me away, it is His waterfall that washes over me instead.
The waterfall also reminds me of His infinite greatness. A single drop of water can't do much but a waterfall can cut mighty canyons from the hardest rock. A waterfall can move mountains. That is the power of my God compared to what I can do on my own. This is God asking me to let Him carry me. This is God telling me I cannot and do not need to even attempt to walk this road alone. It is Him reassuring me that He can shoulder what I cannot.
I don't know what the next few weeks and months will hold for me and my family. I don't know what this development means for my grandmother. But I know that His "deep" will continue to call to my "deep" and if I rest in His power and trust where His current takes me then I have the promise of the next verse as well.
Psalm 42:8, "The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime;
And His song will be with me in the night,
A prayer to the God of my life."
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, my friends!