I honestly don’t even know where to begin. I don’t know how to tell you what’s been happening or how I’ve been feeling or where God has been showing up for me. The past month feels mostly like a blur and the one word that keeps coming back up is heavy. I’m going to try my very best to be authentic and honest without being a total downer but I’ll probably err on the side of honesty.
Lots of tears have been shed over the past month. Lots of wanting to crawl into bed and hide under the covers. Lots of changes and missing people who have become family. The first weekend in April, my teammate and one of my roommates, Abbey, chose to take a step of faith and obedience and move back home. She had her tonsils removed during our Spring Break and because of some complications with her recovery, decided that the place where she could be the healthiest is back home in Oklahoma City. Abbey brought so much joy and truth and light with her presence. During her 7 months of Mission Year, she taught me so much about speaking hard truth. I can’t point to the moment when this friend became sister, but it happened and I miss her. The last weekend in April, another teammate, Claire, also had to return to her not-Houston-home in Iowa. Claire has been fighting a battle with depression oh so bravely. She has been wrestling with the darkness and was finding only very little temporary relief while she was in Houston. Her parents and doctors and counselors here came to an agreement that we need to take some more pro-active steps in helping Claire so that she can be the healthiest and most whole Claire that she can be. She’s back home for now to enroll in a faith-based intensive outpatient program. I have a very deep desire for Claire’s mind to be healed and healthy because I’ve seen the devastation and hopelessness that depression can bring and I hate it. But I miss her. She has eyes in her heart that have this enormous capacity for seeing me. She brings so much creativity with her wherever she goes and has opened my eyes to the value of presence–and what a gift hers is to me. It’s been hard and quite exhausting shifting and shuffling and grieving and living the day to day trying to carry all of these things at once.
Grace is here. God is here. He reminds me that Jesus wept. You probably don’t need me to tell you the difference between crying and weeping. You probably already know, all too well, the wracking, breath knocked out of your lungs sobbing that I’m talking about. Jesus knows it, too. In these moments when my soul feels raw and everything outside of my body feels slow–Jesus weeps with me. You probably also don’t need me to remind you how broken this world is. This fallen world where depression hurts my friends, where our bodies get sick, where relationships wound, where people wage wars with weapons of hate and creation rages through earthquakes and tornadoes. You don’t need me to remind you of this. However, you might need to remember hope. You might need to remind yourself daily, moment by moment, as I do, that hope is coming and hope is here. In 1 Samuel 20:23, Jonathan, David’s friend who is closer than a brother, tells David to remember that God’s in on this to the very end. David’s life was in danger and these covenanted friends didn’t even have the reassurance that they would see each other again. Talk about hopeless. But Jonathan remembers and reminds David. God is in this. God is here. Keep remembering, friends. Keep remembering that God is in this. Even in the things that feel hopeless. Even on the days when you feel the darkness trying to push it’s way in, find the Light. He is here. Always loving us. Weeping with us.