It’s funny how God works sometimes, isn’t it?
I’d been toying with retiring the Blessed Chaos blog. I still write multiple times a week, but as you know, almost never for public viewing. I’ve not felt God call me to share my thoughts.
This week, however, I’ve felt this prompting. And I knew it was him, because it was on a subject I truly didn’t want to talk about. It’s my own personal struggle, my own personal fight, and it’s private to me. And the more I’ve fought him, the more he’s presented me with those “flashing neon signs” saying “talk-write-share”.
Fine. Sigh. You win, God. You win.
Three times in my life I have been privileged to have heard a somewhat audible voice of God speak to me. One of those times I’ll probably take to the grave. One of those times was regarding my child and some medical struggles (which I’ve written on) and once, God woke me up in the middle of the night and told me to pray for a specific person and to let them know.
It was the middle of the night many years ago. I did do this, but I was a bit terrified as I had not had so much as a lengthy conversation with this person prior.
And she wrote me back immediately to let me know she’d just lost another baby. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I knew God didn’t have to let me know why he had asked me to do what he did, but he chose to anyway. And my faith was encouraged by my obedience even amongst such a heartbreaking situation.
This week, years later, I felt God prompt me in a similar way. In the middle of the night, I felt God lay a name on my heart. A friend I haven’t been in touch with in awhile due to..well, just life. We all know how that just happens sometimes. I felt God say “Check on her, pray for her. Reach out.” But, God, it’s so late. So, I chose instead to send message via social media...even though a quick scan of social media showed me she hadn’t been very active on it in months. And then I went to sleep.
I woke the next day still heavily burdened with the need to reach out. And so, I obeyed. I texted her. I let her know that she’d been on my heart and my mind. And I told her I felt like I was supposed to message her last night.
She messaged back immediately. And she asked me for prayer. She was going through some rough anxiety at that moment.
I prayed. And I knew it wasn’t coincidence that I myself (who had been going through some serious winter blues) had been put in this place, asking for peace when I so desperately needed it myself.
I sent her back directions for something I have done myself for years.
“Sing these words out loud. Singing slows your breathing. Plus, the lyrics always speak straight to my heart in moments of anxiety.
‘There’s a peace I’ve come to know, though my heart and flesh my fail.
There’s an anchor for my soul, I can say ‘it is well.’
Jesus has overcome and the grave is overwhelmed.
The victory is won.
He is risen from the dead.
And I will rise when he calls my name, no more sorrow, so more pain.
I will rise on eagles’ wings..before my God, fall on my knees and rise.’” Lyrics from I Will Rise by Chris Tomlin
Since that time, I’ve prayed for my friend each day since. I hope she knows that.
And since that time, I’ve also wrestled with my own darkness. Truth be told, mine started we before this time, but I feel I should be honest now since my friend was so brave telling me. I’m not new to this, as most of you know. And I find it fascinating, shocking, and sad just how many people are struggling with depression, anxiety, and mental health issues right now. I blame this weather. I truly do. Winter blues are no stranger to many of us... and when winter has lasted for approximately 10 million years in the Midwest, it makes sense that the winter blues would be extra harsh for a lot of us. I’ve found this to be true as I browse my social media, read current event articles, and watch the nightly news.
In my darkness, I’ve struggled to put many words to paper, and if I’m being 100% honest, I’ve struggled to string sentences together in prayer. But I’m always able to go back to a single word, even on my worst days. It’s a desperate cry, it’s a heartfelt plea, and it’s quiet strength all at the same time. “Peace.” God, give me peace. Give me peace. Give me peace.
This week, due to various different life situations, I found myself sinking a bit lower and lower. Last night, I found myself up quite late just repeating that word over and over, thankful for a God who knows the heart that goes along with a simple, single word. I’m thankful I don’t have to put eloquent text behind the word in order for him to grant my desperate plea! He hears it just the same, of this I am so sure.
And if I doubted it, even for a second, he followed it up with that neon light that I seem to need sometimes. On the way to church this morning, he spoke to me through the radio (KLOVE) where the verse of the day was Isaiah 58:9 “Then when you call, the Lord will answer. He will quickly reply, “YES, I am here.” The commentators started with the word “peace” to grab my attention. Are you needing peace? Simply speak the word. He will quickly answer.
I don’t claim to have all the answers, or truly any for that matter, especially in regards to the subject of mental health. But this is what I do know:
"God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved."- Psalms 46:5
Whitney B. Cromley
Follower of Jesus.