The Bleak Hours

Fog
The hours, days, months, and even years of living in despair – the bleak hours.

Despair creeps in like a slow rolling fog. An insidious cloud at the edge of my peripheral vision. There are always signs that the bleak hours are coming; the flu-like symptoms, lack of interest, lack of energy and denial.

So, I sleep more, I do less, and I watch my self-esteem crumble. I can’t stay on top of my life, my simple, uncomplicated life. Most people work full-time, take care of a home, raise kids, hang out with friends and spend time indulging hobbies. I don’t work, live alone with 4 dogs, and can live my life any way I choose, and I still can’t make it happen. I have a pity-party, I feel worthless and I sleep to escape my dark thoughts.

Yesterday, I cried off and on, for no reason. I think the pain wells up deep inside of me and spills out of my eyes. I tell myself that if I don’t get a handle on the crying I will have to go to the hospital. I can feel myself breaking apart inside. I’ve been there before and when I get to the breaking point, I scare the hell out of people.

If I’m going to the hospital, I have a few things to take care of first. As I make a mental note of what I need to do I find the dark thoughts lifting. Preparing for a breakdown is too much work, so I start tidying up to distract myself. It works, and I find my internal drama quiets, allowing me to have a pleasant evening.

After a fitful night’s sleep, I wake exhausted and stumble to let the dogs out. I go back to bed for a couple of hours before I decide to get up and head for the dog park. There are other people there and we chat, but I feel detached and heavy in my body and my spirit. I can’t wait to get home.

I pick up a coffee and muffin on the way home and here I sit, browsing facebook and feeling restless. I’ll have a nap soon and sleep away the afternoon, quieting all the noise in my head. Napping is my favorite escape from mental anguish. When I wake up I will feel refreshed and in a better position to fight the chaos in my mind and body. I’ve been here before and I know this will pass, after all, God is with me and He will carry me to the other side.

The bleak hours are always there, hovering on the outskirts waiting for an opportunity to settle in my spirit. This is my reality. Time spent during the bleak hours serves to make me stronger and more appreciative of the beautiful, joyful moments. Moments that fill me with hope for a better day and a better life without the bleak hours.

 

God’s Love is Pure, His Message is Simple, so Why don’t We get It?

Cloud - He first Loved usWith many Christian churches out there, I sometimes wonder which one has the true message. It seems we like to make God’s message complicated but it’s God who keeps it simple.

I grew up in a ‘fire and brimstone” church; sombre, stern, legalistic. I was on a pre-destined road that most likely would lead me to a pit of hell-fire. Salvation was for the chosen of which there were very few. Every Sunday was a reminder that I was another day closer to burning for all eternity.

I never found comfort at church, just fear, fear of God, fear of dying, fear of burning forever. But then I discovered the song, Jesus Loves Me. 

 

Jesus loves me this I know,

For the Bible tells me so,

Little ones to Him belong,

They are weak but He is strong,

Yes, Jesus loves me, yes, Jesus loves me, yes, Jesus loves me

The Bible tells me so!

My heart absorbed this message like a sponge. Jesus loved me, the girl walking the road that leads to hell. This simple, beautiful message reinforced by my kindergarten teacher just before Easter. My classmates and I sat in a circle while our teacher, Mrs. Roland, read us the story of Jesus, dying for us because He loved us! My eyes welled up and I quietly wiped my tears away. At the age of five, I already had several years of church doctrine under my belt, but I had never heard this message in church. This message of hope and love, so much love.

In Matthew 19:14, the Bible says,

But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

How does a child believe? They accept what they’re told without question; they simply believe. This is so different from adults who question and pick apart scripture turning the meaning, the message, into something more complicated. God builds up and we tear down.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

The definition of Grace is:

  1. The free and unmerited favour of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessing

We have found favour with God, not because we deserve it but because He loves us. He loves us with all of our flaws. His message is simple, I love you, believe in me and you will have eternal life. But wait, is grace really enough for us?

We pick the scripture and our fellow Christians apart, creating chaos and strife where love and fellowship should be.

The Bible warns us in Matthew 7:2

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured toyou again.

We all judge. I hate being judgemental, I know when I’m doing it and still I judge. Ironically, I  judge writers who blog their judgement of others. I know I’m not alone but why I wonder, do we do this? We have enough flaws of our own to work on so why point out others?

I recently read a blog post about the pope promoting a false religion. Really? Is that what the pope is doing? I had the misguided idea that he was sincerely trying to do the work of God, you know, like the rest of us slogging through this life. We don’t know what is in the hearts of other people. Maybe we should be careful of whom we judge, for the one we judge could very well be our sister or brother in Christ.

Judgement, like hate, is a waste of energy, when we could be reaching out with God’s love. If we rewrote stories with love instead of judgement, how different our stories would be.

This Easter my focus is on God who loved me so much he sent His Son to die for me. Jesus who willingly suffered and died so I could live in the kingdom of heaven forever and ever.

God’s message is about love, pure and simple.