Several years ago I was struggling with anxiety and low mood. I knew there was a deep seated reason and yet I couldn’t quite put my finger on the problem. God had already begun to help me with some of my anxiety issues, which I have written about in https://www.lifeinallitsfullness.blog/blog/faith/why-do-i-wear-a-headcovering but there was still a churning in my stomach that needed settling and so I prayed.
God led me to a book called ‘Unexpected Healing’ by a lady called Jennifer Rees Larcombe. I would highly recommend her books to anyone, but this particular one was the one I needed to read at that moment. This beautiful Christian woman had been through deep trauma, she had raised a large family and had found Jesus in the depths of her darkness. I knew there was much I could learn from her.
I love to fill my mind with testimonies from Christians who have walked the hard roads before me. I always see that it is in the darkness they seem to find they are closest to the Lord. It’s these testimonies, which are to me like a continuation of the Acts of the Apostles, they are the modern stories of what God is doing today.
Our God is very much alive and active and wants to be involved in our lives, on the good days and in the depths of our pain. Sometimes we need to find ourselves, like Jeremiah in the bottom of a well, or like Jonah in the belly of the big fish, in order to realise we need God above everything.
So how did the book help me? Well, other than it being a hugely encouraging read, it led me to the healing ministry of https://www.beautyfromashes.co.uk/ . I contacted them and arranged to visit them for the morning.
What a treat it is for a busy mum to take time out to just be with the Lord. Phil dropped me off and then took all the children to a local National Trust property, leaving me wondering why the Lord had called me here and what he planned to show me?
It was a lovely peaceful home and I was welcomed in and offered a drink whilst I waited. This ministry, maybe a little like our home here, is a place of sanctuary for those who need a rest and who want to take time away from the crowds, to just be with God.
I had asked if I could receive some prayer ministry and so a couple of lovely ladies took me into a quiet room and they helped me to dig deeper and uncover the deeper reasons for my anxieties. They encouraged me to picture myself in the bottom of a well and then to ask the Lord how I might get out of it. The well represented my pain and as I sought the Lord I received a picture of the well and when I looked harder, I could see diamonds embedded in the sides of the walls. Those diamonds were God’s light and the footholds and handholds I needed to escape the darkness. As I took hold of the diamonds I heaved myself out from the depths of the well and I found myself released into the light.
The diamonds were also a timely reminder that God’s help is there, we just have to stop panicking long enough to see it. Diamonds are also a reminder that beauty is often created when we are under pressure. God knows exactly how much pressure to apply to refine us, but he never breaks us, the pressure also strengthens us, as we learn to lean on God. I’d like to say that was the end of that and I have felt better every day since. There is some truth in that, but it was also just another step on the journey to finding Christ on a deeper level.
There were many tears that morning as we prayed through painful memories, but the tears were needed to begin my healing. Memories were churned up which I had long since buried (something I have a gift for) and once out in the open I could ask God to heal the pain those memories brought.
I have a great ability to look fine. When asked how am I am, in the same way as many of us do, I say I’m fine, but it’s not always true, is it? Many of us aren’t fine, many of us are in pain, that churning pain of stress, anxiety and depression. Mental health issues are now acceptable to be spoken about in our society, but secular answers are only part of the solutions.
We have a God who wants to enter into our pain with us and help us through it. He’s not a distant God who sits on his throne watching us suffer, he is love and he cares about the pain we are in. I do believe that prayer is the key to unlocking the pain trapped inside many of us. Sometimes that prayer is more easily done with someone else supporting us, whether through counselling or through a friend, but it’s well worth prioritising it, both for our peace and for our relationship with God.
The more I share, speak openly and pray through the challenges I have walked through, the nearer I feel God is. It’s like the barrier between God and me is one I build when I lock away my pain, rather than taking that pain to him.
I would really encourage anyone reading this, who is struggling, to find someone to begin that journey of prayer with. If there is no one, pray anyway, God will hear you and he will show you how to find his diamonds of his love in those dark places.
Sendings prayers and blessings to our readers both near and far.
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