On the heels of my devastating divorce, I was still dazed, still gobsmacked about what had happened and still confused about where I should go from here. I remember trying to keep it all together till one night in July when I woke up from a deep sleep literally wrestling with myself, exploding in anguish, writhing, screaming and sobbing like I never had before. How could this be happening? How can that have ever been the person I had loved and trusted? I had allowed myself to be used. I had to face the facts. I had to say it to myself out loud. I had been betrayed.
Cocooning became my best coping mechanism. I truly felt I wasn’t avoiding people. I was processing. As an expert at compartmentalizing, cocooning was rather easy for me, the only thing that felt easy back then, and it afforded me the best means I knew to function each day. But the problem was that it became my familiar and most comfortable abode. I couldn’t seem to move away, to let go of it. The longer it went on, the more I clung to it. It was one thing I could control and I wasn’t about to give it up.
You know how that is, that feeling of terror that if you are forced to move beyond your comfort zone you will simply fall apart unable to cope. I started out by excusing myself from family and friend gatherings saying, “I’m sure you understand”, and they did after what I had just been through. But slowly I began to slide into making excuses like I didn’t feel well, or I’d had a bad day, or I had a task I simply had to finish. Then something sweet happened, something dope as the kids say now.
My Christian friends, especially the girls in my Bible study group, my couch sistas, seemed to go on a mission to rescue me. Now I’d known these ladies a very long time. They had unconditionally supported me, and without judgement, seen me through this marriage and the breakdown thereof. They knew why I had married, had celebrated it with me, and they grieved with me when I was divorced. I always felt they sincerely had my back. But now they were gently relentless in bringing me back under their loving care. They could see the dangers lurking in my isolation that I could not…and I trusted them. My own vision was askew and I was tired. Finally willing to accept their help, I gradually began to re-engage. I was recently reminded of this very difficult time in my life and moreover, their love for me during it. They held me up out of the mire when I couldn’t do it for myself.
Moses had lived 80 years when he led the Israelites out of Egypt. His divine task to lead was just then beginning! Doesn’t that make you want to rethink what can be accomplished at any age? In Exodus 17: 12-14 the Israelites were in battle with the Amalekites. As long as Moses held up his hands, beseeching God for help, the Israelites were winning the war. However, when he lowered his arms in exhaustion, the Amalekites prevailed. Scripture says that Aaron and Hur, recognizing how tired Moses must have been, brought a stone for him to sit on. Then they held up Moses’ arms for him, one man on each side. Who sees your weariness, your total fatigue? Who sees the pain and struggle you have endured? Who holds up your arms? Deep abiding friendships are one of those ever ready resources. I often say that my friends saved my life! You are not imposing when you need help from friends, true friends. They love you and they want to see you emerge from the dense fog of depression. They recognize your exhaustion, your extended struggle. They want to give you a hand up.
And finally, through long term battles, we often loose our strength to carry on. The dark times have drained us down to the dregs. We know Who to go to for help, but sometimes we’ve been in this battle so long that we have no energy left to reach up and try one more time. Our energy is depleted.
However, Dr. Charles Stanley tells the story of missionary Bertha Smith. At 72, while on a 5 year world tour of speaking engagements, he picked her up at the airport when she was scheduled to talk at their church. He so was impressed by how lively she was that he asked her about it. She simply stated that she was not going on her own strength. She was going on God’s! “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…” Isa. 40:31
Are you battle weary? There are readily available avenues to help you rise up from the darkness and become strong again: go to friends, go to the Word, and go to the Father. But please remember that each solution requires you to act.