Taken captive. It sounds so sudden and violent. But the way it happened was subtle and sneaky. So gentle in a way. It was a whisper here and there. It was a lullaby that enchanted me. It was a trap door disguised so well that I didn’t even know I had fallen through for many years.
No one showed up on my lawn with guns and tanks and a bullhorn and demanded that I surrender. The attack was so very smart and practiced. I threw up my hands and closed my eyes and just went with it. I hardened myself one heartbreak at a time. I sipped at bitterness and sarcasm. Little by little I became mean and impossible to be around. I exchanged my exuberant faith and deep love for God for doubt, anger, and confusion.
One more loss. One more crisis and tragedy. I started to be afraid to pick up the phone or answer the door, wanting to avoid bad news. Anxiety snuffed out joy.
What had happened, what was happening, what could happen went ’round and ’round in my head till it had my stomach on spin cycle. I’d wake up in the middle of the night and sob into my pillow; argue with God, and let him know exactly how disappointed I was in him. He had let me down. He had pulled the rug right out from under me.
Where was the Supernatural in my life? Where was answered prayer? Where were the miracles I was so sure he would perform? How could he just sit there with all the power and LOVE there is and not do anything to help?
I still wonder that sometimes. A lot, actually. I guess it always comes down to whether I even believe in him or not, and, if so, what kind of person I think he is. Remember my encounters with him. Remember his goodness, mercy and love towards me. Remember that he is unchanging. Then stand still. Wait. Tell myself there is more to the story than I can see or understand. But I still feel scared and angry and BLUE.
I let all sorts of ugliness go through my mind till I’m absolutely miserable. Hurt leads to anger. My heart gets a little harder trying to protect myself.
Then I realized how much I’m hurting the people I love. Especially the little ones I’m raising. I don’t mean I’m abusing them; but my temper is short, I don’t have the patience I once had (and that they deserve), and I don’t enjoy their company sometimes the way I want to. I force myself to spend time with them when I’m down, but I’m numb. It’s automatic pilot. And it happened so gradually, like the proverbial frog in hot water. You don’t know that one? The story goes that if you take a frog and throw it into hot water, it will jump out. (Why anyone would do that…?) If you place the frog in water and gradually turn up the heat, it will sit there and let you boil him to death. Ew. What an awful thing to contemplate. But, let’s face it, it happens to us more than we like to think.
I’ve been in a prison of depression, but somehow I have acquired an awakened desire to fight. I’m standing at the exit from all that nastiness and headed for freedom and healing.
As I look back over my life I do see little glints and glimmers of God at work. The miracles are trickles instead of floods sometimes. The miracle of sticking with it, of believing God is RIGHT and that he is LOVE…even when you prayed for your friend’s cancer to be healed and she died anyway. Or praying for your granddaughter to be healed and God said, “No!” Not on Earth, anyhow. The miracle of remaining a “prisoner of hope,” in the face of all the awful things going on in your life and out there in this world. If God can soften a hardened heart and keep it teachable, that’s a miracle.
Taken captive. That is a term I intend to apply to the thoughts I ride to a hellish place. Taking them captive to the obedience of Christ. Usurping the lies that cripple me and replacing them with truth. Wow. That is going to take practice. I’ve become so lazy about what I let myself think. What a battle.