Yesterday I went to the prayer meeting with my family, and I was struggling a bit because of Silvio’s depression. I asked God to open my heart to whatever He wanted to say to me, and then to fill it with His words.
There was such a focus on fear, courage, and doing the hard things when we’re filled with the Holy Spirit. A focus on seeing that Jesus is working all through our lives–seeing because we are seeking Him continuously. Dad told a story of how when he was going into open heart surgery, he was so afraid–and then, suddenly he was filled with such peace. Not because he “knew” it’d be okay–it might not! But because God was with him, and His grace and peace are enough.
“Fear is a Liar” was running through my head the whole time.*
This morning as I began my prayer time, I asked God the same thing. Please open my heart to whatever You want to say to me, and fill my open and empty heart with Your words.
My prayer time: Psalm 125. “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever,” or “is unshakeable” in another version. Then 2 Corinthians 12, which is all about God’s power being made perfect in weakness, and His grace is enough for me. Fr. Boniface Hicks from Saint Vincent Archabbey talked recently about weakness, that it’s our greatest weapon. Without that emptiness, I’d be so filled with the world that there would be no room for Jesus. But because of my gaping emptiness that is my weaknesses, He can fill me so completely. And then, like the psalm says, I’m unshakeable.
His peace is enough for my fear.
His grace is enough for my weakness.
Then tonight, I spoke to someone who is a wise mentor to me. I shared with him how when Silvio’s struggling with depression, and I’m suffering too, I feel this anger. Not at God, not at Silvio, but–I realized–at the depression itself. And then, I have this overwhelming, unabating temptation to let my own suffering be known, to put on a dismal face. And sometimes I give in. And also, sometimes I can’t tell that I did give in. I can’t even approach some of those hard moments with the slightest grain of nobility or love or pity; it’s just fighting not to do wrong and sometimes I lose the battle.
He said that sometimes when our hearts feel these things which our heads don’t agree with, it’s actually a warning sign from God that there’s something there that He wants to transform. Then he asked me what other things I feel with that anger, and I narrowed the biggest down to fear.
I have felt a constant fear, an anxiety so big it sometimes doesn’t feel like it should fit in my chest, since the time Silvio and I first started dating. It had nothing to do with him specifically, but it was because I had begun to think about a life of earthly instability because of marrying a man whose depression could sometimes be crippling, and depression could shatter everything. This was something I never knew as a child. I never even conceived the idea that I might not be provided for, that there would be emotional and financial uncertainties laced through my entire life (which would be the case no matter who I married–it is just so much more obvious when you can see the source of the instability). And I began to live with a constant, looming, enormous and emotionally crippling fear. I would pay attention to it for certain moments for discernment purposes, but the rest of the time I would try and shove it under a rug that couldn’t conceal it because I didn’t want to suffer from it. When it became so bad that I couldn’t focus on anything else, I’d ask God to relieve it, but I never really faced it. So there it has been.
My mentor told me a story about when he went into surgery and he was so afraid, but in the last moment he had such peace because he knew God was with him.
This was huge for me. I have been (ironically) afraid to face this fear for three years, and it has been eating me–but it’s also gotten more subtle. To be dealing with it at last is tremendous. And at just the moment I came face to face with it, God stepped in and reminded me in ways I couldn’t ignore that He is here with me to be my peace, my strength, my freedom in the face of my fear. When I finally opened it all up to Him, He showed me the specific way He’s been waiting to be what I need, His way that fits my need like a glove, tying everything together so exactly.
Fear is a liar.
Jesus is my liberty.