Dear Bah Humbug
Dear Word Washed Wife,
I am dreading the holidays. I feel like I am drowning and may disappear under the weight of sadness. I am a Christian, but because of these emotions I find myself questioning my faith. I am in a loveless marriage. I am married to a good guy, but I’m sure he is tired of me. We have a beautiful son who is a high school senior and will soon be leaving home. I battle with addiction and have been sober for the past 10 months, but I am tempted, so tempted. I don’t blame my husband for his cool manner and I don’t blame God either for turning His back on me. I feel most days like a lost cause. I wish there was a way to avoid Christmas all together this year. I can’t take all the stupid joy and happiness. Please help me find a way to survive this mess.
Dear Bah humbug,
I am so very sorry that you are feeling defeated and depressed. For most people, not just you, this time of year magnifies every emotion, positive and negative. Considering your circumstances, your feelings are normal. My heart hurts for you. But this is the season of hope and I believe that I have some to share with you! Please keep reading, my sister. I will try to not be too jolly, but I am writing about some very good news! 😊
You are not the first person to feel overwhelmed by sadness. Your feelings of darkness from your sin and your feelings of depression about your life circumstances is not uncommon. God understands these feelings. He understands them so well that He made sure your feelings were given a voice in the Bible. In the book of Psalms, the pattern is often this: the author pours out his heart to God, God reveals His character to the author, the author declares a hope for a brighter tomorrow, and the author rejoices. The Psalms are joyful songs written to stir the people’s hearts and to lead them into deeper worship. But in two songs, Psalms 39 and Psalms 88, the author feels just like you – totally depressed. The author of these two songs can’t imagine tomorrow and feels like God has turned His back on him.
In the past when reading these Psalms, I thought how strange it was that God placed them in the Bible, an uplifting book filled with hope. But as I have become more aware of the suffering in the world, I am seeing that these verses are a part of God’s plan to encourage us when we are discouraged. All of us have known discouragement. So then, let me remind you of the truth: God loves us! And even more important, God loves you, my sister! I know that you love that beautiful child of yours, but God loves him and you so much better! Here is a portion of Psalms 88.
“O Lord, God of my salvation,
I cry out day and night before you.
Let my prayer come before you;
incline your ear to my cry!
For my soul is full of troubles,
and my life draws near to Sheol.
I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
O Lord, why do you cast my soul away?
Why do you hide your face from me?
Afflicted and close to death from my youth up,
I suffer your terrors; I am helpless.
Your wrath has swept over me;
your dreadful assaults destroy me.
They surround me like a flood all day long;
they close in on me together.
You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me;
my companions have become darkness”
You are not the only one to feel the weight of sadness and sin. You are in good company. God sent His only son, Jesus, to experience every imaginable discouragement, hurt, shame, sin, and separation from holiness. Because Jesus was not above suffering, you are not above suffering. But do not wallow in your suffering. Instead, follow His example and pour out your heart to God. Trust that God is good to His word and that as he promised, He “will listen to the voice of” of your prayer (Psalms 66:19).” Jesus expressed concerns about God “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” (Psalms 22:1 is the verse Jesus is quoting on the cross- Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34) So you are also permitted to pour out your concerns to God. God can take it. God does not punish us when we honestly talk to Him. He welcomes us onto His lap and holds us while we cry. God is a compassionate God, slow to anger. (Psalms 51:1) Circumstances may be hard, but our loving God is not. When your young son tantrumed, you still held him. God will do the same for you. He hears your sadness. He does not turn His face from you. God loves you.
But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
If Jesus can exclaim discouragement and questioning, if the psalmist can ask “why have you turned your back to me” and “I have a better friend in darkness than I do with you,” then surely you can complain a little too! So, relax. Grab a big piece of chocolate cake and catch your breath, things will look better in the morning. God has got this. Promise.
Take some time to thank God for what He has blessed you with in this hard season. Thank God for blessing you with the work He is doing in your life. On your own, you will struggle with resisting sin, but with God, you will conquer sin! So what that you are still tempted. You are resisting! Hallelujah! You are 10 months free of the sin that satan enticed you with! Your resisting is evidence of God’s work in you. So then, offer God a word of thanksgiving for this blessing. OK?
Thank God for giving you a “good guy.” You say that your marriage is cool, but this does not have to be a prophetic description of what is to come. The temperature in any marriage can eb and flow. I believe that with a steady diet of the word, with prayer and with a community of Believers walking with you and your husband, your marriage can be restored and become a showplace of love and passion. Your community may need to include a professional counsellor, but in the grand scheme of things, it would be a small price to pay.
You say that you are a believer. I believe that you are. I am reminded of Romans 8:35-38, verses that has comforted me through struggles through the years. These verses are a part of a letter that Paul wrote to the Roman believers. Paul asked these Christians a question, “What can separate us from the love of Jesus Christ (vs 35)?” The answer is, NOTHING! “Not tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger or the sword (vs 35).” Not “death or life, angels, rulers, not things present, nor things to come (vs 38).” When Jesus purchased you with His precious blood, you became part of the “conquerors through Him who loved us (vs 37.” Your salvation is not dependent on your feelings, but on Jesus sacrifice. Rest in that thought- God’s got this!
Stay strong, my sister. Do not give up. Get some professional help. Rest in the loving arms of God this holiday. Make some Christmas cookies and give them to your neighbor! Give some joy, and I bet you will start to feel a little too! Count your blessings. Bathe in the Hope that filled that manger over 2,000 years ago and fills our hearts today!
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Love, Word Washed Wife