"I wonder where God fits into all of this," a friend commented after my last post (thanks Emily!)
This question is one that I have pondered many times over the last few years, and is so important (as well as complex) that I decided to take another entire blog entry to answer it in depth.
For me, it's easy to see God working in my life when things seem to be going well and falling nicely into place, but much harder to recognize him in the midst of trials and pain.
When I was first diagnosed with Depression, I quickly began to ask God questions like "Why me? What in the world did I do to deserve this? Do You enjoy seeing me in pain, or what?" I wondered what He could possibly be thinking putting me in such a difficult situation. I wondered why He picked me of all the people I knew to live with this illness. Honestly, I was frustrated at God. Sometimes even angry. I was confused and afraid.
Over the next couple years, when times got really rough and the pit I was in seemed to be too deep to ever climb out of, I would ask the same questions. I would question God and His Wisdom and plan. I wondered what He was thinking and why He let me suffer so much. It was during these times that I felt the most alone, because I had a hard time leaning on even God for support.
However, as bad as these times were, I can never say I completely lost hope. There was always a knowledge in the back of my head that things would improve, and that all this was part of God's marvelous plan.
Well, that is, I never lost hope until one day. I had had a particularily difficult week, and things just seemed to be getting worse and worse. I was in a scary state mentally and again began to question God. However, this time, I realized that something was different. I remember writing in my journal "God, why me?...I can't live like this. It's been years, and for years I've had hope and faith that you're out there looking after me and out for me. But I don't know anymore. How can you possibly love me and put me through this?...Have you forgotten about me?" It was then that I realized that the hope and trust always present before (sometimes deep down) was missing. This time, I couldn't trust that God had a plan through everything, and I had no hope that things would ever get better. I thought I was going to be stuck in that valley forever.
But even just after the moment that I wrote that entry, I knew I wouldn't just desert Him. I knew I wasn't just going to pack up and move on. I knew God would never not be a part of my life. I had a hard time praying, so I asked others to. I didn't know what to say or how to say it, so I listened to music that said what I wanted to say or told me what I needed to hear. Songs like Overcomer, Blessings, Gold, The Sun is Rising, Not for a Moment, and You're not Alone became iTunes Radio stations and were listened to frequently. I'm Catholic, and missing Mass, even in this dark place, was out of the question, so I picked myself up on Sunday and went.
Slowly, things started improving. I was able to once again see the good in each day. I was able to thank God for my blessings and ask him to help me in my struggles. A lot of prayers during this time went much like "God, thank You for getting me through today. Thank You for keeping me safe and healthy and for helping me through today's struggles. God, I don't know what Your plan is, but I know this is all part of something great that I cannot see. Help me to always trust in You."
I know that my Depression is all part of God's perfect plan. I know that there's a reason God placed this trial in my life, and I know He will help me overcome it. He will never give me more than I can handle, and struggles only make me stronger.
So yes. That's where God fits in. In every nook and cranny of any part of me that loses hope or faith,
He is there. Some days, (even when I couldn't see Him) He was carrying me along the path that is my life. A few days, He was my reason to live. Others, He was right next to me, guiding me through the struggles, showing me where to walk and what to avoid. And on better days, we hold hands and skip down the path together.
I could have never gotten through any of this without Him.