So, I bet you are all wondering “Why is her site called Deserts That Bloom?”. Or maybe you aren’t wondering that at all. Either way, I am going to tell you! In my first post I promised that I was going to be real with you guys, and so I thought, hey, why not get really deep and vulnerable, really fast? That doesn’t scare me at all! Just kidding, it really does. Vulnerability is hard. It puts you in a position for judgment, and the possibility of getting hurt. But I personally think that the benefits of being vulnerable far outweigh the risks. I am going to share a testimony with you guys. I’m gunna tell you about my 2014. I recently shared a very condensed version of this testimony at the ladies group at my church. And I was reminded of how very important it is that we share our testimonies. You never know who else is going through the same thing that you have been through and really needs to hear that they aren’t alone, or that it’s possible to get through it. The Bible says that we will overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11). So with that in mind, here is the story of what 2014 was like for me.
I have battled a depression and anxiety disorder since I was very young. The earliest that I remember being depressed was when I was 10. I have struggled on and off since then. There have been times when it was manageable and times when it nearly killed me. 2014 was a time when it nearly killed me. Anxiety, as some of you may know, is a very very difficult thing to struggle with. It stems from fear. But it isn’t like other kinds of fear. Most people feel anxious for normal reasons, like waiting to have a difficult conversation with your boss, or realizing that you have a major exam the next day that you forgot to study for. But when you have an anxiety disorder you can feel anxious for very different reasons, like thinking about having to go for coffee with a friend, or thinking about going to work the next day. And I’m not talking about anxiety like worrying, I am talking anxiety like panic attacks, laying on the ground not being able to breath, thinking that you would rather die than have to do whatever small task is before you. And a lot of times you have this anxiety for absolutely no reason. Last year my anxiety got worse than it had ever been before. And the weird thing about it is that last year should have been one of the best years of my life. My best friend proposed to me last year. I got to plan my wedding last year. I had a stable job and was making decent money last year. I scored a killer apartment last year. There were a lot of amazing things happening in my life. And yet, I was at my lowest. Throughout a lot of the year I wouldn’t go more than a few days without wanting to end my life. I found myself lying on the ground, unable to move, unable to think, incapable of explaining or understanding why I felt how I felt. Forcing myself to go to work was a seemingly never ending battle. And don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t unhappy about any of the amazing things that were happening in my life. I was overjoyed to be engaged to Jordan and we had a great relationship. I loved planning my wedding. My anxiety had very little to do with my circumstances. And everything to do with my posture. I was suffering, I was trying so hard to cope, but I was trying to do it without God. I didn’t turn to Him. I turned to myself, and sometimes Jordan. Jordan was absolutely amazing during this time. I was miserable to be around a lot of the time. And he had so much patience and grace for me. It still blows my mind to think about what he went through for me.
I was angry at God. I know that to some of you that may seem like a strange concept. But at times, throughout my life, I have been angry at Him. And to be quite straight with you, I think He can take it. He always sets me straight, in the most gentle way. This time I was angry at Him because I didn’t understand how he could let bad things happen to me. And not just to me, but to so many people throughout the world. I wondered how He could say that He is good, and yet let all of these terrible things happen. The specific “bad thing” that I felt God had let happen to me was my Scoliosis. I suffer every single day with chronic severe back pain which leads to headaches and difficulty sleeping and all sorts of difficult things. I wanted God to heal me. I had prayed a million times. And I had many people pray over me. And yet, it continues to get worse and worse. Why wouldn’t he heal me? I was mad. But you know what? I realized something that has changed me; God is good. No matter what I feel, or think, or stubbornly believe, nothing will change the FACT that God is good. He has always been good, and He will always be good. I don’t know about you, but that gives me so much comfort! I am in so much pain, but God is good. Nothing is going according to plan, but God is good. Innocent people are dying every single day, but GOD IS STILL GOOD. Once I had this realization I was able to let go of my anger towards God and turn to Him for the help I so desperately needed. As soon as I turned to Him a theme arose. God predominantly speaks to me through themes. This theme; God is my strength. Jordan told me “God is your strength”. A pastor at my church preached “God is our strength”. The Bible told me “God is my strength” (Psalm 27:1). And I started to believe it. Suddenly, when I couldn’t get off the floor it didn’t matter because God was my strength. He lifted me up. When I couldn’t get out of bed, I leaned on Him. He got me out. Everything changed. God showed me what my life looks like when I am not relying on Him for my strength. Without Him I am right where I was for so much of last year, on the ground, defeated, overcome. As I leaned on Him my panic attacks became fewer and fewer. I was able to reach out for medical help I desperately needed. A new doctor was able to prescribe anti-depressants that have been a really amazing help. And any time that the anxiety came to creep back, He gave me strength to fight.
Now, I know what you are wondering. “She never mentioned anything about the name of her site.” I know, its coming. Shortly after I began my recovery another theme arose. I was spending time with God one day. Listening to some music and journaling. And this song came on:
Some of the lyrics go like this:
Deserts will bloom in the light of your love
Valleys make room for the river of God
God spoke to me and told me I was like a desert. Deserts are dry and desolate. I didn’t want to be a desert. I wanted to be a garden. But God told me that through Him deserts can bloom. He was promising me that even though I feel like there is no way for me to be anything, with this disorder that I suffer from. Even though I feel so useless and broken, He will cause me to bloom like a beautiful garden. Because of His love. He told me that the broken places in my life are the valleys and that He would heal those places. It was a beautiful word from God that gave me such hope. And then, I was at church the next Sunday, and I went to the alter for prayer. A woman came up to pray for me and she told me she had a word from God for me. She told me that she saw that there were broken places in my life. She told me that God wants to heal those places and she saw water coming up through all of the cracks in my life. I was blown away (As I usually am when God speaks to me so clearly). I held on to that word. And it continues to be a beautiful theme in my life. So that is why I named my blog “Deserts That Bloom”. In the last probably 4 months I have experienced so much healing and I have seen God start to use me in ways that I never dreamed He could. I am so so thankful.
I really hope you can find some encouragement from my story. God is good. And He is able to use you in a magnificent way. He can turn deserts into gardens. Look to Him.