why my biggest challenge was also my greatest blessing…
This picture doesn’t tell the real story. It looks like my life was beautiful and happy.
The truth is that a year ago, I was at rock bottom.
I was battling postpartum depression and my 11 month old was battling colic…and we were both losing. Because of his around-the-clock fussiness, I rarely ventured out and felt like a prisoner in my own home. I managed to squeeze in a shower once every ten days, so I was frumpy and smelly most of the time. I quit caring.
Every moment was filled with his crying. I started to feel like I was going crazy.
The older he got, and the longer it persisted, the more isolated and lonely I became.
Everyone told me that it was a stage that would soon pass, but it didn’t.
Minta, as I knew her, disappeared. Everything that used to be me, was no longer.
Because I couldn’t see the end of it, I started to lose the will to keep going. I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning, because of what the day was going to hold, and I didn’t want to go to bed because it meant another day was coming. My hubby would ask me every morning before he left the house if I was going to be ok…and I always answered “yes” even though neither of us believed it. It’s incredibly hard to admit (and embarrassing too) that I was so depressed, but it’s the truth.
I cried out to God over and over again, pleading with him to please change my circumstances. On my knees, I begged for peace and quiet and healing for my baby, but no relief came.
Every night, my hubby and I would have intense discussions (amidst the crying) about what we could change in order to help me feel better:
Get a part-time job.
Join a gym and get an hour of childcare a day.
Get on medication.
Pick a hobby and somehow find the time to do it.
Hire a babysitter so I could shower.
But none of those solutions seemed like they would be more than a drop in the bucket, not to mention that we couldn’t afford most of them. My hubby finally suggested that nothing would work until we addressed the root of the issue.
And the root was this: I was totally empty. Completely drained. I had nothing left but I kept trying to draw water from an empty well. The circumstances in my life that had me bottomed out did not look like they were changing any time soon, which meant I had to somehow make peace with them.
I had no idea how I was going to get there, because I was the farthest thing from peaceful that you can imagine. I was frustrated with God, frustrated with my family, and frustrated with myself.
I didn’t feel like prayer was helping, but we decided to change our prayers and keep persisting. We began to pray for peace and wisdom and hope to fill me everyday, instead of just praying for my circumstances to change.
Then, in January, I started to feel a nudge to get up early and get in the Word. With it, I heard a voice telling me to write about it. I ignored the promptings for a solid two months, making excuses for why I needed more sleep and why I was completely unqualified to share about faith. The urge persisted, but I continued to resist, certain that reading the bible and writing weren’t going to fix a thing.
In February, a wise and godly woman set me straight. “If God’s asking you to do something, even if it doesn’t make sense, you have to do it. Otherwise, that’s being disobedient.”
I was a wreck, but I had no desire to be a disobedient wreck.
I got up at 5:00am the next day and started to spend an hour each morning in the Word and writing. You know what happened?
I slowly came back to life. As my heart and mind were filled with truth, there was no longer room for the lies. Hope broke through the chaos and took root in the places where depression and and isolation once dwelled. The writing became a powerful outlet for expressing my feelings.
I don’t remember the exact day that I was freed from my prison, but I do know that I stand here today, free.
God alone held the key to my release, he alone was the filler of my empty cup. When I got connected to the vine, I started to be filled with the life of the Father. John 15 is so clear about our utter dependence on God for everything that sustains us: “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me, you can do nothing.”
The Word is that powerful. It brings life to that which is dead.
For months, I prayed for and tried to change my circumstances, but that was not the answer.
The answer was to seek the father, and his truth and his life. The answer was to trust him more in the midst of the trial. To stay connected to the life-giving vine.
That’s why my biggest challenge was also my greatest blessing for many reasons:
- It forced me to seek God and to cling to him in a way that healthy, self-sufficient Minta never would have. My newfound intimacy with the Father is now my most treasured possession.
- My weary soul got revitalized, despite my circumstances, leaving me in awe of God’s power to give and restore life.
- It revealed a passion and a purpose for me that I would not have otherwise found. I’m so thankful for the writing journey that I have started, and the people I have met along the way.
- I was lovingly pruned and stripped of so many attributes that were weighing me down and tripping me up: pride, vanity, self-sufficiency, the need for control, and materialism, to name a few. I am a different Minta than I was a year ago.
The apostle Paul said it best in 2 Corinthians 1:8-9, “We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought that we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we learned to stop relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.”
Amen to that. I have lived it and can testify to its validity. Seeking God more than anything else is the most powerful action you can take.
Dear friend, what if your biggest challenge is really your biggest opportunity to rely on your Heavenly Father? What if your problem is an invitation to develop a relationship with him that is beyond compare? What if the hardship you are facing is your chance to receive the most wonderful gift? Whatever it may be: a broken marriage, a health issue, a defiant child, a toxic work environment, even a season of loneliness, he is waiting with open arms to meet you. He alone can provide all you need. He alone can carry you and sustain you and bring you peace. He alone is the answer.
Seek him above all else, and he will provide all you need to endure. Even if the situation doesn’t change, he can change and empower you.
2 Corinthians 12:8-10, “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so the the power of Christ can work through me.”
Before I sign off, l am not suggesting that a person shouldn’t make additional changes if life is overwhelming. Sometimes, making further changes are also necessary. But I am saying that first and foremost, we must seek the Father.
As always, I love hearing from you. If you are walking through the valley or facing a giant, I would love to get on my knees and pray for you. Message me or comment below and I will lift you up in prayer. Blessings!
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