This post was originally written in April of 2008, a time when I was struggling deeply with clinical depression. I am happy to say that my struggles these days are not as great...but there are still days. Perhaps they are here to remind me that I am, and always will be, broken. But by the grace of God, broken does not mean useless, it doesn't consign me to the trash heap. In that I find incredible joy.
My children believe that their father can fix anything. This is probably due to the fact that I am about as far from the mechanical engineering side of the spectrum as it is possible for a person to be. So anytime they bring me a broken toy, or want me to build a Lego something, or put together their Hot Wheels track my standard response is, “Maybe Daddy can do it when he gets home.” As mother to two small boys I suppose I ought to get over my aversion to building and putting things together, but so far I haven’t. And so, the standard refrain now in our house when anything breaks is, “Maybe Daddy can fix it.”
And such unwavering faith in his abilities. Is the toy completely in shambles, stepped on and crushed beyond recognition? “Maybe Daddy can fix it.” Have the batteries in the world’s most annoying noisemaking toy finally run down, rendering it harmless? “Maybe Daddy can fix it!” This extends beyond our own home. While sitting in our car at the gas station my three-year old noticed that some of the bulbs in the station’s canopy were burned out, or flickering sickly. “Oh no! Maybe Daddy can fix those.” They are still at that wonderful age where Daddy is omnipotent, all-powerful, the ruler of their little world. Daddy can do anything.
Some days I long for that unwavering faith in a Daddy who will fix anything. I long for a faith that even believes that the broken is fixable. Right now I feel broken. Depression has a strangle-hold on my emotions and after years of trying with all my might I know I can’t fix it. All-powerful as he is, my husband can’t fix it. I have cried out to my Father in heaven. And He hasn’t fixed it. Not in the ways I expect, anyhow.
My boys don’t always understand that Daddy can’t fix everything. Sometimes there are tears and pouting. They mourn the loss of something that was precious to them. In my heart I believe that God can fix everything, but I don’t understand why sometimes He chooses not to, or why He makes us take the hard road when it would be so easy for Him to just speak the word. And so I mourn. I mourn for the fact that there may never be a day here on earth where I truly understand what it is to be whole in both mind and spirit. But God hasn’t written the end of the story yet. And unlike a broken toy, God has a use for broken people. It’s called the church, and bigger still, the world. The place where, broken as we are, God works through us to bring strength to each other.
I could have a testimony like this (I'm sure it will sound familiar). “I heard this song and prayed this prayer and God healed me of my depression and it’s been great ever since.” And if that is truly the case, I am happy for you. But to those of us who have tried so many spiritual remedies, who have worn out our knees with prayer, it will be empty words. It will leave us wondering where we have failed, why our faith was not strong enough. But what if my testimony was “I struggle. I struggle to keep it together some days. I struggle to understand love. I struggle to understand the big questions in life. I struggle just to get up and get moving some days. But in that struggle, God is there. In that struggle I am finding grace at each step. And slowly, slowly I am finding joy in the God who walks with me in unfailing love through challenges both large and small.” It is a hard thing to admit, but I think I know which testimony I would choose. Sometimes grace comes like a flood. Sometimes it trickles in so slowly we don’t even notice until we are submerged in it.
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Cor. 12:9 (NIV)