I sat in the back of the room behind the pretty blonde who wore her jaded attitude in the purple streaks of her hair. I just sat there … completely consumed in my head, until it was her turn to “process.”
“I told my husband the only man I’d leave him for was Superman.” She looked down at her finger with a blank stare. “Today I forgot to wear the green Kryptonite ring that he gave me.” Her gaze stayed, unblinking on her bare finger.
Not long ago, I found myself in a psychiatric outpatient center. And I wish I could say the reason I paid a visit to the mental hospital was something edgy like … Well, anything besides the reason I went there. But the truth is, I had lost touch with reality in a very dramatic fashion.
Just weeks prior, I had been at the height of my walk with Christ. I was beginning to encounter Him in the most exciting ways which fueled me in new directions in my faith.
But, what went wrong? How did I fall so hard, so fast?
Anger and humiliation pulsed through me. How could I be sitting in that room? In about an hour, I would shuffle to another smaller room where we’d sit in a circle for group therapy.
It had been the perfect storm of long-term stress, depression, anxiety, life hardships, three little babies back-to-back, crazy hormones and overall exhaustion, topped with strange spiritual happenings.
The perfect ingredients for a mental breakdown of epic proportions. The bottom fell out of my life.
During that time, I did and said some pretty wild things. Most notably, I thought about death a lot. I literally thought I was in hell, I lied to be eligible for the outpatient program instead of inpatient, and at the end of it all, I denied God.
This was by far the hardest and loneliest thing I’ve ever experienced. (Bless my husband, it was also the hardest thing he’s ever faced.) I felt misunderstood. I felt judged. But most of all, I felt great shame. I thought I would never recover from it, especially in regard to everything I felt God had been leading me toward prior to that point. I had lost faith and trust in Him. How did He allow this?!
Our world was shattered.
After finishing rehab, dear friends took our two dogs, and within five days we packed all of our things and moved up the state of California to be closer to family.
And I found, life wasn’t beyond repair.
And His grace is deep. He knew what I went through, and He was there with me before, during and after. Right before my decline, I had a dream I think was God’s prophetic comfort. He wanted me to be able to look back and know He was with me through to the other side. I knew from the dream something terrible would happen, but our family would all come out OK on the other side. I heard the word renewal at the end of the dream. God was and is doing a new thing in me and in my family. I am finding hope.
Since those hard days, it’s been a time of great rest and renewal. And we are all okay. It’s amazing how rest can renew the body, mind and soul.
God has used this time of rest to teach me how to receive (which I’ve never been very good at). Resting in Him requires abiding, not striving. And this takes patience, discipline and letting go – three things I am currently learning all over again.
His grace covers us. He is faithful when we doubt, when we deny Him, and when we’re like a child and need Him to clean up our poopy mess. There’s such identity in this great grace! And this identity clothes us in robes of His love, not shame.
Right now, I’m in the middle of God redeeming my mess, and I am choosing to give Him feelings of shame and doubt, to rest anew in him today.
I hope you’re kind to yourself about what’s in your past as well. But even if you still in the middle of the yuck, God will lasso you with His grace and love. Rest in knowing that truth, even if you can’t quite feel it yet.Isn't it comforting to know that God is in the business of redeeming messes?Click To Tweet
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Chelsea Tadena lives in Sacramento, California with her husband and three young children. She is passionate about pursing deeper community, facing fears via steps of faith, and pursuing purpose and calling. Chelsea aims to encourage others, and she writes from a place of transparency, which she believes is the best form of credibility. You can connect with Chelsea at faithcollective.com.
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