That Ugly D Word and the Story that Saved Me

 

shutterstock_118570552_20150102143738665 Aspirations for the future have propelled me forward in life for as long as I can remember. What would I become? Who would I marry? What kind of home would I create? At 27, I am beyond many of life’s most exciting decisions. I have chosen a career, a husband, and the name of our first daughter. I planned our wedding and decorated our first house.

Still, the dreams keep me awake at night. Where will I travel? Whose lives will intersect with mine? What impact can we make? What legacy can be built?

I’m not talking about the flimsy, lottery-winning, 15-ninutes of fame dreams nor the frenzied, mind-spinning thoughts that anxiously steal away sleep for fear that the coming years might fall short of hope’s painted picture.

I’m speaking of the “what if” tales, spun when my heart is the only audience. I am cast as the brave adventurer, daring to reach farther and jump higher–caught up in that bashful place where wild and meaningful impossibilities are for a moment entertained.

I lost sight of “what if” once, a few months after giving birth to my beautiful baby girl.

The wave of love that overwhelms a first-time mother cannot be understood until the instant that it arrives, horns trumpeting and floodgates thrown open by the cry of new life.

What comes later for some moms–whether in hours, days, or months–is no easier to explain than that first exhilarating moment.

Female horomones, in a frenetic and lawless onslought, seem to force passage through unruly loops, dips and cork-screw turns. The roller-coaster’s path wanders, independent from what is sensible. It brings tears when none are warranted, and desolate thoughts clash with one of life’s most joyous seasons.

I’m not sure if the baby blues stole my hope or if I invited them to ravage my life by caving in to the formidable combination of chemical imbalance and Satan’s well-timed lies.

Maybe I should have sought companionship instead of isolation and let go of my stubborn pride long enough to ask for help, medical or otherwise. (Eventually, I did both, and each brought some relief.) Certainly, I should’ve looked upward instead of inward.

Pungent in my memory now is the sight of me at the bottom of my barrel. One afternoon, in an irrational effort to climb out of the vortex I was spinning in, I pushed every button that I knew would bring my husband to the edge.

His sanity prompted him to cool off with a walk, but I could not stand the thought of being alone with myself, even for a minute, and my words stopped him cold in the doorway.

“If you leave, I’ll take a knife and cut myself.”

The deranged statement represents one of the lowest points of my life–a pit I never thought I could fall into. From a higher vantage point, I can see this:

Although many factors contributed to the depression that gripped me for a time, the crux of the problem was that I had forgotten my role in the story.

Not just any fairytale or beloved fable, but THE story–the one from which all worthy plots are derived.

This story predates Pride and Prejudice and surpasses Braveheart in glory. It is the reason our hearts thrill at Darcy’s passionate words to Elizabeth and race with anxiety over William Wallace’s fate. These celebrated movies–portrayals of love and courage that triumph over every obstacle–point to a greater drama, giving reason to believe that there is more to life than mindlessly wading through an endless stream of monotonous daily tasks.

I had stumbled over uncertainty and landed in the unfamiliar world of new motherhood. Gone were academic goals and career productivity–comfortable landmarks that marked the first 25 years of my life. I simply didn’t know what to do with myself. I lost my identity. No, I forgot about the story.

Once upon a time God created,
and unfathomable beauty appeared on the heels of His every word.
At the climax of creation, He introduced men and women,
you and me, into a grand narrative.
As with every story that holds any meaning, there is an antagonist
–one who would have it end in tragedy.
 Powerless to touch God himself, Satan aimed for the Father’s heart.
D
eceiving, he stole the devotion of God’s children,
planting distrust in the goodness of the One who made them.

The price of free will, their betrayal ripped a gaping hole into God’s perfect covering.
Evil raged through–led by the father of lies,
and we were assaulted by sickness, peril, and every vile thing.

Creation was taught to serve itself,
to dedicate all to the pursuit of knowledge, wealth–anything but the truth.

But when it seemed all hope was lost, a Hero stepped onto the scene.
The Father’s heart was revealed when He sent His only Son
to wage war against the darkness.

Leaving heaven behind, Jesus came to exchange His life for mine.
 Then He rose, alive, and the Hero won.
Jesus won life for me, and not just life
but purpose.

Purpose in knowing that I have been chosen and pursued,
fought for and rescued.
Noble purpose in action–taking up arms for a cause that matters.

The battles that I fight are not senseless.
I stand against the enemy of all that is good, and I am not alone.

There is a happily ever after,
and unimaginable adventure is found around every bend.

There is a story. It is real, and I have a signigicant role. My identity is not found in an age, a title, or a season of life. I have value, because Jesus considered me worth storming the gates of hell to ransom. What greater purpose could I have than to follow in the path He forged, laying down my own life for a child, a husband, and as many others as God will send to me? The calling transcends time and place.

This world I live in is both seen and unseen. So, when the temporal half’s veil blinds me to the truth that what I can’t see matters more–my Father never fails to whisper the story again. His anecdotes are vibrant, filled with exploits, romance, and “what ifs.” Sewn into the larger tale by a thread of redemption, the pages of my life are made noteworthy by virtue of the Author who holds the pen.

Long ago the lord said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.– Jeremiah 31:3 (NLT)

I will walk among you; I will be your God, and you will be my people.– Leviticus 26:12 (NLT)

For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.–  Colossians 1:13-14 (NLT)

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.– 2 Corinthians 5:20 (ESV)

This song is one of my favorites, because God used it to remind me of His story, my part in it, and why it all matters. Thank you Crystal Mott for playing on the recording.

Rhapsody
by Holly Chapman

Where is the passage, purpose to find?
Significance tucked away, hidden in time past
Meaning behind closed doors, the key locked away
Search for the missing, uncover the way

Surfacing, memories
It was You

You were the whisper that spoke in the quiet place,
stirring the air with your prose
Voice of the narrative, weaving a story so infinite
never been told
You were the melody echoing over me,
writing your song on my heart
Composer of beautiful dissonance,
complex in all that You are

Path to the future, purpose revealed
Relevance found again, a reason to feel now
Destiny’s door swings wide, portal of healing
Seeking no longer, the Way has appeared

Breathtaking, rhapsody
It is You

You are the whisper that speaks in the quiet place,
stirring the air with your prose
Voice of the narrative, weaving a story so infinite
never been told
You are the melody echoing over me,
writing your song on my heart
Composer of beautiful dissonance,
complex in all that You are

It was You all along, You were there
patiently waiting
Leading me into your arms, You were there
I couldn’t see it, but
It was You all along, You were there
patiently waiting
Leading me into your arms, You were there
And I see it now

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