It is my favorite place in all the earth: Ethiopia. It is the place I dream about. I have thousands of pictures, memories, and pieces of my heart scattered around the country. I planned the trip for months and would tell anyone and everyone about it that would listen. I started counting down the minute I knew I was going.
I looked forward to it in utter excitement and hope. I had expectations, dreams, and hopes for my trip.
So why didn’t the dark cloud go away when I arrived?
Why did I continue crying myself to sleep? Why couldn’t I pull myself together for once? Why was it harder to hold myself together?
Why was it still so stinkin’ hard to fake being okay?
My problems were supposed to disappear once I set foot on the other side – not get worse.
It was supposed to be my escape. It was supposed to be where I felt okay again.
I was supposed to feel better. I was supposed to be okay again.
That’s what I had planned- that’s what I had counted on.
Why was it still haunting me? Why was I still depressed?
Then I realized. (and believe me, it took many agonizing days to realize it)
My “escape” wasn’t on the other side of the world.
It was on my bedside table. It was in an app on my phone. It was in the Presence all around me that I chose to ignore.
His Presence brings the solution and healing.
His Presence isn’t tear free, but it is FULL of peace. Peace that calms the anxiety. Peace that says, “It’s okay to cry.” Peace that there is an end, there is hope.
I didn’t have to fly across the world to feel okay. I just needed to sit, breathe Him in, and allow God to open my eyes and heart to His enveloping Presence and never ending goodness.
Even when I felt the lowest and the loneliest, He was still there. He was always there – I just needed to become aware of His Presence.
His Light overtakes the darkness. The darkness was still fighting to envelop me, but when I kept my eyes on Him and leaned my heart into His fatherly grace the darkness had no control.
Once I could do that the tears subsided, the loneliness dissolved, and His Presence overtook the moments of darkness.
I’m not saying I am miraculously healed from the struggle. It is still a moment-by-moment struggle to choose Light over darkness. But breathing Him in brings relief and allows Him to win the battle.
“You are the Refuge
The Strength in my need
You are my Comfort, the Wonder I seek
You’re the Bread that sustains me
The Truth we’re proclaiming
Jesus, my Hope and my God
So I breathe, breathe you in
And I swear that I’m caught up again
In your love that’s so deep
And your heart that was broken for me.”
He is the refuge when we have no other place to go. He shelters us from the dark clouds. When we give Him our struggles, He holds us in His love and fights the battle for us. In Him we rest; He gives us strength. He brings us comfort in that we are never alone.
His heart breaks to see me cry myself to sleep. It breaks when I cry out when I feel alone in my favorite place on earth. It aches when I hold on to my troubles tight and won’t allow Him to take my burden. His heart breaks for me – all he desires is to sweep me up in His love and comfort me.
“There’s no place I could run from Your Presence
There’s nowhere I could hide from your love
There’s no place I could run from Your Presence
It’s enough, it’s enough”
I can never go anywhere where His love cannot reach me. No matter where I am I simply have to sit and breath him in.
Through the darkest moments, the loneliest days, and the pressing dark cloud, He is there. He is enough.