My Refuge & Strength

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.”

Caught Up – SEU Worship

 

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

Caught Up – SEU Worship

 

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.

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. John Chon says:

    Hey Leigh,
    Reading through this post brought me great joy. I can definitely relate to what you experience because I also struggle with depression and anxiety. I really admire how vulnerable you are in your posts. Your emotions are very raw as well.
    As a Christian myself, everything you said was so relatable. I find myself in your position many times over. But you are right, in our darkest hour, the Lord’s faithfulness pulls through and dispels all darkness. One of my most favorite passages that always brings me comfort and hope is in Psalms 139. If you ever have the time, you should give it a read! I hope you have a blessed day 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leigh says:

      Psalms 139 was just part of my devotions tonight! Amazing passage that I’m definitely going to be referring back to.
      Thank you for the encouragement! It means so much 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. John Chon says:

        It’s a great passage. I’m glad you were encouraged 🙂

        Like

  2. Gemma says:

    This is beautifully written, and I’m glad you’re beginning to feel stronger. Looking forward to reading more of your blog, hope you’ll check out/follow mine too 🙂 https://myhappycornerblog.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Natalie says:

    Lovely post — I know many people who thought travelling would help them fix their problems. When they arrived at their destination, like you, they realized that their strength and happiness had nothing to do with their physical location. Well said! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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