depression, anxiety, love, healing, faith, mental illness, patience, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Survival: Loving Someone with Severe Depression and Anxiety- A Guide

Living with a loved one who has severe depression and anxiety can be disorienting. The key to survival and a strengthening love can be found in our Creator. God holds us all through the peaks and valleys of depression.



Survival Guide Resume

Before I launch into this guide I first want to give you a glimpse at my resume, so you know that I know a little about what I’m talking about. For ten of the last twelve years of my marriage, I have been the husband of a wonderful woman who has had severe depression and anxiety. It started as postpartum depression after our second child was born and it has never gone away.

I will not go into the symptoms because chances are, if you clicked on the link to this article, you are very familiar with them. Instead, I am going to direct my comments to the depression newbie. The poor soul who has recently woken up to find their spouse (or someone they love) is no longer the happy, fun-loving person they married (or used to be). Who has found that their love has been brought low by some unseen, unimaginable malevolent force for which there seems to be no defense. This is your survival guide from a veteran of this fight. I hope to be able to save you some of the stumblings around in the dark that I have had to do.

Also, to make it fun, I have decided to put it in the form of a list! Because the internet loves lists right? Of course you do.

Living with a loved one who has severe depression and anxiety can be disorienting. The key to survival and a strengthening love can be found in our Creator. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #depression #anxiety #love #healing

1.

It’s not about you.

Drop your ego. It’s not about you. Really. It’s not about you. Your spouse has a disease. Unless you are just being horrible to them, his or her depressive episodes are not the result of something you did or did not do. Along those same lines, there is nothing you can do to “fix” them or make the symptoms “go away.” Your spouse is on a rollercoaster.

It is a rollercoaster through a hell so terrifying that neither they nor you would ever have the words to adequately describe it. The only thing you can do during these moments is to honor your vows, board that roller coaster with them, hold their hand and ride that ride. Is it scary? You bet. Does your presence help? Sometimes. Sometimes not. But ride it anyway. It builds empathy in you and, when it is over, gratitude and trust for you in your spouse.

2.

Don’t hide. Be open about it.

Ok, listen. Unless the people in your lives are told what is going on, they can only speculate, and they can’t help. Depression is a terrible and lonely disease. Being married to a depressed person is equally lonely. There is a stigma to depression. Don’t pay attention to it. Your spouse has a disease. If they had cancer, you would tell people, and those people would gather around in a loving and supportive group to help your spouse through the difficult and painful process of treating their cancer.

So, pretend it is cancer. Be open with your friends and family about what is going on. Your spouse needs that extended support group, but almost as important, YOU need that extended support group. YOU CAN’T DO THIS ON YOUR OWN. Don’t try. Also, if you have children, be open with them about it. Explain the illness to them. Obviously, consider their ability to understand based on their age, but don’t exclude them. If they know WHY your spouse is behaving in this way, they will be less likely to blame the behavior on themselves. You need to include them. They have a right to know and to understand.

3.

Treat it.

I am going to keep saying it until you will never forget it. Your spouse has a disease. A disease that could kill them. A disease that continues to kill more and more people every year. Diseases are treated by doctors, specialists, and medicine. Don’t let your spouse tell you they can handle it on their own. They can’t. Get them a doctor or a counselor. The good news is, there are medicines that can help manage the symptoms. The bad news is: scientists know more about the surface of Mars than they do about how the brain actually functions.

So, there is no magic pill that will cure this disease, and treating the symptoms is more akin to throwing paint at the wall and seeing what sticks. You will likely try three or more medicines before finding one that works well for your spouse and manages the symptoms without unacceptable side-effects. After many years, we finally landed on one that gives my wife a semblance of normalcy in her life. There are those that will tell you to not ever use medicine. I disagree. From my experience, it helps immensely.

4.

You are not alone.

Again, being the spouse of someone with depression can be a terribly lonely experience. There will be times where you feel like you are the only one in the world going through this. Times when you feel like you can’t talk to a soul about what you are going through. There will be times when it gets so hard, so dark, so hellishly frustrating that you want to throw your hands up, walk away, and leave them to their own devices.

These are the moments that separate the wheat from the chaff. Stay. Fight. Dig deep. Find that reserve of strength inside of you and keep going. Your love is your spouses best hope of navigating the depths of the darkness inside of themselves and finding their way to the light of joy and happiness on the other side. For better or for worse. Well, this is one of those “worse” times. Ponder the following words:

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? […]Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you…

Matthew 6:26-30, KJV

In more ways than one, you are never alone. Bring God along with you on this journey. Let Him give you comfort, let Him heal you. Surely the Author of all creation can and will soothe the open wounds of your despair with the healing balm of His majesty and love. Let Him. You are never alone. Believe it. Because after all the experiences I have had, I know it.

5.

This journey, if you let it, will strengthen you personally, and teach you what love really means.

When I married my wife, I thought I loved her. Of course, I did. But through this journey, I have learned the breadth and depth of what love really is. Is love, buying flowers for your wife on your anniversary? Yes. But more so, love is holding your trembling spouse as they sob and shake uncontrollably at 3 am due to some unseen and unassailable despair that gripped them suddenly and is making them say things as they would rather be dead than feel this way.

Love is canceling a trip you have been planning and looking forward to for months because your spouse is having a panic attack at the prospect of your absence. Love is enduring the verbal attacks of a spouse who is lashing out at you, not from any fault of your own, but because they are under an unbearable weight and have to let it out somewhere. Love is then forgiving them for that same act. 

A Gift

If you let it, this journey will teach you a lot about YOU. Is it scary? At times, it’s terrifying. Is it worth it? Absolutely. I now have an indescribably deep and abiding love for my spouse. It is so much more than fondness, friendship or physical desire. It is a love that binds our souls together and continually makes me more and more grateful for the gift of each day we get to spend with one another.

Through peaks and valleys, through better or worse, for now and extending into eternity with God, we walk together. And so can you. You can do it. Have patience, have faith, and never give up on them.

Let God give you comfort, let Him heal you. Surely the Author of all creation can and will soothe the open wounds of your despair with the healing balm of His majesty and love. Click To Tweet

Living with a loved one who has severe depression and anxiety can be disorienting. The key to survival and a strengthening love can be found in our Creator. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #depression #anxiety #love #healing

Living with a loved one who has severe depression and anxiety can be disorienting. The key to survival and a strengthening love can be found in our Creator. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #depression #anxiety #love #healing

unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt
friendship, Holy Spirit, listen, patience, relationships, grace, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Listen: Hearing Other’s Pain through the Power of the Holy Spirit

We often try to fix those we love instead of allowing a safe space to exist and be heard. Helping others in pain requires us to listen through the power of the Holy Spirit. 



Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

James 1:19, NLT

Making sure others feel comfortable when we interact is one of my greatest desires. I want them to feel the freedom to occupy space as their true selves. Feeling safe with someone allows for a deeper strengthening of friendship. I’m not going to say I have it all together because I don’t, but one way I ensure this result is through listening. Sincerely listening.

I’m still learning how to truly hear those around me. To hear through the Holy Spirit and not through human methods. Because, let’s face it, all the distractions, screens, noises, and even selfishness get in the way. Listening takes discipline and an immense amount of patience…

We try to fix those we love instead of allowing a safe space to exist and be heard. Helping others in pain requires us to listen through the Holy Spirit. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #listen #devotional #scripture #holyspirit #friendship #relationships

Selfishness

Many times in my life I’ve been told I’m a great listener, which you think would cause great pride inside. In reality, I selfishly carry it around like a burden… I’m easy to talk to because I’m silent. When do I get to speak??

See, selfish. On the outside, I sit silently, making eye contact and nodding. While on the inside, I am screaming to be heard; creating comebacks, forming opinions, preparing the right words to say. This is NOT active listening; NOT listening as God commands us to listen.

We all have this innate desire to be heard, to be allowed space to exist. But God asks us to lay ourselves down to allow His Spirit room to breathe. To give us supernatural patience to hear; truly hear. He is the very best part of us, and He is the very answer for loving those who are hurting…

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

Philippians 2:3-4, NLT

Deeply Listen

Undistracted, uninterrupted, completely attuned… Not everyone is a natural at this and not everyone can pick this habit up quickly. I definitely struggle. I still find myself interrupting my friends. -sigh- I know how much I can’t stand to be interrupted.

Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.

Proverbs 18:2, NLT

Half listening, then interjecting to fix a problem with human words is foolish. Our attempts to ‘be there’ for our friends is sometimes overshadowed by our want to ‘fix them. To make their life ‘right’ and easy. It’s honorable, we think it’s out of love, but it’s not helpful. It’s not Spirit-led.

Some of my closest friends have come by way of just listening. Not trying to have all the answers, not trying to have the perfect words, but saying ‘My heart hurts with yours.’ There’s a tenderness when a friend will silently and intently listen to your words; deeply listen. This exemplifies God as He bends down from Heaven to listen to our cries (Psalm 116:1-6).

Language Between

I cannot tell you the countless times I’ve skimmed over deep pain in my heart, only to have a friend hear it’s depth and speak truth to it. There’s language between the verbal words and the silence. Silence can give just as much, sometimes more, information than hearing. Hearing the entire language of hurt prepares our hearts and minds to speak from a posture of wisdom.

Our inability to shut our mouths does a disservice to those who are hurting. In our attempts to break awkward silences and fill the space with noise, we block potential Holy Spirit work. Whether the work is in us, in the other person, or both. Leaving space for the Spirit to move, may give us discernment, as the listener, to hear the words that haven’t been spoken. To understand the words under the words.

Trust

When we actively and truly listen, we prove our love. Not just our love for the other individual, but our love for God. Not waiting for a chance to be heard, but laying down our selfishness. Selfless listening, Holy Spirit listening is powerful. Allowing the other person space to exist to be who they are in that moment cultivates confidence; trust.

And from this trust, we have a unique ability to point the pain to our Savior. Because there’s no amount of pain, human circumstance, or issue that has not already been healed through the blood of Jesus.

Selfless listening, Holy Spirit listening is powerful. When we actively and truly listen, we prove our love. Not just our love for the other individual, but our love for God. Click To Tweet

We try to fix those we love instead of allowing a safe space to exist and be heard. Helping others in pain requires us to listen through the Holy Spirit. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #listen #devotional #scripture #holyspirit #friendship #relationships

Romello Williams

wait, rest, stillness, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Wait: Allowing Stillness in the Lord to Become Dancing

So much of life is waiting. It’s easy to allow our minds to race towards an ‘out’, but it’s in the wait, in the stillness that we find our faithful Lord. 



I’ve kept a quote before me for years, decades now, I guess. It goes with me on my desk from location to location. Somehow these words ground me during the in-between times, the liminal spaces. The words were penned by the twentieth-century poet T. S. Elliot, but lest you think me a poetry buff, be informed that I found them quoted elsewhere, lifted from one of his works:

I said to my soul, be still and wait…

So the darkness will be the light,

And the stillness the dancing.

Such winsome words; truth rings out through their beauty. Scripture repeatedly bears out the value and reward of waiting, even in darkness and confusion…

So much of life is waiting. It's easy to allow our minds to race towards an "out", but it's in the wait, in the stillness that we find our faithful Lord. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

To Wait Is Life

I’m trying to remember a time when waiting was ever my strength, my forte…

Nope, the memory isn’t coming. Yet, as I gaze over my lifespan, so very much has involved this very thing that most of us cringe at, wrestle with, and squirm under – waiting. Whether it’s waiting in the carpool line, waiting at the ATM, or waiting for the Amazon order, we don’t like to wait in this instant society.

If we find ourselves caught in a line, if you’re like me, our minds begin calculating similar to a military general. We search for ways to circumvent the system in order to expedite our exit. We’ve got things to do, deadlines to meet, people to have coffee dates with – WORK WITH ME, WORLD!

Consenting Where We Are

And don’t even mention waiting on God! He definitely has NOT entered the 21st Century of the Western world! Isn’t there a newer version of the Bible that has changed Psalm 37:5 from “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him,” to something like, “Get moving with God and He’ll get moving for you!”?

Right. I haven’t seen it, either. It’s just as well because I think we’d miss out on verse 9 if we rewrote verse 5…

For evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.

Psalm 37:9, NKJV

Generally, as long as life hums along smoothly, waiting quietly before the Lord seldom comes to the forefront of our minds or hearts. Waiting, you see, “is consenting to be where we really are,” as a monk from the Abbey of Gethsemane once said.

People recoil from it because they don’t want to be present to themselves. Such waiting causes a deep existential loneliness to surface, a feeling of being disconnected from oneself and God. At the depths there is fear, fear of the dark chaos within themselves.

Sue Monk Kidd, The Heart That Waits

Crisis

Unless a level of crisis disrupts our carefully choreographed days, the daily or weekly Bible Study usually suffices. Which may be why God orchestrates or allows, (however you choose to see it), an occasional crisis.

My most recent ‘crisis’ has been moving to another state. Being closer to grandchildren has been life-giving. Leaving close friends, our oldest son and his wife, and the familiarity of home have been more of a challenge. Believing I would hit the ground running, making friends, immediately involved in ministry, was a mind-trap I should have been prepared for. But, somehow wasn’t. I’m a master at setting myself up for the enemy’s lies of unrealistic expectations.

So, this is key; I need to be very careful and keenly aware of what is pulling my heart to rush away from the stillness. Here is the point where I can continue to make the situation all about me, have a pity party, call some friends to join me, (for prayer bandaids or commiseration), and not learn one thing from this period between death and resurrection. The other alternative is to sit before the Lord and ask Him, with the Psalmist, to:

Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me. For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.

Psalm 25:4-5, NKJV

How Long?

Am I willing to wait all day long (or a month or a year?) for the Lord to teach me His truth about this time in my life? Throughout the Psalms, David asked God to teach him His ways and to lead him on the right path, but there is never an indication that David believes the process will be instant. One of my favorite Psalms bears this out.

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord.

Psalm 27:13-14, NKJV

David believed in the goodness of the Lord. He didn’t lose heart – although he could have – because he was waiting in faith. His was a faith that had seen God deliver him over and over again. He anticipated God delivering, again.

How long are we willing to wait for the Lord to deliver us? Like David, we shouldn't lose heart, but have faith in God to reveal His truth. Click To Tweet

First Light

If you’ve ever sat through the night rocking a sick child…or if you suffer from insomnia, you know what it means to watch for the first light of morning slicing through the clouds. Sometimes, waiting on the Lord is like that.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning – yes, more than those who watch for the morning.

Psalm 130:5-6, NKJV

This much I know, waiting is difficult, but the loving-kindness of the Lord never ceases. He knows my weaknesses. He meets me where I am.

The song “Here Again” from Elevation Worship has bolstered my spirit as I have been preparing this devotional, mainly because this is a place I have to return with God repeatedly. He meets me here again…and that is cause for dancing.

So much of life is waiting. It's easy to allow our minds to race towards an "out", but it's in the wait, in the stillness that we find our faithful Lord. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Bold: Living Like Wonder Woman

We all have the ability to fight for love and goodness. We all have the ability to change the world. This post looks to a role model to find out how we can achieve this.



I have loved Wonder Woman even as a little girl. There are stories told of how, at the age of three, I would spin around as I turned into the strong beautiful woman ready to fight evil. I still have a scar on my scalp from when I, as Wonder Woman, was chasing my brother, the villain, and ran into the corner of the wall (I’ve never been super graceful).

This past summer, my husband and I went to see the new Wonder Woman movie. I was once again that little girl. I left the movie theater ready to fight evil. I was ready to fight for love.

Esther is the perfect example of a “wonder woman” in real life. She was in fact very beautiful, but it was her love for the Lord that made her radiate. When I picture Esther, I picture Wonder Woman! It may have been the 12 months of beauty treatments that got the attention of the king, but it was her character that won his favor.

Beauty may get the attention of others, but character is what will win their favor. Click To Tweet


Living like Wonder Woman…

She sought advice.

Esther 2:15-17: When the turn came for Esther the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her as his own daughter, to go in to the king, she asked for nothing except what Hegai the king’s eunuch, who had charge of the women, advised. Now Esther was winning favor in the eyes of all who saw her. And when Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, into his royal palace, in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign, the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.

She did what was right because it was the right thing to do

Esther 2:21- 23: In those days, as Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigthan and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, became angry and sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. And this came to the knowledge of Mordecai, and he told it to Queen Esther, and Esther told the king in the name of Mordecai. When the affair was investigated and found to be so, the men were both hanged on the gallows. And it was recorded in the book of the chronicles in the presence of the king.

She used her influence to help others, rather than herself

Esther 4:13-16: Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”

She was patient

Esther 5:4-8: And Esther said, “If it please the king, let the king and Haman come today to a feast that I have prepared for the king.” Then the king said, “Bring Haman quickly, so that we may do as Esther has asked.” So the king and Haman came to the feast that Esther had prepared. And as they were drinking wine after the feast, the king said to Esther, “What is your wish? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.” Then Esther answered, “My wish and my request is: If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to grant my wish and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come to the feast that I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king has said.”

She was bold when the timing was right

Esther 7:1-6 So the king and Haman went in to feast with Queen Esther. And on the second day, as they were drinking wine after the feast, the king again said to Esther, “What is your wish, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.” Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be granted me for my wish, and my people for my request. For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have been silent, for our affliction is not to be compared with the loss to the king.” Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who has dared to do this?” And Esther said, “A foe and enemy! This wicked Haman!” Then Haman was terrified before the king and the queen.

Esther was truly a wonder woman who I want to learn from!



Lord, I desire to be a part of your plan. I pray that I will be humble, and seek advice. I pray that I would be a woman of integrity. I pray that I will recognize the influence that I have and use it wisely and with care. I pray that I will be patient and wait upon you until it is time to act. And I pray that I will act boldly when that time has come. Amen.

 

 

Sean Brown

All scripture used is from the English Standard Version.

Trust, part two: Patience

For awhile it seemed like my life was moving backwards. At 21 I bought my first place. It was this cute 2 bedroom townhouse with an attached garage. Then we moved to Atlanta where we lived in a 500 square foot studio in a high rise. We gained a sweet view of downtown, but we no longer had a washer and dryer. Had to go to the basement for that. There was a parking garage with one assigned spot. Poor hubby had to fight for an open place. Then we moved to the suburbs of Chicago. Here we lost the air conditioning and the dishwasher. Laundry in the cellar, had to go outside to get to it. But at least we could park in the driveway. Then we moved into the city. We got the ac back, but lost parking. Had to find it on the street and dig out our spot when it snowed. Still no washer and dryer, no dishwasher. Also, there was no sunshine. First floor apartments with builings 3 feet away don’t allow for much sun to penetrate. At the next place we got the sunshine back (third floor), but lost the ac again. No ac, no dishwasher, no washer/dryer, no parking. Three flights of stairs and a newborn. Whew!

After a year and a half there we finally were able to buy a house. An actual house! With a yard! It was smaller than the garden we had when I was growing up, but I was thrilled to have it. We got back the ac, the garage, the washer/dryer, and four years after we moved in we put in a dishwasher. We did so much to that house. Complete gut rehab of the second floor. While I was pregnant. We have a picture of me five months pregnant swinging a sledge hammer busting out plaster. We finished it two weeks before my second son was born. This was a rough time physically, financially, and mentally. At one point a rat got in our house because there was a hole in the concrete of the basement. A RAT!! IN OUR HOUSE!!! Then we got busted and fined by city for doing work without a permit. There I was, eight months pregnant, standing before a judge, begging for mercy. See, where I grew up, if you wanted to do work on your house, then you did work on your house.

Our 8 years in Chicago were hard. Of course there are the basic Chicago things that all Chicagoans deal with. Harsh winters that just won’t end (seriously, nothing blooms until the end of April). Traffic that moves so slow you might as well walk (once, it took me over an hour to drive 4 miles). People that speak harshly and are unfriendly (people would look at me funny if I smiled and said hello). The permits, tickets, and fees that make you paranoid to drive your car anywhere (we just considered it donations to the city). But we also dealt with my hubby losing his job, opening and running a money devouring business, living in crappy apartments, living through a rehab, and a rat.

I wanted to leave so badly. I cried so many tears, begging God to get us out of there. The worst it got happened in the middle day coming home from running errands. I was turning left at an awkward intersection and almost hit a pedestrian. He started yelling at me that he had a green light (I did not have a turn arrow). Here’s the thing though, he was not at a crosswalk. The crosswalk was on the other side of this intersection (and for good reason). So I yelled back that the green lights are for cars and that he didn’t have a crosswalk-IDIOT!!! By the way, my kids were in the back seat. My older son was 4 at the time and he started crying. I asked why he was crying, and his response was, “You scared me.” At this point I started crying and called my hubby (all husbands just love getting this kind of call while at work). I told him that he had to get me out of this city. I hated the city, and I hated who I was becoming while living in it.

We tried so many times to get out. Once, we were seriously considering a job opportunity for my hubby in Seattle. He made it through three rounds of interviews until that door was closed. Praise The Lord that it was. I would have been even more miserable there. There was an opportunity to move back home to Louisville at one point that I was truly disappointed that it didn’t work out. When we were actually at the point that we could move, we thought we would move back to Atlanta. That seemed to make the most sense. It’s a big city with lots of job opportunities, great weather (in my opinion), and we still have friends there. But alas, this was not to be either.

The Lord had something even greater in mind. He gave us even more than what we asked for. Atlanta would not have solved all the problem that we were dealing with in Chicago. It still has a high cost of living, it still has bad crime, it still has bad schools, and of course it still has bad traffic. I didn’t know a thing about Greenville, SC before my husband had his phone interview phone for the position here. The first time either of us ever step foot in Greenville was when we came with the moving van. We have not been disappointed.

Not everybody is miserable is Chicago. I have dear friends that live there and they love it. It’s home for them, and I am thrilled that they feel that way. There is such peace in feeling “home”. But not once in 8 years did we feel “home”. And we had many moments of joy there, including friendships that will age with me. But we knew that we were not meant to stay there. Even though we struggled, we knew that we were where we needed to be for that long season in our lives. We knew it wasn’t time to leave yet, no matter how desperately we wanted to. Waiting is difficult.

Wait for The Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for The Lord. Psalm 27:14

We learned that we had to be patient. And we had to wait for The Lord’s perfect timing. I’m relieved that when doors were closed we didn’t try to force them open, although I was standing there with a crowbar feeling tempted to do so. I would pray, “Lord help me feel at home!” I wanted to want to be there. Then I prayed, “help me feel at peace.” And I would for a period of time. Sometimes we are called to stand and fight (like David and Goliath), and sometimes we are told to run away (like Joseph and Mary fleeing to Egypt). I believe we never felt at home because we were never meant to stay.

It takes trust to learn patience. So if you find yourself in a situation that you feel desperate to escape, be encouraged! Trust that The Lord knows, and cares. Know that His timing is perfect. And there is nothing wrong with crying while you wait.

This is the third post in a series on Faith, Trust, Surrender.