Dena Johnson Martin Christian Blog and Commentary

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I'm Not There

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God. Psalm 43:5

Have you ever felt this in the core of your being? Have you ever felt so down and disturbed and you just didn’t even know why? Have you ever been so depressed you just wanted to curl up in the fetal position and cry?

I have. As a matter of fact, I’ve been there these last few weeks.

Don’t get me wrong. I am incredibly blessed. I have so many amazing gifts in my life including my husband and kids and extended family.

We are in a good place in life in so many ways.

And yet, I find myself in such a funk.

On the verge of tears every single day.

Longing for the comfort of someone.

Struggling with life in general.

I know part of why I am in such a depressed place. The truth is that I am not where I want to be. Yes, I have seen God’s faithfulness in giving me my Boaz, my kinsman-redeemer. I have seen Him fulfill some of my heart’s greatest desires. I am—in so many ways—living in the Promised Land.

Yet, there are still unfulfilled desires. I long to be serving God more completely, walking in the purpose for which He has created me. I want to be able to give more of myself, to help more people know the transforming love of my Father.

Yet, I can’t seem to figure out how to get from where I am today to where I want to be. And it’s really more about needing more time and energy to pour into my calling. But how do I create that time?

I know God has created me for a purpose, and I know He will fulfill it. I know not one of my Father’s good promises has ever failed, and I know they never will.

I believe He has put a few key words in my mind over the last few weeks.

Surrender. Every major move of God in my life has started with a moment of surrender.

When my husband left, I found myself on my knees in the bathroom crying out, “Lord, I don’t want this journey, but if this is what you have for me, I will take it. Just don’t let my pain be in vain. It was that moment that changed my life and began my journey toward healing and intimacy with my Father.

Or the Sunday I came home from church and found myself bawling all the way home, wrecked by the sin in my life. As I cried out to God and surrendered everything to Him, I knew He was starting something new. It was within the next week that I had my first article published.

In April of 2016, I intentionally let go of my hope of getting married, choosing instead to focus on my heart-broken children. In May of 2016, I began dating my now husband.

I know God put the word surrender in my mind last week. It has swirled through my heart and mind. I can’t hide from it. I know He is calling me to surrender my hopes, my dreams, my everything. And I know surrender is never the end.

What’s next? Last night, I met with a dear group of friends via Zoom. As we were talking through our current circumstances and our hopes and dreams, we were challenged to simply ask God, “What’s next?” I know when we come humbly to God and pray something so simple, He will guide our steps. He will show us the next step.

Perhaps where we fail is that God tells us the next step, and we fail to walk in obedience. We have to ask for direction. We have to listen carefully for the answer. And then we have to move forward in obedience.

Right now, I am trying to discern His voice concerning an issue in my life. I thought I heard His clear direction, and yet I haven’t stepped out in faith and obedience yet. I pray when I have clear direction that I will have the faith to move forward.

Put my hope in Him. The psalmist knew the answer to His depression: God and God alone. When we face circumstances in this life that drag us down, He is our answer. He is our hope. He is the lifter of our souls.

How do I put my hope in Him? I listen to praise music. I focus my mind on Him. I remember His faithfulness. I look back at all the ways He has guided me in the past. I meditate on the promises found in His word. I let Him be the comforter.

Some days are better than others. Some days I can bring my mind into that place where I am focused on Him. Other days are a whole lot harder. No matter what, I get up each morning and try again.

This human experience is hard, exhausting. I strive to know Him and yet get so entangled in the cares of this world.

I’m just not there yet.

And maybe I never will be this side of heaven.