I was feeling down yesterday. I recognized the oh too familiar feeling of heaviness and lack of motivation as soon as it arrived, and I combated it with Scripture. I knew that I was justified in feeling sad. My mom was leaving – again. She informed me that she was divorcing her 5th husband, and moving to Minnesota to live with a man named, “Bob.” She knew him from high school but had not seen him in 30 years.
The theme of alcoholism and unhealthy choices continued to plague my mom’s life, leaving me feeling sad – again. I’m 36, and she’s almost 60. It’s been heartbreaking and exhausting to be her daughter, but I didn’t want the feelings of sadness to squish me in my tracks so I cried out to God. She’d been drinking for days, calling me, demanding that I come to her house to get some things before she left. It was exhausting. I knew it would be challenging to see her face to face and deal with her lack of sobriety. In fact, I cried the night before after having a long talk with her as I told her “goodbye.”
I began to grieve the physical loss of my mother, knowing that I had never really experienced, “having” her in the first place. Alcohol claimed her long before my heart ever could. I prayed that she would reach out to the heart of God. God comforted me as I cried, and I felt better although my heart was heavy.
The next day, I was up early driving to the Neuropsychology (brain injury) Rehabilitation Unit at which I am a doctoral student in training. My eyes still teared up a little thinking about my mom getting on a plane to an unknown man and place. I prayed for her safety. Mainly, I prayed that she would one day find her validation in Christ rather than alcohol and men. The older I get, the more I cry for her than I do for myself (and my brothers). I accept the fact that my heart is broken in regard to her, but the reality of the pain of brokenness is still sharp within my heart. I was asking God to “Please help me! I’m giving this to You, God, Abba Father, but please help me in the heaviness of my humanness. I need to be able to care for patients today, and I need to be able to be a mom to my kids. I can’t walk around with this heaviness anymore!” I had been praying since last night and all that morning, stopping long enough to sleep a little and shower. About 3 blocks from the Rehab Center God said, “Look up! When you are down, look up to Me because I am higher than your circumstance, and I have already descending to the depths of Hell so that you (and your mom) can have eternal life.”
I felt a surge of hope for the first time in about 15 hours. In contemplating His words of encouragement to me, I realized that the reason we are to look up to Him is because He is the Most High and in the heaviness of life’s heartache, only He – who resides on High – is able to comfort us and encourage us within our core, and give us the strength to carry on. And He is able to do this because He endured the depths of despair so that we would not be crushed!
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.).
Jesus has felt a heavier sadness than me. And it is because He has endured the heaviest of all sadness that He can help me in mine.
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Through His wonderful counsel and comfort God taught me that He understands the heaviness of sadness, and He also possesses the ultimate height of holiness; therefore, He wants me to come to Him when I feel down, but He wants me to look up! He can rescue me from despair and help me soar high above it!
Looking up to Him is an act of faith. If we choose to look up to Him rather than look downcast as we look at our circumstances, He will give us the Hope that we need to endure, soar above storms, and conquer the heaviness of sadness. However, I want to make a point: you notice that I was sad and in prayer for 15 hours (with some sleep in between), and my heart still feels the brokenness for my mom because I am human. God doesn’t say, “Don’t feel it,” He knows we are human. In fact, He expects our hearts to break for others.
It is in our brokenness for others that enables us to pray for them in the first place. We are not to give up our feelings, we are to entrust them to God. I used to think “not feeling” was the way to survive. I have since learned that it is the process of entrusting my feelings to Christ that enables my faith to soar.
I parked my car, and walked the 3 blocks from the parking deck to the rehab unit, and I looked up at the sky the entire time! I said, “Yes, Lord, I will look up because you have descended to the depths of despair AND ascended on Highest of heights, and You and You alone can help me fly above the storm.”
Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
Kristina Seymour loves to encourage and equip women through the Word and through community. She is the author of The Warrior Mom Handbook, The Warrior Mom Leadership Manual, and The Warrior Wife Handbook; they are available at Amazon.com. Kristina's Bible studies are for women who desire to live by faith in the midst of their everyday lives. She has learned that women can't survive on caffeine and animal crackers alone; women in the Word and in community are united and able to stand firm. To learn more about Kristina, please visit her website, https://kristinaseymour.com/. God loves to share His story of love and grace through us all, and Kristina believes that everyone has a story to tell.