Before I can really begin writing any blog posts either reflecting or reporting on my experiences in Chicago, I feel that I have to clear the air and explain my internet silence for the last seven weeks or so.
During this last almost two month period, I have been experiencing what some may call a dark night of the soul (see also: severe and debilitating depression). It has hands-down been the longest month and a half, and close to the hardest.
Praise God, I’m beginning to feel like a real living human again.
Despite my being a big fan of modern medicine and mental healthcare, this period seems to be more accurately named “dark night of the soul” rather than “Kristin’ seratonin levels being way off.”
This bout of depression seems to have a more spiritual aspect to it. Throughout this 54 day period, I have been having, in my mind, the narrative of Peter stepping out of the boat and walking towards Jesus consistently running. In part, this could be credited to the fact that Peter’s story is one of the main things that catalyzed Adam’s certainty towards feeling called out of our comfort zone for this first year of marriage: a call for us to “step out of the boat.” But that call was felt in February of 2015.
In part, I think I also credit a vision I had in the summer of 2014 to my connection with this story. In it, I was in a boat, and disembodied heads were oppressing me: depression, anxiety, guilt. I tried everything to fight them and couldn’t get away, couldn’t get them out of my boat, of my life. And then, across the water, I saw Christ. It didn’t even occur to me that what was around my boat was water- in a split second, before I had time to think about what I was doing, I jumped out of the boat and ran to him, crying for him to save me and send the demons away. I was clinging to Him before I had a second to gather myself and look back: the demons had not followed me. They did not, in fact could not, leave the boat I had left behind to continue following and oppressing me. They could not get any closer, for I was under the protection of Christ.
Anyways. Back to 2016.
In his recent dark night, my vision of being Peter and walking across water to Jesus was distinctly different than ever before.
I went through a period of only looking at the waves. (Yes, I mean this metaphorically, but I could also see it if I closed my eyes or zoned out. In fact, for a while it’s all I saw in my head or could see). And I prayed and struggled to lift up my eyes and look to Jesus, though it felt like my eyes were actively being pulled downward.
And then, when I finally was looking up, I couldn’t see Him. I would be able to see a lock of flyaway hair in the wind a corner of His cloak, a fingertip, or sometimes the top of his head. But the waves were 8-10 feet high, and they crashed violently in between us. The dark clouds blocked light, and only streaks of lightning could be used to see.
Meanwhile, outside of my head, my sweet husband was observing his new wife unable to function: my emotions came violently, but never happiness. More nights ended in Kristin sobbing in the basement than not. I can’t tell you what he was thinking or feeling, except helplessness.
Thank God, This last week we were partnered as prayer partners. I told him the whole Jesus-and-waves in my head thing. He was troubled, and prayed sincerely for me. During that prayer, i felt my 200-lb weight lighten to something like 150 lbs. Still not super manageable, but noticeably lighter.
My emotions continued to rage violently and take over. Adam worried. I, under my emotions, also worried about my inner state. I remembered the story of Mary Magdalene, I felt connected with her seven demons.
Yesterday, I told Adam all this, deeply concerned. We talked. He prayed over me, this time “casting out the darkness”
The weight lifted for the first time in two months. I was human again. and I saw Jesus. I was in his arms, and finally, finally, gazing into his face. The darkness is not in me any longer.