Have you ever had a period where you just existed in the world but didn't really live?
I went through this a decade ago. It was the most challenging time of my life. I wasn't able to work. I lay in bed most days and cried all day. I read books to distract me from the emotional and physical pain.
All I had to do during that period was get up and take my kids to school, yet I struggled. My life felt so hopeless that I didn't want to face it. So I lay in bed as long as I could. Then, when I finally got up and got my kids ready for school, I returned home and crawled into bed. Usually, I cried myself back to sleep.
Now I realize I was depressed because I had no hope for my future. It broke my spirit when my doctors told me I would never get better, only worse. It was the darkest period in my life because I had just accepted my diagnosis and didn't even try to overcome it.
I became so fearful.
It was hard to leave my house to go to church. I felt as if something terrible was always about to happen. I took three nerve pills daily and still had anxiety attacks. I remember the fear as I struggled to breathe, feeling as if I was going to die.
In some ways, I was dying a little each day. I've learned that we are either growing or dying every day. There is no in-between. My spirit was dying because it didn't have any hope. I couldn't look beyond my circumstances and see a way to overcome them.
Then, God blessed me to start imagining the life I wanted to live. As I fell asleep each night, I imagined holding my books in my hands with children around me. In my dreams, I was healthy—without chronic pain. Seeing the visions of the life I wanted to live helped me get out of bed.
Sometimes all it takes is one step in the right direction.
I started excising every day. The first few times, I cried through my workouts. Oh, how I wanted to stop and climb back into the safety of my bed. But I persevered and fought for the life I wanted to live.
God made way for me to overcome my circumstances.
Instead of accepting my fate, I prayed. Each night I started going out onto my deck and talking to the Lord. I told Him of my hopes and dreams. And He heard me. With each challenge, He increased my faith.
During that time, I learned that when hardships come upon us, we can lay down and give up or fight for the life we want. God can make a way where there is no way. He can help us with our every hardship. And He can take our problems and use them to help others.
When I look at where I was and how He delivered me out of my pain, I am so incredibly grateful. God is a way-maker. He is our strength when we are weak. There is nothing beyond His reach. God can help us with all things. We need to ask Him to help us and believe that He will.