Revealing Structure

Strangely I have found in my own life that it is only through a wintry spirituality that I am able to affirm summer and sunshine. A friend wrote me recently, ‘Winter reveals structure.’ Only as the structure is firmly there are we able to dress it with the lovely trappings of spring, budding leaves, rosy blossoms. Winter is the quiet, fallow time when the earth prepares for the rebirth of spring. Unless the seed is put in the ground to die, it cannot be born. (~Madeleine L’Engle)

It is winter. Icy outside. There’s a two-hour delay for school. The house is dark and quiet. Peaceful

My heart is dark, too, and restless. I woke this morning thinking, “I must get up and have my quiet time.” Then I cried because it felt like duty and the longing wasn’t there, and I don’t ever want the ache for Jesus to go away. I am completely desperate for Him and His grace and presence.

January 1st began a regimen of treatment medicine for me and as the days pass and the medicine makes its impact, I am increasingly fatigued physically and emotionally. And there is darkness. A darkness that is overwhelming and all-consuming. Of all the side effects I will endure these next weeks, depression is by far the worst, and I am battling every day against an induced darkness, a weariness of spirit that makes me ask, “Is this really worth it?” Is it worth it to put my body and mind through so much to possibly prevent future recurrences?

I see my specialist on Thursday and I consult with nuclear medicine about scans and treatment. The medicine I am taking now is to prepare my body for all that’s coming. Next week I will go on a rigid diet to also prepare my body for the iodine treatment. The end of the month will be those scans and treatment. Come mid-February I should hopefully be finished. I will know more extensively after Thursday what this will all look like.

Ask me in a two months and I will tell you a resounding, “Yes, this was worth it.” However, walking through this struggle, my heart is not so sure.

But I have made my choice. So I will walk through this winter knowing my structure is secure. I am planted by deep waters that feed my soul even in the darkness. And I will seek and I will wait knowing that in the seeking and in the waiting, growth happens. He is working in winter just as much as He is working in spring and summertime.

12 responses to “Revealing Structure”

  1. Ang,

    I wish I could walk through this for you. My heart aches, but I will pray to the one who WILL walk through it with you or dare I say carry you through!
    Love,
    Mom

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  2. Dearest Angie,

    I am reading Choosing Rest by Sally Breedlove, my gift from you just days ago. I want to share every word with you. It is the perfect book for someone going through a dark time. She shares the words of Lamentations in a portion of the book titles, “God’s call in the midst of the darkness.”

    “It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. . .” Lam 3:26

    She says, “There are things in our souls we cannot fix. We can refrain from sin–God makes that very clear in His Word–but we cannot always reshape our hearts to sing a different song. Sometimes we just have to wait. . .”

    Later in the chapter she writes, “As we wait in the darkness we must resist the temptation to dispel it by lighting our own fires. The prophet Isaiah warns us against the danger of fire lighting.

    “Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on His God. But now all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my own hand: You will lie down in torment.” Isaiah 50:10-11

    I love this because I think we so often try to rush through times of pain and darkness or find our own way out of them instead of RESTING in them. How often I have tried to light a fire for you instead of sending you back to God.

    More words from Isaiah, “I will give you treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” Isaiah 45:3

    I know our God who summons you by name is giving you many treasures during this nighttime of your soul. I am praying peace and REST for you as you wait upon the Lord.

    Oh how I love you.

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  3. Angie, again your transparency leads me to want to be more transparent myself rather than cover over my own restlessness, darkness, and troubled spirit in my own trials. Last August I heard David Powlison teach on Ps. 131, “O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.”
    I wish I could remember and recount all he taught (maybe you could find it online at the Worship God 08 website…it was profound), but a weaned child is content to just BE with her mother. Our Christ is our Immanuel, God with us, who desires us to find that it is enough that He is with us. Susan sent me a Beth Moore quote today: “Why does God allow us to spend so much of life in the heat of battle? Because He never meant for us to sip His Spirit like a proper cup of tea. He meant for us to hold our sweating heads over the fountain and lap up His life with unquenchable thirst.” Oh, may He be the Light in your darkness. And do you realize that your blog entries often read like psalms, with you honestly describing your fears and darkness, culminating in, as today, “…I have made my choice…” Just like the Psalmist’s “Yet will I trust Him.” You are following in a worthy line of saints gone on before, who found Him enough in their darkness. Let’s trust Him together. There is life in that seed buried in the dark, in the mud, alone…and spring is coming, dear Angie.

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  4. Having known depression, I will pray against those thoughts that can so easily burden the mind and heart. May you be able to distinguish LIES from TRUTHS. I’ll get you started with some truths– Through Jesus, You are worthy! Through Jesus, You are beautiful! And most of all, By Jesus, You are loved! You are loved so so much.

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  5. Praying that the Light of our Heavenly Father’s infinite love for YOU, will seep in and conquer every dark thought! May He strengthen you in every way you need Him to! Holding you up!

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  6. I am praying for you my sweet friend as you walk through these next weeks! Although there is heartache in your writing it is very beautiful and hopeful! That is what shines through and will in the end stand strong above the pain and agony, I am sure!

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  7. My precious Angie, my daughter in the Lord,

    This is truly a firey ordeal, but it is not strange. We can appraise it by the word of God and what comes from it is an eternal weight of glory. To walk in the crucified life is a blind walk, but His eye is on us and His word is a light unto our path and a lamp unto our feet.

    My heart is with you. His joy is your strength. We must go on and never turn back, for at the end we will find Him.

    Much love to you,
    Judie

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  8. Praying for you Angie!

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  9. Angie, I can feel the darkness in your writing. I am so sorry that you will be plagued by this. You will be in my prayers, and in my thoughts. Love and friendship to you…

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  10. Sweet Angie,
    I know the darkness of depression, and I am so sorry that you have to walk through it! But I also know that God will use it to teach you to cling to him more closely, and that there is great joy when depression lifts. Thank God that this is only for a season, and that you can be sure this depression will lift. If you ever need to talk or cry, or anything, just call!!! I love you!

    Ems

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  11. Austen Sandifer Williams Avatar
    Austen Sandifer Williams

    Angie-

    You don’t know me. I used to know Brian in college…he drove me to church my freshman year. Through facebook, I learned about your struggles and checked out this blog. I am so heartened by your spirit, your hope, optimism, and faith. I have lived with and cared for a loved one with cancer, so I have some idea of the pain and heartache associated with the fight for health. And I am so grateful to read this blog and see the grace of God shine through in your writings.

    I write today to let you know that I have been praying for you, and I will continue to pray for you and your family. In fact, when you were in surgery (a month ago?), my church in California prayed for you. You are not alone in your journey, even in moments when you feel isolated. And even when you perceive darkness, the light of Christ is there.

    May God bless you and keep you, and may God’s grace continue to shine upon you and give you peace.

    Sincerely,

    Austen

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  12. I just happened on your site today and saw that you and I have something in common. I am a 10 year survivor of thyroid cancer. I also had it in my lymph nodes at the time and I vividly remember waiting to go hypo enough to get the treatment you need. I had a two year old at the time and had my second daughter 2 years after my diagnosis. Your post brought back many of the feelings I had– resolve to beat the disease, dread at the process, and the physical strain of it. And yes, it is worth it and in a few months will seem so far away. I am a believer as well and I know that God carried me and will carry you and your family as well.
    God bless you–
    Denise

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