Do you ever have circumstances or challenges in your life where everything in you wants to RUN – to something, to anything…to bring peace and relief and comfort to your soul?!

In yesterday’s post, I shared how Proverbs 18:10 has really helped me when I’m stressed, exhausted, weary (or a combination of all 3!!). Today I’ll share a very personal, challenging season that my husband John and I went through a few years ago. By leaning on the Lord and remembering my S-A-F-E acronym, we were able to not just “survive” the storm, but make it through victoriously!

The year was Fall 2003. To give you a snapshot of my life…I was married to my dear husband John. Our kids were ages 9, 2, 10 months, and I was 8 ½ months pregnant. (Let that sink in…9, 2, 10 months (so not walking), and I was 8 ½ months pregnant).
I was working full time as a ministry leader at my church. It was a HUGE job. John was a stay at home dad (with all those kids!).
I was at a low place – emotionally, physically, spiritually.
John was at a low place – emotionally, physically, spiritually.
Our marriage was at a very low place – emotionally, physically, spiritually.
John has struggled with depression in the past, and for this season of our life, it was rearing its ugly head again.
And for me, as the troubles, worries and fears were pursuing me – I was running….but to all the wrong things. Not to bad, illegal things – but running, stuffing… none the less.

Finally, one day I just couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t keep up the façade that everything was ok. I couldn’t handle the stress, the tension of our marriage, the ministry pressures, baby stuff – I was just done. Have you ever been there before??? Just done.

I remember saying to John one night– “I just have to get out of here! I can’t take it anymore!!” So he tucked the kids in, and I left. I drove around for awhile, ended up at a bookstore and finally….Stopped.

I bought a journal, borrowed a Bible and finally Stopped running and Acknowledged my needs to the Lord. I wrote and wrote and wrote in my new journal. Not long, poetic things…but more like,
OK God, here’s my reality … (like He didn’t know (smile))
My job is overwhelming
My marriage is overwhelming
This pregnancy is overwhelming
My life is overwhelming
I need You, I need You, I need You!!

And then after hours of dumping on the Lord, I began to Fill my mind with Truth. I wrote things like…. God You are a Delivering God! You have delivered me from so much in my life, You can deliver me from these troubles too. You are a Loving God. Infuse us with Your love. You are Powerful. Reveal Your Power to us!

I left the bookstore that night feeling so much better, so much lighter. Expecting God to show up.

And He did…just not how I had pictured it. In fact, sometimes as we pray, things get harder before they get better. (Read that last sentence again….sometimes as we pray, things get harder before they get better) But it doesn’t mean the Lord isn’t working!! For us, within a few days –

John went away for 3 weeks to an inpatient treatment facility to work on his depression.

(For 3 weeks, while I was 8 ½ months pregnant).
The church allowed me to go on a paid early maternity leave so my work responsibilities were gone. It also meant I had lots of time at home and couldn’t “run” to my job to get away from the pain.

The Elders put together a plan of round the clock meals, child care, cleaning, snow shoveling – you name it… Do you know how humbling it is to have random people coming in and out of your home, when you really just want things to be “normal” again?

I started seeing a wonderful Christian counselor to help me sort some things out. It also meant dealing with some hard stuff and looking at places where God really was calling me to grow.

I cannot even imagine where we would be today if I would have kept “running” during this season. It wasn’t until I Stopped, Acknowledged my need for the Lord and cried out to Him, Filled my mind with Truth, and Expected Him – that God showed up. And show up He did!!!

God has used that very difficult season to strengthen our marriage and our family in unbelievable ways!

God is so awesome! Do you know the day that John left the clinic where he was staying, the very next day is when I delivered our baby? God had it all worked out!!
My husband John (who, by the way, is very comfortable with me sharing this part of our journey if it might bring hope to anyone struggling with depression, or journeying with someone who struggles with depression) – John is in a good place emotionally, physically, spiritually.
Our marriage is in a great place.
I’m in a healthy place.
Our family is in a healthy place.
By running to the strong tower, God provided the safety and security we needed to get through a very difficult season.

S – Stop
A – Acknowledge
F – Fill

E – Expect
Your turn!! How about for you?? When troubles, worry, fear, the stresses of everyday life pursue you – where do you run????
May I remind you of the Powerful Words of Proverbs 18:10….
The Name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are SAFE.
Let’s pray….Oh Lord, Thank You that You are our Strong Tower. That You desire us to run to You. Please Fill our hearts and our minds with the TRUTH of Who You are and what You are able to do!! Show us Your goodness and Your Power and Your Love. Oh Lord, we are expecting You to guide and direct us, and to keep us close to You. We need You, Lord!! Reveal Yourself to us, we pray! In Jesus’ Powerful and Life-changing Name. Amen!!!

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