The Grayness Lingers…

I am in a gray place.  The shadows are long and even the sun is hiding behind the clouds.  I prayed that today would be different, but it is not.  Even the wind blowing in the trees sounds sad today.  I am so drained, I wonder if I can take another step, but the sweetness of empty sleep eludes me.

The truth is that it is not the trees or the sun.  It is me.  And I know that.  I have been here before, too many times to count.  And I don’t know how long it will last.  I never do.  But I know that I am not alone.  I can see the shadows in other’s eyes too.  I know their stories.  I know my own.

We pull ourselves together and make dinner.  We do our best to listen when our kids have a story to tell.  We try not to douse our spouse in the graying darkness that follows us like the cloud of dust that followed Pigpen in the Peanuts comic strip.

But the grayness lingers.

I also know that God has not abandoned me.  He has taught me some of the most valuable lessons during the gray times when feelings tell lies and hope seems elusive and prayers seem to only go as high as the ceiling.

I saw a FaceBook cartoon that pokes fun at the Footprints poem.  Jesus walked with the little stick figure, carried him, and then pointed to a spot where He dragged him. This image, while it may be how we feel, does not reflect the Jesus we see in Scripture.  When we are too weak to take another step, Jesus sits down next to us and just holds us until we can move on.  He knows what it is to be fragile and broken.  He knows what it is to not be able to trust your own feelings.  He knows how our own thoughts seem to attack us when we are down.  And because He knows, He is our perfect Comforter.

His comfort is a sustaining comfort.  It is the comfort that whispers to our soul that the hope is still there even though we can’t see it or feel it — just like the sun is still there on a cloudy day.

He is my Comforter.

He hears the groans of my heart, even when I can’t form them into a prayer.  It is His Spirit within me that cries out when I can’t.  His word tells me He is standing at my Father’s throne, interceding for me!

He is my Prayer Warrior.

Leading, calling, guiding and sometimes prodding me, He shepherds me.  When I am no longer able to see Him through the graying mist, He never abandons me.  He carries me when I can’t walk and He returns me to the safety of the sheep fold where His protection and care will, with time restore my soul.

He is my Shepherd.

He has promised never to leave me nor to forsake me.  I am His.  I am written on the palm of His hand.  He will not loose one, not even in the enveloping grayness, whom He has been given.

He is my Promise.

Has the sweet breath of His Spirit moved in to blow the grayness away?  No.

The grayness still lingers.

Do I feel anything yet?  No.

The grayness still lingers.

Has writing this made a difference?  Maybe.

It reminds me to Whom I belong — even when my feelings don’t verify it.  It reminds me that I have value to Him, even when enveloped in the grayness.  It reminds me that I am not alone in my pain and my emptiness.

The grayness still lingers.

But I know that buried in the fog, somewhere, hope is still there.  And my hope has scarred hands and feet.

First posted in October 2013

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