By: DKI (Guest Blogger)
Have you, for a brief moment, gone to the deepest darkest place in your grief journey and felt like there’s no turning back?
After shedding 45 pounds of roller coaster grief and almost a year and a half after my mother’s passing, I thought my journey of pain was subsiding. I was finally seeing the world in colors again and almost, I dare to say, living and enjoying life. I was exercising regularly, eating healthy, getting proper sleep, working hard, and most importantly smiling again. I thought life was getting better. My grief seemed to feel less heavy and I thought I had gone through the worst of it. But I was in for a rude awakening when suddenly the wave of grief hit me like a ton of bricks with an undertow that almost took my life. And that was the darkest hour my soul ever experienced.
People who haven’t experienced a tremendous loss in their lives don’t fully comprehend the void that keeps you awake at night, the burning sensation in your throat as you swallow the pills of grief preparing for holidays, or the glaze that comes over your eyes when you think about a memory with your mom that is slowly fading as the weeks, months, and then years go by. People don’t—but Jesus does.
As October ended I started anticipating the pangs of the holiday season for the second time. “This year,” I thought “would be different.” I already had a round of holidays under my belt and I knew what to expect. I kept reminding myself mom was in heaven, at peace, fully whole, healed of all infirmities and that was propelling me forward. I had my days here and there of sadness but I quickly bounced back into positive thoughts which incorporated my faith. Truly without the belief in Christ, I don’t know how anyone survives this life.
I was also working a tremendous amount during November and my stress levels were high. By December, I was exhausted physically and mentally. I stopped going to the Tuesday night prayer meeting and then sporadically attended Church on Sundays. I stopped feeding my soul truth. In hindsight, I see how the enemy saw me as perfect prey.
I stopped exercising. This didn’t help my grief because the physical release of endorphins in the brain helps greatly. Finally, I allowed myself to place my worth and validity in other people’s hands. I was trying to get love from outside sources when it truly has to come from God. I let myself go down a dark road—my heart was broken—again.
I stopped counseling with my Pastor because I was always working. Spiritual isolation can destroy anyone. This is why Jesus says, “I am the vine and you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers…”
As I stirred a pot of homemade sauce for my baked ziti on New Year’s Eve, I opened a bottle of Scottish single malt whiskey. I poured a huge glass of this fire water down my throat. I wanted to be numb. I wanted to stop feeling tired and sad. I wanted the grief process to end. I wanted to feel nothing or perhaps just laugh a bit, maybe get a buzz and laugh off the nonsense text I just received. Side-note – I am not a drinker but for the occasional glass of wine socially. Instead of becoming happy and giddy, I became very upset.
In attempt to calm down I ran to the closet of meds. After consuming several pills that in my mind would “calm me down,” I took a ride on a journey that plummeted me down a dark and narrow path. I let the enemy swoop down on me like a hawk ready to devour its prey. I was open to attack. I allowed the accuser to play every disappointment, sad, wrong thought over in my head. But He is a liar. I know, but I couldn’t see it because I was intoxicated. I was weak. I was having a pity party and invited only myself and the enemy. When I got to the point of no return, I felt completely uninhibited. I remember crying out to God – “I’m done. I want to come home and be with you.”
What broke in me? I can’t really tell you. I just went from wanting to feel numb and buzzed to wanting to be in the presence of God. I went back to the cabinet for more pills, as the doctors later said, “the perfect death cocktail.” Once I gulped down a hand full of more stuff like tic-tacs, I gained a sense of clarity for just a minute. I realized, “I am going to die.” At that point, the lowest and darkest moment of my 43-year-old life, I cried out to God, “Please have mercy on me. I don’t want to go to Hell. Please have mercy on me Jesus.” Then I passed out and woke up the next day in a hospital. Happy 2019!
Out of the Dark Place
So, what are the take aways? Clearly, I’m still here because I’m writing this. What the enemy meant for my harm, God turned to good. He tried to take my life on Dec. 31, 2018 but Jesus said, “Not today devil. I am in control.” Friends, know this and let it ring loud and clear in your hearts; God has a plan and purpose for your life and even in the darkest hour He will NEVER leave you or forsake you. It’s a lie from the pit of hell that you are alone and no one loves you.
We tend to descend after big achievements. I had huge success at work, but then I isolated myself. I stopped going to the prayer meeting, pastoral counseling, and then church. Isolation is wrong. When you are weakest, is when you need God’s help and his people who He uses as vessels to help us. Call a friend. Go to church. Text or email someone in this ministry. You are never alone. God steps in. He thankfully stepped into my situation and He intervened.
Rest and nutrition are important. But when it’s time – you must GET UP. Having an angel — A friend, family member, co-worker who can go for a walk with you, chat with you, grab coffee is invaluable. But when you have done all that you can do and find yourself literally alone – remember you always have a friend in Jesus. He is your Lord, your savior, your confidant, your provider, your best friend, the one constant in your life that will always hear your cries and will store your tears in jars. God restores us completely and propels us to a place where He can use us for His kingdom. Now I regularly call and speak to two women I met in the hospital about Jesus and pray with them.
It has been written that Mother Teresa warned her fellow sisters that “the Devil” is continuously on the prowl in order to “make you feel it is impossible that Jesus really loves you, is really cleaving to you. This is a danger for all of us.” So, whatever you are feeling, know you are not alone. We are never alone. It’s the biggest deception bought by so many especially during our grief journey. You are loved. You matter. And God has a purpose and plan for your life. He will use your pain to help others. When all else fails, just shout out the name of Jesus. He knows your heart. The enemy will flee to the name above all names.
As my mother used to recite an old Irish blessing to me all the time, let me share with you that “…Until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.” My story is first hand evidence that in my darkest hour, He had me in the palm of His hand. Jesus never said we wouldn’t go through anything, but He did say “He would never leave us or forsake us.” But without His lifeline we can become dark.