Beautiful Between

living fully in the now & not yet

This is what you need to know if the darkness never lifts

I sat at a stoplight, trembling with anxiety’s rattle and hum. The sky was bleak with charcoal clouds seemed to mirror my soul. The familiar fog of depression had rolled in and I was weary of the struggle.

It was exhausting: wrestling to be whole, never shaking the bone-deep loneliness. The fog formed a dense wall, hedging me into isolation. Most days, it seemed nobody, not even God, can break through.

There’s an excruciating physicality to mental illness that’s rarely acknowledged. But this pain was nothing new. I couldn’t remember a time before depression’s waves rolled through me. I’d grown accustomed to smiling, saying I was just tired, doing my best to show up for my commitments while my chest burned and my body felt like lead.

Still, the worst part was the way secret questions carved out my insides. God, are you there? Why can’t I be different? Why won’t you fix me? I know you can.

It wasn’t just the questions, but the story I believed underneath them: God doesn’t want this mess and neither does anyone else. I knew that if I didn’t smile and act okay, I would lose my people…and even God.

“Just choose joy.”

When I tried to share glimpses of the darkness, well-meaning Christians said things they didn’t understand. You have control over your emotions. This is a choice. Choose joy, they told me, as though it were a switch to flip.

Depression is so self-focused. How can you be sad with all God has done for you? You just need to serve others.

God answers prayers given in faith. Just speak life. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all, even about yourself.

Those words left my skin flushed hot and nausea rising in my throat. I’d tried, so hard, to make myself better. I just kept failing.

Countless begging prayers with all the faith I could muster hadn’t changed the ache inside. Years of spending every free moment in ministry, serving and caring without rest, hadn’t filled the gaping void. Instead, I felt even more strangled by the unforgiving pace.

And, in my mind, choose joy sounded an awful lot like snap out of it. I couldn’t force that, no matter what I did. So I kept the ache to myself, hiding questions and unkempt prayers until I could let out the mess.

I found that place in my old Taurus, a messy sanctuary in all my here-to-theres. Empty paper cups rolled on the floorboards. Clothes were strewn over boxes of books and trinkets – I was always moving in those days. Despite the clutter, that old car was my safe place. There was no need to smile, no show to put on. Nobody to hear or judge.

I was running ministry errands that day, grateful for a reprieve from interaction in the offices. My heart raced with a sinking question: What if I never get better? Shame seared my flushed skin. Nobody wants this. How do I live like this forever?

There at the stoplight, my body trembled as the gray and weight and cloud pressed in. My thoughts spiraled and buzzed. The bony hand of anxiety started to close around my throat.

Then clear, sweet words whispered in my heart,

“The darkness may always be there, but I will always be there in the darkness.”

My mouth gaped open, eyes wide with suddenly welling tears. But it wasn’t sorrow. It was hope, bittersweet, shocking hope.

To some, it might have sounded like a death sentence. But not to me. It was a first-time promise of life. That whisper in my heart, “The darkness may always be there,” told me to stop fighting to fix myself.

Stop burying the pain.

Stop hiding.

The darkness exists. It’s okay that it’s there and it’s okay that it’s so hard. It’s okay to face bravely into it, to let go of denial and learn to live with it.

The second half of that whisper was sweeter still. “I will always be there in the darkness.” It shook my soul like tectonic plates shifting, foundations rearranged. I reeled from the shock of realization.

God isn’t disappointed in me.

He’s not tapping his foot and looking at his watch, impatient for me to get it together. He sits with me in the darkness. The rattle & hum quieted, vibrations and tension slowly fading. I remembered a favorite verse from Psalm 139: if I make my bed in hell, you’re there. The heaviness in my chest lifted as I drew a deep breath.

Those words released so much guilt and fear. They pledged that I’m not so profoundly screwed up that the God of the universe would ever back away. He isn’t afraid of my depression. He doesn’t shrink from the darkness.

God doesn’t lose patience with my pain.

He isn’t uncomfortable when I share dark thoughts, telling me to snap out of it. Nothing I can do, nowhere I can go will ever push Him to abandon me. Instead, God welcomes honesty. He runs toward my pain and questions.

In a messy, old Taurus, my tearful voice shook in hopeful response. “Okay. If you promise to never leave, I can walk through anything with you.”

Sometimes God doesn’t heal, and it’s not anyone’s fault. Sometimes sickness is just the ugly reality of living in a broken world. My hope can’t rest solely on the actions of God, on the miraculous or a mystery I can’t comprehend. I don’t have to be healed to trust Him. My hope rests on His character, who He’s proven Himself to be time and again.

It takes more faith to believe he’s good and kind and present when he walks through darkness with us instead of plucking us from it.

I’ve learned to cling to the Lord come hell or high water, and they both surely will rush in. I know to press my face into His clothes and breathe in deep. When I’m terrified or my chest is filled with the burn of depression, I lean into Him and listen.

“It’s okay. I’m still here, even in the darkness.”

And, much as I would love Him to wave His magic wand and put my soul back together without cracks and scars, I am grateful. I know the Comforter because I have been comforted. I know a God who sees me and is present with me. He’s proven it by showing up in my car when I needed Him most.

Maybe today, you’re wondering if God is present in your pain. It may not be depression or anxiety. It could be loss, failure, illness, or injustice; at one point or another, we all come face-to-face with these big questions. Are you here? Are you with me?

In the midst of anguish and ache, God doesn’t condemn you. He is not disappointed or impatient with you. And, though he often doesn’t bring a sudden change of circumstance, he’s sitting with you in your pain.

God is with us. He isn’t leaving. He isn’t giving up.

If the darkness will always be here, so will God. He’ll sit in its midst with us, holding our sometimes-desperate, flailing hearts. We won’t be alone. Maybe that’s all we need to know to get through.

About Sarah

Hi, I'm Sarah. I love coffee, pancakes and street tacos. I'm a learner, a traveler and a creative mess. I've got a thing for redemption and seeing broken people living beautiful lives. That's the story I've lived, and the one I want for you. Let's be friends!

80 Replies

  1. Babes, this is soo damn good! I’m soo proud of you and adore you.
    Way to go BE!
    ~WB

    P.S. You’ve got me and Jesus, I’m not going anywhere either 😉

    1. Matt

      Thank you for this

    2. Paul

      So nice that God came through for you. It doesnt happen for everyone and it didnt happen for me. God just vanished as depression got a grip on me through years of sexual abuse. And then my rotten church (you know, the one based in Rome with all the art treasures) made it worse by claiming I am in some sort of mortal sin for giving in. Jesus H fucking Christ, this religion shit really rots your soul, doesnt it? Anyway, I am at a crossroads now, and it could go either way. I have wept alone many times. No still small voice for me. Absolutely nothing. But I guess thats my fault too.

      1. Many millions of innocent children are sexually abused based upon the agenda of the top pedophile, Satan. It is sad, tragic, & terrible far beyond description. Often this awful tragedy is magnified by the fact of the perpetrator being someone the precious child is supposed to be able to trust in protecting them – not harming them.
        The religions of man are certainly no substitute for an intimate personal fellowship with God that is 100% Relationship Based & 0% religion based. Religions like politicians do occasionally get something right, but oh the great path of harm & destruction in order to achieve an occasional right.
        A personal relationship with God only comes By being Born-Again By God’s Power Through Faith In & Acceptance Of Jesus Christ As Personal Lord & Savior. The “Still Small Voice” you mentioned arrives once The Spirit Of God, The Holy Spirit, actually takes up residence in the heart & life of each Born-Again Follower Of Jesus Christ. This Rebirth In Christ Jesus is not the end, it is actually the beginning, the foundation upon which everything rests.
        Does rebirth erase the horrible things that were done to you? No not at all. What it does do though – it provides opportunity, invitation, & encouragement to draw near to God & He Will Draw Near To You. In so doing you know that whatever has happened, or whatever does happen, The Living God Himself, Who Loves, Cherishes, & Adores You Is both With You & In You.
        To See For Yourself Check Out: https://godsplan.us

      2. Elizabeth Akram

        I’m lost too.

        1. The Spirit Of God, The Holy Spirit, actually takes up residence in the heart & life of each Born-Again Follower Of Jesus Christ. This Rebirth In Christ Jesus is not the end, it is actually the beginning, the foundation upon which everything rests.
          Does rebirth erase the horrible things that were done to you? No not at all. What it does do though – it provides opportunity, invitation, & encouragement to draw near to God & He Will Draw Near To You. In so doing you know that whatever has happened, or whatever does happen, The Living God Himself, Who Loves, Cherishes, & Adores You Is both With You & In You.
          To See For Yourself Check Out: https://godsplan.us

          1. Diogenes Little

            I use to believe in God o use to pY my tithe go to church treat ppl like i wanted to be treat i helped when i could barley help myself understanding or knowing what it’s like to have & not have.I had a restaurant, bar & Home Development company.i was helping others giving jobs & things turn for the worst i made some bad business decisions some things in my control some not i lost everything my businesses my car credit damn near homeless. I prayed & prayed things get better to no prevail.I cursed God friends i helped didnt help me cause i was the only one helping my family is broke & mom on drugs.I feel i got stuck with the family or sin of the father been to jail for selling drugs no matter how good i would do not to do wrong things the devil or evil followed.I feel like my life is cursed from birth even tho iv had some good moments in life.when i lost everything i prayed & prayed god never answered its been 3 years since i lost everything & i tried to make some money to even pay bills cause i didnt have light or gas i was going to the Salvation army to shower make a long story short i got back in the streets to try to get out of debt & get my heat & gas on i couldn’t help my daughters & caught a case i haven’t been in trouble in 20 years no im on my way to federal jail ahain & didnt get caught with drugs all ovet wire taps now iv lost my freedom iv cured God hated God & iv tried to ask for forgiveness that hasn’t worked iv thought about suicide i dont know what to do i got to jail in jan.hopless soul they send me to meetings now for the court but that doesn’t helpcausr reality still im going to jail any for a wire tap conspiracy im facing a mandatory 10 years because of federal guidelines & the corrupt system im hopeless.

      3. Kelly

        Hey,
        If you have Facebook add me.

        1. Kelly

          I have Changed cookies as my background photo.

          Kelly Vela

          1. Anonymous

            Christmas cookies

      4. Coco

        I can’t believe she wrote this. I automatically gave up on God reading this. Who in their right mind could live like this. What is the point of God sitting in pure turmoil with someone that’s super sad, and begging and begging for help. Just a little peace of mind. And you sit with me? My goodness, this story really breaks my heart.

        1. Hey Coco, thanks for taking time to reply. I know it seems crazy to be grateful for somebody to just be with us in the pain instead of fixing it for us. For me, that’s where the peace of mind comes from – from knowing I’m loved and not alone, no matter how hard life gets. The sad thing is that life is guaranteed to get hard, to some extent or another, for everybody. It makes all the difference in the world to me that I’m not alone when it’s hard and sad, and that gives me strength and peace. Thanks again for stopping by!
          -Sarah

  2. Janet Robinson

    So much spiritual maturity contained in those paragraphs! Deep stuff. Things that, once you know them, I mean really know them, no way can the devil shake them loose! They will carry you from here to there and back again. I have begun a practice that really helps me. I’d like to share it in hopes it may help someone else. Each and every day, I say – out loud – “I love you, too, Jesus. I love you, too.” Too, because I know that He has already said it to me. In a myriad of ways. Thank you!

    1. I love that practice, Janet ❤️ it’s amazing how much we are changed by the simple things, like just saying what we know to be truth out loud. Thank you so much for sharing!

      1. Rorn

        Sarah,
        Truly, you are a kintsukoroi. Google it: Parable of the kintsukoroi. More beautiful because of the broken places.

  3. I can relate to this to this SO much. I felt like God told me the same thing when I was going through a time of depression–that He was with me in the darkness. It was all I needed to hear. Thanks so much for sharing this! The world needs more Christians who will talk honestly about this topic.

    1. Sara, I’m so glad you had the same experience. It’s amazing how those kind words really do change everything. Thank you for sharing your experiences! I’m honored to have you here ❤️

  4. Well, here is another Robinson response – all that I will say: what Indescribable Beauty – what Great Love – what Faithfulness & all well beyond any persons ability to adequately express – The Love Of God. Keep Looking To Jesus.

    1. He is so faithful ❤️ Thank you, Dennis!

      1. Louis Chris Figueroa

        I feel lost and confused about life right now I can’t stop thinking about dieing like what happens when you die I say it to myself e Friday it seem like

  5. Barbara

    Sarah,
    I can’t say much more than…Thank you so much. Maybe when my head comes up from under the water. I will be able to tell you what I really feel. But, for right now, I wish I could give you a hug. I will settle for crying and saying thank you.

    1. Oh, Barbara ❤️ I so wish I could give you a hug, too. Knowing it means something to you is all the thanks I could hope for!

  6. Jeff McMorrough

    I’ve felt and feel so many of these these things. I haven’t had that response from Him yet, but maybe reading this is a part of it. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Charlotte

    I received almost the same thought / message from the Lord just yesterday ! I had taken my fiancé to the hospital for a procedure . Dreading this trip as it was the same hospital my husband died in four years ago after a battle with cancer . I had to park a long ways from the hospital and walk after dropping the patient off . As I walked along underneath the trees memories flooded my mind . Dark memories . Then suddenly I feel a gentle breeze and in my
    Spirit I heard “I have never left you and I never will . “ I felt such peace ! Peace that I’ve needed for four years .

  8. Lynette Mendoza

    Thank you for the difficult subject you have shared. Your words mean so much to me, especially God telling you He is with you in the darkness. Two years ago, my life shattered into a million pieces. I lost almost everything, including 92% of my eyesight, so my darkness is also physical. I’m learning to live with my physical and visual limitations, but it isn’t easy. Sometimes, the darkness is so deep and the depression so intense, I feel like I can’t breathe. I love my Lord. I truly believe He is with me through everything, but it’s difficult to always “know” He’s there. It’s hard when people tell me I should be thankful to be alive. I want to be thankful, but most of the time I’m not because I don’t really feel alive anymore.

  9. Courage

    Oh, what a gift you and your writing are! I’ve just discovered your blog today. Will read in depth … but one thing I want to say right away is Thank You for acknowledging the physicality of this condition we call “depression.” I was born with it, and its basis was biological — a two-month premature birth with serious medical crises which required three months of isolation — in the late 1950s. My mother was not allowed to touch me; we did not bond. I’ve been paying for that loss of attachment my entire life. The form of depression (often considered “treatment-resistant”) is anaclitic depression — aka “failure to thrive.” I am amazed that I am alive…and every day, I tread water to stay alive. I was handed down a terrible legacy that was no one’s fault. My spiritual life, and my faith, have helped me to stay in the world…and they have been steep challenges to maintain. How to sense God’s love when my beginning was devoid of human/maternal love? ~ Yet, somehow, I hang onto a slim thread of belief.

    So, thank you, and bless you, Sarah. I will read more deeply. I feel that I’ve been handed a lifeline. There is God, prodding my soul in a salving direction…

  10. I stumbled across your blog after a friend on Facebook shared a post. It is so familiar to me…like words I could’ve written myself. You articulate the struggle so beautifully and honestly. The see-saw between desperation and hope in Jesus is so exhausting and confusing. Your bravery is amazing. Thank you for sharing.
    I have an anonymous blog, http://www.squarepegsdrumsandbuttholes.com, where I empty my thoughts. Don’t be distracted by the “buttholes” part…it’s in reference to the saying “opinions are like buttholes, everybody has one”, lol. Many of my posts mirror your own, though I am anonymous and I tend to have a trash mouth when I am down in the murky depths of depression.
    Pray for me and I will pray for you and this monster will not overtake us. Thank you for reminding me that Jesus is there in the darkness with me. -hugs-

  11. Sarah,
    You voice what so many feel, experience, and fight—but are afraid to say out loud—therefore, struggling along on their own. They dare not voice it, not in society, not in the church, for fear of reprimand: snap out of it, pray harder, have more faith, get a grip on your life. Thank you for phrasing it so eloquently with such tenderness and astounding insight.
    Having struggled deeply myself the past twelve months, first with devastating loss and then with a brutal culmination of protracted workplace abuse, the sense of hopelessness and worthlessness at times become overwhelming. All the while burdened even further with the teachings a Christ follower can’t feel those things. That it’s “wrong.”
    Which is not true.
    Jesus was a man of sorrows. Jesus wept. He had wounds. Even after the resurrection he still had scars (in his hands.)
    I am only beginning to understand a little about the place of pain and suffering and brokenness in our world.
    Yes, He sits indeed with us in the darkness, walks alongside us, carrying us. It is part of the brokenness until he restores it for good.
    For now, we will have trouble and suffer, but we are not alone, we are not without hope. He has overcome it and will restore it. (John 16:33)
    Thanks, Sarah!

  12. Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing your pain and hope. It has helped as my family and I have recently gone through an unimaginable tragedy of losing my brother. 💛

    1. I’m so, so sorry you’re experiencing such pain. My heart is breaking with you. Thank you for letting me walk alongside you, if just through a few words.

  13. Measles

    Thank you for this! Reading it may have left me with tears streaming down my face, but they are tears that were good tears. This is such a wonderful reminder. I’ve grown up with the mindset that anything could be worked through and I believe it can still, but ONLY when everything is completely placed in God’s hands. We have to completely trust Him during those moments when absolutely nothing makes sense and we don’t understand even ourselves or the darknessnwe find ourselves in in! Thank you for the encouraging verse, (Dueteronomy 31:8). God has never left and He never will. My life is completely in His capable hands and even the things that look so fruitless and confusing through my human eyes, have a purpose that will be right in line with His plan for my life. It is perfectly ok to just BE STILL and know that He is GOD!

  14. Macy

    This is so beautiful. I’m crying. Thank you for sharing this and your story. You’re not alone.

  15. Heidi

    Thank you for writing this. I was desperate for an answer from God as to why I’m the way I am right now, and He answered my plea through you and your story.
    So beautiful and raw. I feel a small flame of hope.

  16. LMK

    What if this still doesn’t help? What if I know all those things and that He’s with me but it doesnt seem to help me. I still wanna give up.

    1. LMK, that’s such a good question. I absolutely get that.

      And here’s the truth: even after coming to this realization, I’ve still had times I’ve felt helpless. I’ve still had times I’ve wanted to give up. It didn’t fix anything for me emotionally or mentally. It didn’t take away my struggles.

      Instead, it gave me something to hold onto, to remind myself of dozens of times a day if I need to. I literally talk to myself out loud and remind myself that I am not alone and that I am deeply, deeply loved by God. I try to intentionally think about that and imagine the way God’s love feels when I’m struggling. I imagine him sitting with me, holding me when I cry, or just listening.

      These things are really helpful for me because they are ways I remind myself that my feelings and thoughts lie to me when I’m depressed. I need something true to hold onto and to remind myself of what is trustworthy. I hang onto that through the hardest times, and it gets a little easier with practice.

  17. Dylan Coleman

    Why do people go to hell? Why am I already there despite being alive?

    1. Hey Dylan,
      I’m so sorry you’re hurting so much. I don’t know all the reasons we go through hell on earth.

      I know sometimes it’s because our world is just broken. Sometimes our bodies and brains get sick and that can feel like hell.

      Sometimes people make choices that have crushing consequences for others or themselves. And all the bad that can come from that feels absolutely hellacious.

      And some things I just don’t understand. I don’t know if I ever will. But I also think sometimes focusing on the why has kept me from focusing on finding healing and wholeness.

      Please take care of yourself. Find a good team of professionals who can help you sort this out.

  18. SKK

    Thank you for this. It put into words what I’ve been going through and haven’t been able to express or explain.

  19. Janet

    Nope. Didn’t help. I don’t want some distant hope, I need help now. It’s all bullshit and why do you get to get a whisper and the rest of us don’t? It’s like all the people who swear praying works. Why does theirs and not everyone else’s? It’s all bullshit.

    1. Hey Janet,

      I get that, and I can’t answer why it seems like some people get answers they’re looking for while others don’t. I know that tons of my prayers haven’t been answered in the way I want them to. And realizing I’m probably going to deal with severe depression for the rest of my life is the last thing I wanted for an answer 🙁

      But I think for a long time, I thought prayer was about asking for things and God showing up and answering them. Now I’ve realized that prayer is actually much more about getting to know God in a way that lets me know He’s always with me. That’s the thing that gives me hope.

  20. Justin Haldeman

    Great post. After years (literally) of trying to fight off demons through spiritual warfare and being told that we must choose joy, I’m coming to a breaking point. A beautiful wife and kids and a home, a good paying job; I’m having a hard time working and holding it together. I would never end my life, but how to hold it together I can’t tell yet, this article reminds me God is with me and he’s not mad at me. Thanks.

  21. Hi Sarah – I’ve read your blogs before and returned again to re-read this message. At 76, I’ve experienced a lifetime of major depression. Eight years ago I became a Christian and my life has improved, but still so many of my days are hopeless. What you related has happened in my life but briefly, and lasting a short amount of time. When I fall back to being mired in life, I recall those almost moments of comfort and they help me hold on. As someone in the final quarter of life though, hope is a difficult concept. I don’t give up but come very close.

    I have a goal and that is to start a Christian group of sorts for people with anxiety/depression. While churches talk a good game, not one has wanted to help with this venture. Yet they constantly state that they wish to do something for mental problems. Do you know of any such groups already established that I could use as a model? I would appreciate your input or that of your followers. Thanking you in advance and may God continue to bless your path.

    1. Julia

      I think/feel this is a good idea, and I am interested to know more as well. I know about meetup.com but I am not sure if it has any such groups in your area/at all, I also struggle and also thought it would be nice to get mental health/depression/fears help but through a christian lens. I do know there is such places such as christian food banks -their offices which offer counselling and also nuns who go out to help people/talk. Pastors as well. But I understand maybe you want a more mental health focused approach, and maybe some know what your going through and know how to help in that area as well. I myself wonder about seeing a doctor even though I saw one this week and am set to go back…..

  22. Lynne Callahan

    I needed this tonight. Thank you, from a dark place.

  23. Greg

    Thanks Sarah, your blog brings hope. I want so badly to be happy again. I also want to be with Jesus and wish he would call me home

  24. Dorothy

    Thank you for your message I reach out to others no hope it just made thing worse for me there advice was some time hurtful they tell you your problem which you all ready know

  25. Help Me

    I can’t do this anymore. I’ve tried praying, but God just won’t answer me. I think he gave up on me a long time ago. It really doesn’t matter; I’m a lost cause anyway.

    1. Rich

      HM,

      I’ve felt like this a lot lately and it has helped to voice these concerns directly to God. He wants a true and honest relationship with us, that includes letting Him know how mad you are at Him. The Psalms are filled with this kind of questioning God and wondering where He is when we feel we cannot make it on our own anymore. Tell God exactly how you feel and don’t go easy on Him, He can take it. And remember James 1:2-4. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” He is allowing this trial so you can learn to persevere and trust Him. Imagine how strong your faith will be when He rescues you from such a difficult trial… I bet much stronger than if He had saved you immediately without any pain. I know it’s hard to keep looking to God when it’s felt like an eternity without any help from Him, but don’t give up. Keep seeking Him even if you are certain He will never rescue you, and then seek some more. You will come out the other side stronger than you could’ve imagined.

    2. Anonymous

      Point #1 God Loves You At All Times & In All Circumstances.
      Point #2 The Devil is a liar and the father of all lies – Satan seeks to have you join him in accusing God of wrong-doing. That was the very thing that Satan used in enticing Eve into sin. Do not join the Devil in accusing God. Whatever you are going thru is just that – you are going thru – you will not be staying, just going thru. Trust God’s Love For You, particularly when you can’t see His Hand.

    3. Paul

      Hey, you’re never a lost cause, God loves you so very much, hold on tightly and never let go of his promises. I bless you in the name of Jesus.

  26. William Crowley

    I believe I had an experience with demonic possession. I learned how to contain it, imprison it within the boundaries of its own hatred and compulsion to destroy. I was only an innocent child of ten, but it compelled me to hate myself. I used that force of hatred to build a space within, a darkness in my soul. I was fortunate to have had 3 years of wushu training at that time, I was able to focus and direct the unfamiliar energy as I did my own Chi. So I walled it within its own hatred, and drew on its energy for fighting and working. I was always far stronger than my companions, even though I’m a small man physically. I could move with incredible speed over short distances, shoot gun or bow or wield sword or spear with either hand. My reflexes are still faster than my cat’s. It hurt me, this darkness in my soul, but after I met my wife and had my son their love healed me. I feel certain that’s why my body is devastated now, but I contained the evil and did not allow it to do harm in our world. When I die it will be only a shadow, powerless and gnawing at itself. Perhaps one day I’ll tell you how it possessed me. (If you don’t write me off as a crank and I live long enough.)

  27. Mandy Prescott

    Ha. So I’m sitting in my car, which is a Chevy Aveo and not a Ford Taurus, yet, ironically my last car was a Ford Taurus. More room than my Aveo I gotta say. I am in an Old Time Pottery parking lot, though I usually frequent the nearest Walmart parking lot, and I just finished a mild bawl. One of many as of this year. Here I find this article. I’ve had so many hopeless experiences in my life I can’t count them, and while God is always there… this year has SUCKED. Articles like this are what people need sooooo much more than the generic responses that you mentioned. Sometimes life SUCKS. And people need empathy instead of sympathy. They need genuine love instead of feeling like a project or that “God put her in my path.” So many well intentioned Christians completely miss this whole point sometimes, making those of us in our Fords and Chevys feel that much more alone when the storms come. I totally feel you though. My car has frequently been my place of solace. My little sanctuary. Appreciating your words right now and feeling a little less alone in this moment. Thorns suck. I have many, but God not only places Himself in the pain with us, He gives us extra blessings when we can meet another believer who just gets it. And sarcasm and humor to laugh through the pain once the tears run out. Thanks for sharing this. Seriously.

    1. I’m so grateful it connected with you, Mandy – and that you have your own little car sanctuary for when you need a good cry! You are definitely not alone!

  28. Kenneth Gray

    Sarah, I am glad that you got to experience the glory of God. To few of us get to experience God that way. I for one have been getting only silence for 40 years. Just hearing God’s voice would be a blessing and give me strength too. But God seems to ignore me completely.
    God Bless You…….again Amen

  29. ISAIAH CHAPTER 59 SPEAKS OF THESE THINGS, BUT READ THROUGH TO THE END:
    Separation from God
    59 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short
    That it cannot save;
    Nor is His ear so dull
    That it cannot hear.
    2 But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God,
    And your sins have hidden His [a]face from you so that He does not hear.
    3 For your hands are defiled with blood
    And your fingers with iniquity;
    Your lips have spoken falsehood,
    Your tongue mutters wickedness.
    4 No one sues righteously and no one pleads [b]honestly.
    They trust in confusion and speak lies;
    They conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity.
    5 They hatch adders’ eggs and weave the spider’s web;
    He who eats of their eggs dies,
    And from that which is crushed a snake breaks forth.
    6 Their webs will not become clothing,
    Nor will they cover themselves with their works;
    Their works are works of iniquity,
    And an act of violence is in their [c]hands.
    7 Their feet run to evil,
    And they hasten to shed innocent blood;
    Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity,
    Devastation and destruction are in their highways.
    8 They do not know the way of peace,
    And there is no justice in their tracks;
    They have made their paths crooked,
    Whoever treads on [d]them does not know peace.

    A Confession of Wickedness
    9 Therefore justice is far from us,
    And righteousness does not overtake us;
    We hope for light, but behold, darkness,
    For brightness, but we walk in gloom.
    10 We grope along the wall like blind men,
    We grope like those who have no eyes;
    We stumble at midday as in the twilight,
    Among those who are vigorous we are like dead men.
    11 All of us growl like bears,
    And moan sadly like doves;
    We hope for justice, but there is none,
    For salvation, but it is far from us.
    12 For our transgressions are multiplied before You,
    And our sins [e]testify against us;
    For our transgressions are with us,
    And [f]we know our iniquities:
    13 Transgressing and denying the Lord,
    And turning away from our God,
    Speaking oppression and revolt,
    Conceiving in and uttering from the heart lying words.
    14 Justice is turned back,
    And righteousness stands far away;
    For truth has stumbled in the street,
    And uprightness cannot enter.
    15 Yes, truth is lacking;
    And he who turns aside from evil makes himself a prey.
    Now the Lord saw,
    And it was [g]displeasing in His sight that there was no justice.
    16 And He saw that there was no man,
    And was astonished that there was no one to intercede;
    Then His own arm brought salvation to Him,
    And His righteousness upheld Him.
    17 He put on righteousness like a breastplate,
    And a helmet of salvation on His head;
    And He put on garments of vengeance for clothing
    And wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle.
    18 According to their [h]deeds, [i]so He will repay,
    Wrath to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies;
    To the coastlands He will [j]make recompense.
    19 So they will fear the name of the Lord from the west
    And His glory from the rising of the sun,
    For He will come like a [k]rushing stream
    Which the wind of the Lord drives.
    20 “A Redeemer will come to Zion,
    And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,” declares the Lord.

    21 “As for Me, this is My covenant with them,” says the Lord: “My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your [l]offspring, nor from the mouth of your [m]offspring’s offspring,” says the Lord, “from now and forever.”

    INTIMATE PERSONAL FELLOWSHIP WITH ABBA DADDY IS THE NEED AND ONLY COMES BY GOD’S WORD & PRAYER. KEEP LOOKING TO JESUS!!!

  30. Lynette H Mendoza

    I know how you feel, Kenneth. Like you, it’s been a long time since I heard God’s voice or experienced His presence. Sixteen years ago, God told me to make some huge changes and even cleared all obstacles for those changes to occur. Then, it’s like He exited, stage left, and became a silent observer. I’ve had one trial after another and experienced so much emotional and physical pain. Sometimes, it’s been so intense, it’s all I can do to just breathe and cry out: “God, where are You?” I pray, but it feels like He doesn’t hear me. I try to remember the promise in the Bible that He will never leave me, and then wonder why I feel such abandonment. Someone told me God is still working in my life, even when He’s silent. I want to keep believing that, but there are too many days when I feel shrouded in darkness. My heart longs for God, and His continued silence hurts.

    1. Rg

      Same here Lynette. God told me to leave my live in bf (now ex), trust him on a $1000 bill instead of using the money otherwise which led to my homelessness. He said write a book to bless ..He never blessed it. Then I hung around waiting .. just waiting to move where He wanted me. CRICKETS. So i said I’ll just make my own moves in faith that you will steer. Nope. I’m getting guilty conscience over Nothing because I’m scared it’s not what God wants but He wont just tell me!
      Insult to injury He showed me how little value I am by all of my friends and family abandoning at one time when I needed them most. I thought that was so He would swoop in and be my everything you ever need….nope… silence.
      I feel like the stage 5 clinger that God is like Ew go away, take a hint. The devil has been talking though. Saying God made Himself to be a drug just so He could take it away. Now I know this is satan so why hasn’t God stepped in? He knows how low satan goes… the silence does hurt and it’s bad enough we’re in earth away from him but then to be in this cold world with no guidance.. all the while he’s promising to guide our footsteps and be there… 🤔 idk. Guess I’m losing it. Pray for me. I’ll pray for you maybe he’ll listen then.

      1. Lynette H Mendoza

        Thank you for your reply, Rg, and thank you for your prayers. I will definitely pray for you and hope God is listening.

        I feel your pain. The change I made 16 years ago that I strongly felt was God-ordained, was to leave everything and everyone familiar and move 1600 miles away to a different state, a state I never would have moved to unless God orchestrated it. My faith has been severely tested ever since. I struggle to continue to believe He is in control. His continued silence doesn’t make that easy. Almost 4 years ago, I had to have open-heart surgery. A few days after, I had a stroke in the area of the brain that processes vision. I lost 92% of my eyesight and my ability to recognize and remember faces. I lost my job and career as a Librarian. Driving a car and riding a bicycle ended with the stroke. I have poor balance and depth perception, which makes even the smallest task a challenge. I have to use a walker or cane to walk around. More than ever in my life, I need people to help me, mainly to drive me to the store or doctor appointments. The family I have left are too far away. The friends who live near me, who I thought I could depend on, have abandoned me, one by one. I discovered the people who offered to help me didn’t really mean for it to be long-term. They moved on with their lives and truly expected me to move on with mine, but I can’t. My disabilities prevent that, so I’m left behind. What’s really hard is to have a “friend” agree to take me somewhere and then have them act like I’m a burden, that they would rather be doing anything else. After so many years of being able to do things for myself, it’s very disheartening and depressing to feel like a burden to anyone.

        And I ask: “Where are You, God?” Where are You when I need help? Where are You when I’m lonely and sick and scared and anxious and depressed? Where are Your people?

        1. RG

          For my sister Lynette and brother Kenneth. I can’t imagine the depth of what you’re each going through but I too have felt lonely, scared, abandoned, unheard, ignored and even misled through a major move.
          In fact you can tell from my original posts that I was going through the wringer then too.
          During that trying time I did the math and realized that of 39 years, I’d only been at peace for 3 years. The other 36 were either filled with depression, abuse or childhood neglect. Never ever fitting in and being so lonesome, I found God was my safe place. So when I couldn’t hear Him anymore, I panicked.

          As you can tell from the post I was quite angry, accusatory, and hopeless. And yes, I took a tone with God. I’d never done this before. I’ve only ever shown up in humility. I had never wrestled with Him in this way.

          You said that you have cried and asked God where He is. But have you let loose? I don’t normally advise this and I don’t mean disrespectfully, but have you made a scene with Him? Waved your arms around and yelled “Look at me Dad!”? God loves all of us even the part we would not dare show another person. He is our Father and our best friend. Sarah says He’s not afraid of the darkness and He wants honesty and this is so true.

          I believe God wants me to share with you both, the story of Jacob when he was scared for his life on his way back to Canaan in Genesis 32.

          Jacob WRESTLED with God and was blessed. He put up a good, long fight and did not want to surrender until God touched his hip and he had no other choice. Man would never bless us after a fight. But God LOVES to bless us… He was THRILLED when Jacob demanded a blessing after his hip was dislocated.
          So thrilled that He gave him a whole new name and identity.

          Some may not agree with this but I wrestled with Him spiritually and He blessed me with peace. I had gotten caught up with the plan He gave me and didn’t want to let go. I had hijacked His plan, trying to move things in a way that made sense to me and it failed miserably. Then I got mad because it didn’t work which led to disappointment and a host of other things before I was in a full on spiritual attack.
          So I was at the fork in the road and about to choose death and I was MAD about it. (My neighbors probably think I’m crazy now but it was worth it.) I was furiously listing all the ways I felt let down by Him (I held nothing back) and explaining why I needed Him to do so-and-so this way so life could work out. Before long, I was sobbing like a baby and had surrendered to Him. I just gave up. What else could I do to a righteous God?
          But like a kid, first I said ‘FINE I’ll just be a loser in life then!’, heart breaking. I was losing it, then Holy Spirit interceded in the middle of my rant and let me ask for a softened heart. THEN my surrender turned genuine. I told Him ‘Ok, take it all. Ok you want me to drop the project, fine. Ok, You want me to lose everything, fine. If I sink, I sink. If I die, I die. It’s yours now.’ The weights were lifting.
          Of course He didn’t want those awful things for me. He cupped my hurting heart in His hands and showed me grace. There was peace I hadn’t felt in a while. I did repent for my sins but what I learned is that God requires full surrender. If Jesus returns for His bride tomorrow will ANY of these issues matter anyway?

          If you have already surrendered, I would do it again. Some things creep up on us and we try to hold the burden ourselves.

          Whatever you do, just know that your struggle is not in vain. Keep the faith.

          I am praying for both of you and asking Father to send you both an undeniable sign that He is still there and that you can trust Him to deliver on His promises.

          Glory to God. May He bless you abundantly.

          1. Kenneth Gray

            Thanks RG, I have done what you said. I screamed and yelled. I have completely laid my heart bare, to no avail. I’ve been baptized twice, surrendered. Nothing works. So thanks for your kind words and sincere intentions. God Bless You

  31. Kenneth Gray

    Thanks Lynette, I feel your pain, it’s the same with me, that pressure like someone standing on your heart. But I guess we’ll find out someday if it’s worth the pain. God Bless You

  32. Rg

    I cant stop being mad at God and I hate it. I feel it’s a spiritual attack since I opened myself up to other people’s demons trying to encourage them. But then im mad like why didn’t you protect me from those demons God? You know I gave you the wheel…
    Plus I have been mad because i feel that He has led me on wild goose chases. I keep hearing that small still voice and following it and NOTHING is panning out. I even went homeless trying to hear him!!! Also I feel like he only wants to give me tiny blessings. He is blessing people who sell His word with thousands and giving me a quarter here and there. Im big on being thankful for the small things but I realized that’s all I ever get.
    I have followed and loved God with all my heart. IN LOVE WITH HIM. Now he’s not showing up, I have to meek it out. I cant sit in one spot or I’ll be homeless again. When he said cast all cares on Him I did. So why say it if you’re going to ignore me. I miss Him but do not think He misses me.
    I am so exhausted and overwhelmed that my dad does not answer me or guide me where I need to go that I am ready to throw in the towel!!!! But then i think He is going to say 1 John 2:19… they went out from us bc they were not of us… how unfair. I’m a woman! I need attention, He made me this way! Plus I think he is more concerned with the 1 sheep than his 99, so I am going to be the 1. Maybe then He will come back to me!!! I’m mad because I feel like He gave me goals to reach but no resources and no supernatural help either. If I was playing around then ok I get it but I was talking to Him all day long, craving His presence then He just snatches it away. Why? He doesn’t want us to have idols other than Him, then He goes ghost? Sorry I’m pretty peeved. I feel like He kicked me out of the club. I’ve been tired fo soooooooo long and feel like he moved on to someone better. 🙁Pray for me please.

    1. Julia

      Hi,
      I am praying for you, I can somewhat relate to what your saying, but I can also relate to Sarah/her articles. Life can be so tough. I am praying God can use me in some way to help you if that is his will of course. May Gods favor and protection rest upon you and your life. He is never far away, but a prayer away, as someone told me, which brought me much comfort. What sort of help and resources do you need to reach your goals if you don’t mind sharing? I am also job searching and I also feel I do not know where I am going….

      1. Julia

        what do you mean you can’t sit in one spot or you’ll be homeless again?

    2. Kenneth Gray

      Rg,
      I understand what its like to feel ignored or worse by God. You say here God make me worthy of your praise, your will be done. Only to have God calm up with only silence to your heartfelt prayers. I too am struggling with this, 40 years and climbing of unanswered prayers. A crap life without hope for anything better. You mentioned that all you get are small things from God, try looking at it this way. You are getting something, which is better than nothing. Not all of us get even the little things. Someone recently twisted a comment I made, their answer might help you. Your faith is like a plant, if the plant doesn’t get water it dies. Your faith may need some water. This is where I struggle with this because I believe God is the gardener that waters the plant(faith). But don’t listen to me about the gardener, I have been told many times that my outlook is messed up. I wish I had a rock solid answer for you but God choses who He will answer. I know it’s confusing as one parts of the Bible says that God does answer prayers while another part says that God may never answer our prayers. That is the fickle nature of God. God Bless You and may the Heavenly Father be quick to answer and help you. Amen

  33. Sara

    RG

    I’m sorry to read all that you’ve been going through – the pain and frustration you express is clear. It’s hard to go through so much especially after expecting something so different. I think God is big enough to hear what you say and I really believe He wants you to tell Him.

    As I read what you wrote I felt reminded of something that happened to me once and I believe He wants me to share it. It’s an odd story so please be patient as I share it. I felt God wanted me to get this dog – it was His gift to me so I followed what I though He was saying. However, this dog was a daily nightmare and in the end I found my toddler sitting in a puddle of dog wee. I cried out to God asking why He led me to this situation – His answer was clear. Sara, I give good gifts to my children. The dog had to go and I sent her to a place that would re-home her and care for her well.
    Now I’m in a marriage that’s unsafe – another place I believed God led me too. Like you I’ve cried out to God in confusion about the outcome of following what I thought was His lead. The other evening the answer came – not in a fresh revelation but in remembering the dog and God’s words to me then.
    Whilst I do believe that Christians suffer, just as Sarah writes about here, I don’t believe that He would deliberately lead us to destruction. I would encourage you to consider the results of your situation and ask yourself if God really was leading you to this place? I really believe He wants me to share this with you and to encourage you that whilst He may not have led you here He is the one who could lead you out of it.

    Sarah – thank you so much for writing this. I too know the darkness of mental illness. I currently am on a dark road I cannot just leave and have been on for a while. Tonight God showed me that although I out at sea with no land in sight He is the boat around me and He is there. He always will be. I found this article not long after and it resonated with the journey I am on.

    1. Sara, that’s so beautiful – “He is the boat around me and He is there.” I saw you mentioned you’re in an unsafe marriage. I’m so sorry to hear that. Please know you are worth getting the help and support you need to be safe <3

    2. RG

      Thank you for your kind words Sara. I am touched that the Lord used you to send me a word. There is a definite area in my life that I can apply that to. I pray that God will do His good to make your marriage safer and bring you the joy He intended for you to have when He put you together. But please stay safe and use all resources available for your situation. Stay strong my sister in Christ.

  34. Kenneth Gray

    Thanks Sara,
    I like to hear that God is there for you. I could really use an encounter with God like that. All God seems to be is absent when it comes to me. I cry all the time because God isn’t here for me. I need God to help me as I can’t help myself. I want to help other people, but I need God to help me first. I want to bring glory to God but can’t as I don’t have any resources to do anything with. I just don’t know why God has chosen to let me suffer in this life.
    God Bless You Sara

  35. Feng Yuan

    Hi Sarah, I am Feng Yuan, your writing lifted me in a special way. Thank you for being brave and bold.

    1. I’m so grateful to hear that! Thank you for your kind words 🙂

  36. RG

    Update: We made it through the other side! Hallelujah. I was under spiritual attack but Psalm 88 perfectly sums up what was going on in my life. To a Tee. Still God is faithful. I was angry, furious, livid even, with God. I was calling out to Him and feeling ignored… but I was still calling out. And He was faithful to rescue. I do not like that place of despair. It was scary, lonely, and soul crushing but it made me see how much I need the Lord. I needed to fully rely on Him even more than I thought I was. I thought all was good in my spiritual walk but this just brought us closer. Sometimes Dad lets us ride without the training wheels for a bit. We can’t see Him because we’re focused on the obstacles in our path and trying to stay balanced like a big kid but He’s right behind us ready to scoop us up when we fall off the bike. So stop wobbling and let go. Just fall already, into His arms. He will pick you up and stay with you until you get it right. Please don’t give up. Get to the other side. Glory to God. Praying for all those still stuck in the place of despair. God bless.

  37. YES & AMEN. THE LORD GOD IS ALWAYS FAITHFUL NO MATTER HOW THINGS SEEM OR HOW WE FEEL. HE DOES NOT CHANGE-DOES NOT GIVE UP-DOES NOT LOSE.
    YES LONELINESS IS TOUGH, BUT EVEN SO, GOD’S WORD IS TRUE AND HIS PROMISES SURE: “Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” ISAIAH 40:31

  38. ShyShy

    This was just what I needed. It made me cry like a baby, but it was what I needed. Thank you for sharing this beautiful moment with God and this message. It’s truly amazing how gracious He is by being with us at all times and never giving up on us!

    1. Oh, I’m so glad to hear it was what you needed ❤️ you are not alone, my friend.

  39. Debbie

    This helped me so much I can’t even begin to express. I’ve lived with overwhelming darkness and depression my entire life even as a child. I needed to hear God is with me in darkness and loves me no matter what I’m going through. Thank you Lord Jesus for speaking to me through your precious daughter and servant who understands the emotional pain.

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