Yesterday for the first time in ages I got really excited. I mean really excited. Dave and I ordered a whole lot of book from Amazon a couple of weeks ago for the first time. Some of the books are his birthday presents to me, and there were a couple in there that Dave has wanted to read for ages. The price of books here is Australia is insane and even with paying freight and with the dollar exchange we still got a crazy bargain. When we ordered we were told that it would be about three weeks until the books arrived, so I would have them for my actual birthday – which I didn’t mind because it’s then like my birthday goes for longer! So you could imagine my surprise when I got home from work last night and had a little note tucked into my front door saying I had a parcel to collect from the nearest post office. In the back of my mind I thought it may have been the books, but I still wasn’t expecting them for another two weeks. When I got to the post office I was handed a box all bundled up in a huge, heavy duty plastic bag. It wasn’t that heavy so I kind of dismissed it as the book, but I had no idea what else we may have ordered!
So I got home, and cut off the giant bag to get at the box....it had Amazon printed on the side!!!!! Yipee!! Of course I had to open it to check that all the books we had ordered were safely inside ;) It was so hard not to just sit on the floor and start reading, especially Angie Smith’s book “I Will Carry You” which I have been desperate to read since I came across her blog. But I was a good girl and put them back to wait patiently for my birthday.
Dave arrived home not much later and dived straight into the magic box of books. After checking out his books, he very generously asked if I would like to have one early...just one. Would I? Ha. Is the Pope a Catholic?!
I was deeply entrenched in “I Will Carry You” before Dave could finish asking the question! I’m halfway though it already, and it’s torn my heart out, made me sob and howl with tears. But it has also ever so gently been drawing me out of my anxiety. I’m not out of the woods yet, but I feel a little like I can see a light at the end of the tunnel, like I’m not walking these emotions all alone.
I know I haven’t been alone, but I haven’t felt God presence, and I know I have been withdrawing into a little place where I feel like I’m safe, where I feel like nothing can touch me or hurt me, and I have been leaving God out of that place. But then I came across a line in Angie’s book.
“Joy isn’t the absence of trouble, but the presence of Christ.”
No wonder there has been no joy for me lately. I haven’t made any room for the presence of Christ.
I have been holding at bay anything that might remotely hurt me a little – even God – and I have gotten into a cycle of hiding, then feeling alone, so hiding some more, which only served to make me feel more alone. It’s been a crazy black hole that I have fallen into, but I haven’t found the energy or strength to climb out of yet.
Yet Angie’s honesty, her amazing honesty in how she had times of exploding her emotions to God, of screaming and crying all her hurts and anger and fears out to Him, of how she learned that no matter how much emotion she had, she could pass it over to Him – He knew about it already anyway, all of it is opening my eyes a little.
Even if I start falling into a dark hole, I need to reach out and grab onto anything, even if I hold on with only one finger, God can do the rest of the holding for me – He’s the one with all the strength. I just need to reach out. I don’t need to hide myself away from the world, although the thought is appealing to me at times, because joy isn’t the absence of trouble, it’s the presence of Christ.
P.S. If you want to find out about Angie’s Story you can find her blog here.