I ended the old year in a deep depression, brought on by stress and anxiety about health, issues with adult children, financial worries, and the overwhelming chaos that seems to be my life right now. The thing about depression is this: it doesn’t adhere to a calendar year. It was the unwelcome guest that didn’t leave on December 31.
Social media is flooded with all kinds of new things: new resolutions, new word-of-the-year, new diets and pants. Here I am, feeling stuck: I haven’t finished the resolutions of the past year, my word-of-the-year is “forward” – whatever that means – and I need new pants because the old diet didn’t work.
This past year has just been plain hard. It has been wrought with learning new things to help my newly-paraplegic husband – that in itself has been a source of stress and worry. It has been plagued with serious issues with my two newly-adult sons, one of which moved home from his autistic group home right during the throes of Christmas (along with all his stuff). Financial difficulties have been magnified due to paraplegia and now, another mouth in the house to feed.
That mouth enjoys drinking a gallon of milk a day – despite me telling it not to do so.
Rheumatoid arthritis nodules are taking the use of my hands, bending fingers sideways. They are making standing unbearable. Arthritic calcium has covered the titanium hardware in my lower back like barnacles on a shipwreck. I cannot afford this pain – my husband needs me too much.
I thought about making a resolution to take better care of myself. Then, I realized New Year resolutions are fake. They are. They are promises we make that we can improve upon ourselves, by ourselves. Yesterday in church I prayed that the Lord God would lay His will upon my heart, that He would give me His peace this year. That He would allow our family to move forward – that word of the year – in any steps. Baby steps, leaps, bounds, crawls – doesn’t matter. Moving forward at any pace is better than going backwards.
I have been lazy at blogging. Writing when I feel like it or when the Holy Spirit directs me. One cannot assist in financially supporting one’s family by being lazy. Yet, here we are, on Near Your Altar – and what does that mean, exactly?
This blog acquired its name from Psalm 84:3 – “Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young — a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God.” It’s the idea that everything I do takes place near God’s altar. That my whole life is laid bare before Him, poured out like a drink offering.
From doing dishes, to trying to find a day program for my autistic adult son and homeschooling him, to helping dress my husband, helping my first grader with homework, playing with my dog, getting dressed – everything is to be done to God’s glory and in service to people in the Name of Jesus Christ.
That’s what “Near Your Altar” – this blog – is about. It’s about focusing on every aspect of your life as an offering to God, to be near His altar at the sink or at the bedside reading stories to littles or holding the parental line with teens who believe their nineteen years of age gives them carte blanche excuse to do anything. The focus of this blog this year is to encourage you, me, the choir – all of us – to grow nearer to God’s altar in every aspect of our lives.
That is how I plan on fighting depression this year. Most of the time when Jesus healed someone, He told that person to “get up” off his mat. That’s a Bible study that’ll teach. We can’t fight depression if we wallow in it, if we accept it and not fight back. With God’s help, starting now, I’ll be fighting depression brought on by circumstances with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ Who conquers circumstances and brings victory in the ordinary.
So while I’m providing direction and structure to my 22 year old, guiding my 19 year old, encouraging my 18 year old in college, or playing with my six-year-old, I’ll be praying to God for them. While I’m serving God by serving my husband in dressing or assisting him with his medical needs, or advocating for him at the doctors’ office, I’ll be praising God that he is here for me to do those things.
As my feet hurt and swell during the day, and my hands ache, I’ll remember this ministry to which God has entrusted me, and I will thank Him. I will praise Him – and together we will fight depression in this valley until victory is exclaimed from the mountaintop.
© 2017 Terrie McKee
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