I’ve been in a weird stage of depression where I think “Oh, I’m on medication again, I’m all better!” but sometimes I’m not. It’s like I forgot that St. John’s Wort takes a little time to work and I think I should just be all of a sudden better. So, some thoughts are lies, but now I can definitely tell that they are. Other thoughts I’m like, “hmm, are you a lie or not?” Maybe I should come up with a password that only the truthful thoughts know. Like “shibboleth” or something (Judges 12:6). Because I’m sure that would work. Then there are the thoughts that I’ve tested, prayed about, and are sure are not lies, and in fact, might even be God speaking to me louder than the lies again!
That’s an extremely happy thought. Conversations with God are the best!
So last night I had a thought that I’ve prayed about, run past my mentor, and slept on – pretty sure it’s a truth thought. I’m not really sure what prompted this thought, but I started remembering the song Trent wrote to sing to me (and the 500 people who were on our guest list) at our wedding. Did you know Trent wrote songs? He’s pretty good at it. Side note: that was one of the more not-serious wishes on my guy wish list I made when I was a teenager. I had a crush on a guy at the time and this guy was a very talented musician who wrote a lot of his own music. So I put down on my list that I would like my future husband to be able to write songs for our children, so that each child would have their own unique song that we could sing them as a lullaby, to let them know how loved they were.
Anyway, Trent wrote a song for us, much earlier this year when the wedding was still on. It’s called Imperfectly Perfect. I have a rough draft of it, shared with you with Trent’s permission (I only have it in two separate videos, because he sent them to me via messenger and the whole song was too long for one message, so it overlaps slightly):
Here are the lyrics:
When I hold you in my arms
I’m aware of so many things
Like the stinging of our scars
While our bones fill with life again
I know you know that I’m not perfect
That much is obvious by now
The power is not found in me
To have strength to restore what is broken.
But we have a Savior who came through
Restored me and you
And its His face our pieces reflect
So we’re imperfectly perfect.
In the past we have both found
That God blesses with His right hand
But each path that we unwound
Was much different that we had planned
Sometimes life just isn’t perfect
It doesn’t meet our sweet ideal
But we serve a God who delights
To restore blessings that sin has broken
So we trust in God’s plan
As we hold each other’s hand
And it’s His grace our union reflects
So we’re imperfectly perfect.
This world can be dark
And I don’t have all the answers
But we’ve seen God working on our darkest days
So we’re not afraid when we can’t see ahead
Our union’s foundation is faith in the One who provides
So we’ll walk side by side
Praying “God, be glorified”
And we’ll walk toward the One who we love
TOGETHER to serve our God
To use our scars to others reflect
Our God who is perfect.
I loved it when he first shared it with me. I thought it was beautiful, reflective of our story and relationship thus far, and pointed people to God (which was what our whole wedding ceremony was designed to do).
I feel like it fits me even better now (which makes me wonder: “how did he know this spring what would all happen?!?”). If you take out the couple-y bits and replace all the plural pronouns with singular pronouns it could be my new anthem. Since he wrote that I feel like my wounds became worse, but now they’re starting to scab over, and someday soon they’ll fade into scars. My bones have been fairly dead most of the year, but they’re filling with life again. It has been made incredibly obvious that I do not have the strength to restore what is broken, not in our relationship, not even in my own life. This path is so different from what I had planned, but so much better because I’m walking much more closely with God on this path than I ever have before. I want my shattered pieces to reflect God’s face, and my life to reflect His grace. I am so not perfect, but my God is, and He makes me imperfectly perfect.
When I went back through our millions of texts messages (I’m probably not exaggerating – we were prolific texters) to find this song I paused and read all the messages from our last month together, June. Oh friends, it was awful. As I read through them with my slightly improved serotonin levels I cringed. I cried. My depression was so bad and it started so long before my first suicidal thought after the break up. Do you remember my analogy about depression = wading in water? Well, that whole month it was like I was wading neck-deep in an undertow; the water (depression) was tugging at me so hard. Trent was right there with me in the water, holding my hand, trying desperately to pull me back into shallower water, if not onto dry land. But I was so mired in the lies that I felt my only option was to be swept out to sea, and the depressed part of me wanted Trent to let me go. It was like I was clawing at his hand holding mine, raking my fingernails across his skin, purposefully causing him pain, trying to get him to let go of me. He wouldn’t. He’d get tired of my depression or wouldn’t know what to do, so he’d focus on his more secure (and less painful) relationship with his daughter, and/or retreat into the distraction of his YouTube channel. But he was in the water too, and he couldn’t avoid the pull of the lies either. He was not on secure enough footing to stand up to the lies I was hurling at him. Finally he couldn’t hold on any longer and he let go. Since I was already in that deep, his release sent me spiraling toward the drop off and I went under.
My mentor is in a boat, in this analogy. She was the one who threw me a life preserver the first time. And again last week when I slipped off the drop-off again. She is right there with me, but she is not in the water, and therefore she has a much clearer view of the lies and what they’re doing to me.
Last week, when I was doubting everything in my head and trying very hard to push away all my Trent-hope because I blamed it for taking me down again, we had this conversation:
Today we had lunch and she said “I don’t understand it. I honestly don’t know why it seems like God keeps encouraging you toward this relationship, why He won’t let you let it go.” I don’t know either. I do know that through all of this, my relationship with God has gotten so much better. If He wants me to keep praying for, loving, and hoping to reunite with Trent just to make His and my relationship better, then I’m okay with that, regardless of what may or may not happen with Trent.
This morning I read a love letter to my God, from my God. It went like this:
I love you, O LORD, my strength. You are my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; You are my Rock, in whom I take refuge. You are my Shield and the Horn of my Salvation, my Stronghold. I call to You, who are worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies (my enemies are the lies).
The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to You, LORD; I cried to You for help. From Your temple You heard my voice; my cry came before You, into Your ears.
The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because You were angry. Smoke rose from Your nostrils; consuming fire came from Your mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. You parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under Your feet. You mounted the cherubim and flew; You soared on the wings of the wind. You made darkness Your covering, Your canopy around You – the dark rain clouds of the sky. Out of the brightness of Your presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning. You thundered from heaven; the voice of You, the Most High, resounded. You shot Your arrows and scattered the enemies, great bolts of lightning and routed them. The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at Your rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of breath from Your nostrils.
You reached down from on high and took hold of me; You drew me out of deep waters. You rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but You were my support. You brought me out into a spacious place; You rescued me because You delighted in me. (Psalm 18:1-19, slightly rewritten)
It made me cry. It’s still making me cry. Friends, He’s not mad at me, or punishing me with my depression. He was and is so angry with the lies. He hates what they have done, hates how they make me doubt Him and everything good He has blessed me with. But He has heard my cries. He has reached down from on high and is pulling me out of the water. He’s doing that because He delights in me. He’s not doing it because I’ve done everything right – so far from it. I do want very much to do the right thing so I ask God to search me and point out any areas of sin. I have asked forgiveness for what I know I have done, and I know my sins have been wiped away. He is saving me now and will continue to stick as close to me as He can just because He delights in me. He is so good and so perfect!
And that makes me think of another wedding related song, although we never really picked it for our wedding. Trent shared this song on Facebook the day I broke off our friendship, two months ago. I listened to it as I was walking home from sitting on the rock in the pasture and yelling at God. Immediately the thought “this would make the perfect recessional at your wedding!” popped into my head and I yelled at God again. I said “No God! No more of this. From now on anything that encourages this hope has to be from external sources – not something that originates in my head!” I don’t know if God really listened to that demand. I still can’t tell the difference between internal and external boosts to my hope.
Anyway, here’s the song. The perfect song to express how I feel about my perfect God: