The words, “God is my refuge,” are painted on signs, scripted on notecards, and texted to friends to deliver hope during the seemingly never-ending opaque night of depression and anxiety. These words slide across my eyes and float into my ears through prayers, texts, spoken words, and hand-written cards. Before entering this season, verses with this scripture found their home throughout my house, so I would never forget this life-giving truth. However, in this current season of a pillowcase damp with tears, I truly rely on this certainty as my very life. As I continue to awkwardly shuffle through this suffering, these words of the psalmist, David, from Psalm 31, provide a balm for my splintered soul:
“Lord, I seek refuge in you; let me never be disgraced. Save me by your righteousness. Listen closely to me; rescue me quickly. Be a rock of refuge for me, A mountain fortress to save me. For you are my rock and my fortress; you lead and guide me for your namesake. You will free me from the net that is secretly set for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hand I entrust my spirit; you have redeemed me, Lord, God of truth.”-Psalm 31:1-5, Christian Standard Bible
Laying in bed, the darkness envelops me, closing in on all sides. My chest tightens. I can feel the sadness from within my soul begging to be set free. The hopelessness starts in the space behind my sternum, climbing up my throat, until it releases in gasps for air, tears streaming down my face. My body heaves in sobs.
Trying to wrap my arms around my kids to plant a kiss on their heads, the lies of inadequacy swirl up inside me like a tornado. My eyes pour out tears. I try to wipe the tears away quickly, so my kids won’t see the cavernous sorrow gushing out of the volcano of my soul.
“You shouldn’t have needed to ask for help. You are worthless. You will never be anything. You should feel guilty all the time.” The thoughts bang around in my head like a cymbal playing too loudly. My body is riddled with anxiety. The familiar queasiness starts in my gut and whirls around, trying to get me to give into the tornado of destruction wailing inside of me.
All three of these scenarios are one of many that play out in and around me as I trudge through the mire of depression. I feel like the shack of my soul is fractured with cracks, as a storm gushes down. My soul is drenched in the tumultuous rain-almost drowning. However, when I cradle this scripture in my heart, God’s Word tells me that God is my “rock of refuge” and my “mountain fortress”. This truth means that even though the structure of my soul is dilapidated, God is my rock of refuge. During the rain torrents, God is the strong rock, void of ruptures, strongly enveloping my crumbling shack. Under His rock of mighty protection, my soul has space to breathe; to inhale the beauty of God’s grace.
In these moments, I picture myself inside God’s rock of refuge, breathing in the sweet aroma of grace. God’s gift of grace smells like an ocean breeze wafting into my nostrils. God’s kindness tastes like a hint of salt as the ocean spray kisses my lips. Grace’s melody rushes into my ears with the crash of the ocean as waves smack the shore, softening to a gentle bubble gurgling over my toes. God’s favor feels like a sunset expanding after the storm, enfolding me as my feet dig into the grainy sand. Grace stretches before me in a collage of color, as perfect as its Creator.
This is grace, my sweet friends, a beautiful gift from God and all we have to do is receive and savor this wondrous blessing. As His grace-filled sunset fills my soul, my brokenness is made whole in His refuge of grace.
That is what you will find here, friends. You will find a space where I share about life. This season of life feels like I am barely moving through the storm, rain pelting my face, making it hard to see just inches in front of me. However, I hope you will meet me here. I hope you will meet me in this space to gaze at and accept God as our refuge of grace, even when we are in the middle of the storm and surrounded on all sides, there can still be a sunset of grace within our souls. Breathe that in, friends, God is our sweet refuge of grace.