Guest Post: Taking Action In Dark Days

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(Note from Kat: Today’s post is from my sweet friend, Katie Orr. She is truly a woman of the Word. She has organized all of our Maximize Your Mornings Challenge Bible Studies and has inspired many to study and memorize scripture. I love her honesty and hope in today’s post.)

I’ve had some dark days lately. This cloud has followed me, off and on, for a few years now. While I feel as if I am just now realizing the depths of the darkness, God has been faithful to bring me hope through His Word.

I love the honesty of the psalmists. There are deep emotions communicated in this God-breathed book of the Bible; it makes me feel normal or at least glad I’m not alone in my craziness.

There is much to be learned from these men of God, as they walked through depression, betrayal and deep, deep hurt. While I haven’t experienced betrayal or enemies chasing after my physical destruction, my soul has it’s own enemies. As I follow the example of the psalmists, here are three actions I have found helpful:

Taking my emotions to the Lord.

For the enemy has pursued my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead. Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled…Answer me quickly, O Lord ! My spirit fails!
Psalm 143:3-4, 7

David was honest. He didn’t pretend to have it all together. I can be oh-so-guilty of this. Sometimes it’s because I don’t the energy to go into it all. Other times I am too prideful to admit my defeat.

God knows my heart. He already knows my grief, my struggles, my darkness. He is not surprised when I confess that I have yelled at my kids, again. He is not sitting on go, ready to desert me if I can’t get my act together. He is not looking at me, wondering why I can’t be happy.

He knows. He loves me anyway.

Telling my emotions what is true.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.
Psalm 42:5

Did you notice how David talks to himself? “Hope in God!” He does it again in verse 11, and the very next chapter in verse 5.

This is why I must cling to scripture. Without truth embedded on my heart, my heart has no choice but to despair. If the truth of God’s character is not ingrained into the crevasses of this mommy-brain, I will forget that I am not alone.

I must tell my emotions what is true. Though I feel lost and trapped, my Savior is coming.

He is my salvation.
He is praise-worthy.
He is my God.

Trusting in God by running to Him.

In Psalm 143, David confidently expressed the depths of his despair to the God whom He knew would deliver him. David communicated his trust in God by running to Him as his only hope.

  • He ran to God for affirmation:

    Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Psalm 143:8

  • He ran to God for direction:

    Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul…Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!

  • He ran to God for protection and rest:

    Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord! I have fled to you for refuge! Psalm 143:8-10

I certainly don’t have this figured out. I struggle. Daily. But God, in His great and glorious grace has given me what I’ve need, through the truth in His word.

Do you struggle with dark days? What Bible verses have you found that have brought comfort to your soul? What actions do you take when the dark cloud looms? Let’s share…

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Note: A reminder that registration for the Maximize Your Mornings Fall Challenge ends this Friday (9/2) at midnight EST.

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Katie OrrPastor’s wife and mother of three, Katie Orr loves to teach God’s Word. Longing to equip others to walk with the Lord for a lifetime, Katie has taught small group Bible studies for over thirteen years. She served on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ for seven years before God called their family to pastoral ministry. She blogs about devotion to that which is eternal at LivingDevotionally.com and is the creator of DoNotDepart.com, where you can receive encouragement and tools to abide in God’s Word. Follow her on Twitter at @KatieOrr22.

Comments

  1. What two verses did I read out of Psalms this morning? 143 & 42
    When I finished with my quiet time this morning I still felt like I had just not connected with God, that he hadn’t heard me or was done listening to the same thing over and over. I know this isn’t the case, yet I still let those little sparks start a fire.
    So I must say what a comfort it was to read this post this morning, highlighting the very chapters I had been reading. God is so amazing the ways He speaks to us, the comfort He gives us, and the list goes on…
    Thank you for your obedience to Him in posting this today, He knew I needed it!

  2. I was needing a word this morning and I got one. Thank you.

  3. Katie, you are not alone when you speak of having dark days. I know that Satan attacks all of us in different ways, and for years now I’ve thought that he chooses to attack me in my mind and my thoughts. I love what you say here, “This is why I must cling to scripture. Without truth embedded on my heart, my heart has no choice but to despair. If the truth of God’s character is not ingrained into the crevasses of this mommy-brain, I will forget that I am not alone.”
    You couldn’t have said it better! I feel that once you really commit to God, you give him everything, and you ask him to really do the dirty work of cleaning up your heart and life for Him, it’s a painful process. I know that part of this journey for me is to stop looking to my spouse, my children, my parents or friends for validation or “worthiness”. God sees me doing that and always allows something in my path to hurt me, moving me back towards His WORD which is the only place we can be truly whole and validated! I just can’t make it without reading it, it’s not that I’m super legalistic about reading the Bible, I’m saying I just can’t go without Him and His wisdom or my heart starts to wander. Thank you for sharing these words with us.

    • “…I just can’t make it without reading it, it’s not that I’m super legalistic about reading the Bible, I’m saying I just can’t go without Him and His wisdom or my heart starts to wander.”

      I think this is how He has intended it to be! Its is the fruit of knowing Him, and wanting more of Him. Duty turns into delight!

  4. Thank you very much for this today. You are not alone. I often wonder if I am the only one that goes through days of not being full of sunshine and happiness. I feel like God has blessed me with so much, but I am still not quite happy. I struggle, but I am trying. Thank you for your honesty.

  5. I needed this today. I’ve had trouble lately. I find that my down-time at night has become truly my down time. I think remembering these scriptures when I am feeling low will help so much.

    Thank you for being honest and sharing with us.

    • Jennifer, I have found that memorizing scripture really helps, especially in the alone time where my mind is free to wander. Even just driving in the car, I can get so worked up about something. Having something my mind is engaged in helps keep my mind “busy” and filled with truth!

      Thanks for sharing!

  6. Yes, I recently went through a pretty rough time. My son had lung surgery back in March, and afterwards, it was very easy to give into fear. I think I experienced a belated form of post-partum as well. The psalms were a great comfort to me: http://mamagab.blogspot.com/2011/07/literary-monday-my-comfort-in-psalms.html

  7. The Title of this post really caught me. It made me feel encouraged just reading that. It was just what I needed and so true. Sometimes we simply need to be reminded & have that confirmation from God. Thank you. Many blessings!

  8. katie….you might as well been standing in the same room with me talking just to me. how like God to bring someone along who would say what i needed to hear.
    i have been walking through depression these past few months, as well as dealing with the changing hormones that come along w/turning 40. i have some really dark days, and some not so dark.
    i loved how you said that God isn’t surprised by our feelings and he isn’t wondering why we’re not happy–i often struggle with thinking that i am failing because i can’t just snap out of this. believe me, i would if i could. the verses you shared were so helpful and i’m going to print this post out to read again and again.
    i remind myself often that God is for me and that he is using this time to grow me, and i truly believe that i will come through this a better person, a wiser person, with a deeper love and awareness for my God.
    thank you for sharing….

  9. Today has been one of my darkest days. I honestly have been at the end of my rope today not knowing how to get out of the funk. Then I saw your email today and the picture is exactly me today. Thanks for the encouragement.

    • Oh, Lorrie, be encouraged! I know it is hard to tell ourselves what to feel, but this is what the psalmists did. Tell yourself what is true. Let’s keep preaching to ourselves until God in His faithfulness brings deliverance.

      “…you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul” Psalm 143:12

  10. I’ve been reading the psalms out loud to God and praying them to Him. I encourage everyone to try this. It’s so much more alive and effective than reading silently. Praying verses like this out loud is powerful… “O Lord my God, I called you for help and you healed me… You turned my wailing into dancing.” (Psalm 30)

  11. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.

    Psalm 126:6

    Because we mothers of little ones can’t stop for a day…sigh…

  12. There are times like Jacob, I find myself wrestling with God for peace. (Genesis 32) Jacob wasn’t afraid to take hold of God and not let go until he received that blessing. Sometimes we just have to go hand to hand with God. He will never back away from that embrace.

  13. Oh Katie, I am so with you. And I love that you not only ran to God, but you are taking us with you!

    Beautiful. Thanks for your vulnerability. When we write from real, others are blessed!

  14. Thank you for the post. I popped over to your blog and read some of the specifics of your Dark Days, and the issues have been very much the same as mine. My husband is deployed and I’ve dealt with young twins and post-pardum depression. There are a couple of things I have found to be very helpful.
    ~Scripture memorization, as you said.
    ~Removing lies like “I can’t do this” from my thinking patterns. I would just run that through my head again and again. I’ve tried to replace it with, “I can do all things through Christ”. Satan has done so much damage in my life through those little whispered lies. God has called me to be a mother to these children and a wife to my husband, and no matter how hard it is (and it IS) He can do this work through me, if I will let him.
    ~This one is going to sound crazy to some, but eating some good fat and staying away from sugar can make all the difference in my attitude: a can of sardines (for the omegas) or some coco-nut oil, or a vitamin D supplement. A low fat diet can actually encourage depression. I learned a lot of healthy way to change my diet and including helpful supplements from the book, “Female Brain Gone Insane” HUGE blessing! (ignore all the stuff at the end on stress management though)
    ~Exercise. It can release some really good stuff into your system
    ~Know when to take a break, or walk away from a screaming baby, or ask for help so you can rest. I know that may not seem related to Dark Days, but my dark days often stem from failure, and I sometimes fail because I’m trying to do more than God really intended, and not getting enough rest, but I am an overachiever who holds herself to very high standards.
    ~Stay in fellowship with God’s people and be careful about the influences you let into your life, especially in music. These a lot of sad music out there.
    Well, that’s all stuff I can think of right now that has helped me.
    Blessings!

    • C:
      I had to share these verses I just read this morning that seem to perfectly apply to what you are describing: Ephesians 4:22-24. In particular, “…to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds…” May we as moms pray that we are to put on our new attitudes daily with our families!

  15. i am in dark days now. i pray that God holds on to me tighter than i seem to be able to hold onto him…i am looking forward to reading everyone’s comments. i have been trying to turn to him, my heart is breaking, i am weary. my times in scripture seem empty. i am hoping that someone shares scripture that helps. i am praying that this feeling of being deserted will pass, that i will know how to go forward from here.

    thank you for sharing this. i have a feeling i will be reading this more than once.

  16. Sarah Chia says:

    I *definitely* struggle with dark days…. If I’m not focused on God daily (or really hourly and minute by minute), I even know how to find the dark part of a normally sunny day, so this is a constant struggle.

    Some of the things that I do have already been mentioned, but something else that is important in my life is relationships with others who are willing to listen to me, not judge me, not condone my sin, and then point me back to Jesus.

    People like this are hard to find, and it’s so important to nurture these relationships during the brighter times, so they are there in the dark days. I pray that God will continue to shape me into this kind of person, also. I have had a couple of ladies in my life who are really there for me, and I also want to be that for others.

  17. I feel you here. I had the same dark days before. I almost lost my faith in Him, but with my family around they lifted me up and gives me advise that I really treasured up to now. They told me to give to God all my worries and problems and all will turned out right according to His plan for me. Thanks for sharing this cause there maybe a lot of people who’s experiencing it and need enlightenment. :)

  18. When you need Him the most, go to Him!

  19. I’ve been struggling with depression for over a month now and am just now seeing some light. Part of my problem is feeling isolated. But I think that even though there are others around you going through the same thing, we are all wandering around in the dark and don’t realize that we aren’t alone.

  20. I had a really dark time when DS was a toddler. I was overwhelmed, and half-convinced that God didn’t care about me. I knew in my spirit I was wrong, but the emotions were so strong…

    I didn’t stand on any particular verse, but attending church every week and experiencing God’s presence in worship is the only thing that kept me from going completely over the edge.

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