by Sheila Walsh
I’ll venture to say that we’ve all been there, though as a survivor myself, I know those words can feel shallow and trite to those who find themselves dwelling there now.
Any combination of the above brings its own set of challenges and stress, but add on the pressures of a seemingly never-ending worldwide pandemic? It’s no wonder there are so many of us hanging by a thread.
What do you do when life feels out of control? What do you do when there’s nothing you can do? What do you do when you believe that God is good, that God is in control, but nothing makes sense to you anymore?
Those feelings can be overwhelming. One of the things I’ve learned through my depression journey is that when I’m really struggling, it helps me to pray for others. So one evening, I went onto my Facebook page and simply asked the question, “How are you doing? How can I pray for you?” There were hundreds of responses and most of them were heartbreaking.
My husband has lost his job. I don’t know how we’re going to pay our bills next month.
My dad’s in the hospital. He’s dying and they won’t let me come and say goodbye.
My marriage is falling apart, I don’t know what to do.
I’m struggling with anxiety.
I feel so lonely.
If you count yourself among those hanging by a thread, first of all, please, please know that you are not alone. I know it may feel that way, but please find the smallest bit of comfort and reassurance in knowing that others are struggling, too.
What I have found on my journey is that the antidote for despair is hope. Some days, it’s harder to find than others, but the following things have helped me find my way back to hope on some of my darkest days:
• Make peace with your story and remember that you are not your past. God is the God of the messer-upper. Be real with him; be vulnerable. Give God all of your broken pieces. God can do beautiful things with a broken life when you give him all the pieces.
• Replace shame with grace. Shame doesn’t belong to you; Christ took it all on himself on the cross. “Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.” Psalm 34:5 (NLT)
If you’re feeling like you should be doing something differently, you shouldn’t feel this way, you should be able to handle it—those are some red flag statements for shame. Leave those thoughts and feelings at the cross and replace them with your Father’s grace.
• Let go of your past labels and lay your pain at the feet of Christ. Your history does not determine your destiny. We’ve all messed up, and that’s why Jesus came. Every man, woman, and child who realizes that they have messed up and have come to the Shepherd just the way they are in transparent repentance will be held and loved back to life.
In my darkest days I was tempted to give up and I don’t want you to. The bottom line for every one of us is that God is still writing our story. Your story is not over yet. The missing pieces of your puzzle are in the safest hands of all, even if you can’t see them right now. How do I know that? That’s who He is. That’s His story.
Friend, remember who you are. You are His—a child of God, seen, loved, and held. On days when you feel as if you are clinging onto hope with your fingernails, remember that you are being held, your life matters to God, and He misses nothing you do for Him.
Sheila Walsh is a Bible teacher and bestselling author with more than six million books sold. She is cohost of the television program "Life Today," airing in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Australia, with almost one billion potential viewers daily. Calling Texas home, Sheila lives in Dallas with her husband, Barry; her son, Christian; and two little dogs, Tink and Maggie, who rule the roost. Her latest book, Holding On When You Want to Let Go, is available now.