The Garden: Peace for Right Here, Right Now

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A friend interviewed me today for her website, and asked me about my last three years (spent living in India). I told her about God’s personal promise to give me “a garden, in this place” in Feb 2016. It has proved to be a defining moment in my journey, so I decided to repost this blog. It’s a long one, so pour yourself a cup of tea. 😉 

(Originally posted March 27, 2016)

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Ps 91)

We just moved from our crazy dual-apartment-existance-with-the-outdoor-rickety-stairwell-in-between. We settled in smack dab next door, in an apartment half the size, but with the perfect layout—two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and two bathrooms all under one roof. Yay! It has made a world of difference. This morning we had an easter gathering and walked home to my favorite moment of the week, the Sunday afternoon nap.

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After our long winter up here on the mountain, we flew to Thailand for some counseling, since we had been under a lot of stress and suspected my husband had ADD.

After meeting our counselor, he immediately suggested that not only did Tyler have ADD, but that I was suffering from anxiety and depression. Despite both of our shock and confusion over this second assumption, I was assessed by a clinical psychiatrist, and realized just how little self-awareness I had in recent months, and how much of my life has been “pushing through” to make it to the next day with little ones and the fluid life we lead.

In the midst of wanting to live with open arms, my home had become grand central station, with a revolving front door, cups of chai served over and over, two little ones who didn’t seem to thrive as I wanted them to with the constant flow of meetings, administrative work that kept piling up, and the completion of language school that kept getting postponed.

As I look back, I realized I had been living in constant tension and depletion, and that the excess that I was trying to nurture my children with was an overflow of anger and frustration. I had experienced moments of faith crisis and anger that I had brushed off as “not really” my feelings because they were so uncharacteristic of me and obviously not acceptable.

But when a couple qualified counselors told me that I was experiencing depression due to long-term stress, sleep deprivation, and the traumatic arrest of a family member, it all began to make sense.

At first I was depressed to realize that I was, in fact, depressed. I began having more panic attacks realizing that I’d been having panic attacks!

What would my family think of me? Those I love? How would this affect my husband and children? I began to feel that I was in a deep hole with my kids in tow and I had no way of getting out. When I thought of returning to our mountain town, “home” represented exhaustion, stress, and lack of control, and I felt like I could never return to health living here.

I never wanted to drive up that mountain road again.

But one evening in the midst of our two weeks of counseling, a friend texted that she sensed God was telling me He had a garden for me “ees juggah mein” (in this place).

A garden, right here, in this place.

This word resonated with my deepest need—to find a place of peace in God’s presence here on this mountain.

I didn’t want our family to move in order for me to get better, to discover hope and joy again. I wanted to know that I could find it here. Even when it is cold, feels isolated, and like Little House on the Prairie (in Asia).

Now five weeks have gone by since we came home to our mountain town. There have been some wonderful changes. Little Man started preschool and loves it. Tyler’s mom came to visit and so did my dad. Tyler has worked hard to help me find alone time with which to replenish.

But more than all of this, and even more than the little changes (like not opening my door to just every stranger who comes knocking 24/7), I believe God is teaching me how to dwell in His secret place right here, right now.

Even with babies. Even without great sleep (though it’s slowly getting better). Even when my “giftings” don’t match my job. Even when the things that make raising babies easier aren’t available (strollers and paths/roads to use them on, being able to drive myself, baby food, yards, playgrounds, nearby parks, Target and their giant carts).

Even then, my God has promised us rest and a garden of His peace and presence, in this place.

I know that my struggles are not things people usually talk about while they’re going through them. They usually wait till much later when everything is all better and they can tie a bow on “that chapter”.

But I believe God wants me to live in transparency and peace with who I am, and who He is making me to be. For His glory. So I pray that by sharing, someone will hear, understand, and be blessed to know that he or she is not alone.

You are not alone. His secret place is available to you right here, and right now. Take the first step by taking a moment to sit alone and breathe it in.


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