In this blog I would like to share some personal testimony with you. It is such a privilege for me to be part of this project She Rises. I think it is wonderful to be able to reach out and encourage women through the Internet, to share with them what God taught me in my walk with Him and to learn from and be encouraged by the other blog writers. Our lives may be different, but our passion is the same: to proclaim how awesome and full of love our God is.
No, I do not always understand Him, but looking back I can only say: Our God is faithful and true. Whether we are full of joy on a mountain top where everything is bright and clear and we can see far ahead, or in a dark valley where we ask ourselves: ‘How did I end up here? God where are you?’
A few years back I was in such a pitch black valley. It was a situation in which everything I knew about God, about hearing His voice, about seeing where He led us, seemed to have come to nothing, fallen to pieces. Bert and I had made some radical choices the year before. For the second time in our life, we sold everything we had and went on a mission that God had told us to do. But this time it went utterly wrong and instead of five years we came back within a year, with only 4 suitcases. Totally devastated. Did we doubt God? No! Through the years of following Him no matter the cost, we have seen what a wonderful God we serve. Whatever storms or difficulties, He always led us through, He healed, He provided, He put us on our feet again. We knew by experience God is faithful.
Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name.
Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all His benefits – Psalms 103:1-2
Being thankful while depressed?
Then what was it? At first I did not realize what it was… was it a depression? I could not read a letter in my Bible, I was numb, I did my daily chores, went to church on Sunday, but that was it. The only thing that could enter my soul was the worship time in church. I cried and cried, and somehow through the worship God ministered to me, instead of me ministering to Him. And although I did not feel like singing, I knew I had to speak to my soul to praise Him. Just like David did. Sometimes I could hardly pronounce the words, but I chose to praise Him, although I did not feel it. The song that became extra special to me in that time was Mat Redman’s song: 10000 reasons… the Dutch version says: 10000 reasons to be thankful.
I sang, but the dark clouds in my heart stayed, even after months of being silent to God. I ‘felt’ Him sitting beside me though. He was silent too, it was a peaceful, loving and comforting feeling. And then, one morning it suddenly dawned to me why I was in this state, a ray of sunshine breaking through the clouds. What a relief. That morning all of a sudden there was this thought flooding in my mind: ‘If we did not hear You right Lord, then my whole foundation is shattered to the core… what did we ever hear right in the past? How can I be sure I hear you right while encouraging others with what I think You are saying?’ Out it was… That was my problem! I could not go on… If what we did was not from God, then what was from God? That was the reason I kept the Bible closed and why I began to doubt all the radical choices we made in the past to follow Him no matter what.
The answer came
Some time after that, God did answer. A friend called us one day. He did not know about this struggle but he prayed for us on a daily basis and this is what he said: ‘I don’t know what this means, but the Lord spoke to me this morning and told me to call you and say:
“Give back to Me the assignment I gave you, only then can I give you a new one.”’
To me that was a turning point. God did not give me answers like why and how things had happened. He gave me the answer that was most important to me, so I could go on. And slowly but surely He restored my soul.
He will lead you out
Maybe you are in a dark valley and you don’t know what to do or where to go. That’s hard and you don’t feel like singing. I want to encourage you, don’t let go of God! If you can’t sing, put on some worship music… let it wash your soul. Speak to your soul to praise Him no matter what! You will discover that this ministers not only to the Lord, but also to your soul. Trust Him, He is really right beside you in that dark valley and He will lead you out.
To be continued….