Another Think Coming

Walking on Water Hajdudorog

Walking on Water Hajdudorog (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my last post I wrote about how I expected that asking God to take over my life would lead to instant emotional healing.  I would love to be writing about how much better life got after I made a commitment to Christ.  In some ways, life got worse, at least at first.

The church was small, and about fifty to seventy-five members attended on any given Sunday.  The atmosphere was warm and intimate. It was like an incubator of sorts, and I truly do not think I would have survived in a large, mainline denominational church.  Even the pastor who recommended I start attending did not invite me to his own church!  I’m sure he pictured how difficult it would be for the proper ladies of his congregation to reach out to this poor, wretched, emotionally scarred scarecrow of a young woman.  They may have been tempted to simply ignore me, or tell me how badly I needed to clean up my act.   And it wouldn’t have taken much to push me over the edge, to make that break between me and life on planet Earth.

The people in this little congregation cared deeply about me.  Not one word was uttered about the state I found myself in.  I was legally married to my first husband, never having bothered to file divorce papers, even though he had abandoned us many years earlier.  I was living with my boyfriend, who was smoking dope from the moment he got up in the morning.  Looking back on this, I think it’s very unusual that no one proffered his or her opinion about all this.  It was almost like someone called a meeting and they agreed to allow God Himself to do what he does best when it comes to changing people’s lives.  Like I said, very unusual.

But this was a time of great confusion for me as well.  A well-meaning parishioner would throw a Scripture my way that was supposed to take all the fear out of my brain like a vacuum cleaner sucking up sand.  All those particles making noise and then silence.  Ahhh! But when quoting these Scriptures didn’t seem to work for me, I became sure that God saw me as an imposter, attempting to squeeze by unnoticed.  To me, that meant I was rejected.  My feelings of abandonment rested on a hair trigger.  It didn’t take much.  And if God abandoned me, that meant I was going to hell…no matter what.  And if I were going to hell no matter what, I might as well go ahead and make the trip rather then knowing about it for years ahead of time.  Who can deal with that knowledge?  Like a doctor telling you you have one to three years to live.  Yikes!

So I would be on the verge…making the plan.  I wrestled with it, worrying about my children, but thinking they’d be better off without me.  I worried about the church members, feeling all guilty and everything.  And then, like clockwork, it seemed like the Lord Himself stepped in to keep me planted on this side of the veil.  Once in awhile he just stepped right in to the scene in a dream I was having during stage 4 REM.  Other times, I would be pretty close to ending things when the phone would ring and one of the church ladies asked how I was doing, or there would be a knock at the door.  I became more and more sure that God was the one doing the knocking.  “Hello!  I’ve got a plan, and it doesn’t include repeating “fear not” while pointing your finger in the air or pretending to stomp on ‘ol’ slewfoot’s’ head!”

Winter’s comin’ on and it’s twenty below. And the river’s froze over so where can he go. We’ll chase him up the gulley then we’ll run him in the well. We’ll shoot him in the bottom just to listen to him yell.

“Old Slewfoot,” by Johnny Horton – The Legend – 1975 Columbia House 2P-6418

And it was enough…enough to keep me coming back to the little white church with the mural of Jesus walking on the water…enough to hang in there and keep breathing long enough to live another day.  I was still grieving the death of my brother, still waking up and crying first thing.  I still couldn’t drive a car, go grocery shopping, and I was still lying on the floor all day long just trying to get my breath at least once a week.  And I was still seeing Dr. Teemis.  And Dr. Teemis was still royally screwing with my head.  But things were definitely looking up a little.

One day I was talking to the pastor about my fear-filled thoughts about the future.  “Linda,” he started, if we got a list of all the things that would happen to us at the beginning of each year, we would go crazy with fear.  But all those things take place one at a time, and God gives us the grace to handle each one as they come.”  That helped a little, alleviated some of the dread I felt inside when I had certain thoughts.  But there was one thought that produced so much adrenaline flowing through my veins that the thought of God’s grace coming in after the fact wasn’t comforting at all.  Turns out all that dread was justified.  If I thought I was done with trauma just because I had become a believer, I had another think coming.

20 comments on “Another Think Coming

  1. Pingback:Another Think Coming « Linda Lochridge

  2. You are a powerful writer, Linda. Your words are so personal, and yet so universal. I was riveted reading this, and I hope you will be writing more.

    • Thank you so much Darlene. I love your writing…and I posted a review of your book, “An Agoraphobics Guide to Hollywood” today. I will continue with my story on this blog, and looking forward to publishing it soon as well. Thanks again!

  3. I felt a shiver up my spine because I am pretty sure I know what’s coming. But I am also equally sure you survive it because with God you couldn’t fail. Just look where you are today!! I pray a lot of ‘well meaning’ Christians read this and think again about quoting scriptures to hurting people just because they don’t know what else to say..sometimes it is good to just sit and “be” with someone so they don’t feel abandoned. Love you my friend…..
    PS: Love the quote from Old Slewfoot. It brought in some smiles……….

  4. Thanks Dixie. Those well-meaning Christians were full of love but very ignorant of the despair surrounding serious mental illness. I hope to educate and train laypersons on this important subject.

  5. Sometimes it can be difficult to SHARE our testimonies: our failures, our ‘screw-ups’ and our religious masks. But through it all, our trust and confidence begins to break through the fog of our ‘stuff’, God’s fog-horn sounds and things begin to be much clearer. I hope Linda, you will continue your testimony as a comfort to others. Isaiah 40:31 tells us, “those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles…” You my friend, have ‘changed’ and renewed your strength and power so lift your wings as you continue to write–mount up as eagles!!!

    • Thanks Mel…that Scripture has been a major comfort to me for the last 37 plus years now. I could clean up this story and remove all hints of struggle…but then it would quite unlike anything the men and women of the Bible experienced, wouldn’t it?

  6. Amazingly powerful writing full of pain and yet with hope running through it like a vein of gold. I definitely want to read more.
    Thankyou for sharing such a raw period in your life so that we can see Jesus through it all.

  7. Beautifully written. Thanks for sharing your testimony. Blessings to you.

  8. Linda, I remember those days of laying on the floor trying to breath and trying to stop the fearful thoughts of leaving my home, driving or going to the grocery store. I am so thankful that sometimes we have to reach the bottom before we can arise to a better place. I am thankful that our paths have crossed. I hope to one day write my story as well and through the world of blogs we have the power to reach others. God Bless you Linda.

    • Hi Angie! During the time I was suffering, I thought for years that there was no one else on planet earth who knew what I felt like. If I had know there were others, including others who had gotten better, it would not have been nearly so hard. In fact, meeting a woman who had been through it and had gotten her freedom back gave me my first glimpse of hope and was the beginning of the end of this for me. She called me every single day for awhile (and this is the days when it was a “toll” call…it cost her money to do this for me). I knew at the time that God sent her my way. I would love to find her now…but she must be divorced so the name is no longer the same. God bless Angie, and keep in touch! Your story would touch so many…and does already!

  9. Always in my mind 🙂

  10. This is a great post Helen, I’m really enjoying your memoirs. Do you still get afraid now? If so how do you deal with it?

  11. Hi there! I think you meant, “Linda,” not “Helen,” ;o). I do get afraid, but I’d say it’s less than 1% of the fears I had back then. I always remember not to get afraid of my body’s response to fear, that’s #1. Then I remember something that Dr. Claire Weekes wrote about (she was a formost expert on anxiety). She wrote, “Your salvation is in the doing.” In other words, do something you fear (if it’s important to you to overcome it) over and over again until you are comfortable. I got over all my fears that way, including my fear of flying. Thanks for asking!

  12. Yes…it’s a form of exposure therapy, actually. You expose yourself to the feared thing, and let your anxiety level come down. As long as we use avoidance to manage fear, we don’t give ourselves a chance to ever get over that fear. Thanks for dropping back by!

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