I know, with the exception of my recent anniversary post it's been over a year since my last blog. And truthfully I've had a hard time writing this one (its been in the works for weeks now). This past year has been a hard year, and this “ruby” has definitely felt “unpolished”! In fact, for the duration of this messy year of mine, I had struggled to see God's wisdom and direction (certainly not because it wasn’t there). I questioned Him more than I have in a very long time, if not my entire life.
But, God allows our struggle to refine us. Zechariah 13:9 says:
“And I will bring the third part through the fire,
Refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name,
And I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are My people,’
And they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”
"To be refined as silver is refined," means to be put under extreme heat. This is a delicate process in which the extreme heat brings impurities to the surface to be removed in order to purify the character of the silver. In the end the pure silvery liquid creates a reflection as a mirror would. God desperately wants us to be a reflection of Him.
But, it’s hard to see what God is doing when we are in the midst of the fire. The process is painful. I am the type of person who feels things deeply so when several emotional events seemed to pile on top of me one by one I was feeling the heat of the fire.
It began last summer with some hurtful words from someone close to me. For a non-confrontational person like me, a strain in any relationship is overwhelmingly difficult for me to handle. The hurt continued to weigh on my heart for much of the year.
A couple months later I took on some new responsibilities. I accepted a big ministry roll in my home church and simultaneously decided to begin (yet another) new business venture. Though I felt God leading me in this new direction to minister to Women, I had no idea what to do with it. And the new business didn't start off well either. I struggled with both for several months. I later found that the business I had chosen wasn't really a good fit for me while I continued to stumble through my role in ministry; both brought feeling of failure.
Just after the New Year I found myself supporting my friend who was now entering a difficult and messy divorce. I carried her heartbreak and added it to the mix of emotions already weighing on me.
This all was such a contrast to just two years before when I was in the midst of complete transformation. I had discovered a healthier life and found confidence in who He created me to be but, I now was returning to discouragement, doubt, insecurity and negative thinking....... again. My struggle seemed so much more than these string of events, though. In the midst of it all I had lost my passion for the things I loved, including my motivation for health and fitness. I was coasting through my day to day routine.
I felt like I was stuck in a gray fog, depression and anxiety taking hold again. I had been through storms, failures, and shared heartbreak before, but this was hitting me really hard this time. I was struggling from all sides, spiritually, mentally and physically.
As I continued to pray through it God was faithful to bring some special people in my path who really spoke into my life.
When I shared my struggles with one of these precious souls, she encouraged me, prayed for me, and even helped me find natural solutions to help my depression and anxiety. After several months I was able to pinpoint a hormonal imbalance heightened by all the emotions I had been bearing. Yes, I believe practical solutions are sometimes necessary but I also feel this was nothing short of an answer to prayer.
Just a few weeks ago my Pastor spoke about (spiritual) depression in his Sunday morning message. I was comforted by his perspective on the subject. He pointed out that we are physical, emotional and spiritual beings and sometimes depression can manifest itself through our physical body, from an emotional trauma, or a spiritual issue. He explained that depression through our physical bodies can be from a medical issue, a chemical imbalance or even something within our nutrition. He also shared that through his training as a Chaplin in a first response team, depression can arise after emotional trauma or event in life. As Christians we can often think that depression it is just a spiritual issue that it has no place in our lives or that we should not struggle with such things. But, in my case I believe I was dealing with all three; physical, emotional, and spiritual depression.
Now that my sweet friend has helped me to understand the physical side of my depression and anxiety I have been able to find clarity for the emotional and spiritual sides as well.
Trying to understand what God was doing with me in this past year has definitely been a process and journey. More trying events have unfolded even in the last few weeks but I’m continuing to discover daily that God is using these things to refine me. He is solidifying my character and revealing a gift of greater compassion for others. I have been able to use these things to encourage and build up those close to my heart as they face their own struggles.
If feeling the fire means I will become a more pure reflection of Christ then I praise God for it!
Refining Silver- https://youtu.be/_8QhipbbA3Q