I am very grateful to my friend Mirjam for her guest-posting with transparency and kindness:
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” (Matthew 4:1)
The still small voice caught my attention. I had read this verse so many times but that day God opened my eyes to something new. Although the devil may be allowed to tempt us, it is not outside of God’s will and control. I was excited about that. ‘Do you want me to share it with someone?’ I asked God. Maybe someone in the church needed encouragement? I did not get an answer. Little did I know that God was speaking to me.
At that time our little son was about two months old and I was settling into family life, which I really enjoyed. Joel’s beautiful smile brought great joy to us every day. He was a wonderfully easy and content baby and everything seemed perfect. But deep down I sensed that something wasn’t quite right with me.
One Sunday night, I heard God’s still small voice again. He spoke gently but firmly through a song. As I was singing the words “He has delivered me from all fear”, God put His finger on the issue of fear and trust. Do I really trust Him at all times? I knew I had to surrender my life afresh to Him and that’s what I did. I left church that night having great peace in my heart. I had no idea that my life would be turned upside down the next day.
The following Monday night was the beginning of an incredibly painful and difficult journey. I was tormented by irrational thoughts, and fear gripped me. I felt increasingly hopeless and worthless, and I could not control these feelings. Within a couple of weeks I was completely helpless. Darkness had closed in. I found myself sitting in my GP’s room crying for help. There was no doubt I was suffering from severe postnatal illness. I was in the midst of the wilderness…
“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.” (Hosea 2, 14-15)
God spoke again through a verse on the wilderness but this time He gave me a promise. I would have vineyards in the wilderness and I would be singing again. All I could do was clinging onto this verse while I was battling with overwhelming hopelessness, fear and depression. The valley was so dark that I was wondering where God was. I could not see or feel Him but I clung onto His Word, which was my only hope. As I was lying on the bed paralysed by anxiety and depression I could only repeat the verses I had memorised: ”The Lord is my light and salvation; whom shall I fear?” God heard my cry. He loved me even though I was unable to do anything. I felt I could not connect with anyone, not even with God. When I opened my Bible, my vision got blurred, and when I tried to pray, my mind went blank.
After what seemed a very Iong time to me, I started getting better slowly but I was still battling with irrational thoughts and fear. Sometimes I felt so overwhelmed and helpless that I could not face getting through the day. But almost every day God provided a friend who would encourage me. He seemed to know exactly who and what I needed. When I was able to read again, the Bible was always next to me because it was the greatest source of encouragement and strength.
When I was better and stable, God started showing me that my heart needed healing and restoration. This was the beginning of a painful but extremely liberating journey, which is not over yet. God really proved to be my counsellor and often spoke through dreams or through His Word. He gently put His finger on the wounds and started healing them. He started bringing forth streams in the wilderness so that new life could grow. Out there in the wilderness, in the loneliness, in the quietness I met Him and got to know Him better. I’ve learnt that His healing work is always complete because He reaches out to the depths of our hearts. Today I’m able to thank Him for His faithfulness and for allowing me to be there because there I will have my vineyards and there I will be singing joyful songs of praise.
“The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins;
he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.” (Isaiah 51:3)
I have started singing again although I am still in the wilderness. I believe that God will keep his promises. I am looking forward to the garden and praise Him for his perfect work in me.
Mirjam Dixon, May 2011