Saved By Psalm 13. (And a tiny bit of medication.)

If you regularly read my blog, you’ll notice I haven’t posted for a while. A pretty long while, actually. It’s not like I didn’t have anything to put out in the inter-web air. A thousand thoughts swim through my brain in the span of 5 minutes. I just couldn’t process the jumbled chaos in my head.

I felt paralyzed. Not physically, but mentally.

I do not use the word lightly. I know what it means when part of my body refuses to move no matter how hard I try. Suffering a stroke in my 20’s, the entire right side of my body quit. I could hope and exert with all my force and might, “move hand, move hand, move hand” for days. Nothing happened.

If you know me personally, you see I’ve healed and now function without anyone knowing I was once confined to a wheelchair. But during these last few months, a different kind of paralysis took over. Rather than a blood clot at the base of my skull, this time my grey matter clouded with the shear amount of life altering decisions facing me.

Anxiety.

My body responded in fight or flight mode. I fled. 

Kind of a joke, right? I’m not a cavewoman chased by a wooly mammoth. I’m not a pioneer mother anticipating capture by natives. My kids are healthy. I don’t live in present day Syria. 

Why the hell was my body shutting down?

In my last writing, I mentioned a few big choices facing Edd and myself. I spiraled into “what ifs” each decision and couldn’t escape. No conclusion contained a perfect answer and I needed to be right. Wrong was not an option.

It wasn’t just the keyboard on my MacBook I couldn’t manage. It was the dishes. Cooking. Reading. Laundry. Shopping. Calling friends. Going into the garage. All of these activities weighed me down to where I couldn’t move.

As a Christian – a strong, faithful, church-going, I believe in Jesus and the resurrection, Christian – I gave up on God. I tried to rely on Him at first. Truly, I did. I just couldn’t give Him the control. I had to take the reigns on this BECAUSE HE HAD OTHER THINGS TO WORRY ABOUT!! 

Like children being gassed outside the Holy Land. 
And kids dying of cancer. 
And friends that are in a desert fighting a war that should be over. 
And fellow community members that don’t have jobs and need to get their groceries at the food bank.

Thursday evening appointments with my therapist were highly anticipated. Only because I knew for 50 minutes, someone would tell me I would live. 

Therapy helped. So did the prescription for Klonopin. 

One day, weeks and weeks into dealing with this paralysis, I opened the Bible. (Still feeling guilty looking for God’s help when my own problems seemed insignificant in the grand scheme of the world.)

The passage I turned to (or rather, scrolled to on my iPhone) spoke. To me. Directly. Sure, King David penned Psalm 13 whining about his own problems. But I like to think he knew in 2500+ years some chick in Oregon would benefit from his words.

Reading The Message translation of scripture, this is what finally saved me.

Psalm 13
Long enough God – you’ve ignored me long enough. 
I’ve looked at the back of your head long enough. Long enough I’ve carried this ton of trouble, lived with a stomach full of pain. Long enough my arrogant enemies have looked down their noses at me.

Now realize, God wasn’t ignoring me…I knew I was ignoring Him. But I did feel that separation. The same loneliness I get when Edd and I are on opposite sides of an argument. The arrogant enemy looking her nose down at me was the other half of the schizophrenic being I became.

Take a good look at me, God, my God;
I want to look life in the eye,
So no enemy can get the best of me
or laugh when I fall on my face.

I wanted so badly to look life in the eye. (Some versions even say, “I want a sparkle in my eye.) Truth is, I knew my eyes were the window to my soul of nothingness. The enemy laughing at me has a name: Shame. The fear of making a wrong decision, of being wrong, I froze.

I’ve thrown myself headlong into your arms.
I’m celebrating your rescue.
I’m singing at the top of my lungs, 
I’m so full of answered prayers.

At once I absorbed this quatrain in the depth of my heart. I didn’t want to ignore God any more. Like a hurt child, I wanted to throw myself into His arms. His strength wrapped around me as I sobbed. Needing to be right weighed too heavy for my shoulders. I crumbled. 

David’s cries, written after he’d committed some awful, terrible acts (read about it in the Old Testament), turned into celebration in God’s rescue. Unlike the Biblical king, I did not kill anyone. I did not break my marriage vows. My life doesn’t read like a script of Hebrew Breaking Bad. But identical to David, I needed rescue from myself. 

Reading that passage, my anxiety disappeared for a moment. My heart sang to honor the gazillion prayers of mine that have been answered. 

Though my enemy, Shame will try to take this re-found peace from me, I will keep my armor of God to fight it every chance I get. 

That and 5 milligrams of Klonopin.

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