Recently a local mother went missing. The community searched for her, made flyers and prayed for her safe return. Her husband described her as stressed and said she told him she was leaving to do errands.
They recently found her body on a dirt drive, on private acreage and police do not suspect foul play.
I can’t help but reflect back, as I worked with this struggling, stressed out wife and mother of two at our local shop, could I have noticed? Could I have possibly said anything to offer hope or peace?
I was there, I was the stay at home, struggling mom of three homeschooling children and a husband with his own stressors. I carried the weight on my shoulders of all my past hurts, illness, and loss. I was so desperate for an escape. I needed a break. I didn’t have or feel like I had anyone to turn to that would understand. My depression got deeper and deeper, until there was that day that I had it all planned out. I knew what I was going to do, where I was going to go, and how I would end my agony.
I called out to the Lord. WHERE is this joy you described?!? WHERE Lord, I can’t see it, I don’t have it, I don’t understand this pain. It was in that moment I heard in my spirit, very clearly, ” You must search for it!” Thus began my journey. It was my last hope, my last desperate cry and thankfully I was still in a place where I could hear his reply.
This is how and why I began my blog writing for joy. Honestly, my joy did not come over night, it was a very slow process, of exposure and willing to change and redirect. It was a laying down of my self, and serving God once again in new ways, despite the loss, pain and struggles.
I was a lucky one….well, I know I have a calling now. I was able to see beyond the blur for that moment that saved my life. I personally can understand, how blinding and painful stressed out mama can be. I am not saying this mom took her life, I do not know as of yet what had happened, but I do know she needed a break and ran and did errands, I do know she was not feeling well fighting headaches for three days, I do know that somewhere something tragically went wrong and it is not the families fault or the stressors. Often we live I our own agonizing private world, and try to make it all good for those around us and they have no clue how we are hurting. I did marvelous covering it up. The enemy would lie to me and tell me I needed a break, I needed to run away, I needed to get out.
This is a very real, heartbreaking situation and I just want to say, “I know that pain, and pray my eyes are open to recognize it in others as well.
I have lapsed on my writing for joy, because I now fully understand how my joy is not based on my circumstances, my physical struggles or a condition of my mind, my JOY is to the full because I recognize the source of that joy, and where I was allowing my joy to be robbed. For a season my writing inspiration went dry and I also wondered, “do the readers really need to see fifty thousand different ways to view joy?” ( insert smirk here)
But the journey is not over… I do still struggle with thoughts of escape. I am tired and weak, yet I return to my source and realize that the enemy has that plan, not my God…. Gods plan is to give me strength when I am weak, to give me joy in the morning, to be my peace and comforter when I cry out.
So I guess this random blog, is to remind myself that there are always battles to be fought, and every person I come into contact has their very own struggles. They are struggling in our very own backyards! This is the neighbor, the clerk at the grocery store, the shut in with an injury or the person that lost their job or child. I want to be able to recognize if someone needs an extra prayer, or a kind word, or an extra set of hands for a season. I want to be a tool the Lord uses to make the burden of this world a bit lighter for another that just may leave themselves vulnerable as they take a break and ‘escape’. Weather this woman died from an illness or taking her own life, or some other means, the root stems from stressed out, not feeling well mama… I know SO Many that have been there and I don’t want to see another tragedy cross the path of one I know.
I only crossed paths with this customer a handful of times, but it has affected our community and our household, I am praying continually for strength and peace for the family. Such a difficult time, I can not even begin to comprehend. Jennifer Huston will be missed on so many levels by so many people.
Please please, if you find your joy fading, bit by bit, or so stressed that you just need to have a break, or feeling out of sorts… push yourself to reach out; to a loved one, to a stranger, to a pastor, or a doctor. If no one hears you or ridicules you, reach out again and again. Don’t live in an isolated shell of your struggles. I saw first hand, how devastating it is to try and keep it all together on your own shoulders. This struggle is in our own backyards and we must keep our hearts open and be willing to make that difference.
My son had these very struggles, and it was some off handed comments to others, that brought awareness to our family. He always smiled, and joked and rarely did we glimpse something was wrong. Someone took action and listened to his cries and let us know. I can’t imagine where we would be if we kept seeing only what he wanted us to see. He opened up and we realized not only did I struggle, but he was struggling as well.
Our son now has a passion for the hurting, stressed out, anxiety ridden and depressed individuals and wrote this song almost two years ago describing his cry… Relief ( just hit play, you do not have to buy song to hear)
So you see, it truly is in our own backyards. We just need to occasionally tend the gardens.