No Fear Can Rapture My Soul

Hello, Average Us. This is Dawn.

Today, I want to share a poem with you written by my friend Elizabeth Johnson. Elizabeth worships with Lon and me at Restoration Presbyterian Church and, like me, suffers with depression and anxiety. She wrote this poem to express her trust in Christ through her struggle. She shared it with me, and gave me permission to post it here on Average Us. If you are struggling with any sort of challenge today, I pray this poem gives you hope by pointing you to the One, true and living source of hope. Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ.


There is no fear that can rapture my soul
In Which He can’t see, for which I can’t be made whole
This darkness is impending, the dreaded black hole
And yet, He is here, nothing is beyond His control
What is it that tempts me to fear?
That steals my joy, that takes my cheer
Most times it seems a mystery, there is something there, quite unclear
But oh! It covers my mind, my heart, it is severe
It wrinkles my thinking, crumples my brow
When I am tempted to put my head down, to follow, to allow
This burden becomes heavy, too heavy now
Yet somehow…
There is One, they call him Spirit, faint but still beckons me
That dark place down there, oh, He can see
This ever present Friend & Guide beckons me to reality
That faithful One who can never depart from me
I’m reminded of truth, the truth of His Word
Could it be what is real, in this life so blurred?
My secret hope to be rescued was never unheard
How suddenly He works, my helplessness deferred…
To the cross of Christ, on who I was taught to hope
I no longer must in the darkness hang, cannot grope
Except to my Bible I cling, there it is! Life & hope!
It pulls me back up from which I had gone, that quick steep slope
And in this book of old, the Prophets, the martyrs have told
In these pages I see their darkness, their struggles unfold
In times of doubt & fear, it was You, their constant stronghold
From the pit it pulled them from, Your faithfulness, Your glory to behold
And it is clear now, so clear a theme
When I look through this Word as a whole it would seem
You, my Savior, my Friend, will doubtless, unquestionably redeem
Cast away that Liar, the one who distracts from truth by his great scheme
It is You & me, rejoined on this path of Life
You walk with me & carry me, undeniably love me through all my strife
And when it comes to glory, You are the one who will receive
I will benefit too, it is I who will tell others for I believe
Since now it is TRUTH you have taught me to perceive
I see well now this tapestry in my life that you weave…
It will be to You, and You alone to whom my soul shall cleave.

Waking Up in Pain

L3 and L4.

Herniated Discs. Two of them.

Two rounds of epidural cortisone injections.

Moaning in my sleep. Waking up in pain. Fearful commutes to work. Strategically considering the distance to the men’s room. Sometimes feeling old and weak. (Vanity never quits.) Sometimes feeling discouraged. Chronic pain does that to you.

No running. No hiking. No lawn mowing (mixed blessing).

All while trying to build a new kitchen.

God doesn’t check your calender or to-do list. He just brings life your way. All of life.

I took the photo on this page last November while hiking Blood Mountain near Blairesville, Georgia. It inspires me to pray I’ll be able healed enough to enjoy trails like this when mid-October comes around.

Two months to go.

Waking up in back pain, gives me a glimpse into what people with depression often experience. People like my wife, often experience depression or anxiety physically, as pain, or lethargy, or pressure on the chest, or stiff neck, or nausea, or all of the above.

For those of us who haven’t experienced this, let us study empathy and compassion for those who do.

A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?—Proverbs 18:14, ESV

Project Semicolon Starts a Tattoo Trend

You may have heard about a growing trend via USA Today or Huffington Post that is raising awareness of mental health issues: people are getting tattooed with a semicolon.

Why a semicolon?

According Amy Bleuel, founder of the faith-based Project Semicolon,

A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life

Amen to that, Amy.

I can’t begin to count that ways that living in this world makes us want to put a period at the end of today. But I hear a reason for hope for today and tomorrow. I listen to a promise given to whoever will utterly depend on God,

I will never leave you nor forsake you.—Hebrews 13:5

This is what we call the gospel. It’s the good news we didn’t expect and don’t deserve. It’s the love of God He lavished on us through His Son, unexpectedly, undeservedly.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners [and needy, and broken, and desperate], Christ died for us.—Romans 5:8

Let God hold your days, each one. And at the end of them, at the end you don’t choose, you will find His promise true.

Dawn and I are staking our live on it. Millions through history have done the same.

Life is hard;

You feel alone;

You feel you have failed;

Someone abandoned you;

You were abused; betrayed; exploited;

The chemicals in your brain won’t come into balance;

You can’t escape that memory; that moment;

;

But God…

Selah.

There is real hope for you, from God, in Christ, today.

You can read more about Amy’s life and hope here: Why Me God? Why My Testimony? – A Story of Hope in The Midst of Despair