On the night of June 29th, 2015 I went to bed with a bit of a Christmas Eve twinkle in my eye. No, it wasn't December 24th but after 4 years of learning how to starve fear, work hard and pray harder, God had gifted us with the impossible. The following day I would begin my first day in the studio, with one of my dream Producers, to record a new album that had been excavated from the depths of the soul mines. My heart was full of gratitude, anticipation and a missional desire to serve the world a side of hope through an album full of many moments of musical kingdom come. I faded into sleep that night praying "How could this be?" and "Thank you" in the same breath.
Now as a mother of 2 young children I was accustomed to being abruptly awakened by a shake of the shoulder from a bad dream or a nagging cough. But in the wee hours of June 30th, 2015 I awoke to something I was not prepared for. I was startled by the sound of someone sobbing and pacing back and forth in the darkness of our bedroom. Even in my dazed confusion I quickly knew these restrained but desperate cries were coming from my husband Jake. My heart sank. It is still incredibly painful to recall this memory because Jake has always been as steady and strong as they come. His history is deeply rooted in hard work, common sense and logical evaluation, all cultivated on the picturesque Tennessee farm where he was raised. He became an engineer by trade because he's gifted in knowing how to speak order and balance into the chaos of various environments and situations. So when the floods occasionally rose within my world, he instinctively knew the rescue protocol.
But on this moon lit morning, without warning, the dam broke in a different place. A raging river of lamentation flowed freely and openly in the middle of the night and I was suffocating inside with every passing wave of sorrow. I could feel my chest tightening as I listened to every desperate, hopeless word he spoke. Neither of us knew what was happening. The air grew thick with a suffering we could not yet name. I listened and in my complete bewilderment I did what any God-fearing, Bible believing Pastor's daughter would do: I asked him if I could pray. We sat in the dark. I held on tight and prayed the most honest, desperate, scripture filled prayer I knew how to pray.
I needed him to be ok. Our family needed him to be ok. I hoped HARD for his peace to be restored that very morning. I convinced myself that this was just the darkness pushing back on the light, just a temporary shadow cast on the new chapter of ministry we would begin on that important day. Instead we entered a long and winding journey into what was and is the deepest season of trust life has required us to walk in.
I left for the studio that day and every day after, completely broken hearted and in the fiercest battle with fear I had yet to experience in my thirty some years. This dark episode and the ones to follow would attempt to define us as a family as we grew physical and emotional limitations seemingly overnight. We were walking wounded and utterly broken by Jake's battle with depression and severe anxiety. And even though the nightmare now had a given name we struggled to navigate this new normal. Between my long days of recording and our short, sleepless nights we were surviving on rationed rest and just as little peace. We had entrusted our battle to a few intercessors but still the darkness loomed. Then one night as I was preparing to go to bed I went to the piano, where most of the wars within are given their chance to speak. A passage from Psalm 130:6 had been stirring in me for days:
"I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning." Psalm 130:6
We had offered countless earnest prayers. We had sought godly counsel and help. We had crossed every spiritual "T" and dotted every emotional "I" but there was no sign of light. How could I sing about hope and not know how to live from that place in this dark season? How could we heal an illness we couldn't understand? As I listened to Psalm 130:6 play over and over in my mind I began to wonder if my hope was fixed on a concrete solution instead of a person and a relationship. I began to wonder if my hope had become firmly fixed on finding the light instead of seeking its Source. I went back to Psalm 130:6 and read it again. 'I wait for the Lord..." "I wait for the LORD..."
Almost instantly this line echoed off the walls of my heart and I scribbled it down:
"I reach for Your hand over understanding."
In that moment it became achingly clear that maybe God wanted to give us more than an answer and more than understanding. Maybe God wanted to offer us more than instant circumstantial deliverance. Maybe God wanted to give us what He knew we really needed... more of Himself. Maybe He wanted to take us to a place of sacred fellowship, to a place deeper than any place we had ever been with Him so we could experience a grace we had never known.
Maybe this was the only way we would ever discover that even when we're too weak and broken to reach for Him, He is reaching, always reaching for us.
"Oh saving light I cannot reach
Oh saving light You'll come for me
Here I will wait
Here You will be
Oh saving light You'll come for me"