Tag Archives: Clostridium Difficile

Dark Night of the Soul

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When I got up this morning, I had no intentions of posting anything other than for Sis Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays, but right after posting that, I was strongly led to write another post. I knew I wouldn’t have time to do it this morning, because my husband and I were going out of town to see my son, daughter-in-law and five of my seven grandchildren. Also, to be honest with you, this wasn’t really a post that I wanted to share with anyone, however, when I returned home, the compulsion was there yet again, to share this post, and there was also a promise as well. You see, I believe with all of my heart that this post I am sharing with you has the power to mend broken hearts.

As many of my regular readers know, 2013 has been an extremely difficult year for me thus far. Beginning in January, towards the middle of the month, I had to take my husband to the emergency room, because his foot became extremely swollen and so painful, he could hardly walk. Then, my mother was taken to the emergency room and admitted to the hospital because she was very ill, and before the month was over, I was taken to the emergency room for chest pains (I had pleurisy, which is extremely painful… If you’ve ever had it before, you know what I mean.) 

February was no kinder, as my mother’s condition grew worse, and we came to the realization that her time on earth was coming to a close. She passed away on February 15, and was laid to rest on February 22, and it broke my heart. I didn’t realize how much I loved my mom until I lost her. And then, my husband’s other foot started swelling and hurting, and the doctors couldn’t figure out what was going on with  him…

Then, as we marched into March, I became terribly ill. I thought I had a stomach virus, but as many of you know from a post that I wrote, I had developed C-Diff, a terrible stomach infection, that caused me to be hospitalized for several days. When I finally left the hospital, I was placed on an antibiotic for 20 days, and though I returned home, and felt somewhat better, all of my strength was gone, and up until this past week, I was extremely nauseated.

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In this midst of my illness, my husband’s illness, and grieving for the loss of my mother, I fell into a deep, dark depression. It was truly a dark night of my soul, and I couldn’t seem to pull myself out of it, as the spirit of heaviness weighed down on me, smothering and oppressing me. I was so sick, I couldn’t eat, and was constantly exhausted. I didn’t want to be around anyone, and at the same time, I was extremely lonely, if that makes any sense.

I hate depression and its lies. I thought I was a woman of great faith, and then to find myself wallowing in anxiety and depression brought shame to me. You see, I’m a minister of the Most High God, and many times, I’ve ministered to others who have been depressed, but now, I found myself struggling with a depression like I hadn’t had in many years. I thought those days of darkness and depression were long gone, when the Lord had helped me to overcome them years ago. For crying out loud, I’m a prayer warrior, a mighty woman of God, but now, I was reduced to a weeping, painful, lost little girl.

I loved the Lord, but I couldn’t write as much as I wanted to, because simply sitting up at the computer made me feel as though I was going to throw up, which fed the depression, which kept growing like some dark, black monster. Then, my daughter and her family moved to Georgia, a couple of weeks ago. The Lord revealed it to me before they even told me, so I asked my daughter, who was dumbfounded, because she said she and her husband had only talked about it the night before…

It broke my heart that they were moving more than twelve hours away from me, but at the same time, something happened within my spirit… The Lord had spoken to me again. A spark lit my hope, which had nearly died… In the dark night of my soul, God had not given up on me. He was still speaking to me.

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Then, one day last week, I was talking to a friend, and the Spirit of the Lord came upon me, and I prophesied to her, confirming everything the Lord had spoken to her earlier during her devotional time with Him. It had been so long since the Lord had used me to prophesy, and in the dark night of my soul, I had feared that I was destined to spend the rest of my life like this — alone and miserable, no longer able to hear the Lord’s voice as I once had, no longer useful to Him.

It had become hard to pray, because I was no longer sure if God could hear me. As I write these words, I’m struck by how weak I was, how deceived I was, but when the enemy ties you up in those chains of deception and covers you with those robes of heaviness and oppression, it’s hard to see the truth through the darkness.

As the Lord ministered to me, igniting my hope and reminding me of His great love for me, I made a decision to go to church last Wednesday night, no matter how I felt. He had exposed my problem, showing me that I had a spirit of heaviness, and I knew what needed to be done.

6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and in His good time He will honor you. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about what happens to you. 8 Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour. 9 Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. 10 In His kindness God called you to His eternal glory by means of Jesus Christ. After you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation. 11 All power is His forever and ever. Amen.

~ 1 Peter 5:6-11 NLT ~

As I cast all of my cares upon Him, I felt a weight lift from me, as the Lord ministered to me. You see, I had bought into the lie from the enemy that I was a failure, no longer fit to be used of God. In my grief, and pain, the enemy just kept coming after me, with more and more ammunition, and in my weakness, I buckled under the weight of it all, forgetting that which is true…

His anger lasts for a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes with the morning.

~ Psalm 30:5 NLT ~

The Lord ministered to me that night, as He’s been ministering to me all week, reminding me of His great love for me… He reminds me that though I was disappointed in myself for being weak, He was not disappointed. 

13 The LORD is like a Father to His children, tender and compassionate to those who fear Him. 14 For He understands how weak we are; He knows we are only dust. 15 Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. 16 The wind blows, and we are gone — as though we had never been here. 17 But the love of the LORD remains forever with those who fear Him. His salvation extends to the children’s children 18 of those who are faithful to His covenant, of those who obey His commandments!

~ Psalm 103:13-18 NLT ~

How grateful I am that I have a Savior who loves me just as I am. Though the enemy came to steal my joy, kill my hope and destroy my life, I serve a Savior who redeemed me. He purchased my freedom, and paid my ransom with His life. He not only restored my life, He gave me abundant life. 

10 As a result, I can really know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised Him from the dead. I can learn what it means to suffer with Him, sharing in His death, 11 so that, somehow, I can experience the resurrection from the dead! 12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be,but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.

~ Philippians 3:10-14 NLT ~

My beloved readers, there’s no doubt in my mind that the Lord placed it in my heart to write this post not to expose my weaknesses, but to encourage you. I know that some of  you are battling with grief and depression, just as I have been. I know that many of you are in the midst of a dark night of your soul, and you wonder if you will ever again see the light of day. Listen to me, my beloved friend, as I pray for you, for the Spirit of the Lord God is upon me…

1 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, 3 To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

~ Isaiah 61:1-3 NKJV ~

Father, in Jesus’ name, I cry out to You for every man, woman and child who You lead to read this post, that You would bind up the brokenhearted. Comfort those who mourn, Lord, in Jesus’ name, and set those who are imprisoned and bound by depression, affliction and addiction free. Lord, I know that what You have done for me, You will do for others, because You are no respecter of persons, and You don’t love me any more than You love Your other children. 

Arise, O Lord, and show Yourself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are loyal to You. Father, give each person who is weighed down by that spirit of heaviness, a garment of praise in its place. Lord, let them begin to praise You in the midst of their pain, and as they do so by faith, Lord, set them free!

Father, for those who are in the midst of a storm, in Jesus’ name right now, I  speak to that storm, and I say, “Peace — Be still!” For those who are bound by fear, I speak to the spirit of fear right now, and I cast that spirit out in Your name, because You are love, and perfect love casts out fear. For those who are in the midst of that dark night of the soul, I loose Your Holy Spirit and Your Word, in Jesus’ name, because in You there is light, and the darkness must flee. 

Lord, I believe that You allowed me to go through this dark night of my soul, so that You could minister to others who are going through similar pain, and so I loose Your Spirit to each of those that You lead to read this post, and in Jesus’  precious and holy name, I speak life, peace and hope to each one. Amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Daily Prompt: Happy Happy Joy Joy

Daily Prompt: Happy Happy Joy Joy

by michelle w. on March 28, 2013

We cry for lots of reasons: sadness, pain, fear . . . and happiness. When was the last time you shed tears of joy?
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I haven’t responded to a Daily Prompt since March 18, because I’ve been sick and tired and depressed for quite a while, but when I saw today’s prompt I had to respond!

Since you don’t know me well, let me start off by telling you that for many years, I was unable to cry. I learned years ago to stifle my tears, out of fear, pride, bitterness and rebelliousness. As a child who was made fun of for having “buck-teeth” and the last name of Payne, I learned to swallow my tears, because even though my classmates tormented me, I refused to give them the satisfaction of seeing just how badly their words wounded me.

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And then, there was my home life… All too often, if I would cry, my mother would warn me to, “Shut up or I’ll give you something to cry about!” And she would too. I can remember getting beatings from my parents, and nearly choking on my tears, trying not to let any escape past the huge lump in my throat, sometimes with success, and sometimes unsuccessfully. 

Did you know that you really can will yourself not to cry and not to feel? The problem with that is when you begin blocking one emotion, it inevitably leads to blocking all emotions. When that happens, we become so out of touch with our feelings, that we really don’t know how we feel about anything. I remember not knowing how I felt about things, and so I would carefully watch how others responded to certain situations, to see how I “should feel.” I eventually came to the point that I was unable to cry — whether I was happy or sad. The tears just wouldn’t come.

It is a good sign if a person is able to shed tears. An individual who had had much experience in spiritual matters once made this statement: Giving your love to a person who cannot shed tears is like handing over your money bag to a thief to keep. This is quite true. A person often feels uneasy about giving his love to one who cannot shed tears. For tears are the one thing that is indispensable in this world. It can rightly be said that a person who is unable to shed tears has lost something of the very essence of man: he can no longer be considered as being human.

~ Practical Issues of this Life ~
by: Watchman Nee

To be unable to cry was a terrible thing. As a child, I learned to repress my emotions as an act of self-preservation, but by doing so, I killed something inside of me. You see, tears are an outlet of the heart. So what do you do, when that valve has frozen and will not let any tears escape? 

You could do what I did. I remember reading the following verse from Psalm 56, and how it caused me to begin to ponder and pray to God about it.

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.

~ Palm 56:8 NLT ~

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Isn’t that amazing? God keeps track of all our sorrows. He knows how deeply wounded I was as a child, and He cared. I can’t help but be amazed about this every time I read it or think about it! He has collected all of your tears, and all of my tears and placed them in His bottle. Imagine that! Your tears and mine too, are so important to God, that He has collected each and every one of them. Isn’t that awesome? And get this — He has a written record of every single tear that you have shed throughout your entire life, because those tears mean that much to Him. Do you remember every single tear that you’ve cried? I don’t, but God does.

When I read that scripture and realized how important our tears are to God, I began to pray, first, asking God to forgive me for quenching my tears, and then, asking Him to give me back my tears. Lord, help me to cry again. Restore my tears in Jesus’ name.” I won’t lie to you. It took a few years for me to have the privilege of crying again, but I got those tears back.

Having said all of that, 2013 has been an especially difficult year for me so far. Lord willing, the worst is behind me, and the best is yet to come! I lost my mother in February, the day after Valentine’s Day, and my heart has grieved for her. I never dreamed it would be so painful, and though I knew I loved her, I never realized how much I loved her. I’m sitting here weeping as I share this.

Anyway, January and February were both difficult months, as I dealt with my own physical issues, and my mother’s dying. Then, in the beginning of March, I got terribly sick — to the point that I thought I was dying. I had a horrible infection called Clostridium Difficile. It was terrible, and I was hospitalized for several days because of it. After returning home from the hospital, I was extremely weak and nauseous for several weeks — actually up until just a couple of days ago. 

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It was horrible. With all that has gone on in these first few months of the new year, I was unable to attend church during this time of trouble, and I fell into a dark place, as the spirit of heaviness oppressed me. During the last few months, I’ve wept more tears of pain and sorrow than I ever remember crying. You would think those tears would just dry up, but they just keep coming. However, if I have to choose between shedding those tears or repressing them, I choose to shed them, because there’s a release that comes after I’ve cried, as though those painful things have been cleansed. It also helps, knowing that my dear sweet heavenly Father values my tears.

I shared all of this so that you can truly appreciate my answer to the question, “When was the last time you shed tears of joy?” The last time I cried tears of joy was last night, when I attended a very special worship service at my church, as we celebrate this holy week in remembrance of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. As I walked into the sanctuary with my pastor, who drove me to church, because I was unable to, I felt the joy of the Lord wash over me. As I helped prepare the communion, pouring the juice into the individual cups, and then helped to prepare the altar for the service, my heart was filled with contentment.

Have you ever been homesick? That’s how I’ve felt these last three months, and when I entered the sanctuary, I felt as though I’d come home. And then, my pastor asked me to open the service in prayer, and overwhelming joy flooded my soul as I realized that in spite of everything, I had been through, the Lord could still use me to bless others. When it came time for the foot washing, in remembrance of when Jesus cleansed the disciples feet, my pastor called for the ministers to come forward to wash the feet of the least among us, the children, and so, the other ministers and I knelt at the feet of the children in our congregation, and washed their feet as we prayed over each child. 

“But many who seem to be important now will be the least important then, and those who are considered least here will be the greatest then.”

~ Mark 10:31 NLT ~

What a privilege to humble ourselves and serve the children and the youth! My pastor then had the ministers sit down, as she humbled herself and washed the feet of the adult members of the church and the ministers. After this, she singled out one of the children, a girl who is often angry and rebellious, a girl who reminds me a little bit of myself as a child, in that she feels overlooked and unloved, and so she acts out sometimes. It was this girl that she asked to wash her feet, as she told her that the Lord had chosen her over the adults and ministers, to pray for her and wash her feet. You could see how seriously this girl took this invitation, as she soberly looked into her pastor’s eyes, with tears glistening, and then knelt at her feet and slowly, solemnly and gently washed first one foot and then the other, quietly praying.

After this, we sang together as the Spirit led. My heart was flowing over with joy, and last night, for the first time in such a long, long time, I wept with joy, and as I wrote this post, I was again, weeping with joy!

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers