This is my mother: Kathleen Joy Gabbie. This is the only photo I have of her in my house – simply because I've chosen for it to be that way. I know that may sound a little harsh but the truth doesn’t come from a harsh heart. It comes from a sensitive one.
A heart that still cannot dismiss what it has lost. And in the loosing, forever reminded of how.
Looking at her picture inevitably reminds me of what she did. Which is sad really, because what she diddoes not define who she is…or was in this case. She was a beloved child of God with a beautiful future should she have chosen that path.
But it’s hard to distinguish between those two concepts (what one is and what one does) when you’ve been hurt by the doing yeah? Or in this case, when I’m staring at her lovely face and missing her like crazy. Wondering what life would be like if she was still around, still here to be a mother to me, a much needed grandmother to my kids, a mother in-law to my husband, a daughter to my Gran, a sister to my Aunties, a favourite Aunty to my cousins. A true friend to all those friends she left behind. She was awesome. She would be awesome. The anger and sense of betrayal has long since melted away and in its place a simple truth – I miss you Mum.
My mother passed away on December 18th 1998. Or so the death certificate says. We as a family don’t like the 17th either as most of the agony would have occurred then - right up until the clock ticked over. It was not a ravaging disease, peaceful passing, accident, or a sudden death. No, her death was premeditated. At least a couple of days went into the actual planning - but I suspect more. People suffering with depression, especially her kind of depression (bipolar) usually meditate on these things more than you know or could possibly imagine. I should know – having suffered with it for over 10 years and planned my way out more times than I can remember. It’s the ultimate destination for someone who is constantly fighting a losing battle with hope.
But HOPE is all we really have in this life.
There is no certainty in the air we breathe, the ground we walk on, the buildings we erect, the money we earn, the career path we sweat over, the plans we make for ourselves and our loved ones. There is no certainty in whether we will see our loved ones tomorrow, or even see another day ourselves. We know the earth is dying, and people along with it – at a rate that is ever-increasing and in our faces constantly.
The only thing we can truly cling to is hope – and if we lose that then we may as well start planning our funeral like my mother obviously did. Like so many do in this darkening day and age.
I believe the seed of hope was planted in our DNA before we were even born. Hope is a gift God gave all of His children which may explain why even an unbeliever can still survive whatever this world throws at them with a measure of hope. Humanity is tenacious that much we understand to be true. Challenges produce character, and character produces hope, but that truth is just a snapshot of the glorious picture. Real hope – the kind of hope that can save lives - is only accessible through the power of the Holy Spirit. And that power is only accessible through believing in Gods son Jesus Christ. A simple enough decision, but so very hard for those who are dying on the inside and cannot even locate the original seed of hope that was deposited before conception. It certainly is true that hope deferred makes the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12)
So the answer is there. But sometimes all we need is to just be reminded. Reminded of what?
Reminded of how much we are loved, by how much those in our lives love us (including and especially our Father God) and even how much we love them in return.
LOVE is the answer to this kind of sickness.
And I would love to tell you right now that the love of your friends, spouse or even your children is enough, but I can’t all things considered. Don’t get me wrong - it’s a GREAT starting place and all you Mums (and Dads) out there who are feeling unloved, unappreciated, or even unwanted - hear me LOUD AND CLEAR when I tell you; Your children DO LOVE YOU. They love you with a love that cannot always be communicated well enough. They love you and they NEED you no matter what comes out of their unfiltered and unappreciative mouths at times. Those children were given to you for a reason and you will ALWAYS be their parents regardless of how old they are – or think they are. PLEASE don’t give up on them when your hope tanks run low, because those tanks can be filled up again just when you need it…right in the nick of time. And if your facing depression and you know it, or even just suspect it, then please do everyone a favour (especially yourself) and go and find some help. There is enough help out there in this day and age for anyone facing such a valley, and I am a firm believer that God gave us many tools (including medical help) to help us through. If you need some help with that direction please please please contact me. DO something about it because trust me - you do not want to leave this earth knowing that your children and your loved ones will be traumatised and scarred for LIFE if you choose that dark path. Above all understand that you are enough. You are what everyone needs. You are wanted and you are needed. That's a fact!
So understanding, accepting and drawing strength from the love of those in your world is a great starting place - yes, and if that’s all you can cling to right now - then that is enough to begin with. We all have to start somewhere, and as long as you’re moving forward or even just hanging in there, hope will accompany you.
But if you truly want to combat the sickness of hope deferred then it will require you, NOT to stand strong, staunch and proud – but to get on your knees and receive the love of Father God Himself. It’s that simple. Everything else we rely on is like bandaids: a temporary covering that will eventually peel off depending on time, circumstances, and this temporal thing called life. But the love of God and the hope He empowers you with will heal that wound and what’s more - will last for all of eternity. Only He can fulfill your true desires and give you life more abundantly.
How do I know this? Because for the longest time I was the carbon copy of my mother in almost every single way. I faced many of the things she did, had many of the thoughts and feelings she did, and suffered the same kind of depression she had. My life was on the same path as hers despite all my considerable efforts to avoid it. It wasn’t until later I finally realised that I was who God created me to be, and not what everyone (including myself) expected me to be which is when the journey on my knees began.
The only, I repeat ONLY real and defining difference between us back then (when things got too tough), was that I accepted this truth I boldly speak of now. Everything I have written I have walked out and can testify to personally. Its not just a feel good story or attempt to preach you into Christianity. I’m fully aware that no one in their right mind wants to be bible bashed in this day and age. But being raw and real about what actually works and what doesn’t - because you’ve actually ‘been there done that’ and have lived to tell the tale….well that’s inarguable. I dare you to try! I am living proof and not ashamed to say it. You can be to.
Get help: Get God; Receive Hope and LIVE.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13