Christine Duncan

Precepts & Life Preservers

Looking For Life

Looking for Life... the daily struggle to rise above poor mental health and Who will gives us life in return...

It was all I could do not to run back to bed that morning.

I was having a hard time starting my day. For no real reason except this is what the dysthymic brain does.

Instead of feeling alive, I felt this underlying current of agitation, thick brain fog, the need to hide out, knowing if I tried to get up I’d be completely off my game.

After three years now with my diagnosis, I know this is just my brain talking. But it’s also so much more. It’s a complete disabling of reason, it’s a kind of shutting-down that is chemicals and transmitters and broken mood not easily fixed.

I don’t type all this so you’ll feel pity. I type all this because I know there are others.

And I’ve learned that sometimes to get to a good place mentally, you have to get to a good place physically.

And vice versa.

Before the demands of the day could send me running for the hills, I slowly, and with much negotiating with my sluggish brain, got myself over to my favorite chair at my writing desk.

And it was chilly for spring but I needed air more than I could tell you. So I opened the window beside my desk while the heat in the house kicked on, and leaned close to hear the sounds of the day. Birds calling, someone trimming their lawn, various sounds of our street. I absorbed it.


I just needed to hear life.

I even pulled the sheers back from the window completely. I didn’t want to see through yet another filmy foggy shroud. I needed to see all the bright crisp day happening around me. I prayed it would reverse what felt so foggy and sluggish and futile and complicated inside.

I just needed to see life.

Before too long, the sweet pink of the miniature crab apple blossoms from just outside the window from where I sat, and the tulips that due to cold weather had slowed and remained in perfect bloom, began to whisper that here was goodness after all.

The flowering tree. The sun in the window. The sounds of the street. Birdsong.

I know they themselves don’t truly wake me, refuel me, restore me.

But they can become the small funnel, the holy conduit, through which my Father and His own refueling-presence finds a foothold within the tangled mess of depression.

His goodness, His grace and mercy, His faithfulness seep in and over and around, and invade the deepest corners of my dysthymic soul  to get to me.

And He gives me life.

Making Him the Life we need and look for in the middle of our greatest battles and struggles.

And it’s Him I’ve been looking for. For He IS Life.

Later that morning I came across Isaiah 41:10. This verse has been following me around all year. And I felt Him give that holy nudge, a reassuring and loving elbow jab to my spirit from His.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

There is life in those words from His Word.

He is the Life that we often so desperately need to see, hear, have, know.

He is the Life that we often so desperately need to see, hear, have, know. Click To Tweet

I thought about how my brain defaulted to its depressive state and it became hard to automatically feel His presence, that I had to fight and work to find a space that would reset my brain and in turn, find the Restoration no amount of self-help can give.

I had to commit again to memory that in every battle His evident faithfulness has gotten me this far, and will continue to do so. Had gotten me even to that morning’s window-view of His unrelenting good promises for me.

And I remembered my own words written so many times on this very blog to so many others.

Just because you can’t see Him, feel Him, hear Him, sense Him…. doesn’t mean He hasn’t been there all along. And when we don’t have the strength to hang on anymore, He does the hanging on for us, to us.

Our Life Preserver.

Back in my favorite window again today, in my favorite chair, at my favorite desk.

I see His hand moving the spring breeze through the branches of sweet crab apple blossoms.

I hear His goodness in sudden birdsong.

I feel His warmth and strength and peace in the sunlight spilling across the room.

And He brings me to life once again.

Linking up over the next few days with some amazing blog/writing communities! Click on each hashtag to join us!

#CoffeeForYourHeart with HolleyGerth on Wednesdays
#HeartEncouragement with CrystalStorms on Thursdays
#ChasingCommunity with Brenda Ottinger on Thursdays
#FaithNFriends with Deb Wolf on Fridays

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  1. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. 🙂

    • Christine Duncan

      May 10, 2017 at 11:10 AM

      Aw, thank you Melissa, for your readership! I see you here every week… I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support! I pray today’s words from Him build you up 🙂

  2. Our life preserver. I love that. Yes, God is all around us, all the time. Thank you for this sweet encouragement. Visiting from #coffeeforyourheart

    • Christine Duncan

      May 10, 2017 at 11:08 AM

      Dawn, isn’t it mind bending that He is able to be exactly everything we need, and holds on to us when we no longer can hold on at all? So glad this encouraged today! Greatly appreciate your encouraging words above as well. Have a fantastic Wednesday in Him, friend!

  3. Thanks for sharing this beautiful post! That verse from Isaiah has been one of my favourites for several years now. It is a fight sometimes when we struggle to feel God’s presence, but so important to hold to the truth that he is constant, even when our feelings are not, and it’s reassuring to remember that he holds on to us even when we struggle to hold on to him. Once again your post ties in so well with what I shared today ! 🙂

  4. Thank you for sharing your heart! I deal with chronic illness and pain, so there are many overlapping feelings with what you’ve described. Isn’t the Hand of our Lord beautiful? Some days or nights it’s the only thing we can hold onto. And that is the way He brings us to life, just as you said. Blessings to you!

  5. Love your words, friend and those once more reminders from a God who wants to be sure we never forget that He is with us. His steadfast love is such a blessing, and it takes discipline to find Him in all the beauty around us. You’ve captured it here so sweetly. xoxo

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