Some time ago, I was listening to a playlist of worship music when Kristene DiMarco’s remake of the old fashioned hymn, It Is Well, came on. I took a deep breath. Should I just hit the forward button? I know how this one goes: unimaginable peace in troubled times… eh, I was feeling too fragile (and skeptical) to go there.
But, I was multitasking and thought some positive background music, while poignant and spiritually evocative, wouldn’t be a distraction. Besides, I’m tough. I can handle it, right?
It was a few minutes in when she got to the bridge, “so let go my soul and trust in Him; the waves and wind still know His Name…”
I. Lost. It.
She continued with a heartfelt chorus “… it is well… with my soul…”
Sobbing. It was definitely NOT well with my soul. Or any other part of me for that matter. I was undeniably broken in a million pieces. I doubted, like Humpty Dumpty, that I could ever be put back together again.
“…it is well…”
Shut up, Kristene. You don’t even know.
Sobbing. Uncontrollable now. I was broken from years of public chaos and great amounts of silent suffering- the backstories of which are now scars that are visible from space.
She got louder, “…with…my…soul…”
Ugly crying. Snot and all.
“It is well…with my soul… it is well… it is well with my soul- sing it out- it is well…”
She’s just taunting me now. I wanted to punch her.
And, I wanted the “well” she apparently had.
I felt like my faith had betrayed me. But not in a way you might think. I wasn’t upset because things didn’t go my way… because life hadn’t turned out the way I expected, or had worked for. I’m not the ‘name it and claim it’ brand of religion sort of girl. I know life has its share of suffering. But this was overwhelming. I was in the valley of the shadows, and I didn’t feel comforted or anointed.
I felt betrayed. Betrayed by my faith; betrayed by my very self, because I couldn’t navigate or resolve the reality of the inescapable pain. I couldn’t find peace. The wind and waves were bigger and stronger. And I was sinking.
I ‘lost it’ because I so desperately wanted this song to be a reflection of my reality. It clearly wasn’t, and I didn’t know why. I also had no idea how to change that. I felt utterly lost and completely defeated.
This was my breaking point. No. It was my breakthrough. I pressed in. “I will not give up! I won’t let go unless you bless me!”
I had experienced some ‘wrestling with God’ moments (if by ‘moments’ you mean hours, days or months) before, but this was different. I wasn’t trying to bring my goodness, my deserving, before Him. I was bringing my lack. My nothing.
Fast forward some months, and while my struggles have not disappeared, I can say that I’ve grown and triumphed. I have been blessed.
I have a greater understanding of where deep calls unto deep, “Where answers don’t come easily. Where pain is exposed rather than covered over. Where healing requires transformation.” (from Amy’s blog).
I’ve learned that blessings really can be disguised. That I can only be filled once I have been emptied. That I can only be healed after I have been broken. That I can only be quenched once I know the depth of my thirst. And that maybe, I can only truly say, “it is well” once it has not been well at all.
As an emotional person, I had to learn that my feelings aren’t me; they are a part of me. That my temporary existence on this Planet Earth is not my entire story; it’s a part of my story - that will last for all of eternity. And, I had to learn that what happens to me does not define me. There is a me beyond this life, this mess, this pain.
Today I can listen to Kristene. And yes, I can say, “It is well with my soul.”
“…we rejoice in our sufferings because suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” - Romans 5:2-4
Photo credit: Microsoft
The Motley Ms.
Hi! My name is Melinda. I'm a saved-by-grace-er, lifelong learner, INFJ, health & fitness trynabe, Mom, #vanlifer, mental health vlogger, and Director & Clinical Supervisor at a Child & Family Therapy Practice in Northern California.
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