The Darkest Days

artwork  in retro style,  woman and cup of teaThere is a little Caribou Coffee in Long Lake, Minnesota, where I sat one morning since I’d arrived too early to my visit to Orono High School. I stared at my steaming hot cocoa and repeated to myself: You are going to hell. 

Swallow that down, I told myself. You are going to hell, and there is nothing you can do to change it. This realization is your eternal reality.

In the car, I’d been listening to “Spirit” by Switchfoot on repeat: I’ve found all that I want, all that I long for, in You.

It was true then. It’s true now. But in those days, it was a truth that I imagined fell on deaf ears. Spirit, come be my joy.  It was the cry of my heart, but I knew I was damned and that joy would be forever inaccessible to me.

I can’t detail exactly how creepy it is become a cardboard person.

To ride the rollercoaster to the deepest depths and then to climb off there.

A reader asked me if I’d ever felt like God wasn’t with me through the storms of my life.  Have I felt that way? Yes, intensely.

But I was wrong.

Praise God I was wrong.

All these years later, God has stormed in, torn off my blindfold, wrapped me in his arms, and repeated truth to me till I came to believe it.

Do I still have moments where I doubt? Yes.

But my anchor holds.

I wrote this to remind myself of the truth– the truth that no disorder or devil can withhold from me because my God is stronger:

anchor manifesto

my darkest, lowest days

Tonight, I have been thinking about that deep, dark pit and the moments of my life when I was at the very bottom, nowhere lower to go and my head too heavy to look up.  I have been thinking about the things and places that remind me of those times.

You might guess that it was those months after college graduation, when I would wander from the laundry room to look over the balcony to the pool area two floors below and think about what would happen if I let myself fall.

Or maybe that it would be one of those evenings when I was wild-eyed and manic, scream-weeping in the bathroom while my roommate sat outside the door and prayed.

But when I think of myself at my lowest, I always picture myself in the Caribou Coffee in Long Lake, Minnesota.  I’d arrived to town too early to visit Orono High School, and so I stopped into Caribou off of Highway 12 (which has since been re-routed), ordered hot cocoa, and sat alone at a table.  In my car I had been listening to “Spirit” by the band Switchfoot, letting the chorus hammer into me that all I wanted was Jesus … exactly whom I believed I could not have.

Interestingly, the emotion that I seemed to feel the most was this odd, lonely marvel.  Don’t get me wrong– it was not good, as marvel usually is.  It was this dark, lost, inconceivable wonder that I could be so damned and that there was nothing I could do about it.  I sipped at my cocoa, thinking how there was no joy left available to me, no rescue coming, no prayer I could whisper to make things okay again.  A marvel and a sort of understanding washing over me that this was my reality and there was no way out.


For years, I could not listen to that song (which truly is a lovely one!) without feeling a stale depression steal over me.  To this day, when I drive by that Caribou, I think to that dark day.  Nothing impressive or strange or particularly triggering had occurred, but it is my lowest, loneliest moment of my life.

I could not have pulled myself out of that pit.  I didn’t even have the strength to lift my eyes.

(Oh gosh, I’m going to start being known as That Girl Who Cries in Barnes & Noble, LOL!)

Jesus Christ rescued me.  He led me to the right medication and the right therapy and carried me out of the pit himself.

In the past couple of weeks, I have gotten several emails from fellow obsessive-compulsives who are in that same pit.  I write this post to say that there is hope– and it’s not in ourselves.