Life in the doldrums…

Doldrums… it sounds depressing and desolate. Webster’s define doldrums as “ a state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or slump”, “a spell of listlessness or despondency”.

There is a spot in the Atlantic Ocean that sailors refer to as the doldrums. Where there is light, unpredictable wind and storms. If you’re a sailor (which I’m not) you know you need wind to sail and you have to know how to catch it…even if it’s just barely there. The doldrums.

A year and 10 months ago I entered the hardest season of my life. I was suddenly thrust into this doldrum with no clue how to get out. The first year was hard as I struggled to find my way out. The past 10 months haven’t been easy but I’ve recaptured the wind.

I’m finding myself again apart from the circumstances life has thrown at me. I’m learning how to embrace the suffering and turn it to joy.

A sermon I listened to not only introduced me to the word doldrum and sailing, but gave a powerful picture of trees, so I’ll do my best to paraphrase and make it sound as awesome as Jared Pickney did.

In the winter, the trees look dead…there is no beauty (you could call this a doldrum). Underneath the surface, far below what we can see however, BEAUTIFUL things are taking place. Far beneath what we see, the roots are digging deeper, farther than they have ever had to go. Why?! Why go through all that work?! Because come spring those deeper roots are going to produce beautiful leaves, and flowers, and fruits.

The other side of a doldrum is a beautiful place. We have grown, done the work and now can reap the benefits.

When Olivia had her generalized seizure, I had no clue what the road ahead would be. I felt like life as I knew it was over, and it was. I had no idea of the beauty ahead. All I knew was that I suddenly felt completely alone. God felt far away, and to be honest at that point I felt he had abandoned me when I needed him, when my girl needed him the most.

However, I know that’s not true. God loves me now just as much as he did then. He loves Olivia just as much as always.

What I couldn’t see then, that I can see clearly now. Is that was a growing period, and for something to grow it has to be pruned. It has to dig its roots deeper than they have ever dared before.

That is exactly what I did. My head knew that God loved me even when my heart didn’t feel it. So I dug deep. I practiced silence and solitude, I dug into the word (even though it was the last thing I wanted). I clung to the knowledge my head already knew and slowly my heart woke back up.

It wasn’t always easy and it definitely wasn’t always pretty. So many times I wanted to walk away, to take back control that I seemed to have lost even though I never had it.

However, the end result has been beautiful. I’ve rediscovered my joy, rediscovered God’s love for me in a new way.

Life in the doldrums was hard and lonely and full of sadness. Life on the other side is joyous, it’s still not always easy but it’s full of love and God’s grace and mercy everyday.

I grew a lot during my doldrum period. I learned about pain and suffering, love, joy, peace and hardships. I learned a lot about myself. I learned a lot about who God is. I learned what family is and who my real friends are. I’ll always be thankful for the doldrum.

Even when I thought I was drowning, it turns out I was learning to walk on water.

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