A few weeks ago God moved my heart to tears, but as with most days that end in a miracle, it started off like a bat to the face.
My husband has said “If Jacinta goes quiet, something is deeply, deeply wrong.” And Sunday morning I was silent. A week of pressure, sorrow and frustration had built up inside me to breaking point. Signs of cracking had started to show days before, but there was so much to be done what else could I do, but smile and bare it?
Inside, it would be an understatement to say I was on edge. I’ve had ‘sad days’ for as long as I can remember, and I know when it’s time to stop and rest - but I just couldn’t that week. So, when when I woke up Sunday I was beyond weary. Depression is not just sadness. I felt shut down and dull. I couldn’t enjoy food. I didn’t care what my children were doing. I was struggling to move because I felt so heavy. My reaction times were like someone half asleep. I actually walked into a few walls...
Answering the call
It was a battle to get to church that day and to stay until the end of the service. I can only say that every time an obstacle came up, a solution presented itself and we trudged on. I wasn’t going to stay for the worship, I wanted to get the hell out of there. And then the preacher asked for those who were weary to come up and be prayed for.
I looked around and my husband Tim had gone to the back of the room to rock our crying baby to sleep. My 3 year old was in my arms and, looking for an excuse not to, I asked my little one if he wanted to go and be prayed for. I was hoping he would say no, but he just hugged me tight and said “Yeah, let’s go.”
No excuses remaining, I walked to the front on weak legs and let a woman pray over me in English and in tongues.
Prayer and healing
The moment her hand rested on my shoulder I felt a release - all the pressure was coming out. Tears ran down my face. I closed my eyes and prayed. Later, I tried to write down everything that happened in that moment and I had pages and pages. This, just a small, powerful excerpt:
“Have you ever heard the story of the footprints on the sand?”
"Yes" I said, "of course".
“Even when you think you are walking alone, He is with you. And I feel God saying again and again, 'I am here! I have not left you!'"
The tears kept coming but I stood as still as stone. I didn’t want to break down in front of these people. I’m just not like that. But those were the words I needed to hear. Because when I shut down and get depressed, I struggle to feel connected to God, and without realising it I had blamed Him for abandoning me and I had felt … alone.
Revelations and comfort
The news that God had been calling out “I am still here!” Hit me hard in that moment. It was like a wall of ice around my heart had been hit with a sledge hammer, and I would continue to feel that cold numbness pull away from me for days. In another mood her words would have sounded like a cliche. But the truth is, those were the words I needed to hear in that moment. Those were the words that cleansed me and empowered me.
Then next day I turned to worship music and prayed a line from a Jesus Culture track, “there may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning”. I got through two full days after church before I finally collapsed.
It was like getting an extra eight days of oil to burn. I was going to burn out eventually, it’s how I cope. And those extra days were so very needed. So when I finally stopped moving I was safe and I allowed my husband to shelter me. He let me stay in bed and eat and read and sleep and do nothing. And the next day, after being so kindly cared for, I was ready to face another week.
The people who show up to love
I’d forgotten God could do that for me. It was like going to church that day had given me back the ability to live. I walked in a zombie and I came out alive again. I’d forgotten how powerful PEOPLE are in the church.
My thoughts came back to the woman who had prayed for me. She had ended prayer with “did that make sense?” and I heard myself. How many times had I said that after passing on a word from God? I’ve been in her position. It’s so hard to step out in faith, but that woman absolutely nailed me. Though I cried through the prayer all I said in answer to her question was “yeah” and ran off.
The church can be a rough place to be at times. But God has always come through for me. He has sent me friends and people to encourage me and pray for me at my weakest. It can be hard to say hello to a stranger or go up for prayer when called, but it’s worth it to feel alive again.
Be the love
So friends, next time you go to church. Pray for someone, be kind to someone, comfort someone.
And maybe you’ll show up to church and find someone like me. Someone having one of the worst weeks of their life. You’ll quote a story that’s been heard a thousand times and say God wants you to know that He’s still there, and without even knowing it you’ll rock their faith and be used by God to comfort them and set them back on a path of peace.
Jacinta Julius was a girl when she met God and a woman when she stopped running from Him. She is a mother, a lover, a writer and a painter. She is driven one day and run down the next; a normal person. She currently resides in the south eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia with her family.
See previous articles by Jacinta Julius