“I think as a long term solution, we need to look at you going back home and getting the necessary help and treatment. You can always come back to College at a later date when you are doing better”
A few weeks into my semester at College, I voluntarily started seeing the College counselor. I will admit, I intended for it to be a one time crying session where I would tell her everything I had been bottling up and all would be well again. But what was meant to be a one time thing, became a biweekly thing, which eventually became a weekly thing. It literally went from talking superficially about College assignments, to opening up, for the very first time, about things that I had never shared with anyone before. Things I had almost moved on from as if they had never happened. I had never been so vulnerable in my life. It sometimes even felt like I was reliving it all again. It often still does. And I will admit, I was not coping at all with unpacking some of the things we did and having to admit that some of these things had happened in my life. I had separated myself from the person who had been so hurt for so long, that finally admitting that I was that person honestly turned my world upside down. I was finally feeling and experiencing the reality of it all for the very first time.
So alongside the anxiety I had already been diagnosed with, I started showing depressive symptoms. And shortly after that, everyday became a battle with thoughts of committing suicide.
The word ‘Hallelujah’ is made up of two words; ‘hillel’, which refers to praising and the word YHWH (Yahweh). Yahweh was such a sacred name for God, that the word would actually never leave the lips of a believer. And the only word that has been interchangeably used with Yahweh is ‘I AM’. Thus, in essence, Hallelujah means to ‘bring praise to the ‘I AM”. The most sacred. During Worship and Creative Conference, the word ‘Hallelujah’ kept jumping out at me and I kept remembering the lyric “Nothing can take my Hallelujah”. When I finally did my research into the word, I remember God saying “Worship the I AM. Not the God your pain has made me out to be. Not the God your fear and anxiety have made me out to be. Worship the God I reveal myself to be in your Bible, even if you haven’t experienced Me in that way just yet. Don’t let what you’re going through, rob you of the truth of the I AM God”
More days than not, my very inhale and exhale are the only praise I can offer. But I offer it to God, regardless, because of who He is. And I know that one day I will be able to praise and worship, like I did before. Because whether I find the fullness of healing in my lifetime or not, nothing will take away my Hallelujah. Even if all it is, right now, is choosing to take another breath.
The truth of the Word remains the same. The truth of who God is remains the same. And it doesn’t mean that I’m not battling through the mental illness and that my salvation will magically take away the reality of the battle. It just means I have something to give me a hope even when everything in me says it’s not worth the fight.
“The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace” – Exodus 14:14 (NKJV)
The word ‘hold’ here refers to the Hebrew word ‘chârash‘ which means to scratch or engrave. And when I read that, I couldn’t help but imagine God engraving the word ‘peace’ on my heart while He fights this battle I choose to leave at His feet every single day. And just like the process of engraving scratches away and removes bits to reveal the word, I believe that He will continue to remove any unnecessary bits to make room for His peace. Even while my thoughts wage war.
So I am back in South Africa. And I am INCREDIBLY afraid. I don’t know what healing is going to look like. I know it won’t be easy. I know I’ll be waging war against the enemy. But I will choose, everyday, to allow God to step into the fight. Even through the therapy. And the treatment. And the medication. Because I know that truth says that while the Lord fights for me, I shall hold my peace. Whether it feels like it or not.
I know College wasn’t a mistake.
I know God still wants to do a mighty work in and through me at Hillsong College.
I know that this isn’t a step backwards.
I know that I will return to College.
I know the promise still stands.
And I know that this too, is under the blood of Jesus.
So in the meantime, I will be still and know that ‘I AM’ God.