This is day 18 of 31 Days of Songs and Stories. For an index of all the posts in the series, click here.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays I am featuring guest posts from some friends and today I’m delighted to welcome Anna Smit.
Not much more than a year ago, I set foot in a therapist’s office to receive my first treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The weeks before that day in July, 2015, I came incredibly close to taking my own life. Cocooned in trauma, wrapped in lies and bathed in shame, all I saw and felt in those suicidal moments was a pain so deep I couldn’t bare one more second alive.
A little more than a year earlier we had buried my mother after a five month battle with glioblastoma multiforme (brain cancer) on the other side of the world. By the grace of God we were able to keep her home until her very last breath. But the memories of watching my precious Mum, the daughter of the Most High King, be broken by the ravages of cancer, day in day out, as I bathed her, fed her and held her would return with a vengeance, woven into lies that had rooted within me as a child, when I’d also watched someone suffer, and been unable to stop what broke my heart in two.
During the weeks of waiting for the strength to ask for and to receive the help I needed, I listened to one song in particular, again and again. I now look back and see God’s protective hand tethering me through the powerful Scriptural Truths of this song:
I am not alone, Kari Jobe
(based on Psalm 23, Exodus 14:14, and Isaiah 43)
When I walk through deep waters,
I know that You will be with me.
When I’m standing in the fire
I will not be overcome.
Through the valley of the shadow
I will not fear.
I am not alone,
I am not alone,
You will go before me,
You will never leave me.
In the midst of deep sorrow,
I see Your light is breaking through.
The dark of night will not overtake me;
I am pressing into You.
Lord, You fight my every battle,
And I will not fear.
You amaze me,
You call me as Your own.
You’re my strength,
You’re my defender,
You’re my refuge in the storm.
Through these trials
You’ve always been faithful.
You bring healing to my soul.
More than anything, I felt so incredibly alone through the horrors of PTSD. I had and still have an incredibly loving husband, family and friends, but in those moments when my rational brain shut down as flashbacks poured in and took over, overloading my senses, all love was covered in darkness. And each time the darkness slowly lifted, shame took over and pressed me away from reaching out and accepting help from loving hearts and hands.
But through each battle of the blinded brain God held me tethered through the sword of His Truth. He was fighting for me, when I could not do so for myself. When the enemy tried to take my life, to tell me I was all alone and had no single reason to live, I joined Kari in singing and filling myself with Life to counter death and reciting the assurance of Romans 8: 38 – 39 I had pasted to our fridge, over and over again. No, “deep waters … fire … sorrow … fear … darkness … [and] trials” of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder could not hold His Power at bay.
One night, as I retreated once again to my room to listen to this beautiful song, as flashbacks pressed down upon me, I closed my eyes and saw my mother bathed in the light of angels lifting her into heaven. In leaning into the arms of my strength, my defender and my refuge in the storm, He had opened my eyes to see. As quickly as it came, the vision disappeared and I began to wonder if I’d just been wishing it into being. But a few months later the same vision returned, during the therapy session that would truly “bring healing to my soul”. Yes, as Kari sings, the LORD of my soul has been faithful, still is and always will be, for I am NEVER alone, and neither are YOU, His precious, chosen, beloved child.
Anna Smit is a lover, daughter and friend of the Most High King, beloved wife to her Dutchie, and blessed Mummy to two precious girls (almost 4 and 6). Kiwi-born and raised with stints in Germany (1984 – 1989, 2000 – 2001, 2002 – 2003) and Switzerland (2001 – 2002), she has been living in the Netherlands since 2003. A former high school English teacher, turned stay-at-home Mum, writer and author of Love Embraced – A Journey in and through Suffering. She blogs at Joy of the Spirit Within, her heart being to shine the Light of God into the darkness through sharing testimonies to His glory and grace, both her own and those of others (see: Breaking Light and 31 Days of Miracles).
If you’d like to connect with Anna on social media, you can find her here: