In late 2016, I entered what some might call a “dark night of the soul.”
In years prior, no matter what I faced in my life, I always found motivation and energy in my role as the leader of Restoration Place Counseling. Though very challenging, the work was exhilarating and fulfilling. But then something changed. Instead of exhilaration, I felt exhaustion. The productivity of the day began to be measured by the Candy Crush level I attained. And… well, there was my red flag.
When I looked at my life, this is all I saw:
– Still single, and about to turn 50.
– Polycystic Kidney Disease, and the reality that I would need a transplant.
– Burned out from 12 years of nonprofit work.
Something had to change.
So I took the advice that I would have given most anyone in the same boat.
– I reached out to a psychiatrist.
– I made an appointment with a counselor.
– And I planned a sabbatical.
It was around late January (2017) when the Board of Directors’ approved my request for some time away, and from that moment until the beginning of July, I held onto a view of the Sawtooth Mountains in central Idaho – the place where I would find rest for my soul and rejuvenation of my spirit. (You can read more about my adventure here and here.) I’d like to say I was holding on to God – and, of course, I was at some level – but admittedly, my faith had taken a beating and I’d been too tired to fight back.
So I set off on my solo trek to Stanley, Idaho (population: 63) – the gateway to the Sawtooth range. Maybe it was the wild beauty or the expansive mountainous terrain. Maybe it was clean, fresh air and only 10% humidity (if you know me well, you know how significant that statement is!). Maybe it was pushing myself to the top of Lookout Mountain or being roped to my ice-axe wielding backpack guide while crossing a snowy pass.
Or maybe God simply showed up. Maybe, without me even realizing it.
All I know is that something changed. Now, let me be clear. None of my circumstances changed. I returned in August still a few short months from turning 50 (which I have now, and really, it’s not that bad). There had been no miraculous healing of my kidneys. And, there was still a nonprofit ministry to run.
But still, something had changed. This must be what Paul wrote about to the Philippians – the peace that passes all understanding…
I prefer the way the Amplified Version of the Holy Scriptures translates it – “And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].” (Phil. 4:7)
That peace has once again become mine. And my prayer for you, my friend, is that you also are entering this new year with that peace, even if it’s in the midst of a storm.