In the Desert



Deuteronomy 32:10 – “In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye.”

After the break up, I finished my semester with a 1.3 GPA. I went home ragged and discouraged. I continued to eat too much and sulk. I started a job at a local nursing home, which was not a positive place to be. I woke up at 5 am and worked until 2 pm in a hot, dark, basement. It was working in food service, and I had a new respect for people who work so hard. These women had really rough lives and they complained a lot, with good reason. This actually ended up being a blessing. I was drawn to people I could encourage.  I loved reaching out of my pain and trying to spur others on. It was so cathartic.

I joined Weight Watchers with my mom, after reaching a new low in my self-esteem. It involved me trying to eat an entire 9×13 pan of dirt dessert in the middle of the night. There were tears and shame. Those tears and pain were, however, leading me to a place of taking care of myself again. I was able to turn around me eating and lost twenty pounds that summer. I returned to campus with a renewed joy in exercising. Exercise for me, was then, and is now a great way to combat my depression. When you exercise you have a release of endorphins that are “feel good hormones.” They work on the brain like medication does, at the chemical level. It, also, offers distraction. Your brain will reset itself, while you exercise, and can help break the cycle of negative thinking. Of course, I knew none of this at the time. I didn’t even know I was depressed. I just thought I was taking care of myself. It wasn’t until I was into hospital for post part depression that I put a label on what I had experienced. Faith was another huge component of my healing.

I began picking up books and reading again. The Lord led me to books by Elizabeth Elliot.   Passion and Purity was a book that really changed my life. Elizabeth’s story is one of longing but trusting. Doubt and faith, all at the same time. Despite the struggles Elizabeth had, she always trusted the Lord. She was a woman that had to wait so very patiently for marriage. Then, she and her husband finally married. They had a precious child, and her husband was murdered by the tribe her family was there to share the gospel with. Not only her but multiple other families. She waited so long to be married and it was ripped away.  The part that was so transforming was what she did after. She didn’t fall into a pit and never get out. She and other women went back to the tribe. They lived among them and shared the gospel. I knew that, if she could survive her pain, then mine paled in comparison. I could come out of the pit. By the grace of God, it worked. My life and out looked changed. I went back to college and made dean’s list. I would actually change my major from pre-med to Biobehavioral Health and never come off Dean’s List again. I had a few months of healing under my belt, when my grandmother passed away from Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

I was horribly sad, but we had known and been preparing for awhile. As I arranged to go to the funeral, I had the weirdest thought. For the first time, since childhood, I reminisced about a boy I had known since birth. He lived in the asme town as my grandmother. I remembered seeing a picture of him at his great aunt’s house a few years prior. He was handsome. Maybe he would be at the funeral, I thought. However, I had more pressing issues and dismissed the thought.

The day of the funeral, I opened the program and looked desperately for the name Lisa Leeper. It was this gentleman, Brian’s, mother. My grandmother loved her singing, and I couldn’t imagine her not singing at her funeral. However, no Lisa Leeper. Again, I dismissed this distraction. During the service, I finally saw her. His mother, on the stage. I looked at the program, again. Williams. Leeper was her maiden name. After all of this time, I had forgotten Brian’s last name. Williams. Maybe he was there. Suddenly, a phone rings loudly. Surely, it would be quickly silenced. No, someone was answering this call and making their way out of the service. I turned around, and there he was. Dashingly handsome in bright blue and orange, answering his phone. He was clearly pompous, and I turned around disgusted. But he was cute.


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