June 26, 2017

A New Road - Marnie Pohlmann

I walk down this road of life.
I trip and fall into a dark hole.
I get up and continue walking.

Again, I trip and fall into a dark hole.
I climb out and continue walking.

Once again, I trip and fall into another dark hole.
Deeper this time, it is difficult to climb out.
But I pull myself up and walk on.

And again, I fall into a deep hole.
But I decide to stay awhile.
Eventually, I climb up the wall and back onto the path.

I fall into a hole.
I realize how dark, dreary, and lonely it is.
I decide to decorate, to make it cozier.
I hang a picture of me as a child, and I write in my journal.
I scream pain onto the page in silent words.
No one hears, so I stay in the hole.
Time goes by.

Though I believe I am secure and comfortable in my hole,
I begin to notice light up above.
I continue to write in my journal.

Then I hear a voice, calling to me.
He says he will help me get out of my hole,
He says, if I choose, he will walk with me on my path.

I think about it, but am frightened.
I know my hole.
I don't know outside, or down the road.
I am not sure I can trust the voice.
Yet he continues to call.
His words appear in my journal.
Finally, I agree to meet him.

He reaches down and helps me out of my hole.
I bring my journals.
He walks with me.

Just when I am about to trip into a deep hole,
He catches me.

We continue walking.
I sometimes almost fall into other dark holes,
But as I trip, he holds me.
I still skin my knees sometimes and he lets me cry,
but he comforts me.

We walk on.
And now He guides me down a different road.

I based this story on a poem I read many years ago. That poem did not have the journals or God calling to me, but it did end with learning to walk a new road. I have not been able to find the original author's name or even the original words. Over the years I have seen this idea of repeatedly falling into the hole, decorating the hole, and eventually choosing a new road, become a picture of my life.

I have a love-hate relationship with the journals I have kept on my journey. On one hand, they contain pain, struggles, and rebellion; times I do not wish to relive. On the other hand, they contain answers from God to my pleas, and they show how He has been at work in my life all these years.

My goal a while ago was to read through those journals to see what I could use in my writing. I was nervous about this project so decided this would be an exercise in research, not a reliving of the past. An emotional detachment was the key, or so I thought. I knew God was with me, holding my hand and ready to point out the gems of what He wanted me to share through writing.

And then I found myself again in a dark hole. Not because of my journals, but because of life circumstances which I found overwhelming. I returned to childhood coping methods I know do not work and once again believed the old messages of shame and worthlessness. Then I began to decorate my hole with pictures of everything wrong with me and my present life. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder once again settled into the corners of the darkness, bringing alive all the negative emotions of childhood, the work I do, and cancer.

I was depressed, yes, but I was not afraid - I am not afraid. In the dark times, God is present. When I am struggling, God is at work. He will not ever leave me, Scripture says, and He never has, so I know He won't this time. He calls to me and reaches down to help me out of the hole again.

Emotion is part of the past as much as it is part of today. If I am to read and write from my life journals, I must do it acknowledging and including all the feelings and emotions, not as a dry research paper. Memories in my journals may be dark, but I believe I will also see where the Sonshine drew me out of the holes. Rather than being nervous about this project, I am now excited to discover and re-discover God's presence in my life and how He so gently leads me to walk with Him on a new road.

I have been sporadic in my journaling lately. Writing ideas are strewn about in various pretty journals, church bulletins, Bible Study notebooks, and even in my phone. Personal woes and joys are dated with months between the entries. I have found I miss having (making) the time to journal.

This month's posts have been inspirational, showing me how journals are a gift. I now realize that organizing the thoughts, lessons, and ideas in those journals is also a gift. 

I think I'll start (another) new journal.

Photos courtesy of CCO License: hole - pexels.com;  girl, journal - pixabay.com

Marnie struggles and journals in northern BC. Visit her blog, Phosphorescent, to read her adventures in absorbing and reflecting God's light in dark times.


  1. Ah, Marnie... As a fellow pit-dweller, I can relate. The hole is familiar, known. Not nice, but predictable. I know how to live in that hole. Jesus, though, asks that I trust his outstretched hand. When I do, he takes me to the unfamiliar. That, for me, is the challenge. With no energy, desire,or motivation, can I summon the free-will strength to call on Jesus and submit to his hand and the journey he has in mind for me, a journey which is beyond the familiarity of the pit? Yes, that's the challenge.

    1. Yes, the challenge - but also the reward. "With no energy, desire, or motivation, can I summon the free-will strength to call on Jesus..." Sometimes, no, I cannot. But He plants the desire and gives strength so eventually I can. With faith as small as a mustard seed.

  2. Thank you for your honesty, Marnie. I so relate to what you are saying - there's been a lot of falling into holes lately for me too. Sometimes it is so very dark, but God keeps calling me back to the Light, to Himself. I get what Bobbi says, too, that even when Jesus calls we sometimes lack the strength or motivation to take Jesus' hand, and instead keep on dwelling in the familiar hole. There seems to be a lot of people hole-dwelling and falling, or is it just that we are being more open now about our struggles? Thank you Marnie. Glad to have a fellow hole-faller, and path-walker with Jesus.
    Pam M.

    1. Perhaps it is that we are more open now, or perhaps we just cannot hide in the hole any longer. We sometimes think our struggles are hidden, that no one is hearing our pleas for help, but really our struggles are very obvious for others to see and they just don't know how to help. I think speaking out about it is how we can help one another turn our eyes toward the Sonshine. As Marcia says, to spur one another on. We are not alone :)

  3. Profound as always... I'm dangling a leg into a pit today but feel God's hand holding me from jumping in. :)

    1. Sorry you are having a tough day. Before we fall into the hole is when we can choose... God is holding onto our hand, and we can turn to face him and even reach with our other hand to grasp onto him. I know I had trouble thinking/doing that last year, but no matter how long we take, he won't be letting go. This season of healing will be a challenge for you, I'm sure. Praying you will lean into God as you rest. (((hugs)))

  4. I think I read this mid picture hanging in my hole today. Seriously I've been in more holes than I can remember. And just when I think that I will never fall in another one...I do. Some are easier to leave than others. I definitely needed to read this right now. I do need no matter how hard to stop hanging pictures and look instead to the way out. Thanks Marnie. Blessings to you.

    1. Yes, Gloria, in reading your posts I do believe we are kindred spirits with too many similar hole-dwelling times in our lives. Glad we both know the way to look to get out. God is faithful!

  5. Not everyone is aware of dysthymia, defined as 'persistent mild depression'.

    Consider mood as being on a scale of 1 - 10. If your normal mood level is 8 or 9, and a life event ambushes you, you may slip down to 4 or 5. Perhaps that's where Tracy is right now.

    If one has dysthymia, and their normal mood level is 5 - 6, when a life event happens, they're pushed down to a 2, or even a 1 on the depression scale. When you're that low, it's very hard to climb back up.

    Those of us with dysthymia feel normal at a 5-6 level, but it means we're vulnerable to deeper depression that others might be.

    There. Psych Class 101 concluded. :-)

    1. I understood I was naturally a "glass half empty" gal no matter how much I try to match the mood levels of the happy gratitude people around me. This makes so much sense! Yes, we fall deeper, and perhaps we feel deeper, too, and that is not a bad thing. We are able to know God in the dark (under the shelter of his wings) as well as in the light. I did not know the term dysthymia, though. Good to know fact, not just my feelings, say depression is not a bad thing, as in sinful, but is a different way of responding to life. Thanks!

    2. Thanks for the info Bobbi. I have always felt that it seemed easier for me to slip than others but wasn't sure why; although I do think that early childhood trauma makes me more susceptible in ways. I also have never heard of the term dysthymia but I sure relate to your description. And yes, slipping down to a 2 or 1 is extremely difficult. I have had to learn ways to 'watch' myself so I see the warning signs before I slip so far because yes, once I do, it's a long, long road back up. As Marnie said, it is also freeing to realize that it is not a 'sin' to feel this way but a different way of responding to life; albeit one that needs great care.

    3. The theory is that early trauma can shift brain chemical composition so a person becomes dysthymic. Then they're pre-disposed to clinical depression. For adults, once they've suffered clinical depression, it's easier to slip back there. Kind of like spraining an ankle. It's always vulnerable after that, through no fault of the person owning the ankle!

  6. It is good we can talk more openly about the dis-ease of depression and how it affects our lives. The Good Lord knew we'd have "days like this," so he included the topic in his Word. You will find many highs and lows in the Psalms. In Psalms 145: 14, for example, we read, "The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all those who are bowed down." He will even deliver us from the Pit.

    In the Beatitudes, Jesus says,"Blessed are the poor in spirit." Maybe the poor in spirit had an imbalance in their serotonin levels, long-term stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, or dysthymia. (Thanks for this reminder, Bobbi.) Perhaps the poor in spirit will always be with us and we, who are so inclined, need to reach out to one another.

    We must bolster our courage and not give up for we have a Comforter in the Holy Spirit, who can give us the gift of joy. One of my loved ones recently commented that I am one of the last people he would think of as having depression. On the other hand, I know when I am tearful, anxious and not sleeping well, it is time to consider how I am looking after myself physically, emotionally and spiritually.

    Thanks, Marnie, for opening and leading this discussion.

  7. Yes, it is good to speak openly about these realities. And also to recognize God's place in them. He was/is/will be always present. While some may question why my faith in Almighty God did not keep me from the darkness, I believe more are drawn to the reality that God is with us no matter our feelings. He heals and comforts and teaches us new thoughts and new ways. Praise Him!

    1. Faith is not about feeling. It's about believing! Yes, Praise God!


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