Often nowadays on DVD'S there is an opportunity to view deleted scenes from films or dramas, so I thought within this website I would include a deleted chapter from my book.
Originally this piece of writing was going to be my post-script and the current post-script within the book was instead a chapter entitled 'Looking back from a different place.' However it was felt during the final edit that the book did not need the following post-script and it was deleted. To be honest by this stage in the process I was willing to accept the opinions of the literary professionals around me, as I felt that I could no longer stand back from my text and analyse whether or not it should be included.
Anyway, now is your chance to read it. I hope you enjoy this short reflection.
'Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror;
then we shall see face to face.
Now I know in part;
then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.'
Relieved that my faith had withstood my questioning, I was again ready to focus on my journey onwards. My jottings were starting to pile up and weigh heavily on my back and, as I walked on, I hoped that soon I could dispense with them by getting them either published or recycled. Still on antibiotics, I was feeling tired and half of my face glowed in its agony as we dealt with our next boulders.
Katherine was about to go into hospital again, for an investigation of her reflux under a general anaesthetic, and I dreaded it. When it came to taking her into the anaesthetic room, I suddenly felt like Abraham giving up Isaac to God. Everything within me recoiled at the idea of this procedure, and yet I had to let her go and place her in God's hands.
After a short while, Katherine returned with a good report. There were signs of only mild inflammation in the lining of her gut, and the doctors were pleased. We were just about to go to Greenbelt, but now I was not so sure of the timing. 'I want to go,' I said to Steve, 'but I don't think Katherine is up to it yet, so we will follow you in a day or two.' We had arranged to go with Steve's sister and some friends, and I agreed that they should go on ahead of us.
When Katherine and I arrived a couple of days later, I discovered there was a literary agent staying at Greenbelt, and decided to try to see him. I felt as if I had come up against another cliff, with rocks that were way too big for me to climb, and I joined the many who stood at the bottom in awe of their grandeur. I was on the verge of giving up on the idea of writing a book. 'I don't have the energy to climb this peak either, to bang on publishers' doors,' I told myself. 'If God wants me to climb up this one he is going to have to pull me up himself!'
Later that day, I saw the agent. I had actually forgotten about meeting him when I walked in and saw him unpacking his stand. 'Oh no, not now, Lord, I'm not in the mood. I just don't feel like talking about "the book"; he is not going to be interested in it,' I moaned. It was as if the Lord spoke to me himself: 'Hazel, I know how close you are to giving up on this idea, and that you feel like bypassing this obstacle. Just approach the rocks and leave the rest to me.'
'OK then, Lord, but this burden is heavy on my back and I feel unable to carry it for much longer. This may be my final shot.'
The kind, gentle man graciously stopped unpacking his stand and instead listened to my story. Then he agreed to read my proposal. Three months later I eventually sent it to him with a couple of short chapters. Soon afterwards, I was completely amazed when he accepted my manuscript. It was as if God had planted a guide for me at the bottom of the 'cliff of publication'. He was holding my name and, when I approached, led me swiftly to the top: a publisher. I climbed, bemused by God's sovereignty, which enabled me to climb one peak that was beyond my strength and yet not another, and positively answered one big prayer but seemingly ignored another.
Climbing this cliff has led me to a higher altitude, giving me an even clearer perspective on my life. While it has been a difficult hike, it has also been fulfilling and a huge confirmation of my belief in God's ability to bring new life from rough places.
The process of writing my story has made me face myself in minute detail, which has not been easy. Now I can see more clearly my own part in my struggle to take part in church life during my illness: anger and resentment made me difficult to relate to, and my anxiety and depression impeded my ability to communicate my needs and process information. I now regularly visit the church that I found difficult in depression and, with the benefit of improved mental health, can again fully enter into and enjoy its worship. Also, I recently read a document outlining the measures they are implementing to ensure the full integration of deaf people into church life, and I am encouraged by their commitment to do this. However, I still believe that some of the services and groups I attended during my depression could have been geared more towards people who were mentally ill, distressed or questioning.
Christians, like everyone else, sometimes face mental illnesses and desperate situations that make us feel desolate and which force us to face questions we would rather ignore. While we do have hope and a promise of a way to endure our trials, some situations make it very hard to see this and hold on. Paul suggests in 1 Corinthians 13:12 that we may be unable to answer all our questions in this life, as we can see only a poor reflection of God, and it is not until we see him face to face that we shall know him fully. Through my life's journey, so far, I believe that God has been teaching me to trust him whatever road I am on, and to follow him without a full understanding of his leading.
It is my hope that this book has inspired you to stick with God and his people throughout the rough terrain of life and in the presence of unanswered questions. I pray that you will be able to take away the lessons I learned from my experience of anxiety and post-natal depression and that they will assist you, or someone you know, to answer Despair when he comes with his taunts and to trust that a better path awaits. Finally, I hope that my chequered life has demonstrated that the Lord is faithful and that 'he hears the needy and does not despise his captive people'. Even though 'we now know in part; then we shall know fully, as we are fully known'. One day we will see our lives, our canvases, in their full perspective. The challenge God sets us is to trust him until that day.
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