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Beyond The Edge
'Broken, desperate and humiliated, I entered the house. When I saw Steve and Katherine, my heart felt like it was going to explode in agony. They did not deserve this madness in their lives ...' Cut off by a dense fog of post-natal depression and anxiety, Hazel Rolston felt pushed beyond the edge. But when the grim voice of Despair offered her the path of suicide, she knew instinctively that this was not God's way for her. Read her autobiography and blog.
Hazel doesn't offer us a formula for instant escape. But she does remind us that God is there, even if our feelings say the opposite. No matter how bad things feel, God is faithful to his wounded, broken people beyond the edge.
* 'Read this book and be changed to reach out with Jesus' compassion.' Alie Stibbe
* 'As Hazel lays bear her heart, we discover, not slogans or rhetoric, but authentic hope. This gritty, immensely readable book is more than a tonic. It's a lifesaver.' Jeff Lucas
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Does God know our limits? Will he let us be tried beyond what we can bear, or will he provide a way out so we can endure our suffering? Even in my darkest moments, I never doubted that God was with me. Yet in some ways this made me feel worse! Why would he not rescue me when I knew he could?
When our ten-week-old daughter suffered a cardiac arrest, I instantly felt pushed beyond the edge, where I became lost and cut off by the fog of anxiety and severe post-natal depression. There I experienced deep, passionate emotions, which forced me to face questions I would rather have ignored. This book is about my struggle to leave that rough terrain behind while confronting deep spiritual issues.
Until my descent into depression, I had always been able to sort out my theological questions by listening to the teaching in my church services and through housegroup Bible study and personal reading. Struck down by a postviral illness many years ago, I was able to rely on God by ?journaling? my prayers and by sensing the presence of God in the absence of immediate theological answers. However, when I encountered acute anxiety and post-natal depression, all these things became inaccessible to me.
So how do you maintain your faith when you are suffering from an illness that removes all clarity of thought and demolishes any chance of feeling the hope of your faith, or sensing God? You hang on to what you know to be true, even though you do not see or feel it personally! This was what kept me trusting God and practising my faith throughout my anxiety and post-natal depression: my knowledge and experience of God before my illness. Thus, when the grim voice of Despair offered me the path of suicide, I knew God had not planned that route for me. Even though I could not see it, there had to be another way out. However, I needed sustenance to maintain that stance, something I found through medical help, family, friends and prayer, to mention but a few.
Through this book I long to pass on to you what I have discovered: not a formula for instant escape or a prayer guaranteed to get you out of your messy place, but rather my belief that ?God is faithful and he will not let you be tempted beyond that you can bear, but when you are tempted he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it?. The way out may seem totally obscured by the fog of your anxiety or depression, but nevertheless I believe it is there.
However, even after we have left our depression, the way forward may seem unrecognizable, overshadowed by darkness. Injuries from my wild place meant that I was unable to climb to all the lofty heights of my desires and so, initially, I struggled to walk along the path that was accessible to me. Again, I was visited by Despair, who tried to entice me onto his path of destruction. However, as I now look back from a different place, I am so glad that I did not follow him but kept travelling in pursuit of God.
It is my hope that through sharing my story you too will see that, no matter how bad you feel or how wild and messy your life is, all is not lost: God can bring new life out of rough places. Often I have asked him, "Why have you given me the opportunity to write my story? I am not a model Christian." To which he has replied, "Because your story shows that I remain faithful, even to my prickly, wounded people 'beyond the edge'."
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Hazel Rolston, 14/11/2008
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