"I'm Not Okay, Lord."

February 23, 2024 · by Regina Felty

She stared down at the paper, pen poised to add another entry to her growing list of tasks:

Bake cupcakes for the Sunday School picnic...Drop Jim’s suit off at the dry cleaners...Write a check for the HOA payment...Labs for doctor's appointment next week...Take Jeremy to shop for new shoes

    A lone tear trickled down her face, the list blurring as she stared down at it.

    “Lord, I’m not okay.”

    She didn’t understand. She was a faithful daughter of God. She sang in the church choir, paid her tithes, read her Bible faithfully, and prayed every morning. (Did I pray this morning? Yes, yes, I did.) So why wasn’t she happy? Why was there no peace? What was this dark cloud that hung low over her throughout the day?

    She tried to hide the pain, squared her shoulders, and maintained a cheerful smile whenever others were around. No one likes being around a Debbie Downer, right? Besides, she was a Christian and Christians live victoriously and aren’t dogged by depression, and never let negative thoughts linger. That would reveal her lack of faith or that she probably wasn’t praying enough.

    Would some well-meaning sister drag her to the altar on Sunday if they knew what she was struggling with?

    “Are you mad at me, God?”

    Pushing aside the list, she sank to the kitchen floor and allowed her head to rest against the cold cabinet as she wept. She spoke no words. She’d run out of words weeks ago.

    What else could she say anyway? Was God even listening? Had she sinned? God knew she was suffering, but remained silent to her cries. So the fault lies with her, right?

    “Why won’t you show me what to do, Lord?”

    She reached above her head and pulled the kitchen towel from the counter. She brushed roughly at the tears on her face, scrubbing harder than necessary to cause discomfort. Physical pain to distract her from the pain in her heart. Her gaze fell on her Bible that she’d left open on the table this morning. Next to it sat the empty coffee cup with its bright pink “It’s Gonna Be a Good Day!” emblazoned on its side.

    When was the last time she’d had a good day? She could only count a few over the past several weeks.

    Stop it! Stop feeling sorry for yourself!

    Clutching the towel in one fist, she gripped the edge of the counter and pulled herself up. A fresh torrent of tears flooded her eyes as she stumbled over to the Bible. Pushing the coffee mug with its offending marquee to the side, she lowered herself into the chair and pulled the book closer. Before her were the scriptures she’d underlined and colored, words she’d read over and over again. Words that meant so much to her—but were not for her. They couldn’t be. They were a soothing balm and a restoration of faith and hope—for someone else, for another woman.

    Not for me. God couldn’t be speaking to me.

    She read the words from this morning once again.

    “But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” (Isaiah 43:1-2 KJV)

    Her heart fluttered in her chest as the smallest ember warmed the coldness there. Oh, how her heart longed to believe these words for herself. How often she’d spoken them to another in their time of need and written them in cards that she’d slipped on a pew next to a hurting friend. But every time she’d tried to apply the balm of them to her own raw wounds, the message wouldn’t adhere. Thoughts of I’m not worthy or My scars are too deeply carved on my soul plummeted her like relentless grenades, disintegrating every mustard seed of faith and eviscerating all hope until there was nothing left of the ruins but fear and dismay.

    “Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.”

    But . . . what if? What if these words are for me too?

    She wept softly as she pulled the Bible to her, pressing it against her chest, willing the words to jump from the page into her heart. Her mouth moved as she formed the memorized words on her lips, but she made no sound. Her soul alone cried out to God, even though she couldn’t form the words.

    And Heaven answered.

    Not with overwhelming peace. Not by calming all her fears and righting everything in her world. No, the pain in her heart was still there, but—did she imagine it?—the ache had dulled, was almost bearable. She felt God for the first time in months, but His presence was so subtle that, had she not allowed her heart to still at that moment, she would have missed it.

    The still, small voice.

    He whispered to her heart of His love for her and reached out with just enough of His touch that she knew He was there. It was like lying in a fog in your hospital bed, yet sensing the weight of the hand that held yours. His presence spoke to her. “I am with you. I am carrying you. This will not last forever, but, for now, the storm will continue to rage. Yet, you are not alone. You won’t see me and, at times, you will not feel me. But I’ll be here. I promise. You’re going to make it through this.”

    She continued to weep, but waves of her anguish had abated to gentle tides of shaky trust. She didn’t know what tomorrow would bring, how she would take the next step—the next breath. But she knew now that, because God’s promise was not just for others, but also for her, she would not face it alone.

    “It’s going to be okay, Lord. I am going to be okay.”



    Photo Credit:  https://unsplash.com/photos/ti...

    Regina Felty

    About Regina Felty

    REGINA FELTY attends Faith Tabernacle in Tucson, Arizona. She is a published author who recently released her second fiction novel. Her free time is spent devouring books, spending time with her husband, Andrew, and trying to keep up with her rambunctious rat terrier.
    Besides dividing her time between being an author and her career as an American Sign Language Educational Interpreter, Regina also manages her personal blog, It’s a Felty Thing, and has a special place in her heart for troubled youth. Check out her website and find her on Instagram: 

    Website: www.rlfelty.com

    Instagram: www.instagram.com/reginafelty