It’s been a while…months…my pen has run dry…I’ve had no words. I still struggle with the words. I have been broken down until nothing was left. But I know that I must pick this pen up. I must pick up and keep going, keep living, keep writing. So here are my thoughts, lessons learned, and my new realities.
Depression…a word I never thought would become part of my vocabulary, my journey. A word that I thought others struggled with, but not me, at least not until last summer. I have a beautiful marriage, 2 children that bring me joy, the best job, and I get to serve in the ministry alongside my husband. So why is this word now a part of my world?
I’ve always said that I would share my journey through this life with others. If my life can be a testimony, can minister to someone, can give someone hope, then it is worth it. When I went through my miscarriage a number of years ago, I shared my story. I was amazed at how many people opened up and shared their story because I had been open and vulnerable, some for the first time. This is no different. Depression is not a pretty part of my story, but it is part of it, nonetheless. May it bring hope and comfort to those walking this same road, and may it give hope to those that love someone walking this part of the journey.
Last summer I experienced some things that were beyond my control. I began to fall into depression and before I knew it, a month had gone by and I was drowning. I was forcing myself to be part of the world around me. I had the most amazing support from my husband and children; I knew that my God had not forsaken me, yet I still felt myself spiraling. There were times that the pain was more than I could bear, and all I could do was close my eyes. Maybe then the pain wouldn’t continue to suffocate me. I began to feel guilty. How could I say that I trust Jesus but allow this pain into my heart, my life? What would others think of me? A Christian, a pastor’s wife, and yet I couldn’t climb out of this pit? I think that was just it. I couldn’t climb out of the pit. There was nothing I could do. I soon sought medical help and joined many others that I know on antidepressants. I felt like I was betraying Him. Betraying the one that created me, that loves me and continues to carry me. But I knew that I needed help.
This was the beginning of a nine-month journey that I am still walking, still fighting, still learning. As difficult as this journey has been, I wouldn’t trade the lessons that the Lord has taught me for the world. My prayer is that by sharing my story and my thoughts, my journey can be a testimony and an encouragement to those who are walking this journey.
For those of you walking this journey:
1. Know that you are NOT alone! You have a Heavenly Father that thinks the world of you and loves you because you are HIS creation. He bought you with the blood of the lamb. You are HIS! There are so many others out there walking the same road, fighting the same fight. That is probably one of the most important things I’ve discovered. When you make yourself vulnerable, others will too. You are NOT alone!
2. Live ONE day at a time. Survive today. Get through today. The Bible says not to worry about tomorrow because tomorrow has its own worries. Give today to the One who holds today AND tomorrow. My spirit is overwhelmed when I begin to think of all the worries tomorrow holds, but when I focus on today, this moment, His presence in this moment, then I have the strength to make it through today.
3. Know that you were fearfully and wonderfully MADE. He created you in HIS image and His image is PERFECT! Right now we can only see in part- dimly as in a mirror, but some day we will see face to face. Now we only know in part, but someday we will know in full just as we are fully known by Him!
4. Get up. Some days all I could do was celebrate the fact that I had gotten up and out of bed. Do the things you can do. Celebrate life. Jesus came to bring LIFE and life more abundantly. I look back at the times I’ve been in the valley this past year, and the times I regret are the times I’ve missed celebrating life with my husband, my children, my family and friends.
5. Know that what you are going through is OKAY. It is okay if you need help and can’t do it on your own. Be honest- tell someone you need help. You were not made to go through this alone. God doesn’t want you to go through it alone. He wants you to cry out- He is in the HELPING and RESCUING business!
For those of you walking beside someone on this journey:
1. Reach out- your loved one needs you. They need to know that they are not alone. They’re still going to go through this season. It may not fix it for them, but they’ll know they aren’t walking alone.
2. Pray. Some days it feels like the only thing you can do, but it is the BEST thing you could do. Intercede for them- cry out for them. The Bible says that the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
3. Love. LOVE with an unconditional love- let them know that no matter what, you love who they are and will walk with them. Show them love- show them what it means to love and be loved.
4. Be a SAFE place. This journey is so difficult and can be so lonely. Be someone they can open up to without feeling like they’re being judged.
5. Did I say pray? PRAY daily and sometimes hourly for them. Cry out on their belief. One of the hardest things for me has just been knowing what to say- finding the words on my own. Pray for them when it is difficult for them to pray.
Above all else, run to the One who knows. Knows your heart, your situation, and your being. There is One who is trustworthy. There is One who cares about you- He knows your thoughts and longs to lead you and guide you. Some days I have to convince my soul to rise and praise Him. The amazing thing about our Father is that He never leaves us- it doesn’t matter what state of life we are in. Whether we are walking on the mountain or through the valley. So I will praise Him- He is life, He is hope, and He is my all.
1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.