For too long I have been unwilling to label myself depressed. That was a mental health issue among others that my mother suffered from and besides I didn't feel that bad. Or did I? After what seemed like a long "season" of ups and downs, foster parent training and other eye opening experiences I was ready to call it what it was. I was depressed. I was tired. I saw no end to the struggle. And yet my faith was strong. My relationship with the Lord was continuing and so I tried to reconcile the two positions. Can a feeling of depression reside in the same heart with the living God? Was my depression evidence of a lack of faith and trust in God to see me through this time in my life?
I remember the night clearly. It was almost dinner time, Chris was home from work helping me in the kitchen as he usually does and we were talking about the day. The kids were in the basement playing and I could hear them carrying on being wild like boys are prone to do. It was just another day. I don't remember if it had been a harder than normal day, but it lead to me laying on the floor crying. After posting a picture of Toby on Facebook I got comments about how blessed Toby was to be in our family and what great parents we were. My only thought was, "if they only knew." I'm not a super hero. This parenting thing has ripped at the threads holding me together and exposed some very raw feelings. Raising these boys, especially our adopted son has not brought out the best of me at times. And the words meant to encourage me cut to the quick.
Not wanting the boys to see mommy on the kitchen floor crying I went upstairs to take a bath and compose myself. I poured my heart out to God, crying for some kind of help, angry for not feeling equipped for the task at hand and ashamed that I was rejecting my son in my heart. Looking back there was so many more feelings and troubles piled up in there, many that I had yet to unpack. In my desperation I asked God to just let me die. That pain did not quickly subside and the struggles continued and even then I was not willing to admit I was suffering from depression.
God did not answer my prayer that night they way I wanted; instead he poured his soothing balm of scripture over me. Words of peace like
"my grace is sufficient."
"all things work to the good of those who love me."
"In this world you will have trouble, but do not fear for I have overcome the world."
"Consider it pure joy my brothers
when ever you face trials of many kinds because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Perseverance must finish it's work so that you may be complete."
"Be strong and courageous"
"I will make all things new"
"beauty from ashes"
"How high and how wide is the love of Christ"As it did that evening it doesn't always come out of my heart word for word as it is in scripture, but God never the less reminds me of his words. They help to "take my thoughts captive" and to let God heal the hurting places.
We can look at scripture and see that many great heroes of the faith have been where we are, lost in despair crying out to God to bring it to an end. He did not leave them or forsake them and He will not leave us either. For further study see Moses in Numbers 11:10-16 and Elijah on the run in the wilderness in 1Kings 19.
Being Christians doesn't make us super heroes with an immunity to suffering. Depression is not a sign that you are dangerously close to loosing your salvation or that you have lost your trust in God's ability. For me I doubted myself, not God.
You never know how your honesty will give permission to someone else to open up and begin on their own path to healing.