depression healing

From Emotional Paralysis to Healing

12:00 PMHeather

The thing about depression is that it when it takes root, it spreads through your thoughts and feelings like weeds. It chokes out the sun and steals all the water, growing bigger and lying to you about your life. 

For me, it bossed me around saying I was uninvited and rejected. It shaded everything until all the color ran out and life felt like an endless, staticky black and white rerun with nothing but hues of gray. This became the filter through which I saw my past, my every day, and the endless consuming future with no hint of vibrancy.

What you perceive becomes your reality and the problem is that we so often color our world with misperceptions.  In June 2018, I finally told my doctor that I felt as though I was constantly chasing away a black cloud that wanted to consume me. It included the heaviness of past wounds and a dread for the future. Only after he began treating my depression could I begin to catch glimpses of the truth. Only when I began to feel like myself again could I see how very unlike myself I had been. Gradually, the footing of the true reality began to take hold and the weighty burden lifted.

So often, that’s how we learn the most profound lessons. We experience dark places and feel alone, seeing no light at the end of an endless tunnel. It likes to deceive us that this is all that there will ever be. Dark, hard, heavy, overwhelming. 

But it’s not true. As Moses begged to see the glory of God in Exodus 33, we want to feel something that will break through it. We feel a need to witness with our own eyes what hope is, in an audible voice from heaven. Yet, God responded to Moses’ request by placing him in the dark cleft of a rock, covered by his hand, as his glory passed by. “Then, I will remove my hand you will see my back; but my face must not be seen,” (Exodus 33:23).

What feels dark and lonely and hopeless might actually be the truest reality passing by, which we can only see in the aftermath. That’s how revelations of God’s glory often work. For me, this year has included these tiny evidences of God at work, such as being asked to lead a small group discussion for a women’s Bible study. This might not seem like a big deal, but for me, a year prior, I wouldn’t have fathomed that I had the bandwidth to step out, lead, and connect in such a social setting.

The truest reality is this. God is the Master and Author of our faith. Following Jesus means we will be taught, disciplined, and held. We just don’t always feel the holding until the discipline is over. Then, we look back and see how it was all being woven together. We battle and fight and feel defeated and press on and our God wastes not one tear for his glory.

When I was a nineteen-year-old college sophomore, suddenly without parental support and experiencing deep grief, I put one foot in front of the other, stumbling to hold it together. Today, my forty-eight-year-old self wants to cheer that girl on and whisper to her that someday, when she becomes a college mom, God will connect all these dots and do something with it. He will take the idea of creating care packages with other college moms and grow it to be something he’s dreamed. The joy that I feel from my Box Club organization is the wonder of pains from twenty-seven years ago, knit together into redemption through a college mom community offering college student support.

In whatever battle you are fighting, consider the truest reality of how God never wastes our pain and let that offer footholds as you keep climbing up the wall of the pit.

excerpt from Chasing the Kingdom: Finding Purpose through the Book of Esther, by Heather Enright. Coming Fall 2019.

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