The holidays ended. Shaun walked on eggshells trying to control his frustration. I was left empty and alone. I began what I call the “robot phase.” I got up, did what I had to do and then went to bed. I didn’t care too much or care too little. I just didn’t care. Things would happen in others’ lives and I was numb. It’s hard to describe a state of no emotion but that is where I was most of the time.
When I did feel something, it was resentment. I resented Shaun for getting me pregnant. Resented the ministry because I felt we were unqualified and God was teaching us a lesson. I resented friends who were getting their prayers answered. Everything around me I resented. As I sowed the seed of resentment and made sure to water it every day, bitterness took root. I had convinced myself that God was real but upset at us. He was trying to get our attention. I thought maybe He is punishing us for past mistakes. I felt God was trying to get our attention and we were not listening. Shaun would see God’s blessings but I only saw His absence. God would answer 10 prayer requests yet I couldn’t get over the one He didn’t answer. I could not enjoy anything. My joy was gone.
That’s what bitterness will do. It will steal your joy. You will be focused on the bitterness in your life you miss and the positive. It’s the microscope verses telescope perspective. Everything that happens is examined and magnified by the telescope. Everything is a big deal. Here I was in the middle of bitterness. When it takes root, it is hard to pull up. When you are bitter, you do not realize it. Everyone else is the problem, not you. It is a self-focused pit and so very difficult to climb out of.
The ministry was a gift to me. It pulled me out of my house several times a week. Though I struggled, I did not want others to know. Having a commitment kept me from completely disappearing. I also knew that I wasn’t myself. I knew I wanted my joy back. Through all of this, I read my Bible. God still seemed silent yet I had to do what I always did. I am stubborn by nature so I was determined to not give up. I knew I needed to keep myself obligated to the outside world. I came up with the idea to try and get some houses to clean. This would give me something to do and some extra money. Shaun agreed and I began the search. Within a week, I had two houses. During the times that I cleaned, I listed to sermons. You cannot fight your hurt outside of the word of God. So began my journey of having “church” a couple times of week.
This was not an instant fix. My struggle was still very real. However, I fed my soul each week. I did what I knew was right even though I didn’t feel like it. If I were going to try and lose weight I could not do something for one day and expect miracle results. My mental health is the same. I had to feed it well for many months.
Reflections: I now see the bitterness. But at the time, I really felt it was everyone around me. Bitterness is the feeling that you were wronged and harboring that feeling. That is exactly how I felt. I lived the verse Hebrews 12:15…Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled. I had bitterness spring up and it defiled me and my family. There is no way to be bitter and not hurt those around you.
Response: If you are depressed, you are the only one that can make changes. Please get yourself involved in things that pull you out of the house. Go to church, go to a counselor, volunteer somewhere, get a part time job or commit to meeting with a friend. If you have nothing pulling on you to focus on something else, you will stay at home and focus on yourself. I know this is hard. To some, it will seem impossible. I am here to tell you if you take a step in the right direction today, then each tomorrow will be a little easier. This is your journey you have to fight! No one can fight for you!
Resources: Something I found to help me is journaling. Write down how you are feeling. If that is not enough, then you may need counseling. Total Life Counseling and New Beginnings Counseling are two groups that offer Christian counseling in Roanoke. Admitting you need help is the first step. I heard Chanda Pierce, the Christian comedian who suffered from extreme depression, say something so simple yet profound. She said that if “you were a diabetic you would take insulin. If you had heart problems, you would go to the doctor and take any medicine they suggested. Why do we treat the organ in our head different than the organ in our chest?” Sometimes help is exactly what you need. Lastly, a great online radio station that has preaching all day is Christliferadio. Fill your soul with the things of God.
Next week: I will share about the day I fell to my knees, what God taught me about myself and the deliverance of my darkness.
April Minnix, daughter of the King
Proverbs 12:25 Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.