Over the last two months as I have shared my story, I have realized a few things. First, many of you have struggled or are struggling with depression. Second, I hate to say that I have beaten depression. I am keenly aware that at any time the heaviness of my soul can return. Third, I realize the importance of telling my story. As sisters in this world, we need to be able to hear a story and feel connected. Lastly, telling my story has helped me heal even more. I had to do a lot of soul-searching and get rid of the pride that often shows its ugly head. With this being said, here is my conclusion, for now...
I started cleaning houses and filled my mind with preaching. I knew I had to feed my soul. I could not go on my feelings. My feelings were broken. I still struggle with my feelings ruling me. I am a work-in-progress. If I did not obligate myself to get out of the house, I would stay home and drown in my bed of sorrow. I listened to sermons and most days didn't really take to heart what was being said. I really think my getting out of the house and feeding my spirit was a type of therapy for me. If I had a heart attack I would have had to watch what I put into my body and would have to exercise. Why do we make so much effort in our physical life but not our spiritual? Our soul will never die. I had to invest in the eternal. I had to do right even when my desire was missing.
My cleaning routine and what I refer to as “church sessions” continued for several months. I did not expect instant results. I knew that there was no easy fix. So, I just kept going. Then one day, I felt it. I felt the Comforter reach down and touch my soul. I was cleaning on a Tuesday. I have no idea what the sermon, that was pouring in through my headphones, was about. What I felt was conviction. I felt broken at the anger I had felt toward the God who gave me everything. I felt grief for the child I lost. I went to the bathroom, shut the door and fell to my knees. I confessed to God everything I had been feeling. It was real and overwhelming. My aching heart spilled out my eyes and landed on the bathroom floor. In a puddle of my tears, I came to myself. I told God that He is God and I surrender.
Until this day, I felt so dark. I was hurt and angry. I wanted answers. God, who once spoke to me, had been silent. My pride and bitterness had closed heavens doors. God could not get to me because of the wall I had built. The moment I told God that I was sorry for my anger towards Him I felt the weight lift. Literally, I felt lighter. The sky that day was blue, like many days before, yet I saw it as though it was the first one ever. I can’t say that my joy was instantly and completely back. But I can say that, each day I moved towards God and each day He helped me heal. Day by day, He comforted me and loved me. I kept listening to sermons and praying and I felt God love me.
I am here today as a survivor of depression, an illness of mind and soul. One that has taken lives, ripped families apart, and stolen the ability to enjoy the moment. It may return. If so, I will share. But now, today, this moment I am burdened for all those that suffer. I am burdened for those who do not know Jesus, because all healing starts with Him. I am praying for the millions of people who are suffering, many in silence. I am here. God is here. You are loved.
Reflection: I now see God in my entire story. The loss, the lessons, the love. It was all there. My love story with my Heavenly Father. Uniquely mine. I now can thank Him for His silence and His deliverance.
Response: The scripture says if you draw near to God, He will draw near to you. The word draw means to bring near, to join one thing to another, to approach. It is a verb so you must do something. If you are a Christian, fighting depression requires steps each day towards God. Listen to soul-stirring music and sermons. Get counseling, do a Bible study, and find something that obligates you to get out of the house. God allows us to have a free will. He is not going to come down and physically grab you. You will not find freedom from depression if you do not take action any more than you can lose weight and not make diet and exercise changes.
Resources: If you are not in church, please find one. Community will change your life. Look for volunteer opportunities, if you don't have a job. Maybe at a hospital or an animal shelter? Also, you may want to start exercising. Try walking or yoga. Physical exercise is proven to help our mental health.
Lastly, if you have been doing all of these things for months or your thoughts are suicidal, please get medical help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 1-800-273-8255. If you need help, please reach out.
My future blogs will explore Struggles Women Face: How to Deal with your Hot Mess Emotions.
April Minnix, daughter of the King
Day by Day, is a Christian hymn written in 1865 by Lina Sandell several years after she had witnessed the tragic drowning death of her father. Listen to it HERE by Cody Anderson. It is a hymn of assurance.