It was only a few years ago that I first found myself in in the strange place the doctor labeled 'depression'. My family and I had been in some long term circumstances that had worn us down and eventually overwhelmed me mentally and emotionally. Up until then, I had been a fairly upbeat, people-loving, extroverted, person. I had experienced "down days", but they were nothing compared to the place I found myself in - I had shut down! I was in tears most of the time, unable to parent or be a wife, and could not walk out the front door without overwhelming anxiety. Eating became something I did to survive, as I had no appetite. Depression is complicated, and the way it is experienced can vary from one person to another. God, however, is continuing to guide and teach me, while reminding me of truths that never change.
6 Things God Is Teaching Me Through Depression:
- . Because sin entered the world, all of creation is under a curse–all creation groans. (Romans 8:22) We all will struggle physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The way God made our bodies, they send us warning signals to tell me that something needs to change, or that we need help. When we experience depression or anxiety, it is our brain's and emotion's way of telling us that something isn’t right.
- When I began my journey with depression, a godly counselor encouraged me to evaluate the big picture of who I was (mental/emotional, physical, and spiritual). He helped me sift through my circumstances to see if there was a need for change in some area of my life, he suggested that I needed to visit a doctor to rule out any physical factors that were causing the depression, and he reminded me of the reality of the spiritual battle we face.
- God regularly reminds me that He understands what I am going through (Hebrews 4:12). His Word tells me that His Son went through hard times emotionally. There were times that He was distressed, grieved, faced loneliness, experienced deep sorrow, and after the death of John the Baptist, He went into isolation (Matthew 14:13). He cried in prayer (Hebrews 5:7-9), and at times he was overwhelmingly sad (Isaiah 53:3). There was even a time that he was afraid his body would not survive the anguish he felt (Matthew 26:38).
- There are some very good doctors who understand depression. At the beginning of my journey with depression and anxiety, I began praying that God would lead me to the right source for help, and am under the care of a good doctor who was able to evaluate my situation and offer suggestions as to what might be helpful. God has also provided a few people who walk with me, and help bear my burden. (Galatians 6:2; Ecclesiastes 4:9)
- God reminds me that He never changes, even when everything around me is changing (Hebrews 13:8). He is my stability (Isaiah 33:6). When it feels like Satan is whipping me around, He has led me to the help I have needed, has sustained me, protected me, and enabled me to stand (1 John 4:4; Psalm 28:7).
- God provides the grace that I need to get through all forms of suffering (Hebrews 4:16). He uses physical and emotional suffering to cause me to go deeper in my relationship with Himself. He has allowed my weakness to manifest itself in the form of depression and anxiety, so that He can work more of His image into my life (Galatians 2:20; Galatians 4:19). God has enlarged my heart that I might love and obey Him, and love others more deeply. (Psalm 119:32; Galatians 6:2; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
What began only a few years ago is still a mystery to me. Since that time, depression and anxiety have been my off and on companions. They are not what I would have chosen, but God has used it to transform my life, and I am learning to embrace my weakness as something that was gifted to me by a loving Savior, for His glory and my good. I am so grateful for all He is doing through my experience with depression.
Gina Smith has been attending Solid Rock with her husband Brian for 8 years. They have been married for 28 years, and have a daughter and son who attend Solid Rock as well. Gina has published a book "Grace Gifts: Celebrating Your Children Every Day" and has her own blog ginalsmith.com focusing on the struggles and joys of following Christ and being a Christian parent.