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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

When Depression Moves In

What happened to my joy?

The question tugged at the corners of my soul as I trudged through each day. A dark cloud hovered over every waking moment. And sleep? That was a struggle, too. I had one bed-wetter and another child with night-terrors, so the sleep I did get was often fragmented and restless.

How I hated mornings. I dreaded facing a new day.

How can I be a good mom when I feel so sad, so weary, so…depressed?

Numbness presided over my heart. Things that used to bring joy now seemed empty and hollow. Routine tasks overwhelmed me with paralyzing force. I didn’t want to go out, didn’t want to do fun activities with my kids and especially didn’t want to talk about how I was really feeling.

Depression carries such a stigma. If I admitted my daily struggle, I feared people would see me as weak or unspiritual. They might lecture or give unhelpful help. They might judge me.

Oh, what a prison depression can be. It’s like walking through a deep, dark valley with insurmountable cliffs towering high above, blocking out any ray of light or hope for escape.

I’ve spent time there and come out the other side. May I share with you what I learned?

  • Get real with God. 

Jesus calls Himself “the God of hope” and invites us to pour out our hearts to Him.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13 ESV

“Trust in Him at all times, O people. Pour out your heart before Him. God is a refuge for us.” Psalm 62:8 ESV

His heart is kind and full of compassion, not condemnation. He can handle our pain and is not disappointed when we struggle. He is still a miracle worker and healer of hearts.

  • Let others in. 

It’s hard to own this struggle, but admitting our need and asking for help is a huge step in the healing process. Maybe it’s a trusted friend or a prayer group that can lift us up before God. Maybe it’s a doctor who can evaluate things from a medical perspective.

  • Do something for yourself. 

This may sound selfish, but sometimes it’s the healthiest, most unselfish thing we can do. We can’t pour into the lives of others if our own tank is on empty. Find something that gives you rest, even enjoyment, and make room for that in your life.

  • Progress, not perfection. 

The day may seem daunting, the job overwhelming. Instead of striving for perfection, aim for progress and rejoice in each step.

Our God is patient as He forms Christ in us. He is not in a hurry, nor is He disappointed that we’re not further down the road to recovery. Becoming like Jesus is a life-long process that God is committed to completing.

“And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 ESV

Depression is a cruel companion, but it does not define us. We are not helpless victims, but treasured children of an all-powerful God. He is always close at hand and has made us more than conquerors through His unconditional love.

Copyright © 2016 Meredith Mills. Published 8/23/16 as Parenting Through Depression on www.Just18Summers.com. Revised for CBN.com, used with permission.

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