The Terrible Thirst of Depression

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Written by Sharon Kaufman, Contributing Writer

An Unquenchable Thirst

Several weeks ago, in a conversation over lunch, a younger woman (mid-thirties) confided to me how severely depressed she has been in past months. I empathized with her, “I know what that feels like. I was depressed, until recently, for about four years.” This woman – I’ll call her Liz – responded, “YOU!? I never would have guessed it!”

She and many others never knew because I had covered it up. You know, Christians are not supposed to get depressed. As an older woman and leader among the women in my church, certain things were expected of me – or so I thought. I just kept smiling and saying things were fine. I wouldn’t even admit the depression to myself, thinking of it, instead as “a time in the wilderness”.

Like so many, I had experienced the terrible, unquenchable thirst of depression. I thirsted for God, but at the same time I wanted nothing to do with Him; I thirsted for joy, for the tears of sorrow that just wouldn’t come, for life, for death, for isolation, for comfort, for cleansing, for hope, for complacency, for passion, for sanity, for any kind of escape from the numbing prison of desolation I felt.

My friend, Liz, asked me, “How did you get better? Please tell me everything.” I related my story to her and will now tell you, dear reader.

An Attempt to Resolve the Depression Through Diet, Sleep, Supplements, etc.

When I first began to realize that this wasn’t just a slump that would pass, I tried to treat the depression by adjusting my lifestyle.coupleschoicerecommitted to eating an optimum diet and faithfully took my supplements, which included, cod liver oil, vitamins D3, E, C, CO-Q10, magnesium and a once daily multi – all of which were high-quality pharmaceutical grade.

Sleep evaded me. Falling asleep was no problem. Staying asleep was, waking by 1AM. I made changes to my schedule, consumed no caffeine, made sensible adjustments to the times we ate meals, etc., and of course consistently asked God to allow me to sleep. But it was not to be.

By dinnertime I was dead on my feet, “Surely”, I would think, “I’ll crash and sleep well tonight”. But that was never the case. And taking a nap was an exercise in futility.

I read good books such as Tired of Being Tired implementing the suggestions for depression. But this approach was of no avail. Though I maintained the changes, I knew there was something deeper going on.

Thirsting For a Silent God

Worst of all was the alienation I felt from God. For many years, I had tasted of the goodness of the Lord on a daily basis – so connected to Him. I thought that nothing would ever change that. I so wanted that intimacy back.

When I read the Bible all I felt was the sting of a silent God. I thirsted for Him, but found no help for my parched soul. Guilt weighed heavy on me as a result of failing to connect with Him.

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At one point I decided to read John Piper’s book When I Don’t Desire God, How to Fight for Joy but I couldn’t work up the desire. Sounds funny, but there I was caught in that spiritual-oxymoron. I wanted God, but I didn’t. It made me frustrated and angry that He would not disclose Himself to me.

My Lifeline

During this four-year period, I continued to teach a women’s Bible study, not by choice, but because the Lord simply would not allow me to step out of ministry. Though it was extremely difficult to stay put, it was definitely God’s tool for keeping my head above water, so to speak.

I absolutely dreaded teaching and who knows what the women got out of it. But as I studied, God encouraged me just enough to not give up on life. He fed me for others, but He was silent in the times I sought Him for myself.

Ministry became my lifeline. I remained connected to God’s people and to His word. But there was no joy in it and I felt like such a phony, such a hypocrite, which added more guilt to the depression.

Things Got Worse – Distractions and Cynicism

As this all progressed I began to discover many “good distractions”. Blogging, digital photography and scrapbooking were some. I actually preferred the distractions. I knew this was nothing short of idolatry, but there seemed to be no way out.

Like David, I cried, “How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death…” (Psalm 13:1-3).

An ugly cynicism swept over my mind and I doubted that I was even God’s child.

What’s Wrong Lord?

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As this distress continued, I faced up to the fact that God was allowing, even purposing my depression for a reason. That gave me a little hope. I knew I could look nowhere than to Jesus. Like Peter, I told Him, “Lord, to whom shall we [I] go? You have the words of eternal life…”.

David’s prayer became my own, “Search me, O God, and know my heart…see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).

This was the prayer God had been waiting to hear. It became my continued cry and He began to expose my heart. Over a period of several years, He revealed to me what I had not seen in myself – attitudes of unforgiveness, bitterness and pride. These were slow burning, subtle attitudes that had formed over a period of years, so none of it had been obvious to me.

Along with these revelations, God granted me repentance and restoration. As He peeled back the layers of my offenses, I thanked Him for His sanctifying work. But it seemed like joy would never return.

A Book, Childlikeness and Joy

Though I had been forgiven for harboring bitterness, etc., I had not been able to reconnect with the Lord. I yearned for sweet times of fellowship, but I just couldn’t seem to make it happen. My mind wandered, distractions prevailed and guilt compounded.

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Image by usmcmorningstar

Then, in the spring of last year, God directed me to a book during the time my husband was in Uganda on a short term preaching and teaching mission. A Praying Life – Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul Miller, caught my eye. Just the title ministered to me.

For the next two weeks I cried and prayed my way through the book. God used it to release me from my prison of self-imposed guilt. With this book He reminded me that I simply needed to come to Jesus messy, like a little child comes to his parent.

Miller writes, little children, “…come just as they are, totally self-absorbed. They seldom get it right…God cheers us when we come to Him with our wobbling, unsteady prayers…Don’t try to get the prayer right; just tell God where you are and what’s on your mind. That’s what children do. They come as they are, runny noses and all. Like the disciples, they just say what is on their minds. Come overwhelmed with life. Come with your wandering mind. Come messy…Jesus opens His arms to His needy children…”

So, with all my messiness, I ran to Jesus. And, O, how my soul soared. And the joy that came flooding in! I am now more tender toward the Lord than ever and He continues make Himself known to me day by day in His word.

MP900448383“If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” (John 7:37)

There are no words to express my thanks to God for His goodness. Even in His silence He was shepherding me, leading me in His paths of righteousness, drawing me unto Himself and beside the streams of Living Water whereby my thirst was finally quenched.

Spurgeon said, “Thirst is terrible, but Jesus can remove it. Though the soul be utterly famished, Jesus can restore it.”

Yes! He can and He does.

Have you recovered from depression? If so, how did that happen?

Stephanie’s disclaimer: Neither I nor my writer’s am not certified medical professionals of any kind and we are not qualified to give you medical advice. This site’s goal is to help to educate and inspire you to take responsibility for your own family’s health and make informed choices of your own, not to consult you on medical treatment. Depression is a serious and complex issue. Every case is unique and you should seek the best solution for your situation together with those who know you, through prayer, and with the help of qualified professionals.

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About Sharon Kaufman

Sharon has enjoyed being Robert’s helper for 34 years. She has also loved her role of being mom to their children – one son and three daughters (now all grown) – and “Granny” to seven, and soon to be nine delightful grandchildren. She is passionate about encouraging and equipping women in her church and beyond and also through her blogs (The Good Woman) and (Franziska's Pantry) to embrace and delight in their divinely-designed occupation as helpers.

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Comments

  1. I’m typing thru my tears right now. Thank you for putting into words what I’m feeling and am so unable to express, even to my husband. He thinks I choose this and it makes me so mad/unheard/unknown/unloved that he even thinks it, let alone says it. He can spend hours every day reading/studying/underlining his Bible and gets excited about it. I struggle to simply read a few verses each day and try to let Him speak into my life. I get mad that he’s spending all that time with God, while I’m struggling to keep up with my responsibilities. What would happen if I spent that much time doing the same thing? Or more accurately for my thoughts-what wouldn’t happen.

    I know, it’s crazy to be 1) Jealous of God, 2) Upset that my husband enjoys spending that much time studying His word, and 3) Feeling as though the sole responsibility for things getting done falls to me. But that doesn’t make the feelings any less real.

    We’re struggling with several other issues right now (and for a few years) and I feel there just isn’t any hope. Like God wants me to feel this way or He would answer my prayers to even just change my perspective and help me overcome the silly things that set me back. I feel like I have no time to spend with Him or doing anything that will help me get better. I want to stop the crazy cycle but feel powerless to do so. Perhaps 1 of the books you’ve mentioned will work.

    Thank you for sharing.

  2. Thank you. I am RIGHT THERE. I was sort-of thrown into the behind-the-scenes of our music ministry when our associate pastor (and his very musical family) left. though I love music and have always had a desire for this role, its timeing in my life has been bad. (but has there ever been a good time?). I have been struggling with bowing out of this ministry for a time, but am struggling because I KNOW the burdens it will place on the other 2 in my role. But I need to be obedient. This is just the tip of the iceberg on my struggling to get out of this spiritual depression and I needed to hear this post. Thank you for being obedient in sharing.

  3. I just posted about my mental health issues, as well. My post can be found here:
    http://crazyforthecountry.com/2011/01/04/new-year-time-for-change-part-2/

  4. Thank you, Sharon, for this post. I have a severe chronic illness and have been struggling with depression since it’s onset 4 1/2 years ago, but in the last year my body has grown a lot weaker, the depression has has been worse, and I have not been able to cope with it as well as I could before. Your post was encouraging and made me feel a little less alone.

    I feel apathetic and emotionless all the time, so any passion I once felt for God has dissolved, which drives me to guilt, and over the last six months I have often questioned whether or not I am actually God’s child. Doubt, cynicism, and fear have taken over where joy, assurance, and passion once reigned. There are days when I think this is how it will always be, so I’d better get used to it. But then there are also days when I see beyond my chemical imbalances, pain, fatigue, and brain fog to see God’s truth a little more clearly.

    A woman from my church gave me Paul Miller’s book a few months ago and I finished reading it in December. I found it very comforting. It helped to give me a little more hope and a little more faith in God’s mercy and goodness.

    • @Kate,
      Thank you for sharing, Kate. My heart goes out to you. I will be praying for you. Keep turning to Christ and asking Him to lift you out. Regardless of whether your depression is a physical or spiritual thing, He knows the end from the beginning and can direct you to what will help, whether that be specific super foods, other dietary changes, medication of some kind or an encourager who can minister to you, etc.

      Please continue to seek the Lord through His word. It may be your only lifeline now. Though I was not helped by reading His word for what seemed to me for a very long period, I knew that it would eventually be my help and release from depression. And it was. But I had formed much self-imposed guilt that was preventing me from really understanding the compassion of Christ.

      But then I also know that in a situation like your own, you may very well continue to struggle with your “thorn” of depression. But even there (especially there), God must be your strength. Paul the apostle was not relieved of his “thorn in the flesh” though he cried out to God for relief three times. It was then that Christ made His grace known to Paul in another way, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

      It was enough for Paul, who said, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me…for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

      May God strengthen you in your weakness, Kate. How I empathize with you. I pray that the compassion of our dear Savior will comfort you and that His wisdom will provide new avenues of strength for you.

      Sharon

  5. Thank you for this post. No one in my immediate family suffers from depression, so I was pretty unfamiliar with it when it took hold of my husband. He has been chronically depressed off and on since high school (he has told me before that our relationship and his friend AJ are the only reason he made it through that dark period). His mom has also suffered from depression more than a few times.

    This is still something that we are struggling with. I’m currently trying to get my husband to see a psychiatrist, because I strongly believe that cognitive therapy would be a huge help for him. He thinks so negatively about himself. :(

  6. Yes, I have struggled with depression. My husband is an alcoholic. About 5 months ago, he went to a rehab several states away. He will be there for the remainder of the year. I struggled for quite a while with just getting through the day. I felt frantic and I was short tempered with people. My heart beat irregularly sometimes. And I was so worried, scared, and anxious about what would happen with my husband. And I felt so incapable of handling this pressure and really anything even remotely negative that happened. This went on for months. Then, I had an argument with husband over the phone. That was it. I couldn’t take anymore.

    So, I started crying out to God. I got down on my knees and asked for his help and for Him to save me from my depression. Around the same time, a girl I met briefly in a previous job got in touch with me and wanted to spend time with me each week doing a Bible study. She has turned out to be a true angel sent by God to guide me and help me through this valley. For a whole week, I would pray, listen to some Christian music my friend gave me, and just cry and cry to God. It was so healing. I had avoided turning back to God and confessing my sins for so long because the devil had tricked me into feeling guilty and too far away from God to be close to Him again.

    God’s grace and love is unfathomable. He wants you to draw near to Him and there’s nothing you could have done in the past that would keep Him from wanting to be your best friend and savior again. He has truly saved me from my depression and now I’m actually glad that I am walking through this valley. I have a strong, lasting sense of peace, and sometimes after my quiet time with Him, I even feel a real lightness in my chest. Jesus is amazing!

    • @Stacey,
      Thank you so much Stacey, for sharing your story. Indeed, when we give our struggles over completely to Christ, it is truly amazing how He heals. I rejoice with you, sister.

      My heart is so pron to growing cold quickly and I find that when I allow that to happen, I start to sink again. So daily communion with the One who knows us better than we know ourselves, with the One who receives us where we are, without expecting us to clean ourselves up, is crucial. I just tell Him how things are, where my heart has strayed to and He cleans me up, squeaky clean, and lavishes His love and joy on me all over again.

      There’s nothing in this world or beyond so wonderful as being loved by Him!

      Sharon

  7. Sharon,
    One of our staff forwarded your post to me. Just wanted to tell you what a delight it was to hear of God’s work of grace in your life. If it is any encouragement to you, I have to fight almost every day to become like a little child.
    Paul…author of A Praying Life.

  8. Thank you for sharing your story – depression is something most people don’t talk about, because they are too ashamed. No one on the outside seems to understand it, let alone tolerate it.

    I was clinically depressed for several years. I hated every suggestion anyone gave me… ‘go for a walk’, ‘find a hobby’, ‘get closer to God’, ‘take better vitamins’. I laughed at their suggestions. No walk was going to help me. I was deep in the pit of despair. I knew that they were well-meaning, but they had no clue what I was suffering from.

    There were periods of time I was on the couch for three days in a row, getting up only to eat or use the restroom. For my whole life, I had a deep faith in God, and I wondered how I could feel so far from him, and so abandoned.

    There is no easy solution for depression. I was in therapy off and on for three years. I chose not to take medication. I read tons of books, spent many hours in prayer, talked about every depressing nuance of my life with my therapist until I was blue in the face. Nothing seemed to help.

    But I did come out of it. Somehow. Today I am still being with that ‘somehow’, trying to figure it all out. That was some 10 years ago. I still have my days, or seasons of life where I am down – but never debilitated like I was.

    Someday I will share my whole story on my blog… I’ll know when it’s the right time.

    Thanks again.

  9. Susan Alexander says:

    Wow, thank you… I struggle so much with a healthy emotional balance. I know it impacts my relationships with God and my family dearly. It’s so good to know I’m not alone. I will definitely get that book and read it. Thanks so much for the suggestion (and for being brave enough to post all of this!)

  10. Like you, I continued going through the motions of ministry and Bible study.

    The turn around came for me when I was doing a study by Elizabeth George–”Loving God With All Your Mind.” She was describing a time when she’d been claiming Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child…” and her children weren’t “coming around” to what they’d been trained. And she threw a “spiritual hissy fit” at God. “This is NOT how it’s supposed to be! This isn’t what I signed up for…,” etc.–all things I’d been saying through the year and a half since our adoption. And she says that as she took a breath in her fit, God spoke and said, “Yes, Elizabeth, but THIS is how it IS. Now what are you going to do about how it IS?!”

    Wow. I camped on that for weeks, because it didn’t FIX my situation. Nothing was as I had expected it to be. Nothing was working. But that was my reality. Now what am I going to do with my reality and how am I going to deal with it? Because barely surviving wasn’t working and sticking my head in the sand didn’t help.

    And God didn’t FIX it by making everything better. Instead, He fixed it by forcing me to choose to move forward instead of wallow. At that point, I really had to move and choose to LIVE and not just to survive.

    Thanks again for sharing your experience!

  11. Thank you for this meaningful post. I’ve been depressed for at least 3 years now. 3 1/2 years ago I moved, along with my son, to a new place, and there were very many changes in my life at that time. But since our move, life seems to have become a series of traumatic/upsetting events, with several betrayals by friends thrown into the mix. It seems like every time I start to come out of the depression a little bit, something else happens and I sink right back down to where I was. I am a life-long believer, but it’s hard for me to connect with God right now. How can I get over being depressed when things keep happening to keep me there?

    • @Jana,
      Hi Jana,
      My heart goes out to you. I’ve taken a little time to ponder and pray about how to answer your very thoughtful question. Please know that whatever I say below, it is with all seriousness, knowing exactly how you feel. I pray that God will pour out his joy and peace upon you.

      Life is difficult. It isn’t heaven for sure. People disappoint us, circumstances dishearten us, our bodies fail us and on and on. This is life. Jesus said, “In this life you will have trouble”, and, my, is that ever true! The older I get the more I am convinced of this: “life is hard and then you die”. It depresses me just to write that!

      If we look at everything around us or even at ourselves, we will always be unhappy and depressed. But there is Someone who will never disappoint us, never let us down. God let me go on in my disillusionment just long enough to accomplish what he wanted for me and then he lavished his joy on me. It was a long journey, but compared to eternity, it was not even a breath.

      Jesus can take us above the storm of life. We can fly on a higher plane when we look to him, the author and perfecter of our faith. Jesus said, “I came to give life and to give it abundantly.” He so wants us to be happy and satisfied in him.

      He is a living Savior and he lives to intercede for us in our struggles and to walk through them with us, having been tempted and tried in every way as we are, yet without sin. He understands the great overwhelming difficulties of life. He was despised and rejected, having become poor so that we might be rich in his sufficient grace and mercy. He shed blood on my account. It’s never been that bad for me.

      We can live on a low plane and be set adrift by every storm that comes our way, or we can decide to let Christ be our stability in times of trouble. “And He will be the stability of your times, a wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge…” (Isa 33:6.) He is a rock we can fall on, rest on, gain strength from, etc. He can cheer us when no one else can.

      Having said that (which sounds so easy), I struggled for four long years trying to connect with him. But I never lost hope. Though I was angry at God at times or thinking he had deserted me or worse, I always knew He would restore me when the time was right. I never stopped believing that he is good and good to his children, though I yearned to experience that goodness which seemed so distant to me. I simply could not deny him completely though I was so cynical at times. I wanted to give up on him, but he was always the one I cried out to for rescue. He simply would not let me forget him.

      When I got serious about letting him examine my heart, he did just that. He revealed things that appalled me. The unforgiveness – ugh! Yes, I too know about betrayal. It came from one of my very close family members in the midst of my depression; and though I told myself that I would love her from a distance, it took her death before I realized that I had not loved at all or forgiven her the way Christ had loved and forgiven me. I could not let go of what she had done to me. Her death really woke me up and how ashamed I was then and sorry that I had not loved sacrificially and that it took her death to wake me from my sin.

      The attitudes I allowed to linger in the recesses of my heart were so dishonoring to Christ. It’s as if he said, “Okay, Sharon Kay, I’ve had enough of this. You’re old enough to know better. It’s time to move on.” After I was rid of the ugliness of those hateful attitudes, I was able to give thanks again, able to sing again, able to cry again (tears of joy), able to love again.

      Please read the post once more, Jana, and ponder what applies. Read all of the comments I’ve posted also. Get very serious with God, whatever that means for you. Most of the time when we’ve been hurt so deeply, we recoil into a slow developing bitterness and unforgiving mindset that just kills us spiritually. Or just not putting our eyes on Jesus can really throw us off balance amidst all of our trials.

      Also, take a look at Stephanie’s excellent post from yesterday about dealing with the physical reasons for depression. Jesus always met the physical needs people had before the spiritual. He used the physical as a door to the spiritual. Even pray about it.

      Know that you are loved by God. Of his devoted children he says, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zeph 3:17). Can you believe that? Amazing!

      Take your struggles to him and tell him exactly what you told me. Ask him to reveal himself to you. Don’t give up. Pick up his word and ask him to meet you there. Read the Psalms. David felt at times just like you do, but he knew God would rescue him.

      Above all, look “to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of [Jana's] faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2). He did this for the joy that was on the other side of the cross. He despised the shame of the cross. Now he intercedes for you, Jana, to have his joy.

      Please don’t hesitate to email me if you need any further counsel: sharon-sharealike@pacbell.net.

  12. @Jessica,
    Yes, there are many others, probably more than want to admit, who understand this desolate place. The worst thing you can do is isolate yourself. The enemy of our souls wants that more than anything. When that happens we become like a lone ember, separated from the fire, soon to die out.

    We need to remain with the body of Christ, with those who struggle the same way we do, with those who can encourage us. I would not be rejoicing today had I chosen to isolate myself.

    Pour your heart out to Jesus. He said, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am gentle and humble of heart and you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Tell him all about your struggles and that you can’t find your way out. Ask him to give you the light that you so desperately need.

    When I finally went to the Lord with all of my distractions, honestly, without trying to get it right, when I finally gave him my real self, messy as I was, that’s when he got real with me. I humbled myself, allowed him to do his heart work on me and joy overflowed.

    The key is becoming like a needy little child. Isn’t that after all what we really are? The book that brought this all home to me is a wonderful resource for restored joy (A Praying Life – referred to above). It is for those of us who just can’t seem to do life well. I need Jesus. I can’t do life without him and I was never meant to.

    I so empathize with you, Sister. My heart’s prayer for this post was for others in that same valley – the valley of the shadow of death – to find that Christ is there with you, carrying you. He’s been through that valley himself. Look at him in the Garden of Gethsemane and tell me he was not experiencing alienation, anxiety, depression, etc. He was despised and rejected. He knows how you feel.

    What we need to remember in that valley of the shadow of death, is that it is a valley of shadows. Shadows are scary, but they are only shadows, not substance. Christ is our substance. He has conquered death. We are in his all-powerful hand.

    Ask him honest questions about yourself. He will show you what the problem is (if there be anything on your part that needs to be brought under his loving, watchful eye and forgiving heart). I simply could not see what I had done until he began in such a compassionate way to reveal the attitudes I had fallen into. And then, after I confessed my wanderings from him, I still remained under my own self-imposed guilt until he put Paul Miller’s book in my hand.

    Jesus knows how to guide us out of the darkness. Darkness and light are the same to him. Trust him to do this wonderful work, dear one.

  13. Its amazing when you read these words and know that, yes, someone does know exactly what its like to feel that restlessness of the soul. You put to words what I’ve been unable to describe. My husband and I both are in this place. Sometimes we feel like no one really understands. They just think we’re unfriendly! And so we find ourselves even more isolated.

    Your story gives hope, though. Thank you.

  14. Thank you so much for this post. I can relate to many of the things in this article. It’s nice to know I am not alone during the times I struggle with depression.

  15. Thank you for sharing your story.

  16. Colleen G. says:

    My depression was from multiple causes. There was the nutrition part, being allergic to gluten robs your body of a lot of nutrients. Then there was the spiritual beliefs that had been building since my teen years that turned out to be subtile leagalism and half truths. I had the food allergy under control for a year or so but I was still struggling with my thirst for God but God seemed to have puuled back and left me to fix it all by myself. At least that is how it felt at the time. I almost turned agnostic. Then God sent me a book too. Classic Christianity by Bob George. That finally cleared up those mis-teachings and half truths I had that were keeping me from really understanding God and His plan. Even though I still have a lot of the same physical problems my head and heart stays clear now. Life’s normal crisies aren’t the end of the world anymore. I feel like a little bird that is singing “I’m free! I’m free!”
    P.S. Thank You for not thinking that Christians can’t get depressed. If it were a purely spiritual matter then yes that concept might have merit but our minds are connected to frail human bodies that just don’t work as planned sometimes.

    • @Colleen G.,
      You are so right! When I stray from eating right, all kinds of nonsense happens in my body, which then so dramatically affects my thinking, which in turn causes even more distress in my body (sleeplessness, etc.). Everything in our environment works against our joy. And we, in our fallen state, do also.

      After I had adjusted the outward influences of diet, etc., I knew God was calling me to adjust my heart. David, in the Psalms experienced a great deal of depression after he wandered from God with Bathsheba and Uriah. You can really get a sense of how desolate and depressed he was in Psalm 38. But both his body and mind were affected and this leads to a vicious cycle or one aggravating the other.

      It all works together. I once heard that the majority of patients in mental hospitals are there because of unresolved guilt. Guilt really had a great deal to do with my own depression.

      There were two kinds of guilt I suffered from. The first was by the hand of the Holy Spirit, pressing on me to confess the sin of my heart – unforgiveness, bitterness and pride. That guilt was good guilt.

      By that, I mean that guilt is like pain. Pain in our body causes us to look for the source of illness and correct it. Guilt causes us to look to the source of spiritual illness and correct it through confession (1John 1:9); and that kind of guilt is completely and wonderfully remedied and removed by Christ’s sacrifice for our sins when we agree with Him as to what causes it (our sin).

      The second form of guilt I suffered from was self-imposed guilt. I had heaped guilt upon myself for not being able to connect with God. So this guilt was not resolved until God showed me that he didn’t expect of me what I expected of myself, nor condemn me as I did myself.

      I had put a heavy burden on myself, trying to come to him all cleaned up, doing spiritual calisthenics, so to speak. But his burden is light; it’s like lifting nothing. I simply need to come to him with all my “messiness”, with all my failings, with all my neediness – like a child comes to his parent – and tell him what’s on my heart. He simply wants me to be real with him.

      Once he showed me that false guilt, I was set free completely.

      Your own struggle was similar in the sense that “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free”. Knowing the truth about who God is and what he expects from us always has its freeing effects.

      Thank you for this reminder, Colleen!

  17. I went through a period of depression after a terrible accident. Our church youth minister recommended I see a psychiatrist. After a few months of prozac, and lots of prayer, I was able to function normally again. No one else outside my home could tell what was going on. It was easy to hide in public. I think the big lesson for me was to be able to experience depression so that I can understand others who may be going through it as well. Before that I thought it was a matter of personal strength. How wrong I was! How humbling to find the truth. God allows us to experience what we need to be able to help others.

  18. I have been struggling with feeling like God was silent, trusting him, and some mild depression. I can relate to what you were saying. One thing that is really helping me is to go through the Psalms. As I read, I write down any attributes of God I see. Then I write out a prayer to God- About the attributes, how i want to trust him, what I’m struggling with. It has truly been a blessing to me. God’s word is so profitable for us- (even when we don’t feel like it, but do because we know we need it). It is his word (along with his Spirit) that convinces us of the truth of Himself. Knowing God- not just knowing of him, but knowing who He is- is the truest blessing of all.

  19. Depression runs in my family, and when I was going through a difficult time in my life I decided to finally get help. I am on prozac and have been for several years now. I have come to accept that for me, it’s a genetic disorder that my brain doesn’t make enough seratonin.

  20. elizabeth says:

    Not depression per say, but I have recently been emerging from a time of God’s silence. A book that was helpful for me is Seeking God’s Hidden Face, by Cecil Murphey.

  21. I have been struggling with depression this last year, and this message couldn’t have come at a better time. My husband resigned from his position as a Pastor and now is an over the road truck driver. He is gone 3 weeks over the month which leaves me keeping the home fires burning. It has been a struggle both physically and mentally. I see that God has been here, even with this He is reaching out to this child’s hand. Thank you for your message!

  22. Thank you so much for your vulnerability. This was very timely for me.

  23. I’ve read A Praying Life, and it really is fantastic! I highly recommend it no matter what season of life you’re in!!

  24. I struggled with depression after the birth of my last child. Most of it was due to an imbalance of hormones, but even when they were starting to level out, I was still depressed. The depression went away when I got pregnant again. I keep wondering how bad it will come back after the birth of this child (due in May). During the depression, I felt the same way as you described in my relationship with God. We definitely fight a non-physical battle against the principalities of the dark.

  25. Amazing. I’ve been struggling with depression since the birth of my third child 13 months ago. There are some good days and then there are bad days when I feel like I am in a downward spiral and I’ll never get back up.

    • Hermie's girl says:

      @Katie,
      I can relate. I don’t make enough progesterone, and when I don’t supplement, I feel totally worn out and don’t think with a very bright outlook. Evening primrose oil and topical progesterone cream, both non prescription, helped me tremendously. I take a lot more supplements, but those seem to really help hormone-wise. Now that we are up for # 2 and I know what to expect…I think I can address it sooner. Hopefully! I pray that God will show you what will benifit you in your situation for a full restoration of life and joy.
      <<>>

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