Have you ever experienced depression? I'm not talking about being in a “funk” one day, but a serious, dark depression. It is very real. Things are dark and oppressed and hopeless. I have had long-term bouts of darkness and depression. Times where I feel like everything is spiraling downhill and my future is dark and full of struggle. I must preface this post by saying that I definitely believe there are times where medication is appropriate. A true chemical imbalance and where you have no ability to even begin to battle this struggle on your own. I have been there, and this post is not to say that taking medication for depression is wrong.
Now that I am pregnant with baby #3, I have seen random signs of depression and it is very discouraging to me. I have called out to God and my support system (husband, mom, mentor, etc.) to help through prayer. And I am intentionally fighting the battle as soon as my eyelids open every morning.
I do believe our enemy, Satan, is to blame for much of the depression and hopelessness we experience. So many of the things I was hearing were lies straight from the enemy to make me lose hope and doubt my Father. “When [the devil] lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44b. But the Bible says the opposite about God, “Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.” Psalm 51:6.
When I began to hear and believe the lies (if my child is this hard at this age, imagine how hard they are going to be as a teenager; why does God keep giving us children when I struggle so much with hormone related depression; now my children are going to deal with depression one day, etc.), I began to lose hope. I once heard someone say, “A lie believed to be true, affects you as if it's true.” If I really believe these things, I am going to live like they are true. I am going to lose hope as if they were true. Thus caused me to sink into that dark place. These thoughts are NOT coming from God.
So, I realized I am being attacked by the enemy. When Ephesians 6 teaches us about what armor to wear when going to battle, it says the main offensive weapon is the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Therefore, I have been daily battling the enemy and his lies with Scripture. I speak truth to myself rather than listening to myself or dwelling on lies/fears. I pray Scripture in the morning. I DECIDE what I am going to think about when I have spare time instead of letting my mind wander or be affected by my circumstances (SPEAK to myself instead of LISTEN to myself).
I have found Psalm 51 and 52 to be very applicable in dealing with depression. If you struggle with this, I urge you to pull out your (real) Bible and read through these chapters slowly and think about how many of these verses should be our prayers every morning.
A few of the verses I need in chapter 51 are these, verses 10-12:
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”
When I am in a dark place, my spirit is not in a right place. My prayers can be accusatory and angry, full of emotion and even lies I'm believing. I now pray these verses... Lord, forgive me for my heart's response and renew my spirit. Make my spirit and mind right, so I can humble myself and pray. The second sentence, I pray in reverse. Lord, let me feel your Presence of peace at all times, even in this hopeless state. Let me know you are here, because I feel so alone. Fill me with your Holy Spirit, so I can hear truth, instead of only the enemy's lies right now. Finally, restore to me the joy of salvation, because that is my only hope (not financial security or many, obedient children, a beautiful house, etc.). And uphold me with a willing spirit, because I can't hold myself up right now.
Literally on the floor in despair I've prayed this. I am trying to pray such things first thing in the morning, so that way the first thing I'm reminded of are these truths and the love and faithfulness of God. It reminds me of what my hope is truly in.
The following Psalm, chapter 52(vs. 2-5) is full of great encouragement concerning God's future conquering of our enemy.
“Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit. You love evil more than good, and lying more than speaking what is right. You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue. But God will break you down forever; he will snatch and tear you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land of the living.”
God will win! This is the truth and my hope. The enemy speaks lies, but God will conquer him one day. I will not only be free from the bondage of lies then, but I can be free NOW too even while I'm on this earth. Lord, free me from that bondage of lies. Help me to ONLY believe what is true.
I pray that God uses this struggle for my good, for my sanctification. To deepen my faith and show me His faithfulness and unfailing love.
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” Joseph said this in Genesis 50:20, to his brothers, years after they had sold him into slavery, he had been imprisoned for years, and then God used him to interpret the dream as a prophecy of the drought to come, so they could be prepared for it. Even though Joseph's brothers and Satan would have loved for ruin to come to Joseph through his circumstances, God used it for good and His glory. I pray the same for myself. Even though Satan means harm to come to me through this struggle, I pray that God uses it for good.
I realize that I am being very vulnerable by posting about my depression for the world to see. But I think in the church, we are called to be that support and encouragement for each other. When I was honest about this to close friends and my church family, several other women admitted to dealing with the same struggle. I have seen that when we can relate to each other in this, we can help support one another in ways that others who have never struggled with depression know how to. I pray God uses this vulnerability of mine to draw you to himself, to teach you how to proactively battle the enemy with the sword of the Spirit, and to encourage you to be vulnerable to those around you and establish a support system.
Hold tight to this promise, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Don't let the enemy use this struggle to turn you against God or your spouse or children, but to draw you to them.
“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” Psalm 42:11