A Deep Depression

It has taken years, to be able to write of this. Even now, I cannot offer advice for depression. I can only offer what God has shown me, and how He rescued me from the pit of despair. I pray He might be able to use my words for some good, for His glory.

I was a single mother for twenty-three years. While my life during the day was very full, and deeply rewarding, my nights remained lonely. However, I had no hope of ever marrying again, as my marriage had dissolved when I was young. I had concluded that God must mean for me to be single all of my life. So I set about enjoying what God had given me to do, which was being a mother.

Adopting, and raising my children for God became my single most important purpose in life. That was how I pleased my Heavenly Father, which meant more than anything. I did slip and fall. I could not be perfect. I went through very weary times. But I was blessed with great energy, and much joy. I loved being a mother, and my whole focus in life was my children. I believe that in general, my mothering did please God. I pray so. Ours was a cheerful, busy family, and our lives were rich with love.

However, when I lost my precious, bubbly, loving six year old twin daughters, I went through a terrible valley of sorrow. For four years, I was not the same. I was so depressed, it was difficult to function, do what I needed to do, and mother well. I had lost sight of this verse:

* As thou goest, step by step thy way shall be opened up before thee. Proverbs 4:12 (JB)

I knew that I was saved. I knew that God was holding my hand, and would never leave me, as I dragged through this pit of despair. But it felt as though there would be no end until Heaven. I prayed that God would overcome whatever negative times my depression might be causing my dear children who were still with me. But I had stopped hoping for my own deliverance.

* For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Isaiah 41:13

I could not see ahead. Every morning was a new struggle. It was as though I was simply waiting for old age, and death. My spiritual eyes had dimmed, and my hope for the future was gone. The feeling of joy had utterly left me.

* I will trust and not be afraid. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. Isaiah 12:2b,3 NIV

But my Heavenly Father had a plan I knew nothing about. He had an astounding surprise in store for me. In the bottom of this pit, there appeared a man whom He sent, who loved me. He had been emotionally wounded as well, and we fit together as though we had always been. Each of us cared about the other's sorrow, and in the caring, new hope and joy began to grow. Two years later, we were married. What tremendous mercy God has! To bless me so, even when I had fallen into the depths of despair.

* ... I will ... transform her valley of troubles into a door of hope. She will respond to me there, singing with joy as in days long ago in her youth ... Hosea 2:15 (TLB)

I don't believe I could ever sink that low again. I don't think I am ABLE to hurt that much any more. No matter what dreadful things I can think of. Not if everyone I loved, died. Not if I was dying. Not if I lost my home. I understand better than I ever did before, that God's plan is perfect. He gave me a future and a hope, just like the Bible says. If ever I am flung into another time of emptiness and grief, I will keep my eyes on Jesus. I believe this with all my soul and all my spirit.

* Thou wilt show me the path of life: in Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11

We live in a fractured, imperfect, sinful world. Life holds pain as well as joy. But there is everlasting joy in knowing that I am pleasing God. And in Heaven, there will be pleasures forevermore.

* A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you... Ezekiel 36:26

God does not pull all sorrowing people from the pit, by giving them a new husband or wife. That in itself would not be the solution, anyway. God not only gave me a husband, and a new hope in this human life, but He pulled me out of the miry pit of despair, and set my feet upon a rock. He gave me the deeply fulfilling joy of knowing better how to walk with Him, and please Him, in a new way. This joy does not depend upon earthly gifts, or human love. This joy comes directly from my Heavenly Father.

* And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. Psa 40:3

God has changed me inside, through helping me survive this perilous and unexpected journey through depression. He did not give up on me when I fell into the pit. He reached out His incredibly loving hands to me, His wounded and broken child. He used this part of life to draw me closer to Himself, and teach me the true source of joy - walking closer to Him myself, in the depths of my own soul.

Now I believe that even if I was ever reduced to being old, homeless, sick and alone, I would still be able to feel joy. Because I would stlll be able to please my Father, with little things I could still do for Him - if only by giving a smile; and the small ways of witnessing for Him, that He would make it possible for me to do. I will praise Him all the days of my life, and for all eternity as well.

2004 Rosemary Gwaltney

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