I want to share a little bit of my testimony of what God has done for me. One of the area's He has worked in my life is with depression. I have struggled all my life with depression. It started when I was a young teenager. Although some close friends knew I would get down, no one knew how bad it really got. I thank God that I never took my life, because it was something I seriously thought about many many times. Even as a believer.

Sometimes the depression was so bad I couldn't get out of bed in the morning. I would get hounded by negative thoughts. I know without a doubt that the enemy took full advantage of me when I was down. Depression is a combination of unhealed wounds and spiritual attacks from the enemy. I would struggle with feelings of worthlessness, despair, hopelessness, no motivation for anything, fear, all causing feelings of insecurity. The deepest pit of depression brought on the desire to die as I felt the darkness overwhelm me and smother me. The lighter episodes of depression were like a deep sadness that would last for weeks on end.

About 6 years ago I shared with a few people in the church that I used to go to, about my struggle with depression. They tried to help me through encouragement . They'd give me verses to quote. But when you have too many unhealed wounds in the soul, and a serious struggle with depression, quoting scripture isn't enough. Eventually they told me I should go to my doctor for an antidepressant. I went to my family doctor who put me on an anti-depressant. Soon afterwards I was referred to a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with bi-polar disorder ( manic depression). The psychiatrist put me on a mood stabilizer as well as the anti-depressant. I went to him for counseling . After a few months he told me I was pretty stable and didn't need counseling. I only had to see him once a month so he could see how I was doing on the meds.

I knew that the Lord would eventually heal me of this life long battle with depression. I think the Lord just put that on my heart. I would sometimes ask Him how would I know when He healed me of it if I was on medicine for it? Then one day I forgot to take my anti-depressant. I forgot to take it the next 3 days. ( for some reason I didn't forget to take the one for bi-polar). When I realized I had been forgetting to take my medicine, I also realized that I was feeling really good. Clear headed and stable. So I decided to see how long I could go without it. I didn't have any withdrawals from it. I went several months without it and then stopped taking the other medicine too.

I have now been off the medications for a little over two years. About 1 1/2 years ago I stopped going to the church that I had been attending for 10 years. I know the Lord's hand was in this.( But that is another story)

Shortly after I stopped attending church, the Lord brought into my life an old friend who I hadn't seen or heard from in over 20 years. Through this friend, the Lord has done miracles in my life. And that is what I really want to share.

I had done well off the medicine, but did experience some minor depression. Most of that depression came from the need for healing. I know that the Lord took me off the medicine to prepare me for the deep healing He was going to do in me. In the past year I have learned a lot about myself and who I am in Christ. I have been led into a personal relationship with Jesus and received from Him a lot of understanding as to what was keeping me from living a life of victory in Him. I have learned a lot about my wounds from the past and how they attacked my worth. I have received a great deal of prayer, breaking of strongholds, and many scriptural truths.

Let me say this. The medication did nothing to heal me. Some people told me that I should take medicine so I could numb the pain while God heals me as I dealt with the pains from my past. What the medication did was to stall the healing process. I mean, on the medication I was feeling better. I didn't see the need to deal with the suffering of my soul because my soul had been numbed enough by the medication. I actually thought I was better while on the meds. Some people take such a strong dose of medication that you can tell just by looking at them that they are on something. Others, like me, looked normal on the outside. But inside, I was a little numb. I felt better then when I was depressed. Anything feels better then being depressed. But no healing was taking place. Doctors can't heal the soul and neither can medicine. Although I had more motivation then when I was depressed, I still lacked in motivation. I needed life, and the medications did not give me life. They simply dulled me.

This also affected my will. I had become comfortable. I had even compromised in some areas of my life because I no longer had to battle so much with my emotions. Yes, I had a conscience still. It worked, but not the way it should've. It had been numbed just enough that I took advantage of God's grace. I began to pick and choose which sins were ok, and which ones weren't. Thinking that some sins were not sin if I could justify it somehow. Or just not having the conviction to choose right over wrong. Then there were times when I knew what was right and wanted to do right, but had no power to do so. Oh, this affects people who are not on medication too. Romans 7. But on the medication it just didn't bother me a whole lot that I lacked power in my life. I accepted it as, " that's just the way it is". "God will change me somehow". I couldn't even cry out to God because my soul was a little too numb. Instead, I coasted through those four years of being on medications. My emotions and my will had been numbed. We are in a war and God calls us to fight. Medication made me passive. We are called to live in His life. Medication blocked the passage way to experiencing my life in Him.

There are many ways to medicate oneself. Staying busy either at work, in the ministry, doing good works, or in personal activities. Even music can help someone feel better. Be it secular music or christian music. But a person with depression often cannot bring themselves to do any of that. And if they could somehow push themselves to stay busy, even for the Lord, it still doesn't take away the depression, or heal the soul.

It was important for me to get off the medication so God could begin to heal my soul and set me free. I needed to feel my pain before I could take it to Him. I needed to have my conscience stirred back up again so I could choose with my will to go forward with Him as He began to heal me. I needed to learn to be still and trust that He would keep me during the healing process. To be still, but not numb. To be still and to care. To be still and feel, even if it was painful at times. To be still and ache and long for more of Him. Just as He aches and longs for all of me.

I also needed someone to walk me through the process. Someone to pray for me. Someone to intercede for me when I had no strength. Someone who knew the enemies tactics as well as the authority of God. Someone who walks in grace and love. Someone who relies on discernment from God and not on reasoning or psychology or theology. Someone who knows how to fight with the weapons of spiritual warfare. Someone who relies on God's grace so much, that they wouldn't try to change me or heal me - but instead, let God do it. Someone who knows what it means to humble ones soul. Why couldn't I find someone like that in any of the churches I went to? God brought to me a believer from outside the church system, and I am extremely thankful to Him for that.

The people in the churches that I have attended did not know how to help me. So they suggested I go to a doctor. They sent me outside the church to receive help. Does anyone see something wrong with this? The psychiatrists did not know how to help me. My family doctor did not know how to help me. This is common in today's society. Some churches see miracles. Most of it in the way of physical healing. Some see people get delivered from addictions. And often we see people encouraged. But I have yet to see people delivered from mental illness, emotional illness, the cries of the soul. I have yet to see people led into a personal relationship with God. Learning about God and being led into an intimate personal relationship are two different things. Leading a person into an intimate relationship with God brings them to His heart of love and His heart of power. The very same heart that wants to heal us, to bind up our wounds, to set the captive free, and lead us in a life of victory in Him.

This is why Jesus came and this is what we should see , that people are set free. That people should receive healing. That we would grow in knowledge and truth. That we would die to self and live in the spirit. Galatians 2:20 " I have been crucified with Christ , it is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loves me and gave Himself up for me".

Depression causes one to live in themselves ( it's an inward condition ). God wanted to heal me so I could be free to choose Him in all area's of my life. Jesus crucified the old man , the sinner, so I wouldn't be bound to it's ways. But the soul needs healing. Only God was able to heal my soul. I am still in the healing process and I imagine it will be that way as long as I am in this flesh. But at least my heart is alive and I am free.

I thank God with all my heart for His steadfast love towards me,

Barbara