TRANSPARENCY: My Personal Moments While Suffering DEPRESSION & Walking In VICTORY
It is a blessed opportunity to share my experiences of decades of depression. The Lord has taught me that I need to pray about every detail of my life because only He is truly responsible for the Christian fruit in my life. What I share now I pray only Christ shares it through me so only HE can minister to the readers.
Depression is such a very sensitive area that one really needs to experience it to truly understand it. Yet, I believe it is an unnecessary cross that too many believers bear. I know from first-hand experience the depths of a broken, wounded heart. Basically, I was depressed most of my life. I would relate it to my parents not exposing me to risk growing up. They protected me out of fear and love. However, my character never developed. I am not blaming them at all, but I was clearly not ready for adulthood when the time came. Once I was on my own the hidden depression symptoms came out. (They were hidden because I had hidden them from my parents.) I was not ready for adulthood and work. Before I knew what happened, I was a “basket case.” I shook whenever stress or conflict arose. Nonstop tears began appearing every day. I cried myself to sleep every night. What a shock to the reality of life! I know many of you reading this can very easily relate.
This all occurred during 1978-79. After a few months of this type of depression, fortunately, the Lord entered my life. I truly learned what unconditional love meant.
I grew more in love with the Lord over the next few years, not realizing, though, that I was still hiding/denying my deep hurts and depression. The woman I married in 1982 was not a believer at the time. (I myself didn’t know the true meaning of salvation at that time.) We adopted two girls in 1987 and 1989.
I was now basically hiding my depression in my marriage. Fortunately, we have a loving Savior who always holds onto us. We know as depressed people that we really never hold onto Jesus. When Jesus reclaims His inheritance (us), He uproots all garbage out of us.
My severe, clinical depression during the 1980’s and 1990’s was one of the primary reasons that caused my two children to be denied to have a regular childhood. I was simply a depressed boy in a man’s body, and did not know how to lead my family the way God wanted me too. My children suffered.
Many of you can relate to how this can be very, very depressing for me. My two kids were denied a childhood during these years. What added to the problems was in 1993, my local county Department of Social Services removed my children into foster care. (Details are not necessary to go into.)
I basically gave the devil free reign in my house. Now, I was involved with a big legal battle for my kids who were four and six. I say my girls only 2-3 times a month for only one hour each time. The legal battle went on for one whole year before I finally regained custody. I cried every night during that year believing I would never see my children again. 1993 was the deepest hurt I have ever experienced. I can only say the grace of God made it somehow last for me.
Those of you depressed can easily see why I went off the deep end. For someone like me who was not ready for adulthood, I sure received a crash course. But, God had this whole thing planned. He attempted to get my attention many times, but I missed Him. So He let my entire life/family collapse. Now I had no excuse for missing Him.
He started showing me right in the middle of this time that I misunderstood what salvation means. I thought that salvation was just “Jesus died for my sins.” The Lord showed me that is only ½ the gospel. His death didn’t save me. His death took care of the sin issue. I was still spiritually dead, and a spiritually dead person needs spiritual life. And the only one who had this life was Christ. His life in me saved me. Romans 5:10 amplifies this very well. Romans 5:10 “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Jesus also frequently (in the gospel of John) speaks about life. Therefore, I learned I was saved, but I WAS STILL LIVING LIKE I WAS DEAD. No wonder I really had severe depression as a believer. (I today can confidently say that this is where many depressed believers miss it. IT IS CHRIST IN US – NOW – THAT IS OUR VICTORY.) We are to train our minds as Paul lived in Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.”
That was it! I have a new life who is Christ. Therefore,
- I want to see my depression as dead on the cross.
- I am, literally, a new creature in Christ.
The victory over depression is not to change our emotions. It is to change our thoughts, because emotions ALWAYS follow what we think. We need to meditate our minds on the truth of God’s Word and it will set us free, as Jesus stated.
I assure you that I have NO depression for the last 17 years. I just now view life differently as a new life in Christ. It is now a joy totally being a Christian. God’s love is so deeply rooted in me that rivers of living water do naturally flow out, as Jesus said.
Now the Lord has prepared me (in a ministry I can say) to share, encourage, and support hurting and depressed Christians. I am totally dependent on Him and His Word. His compassion is very strong in me for hurting brethren. I only offer my brethren Him. He is the only answer. He is your New Life. No job is ever too big for Him.
I love our Lord so dearly. He really is alive. His only interest is the deep, intimate love He has for each one of us. As that intimate love grows, He then is so beautifully glorified when like-minded believers come together.
THERE IS VICTORY OVER DEPRESSION. I am living proof from eight severe years. Many problems still exist to cause me to retreat into depression, but I view life differently now from God’s eyes and not the world’s. So I have no desire to retreat, even though it still is a struggle.
Victory over depression (especially severe depression) takes time. Be gentle with yourself. Begin by training your mind to only see Christ in you, Christ as your new life. Once you start this, He doesn’t sit passively by. He moves in.
Sorry for a long blog, but the Lord has definitely directed me.
In His Victory always,
PS: My experience does not diminish nor neglect the validity of mental illness where chemical balance, ADHD, Bipolar, etc. exist. That is different from the depression I have experienced. Proper management of these type of mental illness is a must. Of course, a relationship with God must always be the center.