Go on and ask me anything – What do you need to know?
I’m not holding on to anything I’m not willing to let go of to be free.
I feel as though I’m emerging to new life in a very profound way. About a month ago, I was approached to share my testimony with the group of teenage girls and their moms, who I hang out with a few times a week. Since that time, I’ve been processing through what my story looks like, which is something that I haven’t taken the time to do in a few years – at least not in any great depth.
Perhaps the greatest surprise has been a fixation on my battle with depression over the past 13 years. As some are aware, I have been in the midst of a major depressive episode since last August. It has been my third major battle with the disease. In my reflection, I’ve noticed patterns and triggers, and I’ve discovered a general sense of finally being able to understand what has happened off and on for more than a decade.
I’ve had several amazing conversations with my husband, who has been gracious and seeking to understand – perhaps all the more, as I have been more open than I have been in the past (as I begin to understand it more myself). I had the realization while eating lunch with one of my best friends today that I had never been candid about this particular area of my past with her – not necessarily because it wasn’t important, but because I didn’t feel it was necessary as it encompasses so much of my everyday life that I often can’t separate it out.
And, in the midst of all of the processing I’ve been doing, I’ve realized that depression isn’t highly addressed in Christian circles.
In looking back, I realize that I felt strange being a kid from a believing household and being constantly both down and lacking in joy. It never seemed right to talk about it. Until I was well into college, I didn’t know that my mom had struggled with depression herself.
It just isn’t talked about, which is why I’ve felt that it’s been laid on my heart to focus on when I share Friday night. The society that we live in steals our joy – and we must fight for it.
I’ve got to ask you something – But please don’t be afraid.
There’s a promise here that’s heavier
than your answer might weigh: It’s me.
There’s a beauty in resting in Christ’s assurance of forgiveness and love, even when dealing with the heavy things. As believers, we should never be afraid of condemnation.
And, yet, as believers, we can so easily condemn others for what they share.
The result is that we each hide ourselves away and keep ourselves from true fellowship. The isolation we feel simply compounds until we feel entirely alone and without hope.
As humans, we fail every day. But we must be faithful to those of the household of God (and of those who are not!) – to love and forgive, because that is what has been offered to us.
It’s a sweet, sweet thing –
Standing here with you and nothing to hide:
Light shining down to our very insides, sharing our secrets,
bearing our souls, helping each other come clean.
Secrets and cyphers – There’s no good way to hide.
There’s redemption in confession and freedom in the light.
I’m not afraid.
How sweet it is to belong to the household of faith. How beautiful to be able to stand before my husband and know that there is nothing between us that is hidden, no matter how much it may hurt to have it out in the open. There’s a wonderful freedom in having those things that reside in darkness being brought into the light of the grace and forgiveness and love of the Gospel of Christ.
I feel as though I might be discovering that freedom for the first time – hence, this odd little emergence I’ve been experiencing.
There’s a “different kind of happy” that I’m learning to embrace. I don’t have to dwell on what has come before, nor on what I’ve lost.
God has been faithful to me and, for the first time, I think I’m realizing that the God I am coming to know here will always be the God that has claimed my heart and life – nothing can change that or take that away from me.
When death comes, I want to be like my grandmother, who crossed that threshold and was not surprised at Who she found on the other side.
He is always mine. That means now and that means then.
And that means before the beginning of the world, I was His.
What a glorious thing to celebrate at this time of year – The promise of continuation when life on this round, ruddy rock has expired. Praise God!
[[words from “Different Kinds of Happy” by Sara Groves]]