Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Depression's Gift

As some of you know, between April 2014 and March 2015, I experienced a deep depression that was nearly impossible to crawl out from under. The best way that I can describe my experience with depression is that it felt like someone covered me with a heavy, soaking wet wool blanket.

Heaviness. Darkness. BLESSING.

Wait, WHAT? Blessing?

Yes, BLESSING.

During that year, I leaned into the Lord. I crawled up on God's lap and leaned in to His Love. I read. I camped out in the Psalms. I conversed with God. I journaled. I pondered. I rested.

See, God makes beauty from ashes. He turns tears into gladness. He redeems. He restores.

The blessing {gift} that I received at the end of that dark tunnel of depression was this:


Well, I mean, God didn't actually send this necklace to me...
{I had this necklace made as a reminder.}

The gift was a deep, heart knowledge that I AM LOVED. I am loved even if I am NOT productive.  I am loved even if I am not effective in ministry. I am loved regardless of whether I accomplish what I think God expects me to do.

I am loved...just 'cause. I am loved because He loved me first.

Depression is a huge de-motivator and debilitator--you don't get a whole lot done in the valley. Whatever illusions you had about how your 'work and service to the Lord' was worth something...whatever erroneous theology you believed about how what you 'did' equated to 'how much you were loved' quickly fades away. You are left with nothing. Nothing to show to others. Nothing to show to God...except...yourself. And it is then that you realize that YOU ARE LOVED.

I learned that God was far more interested in me being WITH Him--the God of the universe--than what I could do FOR Him.

This isn't everyone's experience with depression. I realize that. This was MY experience...and I am eternally grateful for it. However, I'd encourage you to ponder what it looks like to be loved by God.