My mom has been struggling with depression and burnout for the past five years. The first three years were the worst because she spent the better part of those years in hospitals and rehab. The past two years have been much better. Until now.
Yesterday wasn't the greatest.
The thing is, nobody talks about it. It's just this overhanging feeling of darkness that creeps in every once in a while and results in my mom locking herself in her room for days. She might come out once or twice, but she mostly just stays inside her world of exhaustion and dark solitude. It's not a peaceful kind of quiet.
Depression is a battle, no doubt. But I often think that it's even more challenging as someone who loves God. We're called to have joy. We're called to put our faith in our Healer. We're called to be a living example of His love. So how do you handle it when darkness overcomes you before you can realize what's happening? There are so many expectations of you, and depression makes it extra hard to meet those standards. I'm sure that people have judged my mom, saying that she should just 'get a grip' and follow God more wholeheartedly. Little do they know that my mom is a walking example of God's love. God has simply allowed a different trial to be sent her way than most of us experience.
I keep thinking that the trial is going to be over soon. Actually, I keep thinking the trial has finished. And then it comes back. I think we're all supposed to be developing perseverance, but I haven't been feeling much of that.
It doesn't just affect her. It affects everyone around her. It's like the darkness sweeps over our entire home. But why? God is supposed to get rid of all of that, right?
This is why it's hard.
It's hard because it makes you give up hope. You stop hoping that things will get better, because they never do.
It's hard because it means you don't have a mom to talk to about things. It gets really lonely.
It's hard because it makes you feel like it's your fault. Why did I do to make her depressed?
It's hard because it affects your dad too, and your sister (who has autism). And you feel like you need to hold everyone up.
It's hard because nobody understands. People really just don't know how to respond.
The reason I didn't go with my original title is because God reminded me (thankfully!) that there are blessings in every situation.
I have realized that I need to cling to hope. God gives us hope. Jesus is our Hope. He is our Healer. He is our Saviour. God has saved my mom more times than I can count. He has also saved me, and everyone around me. He has healed my family. I have a hope and an amazing future ahead of me, and this situation has made that abundantly clear.
I have realized that nobody is more reliable than God. He never leaves, He never fails, and He never gets tired. He's the One who I need to rely on.
I have realized that although I am not perfect, I am not always to blame. Everyone struggles. Everyone needs saving (this has become a theme!). And this brings me to my next point...
I have realized that I don't need to save everyone. That's not my job, and it's not my responsibility. That's why we have... a Saviour. That's why He came to earth! To save. He is in control. Not me!
Finally, I have realized that there is someone who understands everything. Jesus experienced betrayal by His closest friends, so He definitely understands loneliness. He understands what my mom is going through. He understands what it feels like to have a family that is falling apart. He understands. And even more than that - He knows how to respond.
I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Give all your worries to Me. (Psalm 55:22)
I care for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
He has it all under control.
Come Thou Fount is one of my favourite hymns. Verses 1 and 4 seem to especially apply to my life.
Verse 1 talks about fountains of blessing, and God's mercy and redeeming love.
My heart longs for His blessings, even if those come in the form of trials. But, my heart will also always wander. Since I fail God every day I will have moments of weakness where I don't long for His blessings.
Verse 4 sings of God's grace. I am beyond thankful for His grace.
He has blessed me abundantly, and even in the midst of trials my wandering heart will be forever thankful.
|Grand Canyon, Nevada|
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount, I'm fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.