Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Where the Light is Like Darkness

Job described a sort of depression as

"a land as dark as darkness itself, as the shadow of death, without any order, where even the light is like darkness."
Job 30:26

I have been experiencing this for the whole of my life. This morning was a very difficult day. I have been been ill for three months with various illnesses and I felt overwhelmingly sick and unable to work today. I called in and depression overtook me. The avalanche started: I missed a friend that I had dreamed about which reminded me of loss which reminded me of Lauren, whom I miss terribly, which reminded me of my mother, whom I miss beyond measure. I was trapped.

I made a doctor appointment and drove the 45 minutes to town. Allergies. It's allergies. This flu-like feeling, the debilitating headaches, fever-feeling, body aches - it all has to do with allergies. To what, I don't know.

I drove home in as much as a numb daze as I drove there with. I felt empty yet full of emotional toxins. Something was happening. I reminded myself it was January; this time last year I entered a four-month-long debilitating depression. I tried to block out the destructive voices in my head.

The following song made a big impression on me as I drove; read the most relevant lyrics below.

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?

I came home and went to bed. Immediately, my sinuses became angry and a huge sinus headache came upon me. Husband came home and I helped him put dishes away. I walked into a cabinet door, whacked my forehead pretty hard, and started crying...and then couldn't stop. Again, the avalanche. I cried and cried. Wonderful Husband directed me into the comforting bedroom and just told me to cry it out. And I did. Oh, I did. He gave me a kleenex and saw a book lying on his nightstand: "The Power of Prayer to Change Your Marriage" by one of our favorite Christian writers, Stormie Omartian. There was a chapter all about depression, entitled "If Depression or Negative Emotions Spoil the Atmosphere." He said to close my eyes and listen to him read to me. He didn't know what it would say; he just hoped that, at the very least, his calming and reassuring voice would help me. Little did he know that the words of Omartian would leave an imprint on my soul that would enable me to reach outside my own bubble over to my husband and then up to the Lord and out of this mire of depression.

Omartian assured me that just because I was depressed did not and, I repeat, Not, out of God's reach or love. It did not make me "Unchristian" or, as some believe, "of the devil." Even though I felt disconnected from God, that did not mean He was disconnected from me. She wrote under what circumstances one would feel depressed and I could relate to many of them: overt sickness, loss of a friend, worry over finances, and grief.

Omartian uses 1 John1:5-6 to say how some people question one's born-again status if one is depressed and "walk[ing] in darkness." But she makes a marvelous argument:

The verses above have to do with the decision to walk in fellowship with darkness. Being depressed does not mean you are choosing to walk in depression. depression is something that you can have on you once you are a believer, but not in you. It can't possess you. It doesn't own you. The Holy Spirit is in you, not depression. (Omartian, p88)

For one such as myself who always associated my depression as being OF me, IN me, and BEING me ("Just accept who you are, you have depression...") it was liberating to read these words by Omartian. In, not of.

If anyone was depressed, it was David. His solution was to put his hope in God despite his awful despair. He realized that God did not abandon him and, although crying out in anguish at times, he also sang up to God in glorification.

I have a little glass cross (with colored shards inside) that I keep in my pocket (available at Family Christian Store for a little under $3.00) and I was holding onto it while Husband was reading. I don't know what made "it" lift...the "it" being the heavy blanket of depression, the storm that hung over me...if it was hearing verses of Scripture, or Omartian's own experience and words, or Husband's beautiful voice and hearing how much he loved me...but I felt better. I felt my body lessen its tension. I still had a horrible headache, but I felt "back again."

I opened my Bible and looked up the verse that Omartian quoted which made me take the most notice:

Do not gloat over me, my enemy!
Though I have fallen, I will rise.
Though I sit in darkness,
the Lord will be my light.

Micah 7:8

I might have a chemical imbalance which assaults me during the winter months most often, but I know the Enemy also assaulted me, seeing me vulnerable. I am going to memorize this verse in Micah until I feel it radiating through every vein. I might feel depression again, but I don't want to feel that loneliness and separation from God.

Why do I share so much of my battle? I know someone out there reads this and struggles, too. Maybe not with depression, exactly, but perhaps with a disability of some sort. Any kind of self-defeating experience is something I want to save everyone from, if I could. My poetry chronicles my inner battles and turns them into something poetry aims to heal readers, if at all possible.

So if I have made even a small difference, I encourage you to sit back and realize that God loves you no matter what. I would love for you to leave me a comment or email me privately if that calls to you, but, more importantly, I want you to know who can heal you eternally.

It will get better. It has to. You were meant for more than this. So was I.

Bless you.

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