Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A moment of sadness...

I had a fleeting moment of sadness today.

It happened when I went to Costco at lunch time, and ran into a friend of mine. She asked if I was on vacation, and I told her "no, just gone for the weekend." Then, I asked her if she had been on vacation, because I had noticed that she hasn't been around for a while (she often takes weekend jaunts to visit her mom).

She got all teary-eyed, and was finding it difficult to put her words together. She told me that she had gone to visit her mom, and had left her kids with her while she checked herself into a hospital for depression. She said that she felt like she was disconnected with her life, her husband, her kids. She said she felt alone. She said she was so sad and overwhelmed by everything. She said she felt like she had no one to turn to that would understand. She said she felt ashamed. She said she didn't know why she felt like she did, which made her feel worse.

It broke my heart to hear those words coming out of her mouth. I could totally relate, mind you, having experienced the same feelings a time or two. And, while I was relieved to know that she would start taking a medication to help her, I was deeply saddened that she did not feel like she had anyone to turn to. I assured her that she could call me any time she felt the need to ... or just knock on my door if she didn't feel the need. But I felt like I had let the Lord down.

Over the past few weeks, she and her family had been randomly popping into my husband and my conversations, and looking back now, I can only relate that to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Had I taken the time to really listen, I would have acted on my initial thoughts of stopping by her home and visiting with her. I know I'm not a doctor. I know I can't cure her. But I can offer support. Friendship. Love and acceptance. Encouragement. I can show her how to reach out to God so she can find that inner peace that I can see she is desperately seeking.

A lot of times, we don't know who to turn to when looking for that peace! Money can't give us that peace; "things" can't give us that peace. And many times, when we don't turn to Christ for the inner peace we're looking for, we end up turning to "things", trying desperately to find that inner peace in our hearts -- purchasing things, overeating, drinking (alcohol), or drugs. Sadly, sometimes these things do give peace. But it is a temporary and fleeting peace that you will find.

We can only find that inner peace in our hearts when we turn to our Lord, Jesus. And, not in a regimented, "schooled" way, either, praying written prayers, or practiced words. It must be in a personal, deep, and longing moment where we totally abandon ourselves to the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

God wants us to experience that inner peace, but the enemy does not. He wants to take us down ... one, by one, by one. He will throw lies our way; he will try to fill us with the feeling of defeat and hopelessness; he will try to condemn us; he will pull us limb from limb while performing psychological warfare in our minds.

But God looks down on his children, and hears us when we cry out to him. Even if it is a weak, quite, and soft whisper or whimper. Nothing ... nothing ... can separate us from his love unless we allow it. Isn't that a beautiful and calming thought?

Anyway, I left Costco feeling sad, not because my friend had checked into a hospital for depression. I left feeling sad, because I felt as though I had failed in reaching out to her. It really isn't a matter of whether she does or doesn't have "enough faith," or whether there is "sin hidden in her life," or whether she is praying hard enough or not. And, I acknowledge that I am certainly not the one who can "bring her back on track" or "relieve her of all her sadness and pain" ... only Christ can do that.

I firmly believe that depression is a real illness/disease with physical symptoms; meaning that I feel that depression is not due solely to spiritual problems. Many times, a person battling depression needs medication. And finding the underlying causes of depression can help you develop a plan of action for mental well being. Hence, the need for doctors, which I know God gave the knowledge to for just that purpose. And healthy living is also vital to the health and well being of our mind.

But leaning on God's word, breathing in his presence, surrounding us with his love and joy, and allowing the Holy Spirit to move in your life are all critical to working your way out of depression. Vital, in fact.

If you are struggling with and battling depression (or if you have a friend or relative that might be), know that God loves you. He loves you more than anything and more than anyone in this world possibly can. He can comfort you, and bring peace into your heart. Reach out to someone you know cares for you. Let them into your heart and allow them to minister to you, support you, and encourage you.

I know I'll be reaching out to my friend!

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27


striving... said...

This is a predicament I am in. I have been in a praying without ceasing state for months and months, still do now. But it is hard just to day to day things most days. Anyway, having a friend to listen is awesome, you do that for her. Sometimes our hubbies do not have the patience to just listen, most woman can.

Chappyswife said...

This is a powerful post, GiBee, that is sure to touch many people's hearts. Depression is so much more common than we can imagine, and why is there such shame associated with it?

Susanne said...

Thanks Gibee for this powerful post and the encouragement to reach out to those hurting with depression around us.

Merry said...

First time commenter, other than the Dog Days giveaways.

As someone who suffers from depression from time to time and the daughter of another woman with depression, I just want to say thanks for posting this today. As a youth minister's wife, I see way too many people glossing over the seriousness of depression.


Peach said...

Powerful post. Touched my heart.

Keep reaching out even when your friend can't reach back. Your words resonate in my own heart tonight as I deal with this same struggle as well.

BooMama said...

Beautiful post, GiBee.

And I'm left thinking how faithful God is to have put you directly in that friend's path today. And I can only imagine how grateful she is for your friendship.

Heather Smith said...

Praying for your friend right now.

Lorna (see through faith) said...

She OPENED up to you when she could have hidden it. I'd say you are the right person and at the right time for her. Stop beating yourself up and just listen and pray. That's what you are called to do here.

Big Mama said...

Beautiful post. And a great reminder that we never know who around us is hurting. I have no doubt God arranged that meeting at Costco today.

Anonymous said...

Great post GiBee - it has given me a reminder to look to the Father, and to be more mindful when He is speaking.

Anonymous said...

Your friend is blessed to have you. The fact that she made herself vulnerable to you speaks volumes.

ValleyGirl said...

I think you hit the nail on the head -- depression isn't necessarily a result of a weak relationship with God, but strengthening your relationship is a critical step to healing. I think your 'chance' meeting with your friend was a gift and this post is a great reminder to be open to the Holy Spirit's leading when, for some unknown reason, people pop into mind.

AuntieB said...

Babbie Mason has a wonderful song that speaks directly about this type of circumstance.

"In the parking lot of the coffee shop just the other day, she smiled and she said 'Well, I'm doing ok', but I felt her pain. I took her hand in mine, said 'It's gonna work out fine', but as she turned I wondered - did I just hand her a line. What she needed most was a word of hope and a prayer or two. A little more time and a timely word could've pulled her through. So, I'll think of her and I'll wonder too. Is anybody hurting that's sitting right next to you?

Shine the Light, share your faith. Show the world that Jesus is the answer, Jesus is the way. Together we can make a difference - be a beacon in the dark of night. Share your faith, hold it high, shine the Light.

Anywhere you go, any country road or city street. A lonely life or a hurting heart - somebody in need. They all ask one thing, 'Where is love and truth?', but if you know Jesus then you know what to do.

Shine the Light, share your faith. Show the world that Jesus is the answer, Jesus is the way. Together we can make a difference - be a beacon in the dark of night. Share your faith, hold it high, shine the Light.

Let your light so shine so everybody will see Jesus. Let your light so shine to glorify your Father in Heaven.

Shine the Light, share your faith. Show the world that Jesus is the answer, Jesus is the way. Together we can make a difference - be a beacon in the dark of night. Share your faith, hold it high, shine the Light."

Sorry this is so long. I just had to share it. =)