Remembering this day this week on behalf of some of the bravest I know…
Life is hard.
Even Jesus said it would be. He said in this life when you face many trials…WHEN–not if. (John 16:33)
And our brain chemistry all handles those trials differently.
For many–depression is a very real struggle–to the point of a dilapidating handicap. It’s not “put your big girl panties on and deal with it” time. It’s real. And if you have never sunken into a depression–the funk of funks–when no matter how hard you try you can’t get out…you might not ever understand…but you can certainly–listen.
I’m surrounded by several who I dearly love–who struggle with depression. It’s a daily fight–and I’m amazed at how well each of these dear friends run. It may seem on some days like just getting out of bed–but in reality–they are running. Running well. The King of Kings SEES that…and oh I wish I could be there when they meet Him and each hear Him say, “Well done. My good and faithful servant. You chose tomorrow on the hardest days. You have done well.”
I’ve fallen into funks…maybe not to that degree…but I’m not ashamed to talk about it. And I think we should. When the darkness is brought to the light–there can be no more darkness…only light.
For me–my darkest and hardest I can quickly pinpoint…and I can’t imagine living in THESE seasons…day after day. BUT…I share them just because–dark days brought to the light–are no longer dark any more…no matter how hard they were at the time…
My 8th grade year–and the year after we brought home our 5th child. I struggled…BIG TIME. And very few friends were there to walk beside me in those.
It was my 8th grade year that I contemplated wanting to be here at all. (Middle schoolers…I pray for you all the time. AND I truly miss teaching middle school for this reason…a call of my heart I look forward to returning to one day!) NOT a big deal maybe as an adult…but as an 8th grader–I thought my life was just over. Our family had moved to a new town–and when our family went out of town some of my new “friends” went in our home and destroyed it. Like holes in the walls y’all. Really good friends I tell you;). The hardest part was how mean they were to me when they were confronted and made accountable. It was a hard time in the world of an 8th grade girl…and I remember wanting it to be OVER. I made a plan–and something (the Holy Spirit) stirred my mom to check on me that night…and thankfully she walked me through the hard. THOSE DAYS…I will never forget. THOSE days are probably a significant part in my homeschooling. People…can be mean. And while I know I can’t protect my children completely–you can’t judge another’s experience or their shoes until you, too, have walked in them. I want my children to know and understand who they are–who they can hope in and to be built up and ready for this hard world. There’s no doubt in these days I needed counseling and encouragement–and I hope and pray if you are reading this…and you are a young person–that you will reach out to someone and tell them if you need this when your days seem the toughest.
My next deepest funk–and I mean funk…came after bringing home our 5th child. There is no doubt now that I was struggling with what they call post-adoption depression. It’s a very real thing–and I was in the middle of it. I was homeschooling our older 3 children while helping two new ones learn what family is…along with managing physical therapies for them and the deep, deep healing of their hearts. I’ve written before about this experience–and the ONE place I was able to articulate the struggle we were walking through was with the Christian hybrid homeschool I had the kids in so we had time for extra doctor visits. Instead of speaking words of life—read that article to see what happened—and oh my GRACIOUS…how we need to be the CHURCH…and walk together. WE NEED EACH OTHER…and when one is down…we pick another up. So if you are mom in the struggle…oh my–you are NOT CRAZY…please, please, please don’t hear that if another believer foolishly tries to say what it looks like. We are to pick each other up…encourage each other…be the body of Christ–and these folks just missed a pretty sweet God opportunity to be just that. If you are a mom struggling with the day to day–then something DOES need to change. But you are not crazy. And the only change is–really…finding real support for your family and for you.
There should be no stigma in going to counseling. For yourself…or for your marriage. When you see a child of yours struggling…you didn’t do anything wrong–it’s life. Those trails Jesus told us would happen over time. We need to work on being brave…and talking—A LOT…about what our hearts are really going through and experiencing. When we are in good places–we need to look for those who are not and pick them up…that’s Corinthians…comforting with the same comfort we have received. There should be no stigma with depression or just being vulnerable…because I’m really not convinced that anyone does NOT deal with this at some point in their lives.
I share the hard from my life simply because social media, Pinterest and the world is so good at making everyone’s lives seem like they are full of rainbows and unicorns. Lisa Frank just isn’t reality;). The more we share our hard–the easier it is for everyone…especially our friends and family who hold in the hard and we have no idea they are struggling. If we share when it’s hard–those the Lord has put in our lives who aren’t in the midst of hard will be able to pick us up and vice versa. And I want to be there to pick up those around me and stop everything to just listen and be there too.
I want to be a person speaking words of LIFE.
I want to encourage.
I want to turn my frustration from that really rude guy who just went off for no reason to LOVE…remembering that he may be in such a hard place…and he needs more encouragement and love RIGHT now than I could ever imagine. I want to realize that JUST maybe the Lord allowed that guy or gal to say that thing to me for no reason…to give me that look or that road rage of a moment…because God knew that I was His…and that I would pray…and reach out…and creatively brain storm how I might brainstorm how to love so big that they only see His grace and love and know that HE is speaking to them.
I want to invite trouble in…not to tell that mom to come back when she has it all together–but to invite her in…to invite myself into her world…and see how I might help her…and in the helping…see that really–she is the one helping me.
There will be hard, hard days—no matter your age or stage…and oh man–we need each other.
I’m so proud of the friends who have dealt with depression on a DAILY basis…who keep saying yes to another tomorrow. Recently suicide has hit the Ethiopian adoption community as children in middle school have gone. You get to know a lot of families across the country when you adopt–and we have met families who have lost their children, their spouses, and survived themselves. I love, love, love what TWLOHA is doing to raise awareness, erase the stigma and help those who need support find support.
You can buy one of their amazing tees with this design on their site.
Erase the stigma of depression. Look for someone to encourage and be there for in their hard stuff. And speak words of life–no matter what.
We’ll see YOU tomorrow beautiful,