What does depression mean to you? What does it feel like, what does it look like, to you? I was asked questions similar to these multiple, multiple times in the days following the death of my loved one last year.
And as we’re two weeks away from remembering the day he went to heaven, I think it bears sharing, and repeating.
What does depression, and for that matter, what grief and mourning look like?
When I arrived at Mercy Multiplied last summer in Sacramento, I heard a song by Tenth Avenue North in worship one morning that I believe sums up depression in the Christian life perfectly. It’s called Worn.
And that song Worn by Tenth Avenue North is beautiful, but sad. It speaks of a beautiful brokenness. It touched my heart and my soul at a time of greatest loss.
And I remember seeking out the CD while at Mercy- as we weren’t allowed free reign on the internet- and I’d put that CD in my CD player and stretch out on my bed with my headphones on in my room. And I’d lie there on the bed on Sundays during our 1 hour of quiet time. I would lay there and just cry, tears streaming down the sides of my face, listening to those lyrics, over and over.
“Let me know redemption wins, let me know the struggle ends, that You can mend a heart that’s frail and torn…
I want to know a song can rise from the ashes of a broken life and all that’s dead inside can be reborn, ‘cause I’m worn.”
Those lyrics speak so perfectly to what it’s like going through the hard things life brings us.
Let me know redemption wins. Let me know that it wins over death, illness, injury, and the loss of a loved one.
Let me know the struggle ends. That the pain from things like divorce, failure, heart break, and disappointment aren’t forever. That there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
I want to know a song can rise, from the ashes of a broken life, and all that’s dead inside can be reborn… Yes. Healing is possible. No matter how bad the pain. No matter how much you’re hurting. Yes. A hundred times, yes. God can do a miracle in your life and turn it around. He did it for me. He can do it for you.
If you’re still breathing, your story’s not over. God still has a plan and a purpose for your life. He can use your pain and turn it and you into something beautiful. Redemption is 100% possible.
The Bible tells us that there is a season for everything, a season.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 sums it up perfectly.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.”
There is a time for death, and a time for mourning. A time for weeping, that too.
But it’s important to remember that for every one of these low and necessary seasons- because grief and mourning is actually the price of love- there is also a season of highs and joy.
There is a time to laugh, a time to heal. A time to embrace, and a time to love. For every low there is a high. And if we didn’t have these lows we wouldn’t know to be grateful for the highs. The good times of loving and rejoicing and celebrating. Because life is more than a season. And life is not all pain and sadness. It’s not.
It’s important to point out that a season is just that. A season. It isn’t everything. It’s not the fullness of everything.
In this world you will have pain. You will have sorrow, grief, heartache, and mourning. Any of us that have been on this earth more than a couple of decades can attest to that. There is pain in life at times. Sometimes in seasons.
But a season has a beginning, and an ending. There are seasons of fall, where the leaves fall off the tree and it appears everything is dying. There are seasons of barrenness in winter. And if I were going to describe pain, for me it would be in those seasons. When there is the appearance of the dead and the dying. Fall when the leaves are falling off the trees. Winter with no leaves, no fruit left at all.
But there is a flip side to that.
In fall, when the leaves are falling, it’s also a season of harvest. What are you harvesting? And in winter, it’s a season where though everything looks dead, there is still life down on the inside. And your roots are growing deep.
My personal season of fall and winter this past year were just that.
In a season where I lost everything, I also found something down on the inside of me. A faith in God that I didn’t know I had. Because when all you have is God, God is there. Down on the inside of you.
As a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit lives within me. And even in my darkest hour, He was there. He was with me.
Everyone else may leave you, but God never will. Our Father in heaven is a Man of His Word. He keeps His promises to His children. And He has promised never to leave me nor forsake me. Deuteronomy 31:6
That was my fall season.
And then in winter, my roots were growing deep.
In the midst of so much loss and pain, I clung to the only thing I had left. My faith in God. And in using that season of pain to draw closer to Him, my relationship and roots to God were strengthened.
Grief and mourning are different for everyone. There’s no set time table to get through it. And there’s no set time for working through and healing from depression.
But healing, and freedom, are possible. They are.
I myself have been set free from depression. And for me to say that? I never thought I would.
I spent years cycling in and out of depression. There was no constant in my emotions, just a roller coaster of highs and lows. And the lows were the very lowest of the lows. So much so that I considered suicide many times.
But I now know, through my time at Mercy Multiplied, that freedom is possible. Freedom from depression. Freedom from addiction. Freedom for suicidal ideations. Freedom.
And the only way to achieve that or obtain that kind of freedom is through Jesus Christ.
“He whom the Son sets free is free indeed.”John 8:36
And I am free. And you can be too.
Freedom is possible.
If you’d like to learn more about Mercy Multiplied, the program I went through that helps girls and young women find freedom from life controlling issues like trauma, depression, abuse, among other things, you can find out more at https://mercymultiplied.com/
They are a completely donor funded program. And they are faith based because they believe what I know from personal experience to be true. True and lasting freedom can only come through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the answer.
So if you’d like to give and support their ministry, please do. I owe them and several friends my life. Quite literally. And there are several ways you can give. Just go to https://mercymultiplied.com/ and click Donate.
And if you too have struggled with depression, what did it look like for you? And what helped? Comment below. We’d love to hear from you.
And may God bless you, always.