to the one who battles depression

My heart is heavy for the celebrities we lost this month.

What makes it even heavier is knowing that for every suicide we hear about, there are so many more that occur.

Depression is a very complex issue that comes in many forms. But for all who battle it, the Enemy wants us to believe the same lies–that we are alone, that we cannot win the battle, and that it is hopeless to try.

And well, I’m here today to do my small part in proclaiming some of God’s great Truth, to shine a little light into the dark places of this world. And I have been in some very dark places…


my journey with depression

It all started when I was eighteen, my first month of college. I experienced a deep pain in the middle/left side of my back.

I embarked on a journey of dozens of doctors and specialists {think Xrays, MRIs, extensive blood work, acupuncture, physical therapy, chiropractic care, and even 30 rounds of spinal decompression}. I got my hopes up countless times only to have them quickly deflated.

Nothing cured this pain. It’s cause was unknown. And it was now officially “chronic.”

I lived with this pain, almost daily, for nine years. At some point along the way I accepted it as my “lot in life” or “thorn in my side” and experienced low-grade depression that would come and go.

Add to that chronic unexplained stomach pain that appeared and occurred almost daily over the next four years followed by pain that began to overtake my entire body, and well, there’s only so much a person can take.

I was starting to crack, and soon I would crumble.

The depression came on stronger than ever before. I felt completely helpless and utterly hopeless. And when I thought of living every day of the rest of my life in that sort of pain, well, those were the times the suicidal thoughts appeared.

My journey with chronic pain and depression is a long and complicated one with more details than I could possibly include in one post. Among MANY other elements and twists and turns in my story, it included a whole lot of prayer, a lot of reading God’s Word, changing my diet, exercising regularly, six months of lexapro, a year and a half of therapy, God showing up in a crazy tangible way through some prayer warriors who literally prayed a spirit of fear out of my body and a Scripture-based book on the connection between our minds and our bodies called A More Excellent Way.

As I type this today I can tell you that my depression has subsided greatly, and yet I admit it is still a battle I fight on occasion, especially when I have a particularly bad pain flare up.

It’s not easy to share this very personal journey so publicly. And it’s difficult to do so without including the many other important details that go along with it. But I felt God lay it on my heart to share just a little bit, to start somewhere, because this world is hurting and needs to be encouraged by His Truth.

And so today I share with you some things I’ve learned along the way—

three truths for the journey.

1. You are not alone.

As I mentioned before, Satan would love nothing more than for us to believe the lie that we are alone—that no one else could possibly know what we are going through.

I believe He attempts to have us believe this lie by filling us with shame and guilt regarding our battle with depression so that we don’t share it, thus feeding the cycle of increased depression and an increased sense of loneliness surrounding it.

The truth is, depression is more common than you may realize. Sadly there are 123 suicides per day in the United States.

If you think you are alone, you are not. I am sharing my story here today to provide encouragement to others. And when you are ready, I encourage you to share yours.

The greatest encouragement I have found is through Scripture and the Truth of knowing that:
– I am not alone. I am never alone. {Deuteronomy 31:6}
– God sees my hurt, knows my pain and hears my cries. {Psalm 18:6, Psalm 34:17, Hebrews 2:18}
– Jesus knew pain on a much greater level than I would ever experience–so much so that he sweat blood the night before he went to the cross where he died a death so painful they had to create a word for it–excruciating. {Matthew 26:38, Luke 22:44, Matthew 27:46}

If you need extra encouragement, I have found comfort in knowing there were characters in the Bible—godly people He used for His Kingdom—who reached such a low point that they wished for death:
– Moses {Numbers 11:13-15}
– Job {Job 3:11}
– Elijah {1 Kings 19:1-4}
– Jonah {Jonah 4:5-11}

Be encouraged by these stories; you are in good company.

2. Yes, it is a battle.

There is a very real spiritual battle being waged for our souls. Ephesians 6:12 tells us “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Fighting depression can be a daily battle. {And even if you don’t battle depression, you fight a daily battle for your soul in a myriad of other ways.} It is so important that we “sharpen our weapons” so to speak in order to more successfully fight these battles, claming victory over darkness. We do so through:

  • daily Scripture reading {Whether it’s one verse a day or one chapter a day, I guarantee if you open God’s Word and ask Him for encouragement, You will find it in the pages of his Book; Scripture tells us God’s Word is “sharper than a two-edged sword.” Sounds like a good weapon to me.}
  • daily prayer {Be honest with God, tell him how you feel, don’t censor it. I’ve heard it said, “God does’t mind us banging on his chest so long as we continue to.” What he doesn’t like is when we stop turning to Him and start turning away from Him. I’ve also heard it said that “If prayer is a conversation, God’s part of the script is His Word, prayer is yours.”}
  • wise counsel {Talk to trusted loved ones, professionals, community. My dear friend, Krissi, who I lost to cancer my senior year of high school once wrote me a note I still have taped above my desk at home, “Friends are quiet angels who lift us up when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.” We can’t go it alone. We need each other. We fall apart alone; together we rise.}
  • serving the Kingdom {I recently began volunteering with human trafficking victims and I can’t tell you how much it has helped put my pain into perspective. Isaiah was really on to something when he wrote Isaiah 58:10.}

3. But God has won the war.

You are not alone. Yes, it is a battle. But God has won the war.

Scripture tells us that God has won the ultimate war, claming victory over death itself, when He sent His Son Jesus who through the power of the Holy Spirit conquered the grave, was resurrected and then ascended into heaven.

What God has revealed to me over the last two years is that He is telling one big Story that spans all of Scipture and all of time. We are all characters in it. I am. You are.

The ending of that story? It’s found in the book of Revelation. The ultimate happy ending we have to look forward to? Death defeated. Grave conquered. And a God who will wipe ever tear from our eyes. Revelation 21:4 tells us “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Notice that verb tense: “has passed.”

A wise mentor once told me, “God has already healed you; you are simply waiting for the manifestation of that healing.” What she meant is, when Jesus went to the cross, taking on sin in order that we would no longer have to bear it, he took on all our pain, all our heartache, all our trials and struggles and burdens. And He healed them all. He made a way for them to be wiped away. Right then and there. The book of Revelation is the manifestation of that healing that will come for all who call Jesus Savior.

final words

So take heart, dear one, as you find hope in this Truth. May God’s voice of Truth drown out the lies of Satan and this world. “May the God of hope fill you with all peace,” as Paul says—someone who knew great pain and suffering. May you be filled with it in the midst of the battlefield, in the midst of the battle, when you are covered—and near drowning—in blood, sweat and tears. He will not let you down. The best is yet to come.

But remember: God didn’t just send His Son to die for us to give us life eternal—after we die. He sent His Son to give us life, and life to the full, now, here, today. This minute.

In John 10:10 Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Let’s ban together in alliance against the Enemy on the front lines of battle as we spur one another on toward life to the full today. ‘Cause I know one thing’s for sure and that’s that I need all the encouragement and Truth-speaking I can get!

“This won’t last. It’s not the end. You’re gonna be okay… You’re stronger than you know, stronger than you know.” – Jenn Johnson, You’re Gonna Be Okay

We’re stronger than we know because we have the strength of the God within us. Scripture tells us that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead–from death to life–is living in us. He has the power to raise us from the deepest, darkest places of pain and depression, from death to life. And life to the FULL. My prayer for myself, and for all reading this, is that our lives would be so saturated with God’s Word, presence and Spirit that Satan doesn’t stand a chance.

“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.”– Romans 8:1

. . .

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255. Available 24 hours a day.

The photos in this post are from a short film on pain and healing that you may watch here.

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