While getting ready this morning, I fell to the floor and just began to weep. I felt weak. I felt lost. I felt hurt. I felt hopeless. Having to cope with both seeing my dad dying and the four year anniversary of my brothers death in the past couple weeks, my emotions can’t seem to keep up.
My dad was admitted to ICU four weeks ago and he was knocking on death’s door. Doctors were fairly confident that he wouldn’t make it with the intense sickness upon his body. I was made power of attorney since I’m the only relative he has in Michigan and I will never forget the feeling I felt when the doctor asked me my permission to revive my dad if he died and asked me if I wanted to be in the room when it happened. I couldn’t speak; my uncle had to speak for me. I haven’t properly eaten since. I haven’t properly slept since. I’ve lost weight. I’ve had constant headaches. I’ll randomly burst into tears throughout the day. I’m tired.
Since coming to Jesus, my depression has never been worse. The world is constantly spinning and I get angry knowing my world is falling apart when everyone else’s seems to be fine.
If you know anything about my testimony, you know that it’s centered around mental illness—specifically depression. Depression is the deepest form of darkness that I’ve ever experienced—it’s crippling. Truly. Mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. At times it seems inescapable. And it seems impossible to cope with when my schedule is as busy as it is.
But in the midst of my breakdown this morning, Jesus oh so sweetly whispered in my ear “daughter, cling to Me.” and that’s all He needed to say. That’s all I needed to hear.
In the past couple weeks, I’ve been so desperate to escape my depression that I’ve forgotten to be desperate for Jesus.
The biggest mistake I’ve made throughout this time is the fact that I let my circumstance alter my desperation for Jesus. My eyes left Jesus and were placed on my circumstance; but He is the King of the universe which means He is also King of my circumstance.
He is King over my dad’s sickness.
He is King over my brother’s death.
He is King over my depression.
In class this morning, my professor said “The more you do for the kingdom of God, the bigger the target you have on your back.” and man, how true this is… I’ve dedicated my entire life as a missionary to multiply the Kingdom of God; the target on my back is bold. It’s big. And the enemy tries everything within his power to get a bulls-eye, but he hasn’t yet and never will. He doesn’t have that power. He doesn’t have that aim.
Depression has played a huge role in my life for the past six years and it will play a big role for the rest of my life. Although it’s crippling now, I will use it as a testament to the Lord’s goodness for the rest of my life. I’ve already experienced so much freedom from it and will continue to walk in the freedom I already have.
God brings us in and out of seasons. He will do whatever it takes to get our attention. He will do anything to put our desperation back towards Him. God never plants rotten seeds in our lives; but by His fingerprint alone, they will flourish into something magnificent.
So yes… I’m a Christ-follower with a mental illness who doesn’t love Jesus any less than those without one. I’m tired of the stigma that if I have a mental illness I don’t love Jesus enough. Here’s a reality check… I don’t. But neither do you. We can never love Jesus in the way that He deserves. But having a mental illness doesn’t mean I love Jesus any less than the next person.
“Read the book of Job. Some of God’s brightest saints dealt with the darkest of depression. What we have to understand is that just because you’re dealing with depression or suicidal thoughts does not mean you’re any less of a believer or a Christian than anybody else.” – Jarrid Wilson
My depression leads me closer to Jesus.
The times of weeping leads me closer to Jesus.
The seemingly unbearable pain that comes with depression leads me closer to Jesus.
And although the pain is unbearable and crippling at times, I wouldn’t change it for the world simply because I am closest to Jesus when I am most desperate for Him.
Forget the cliche that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle; this is crap advice. God does give us more than we can handle so our reliance is on Him and Him alone. The only efficient coping mechanism when it comes to mental illness is laying it at the feet of Jesus. He gives a hope that nothing and no one else ever could. He is our strength when we have none left.
“I waited patiently for the LORD; He inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.” Psalm 40:1-3
In His presence there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11 ESV). Well guess what! He is always present, therefore you are never without access to fullness of joy. He doesn’t give out partial joy; He gives us access to all of His joy. It’s our choice whether or not to cling to it.
So in times of distress and in times of battling with mental illness, let’s celebrate Jesus rather than complain to Him. Let’s change our perspective from “Jesus, give me strength” to “Jesus, help me walk in the strength You have already given me.” Let’s change our perspective from “Jesus, take this pain away” to “Jesus, show me how I can use this pain to glorify You.”
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:12-13