I've stared at the blinking cursor on my screen for as long as I can. Having some words on this page seems to help me over the initial fear of sharing this...of being transparent...of being vulnerable.
I've gone over in my head & my heart the reasons for this post and the fact is I'm not typing it for you as much as I'm typing it for Him...for me. I've been convicted over and over again about always proclaiming His name and doing whatever I can for His glory - and I do believe He can & will be glorified through this...no matter how painful it may be for me to share it or admit to.
Some of you have hinted around & others have asked about why we are still in Joburg and not back in Madagascar...
We're here because I'm struggling with depression.
I still hold my breath when typing that word.
I am literally fighting the urge to use my backspace button.
Those 10 letters - depression - carry so much weight. It has always been a word that I've whispered, that I've only associated with bad and horrible things, and that I've heard could never be said of any Christian. I've only known two people who have ever vocalized to me that they were dealing with depression - and honestly I had no idea what to say to them. I didn't understand what was involved.
I knew something was "off" when we were getting settled back into Tulear in Feburary. There were moments that turned into days that I felt I had to literally fight for joy. At times it seemed that I was outside of myself looking in on the world in which I lived. I knew all the right Bible answers and I knew that He was indeed my Joy/Hope/Peace, but yet, I couldn't seem to cross over this ocean of sadness in my mind & heart.
One afternoon, in the middle of a panic attack, I had verses swirling in my head about "do not be anxious"...and yet there I was literally drowning in anxiety.
None of it made sense to me. I was finally back "home" after being in South Africa for maternity leave. I had an amazingly supportive & loving husband PLUS two beautiful girls whom I am able to be "mommy" to. Where was this sadness coming from? Why couldn't I just "fix" it? Why wasn't He just "fixing" it? I felt as if I were grieving when I knew I should be celebrating...which only piled on more guilt & shame for feeling the way that I was.
Thankfully, we work for an organization who takes these types of things seriously. We were already coming to South Africa for a meeting and they said we'd need to stay until we could get things worked out. I don't know what my plan was for what I would tell people as to why we were staying here so long...definitely not the truth.
The truth was big, scary, looming, and I was ashamed.
But a few weeks later, here I am - in the middle of a post - announcing to anyone who reads - exactly what I am dealing with, what my family is dealing with...the experts here say it's "reactional depression" and that it was triggered by the birth of Lyllian - that somewhere in my subconscious her birth triggered a grieving time for the miscarriage we had in 2012. That grieving time coupled with the complicated hardness of life in Tulear resulted in a chemical imbalance that was changing my day to day pretty drastically.
That's a lot of words for saying that I didn't choose depression. I ignored it the best that I could and fought against it with everything I had...but He still is walking me down this path to healing. He's doing it differently than I prayed for - but His ways are perfect...are they not?
So, why share? Because I am a Christian. Because I was ashamed. Because I had literally never heard someone talk about going through depression openly.
Because I thought I was the only one.
Here's the thing - I'm not.
But if I was, it doesn't change the fact that I am struggling with it.
I am getting better.
I do still have hard days.
It doesn't change the fact that I serve the God who is healing me.
Some will say this means I'm not a Christian. They're wrong but it's not up to me to prove that to them.
Some will say it means that I'm not a strong Christian or that I don't have a "good walk" with the Lord.
You know what? They're right.
I'm learning how weak I am. I'm seeing that I desperately need Him in every area of my life - every single moment. I pray that I will never again be pulled into the desire to be a "good Christian". There's nothing good about me apart from Him. I want to hopelessly & passionately pursue a relationship with the Forgiver of my sins. I want to publically acknowledge that I fall short and the only thing I am deserving of is hell. I also want for everyone to know that my Savior...my good, perfect, holy, just, and loving Savior desired a love relationship with me - just as I am. He desires to transform me so that I do not stay the same...not just a one time transformation but a daily, hourly, minute by minute transformation to look more like His Son Jesus Christ.
I am earnestly praying that He is ever so glorified through it and that there might be even one person which one day we will cross paths, and I can hold their hand, and look them in the eye and tell them "I've been there and here's what the Lord did in my life".