Christmas. We look forward to it because it’s a symbol of hope. A time of hopeful anticipation when anything can happen. Expectations can run high over the holidays, which makes it all the more painful if depression or anxiety set in. And for those who are experiencing loneliness, the holidays may seem to magnify it. Disappointment can replace joyful anticipation, making Christmas something to endure rather than enjoy. Continue reading
Whenever I minister to others who are experiencing depression, one of the first questions I ask is, “When did it begin?” Was there a distressing life event when things shifted? If so, who was involved? What was your perception of God after that event? Sometimes the answer to these questions points the way to the path out of depression. Continue reading
Depression cannot stand in the presence of worship
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to… give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…” Isaiah 61:1-3
It’s often called a lot of things: depression, mental illness, a chemical imbalance. The Bible has another word for it: a spirit of heaviness. It is also called a spirit of despair, or fainting. The Hebrew word for it means to be dull, dim or faint. Continue reading
It all began with a simple prayer request. Our daughter Lauren and her husband Ray were part of one of their church’s community groups, and this night they asked for prayer for me. They asked their group to pray that God would set me free from depression.
It was right after this that I began to look back over my life and the impact that depression had had upon it. During the 25 years that I felt such bondage to depression I had a distorted view of the effect it had had upon myself and those I care the most about. Now as I looked back, I could clearly see that depression hadn’t just occasionally influenced my life. I could see that there was a consistent pattern of it stealing from myself and my loved ones. It was like looking at the landscape after a hurricane has passed by; the devastation had been there all along, stealing joy, contentment and a sense of well-being.
Have you ever woke up to recognize the presence of heaviness? Even before you’ve started your day or had time to think about anything, it’s already operating. Today was one of those days. One of the first things I like to do in those situations is a self-check. I examine myself to see if there is any place where I have come into agreement with, or yielded to that spirit. Isaiah 61 tells us that it is an evil spirit: “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to…appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.”
To a person who has never experienced depression, it would probably be easy to say, “Why don’t you just get over it?” But to the one suffering from it, things don’t look that easy.
During the years that I struggled with depression, I felt like my heart was bleeding. As much as my husband and friends tried to help, they eventually had to tend to other things, leaving me feeling abandoned in my pain. If I were to paint a picture of what that felt like, it was like I had been in a horrible car accident and was bleeding profusely. My friends and family would come and go, but no one was able to extricate me from the car and get me into an ICU. What others could not see is that I had been in an accident of sorts, but it wasn’t physical. It was emotional and spiritual. It sounded like such a comfort to me to die and go to heaven where the pain would be over. Continue reading
Have you ever wondered why you were doing pretty good emotionally, and then another bout of depression hit you like a tidal wave? I want to share a troubleshooting tip that I learned during the years that I spent recovering from depression. If you find that this applies to you, you’ll be amazed at the instantaneous relief it can bring: Continue reading