There is a “hush” word in the Christian arena and it is called Depression.

There are approximately nine symptoms of Major Depression and I experience every one of them. I accepted Jesus when I was 13 years old and I, very much believe in God’s redemptive power to wipe out any addiction, disease or anything that stands contrary to His Word. Yet, I struggle with symptoms that sometimes take me to a very dark place that seems to cover me like a heavy, weighted blanket.

It does not ask my permission, it just comes.

Three years ago, on February 1st my strong, spirited Father lost his battle with cancer and now both of my parents are gone from the same disease. I was there at the very last breathe for one and left 3 hours before the other slipped into eternity. I never saw my parents age and I miss them terribly, especially now. The next year my husband of almost 9 years decided he did not desire to be married any longer and our divorce was final July 3rd, 2017. He started his life with his new wife, July 29th, 2017. Their new baby arrived September 2017 and his life moved on quite swiftly.

The clock still ticks but my life has stayed still.

I’ve always been joyful, full of life and what some have called me,” refreshingly annoying,” as I am a quite a morning person and a night owl! I really did not allow much to ruffle my feathers and was a very even-keeled type individual. I am loud, passionate, enjoy laughter and I love people.

Most days it is a struggle to get out of bed, clean my house, I overeat and sometimes I cannot come out and face people, family and close friends. My personality has changed and I am still very much in grief over the loss of my life as I knew it. Grief is a complex place to be in, you cannot pray it away, yet prayer will very much ground me and light my way. Grief and depression go hand in hand and it is something I have committed myself to going through and not around.

As I have entered into 2018, I have found a new appreciation for this place I am in. It is lush, green and the scent in the air is of “The Valley.” The Psalm 23 kind of valley along with the shadow of death. The following are the ways I found helps me through this place.

  • My condition does not define me so I refer to symptoms of Depression and Grief, I am not Depression!
    My future self is not part of this Depression as God already is in my future and He says, I am restored, healed and I am running the race with perseverance.
  • I coach myself daily and have sit down sessions with The Wonderful Counselor, Jesus.
  • Confess I am God’s workmanship, co-worker, child & He knit me in my mother’s womb (Eph 2:10, 1 Corth 3:9, 1 John 3:1, Psalm 139:13).
  • Use God’s word as my life manual and my confessions are my medicine to my soul.
  • Renounce lies as they don’t prosper even though they may form.

I try my hardest not to call myself depressed because I am not defined by my circumstances. I confess I have symptoms of grief and depression but I am not what it says I am, nor will my future be determined as so. I have begun to adjust my thinking and daily I fight for normalcy. I coach myself through these dark places and allow myself time with God for daily sit down sessions with what the Bible calls” The Wonderful Counselor, Jesus.” God’s Word is my life’s manual and my confessions are medicine for my soul. I remind myself that I am God’s workmanship, His co-worker and His beautiful daughter that He knit together in my mother womb (Eph 2:10, 1 Corth 3:9, 1 John 3:1, Psalm 139:13).

I confess I have a voice, a purpose, a great group of people that surround me and a beautiful 8 year old son who needs me to get healthy.

There have been times I did not think I needed to be here but that is a lie that I will not let prosper (Isaiah 54:17). I am fighting for those who share this same place with me, we can get out of this together. I am fighting so when the people who I personally know go through a season of loss, I can wrap my arms around them and say, “I’ve been there, you will come out of this too.” I am fighting for those women I meet who I can immediately see are where I once was and stand with them through it. God sees into our futures, He is already there, that is why He can say to me, you are restored, you are healed and run the race with perseverance. He sits with me on my worst days and He rejoices with me on my best ones, but I am the same in both stances because He says,” I am free and nothing can separate me from His love.” That is my hope and my prayer every day. I am bound to come out of this more insightful, more mature and ready for God’s best for my life and He is not finished with me yet! My victory song is:

“By Your Spirit I will rise from the ashes of defeat, The resurrected King is resurrecting me. In Your name I come alive to declare Your victory, The resurrected King is resurrecting me.” – By Elevation Worship 

-Rita Stanford