It was a hard week and a half. First of all, there was the fact that neither of my children had been sleeping well for the past few weeks. Then, my daughter got sick. I thought it was the flu, but it was merely a nasty cold that led to the worst sinus and ear infections that she has ever had. And then my husband got sick. It was the exact same scenario. His ear infection was so bad that he couldn’t even drive for a few days. I drove my daughter to the doctor. I drove him to the doctor. I drove him to work to pick up his laptop and gear so that he could work from home. I tried to keep it all together. I kept missing sleep. I kept trying on my own. I wished desperately for a nap, for my family to be closer than a 15 hour car drive away. I wished for friends that could come hang out at the drop of a hat, who didn’t have kids, who could see me still in my pajamas with piles of done and undone laundry and miscellaneous messes scattered around our too-small house, and I wouldn’t care. I came undone. I spiraled into depression and despair. I yelled at my daughter way too much. I snapped at my husband when he didn’t deserve it. I harbored resentment at my role, my family, and my life. I tried to read my Bible and pray, but it wasn’t sticking. I’d be fine for about an hour, and then the tears and childish demands and tiredness and hunger would pile up in everyone again, and we sinners would keep on sinning and I would forget that where sin abounds, grace much more abounds. (Romans 5:20)
Sometimes I just get depressed. I don’t know why, it just shows up and slips on like a comfortable old sweatshirt and, before I know it, I’m blue. That depression is easier to handle. I’m kind of down and lethargic for a few days, but I can typically get done what needs doing, detach from it a bit, realize it’s there, and still function until it’s gone.
The worse depression comes when there has been no margin in my life. It comes when I’m worn out, lonely, and vulnerable. It hits hard and leaves me feeling unable to get back up. I know what I need to do to fight it. I need to get away from the house for a few hours, clear my mind, pray, read, journal, take a walk, do nothing, do some planning in quiet, or a combination of the above. Always I need more sleep. Sometimes I need time with a friend. Hourly I need to fight panic, despair, anxiety, bitter thoughts, and threadbare patience with prayers for help, for God’s grace to be sufficient (2 Corinthians 2:8). And yet, these things are so hard to do.
I found myself settling back into old, negative, nasty thought patterns. I condemned myself over and over for my failings. I lashed out in my mind (and sometimes out loud) to blame others for my feelings, my problems, my failures. I allowed anger to swirl around me. I forgot that I needed to be transformed by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2)- just as my counselor had been teaching me over the past year. Or I chose not to do it because that is hard, it requires effort, and everything (I mean everything) felt like such tedious effort.
Thank you, Father, for my sweet husband. One night he made me tea. He asked what I needed. I talked. He talked. I apologized. We made a plan to get me out of the house for a couple of hours. We watched a show that we both enjoyed and that was kind of cheesy. I didn’t get more sleep because my sweet baby boy caught the sickness and had a fever that night. But I got out of the house. I wrote this and a whole lot more while I was out. I got rid of the backlog in my brain. I prayed. I let go of anger, of expectations. I read some more of the book, Desperate, and got a little breath of fresh air in my freed-up brain space. I resolved to write down the verses that remind me to pray and to rely on God’s grace, and then to tape them up around the house. (2 Corinthians 9:8, 12:9; Psalm 42:5, 16:8)
In the middle of it all, I decided that I would stop blogging, stop sharing about my life and the dark places as well as the light. I was ashamed of my behaviour, of my weakness, of my struggles. I was tired of feeling vulnerable, of knowing that my struggle was no longer secret. I wanted to keep my life private, unseen. And then God reminded me that it didn’t matter – I was to keep blogging because I have surrendered this space to Him, and He isn’t done with it yet. In other words, this blog isn’t about me, not really. It’s about the wondrous display of God’s love and glory as He works in me, through me. It’s about my weakness displaying God’s strength. It doesn’t matter what happens, what other people think or say. If God be glorified, then the rest is of no consequence. May God be glorified!