Today’s Truth

I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name

Isaiah 45:3

Friend to Friend

Children are wonderfully different.

When our son Jered was nine months old, he began to pull up on every piece of furniture he could find. For weeks, he maneuvered his way around our home until the day he took his first step … alone. It was a step of inches, but we celebrated as if he had run a marathon.

Our daughter Danna had a different plan. She never pulled up on a piece of furniture and never took “a” step. When she was ten months old, Danna stood up, looked around, and trotted across the room. Jered and Danna both walk extremely well today as young adults, but they both began with tiny steps … and in their own way.

Nobody gets depressed overnight, and nobody overcomes depression overnight. The journey out of the pit is a process of steps uniquely planned by your Father.

First, we must wait. The psalmist simply says, “I waited.” Waiting is not passive. Waiting is a time of preparation, a time of rest and healing.

Isaiah 45:3 “I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”

This verse says our Father has gone before us and, in every dark moment or painful circumstance, has buried a treasure or stored a secret. Some things cannot be learned in the light. They are reserved for the darkness. The pit of depression has become a hedge of protection in my life, a warning light that something is wrong or out of balance. To wait means to accept the pit, knowing it is for our good.

Second, we must be real. Pride often prevents us from admitting we are struggling. Emotional health begins at the point of emotional integrity. When clinical depression first overwhelmed my life, my husband was the pastor of a large, fast-growing church. We could choose to be transparent and real, or we could sweep my struggle under the rug. We decided that to be right, we had to be real. We shared my battle with the staff, the deacons, and then with the entire church. Yes, we took a risk, but we learned an important lesson. A shared load is a lighter load because we were created to need each other.                         

Third, we must be still. So much about God can never be known on the run. We can get so wrapped up in everyday life that we fail to be wrapped up in Him. The busier we are, the more stillness and rest we need. During those two years in the pit, I not only gave up every role of leadership, I could not even attend church at times because of panic attacks. The Father taught me an important truth. He is more concerned with who I am than what I do. He loves it when I am still … sitting at His feet. 

Fourth, we must cry out for help. People struggling with depression often look for help in the wrong places. The first place we should look is God. He stands waiting to hear our voice; and when we cry out to Him, He comes running – through His Word, through prayer, and through His people.

God also works through doctors and counselors. Depression is often rooted in a physical problem that requires medication. The medicine does not eliminate the depression, but it does level the playing field so that whatever is triggering the depression can be addressed. Christian counselors are a gift from God. He knew we would need them. God also works through friends and family members to encourage and help us. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and don’t be too proud to accept it.

Finally, we must be patient. It took me many years to hit rock bottom, and it took me two years to climb out of that pit. I still battle depression. I have asked God to deliver me, but He has said “no.” Depression keeps me broken. Anything that makes me cry out to God can be counted as a blessing. When we come to the end of ourselves, God begins.

I don’t know if you are in a pit and need help, or if someone you love is in that pit and needs help. One thing I do know is that the purpose of the pit is to purify and then to restore.

Don’t quit!

Don’t give up!

God is with you.

Let’s Pray

Father, my heart is filled with chaos and confusion. I feel as if I am drowning in my circumstances. I need the strength and peace that only You can give. Right now, I choose to rest in You, trusting You to bring me out of the darkness.

In Jesus’ Name,


Now It’s Your Turn

Read Philippians 4:7 (NIV) “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Make a list of the dark places in your life today. Surrender each one to God. Ask Him to bring light into your heart and mind and help you walk in His peace today. When the waves of darkness come, remember each one now belongs to your Father. 

More from the Girlfriends

For more help and practical ways to deal with depression in your own life or in the life of someone you love, check out Mary’s book, Hope in the Midst of Depression.

Be sure to check out Mary’s book excerpts, articles, and FREE MP3s. Connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.

14 Responses to “God is With You”

  1. Kia Vang says:

    Thanks for the encouragement, both my daughter and I are going through great depression

    • Angela, the book of the Bible that was the most powerful to me while I was in that dark pit was the book of Psalms. It still it. I often said those words aloud as my prayer when I had no words. Hang in there with your medication. It might be worth your times to get a second opinion. Five years is a very long time to find the meds and the right dosage. I am so sorry that your church doesn’t get it when it comes to depression. In my book, Hope in the Midst of Depression, I talk about several “big guns” who struggled with depression. Job, Elijah, Paul and even Jesus Himself. I believe the Father included those stories for our encouragement. Hang in there, friend. Blessings!

  2. Good Morning, I enjoy reading your articles. They let me know I am not alone.
    Is there a certain book in the Bible you would recommend reading when I an in the pit? I have been struggling for 5 years, they cant seam to get my meds right, i lost my friends, My nondenominational church family don’t understand either when I dont make it to church. I hear, well your faith is not strong enough. Which I think i need to find another church. Feeling lost and lonely.

    • Sandra Boys says:

      Angela, I am so sorry about your lack of support from your church. Personally, I would strongly advise visiting other churches. We need support from our church friends, from Mary Southerland, from the Bible. It takes a whole village to raise a child and definitely more than medicine to help with depression. You can make it! Keep fighting. And a Christian counselor might be just the trick to help you overcome.

  3. Nancy Booth says:

    Thanks, Mary for sharing your journey. I identify with it so much. I appreciate your vulnerability and the encouragement to others especially to reach out. When I was in an especially dark place, God reminded me to “just be held.” May He continue to hold all of us.

  4. Mary, your words helped me today. Last night I watched a documentary on Fred Rogers and he spoke of the value of silence (both for our children and adults). I also suffer from panic and depression and am learning to embrace the suffering and listen to what our Lord is trying to tell me. Your tips are practical and useful. Thank you.

  5. Sandra Boys says:

    Wow, what a new way to look at depression! I want to share with family members and friends who battle depression. Thanks Mary.

  6. Joy says:

    This was really good. I like how you were transparent with those around you and asked for the help. I also struggled through depression and what you say about it being a process is so true. thank you for this devotion!

  7. Angela says:

    A dear friend from life group sent this to me tonight … I cried all the way through both times I read it… And I’m still crying.

    I’ve had a varying degree of depression my entire adult life, but these last few weeks have probably been the worst. I’m currently in the midst of trying to get my medications straightened out… Will see a psychiatrist for the first time next month. I’m hoping he will be willing to test neurotransmitters in order to truly know where to start instead of taking strands in the dark.

    Anyway, definitely glad my friend sent me this and will be reading more!

  8. Abby says:

    I also struggle with depression. It is hard to admit, because unless you have been there, it’s hard to understand. It is more than just snapping out of it. Thank you for addressing this problem.

Leave a Reply

"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8