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Today’s Truth

I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

(Psalm 40:1-2, NIV)

Friend to Friend

I hate depression. It is an all-too-familiar foe in my life. I know. I am a grounded Christian and have walked with God for many years. I am a pastor’s wife … a Christian author and speaker. According to many people, I shouldn’t struggle with depression, but I do. It keeps me on my face before God. It keeps me broken and desperate for Him.

Thousands – seriously – thousands of people have prayed for me to be delivered and set free from this battle.

I continually search my heart, mind, and soul for some un-confessed sin.

I have sifted through my past and dealt with every painful memory God has brought to mind.

I have tried dozens of nutritional cures and am on the healthiest eating plan of my life.

Exercise? Do it. It helps … but the darkness never quite goes away.

I have had two sleep studies, been given a light box, taken I don’t know how many different anti-depressants, and seen countless psychiatrists and counselors, searching for an answer. They don’t seem to have one that I like – you know, the one that takes away the darkness altogether.

I have come to the conclusion that my real name is Pauline.

No, I am nowhere close to the faith level of the apostle Paul, but we do have one thing in common. A pit. I’m not sure what Paul’s personal pit was. It doesn’t matter. When Paul begged God to take away his pain, the answer was a resounding “no.” God then proceeded to use Paul in amazing ways – because of and through the broken places in Paul’s life.

I want to be like Paul. I want to be okay with just being okay some days. It’s funny. On those days when I want to give up … I invariably receive an email, a phone call, a Facebook message, or a text telling me how God has used something I wrote or taught to change a life. I am just flat out amazed to think God can use me in such a way! That’s when I truly thank Him for the pit, knowing that He is working through my brokenness to encourage other broken people.

We are all broken in some way. We all have pits.

A pit is slimy. It is impossible to get a grip on anything because of the slimy walls. You can’t climb out. I tried. But I kept sliding back down to the bottom. Evidently, God thought I needed to learn how to sit, be still, and know that He really is God.

And the bottom of my pit was just lovely – covered in mud. As I dredged through that mud, I came to a startling realization. I was a pig. I evidently loved wallowing in the mud of my messy past. I discovered that I had spent a lot of years burying a lot of junk in that mud.

Emotional junk that was just too painful to face.

Physical junk that I simply didn’t have the strength to master.

Mental junk that forged faulty thought patterns and nasty habits in my life.

Spiritual junk I desperately tried to hide as I attempted to find my worth in performance, human approval and effort.

I wish I had known then what I know now – that God loves me simply because He is love and He just can’t help Himself. I wish I had known that nothing I do or don’t do will ever change His love for me, and that no one – absolutely no one can take my place in His heart.

But it took the pit of clinical depression for me to learn those truths.

So today, I embrace the pain. I celebrate the fact that even in the darkness, I know He is there. God is with me. He is faithful. Jesus loves me, and He is for me.

Yes, the pit of depression is never far away and that is a good thing.

Anything or anyone that makes me desperate for God can be counted as a blessing. Honestly, I hate that truth – but I also love it. God has used it to make my life a living illustration of the wonderful horrible certainty that His power shines best through the broken places. He is drawn to broken people. Broken people are why He came.

Did you know that my given name, Mary, literally means: “bitter, but when broken, sweet?” I guess I will keep it. After all, it is the perfect picture of who I really am.

Let’s Pray

Father, thank You that You are my strength and my joy. I turn to You in faith and seek Your forgiveness for the pride that blinds me to the hope I find in You. Please help me see Your hand at work in my life. Right now, I lay the broken pieces of my life at Your feet and am counting on You to come through for me.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Read and memorize Psalm 40:1-3.

Record these verses in your journal.

When the darkness comes, remember each promise and count on God’s grace.

More from the Girlfriends

Mary’s book, Hope in the Midst of Depression, is her story of desperation, brokenness and restoration. It will help you discover the steps that will lead you to the light.

Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through email or on Facebook. If you would like to receive more devotions like this one, sign up for Mary’s Blog.

9 Responses to “Life From the Other Side of the Pit”

  1. Rebecca says:

    Thank you for your honesty. I suffer from Treatment Resistant Depression. I often wonder where God is and why. It is nice to know I am not alone. It is so very difficult to try to explain the feelings of being a Christian and a sufferer of Depression. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to be either. That you for sharing your story with us, I know for myself I don’t feel so alone.

  2. Sherri says:

    Thank you for your transparency and inspiring women through your personal testimony.
    Wow, I often struggle with how to help family and friends through this, but just do not know how. Seeing anyone go through this is so painful. I am definitely purchasing copies of this book knowing that God has a word for them and me.
    Be BLESSED.

  3. Elsa Gemma says:

    Thank you for your words yesterday I was wondering why I am not a perfect Christian felt so unworthy was just despondent health issues and thought of the sinful person I am but I want to grow so I am praying but at my age if not now when will I get it right but you shared the reminder that Jesus loves me He loves me today I’m going to hold on to the shared story you gave

  4. Laurie says:

    Mary, this message touched my heart. My mom lived with severe depression and anxiety all her life. Nothing seemed to help her. She went to church, ladies church groups, did her devotions, but as I look back I can see she never really grabbed on to her faith for support and healing. A few years ago I went through my own bout of depression and was blessed to find a counselor who’s practice was faith-based. I know I always need to be aware of my tendency to go to the dark, but I also know God is always there for me.

  5. Donna Lazenby says:

    Thank you for always sharing your heart 🙂 I appreciate, beyond words, your honesty and raw expressions of your life and your struggles. We need more people like you in the world to show people being a Christian does not mean “being perfect, without challenges”. Thank you for the reminder that Jesus loves broken people!! I’m humbled to be a part of that group.

  6. Jill says:

    I too have been through some of the same problems with my depression and come to some of the same conclusions also. I’m so happy and overjoyed that the Father loves us as we are, scars and all.
    I find being outdoors surrounded by his creation helps to renew my spirit.
    Blessings,
    Jill

  7. Lorraine says:

    I just want to say thank you to Mary for her complete honesty in today’s devotional. Honestly it is a comfort to hear someone else’ struggles with emotional issues such as anxiety or depression because it’s kind of suggested that if we struggle with that type of illness we have not given it to the Lord or we’re doing something wrong. In the church it is kind of frowned upon in a way because it’s mental health I think. So speaking in such an honest way is such a blessing to others who deal with these issues, it’s a comfort really in some sort of way. So thank you for your openness and honesty.

  8. Donna says:

    Wow! Thank you for your powerful words! The word picture of being in the bottom of the pit wallowing in the mud really hit home with me! You have given me a lot to process and pray about.

  9. Kathy says:

    My son suffers from anxiety and depression and he sees no way out. I am so scared, so unsure of how to help. I am trying to teach him to see God, see Gods perfect plan, and trying to convince myself as well that this is a plan, that I as his mama cant fix it, cant take this on…..but that we both have to rely on God. Thanks to you for sharing but for giving me a place to share a little as well

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"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