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 NIV).
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. 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. 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.
“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 NIV).
This verse says our Father has gone before us and, in every dark moment, has buried a treasure or stored a secret. Some things cannot be learned in the light. 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. 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 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. 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 we need. During those two years in the pit, I not only gave up every role of leadership, but 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 sitting at His feet.
Fourth, we must cry out for help. God 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 to correct. 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. 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.
Don’t give up!
God is with you.
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, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Are you struggling with the darkness in any area of your life? Can you surrender each one to God, asking Him to bring light into your heart and peace into your mind?
More from the Girlfriends
Need help? Mary’s book, Hope in the Midst of Depression, will help you deal with the darkness in your life. Check it out! AND it is on sale this month!
Need prayer? Email email@example.com with your prayer request and our prayer team would love to pray with and for you.
© 2023 by Mary Southerland. All rights reserved.
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I enjoyed the devotion, it resonated with me and my life experience. Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m convinced when we are open to learning new skills and sharing knowledge with others we can heal!
DIane, thank you for your kind words of encouragement. A priceless gift to me. I totally agree with you when you said that by sharing our life story, healing takes place.
When God allows us to go through a painful experience, He wants us to share what we have learned in that experience with others.
God bless you, friend. Keep standing firm in your faith.
Thank you Mary for your transparency. I recall going through depression and feeling condemned as a Christian. Hearing from the pulpit that Christians don’t go through depression, seek counseling or take medication. It dug me further into the pit, but God . . . ☝🏽✝️🙏🏼
Mary, thank you for being honest on this subject. My mother suffered with lifelong depression, only managing to crawl out for brief periods of time. It hit me in my late twenties as a newlywed in the beginning of a successful career. It forced me to step back and prioritize. It was hard for me to accept I had fallen prey to what I could never understand in my mother. It took me about six months to get squared around and fortunately I have never fallen that deep again. But I praise God that through it he has taught the warning signs that tell me I need to take a few steps back and once again find a Christian counselor to help me regain perspective. Prayers for all who suffer from something you truly cannot understand if you’ve not experienced it.
Thank you Mary for always being so transparent in your struggles. This devotion helped me to see that the anxiety I have battled with for over 40 years has actually kept me reliant on God and not myself. Because of circumstances in my life I have a tendency to think I can not trust anyone with my needs and hurts. This devotion reminds me that not only is God always there and is trustworthy, but that sharing our struggles with others lightens the burden. I also loved “He is more concerned about who I am than what I do.” God bless you and your ministry!
Mary, my pastor’s wife committed suicide this past November after suffering decades of depression. However, unlike you and your husband, the congregation was never told about her anxiety attacks, only that she was “sick”. I can’t help but wonder if they had been more transparent, maybe she could have gotten the help that she needed. God bless you Mary for your willingness to bare your soul in order to minister to the rest of us.