My Journey With Depression

Today I want to begin to share my story with you. Our stories matter. Years ago I read Dan Allender’s book To Be Told. In it he says, “It is your privilege to listen to your own story so you can live boldly for the sake of the Greatest Story, the good news of Jesus Christ. God reveals himself to you–and to others–through the story he has written in your life.” Depression has shaped more of my story than I realized until recent years. Depression is a difficult subject. Add being a Christian battling depression and it becomes even harder. I know the hope I have in Christ, am I allowed to be depressed? Do I have enough faith? Am I doing something wrong?

I have come to a place where I must wrestle with the realities of my struggle with depression. I have a deep faith in God, yet I have so much to learn about trusting Him and His love for me. In his latest book, Spurgeon’s Sorrows, Zack Eswine discusses root sources of depression: spiritual, physical and circumstantial. My story of depression involves all three. I recently discovered through medical tests that I have a genetic mutation of the MTHFR gene that makes me prone to depression, along with many other health struggles I have faced. (I affectionately refer to it as the mother-f-er gene) I experienced traumatizing circumstances as a child that most likely wired my brain to react differently to the stresses around me. I have wrestled with a fear of God and spiritual darkness since first learning of God and the devil when I was 5 years old.

My story and my struggles can overwhelm me, anger me, and lead me to despair. Why is this my story? I feel guilty for questioning as I consider all of those with stories so much harder than my own. Why am I not strong enough to face my story with gratitude? How can I be less cynical and jaded? How can my heart that’s been hardened by pain and struggle learn to be soft and hopeful? Anger is easy, a tender heart is so vulnerable. I’ve been learning that going through life with a hard heart with walls of fear and shame surrounding keeps out the bad (sort of), but it also keeps out the good. A tender heart can fully feel the joy of a child’s smile, the hope within the sunrise over the ocean, the wonder of walking through the woods, the love in my husband’s embrace.  I am attempting to be courageous and remove the fortress around my heart. God’s love is pursuing me in this and that's the only reason it feels safe to try. Have you felt this way? Is this a journey you have been on yourself? I don’t think I’m alone. I sure hope not anyway.

One of my favorite songs from the last year is Hello My Old Heart by the Oh Hello’s. The lyrics are so true of how I've attempted to guard my own heart. I'm ready to set my heart free.

Hello, my old heart,

How have you been?

Are you still there inside my chest?

I've been so worried,

You've been so still,

Barely beating at all.

Oh, don't leave me here alone.

Don't tell me that we've grown for having loved a little while.

Oh, I don't want to be alone.

I want to find a home, and I want to share it with you.

Hello, my old heart,

It's been so long.

Since I've given you away.

Every day I add another stone

To the walls I've built around you

To keep you safe.

Oh, don't leave me here alone.

Don't tell me that we've grown for having loved a little while.

Oh, I don't want to be alone.

I want to find a home, and I want to share it with you.

Hello, my old heart,

how have you been?

How is it being locked away?

Don't you worry.

In there you're safe.

And it's true, you'll never beat,

But you'll never break.

Nothing lasts forever.

Some things aren't meant to be.

But you'll never find the answers

Til you set your old heart free.

Til you set your old heart free.

My story will take many days to tell. Thanks for joining me in it. I look forward to what God has in store.