Two weeks ago, I chatted with you on a wonderful #TestimonyTuesday about how our testimonies don’t always have to be HUGE life-changing events. Sometimes, it’s lots of little things that start to add up to something that does change our lives. But we don’t always see it happening until its already passed. Today’s testimony is like that. And I am so grateful that my friend, Faith, is so willing to share this snippet into her life.
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.“
I love looking through my FB memories- mostly to see pictures of my bbs when they were smaller and rounder, and to read the hilarious things they’ve said that I’ve recorded for posterity.
But I also love seeing my memories because it reminds me of things part of me would probably rather forget… like what was really going on when this picture was taken. I was broken. The smile is wide but oof, the eyes are manic. I was deep in the pit of depression as the result of several things: My husband and I had moved with our baby boy from one state to another; from the city to a cornfield; from my family home where we had been living since we’d gotten married to our own house; from the charismatic, pentecostal church in which I’d grown up to our first call in the Lutheran church; from our own expectations for life in this new place to a reality that did not jive at all, and which I was afraid to admit to myself, let alone anyone else.
I had dealt with occasional depression since childhood, and am still prone to it- and the sense of utter isolation I felt there threw me into the longest period of darkness I’ve experienced. My present was so dismal that I coped by seeking refuge in my past- my fantasy world- pining for the magical, happy days where I had felt loved, wanted, hopeful. In reality, I was cheerless and disinterested in every aspect of life.
I became pregnant with our second child- our first daughter- during this awful time. Her birth was an isolated and traumatic event. She entered the world and screamed for what seemed to me the better part of an hour- as if it was her job to voice all the despair I felt but wouldn’t acknowledge. This did not endear her to me. We have had a difficult relationship ever since, and while we’ve worked hard together to get to a healthier place, there is still so much to do.
I took little joy in my new baby. In general, I resented both my children for separating me more and more obviously from the past I longed for. The months went by, and Ben knew things were not right. He tried to fix it, but nothing he did had any effect. It was frustrating and disheartening for him, and he finally asked me one day if I was depressed. I was offended and told him of course not! Denial was the only option I had: I did not *get to* be depressed- my life was wonderful! I had a loving, supportive husband, beautiful children, I was exactly where God had called me to be, and how dare I be depressed? Admitting depression would make me guilty of ungratefulness and who knows what else… this is what I believed at the time. I know better now.
Almost two years into my perpetual winter, a friend invited me to join her and a bunch of ladies in something called the 16 Week Journey: we’d interact in a private FB group for the purpose of studying whatever God would have us each study, and being connected with people who wanted to hear, and talk, about it. It was at this time God started opening my eyes to the resentment and anger I was dealing with, which were motivating my behavior toward my tiny children, and all the brokenness- of relationships and spirits- they would result in. It was a heartbreaking and sobering prognosis.
Not long after this, and right around my daughter’s first birthday, I listened to a sermon online from my home church, and something happened. I heard these words from Philippians 3:
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. **Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.**”
Finally. Finally the Truth violently broke in to my dungeon. The light shone into my darkness. A switch was flipped in my mind, and I was made free right at that moment. My circumstances had not been changed, but I had. Suddenly, I had been given hope for a future that I hadn’t believed I could have, that I hadn’t believed existed. This is why I don’t ever want to forget the parts of my life that were painful, because they prove that God has shown up to heal me, and that He will again.
For every broken place there is redemption. For every hard struggle there is hope. This is most certainly true, for me, for you.