Hello old friend. Let me first preface this post by saying that is has nothing to do with autism. As I wrote at the top of this blog, this is a journey from despair to hope. From darkness to light. Friend, I am in darkness and I am trying desperately to cling to the Light. This is from the depths of my heart, as a response to God’s Word that I am reading this morning. If you have a few minutes to sip some tea and read, walk with me…
Though I have little to no affections as of yet, I am doing this out of obedience and the love for my Lord I must believe is there, despite my access to it. The effort it takes to concentrate is almost too much to bear, and my bed beckons me to come and lie and wait for tomorrow for enough energy to love God. But that is a lie. For tomorrow will also be drained of energy for the love of God if I set my eyes on other things. Jesus commands my all. He commands me to look to Him for comfort, for peace, for hope, for rest.
Depression is an awful, tormenting master. I am not able to help my being chained to it, driven by the whip of hopelessness, devoid of any sunshine or happiness. I do not choose to be bound, I simply am.
This is not just, “I had a bad day and I’m sad about it”, this is “major depression”. It is full of frustration, guilt and shame. But it is REAL. That is why I’m writing about it right now.
Depression is real.
The absolute devastation it can bring with its shackles is real. It has taken me a while to come to this point of seeing a teensy glimpse of hope, and even longer for me to have the desire to share it with you. I have been encouraged by my dear mother and sweet friends to fill my mind with truth, even if I am numb to the Spirit. He will make me alive. My husband holds me, telling me it won’t last forever and I want to believe him, but it’s hard to trust that in the darkness of depression. So on the wisdom of others I lean, and open my Bible to Psalm 42 after a quick concordance search for “despair” since that is what I feel. The Spirit began to work, and since I process best by writing things out, I grabbed my computer finally feeling an ounce of desire to write again. May God bless the reading, hearing, and contemplation of His Word in what I will call for today, “Worship in the Darkness”.
The following will be verses from Psalm 42 and my humble response to it. Feel free to add your own responses in the comments below. Worship with me, though the darkness has yet to be lifted.
vs 3 “My tears have been my food day and night,
while they say to me all day long,
‘Where is your God?'”
Depression causes me to cry, at any time, for no reason whatsoever. I feel as if I am grieving, but I don’t know what or who I am grieving over. I am simply grieving. In my grief, the tears of hopelessness pour out, calling to me, “Where is your God?” Where is He in my sadness? Where are the big strong arms of the God that promised He’d never leave or forsake me? Has He forgotten me?
vs. 4 “These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God,
with the voice of joy and thanksgiving , a multitude keeping festival.”
Nearly one year ago, I went on a mission trip with 12 others to Machakos, Kenya. On Sunday, we all walked together to the church just down the road. On our way, other people from the surrounding village joined us. I remember well, and fondly.
vs. 5 “Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him
for the help of His presence.”
I know why I am in despair. I have been diagnosed with “major depression” and depression causes despairing thoughts and feelings. This verse tells me to hope in God, “for I shall AGAIN praise Him…” Maybe I am not able to joyfully praise Him now, but I will hold onto hope that I will again. “For the help of His presence”; yes, I will then praise Him for not leaving or abandoning me to the darkness of my mind. Here is His word before me, speaking His love to me if I will read it. I don’t have to feel it, I just need to read it and trust it because I still believe God’s Word is true.
vs. 8 “The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime;
And His song will be with me in the night,
A prayer to the God of my life.”
I learned a long time ago that whenever I see “lovingkindness” in Scripture, it is a reference to the covenant God has made with us. He made promises long ago that still apply today, and being that He is the one who made the covenant and cannot ever break His promises thus denying Himself as God, this verse is true. I must believe that despite the veil the depression has cast over my eyes, God is commanding reminders of His love to me when I am awake even if I cannot see them. The daytime itself is a loving reminder of my favorite phrase, “After darkness, light.”
“His song will be with me in the night”: I think of singing a lullaby to my babies when they were little. I do not have a song to praise Him in the night, or words with which to pray. But He does. Romans 8:26 says, “And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
The Psalm ends with the refrain from verse 5, “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance, and my God.”
This I am left with, as I am leaving you with as well. Hope in God, friend. You and I will both praise Him again. The darkness will not rest on us forever. Do not settle for living in a raincloud like Eeyore. Do as I did and reach out to friends and family who will help you help yourself. You are loved, whoever you are reading this. It does not matter that you don’t feel like it. Trust it anyway. Maybe you need to see a doctor and get a prescription, or go to a counselor to talk things through. I know this well, and though it is SO very hard, you must try to do something during the day, even if you only take a shower and (for us girls) do your hair and make-up so you feel like a human being again. Listen to your loved ones as they try to help you. If you reach out for help and they offer help, if you do not take it, you are not really wanting to be helped.
Even as I write, I am casting myself on God, in whom I hope and trust to strengthen me today as it seems to be a better day. Because He loves me, I know He will never fail me when I require His strength. It delights Him to be my knight in shining armor to carry me through the veil of deep darkness. But I fear no evil for He is there with me, His rod and staff comforting me. I pray He has heard and read the words of worship in my heart, even on this page. To God be the glory.