One of the best things I have ever done, albeit one of the hardest, is to let people in. Being able to admit that the struggle becomes too much or that I’m stuck down in a pit is one of the hardest things to do. Some of it is pride, some of it is fear of what others are going to say, and some of it are the lies that go through my head during those times. That is what I had to really dig to be able to do the last couple of weeks is admit that things were not okay, that things had gotten to more than I could do on my own, that I had lost hope and wasn’t able to see that on my own. Just being honest and transparent about being stuck in a fog of depression was freeing all on it’s own. If you are stuck, if you are struggling reach out, don’t fight alone. There are people who will fight with you and it is beautiful.
Once a few people knew where I really was, I wasn’t alone. And I am blessed to have some amazing prayer warriors around me. Sisters in Christ who prayed for me, and I know are still praying for me. They are fighting for me even though I haven’t felt like I could do that. They have sent encouraging messages throughout the weeks. I was asked how I was doing with genuine concern. I was told that if I needed anything to call or text anytime day or night. I didn’t necessarily have words or know what I needed, but I knew I had friends there for me. I had friends that held me when I cried, when something was stirring in my heart and it just felt too much. I was encouraged to do what I needed to do, but I was accepted and loved right where I was and loved. I was reminded that I didn’t have to be okay and I didn’t have to hide it. What really has happened is I haven’t had to carry the burden alone.
If I could change one things it would be making it so that talking about this wasn’t so hard. That there wouldn’t be all of these negative connotations or misunderstanding of what the struggle with depression looks like. That it wouldn’t be something that’s avoided, uncomfortable, and isolating. But that it could be something that brings people together, that there is hope that can be brought and there is a lot of room for Jesus to work. It is in those moments when someone comes alongside, loves you no matter what and is patient and speaks the truth to bring hope that there is no doubt that that is how the body of Christ is supposed to be, that a friend would give of time, energy, and have faith is true love. And it is just a glimpse of how God loves. That is when that still small voice says it’s worth it to keep fighting, to keep trying, that it’s going to be okay because there really is something more.
So, if you know someone is struggling reach out, don’t let them fight alone. That’s the biggest thing you can do. If you do reach out and you don’t get a response that doesn’t mean you caring isn’t noticed. It could just be a time where there aren’t words. Be patient and be accepting. The struggle is very real even if you can’t see it. Be willing to do the small things. Ask if they have eaten, if not don’t just tell the person they need to eat, make them a meal and share it with them. Be willing to just be present, simply being there even when they don’t have any words and expecting that is a lot. Invite your friend out and be willing to pick them up. All of those small things say I care, I want to be with you and I love you despite all of this.
I am thankful for my friends and sisters in Christ who have been doing these things. It gives me permission to struggle and be where I am but to know that I am loved. It tells me that this funk doesn’t define me because they know there is more even when I can’t see it or feel it. It is freeing to be known, accepted and loved. It’s a beautiful thing to not have to carry it all alone. It’s how God uses the body to say I know you can’t hear my voice so I am going to show you it through your brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s how God sometimes shouts and says do you see my child I love you? You aren’t alone. Don’t believe the lies for I already won the battle. It’s how God picks you up in his arms and says let me take care of you, let me feed you, let me listen, let me wipe away your tears. He uses those who are willing to be used. So to those who have been there and done that for me through prayer, listening, asking how things were, reminding me of the truth, making me a meal, or just being present, thank you for being God’s warm embrace.