So this week (oh for the love, this month) has been hard. The Christmas season may have been smooth sailing, but January has not. Braveheart, my warrior husband, recently found some encouraging information about the great Christian theologian and pastor, Charles Spurgeon. Turns out, dude had chronic depression, along with gout, slander, stress, and on and on.
Not-so-coincidentally (God is cool like this), I also read a short story this week about St. Augustine, another great Christian theologian-a founding father of Christian theological teaching-who also suffered from depression.
These giants-lions-of the Christian faith, who devoted their lives to teaching about the freedom and life offered by Jesus Christ, slogged through the pit and mire and despair of depression. And.God.Used.Them.Still. God is so much greater than depression. There is no circumstance He cannot overcome, no darkness He cannot diffuse, and no pit too deep for Him to climb into to pull us out. This is not an obstacle for Him. He’s GOT THIS.
There is hope.
This is an excerpt from Spurgeon’s final sermon, and it says SO MUCH. Jesus is everything. Everything.
“He is the most magnanimous of captains. There never was his like among the choicest of princes. He is always to be found in the thickest part of the battle. When the wind blows cold he always takes the bleak side of the hill. The heaviest end of the cross lies ever on his shoulders. If he bids us carry a burden, he carries it also. If there is anything that is gracious, generous, kind, and tender, yea lavish and superabundant in love, you will always find it in him…blessed be his name! I have had nothing but love from him…His service is life, peace, joy. Oh, that you would enter on it at once! God help you to enlist under the banner of Jesus even this day! Amen.”
The more I tell our story (more the depression parts than anything else), the more I hear stories that are so heart-breakingly like ours. Someone else’s husband deals with ever-present anxiety. Another’s father, despite being a successful entrepreneur with a beautiful family, suffers sometimes months-long spells of depression, even with medication. A young mother has to stop taking her anxiety medication, and live with un-tamed, debilitating fear because she is pregnant with #3.
These illnesses are everywhere. This evil is everywhere. It is stealing lives and joy and health. It pisses me off.
What I will say next may piss some other people off, but really, I don’t care: If you don’t believe there is a Satan, that he is as real as the hair on your head, you are a fool. Who or what else can cause such illness and death? Who or what else could be responsible for the complete absence of hope and light that characterizes this disease?
He is the creator of lies, and this illness spits out lie after lie after lie. “You’re no good, you’re a failure. This is all you’ll ever be-a loser who can’t get out of bed and will never get better. Just stop trying already.” And that’s the G-rated version. This illness reeks of his evil.
That bastard will not win this. No f-ing way.
It’s been a week and a day since my husband told me about the porn.
I read this blog yesterday, and it so mirrors what I’ve felt in the last week that I can’t even form correct words-sentence-paragraph-thingys of my own.
“My world stopped. I knew from that moment, I would never be the same again.” Yes.
“I asked a lot of questions. I hated all the answers. I couldn’t understand, couldn’t wrap my head around this different person. My mind screamed, ‘Who are you?'” Except I said those words out loud. My husband says that it stuck out as the most hurtful, yet truthful, thing I said that night.
“But even on this first night, as I cried bitter tears, I couldn’t stop loving this broken man. My broken, hurting man. I didn’t understand this new ugly place. I didn’t know how we were going to make it,” ….but I knew we would. And we will.
Should nothing of our efforts stand, No legacy survive; Unless the Lord does raise the house, In vain its builders strive…All glory be to Christ our King, All glory be to Christ. His rule and reign we’ll ever sing, All glory be to Christ. -Kings Kaleidoscope
Today has been better. Today, actual breathing is happening-for both of us.
Our pastor encouraged us to share this load-to spread out the weight that we’ve been carrying among more friends and family. Maybe child-raising isn’t the only thing that takes a village.
When I heard this suggestion, my soul un-clenched itself just a little bit. Yes. This is what we need. It’s hard to entrust this big of a battle into the hands of others, to be that vulnerable with something this painful, but the other choice is just more sickness, more darkness, and less hope. And Lord God, you know what we do NOT need is less hope.
So we will step out on that limb and hope that the next time it breaks, there will be some arms to soften the fall. And just maybe, we can be that for others, too. Because what good is this pain if God does not use it to make us a blessing to someone else?