So, disclaimer: Please keep in mind, I had been dealing with depression for almost a year all alone before it was given a name. This wasn't an easy, instantaneous fix that required little to no effort on my part before receiving healing. It really did feel like a gruelling, intense and lonely season. But, there is hope on the other side. And His name is Jesus.
I serve on the worship team at our church and decided, in the thick of the season that I was in, to take a step back from serving on Sunday team just after Easter at the start of April. This wasn't an act to isolate myself; I believe we are meant to be in community with each other. But instead, to give room for God to move where I was so desperately wanting and needing Him to. I also didn't stop serving in church. I surrounded myself with people every Sunday and served where there was need. If you are walking through a lonely season, I want to encourage you right now not to do it alone. Get yourself in community with people. There is healing in being in relationship with people.
So, that same Wednesday I blogged about previously, the day that the darkness I was experiencing was given the official name of "depression", our worship leader decided that the entire team needed a worship night. Wait, what? The timing was perfect. I could have called it coincidence, but I knew it was God. And I gave Him all the Glory in that. He had some things to do and that was the night He was going to do them. I felt unprepared and caught off guard, which is exactly where God wanted me. He needed some unplanned room to move and man, did He ever.
The band started to sing "Holy Spirit you are welcome here . . ." and I just knew God's healing Hand was ready to move. I began to declare freedom from depression over my life (like I had many times over the past year) and to thank Him for the freedom I knew that I was going to receive. And I'll be totally honest, I didn't think or know it was going to happen that night. I just believed that it would happen one day and spoke it out as though it were. This is a perfect example of an area where God has been challenging me in: not knowing His timeline and yet still believing, still trusting that His best for me is always coming, regardless of what my circumstance or feelings may say. Knowing His promise for me in the moments where I don't see it happening in the physical. I was experiencing a mixture of thankfulness and complete powerlessness. The word depression was far too big, far too vast and consuming for me to even understand. Why had it chosen me? Why had it manifested itself at this specific time in my life? Why had I allowed 'it' to rob me of days I couldn't get back in my motherhood? Does this mean I am weak? Does this mean I'm not fit to lead people? Ironic how in the very moment God is about to move in your life, the devil is just as ready to pounce. There is this teetering line of vulnerability that allows you to choose whether or not you're going to take a leap and trust in God or go back to what you know, the cozy comfort zone, and believe the worst.
So, I teetered.
There is no way I could overcome this without Jesus.
I needed prayer.
I remember saying to God, "IF this is something you want to deal with tonight, I need someone to stand with me and declare truth into my mind and spirit." Isn't it funny how we give God a list of demands before He performs a miracle? Like we think WE yield all the power? I wonder if He finds it just as funny ;) Anywho, not even a minute passes and a beautiful woman on team (who I adore) and who has been walking arm-in-arm with me while fighting this battle came over to me and did exactly that. She spoke truth, life, God-breathed words of affirmation and in power dismissing of the spirit of depression from my life. I have experienced the power of prayer before - but, never in my life have I experienced the freedom of feeling something actually break inside of my body. It was a crazy sensation that almost had me leaping out of my skin screaming "I AM FREE".
In that moment of complete surrender, when I had finally come to the end of myself, with no where to go but to my knees, at the feet of Jesus; I let Him into the darkest part of my heart and He just did His thing. In the moments to come He spoke beautifully and profoundly into my spirit. Affirming. Highlighting. Loving. Encouraging. Nudging. Reminding. Sewing. And in the end moments of worship, He told me that my freedom wasn't for me. I had been focused on me for far too long. Consumed and trapped in my own mind. While on some level, the freedom He gave was very much for me, now, being 'free' was no longer something I could afford to keep all to myself. Freedom is for sharing. Freedom is for anyone and everyone. Once we gain freedom, we need to give it away. Turns out, that's biblical!
"... Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that's how freedom grows..." Freedom grows. Freedom grows? A verb. An action. Freedom grows. I believe that when we are healed or set free from something, first step is to give God all the glory and second is to pass it on.
How does that look practically speaking? I think sharing your story of freedom is huge. That's exactly why I blogged about my experience. Not only are you gaining more freedom by putting what was once in the dark into the light (I feel like the entirety of my healing was found after I published my first blog, 'breathe'); but you being to experience the impact of making a difference in someone else's life. There is nothing more inspiring than encouraging someone to let God work on their broken heart. And that is what it's about: helping people. Not gaining attention or fame, but experiencing the freedom that only Jesus can give and wanting that for every other person, full-stop. Secondly, I believe that standing with people while they walk through the lows in life and speaking freedom from whatever it is that they are going through is how we pass it on. Speaking to the truths and reminding them of their own God given promises and potential. We simply can't do this life alone.
It's now been three months since that worship service (I know, I know; I'll blog more) and I know that I was healed that night. I still have days just like every other Mom where I cry, am short with my kids and feel like a failure, have dirty floors and stacks of laundry to wash and fold (or re-wash if I've left them to mould in the washing machine for days on end) - I'm still human! But, I AM FREE of the despair that controlled my mind and thought pattern. I'm free of the deep-rooted sadness that would cloud my vision. And ultimately, I am responsible for maintaining the freedom I've been given by simply spending time with the One who gave it to me. I've moved out of the season of learning to breathe and now, I'm boldly jumping into a season that requires me to be brave.
THANK YOU for all the of the support that has poured in through messages, voicemails, texts and incredible in-person conversations. Each one has meant so much to me.