My Battle With Depression As a Minister’s Wife
I shared this testimony on my last service at my church in California before we moved to Ohio. It wasn’t easy. In fact, it was extremely hard, and I fought the Lord about it. I don’t remember ever feeling so strongly that the Lord wanted me to share something. So I shared, and I was amazed at the number of people who told me it helped them. My sharing my testimony told other people they weren’t alone, it gave them hope. I’m sharing to a bigger audience now, hoping to help more moms, wives, and ministers. Sometimes we go through things to make us stronger, sometimes we go through things so we can guide others through the same valley when they go through it, and sometimes we go through things for both reasons.
I’m going to start by saying no matter what, stay faithful. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it.
When Charlie was about 2 months old, I fell into a depression.
Post-partum depression or a spiritual attack, I don’t know, but I do know that it was awful. I had a black cloud following me. I couldn’t sleep, I was gaining weight, which was backward since I had just had a baby, I should have been losing weight.
It was affecting my marriage, my parenting, my ability to do anything really. I wasn’t the mom I should have been. I wasn’t the mom I was encouraging other moms to be through my writings, through coffee dates with them, or through little notes that I gave them telling them they were doing a good job.
I hated to leave my house, which if you know me, you’d know that was very unlike me. I used to love to spend the days pushing Judah on the swings at the park, chasing him through museums, hosting playdates, or sipping on a cold brew while Judah made a mess with a cake pop as we walked aimlessly around Target.
I didn’t want to leave the house because I was living in fear. I was afraid one or both of my kids would have a meltdown in the store, which with 2 under 2 is bound to happen sometimes. Logically I knew that, but I couldn’t emotionally handle the meltdowns any longer. I was too afraid that we’d get in a car wreck on the way to Costco and I’d lose my babies, or that I would die and leave them without a mother. Things that could happen, and sometimes do, but they aren’t things that should have consumed my life to the point of becoming a hermit.
I was living in a constant fear that I knew wasn’t of the Lord, because 2 Timothy 1:7 says “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
I didn’t go to a doctor. I didn’t want to admit that I was actually going through this again. I had battled depression 15 years prior, as a teen. I was even suicidal and put on anti-depressants that did not help me, but only numbed me. Because I’d fought depression before, I was familiar with it. It was a lot different than it was when I was 14. I was responsible for 2 little people who relied on me for everything. It was also very familiar at the same time.
I knew the Scriptures like 1 Peter 5:7: “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” I knew, but it wasn’t working. I could quote Philippians 4:6: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” I felt like I knew what I should do. I was doing what I would tell others to do if they came to me and explained they were feeling that way, but it wasn’t working. Or at least I didn’t feel it working. I was making my requests known unto God. I prayed. Even though it was so hard to pray. I figured my depression would eventually go away. I didn’t tell a soul what I was going through. What would people think? I was in ministry. My husband was the youth pastor. We were making plans to move out of state to pastor a church. I couldn’t be depressed. I had to be happy. I had to be the encourager. I had to be the model Christian.
This time was different though. I KNEW it wouldn’t last forever. I can’t tell you I heard that directly from the Lord, but I knew it. I knew the promises of the Lord, and I believed them.
Verse 5 – “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all they might.”
Though my heart and soul felt numb, and I didn’t have much might, I still loved the Lord with what little I did have left.
Verse 6 – “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart.”
I had made a promise to God long ago that no matter what, I would stay faithful. He’s never broken a promise to me, so I wasn’t going to break one to Him.
I stayed faithful. I went to church when I’d rather stay in bed. I read my Bible when I’d rather lie on the couch and binge watch a show on Netflix. I got up early to pray when I wanted to sleep all day (which isn’t even possible with young children.)
Verse 7 – “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”
I talked to Judah about the Lord throughout the day, I prayed with him, I read the Bible to him. I kept on doing what I KNEW I was supposed to do. A lot of it was half-hearted. When I did get up early to pray, chains weren’t broken and I couldn’t feel things being loosed in Heaven or on earth, but I prayed. I remained faithful.
I remember getting frustrated that I was doing all of that and the Lord still hadn’t delivered me like I believed He would.
He reminded me of 1 Corinthians 15:58:
“Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
After several months I finally talked to my husband about it. I wished I had done it sooner. I could feel his prayers helping.
At SoCal Ladies Conference 2017, during the Friday morning session, several women were giving their testimonies. Some I had heard before, and some I hadn’t. A pastor’s wife shared her testimony of how the Lord had delivered her from a deep depression years ago. I had heard her story before, but while she was speaking, the Lord spoke loudly and clearly to me. He said,
“See, I can do it, and I’ll do it for you too. Stay faithful.”
I didn’t have to wait much longer, because that evening in service, God 100% delivered me!
The difference in my life from that night on is indescribable. I left that cloud of depression in Riverside, CA that night in March, and I wholeheartedly believe depression is something I won’t have to fight again in my life.
No matter what you’re facing today. Stay faithful, stay faithful, stay faithful. He won’t break His promise to you, so please, don’t break yours to Him!
It’s all going to be worth it someday!
If you’re suffering from depression or anxiety, don’t suffer in silence. Talk to someone. Your spouse, your best friend, your parents, a Christian counselor. You don’t have to fight alone. There’s such a stigma about depression, especially when you’re involved in ministry. It’s like people think if you’re reading your Bible and praying like you should, you’ll never become depressed. That’s not true. So many things can spiral a person into depression. A loss of a loved one, a new baby, pouring out in ministry without getting fed, or it could be an attack of the enemy. There’s no reason to feel like less of a Christian if you have, or are suffering from depression. Please, let your loved ones in so they can help you pray. God won’t break His promises to you! Stay faithful, weary mom. It won’t last forever. You are loved by so many, but no earthly love can compare to how much your heavenly Father loves you. His love never fails.
Isaiah 41:13: “For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”
Romans 5:8: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
John 15:13: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”