Friday, July 4, 2008

Spiritual Beating

Today I've really had a struggle and I know it's been of a spiritual nature. I had a good night's sleep. I awoke ready to face the day, then WHAM! I felt a blow within me. I am a blemish to Christianity. Because of my past bouts with depression I have tainted the name of Christ and His followers. Instead of walking around with a scarlet "A" on my shoulder, I don a huge red "D" for "depressed", "depraved", "dispondant" or simply "doubt". How could I possibly think that I can be a witness to anyone about the astounding saving power of Jesus, when I, a supposed believer, have struggled time and time again with depression. How can I, frequent dweller of the pit, possibly consider sharing the good news with anyone when I know full well that when something terrible happens to me it will probably knock the faith right out of me - again?! That's what was going on in my head today. I wept as images of loved ones who I know need Jesus as Savior passed before my eyes and I felt helpless to do anything about it. I wept because these loved ones have seen me in the pit, scratching the sides of the miry clayed walls, sinking further with every attempt to escape. I wept because I felt that I have damaged the name of Jesus and His saving, healing power. I wept because I did not embrace the chains and shackles of pain and suffering as so many others in Christ have done and do each day. I wept because I felt like a hypocrite of the worst sort. I knew these thoughts were demonic. I knew I was being attacked, and so I called on a few friends who I knew would pray for me the instant I asked them. Little by little the guilt subsided and the feeling of defeat dwindled away. I began to feel stronger. I opened my Bible and began reading in Psalms. If you're one of those people who think that the Bible is outdated, has nothing to offer you or our culture, our time, well... you've never read Psalms. The book of Psalms covers every aspect of life. This book has been my lifeline more times than I can recall. I will share with you one in particular that has comforted me today after this battle.

Psalm 42

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, "Where is your God?"
These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon - from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.
By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me - a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God my Rock, "Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?"
My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, "Where is your God?"
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."

This chapter spoke to me because the author has gone through pretty much what I felt today. He thirsts for God and wants to live for God. He also had times when all he could do was cry and wonder where God was. He remembers days when he was happy and even the leader of festivities. Then he is asking himself, "What's wrong with me? Why am I so depressed? I have hope in God. I will praise Him." He remembers that God is with him, even when he doesn't feel God. Then there is the battle - the author asks God why He is allowing the enemy to oppress him. "Where is your God?" they ask. Today I felt that if I were to share God with my loved ones, that they would think, probably not verbalize, but think, "Where was your God when you were hospitalized for nearly killing yourself? Why would I want God if even you felt like that?" So, the battle went on. Yes, I was suicidal not long ago, but if it were NOT FOR GOD, I would have succeeded. I would have gone through with it without a second thought. I wouldn't have been hospitalized because I would have been DEAD! But Satan doesn't want me thinking like that, he wants me to think that because of my past struggles I am worthless and nonusable for God's kingdom. Well, that's a bold faced lie! It's because of my struggles that I can relate to others who struggle. It's because of my struggles that Jesus is high and lifted up - glorified! If Jesus loves and saves a wretch like me, then He truly can save and WILL save anyone who asks Him to! So, as the psalmist ends his song, so will I end, "Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God."


Potpourri of Praise said...

One of my favorite verses is 2 Cor. 1:3-4. Basically it says that we can use our struggles to minister to others who are going thru the same thing. While depression has not been a lifelong struggle for me, I have had to seek help for it at times. But, there are other battles I face regularly and when I take the time to ask God to use those struggles to help others, He does. And, I know He will do the same for you.

Ruth said...

Christy - thank you for this lovely and honest post. I found you from SCL - I thought your comment about zoning out was hilarious.

Take care,

B. said...

Hi, I also clicked over here from SCL. I was laughing about your comment because this nightmare situation also happened to me. It was Jr. High camp and I wasn't paying attention (daydreaming of kissing Dwight)when the speaker asked us to come forward. But forward for what??? Three of my friends went forward and I panicked and eventually went forward also. To this day I cannot tell you why!!!

Sorry about your depression. I can relate a little bit. I haven't had it very bad, but when I'm down, I don't want help from anyone. I just have to go through it. Glad you could call friends to pray. I often pray for the abundant joy and peace we are suppose to have that I don't often enough. Because it's a bad witness if I'm down. Anyway, sorry for such a long post. :)

B. said...

OH MY GOSH!!! I just scrolled down and saw the post about your husband....DWIGHT! I am laughing hysterically. When I mentioned dreaming of kissing Dwight at Jr. High camp I had no idea that was your husbands name. I'm so embarrassed. What a strange coincidence. Sorry.