Healthy Habits

Depression A Curse or a Blessing?

"When I begin to doubt what Jesus can do for me and through me, I remind myself to simply believe, trust, and obey Him completely and wholly." by Carolyn Kazmierczak

The cold water felt good as I splashed it across my face. I dropped the garden hose and reached for the faucet with wet hands, turning it off. My dog followed me to the front porch, and together we sat down on the steps. I picked up a pecan, just one of many that were scattered across the lawn of my family’s home. We had five pecan trees, and they never failed to produce year after year. My job was to pick them up, crack them and shell them; it was a job I didn’t particularly enjoy, but occasionally I did when it benefited my dog and me! I loved sharing them with him. I was twelve years old, and he was my best friend. He’d listen attentively to my problems, never leaving my side. Other kids my age were either hanging out together, playing sports, shopping or fishing, but those things didn’t come easy for me.

I rarely felt a sense of peace or joy for my life while growing up, even though I had a loving and secure home life, and my family and I attended church on a regular basis. But I never learned how to truly live life to the fullest, nor had I embraced my new life in Christ after my baptism at the age of ten. Most importantly, I didn’t know that I was depressed.  

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I came to understand I had been living with depression all of my life. I never knew what it was; I just knew it made me different. And with it came fear, doubt, anger, shame and confusion. It left me feeling hollow, empty and worthless.  

When I was 37, I agreed with my doctor to take antidepressants. But it wasn’t long before they began to fail, and not long after that, I quit taking them altogether. My life spiraled out of control without the medication. I knew I could no longer live in such a state of turmoil and instability.  

Depression is a disease of sadness and despair. It takes away a part of your life and holds it in a firm and steady grip. It doesn’t want to let go. It thinks it’s entitled to unravel your mind and soul, but it’s not. It is a very real occurrence, and it affected not only me, but it also affected my family. It caused me to doubt who God was and what He wanted to do in my life. I found myself not wanting to go to church. I didn’t want to go to work or communicate with family or friends, and at times, I didn’t want to live.  

I yearned for an answer from God. I began pleading with Him to grant me His infinite wisdom, His mercy and His grace, and as a result of His sovereign power, I was able to return to my doctor for the proper dosage of medication my body needed. But medication alone was not the answer I so desperately needed for my life. I wanted a miracle. I wanted God’s healing and restoration from this dreadful hopelessness that I dealt with every day. After all, He was God; He could heal me, right? But complete healing was not what He had in mind for my life. He wanted to teach me something—something so much deeper and more profound.   

II Corinthians 10:5 tells us to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Jesus wanted me to turn my thoughts over to Him when I felt fearful and overwhelmed from depression. He wanted my complete obedience to Him. So, I began by attending bible studies and fellowships. I became more committed to attending church services, and then one day, I slowly began to get a small glimpse of tranquility for my life. I soon discovered that this depression I had lived with for so long had actually left behind something good in my life, even though it didn’t always feel like it. Ecclesiastes 7:3 says, “Sorrow is better than laughter, for by the sadness of the countenance, the heart is made better.” What seemed to be a curse upon my life—my entire life from a child to an adult—had actually been a blessing. I would not be who I am today if it were not for depression.    

I knew Jesus loved me despite the anguish and turmoil I had experienced throughout my life. I was His child, and He interceded for me time and time again, until I was able to trust Him fully for the circumstances of my life. He gave me solace through those who prayed for me. He sustained me through remembrance of Scripture.  He gave me hope through family and friends who encouraged me as I encountered depressing and discouraging feelings. Living with depression prepared my heart to accept what only Jesus could and can do in my life. He makes all things good, even when they’re not. He taught me the true meaning of obedience and trust.  

Everyday life brings conflict, affliction, grief and trials, resulting in spiritual weakness and depression. But because of Jesus, there is hope. In John 16:20, Jesus promised His disciples that their sorrow would be turned into joy. He was speaking of His death, burial, resurrection and ultimately the gift of His Holy Spirit. He had laid out the ideal plan of true joy. All they had to do was trust Him and believe that even though they would be sad for a time, shortly thereafter, they would experience everlasting joy. This is so true for us too. Jesus can be trusted to provide joy when we experience sorrow and depression.

Today, I am a Sunday school teacher to a ladies class, something I never thought I would be able to become. I am beholden to my Lord and Savior, Jesus, for allowing me to serve Him in this capacity, because it creates in me a desire to know Him deeper; it is a desire to be more devoted to Him as I prepare my lessons week after week. And as I teach, a most amazing thing happens; God’s Holy Spirit intercedes and instills in each of our hearts His Holy Scripture to the renewing of our minds. I have learned to take one day at a time trusting in Him fully and in perfect submission. I absolutely love and am honored to be a Sunday school teacher. 

Jesus knows every detail of our lives. He knows all things. So, when I begin to doubt what Jesus can do for me and through me, I remind myself to simply believe, trust, and obey Him completely and wholly. And when I do, a peace that surpasses all understanding washes over me, replacing my fears, doubts and depression with hope, peace and security; it is a true blessing from a Holy and righteous God who loves me deeply and passionately.  He can and will turn our sorrows and depression into amazing and incredibly extraordinary blessings. 

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