Have you ever gone through a difficult season that required fervent prayer? The kind of prayer that was always ready on your lips without you even having to think about what to pray? The kind of prayer that burned deep in your heart waiting for answers?
Trials are hard. I’ve never met anyone who asks for them. I don’t.
Even now, as we walk through uncertainty of several varieties in my family, including my husband’s diagnosis of cancer, I’ll admit that I wouldn’t ask for it. But since we are caught in its wake, we are asking God the question, “What do you have for us to learn in it, Lord?”
One thing I’ve learned from previous trials, is that God doesn’t waste our pain.
When I went through my really bad bout with depression, I was suffering a life threatening illness. The illness went misdiagnosed twice before they finally figured out what was wrong. Ultimately, for five months, I was unable to work in my job as a neuropsychologist.
As a neuropsychologist, I saw patients every day, day in and day out. I would start my day at 6:30 in the morning and I would see my first patient at 7:00am. I saw them all day long.
Then, I went home, ate dinner with my family, and then I wrote patient reports explaining the results and findings of the evaluations we conducted during the day. I did this day in and day out. That’s where I got my identity. I’m not proud of it, but over time that is what happened. It’s who I was.
So, when I became ill, I couldn’t work anymore. I was tethered to IV’s every day. They kept me alive: IV hydration, IV nutrition, and IV pain management. I was bruised from my wrist almost to my shoulder, both arms. I lost weight: I went from being about one hundred and thirteen pounds to seventy-eight pounds. I looked sick; I looked deathly ill.
The depression that ensued from not only being in pain and not feeling well, but not being able to do what I thought my call was, was devastating. Each day my husband and my kids went about their day. Yet I was alone. And, that’s where depression leads. It leads to feeling alone. And I hated it.
I got to the point where I thought, “Well, what’s the point? What’s my purpose? If I can’t do what I was called to do, what’s my purpose?”
About all I could do was pray, read my Bible, and listen to teachings online. Thank goodness for the internet. Oh my goodness! I don’t know what I would’ve done if this experience had been twenty years before.
I listened to sermons and teachings and freedom sessions online, day in and day out. Day in and day out. Day in and day out. But, I’m thankful I could do that. I also listened to praise and worship music around the clock.
Sometimes, in the course of those five months, I had to borrow on other people’s hope. Because I started to lose my own. I thought, “What’s my purpose now?” I couldn’t work anymore. I was losing referrals. If doctors can’t refer to me, they are going to refer to someone else. I really had to borrow on other people’s hope for a period of time.
During this time period, I prayed three things every single day:
- I prayed that God would give me a more accurate perception of Him. I realized, “God, I don’t think I really know who You are. I think my perception of You is skewed.”
- And I prayed that He would give me an accurate perception of myself. I thought if I didn’t have an accurate perception of God, I know I didn’t have an accurate perception of me.
- And, I prayed every day that He would give me this joy that He spoke of. I thought “I don’t know what joy is, but, I don’t have it. And this surely is not it.”
So, every day I prayed for an accurate view of Him, an accurate view of myself and I prayed for joy. Every single day. Slowly, it came. Slowly. Very slowly. Oh my goodness. Could it have come any more slowly? But it did come, and God didn’t waste my pain.
But, that is part of that spiritual refining process. That doesn’t come on the mountain tops. What the enemy intended to harm me, God used for my good. That is what He will do for you too. That is what He promises to do.
I don’t know whether you are in a valley or on a mountain top right now. I don’t know what struggle you might be facing. But I know that God is faithful. I know that what the enemy intends for your harm, God will use for your good. Will you hold on and trust Him as He leads you out?
Because of Him, #HopePrevails
A short brief about Hope Prevails.
Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression
Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Speaking from personal and professional experience, a neuropsychologist unpacks what depression is, shows how it affects us spiritually, and offers hope for living the abundant life.
Neuropsychologist Offers Hope to Those Struggling with Depression
-By 2020, depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide
- An estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression
- As with the bestselling My Stroke of Insight, the author experienced the same condition she treats
- Helpful features include personal stories, biblical truths, prayers, and music recommendations
In Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson writes with deep compassion and empathy, blending her extensive training and faith, to offer readers a hope that is grounded in God’s love and grace. She helps readers understand what depression is, how it affects them spiritually, and what, by God’s grace, it cannot do. The result is a treatment plan that addresses the whole person—not just chemical imbalances in the brain.
For those who struggle with depression and those that want to help them, Hope Prevails offers real hope for the future.
Hope Prevails is available now wherever books are sold. To find out more, see: http://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/.