Nobody wants to be the poster child for depression.
Nobody wants to suffer its pain or despair.
Nobody wants to go through the dark night of the soul.
But now that I have, and now that I am on the other side of depression’s valley, I am thanking God for that.
As a board certified clinical neuropsychologist, I was always compassionate, and always had a great deal of empathy for my patients. But now that I have gone through the dark night of my soul, I have a greater level of compassion for people, and even more empathy for my patients and those who share their plight with me.
I can step into that place with others who are suffering and say, “Me too,” and I really do understand. Now I have a much deeper appreciation for so many in the Bible who suffered (not that my emotional suffering compares to the great physical suffering they endured) but to read the stories of Jonah, or Elijah, or Job, or David, I have a better appreciation now for what they endured.
Through that experience, the Lord has given me a new perspective that even in the valley of hardship, we can rejoice. If you had told me that when I was in the bottom of the pit, I might have looked at you funny. I might have even argued with you, if I’m being honest.
“I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and you knew the anguish of my soul” (Psalm 31:7).
Even as he was suffering, David was able to rejoice because, 1) God saw him, 2) He knew him, and 3) He knew what he was going through.
So I want to encourage you today. Maybe you aren’t going through depression, but you are going through some other difficult circumstance: financial hardship, strained relationships, health crises, job loss, caregiving for sick and aging parents, raising parents, etc.
I’ve been there. There are so many difficult circumstances that bring heartache. But we can rejoice despite the circumstances because God is there and He knows the anguish that we are going through.
People so often say to me, “Michelle, I don’t know how you get through all that you’ve gone through. I don’t know that I could go through everything you’ve been through.”
Yet my answer is always the same: “I don’t know how I would get through it without God. I don’t know how people get through the kinds of things I’ve gone through when they don’t know God, when they don’t have Jesus as their personal Savior.”
So I can rejoice because I know Him. My hope is in Him.
When we rejoice despite our suffering, it makes the enemy mad. I love to make the enemy mad!
So rejoice. Even in your suffering. Even in the pit of depression. Rejoice because you have a God who knows you, who sees you, who is with you! You are not alone.
Rejoice! That shifts your perspective back to Him, and that pleases Him.
Even in your heartache, you can still rejoice.
May I pray for you?
Father, I offer up a prayer for the one reading these words right now. I pray that whatever they are facing, you will fill their heart with rejoicing. That they will come to know that you are there, that you see them, that you know them, and that you care for them, and that they are not alone. Hide them under the shadow of your mighty wing. Protect them and be their source of refuge, a safe harbor. Be their strong tower. A shelter in the storm. Help them to know a greater sense of rejoicing even in the hard times because you are with them and you see them. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
Hope Prevails Book and Hope Prevails Bible Study offer hope for overcoming depression.
Available now through book retailers!
Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression and the new companion Hope Prevails Bible Study help the reader understand: how depression comes to be, recover their joy, reclaim their peace, and re-establish their true identity, while knowing their worth, remembering their secure destiny, and being confident that nothing separates them from God’s love.
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Rejoice in Him always. 🙂 He is with us in our joyful times and in our sad times. He holds us in His loving arms.
As soon as I read the words “poster child for depression” I knew that today’s blog would give me something to grasp on to. Lately I’ve referred to myself as the poster child for brain trauma…definitely not something I would have chosen for myself. Nor would I have chosen to lose my career and be unemployed for two years. BUT, I do choose to not let the enemy of my soul win…day by day, and sometimes moment by moment, I choose to live even when the urge to give up is deafening. So, thank you for your words and your prayer and for truly understanding.
Thank you for today’s message. When I read it, I know it is my God speaking to me. Amen.
thanks for your writings Dr. B.. what ‘s your opinion of 12 step recovery groups..
I’ve been counting it all joy like in Timothy even though it was hard sometimes, there is a brighter day with Jesus.
So true, Michelle. My husband was laid off shortly after Declare. We are learning to trust God in new ways as we go through this time of waiting.
Thank you for the beautiful encouragement!
Thank you for this encouraging message! Usually in the midst of the trials of life, rejoicing is not what comes to mind but I know that it is the truth of the Word and so needed so that I will have the right perspective in the midst of the trials. I do have so much to rejoice about and Jesus being my Savior and Lord is about the best reason plus He will never leave me nor forsake me. He is a good God and I do rejoice for He is with me every moment and is holding me when I need holding. You are a blessing Dr. Michelle!! Love you!