God Speaks Through the Storm, Part Four
If you’ve missed any part of this series, click on any post directly below.
Part Two-My Storms in a nutshell
Part Four-More Depression
Part Five-Even More Depression
Part Six-Guest Post, Dan Blanchard
Part Seven-The Last Depression Post
Part Eight-Death of a Child
Part Nine-Death of a Child
Part Ten-Guest Post, Holly Good
Part Eleven-Death of a Child
Part Twelve-Death of a Child
Part Thirteen, Death of a Child
Part Fourteen, Death of a Child
Part Fifteen, Death of a Child
Part Sixteen, Conclusion
“So, what do I do now?” I asked my dear friend, between sobs and nose-blows. If you recall in Part Three, I explained that my dear, Godly, doctor friend told me I was suffering from Major Depression, when I was just hoping she would tell me I have really (really, really) bad PMS.
“Have the symptoms lasted longer than a few weeks?” she asked.
“A few weeks??? Ha ha! Um, try on-and-off for the last seven years, and consistently for the last four months. And getting worse, each day.”
“Oh, Sandy (I knew she was shaking her head at me, wondering why I waited so long to get help)…you need to go see a therapist first. Start there. The therapist will tell you what to do after that.”
A therapist. No offense to all the wonderful therapists out there. But generally, people come to ME for counseling. I’m a leader, a teacher, an encourager and a mentor to many others. I don’t need me no stinking therapist!
Again, God gently spoke to my heart, telling me to do lay down my pride, stop making excuses, and do what she said.
Very well, then. A therapist I shall see.
Wanting to remain as anonymous as possible, I did an internet search of Christian therapists in my area, called, and took the first available appointment.
Sneaking in the back door with a wide-brimmed hat and over-sized sunglasses, I gave an alias at the front desk.
OK…I’m lying right now. I just lied to you. But at that moment in my life, that’s exactly what I felt like doing. Just get in, fix me, get out…no one gets hurt.
Walking into that first appointment was one of the most humbling things I had ever done. It was a sign to myself, to my husband and to God that I was finally admitting I could not handle this on my own. That’s huge for me, because most of the time, I feel like Super Woman. Which is actually Self-Righteous and Full of Pride Woman. But Super Woman sounds so much more endearing, doesn’t it?
Within the first two seconds I was there, I knew I was in the right place. How? Because Dan (the therapist) cracked a joke during our introduction and made me laugh out loud. Maybe that wouldn’t be a sign from heaven for you, but my Precious Savior knows me oh-so-well. He knows someone who makes me laugh out loud becomes my instant friend.
Not only that, but half way through our first session, Dan had also proven himself a man of the Word; using scripture, after scripture after scripture to discuss my condition.
OK…I’m safe here. This guy is funny and he loves the Lord. Maybe I do need a stinkin therapist after all.
Dan agreed I was suffering from Major Depression. No doubt about it. The good news was, other than the depression, I seemed to have all the other pieces of my life in tact: amazing church, healthy friendships, thriving marriage, physical fitness. In fact, he felt as though my depression, though major, would leave completely in a short time.
The bad news (at least I thought it was bad at the time) was that he felt I needed medication.
Uggghhhhh…for those of you who know me at all, you know I’m not so much into chemicals of any sort. I don’t even like to eat a non organic grape, much less take an artificially processed brain medication to alter my moods. Surely, there has to be a way to do this without pills.
Oh God….I know you are with me right now. Please confirm to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that you want me to go this route.
Dan handed me a referral to a Christian Psychiatrist (uggggghhhhh again!) and advised me to read three books:
Captivating, by Stasi and John Eldredge,
Happiness is a Choice, by Frank Minirth M.D and Paul Meyer M.D,
and The Blessing by Gary Smalley & John Trent, PhD. .
Cool God Thing One: I had already read and LOVED Captivating a year prior. And, I was in the MIDDLE of reading Happiness is a Choice at the time of the appointment (a book I had picked up totally randomly—seriously, I laid out all the books about depression on the book store floor and picked one. No lie!) I had never heard of The Blessing, so he gave me a copy right then and there. (hang on to that thought).
My family and I left the next day for our annual vacation, so I had all kinds of time to reflect upon where I was mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, as well as give God a little more time to change His mind about the whole medication thing. And if He wasn’t going to change His mind, I was praying He’d instead give me a big, fat, obvious sign from heaven that I was still in the center of His will with this course of treatment.
We returned from vacation and went to our home church. That Sunday, our associate pastor was preaching. His opening illustration sounded familiar, and I struggled to remember where I had read it. The more he preached, the clearer it became. Then he revealed the name of the book he was quoting…The Blessing. Our associate pastor dedicated an entire sermon to The Blessing, a book I had never heard of prior to my therapy appointment—a book published in 1986, twenty-two years earlier.
Cool God Thing Two: After service, I approached my associate pastor and told him I had just finished reading that book. Here is what he said, and I quote,
“It was the weirdest thing. I received this date to preach months ago and had no idea what I was going to preach on. Then one day I was praying and asking God about this message and the words, ‘The Blessing’ came to me. I knew I had read a book with that title some time back, so I went to find it. The outline for this sermon just flowed out of me. It was as if God was writing it for me. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt God wanted me to preach on this book on this particular Sunday.”
I’m not sure that I’ve ever felt quite as special to God as I did that very moment. To think that the Lord would orchestrate an entire sermon just for me, was, well…quite overwhelming to say the least.
It is even now, as I write this.
And here is the great thing for you, dear reader: God is just as crazy about you as He is about me. He has a plan for your life and He wants you to know that plan. He doesn’t want you to be afraid or uncertain. He will do whatever He needs to do to make sure you know you are on the right path…be it a laugh out loud moment or a church service redesigned with your name stamped on it.
So, whatever you do, stay close to the Lord during the dark times. Even when you feel like He’s abandoned you, betrayed you or lost that lovin’ feeling for you. None of those things are true.
Chances are pretty good He’s actually behind the scenes planning your deliverance.
I greatly enjoyed Captivating, too. A few of us taught a women’s life group using that book. To hear women, especially women my mother’s age, opening up during those weeks was such a blessing.
I’m glad I came back to read part 4.
Three of my very favorite books to be sure!!!
I’m so glad He took the time to orchestrate your deliverance…and mine!!!
How cool is that you’re such an inspiration to others while just living your life?! Thanks for sharing. Guess I gotta go to the bookstore now – hey, why don’t you start an online store and sell the books you recommend? OK…my marketing self is kickin’ in…love you my friend.
Just wanted you to know I DO intend to respond to your e-mail. I’ve just had a crazy week so far. Thank you for continuing to share your story. I have not read any of these books, but my husband and I did read Wild At Heart together and I have been intending to get Captivating and read it together as well. I’ll have to look into the other two as well. . .
I love it when our awesome God speaks so clearly and confirms things in such obvious ways! It just makes it all the harder for me to understand those that insist there is no God…
A very powerful story, Sandy… Thanks SO much for sharing.
I’m speechless. Which is unusual for me 🙂
Thanks for the encouragement and I loved the line about God working on orchestrating your deliverance.
I love the promise of a ope that if I REALLY stop and listen the will of God will become clear, and I am starting to truly be thankful that all my “wordly” distractions are being removed in order to allow me time I don’t take normally to be still and heal before God.
I mean really, what other mom with two young kids gets to spend two months at home without them during the day? Woo-hoo!!
I am thankful for you and your words.
that is supposed to say hope not ope 🙂
Sandy, I’m so glad you’re sharing your story. So many people are impacted by depression. I think some Christians feel they are weak if they have to take medications but I don’t feel that way at all. Sometimes raising those old seratonin levels is all it takes. There was a time in my life when I went to a counselor too and I found it very helpful.
Great post, Sandy. Loved how you beared your heart and showed us what you were thinking as you followed the Lord’s clear directions. Getting professional help, and meds.
I too fought and fought getting counselling, and even wrote this the day before I went – ‘I’m a complete emotional and spiritual mess and I need help, dear Jesus, so I’ll be seeing Pat in ten days, but I feel really guilty for taking up her time. I don’t want to impose on her.’
But seeing Pat was definately was a very positive step in the right direction. And then she too recommended anti-depressants, something which I had resisted so, so strongly. And unlike a doctor I had seen previously, she explained that the medication would take a week or so for my system to get used to, and about 3-4 weeks to work. And she was right. The meds, when they started working, helped dull the pain so much that I could concentrate on learning to recover.
And LOL, the Lord miraculously dropped the exact book I needed to help me recover as well. I love the way He does things like this.
I could just about cry after reading this.
Sandy, you hit on some things in this post that I needed to hear. Perfect timing….perfect. (Another cool “God thing” maybe?
So thankful for your blog,
Awesome! Another great post. I love to hear how God is working in the lives of others…I just get so pumped up!
I really liked Captivating. I think every woman needs to read it. I will have to see if I can get my hands on the other two.
Thanks for sharing these things…I have come all the way back to your March just to read your journey!
Can't wait to hear more!