20 Apr 2009T. Suzanne Eller
"And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows." Matthew 10:30-31 (NIV)
Recently Darrin came up to me in the hallway at church. "Ten years!" he said, grabbing me and crushing me in a bear hug.
Wow. Ten years. It doesn't seem possible. You see, ten years ago Darrin was 21 when he tried to take his life. Someone found him and called for help. The doctors said he's fortunate he didn't die, but for a long time after the attempt Darrin felt anything but lucky. It was hard for me to understand his perspective, but the fact that his suicide attempt didn't work was one more "failure" in this broken young man's mind.
Darrin left the hospital and came to live with our family for the next two years. We had a front row seat as we watched God perform a miracle. It wasn't easy, but Darrin began a journey to wholeness. He started to understand what it meant to be a child of God. He discovered who he was, separate from his past, separate from what people thought or spoke about him.
Today Darrin is a licensed pastor. He is married to a beautiful woman named Sarah. He is a father to three young children, and he loves and delights in each of them. His oldest daughter is named Abi, after Abba – Heavenly Father – a reminder that she is one of many gifts from God.
Darrin is healed in every way, but he has not forgotten where he once was and that's why he allows me to share his story today. It's also why he shares it one-on-one with others who find themselves in a similar place. This type of anniversary might be one that some would want to forget, but Darrin sees it as a day to celebrate life and second chances. His story offers a powerful message: that when others have given up on you , or maybe you've even given up on yourself, there is still hope.
For some, like Darrin, depression wraps around life choices. You may experience a chemical imbalance. Or, feelings of hopelessness might result from emotional or physical exhaustion. While it can take time to pinpoint the root cause, it's vital that you know from this moment on that God sees you. He loves you and He cares. He's a God of hope and healing. So today I pray that you will feel His arms reaching for you, just like he did my friend Darrin.
Dear Lord, I believe that today a woman is reading this who believes she has been forgotten. I thank you that You will wrap Your love around her and remind her that You are with her. May she know You see her, and that she is precious and valuable in Your sight. Give her hope, wisdom, peace and renewed joy, beginning today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Listen to our Radio Show for more encouragement about the Father's love
Hope in the Midst of Depression: How to Embrace Life Again by Mary Southerland
Defeating Depression: Real Hope for Life-Changing Wholeness by Leslie Vernick
Go to Suzie's blog to read an interview with Darrin
We need to differentiate between a bad day or a series of bad days and depression. Dr. Leslie Vernick has created a test you can take called How Do I Know If I'm Depressed? to help discern the difference. Please seek professional help if you have three or more symptoms of depression.
When someone we care about is depressed, it is hard to know what to say. Sometimes we try to talk them out of it by saying things like:
• "Just trust God."
• "Just get over it."
• "If you would just do ..."
• "You have lots going for you. You shouldn't feel so bad."
These statements are not helpful because they make the person feel ashamed of being depressed. They want to get well, but it is usually not that simple. Instead, we can encourage them by first, listening. And also by:
• Giving a hug – touch is powerful.
• Letting them know you'll do whatever it takes to help, then do it. (Drive them to a counselor's appointment, pray for them daily, etc.)
• Let them talk, or cry.
• Ask them how you can pray for them, and write down their answer.
• Let them know though you may not fully understand what they feel, you care about what they are going through.
Do I believe that God cares about me?
Do I know the God of hope and healing?
Am I willing to take steps toward wholeness?
Psalm 42:11, "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God." (KJV)
Psalm 71:5, "For thou art my hope, O Lord God: Thou art my trust from my youth." (KJV)
© 2009 by T. Suzanne Eller. All rights reserved.