I sent a version of this note to a Christian friend several months ago. This person was going through a very tough time with depression – it’s so hard to keep my head above water when I’m tired of treading the waters of depression, and this person was feeling overwhelmed too.
I wrote it before my own depressive episode hit. Funny, eh? I did try to take my own advice, and perhaps that’s part of why this most recent episode didn’t go as deep or last as long as others have. Some of this may be familiar to regular readers – these are my experiences of depression and using the truth of God’s Word to combat the depression lies.
I want to share it here now. It’s edited some, maybe so it can be a reminder to me or others, or both!
Depression is a liar. It tells me that I am completely unloveable. I have nothing to offer to anyone. I am useless, can’t concentrate, don’t want to participate, I feel like curling up in a ball in the corner of a very dark room, where no one can see me and where I won’t be a bother or a burden or a nuisance to anyone.
That’s what depression did to me – it made me feel things that weren’t true. It made me doubt God’s Presence. Was God hearing my prayers, my cries out to Him for relief? Maybe my life was too miserable, maybe He didn’t want to hear from me. Maybe I was too much of a mess. Maybe He was busy. Maybe He was tired of me saying the same thing each time I prayed. Maybe He loved me – after all, He died for me! But maybe He didn’t like me much. Maybe He simply tolerated me. Depression made it easy to doubt His Word, and made it almost impossible to see or hear God.
That’s why it’s so important to separate the truth – what the Bible says, which includes how God loves me (and you!) unconditionally and how He will never leave me (those are just two Bible promises that I love). Because depression wants me to believe something else – to trust my feelings. Feelings can’t be trusted – only truth, and all truth comes from God.
Jesus says that He died for me so that I can be with Him forever. He says that nothing can separate me from His love. He says that He loves me so much, that even when I was sinning, He died for me. All because He is Love.
I want to encourage you, hurting friend, to pick a promise from the Bible that really speaks to you – almost like you can hear Jesus telling it to you, face to face. Memorize it. Read it every day, several times a day. Write it on a note card so you can always have it handy. And when depression brings doubt and darkness, you can pull out that verse and read it and know it is the truth. Not what you feel, but what you know.
In my devotional Jesus Calling, I read this: (it’s written as if Jesus is talking directly to me)
“I AM WITH YOU, watching over you constantly. I am Emmanuel (God with you); My Presence enfolds you in radiant Love. Nothing, including the brightest blessings and the darkest trials, can separate you from Me. Some of My children find Me more readily during dark times, when difficulties force them to depend on Me.”
I LOVE these promises:
“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? … And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35, 37-39 NLT
One more of my favorites:
“Now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:1
Dear friend, you are in Christ Jesus. He has called you, and you said Yes to Him being your Savior – and Friend – forever. And so there is nothing to blame you for. Christ died for all your sins and buried them in the depths of the ocean, moved them away as far as the East is from the West. So when depression tries to tell you that you are no good, or not loved, or should be afraid because you’re not certain of your eternity – that’s a lie! That is NOT what the Bible says. And there is no condemnation, which means that those accusing and negative thoughts are not from God, because He no longer condemns you. You are saved – forever – as a child of the King, with the promise of eternity in heaven with God.
I didn’t mean for this to turn into a lecture! I just want so badly for you to feel better. And I think one thing that can help will be for you to know, without a doubt, because He says so, that you are totally loved by God – because you believe in Jesus as your Savior, and all your sins are forgiven!
And then pick a verse and make it “God’s promise to Me.” He never breaks His promises.
Oh dear friend, I am praying for you! That depression will loosen its grip. That you will know the power of God’s love, and His promise that He is with you, He understands, and that He loves you no matter what!
In writing this post I keep singing a song from my growing up years in Sunday School: 🎶
Yes, that’s the book for me.
I stand alone
On the word of God;
[The word “alone” doesn’t mean “by myself,” it means “only.” With nothing added to it. I stand only on the word of God. Because it is the source of truth.]
I’m glad it was helpful. It helps me to read it, too.
Thank you, I needed this today.
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….. and you’ll never know how many you are encouraging in their daily struggles… Thank you for boldly speaking the ‘truth’ …. Your prayer warriors and cheerleaders like their roles…Bouquets of love for you…
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You are such an encourager to me! Your words, your prayers, your cheers to keep me going – you are remarkable, Aunt Peggy. Like I said, I have a huge hug in store for you!
I’m glad you think my story can be helpful…I hope it is.
It is a beautiful post.
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Needed this today. Badly. Bless you.
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I’m sorry today has been tough, Andi. I hope these reminders of God’s love and promises bring you strength for the battle, and a sense of God’s peace.
What a beautiful letter! You understand depression well. I can relate to so many of the lies that you address. Thank you for the encouragement, even though this wasn’t written directly to me.
God be with you!
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I’m glad you found it encouraging. Consider it an open letter to all of us who have or still do struggle in the battle against depression! May you too know God’s Presence with you!