Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Fear, and Depression


I have so many things I'm thinking about today- so many things going around in my head that I want to say, and I just wish I could type faster!

But I have to start somewhere, and I guess the more I am here typing, the more I will be able to get across to you. I feel like my heart is full of messages, and I need more time to put them to pen and paper here.

I have been thinking about the link between depression and fear.

When I had post-partum depression I didn't know I had a problem with fear. The idea never occurred to me, and even when Jed had to drive me to the hospital in the middle of the night because of an anxiety attack, I didn't make the connection. It was just something weird that happened to my heart: a rapid beating, and other symptoms. It may have been anxiety, but it wasn't really fear.

But now, as a healthy woman, a woman free of depression, and of fear, I can see looking back that I was afraid.

I was afraid of being rejected by my parents, for having gotten pregnant before my wedding. I was afraid of not being a good mother, of not knowing what to do with a baby! I was afraid for Elijah, afraid because of his crying all the time, and his throwing up, and did I mention the constant crying?

I don't know if this is where you are at right now: tired and beleaguered from a baby waking you up all night, and crying all day, but I want you to know that God understands how you feel, and that He is there with you. You can call on Him for help.

I was very afraid that Jed would reject me. We had known each other a year before we married, but we had only really "dated". I mean, a euphoric relationship where everything is fun, and there is no stress! There were no financial demands, all we did was eat out and go to movies! No serious discussions. Surface level stuff for sure. So now that we were married, there was no hiding my dysfunctional self from him. All of who I was was exposed, and vulnerable. And now that I was depressed, he was seeing the worst side of me. A terrible side, that I hadn't even known existed! I lived with constant fear, and strain, and I just couldn't bear it.

I was afraid, and it fueled the depression. The depression fueled the fear, because I would be so totally exhausted and depleted that the only thing that seemed to give me any energy was either fear, or rage. So I went about in a depressed stupor, constantly barraged by fearful thoughts, and not even knowing what was happening.

What was the way out of this?! Well, one of the big things (huge things) in my case was LOVE. Pure, and simple love. Jed and I started going to a church, where the people loved each other, and they loved the people that came! A lady from that church (Lydia) came to me one Sunday, and looking me in the eyes, asked me if I was depressed. She invited Jed and I to her house, where she and her husband were counselling and teaching other young couples like us, and we went. By that time, Jed and I were a real basket case, and so totally susceptible to the love of God.

Over time, Lydia and her husband George won my heart, and Jed's. They talked to us about Jesus, about the word of God, and about the Holy Spirit. I had never really heard of the Holy Spirit, but when Lydia and I talked, I knew that He was real. Lydia and George took our phone calls late at night when we were having some kind of emotional crisis, or an argument, and they would quietly encourage us to forgive. When our marriage was falling in around us, Lydia and George gave Jed hope that it could change, that I could change. Lydia and George's faithful love, and acceptance of Jed and I saved our lives. It saved our marriage.

So what does that mean for you- and what does it have to do with fear?

Well, remember we talked about making your heart a place where Jesus is welcome, and where demons don't want to hang around? Well to store up love in your heart is to store up God's presence in your heart, because God is love. When your heart is full of God, and His love, there is no room for fear, no room for demons! There is no room for the torment of depression.

How do we do it? How can you fill your heart with His kind of love if you don't have a Lydia, or a George? Maybe you are afraid to trust people, or maybe you would, but just can't find anyone.

Let me encourage you, that God is not limited by your situation, no matter how dismal! Let me explain: once I realized that fear really was a huge problem for me, I was happy enough to be free, I just didn't know how! My pastor's wife (a wonderful mentor, and an amazing woman) prayed for me about it, and she rebuked fear out of my life. It was necessary, and God's beginning of my freedom from fear, but the fearful feelings just didn't quit that day. I was still afraid of the dark, I still felt afraid in social situations, I still thought fear-filled thoughts.

But one day, even years later, as I was feeding a baby and watching TV, a program "happened" to come on. It was Kenneth Copeland's "Believer's Voice of Victory". He was preaching about being freed from fear. I watched it with interest, and at the end of the program they were offering a cd set on what he'd been preaching about. I thought to myself: "I've been prayed for about this issue of fear, surely it's done in my life". Also, I didn't want to spend the money on the cd's! But something inside me (that quiet, sweet voice of the Holy Spirit) was saying that I ought to go ahead and order those cd's. So I did, and it changed my life.

What I learned from Kenneth Copeland during those years changed my life forever. He taught that God is Love. He said that whenever I read my bible, I could substitute the word LOVE any time I read the word God, and it would help me to get to know God, to know Him for Who He really is. I started doing that, and it was like a light coming on inside me- I could see now that God loved me, that His word was good, and it began to flush the fear out of my life.

So back to my original point: if you don't have anyone you can trust to love you right now, like Lydia loved me, you can still trust God to reach you where you are. He reached me through my television!! He reached me through the preaching of a man I didn't even know, who certainly didn't know me! No matter what is going on in your life right now, God loves you, He is good, and He wants entrance to your life. He wants to cast out all your fears, and to overcome your depression. You can trust Him, it is safe to believe that He will do it.

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