Sunday, January 20, 2008

Expect the Unexpected

”A merry heart does good like a medicine: but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” ~ Proverbs 17:22

"Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days." ~Proverbs 19:20

The irony was unmistakable. We had been headed to the mission field for my husband to work as a counselor to missionaries, and all along it was I who was in need of a counselor. My spirit was broken and dried up for sure. All along, I had been very honest with the mission agency about my depression, but I also believed that God could heal me, and if he didn’t that he would at least see me through.

I still believe that.

But, I also believe that God has a purpose for our darkest moments and often works in ways we do not expect. After we came home from Florida in August 2004, I was desperate. I contacted my physician immediately to see about medication that might help. Then I looked for a counselor. I was beaten. I was at the end of myself. I finally admitted that I couldn’t do this alone.

Several weeks later (and after an increase in dosage), I finally began to feel the effects of the drug. Honestly, it had been so long that I hadn’t really known what to expect.

“What should I watch for to know if it’s working?” I had asked my doctor.

“You’ll know,” she said.

I was hesitant. “I’m not sure… I really don’t remember what it feels like to be … ‘normal.’

I’m not sure she believed me.

Then suddenly one day it was like an incredible burden had been lifted off my shoulders, blinders cast from my eyes. The doctor was right – I just knew. This was what it felt like to be normal. I felt free! A couple of weeks later I joyfully announced to my husband and closest friends, “I have PMS!!!!” They thought I was crazy, but honestly, I had been riding just below the surface of normal for so long, I couldn’t remember the last time I had noticed a difference at any particular time of the month.

While the medication was effective and that was a blessing to me, it wasn’t (and won’t be for most people in similar situations) enough. What it did do was mentally and emotionally bring me up to a place where I could cope with and receive the help I needed, to a place where I was no longer suffocating in apathy and hopelessness. I needed the wisdom of a counselor (not my husband) to help me sort through the hurts and difficult places of my life so that God could bring peace and healing to those memories. Throughout my months of regular counseling, I was frequently awed at the depth and breadth of His intervention.

My husband and children joined me in some of the later counseling sessions, and we gained wisdom and skills to not only survive but to thrive as a family. As God healed me, he was freeing me to be the wife and mother I needed to be. I became much less angry, much less critical. I am certainly not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I wouldn’t trade the path he’s brought me down. I will probably be on medication for the rest of my life, but I am okay with that for I have seen how God can use it. While I do emphatically believe that God has the power to heal miraculously, and could have done so for my depression, instead he chose to heal me through medication and counseling.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." ~ Isaiah 55:8-9

True. So true.


  1. I am thankful we serve such a mighty, healing God. And, that He sent (we coerced?) you to children's choir.

    Praying for you and your ministry.

  2. This is so funny, I have a letter in progress to you that I was working on last week! I was too busy/lazy before the holidays to get out Christmas cards this year! Yep, the internet sure is great! ;-) I'll finish it up soon and get it in the mail (I always think letters are so much more fun than email these days!!).

    I didn't know you'd had problems like this, medication can really works wonders for depression, I have several friends who have greatly benefited. Glad to hear you feel great! :-) Good luck with the missionary placement, sounded promising in your latest letter.

    Love you,

  3. hey! I didn't know you had a blog - i just stumbled on to it. Thanks for sharing your heart and I'm glad you are doing better!

  4. Not a one of you has commented on the PMS thing ... aren't you all so polite and cultured!! (unlike me?!) haha! Love you all! s~


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