In Kristen Jane Anderson’s book, , she describes that a young teen, her life was spiraling out of control. She battled loss, despair, and depression – and could see no other way out than to take her own life. Thankfully, the Lord had other plans.
Kristen survived after 35 freight train cars ran over her at 55 miles an hour. But she lost her legs. Soon after the realization of this failed suicide attempt, Kristen battled more despair. Eventually, though, she met Jesus, and step by step, moment by moment, He restored her life and established her in His plans for her. Now she speaks and writes and uses every avenue she can to be a blessing and a source of encouragement to others.
I remember my own walk through a dark valley of mild depression. That sounds like an oxymoron but mild depression was a dark enough valley for me. I went through counseling, worked my way through all of the things in my life that caused me pain. I spent extensive time in the Word, used it as my plumb line for truth. I treated myself to occasional, inexpensive things that brought joy to my heart (because I had long since stopped doing anything for myself). I purchased a favorite magazine and took a bubble bath. I bought a novel and gave myself a few hours to sit down and read. I’d go workout and take my time. I had to make time to get my cup filled back up again.
What about you? Are you walking through a dark valley right now?
Do know this: God is faithful! He will come through for you! He will make a way where there seems to be no way! Do not make BIG decisions during the uphill climb. Give yourself permission to have a little space, but don’t isolate. Make sure you’re getting regular doses of truth into your heart and mind. And don’t be afraid to treat yourself to simple things that bring joy to your heart (you’ll know when you’re going overboard with this or if you’re using your ‘treats’ to medicate your pain – I’m just saying, give yourself permission to take care of yourself).
Maybe you’ve been in the valley and now you’re on the other side. What advice do you have for the one still there?
I’d love to hear from you!
A few years back, I began a “noble endeavor” which proved much more challenging than I ever imagined it would be. I wasn’t gifted at it and I found no joy in it, and almost right away I began to be sure it was a terrible mistake. But I couldn’t get out of it. Being stuck in months of ongoing failure was a nightmare for me. And what made it particularly awful was that it concerned the most important people in my life and their futures. I’ve referred to that time as “the closest thing to a depression” I’ve ever experienced.
I felt like I was going a little crazy. Phrases like, “I hate my life” or “I wish I was dead” went through my head—and, sadly, out of my mouth—nearly every day. It alarmed me a little that my mind was roaming the outskirts of suicidal thinking. It never got too serious that way, but still I thought, What kind of Christian says, “I hate my life” when she’s not even having PMS?
My wonderful husband knew that I was frustrated, and he tried to encourage me and let me know I could do it. But I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to do it. I wanted him get me out of it. And he did. And the heaviness began to lift.
But then I was left with a big fat certifiable failure on my permanent record. And when I say failure, I include all the ways I could have trusted God, turned to Him, searched His word, let the world wait while I lay on my face before Him… BUT DIDN’T.
So the guilty aftermath of all of this was harder on me, in some ways, than the trial itself had been. And that’s when I started seeking to know Him better and experience Him and His love on a more authentic and personal level than maybe ever before in my Christian life. It took a lot to deplete my self-sufficiency and wear me out and slow me down… to let me feel my desperation to experience wholeness and my ache to really apprehend my true identity.
It blows my mind to say this, but I’m thankful for that time. What I have with God now is beautiful and growing. And real. It’s young and small. But it’s real. He is so absolutely perfect. He is so good to me. Always. Always. Always.