Thankful for Weakness
This Thanksgiving was a special one for my family. As we were travelling this holiday, I could not help but think about all the trials and tests that have come our way and what it took to get to where we are. It is very easy to only tell people the climaxes and the events that look good. But what about the ones that hurt us the most and we lived through on our way to those peaks? Is it okay to be thankful for the journey and for the weakest times in our lives?
I spent much of my 20’s trying to appear like I had it all together. I remember thinking, however, that I did not have many genuine relationships and never really knew why. Now, almost half way through my 30’s, I realize that it was mostly due to the fact that not many people really knew me. I never thought it was okay to talk about the hard times or the seasons where I wanted to give up. That would have been considered a “lack of faith” or “speaking negativity”. It was not until I found myself desperate, a few months ago, that God really began to alter my thinking and turn everything I thought I knew upside down.
Throughout my life, I have dealt with feeling bluesy and depressed. This mostly occurred around the postpartum period after each of my pregnancies. With Adelyne, I did almost everything possible to prepare for that season, so I was extremely disappointed in myself when it hit last spring and I did not even want to get out of bed. I thought to myself that I must be cursed to never enjoy the period right after birth. So I cried. I slept. I faked it in front of my older kids the best that I could. I had many conversations with God about why He would allow me to have to go through this…Every. Single. Time. Finally, one day, during one of these conversations, I heard back: “What if I meant this for good?” I remember bringing it up to my husband so that I could think out loud and try to follow that thought process all the way through, but it just did not seem to add up. I wondered, “Okay, is the feeling of isolation so that you will stay inside and connect only with your baby?” Then I thought, “No, perhaps feeling sad and alone is so that you will not want to do much so that your body can recover fully.” It was not until I reached out to my church that I was asked: “Are you thankful for this depression?” I didn’t say it, but I thought: “HELL – it is destroying me – NO I am not thankful!” I stumbled around my words and the sweet lady that I was talking to shared that she had also dealt with the same thing years before and I needed to keep doing what I was already doing – pushing forward and being proactive. The following week, at her recommendation, I started attending a class at church that was for anyone that deals with pretty much anything.
I felt like I had already done so much preparing physically and mentally for my last pregnancy that I must admit, this Monday night class was the absolute last thing that I wanted to commit to. I love self-help and taking the time to better myself so that I can better my family. However, I was already drained and emotionally empty, so I knew God was going to have to give me grace to make it through a 9 to 10 month commitment like this. I quickly became aware that I was not the only one going through hard times and changed my thought process to be thankful for what I was feeling and what I was experiencing. I am only half way through, but I can assure you that what I thought my biggest issue was – depression – is not the culprit at all. It is amazing what God can reveal to you when you surrender your mind, your will and your emotions over to Him.
After spending most of my life being numb and avoiding pain at all cost, I finally see that this was a trap to stunt my growth. Life happens to each of us and it is so sad that we have made it a negative thing to feel sadness, pain, grief, etc. Without feeling these emotions that are real to all of us, how could we ever truly live a full life? I am not saying that we sit in our depression or anger or any other emotion and feel sorry for ourselves. I am saying that we are allowed to feel it and be thankful for it as long as we are moving forward. If you are taking steps to evolve, then those emotions are temporary and you can have fullness of joy even while walking through your weakest times.
This Thanksgiving, I thanked God for His love and for allowing me to walk down some of the darkest roads. I am thankful for the repeat depression I have encountered because it has allowed me to discover a hole in my heart that I never knew was there. When you become aware of a wound, you can begin to treat it and begin healing. He is faithful and I am so grateful that He is the author of my life and my faith. He did not write an easy story for me…He wrote one that is full of passion, love and strength.
2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."