Happy First Birthday to grace in the darkness! A year ago today, you made your way into cyberspace after many months of gestation (months which I spent researching and planning and writing and designing) and, like any birth, that day was filled with many hopes and dreams, much excitement, and certainly some nerves. It’s hard to believe it’s been this long already — and that some of you are still reading my words after 365 days.
Mostly, it’s hard to believe because it’s so easy to wish that I’d done more. Written more posts, taken more beautiful photos, facilitated more guest authors. Also, I’d hoped for more success. I wish I had acquired more followers, seen more readership growth, been offered more book deals (ha!). I’d hoped for more.
However, despite not being more, it’s been a good, full year. A hard year, certainly, but what year isn’t? As I was preparing to write this post, and thinking about the past year, I revisited many posts from the last twelve months (of course). I revisited the dark places and the questions, the favorite quotes, the letters to my son and daughter, the post about learning to love our family of four and the posts exploring Ed Welch’s book about faith and depression that I found so useful. I remembered my struggles with finding community in New York and applauded my efforts at starting to run again. And you know what? It’s not more, and it’s not the best, but it is good. Continue reading
Filed under blogging, career, children, community, depression, family, god & faith, identity, motherhood, prayer, Uncategorized, writing
I’m not a particularly optimistic person (understatement of the year). Depression hasn’t helped. But I’m trying out this idea of allowing the dark times to teach me about myself and also about God.
I’ve written about how I believe that God uses our depression to teach us about our hearts and how we should use depression as a tool to examine what we worship. I’ve also written about how even though Edward Welch’s book on depression argues that suffering should bring us closer to God – because our world is broken and we are broken, often the opposite is true.
All of these things are helpful. Welch’s perspective on depression is profoundly shaping and changing my own. BUT. What I really want to know is what to do about the depression. Continue reading
Last time, I waxed eloquent about God’s role in suffering (according to counselor and theologian Ed Welch) – God uses our suffering to teach us about our hearts. Welch also argues that suffering actually points us towards God – in two ways:
- We need God to endure our suffering.
- The life of God’s son, Jesus, helps us to understand our suffering.
Now silence that little voice in your head that might be saying, Okay, great, but I still have to believe in God to care about this perspective. I’m with you, friend. I’ve been there. But stick with me. Welch is simply saying that bad things can have a good purpose. And also that we shouldn’t expect life to be a bowl of cherries:
The cross says that life will not be easy. If Jesus serves, we will serve. If Jesus suffers, we, too, will experience hardships. . . Suffering is part of the path that leads to glory and beauty.
BUT. It seems to me that suffering doesn’t always do what it’s intended to do – it doesn’t always bring good, and it doesn’t always bring us closer to God. Continue reading
When I first started calling the Christian faith my own, I had a long list of objections, questions, and doubts. One of these was how to reconcile my understanding and personal experience of depression with what I was learning about Christianity. I (mistakenly) believed that if my faith was strong enough, or my “quiet times with God” profound enough, or my sense of identity secure enough, I wouldn’t struggle with depression.
I thought that Christians equated depression with weakness – or, even worse, with sin.
But I have known depression for years – decades. I have struggled with volatile emotions and hopelessness, fought the demons that insisted life wasn’t worth living and tempted me to cut into my own skin. I wrote in sixth-grade handwriting in a spiral-bound notebook, This can’t be normal. What I’m feeling is too much. I don’t know how to live like this.
I know depression. I know its ugliness, its self-centeredness, its reality of hopelessness and despair. I know emotions that are explosive and debilitating.
I first hurt myself when I was thirteen. Continue reading