A few months ago I shared with the church that I suffer from depression. This illness began in my second year of ministry. It has been troublesome to me since but last fall my depression seemed to greatly increase. I began cancelling meetings and Bible classes. Appointments had to be rescheduled. It put a great burden on our Administrative Assistant, Connie. Tuesdays were especially hard for me.
Monday is my day off. It became a day of refreshment, a day to leave behind the pressures of ministry and a day to forget my own expectations of what I think I should be and do as a pastor. But by Monday evening feelings of anxiety and worry began to consume me. A dark cloud seemed to descend over me. By the time the morning rolled around I couldn't face Tuesday. It was hard.
Interestingly, I made it through Advent and Christmas in pretty good shape. The time was stressful but I seemed to handle it without too many problems. But last night the old pattern started. I had a difficult time sleeping. I hated getting out of bed this morning.
What woke me up? The pinging sound my cell phone makes when I receive a text message. When I heard the second "ping" I had to get up. What if there were an emergency? I couldn't just lay there.
The first message was from one of our members who was letting me know that they were specifically praying for me today. All day! This member and their family are dealing with their own troubles. But their thoughts and prayers were focused on me. Such encouragement!
The second message was from another member who was sharing some good news with me. This person thought that I would want to know that my ministry is not in vain and that it is helping others. Another word of encouragement.
Was all of this a "happy accident?" I choose to believe that God's fingerprints are all over these incidents.
People suffering from depression don't see the glass as "half-full," so to speak. In my case, I don't even see the glass. Life in hard. Doesn't seem to be worth going through the motions. You retreat into a place of darkness and hopelessness.
But I believe that God knew my heart, knew that today would be a struggle, knew that I needed some encouragement. I received some this morning through a couple of text message. I'll receive even more when I open up God's Word of encouragement, the Bible. And, I pray, that will help me to get going this morning.
Sorry for the long post. I hadn't intended on sharing about my struggle. But I couldn't help but tell about God's watchfulness over my life and how He used a couple of His people to give me the encouragement I needed this morning.
A blessed day to you today and may the grace of God dwell with you always.