Battling Depression, Part Three: Writing Your Own Story Well

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Frans Von Mieris

This is the final post in this series on battling depression. You can find Part One here and Part Two here.

 

One of the beautiful arts of a godly woman is to write her own story of life well, intentionally and with skill,  in the midst of the one she has been given. But to write well a tale that will endure and inspire, requires a committed heart, a devoted heart of faith, and the will to endure and work hard to live with choices that will renew hope and bring life. It is God’s desire to support us in our story, but we must desire from our hearts to embrace His ability to enter into our stories to make them great.

How will your life write and tell of God’s faithfulness? How will you bring beauty out of chaos;  integrity and faith to difficulty and testing, love to a loveless situation; hope and light to darkness? We have such great capacity to redeem our stories and to give our children a memory of how we used the strength of God and hard work and a commitment to love to bring about life and to change the ending of the story we have been given. I have seen so many women exercise their intelligence, wisdom and skill to create a story of life that brings hope and gives value. It is natural to give in to despair, it is supernatural to mount up over your story with the life and grace the Holy Spirit wants to provide through you. Heroines are made by being brave in difficulty, when giving up or being fearful would have been the natural response. But to mount up requires a will–a will that says, I will refuse to be overcome; I will trust God, battle for His ways, and work to make my story one of meaning, nobility and goodness. Because I have Him, all things become possible.

5. Read, read, read. C.S. Lewis said that we read to know we are not alone. My favorite authors became my friends. Inspiration of other women and men, who had made a difference fueled my soul with courage in my own dark places. Just reading about their lives and stories fed my soul and showed me how to live my life. In the absence of having older women or grandmas in my life, the books and biographies I read aloud to the kids and myself  became my friends and fellowship–especially throughout the 17 moves. I needed a friend, so my books became my friends and fellowship and shaped my life.

6.Organize relationships in life so that you can be blessed. I have had to start many groups and Bible studies and kids’ groups in my home. But when we initiate or organize a way for friends to meet, we find that we are blessed in the midst of it. I have started book clubs (where you read a book and then get together for dinner and discuss it); once a month dinners for several families, prayer groups for myself with a few close friends; taking turns to host all the families at a home; started Bible studies for the girls and their moms and the boys and their dads (Clay did that); tea parties, picnics, meet-at-the-park days, Christmas parties and so on.

Some of these attempts fizzle, but some end up blessing me and our children.We had a spontaneous meal with a friend the other night and we all had so much fun and felt so loved in the midst, and I just ran into her at the grocery store. It was worth the trouble to get together.  Often when we are so busy, we don’t take time for things like this and eventually we become lonely.

Often just reaching out to others or opening my home, brings more friends my way and in the long term meets my needs. I also plan things I know I will enjoy into my schedule–Saturday morning breakfasts downtown with Sarah and a long walk by all the old mansions, hot chocolate with Joy; breakfasts with my boys, alone dinners at home with Clay when I feel like I miss him–I send the others out for a trip to a book store/coffee shop and I light candles and have a simpler dinner all alone–without anyone bothering our conversation.

I also save each year for travel by putting away 10-15 dollars a month–because for me to get away from home and dishes and internet and phone calls is always a great break and rest for my ADHD, restless soul–and of course I keep chocolate hidden to have as a treat on a needed day and always have tea in a real china cup with candles lit and civility–even if just for 15 minutes. When I organize life with delight, I often find I end up with a happier soul and fun and make friends in the midst. All the leaders I have ever known have said that they always have to initiate more to people and people don’t always reciprocate, but I would rather have the opportunity to have friends and fellowship, even if I have to do the work, than to always be by myself.

Most of all, though, I remember, intentionally, over and over again, that God, my precious Father, loves me and wants me to experience His joy. I have resolved to look for His love and to receive His love by faith, even when I don’t feel like it. He dearly loves each one of you precious moms, too,  and wants to lead you away from darkness or sadness and move you to joy and peace.

So, may His warm hand grasp yours in the midst of your darkness and may He lead you to a way to light a candle in the darkness so that you can see His face and be assured of His tender companionship in the midst of it all.

How different history will be when people choose to believe God right where they are, and who act in faith to build, renew, restore and to choose faithfulness in difficult relationships.

God is with you, who can be against you? May He lead you to become His warrior and to see Him fight your battles and to make all things new. God causes all things to work together for His good and He is suiting you and preparing you for heaven.

May your story give you a platform, an arena, in which you may find and spread God’s light and may the ending of the story you write for your children and children’s children give hope and reflect the faith in a God who redeems and loves beyond reason. Be blessed today.

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Comments

  1. says

    Great ideas and encouragement! On whim, I invited my sister out to my remote place (with a super icy driveway!) and even though there were a few hurdles to her getting here, she did and it was so nice to chat, laugh, and recharge over some coffee & oatmeal cranberry cookies!

    Thanks for the “push”! I’m hoping to do Desperate this spring with some friends!!!

  2. Alicia says

    thank you for the encouraging words Sally. I missed the TX retreat this year to spend time with my youngest and am so thankful to get those little moments of encouragement here in your blog. Thank you for sharing your heart and inspiring me each day.

  3. says

    Thank you for your words of wisdom. I recently move back to the city, living in the country made seeing my friends a bit more difficult. But it’s refreshing to the soul to be able to have your friend just stop by for a visit :-)

    Love
    Renee

  4. says

    Thanks for the encouragement to be intentional to plan special times with friends and family that nourish our souls! I was just thinking the other day how lovely it would be to go to a B & B once a year–saving $10/month makes it seem so doable! I also just decided that I want to use our spare room as a little getaway spot for local moms, too. Playing hostess for someone else’s retreat sounds too fun :).

  5. Charlotte says

    Thank you for this post, Sally! I have battled depression and anxiety for most of my adult life, and these posts have breathed new life into me. Also, I’m glad that I’m not the only one with book “friends!”

  6. says

    As I have been in this battle for a few months, I know that The Lord had me read this post, this very day. I am grateful to Him for you, Sally. In reading through the Little House series with my 6 year old, I am often amazed at the way in which “Ma” calmly and joyfully handles the challenges of a difficult pioneer life, sometimes when they had next to nothing. We are so very blessed, and I am aware that even when battling discouragement myself, my family looks to me to be the heart of this home…joyful and uplifting and strength-giving to THEM. I know when I choose joy, He refills my shallow cup over and over. I will be more intentional. Thank you for your service to The Lord.

  7. says

    One creative thing we’ve enjoyed is Dessert Nights on Friday evenings. We invite a family we want to spend time with over for dessert. Most of us have young kids, so they bring their kids in their pj’s and we enjoy coffee and dessert together.

    It’s a simple, affordable way to foster relationships.

    • Sally says

      I always love to see you here, my sweet friend. You are an encouragement to me! Desert nights sound great. Blessings!

  8. Kathy says

    Hi,
    I’m fairly new to your website, and just read the Part 3 on Depression. I can’t seem to find Part 1 and 2. Where may I find that? Does this go along with one of your books? Thank you!

  9. Naomi says

    Sally, I too was wondering where the parts 1 and 2 are. I’ve been struggling with depression now for some time and I’m so tired of being tired. I’d love to read what else you’ve written on depression.

  10. Brandae says

    Sally,
    My eyes are brimming with tears. You are such an encouragement to me, and I appreciate your heartfelt love and wisdom for all of us mothers who are scattered across the world surrounded by noise, activity, and people yet oftentimes very lonely. I long for that day I meet you face to face and can hug and thank you for every article, book, and video blessing.
    Your love for Christ and His sheep is beautiful. You are shining His light and bringing Him glory!!! Thank you!
    Brandae

  11. Mar says

    Sally,
    Your writings and ministry have greatly impacted my family and I – especially in regards to homeschooling and discipline. You have brought much wisdom and guidance into my life – Thank you!
    I do want to mention, respectfully and humbly, that I am disappointed after reading these articles on depression. Your articles do speak Truth to select types of depression (and I’m sure your heart was in the right place), but I felt it generalized all depression and the solutions thereof. As a reader who struggles with chronic depression, I felt more guilt and shame after reading this article (though I don’t think this was your intention at ALL) and I fear a few others felt the same (see comments on part 1 and 2) There are so many types of depression ranging from the occasional blues to postpartum to full blown chronic clinical depression. I feel it is necessary to distinguish between them. Each kind can arise from different areas of our lives mental/emotional, spiritual, and/or physical challenges. Certain types of depression may call for a change in our attitude but others may need medical attention like other clinical mental disorders. You have taught me much about God’s grace and this has given me much freedom and healing. However, I feel there is grace lacking in a one-size-fits-all approach to depression. This is an area that we desperately need life-giving Truth AND Grace. Grace for our emotional and spiritual and physical shortcomings. I again affirm my respect and gratitude for you and your ministry. And I would love to hear back from you if possible. Thank you!

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