I ended 2017 with a bang and began 2018 with a whimper. I was a complete mess. Financially and relationally I felt totally undone. I was scared. I was devastated. I was filled with anxiety. It was the most depressed and anxious that I had been in a long time (and people, for a woman with a melancholy bent who has been through her fair share of bat crap crazy hard stuff, that is saying something).
So, I knew I had a couple options.
I could let my sadness and fear take me down.
Or I could do something about it.
Ladies and gentlemen, down I did not go, though I have gone down before and though it was tempting and though it would have been the easier route.
Instead, here’s what God and I did.
One, I told my inner circle that I was in a bad place and to please pray for me. And I listened when one said to me, three times in one conversation, “You are stronger than you think you are.” I took those words to heart.
Two, I called my counselor and had a crying-so-hard-that-I’m-not-quite-sure-how-he-even-understood-me phone session.
Three, I talked to my doctor and went back on an anti-depressant. No shame, people.
Four, I upped my water intake, I upped my smoothie intake, I upped my white and green tea intake, I upped my Vitamin D intake.
Five, I continued my daily quiet time but I added a sweet in-depth Bible study. I needed even more God.
Six, I surrounded myself with music. Every morning, gorgeous music filled my home and my heart. If you can wear out a cd, Ellie Holcomb’s Red Sea Road is on its metaphorical last leg. Audrey Assad, Sara Groves, Sandra McCracken, Amy Grant, Christa Wells and Leigh Nash were also all on heavy rotation. (Sorry, fellas, I’m a female singer-songwriter junkie). Music played all day every day. And it soothed and bolstered my soul.
Seven, I kept working. No, let me rephrase. I HUSTLED, people. In every single area of my life, I took it up a notch, or twelve. Like, if I were to show you my list of to-do’s for the first three weeks of January, you would think I was lying to you and I’m not a liar and you would still think I was lying. I.DID.NOT.QUIT. I worked harder. I worked smarter. I made some hard financial decisions. I made some difficult relational choices.
Eight, I kept showing up. To my life. To my marriage. To God. To those in my life who wanted me in their lives.
Nine, I showed myself grace. Because life is hard. And sometimes it takes you out at the knees. And sometimes it takes a long time to get over something. And sometimes you can work your way out of a hole (of any kind) and sometimes you just can’t.
Ten, I asked God over and over to make my way clear. To show me how to handle the financial strain and to show me how to handle the unexpected relational collapse. And he did.
Finally, I took myself through a twelve-session coaching program on – of all things – hope. I thought it would be good for my work. It ended up being amazing for my soul. Because I was reminded of something FOUNDATIONAL.
That no matter what – seriously and truly no matter what and I wouldn’t dream of saying this lightly – we go through in life, we have HOPE. NOT a puny little circumstantial hope that every thing will turn out like we want.
No, we’ve got something bigger, better and more real than that. We’ve got a capital H HOPE that God has us, that God loves us, that God is good. In fact, it says in Colossians 1:27 that Christ in you is the hope of glory.
We have something to look forward to in this life because I believe we will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13) but even more so than that, even more than the abundant life we have been promised (John 10:10), our HOPE is that we will see God face to face one day and all will be made right. Every single thing. I can’t imagine it and I don’t really understand it but I absolutely believe it. And THAT, my friends, is what got me through and what gets me through today and what will get me through the next day and the next.
Now girls, these aren’t magic steps. And some of these won’t even translate to your depression or anxiety or hope-disappearance or funk or what-have-you. But some of them will. And I believe in you. And you are not done yet. Your life is not over until it’s over, not to sound too cliché here. But you have things to do. And God loves you and will never, ever stop – cannot stop, actually.
So, if this is you, if all hope feels lost, take some deep breaths, ask God to help you, talk to a friend, and then dive into my list, adding on to it with what has worked for you in the past.
There is a Hope, sweet girls, and it’s Jesus.
If you find yourself in a place like this right now, I would be honored to help you think it through and move your forward. Fill this out and I’ll send you a custom coaching package proposal.
Elizabeth, THANK YOU for transparency! It is so helpful for women to realize that this is a process that takes a while. I just started seeing a new counselor to treat some PTSD symptoms that have reared their head 6 years post divorce. No shame. Just honest. It takes hard work to be healthy! I am right there with you! Working hard, realizing when its time to get additional help, and moving forward! Thanks for the encouragement!
I love this, Kim: “It takes hard work to be healthy.” YES IT DOES! Keep going, sweet girl!
Elisabeth, your posts always seem to speak to my heart and needs at the time. This one is no exception. I’m gonna try all your suggestions. (except the Green Tea-bleh!) 🙂
Thanks for helping so many women on this journey to wholeness and peace.
Ha on the green tea, Ellen! Perhaps it’s an acquired taste. 🙂
But I’m so grateful today’s post helped.
Yes thanks so very much for being real w your pain Elizabeth! You are the kind of woman that it would be awesome to be friends with 🙂 I, too find myself down, quite down at times being a single mom of 4 kids & trying hard to keep my head up & figure it all out 🙂 But God is good & he is Always there. Praise him ????
So wonderful. Thank you for your vulnerability in sharing this. What a great example you are to those of us who suffer from depression. I will share with my readers. Bless you