Thursday, 20 May 2010

Overcoming Depression Part 2~ Branches of unworthiness

 
After I began taking anti-depressants, I began to be able to function again. Without medication it was hard just doing what I needed to do to get through the day. But on medication, I could actually perform the necessary tasks with some ease. The medication diminished the depression somewhat, but it was just a band-aid for the root causes of my depression.

I had a deep-seeded root of condemnation that grew into many branches, that bore the fruit of depression. In order to get to the root however, my King had to had to cut down the now strong branches in my heart before He could finally pull out the root, once and for all, and set me free from my never-ending winter.
At this stage in my depression, the ugly bush that was suffocating my heart shaded my view of the King. I loved my King dearly, but because of the shadow cast by the bush, I could not fully see myself how He saw me, and as a result hid from Him. 

When I first fell in love with my King as a 19 year old, I was naive. I wanted so much to please my King and to fit in with the strange new culture of Christianity, and I tried to follow those who had been born into the kingdom of God before me. After all, in my mind, they knew more than I did about the One who saved me. It was an awkward fit at first as everything felt strange.

I began to dress what I thought a Christian woman should dress like. Looking back at the photos now, I laugh because I looked like someone who lived in Amish country. But in my mind, that was what a Christian looked like. I wore long skirts and blouses. (What was I thinking?) The Sunday morning I went down to the front of the church and  I first believed that Jesus died on the cross for me to atone for my sins was the day that changed my life forever. I was born again into the Kingdom of God and it was like seeing through new eyes.My heart was cleansed from all sin and I was a new creation. I felt so beautiful, loved and whole. But it was to be short lived.

The church that I was born-again in didn't really know what to do with me. Unbeknown to me, I was the first to be born-again in the church for a long time and they were ill-equipped to deal with a baby Christian. A few days after I was born-again, I met with a young lady from the church to do my first bible study. We sat in the park and chatted politely. But in reality, we were from two different worlds. She had grown up in a Christian home all her life and I was fresh from the world. A babe. A sinner saved by grace. I knew nothing of the precious love letters written for humanity, we call a bible. As she opened the study up she asked me, "Have you read the book of John before?" Embarrassed that I had not really read the bible before and wanting so much to fit in with my new church family, I casually said, "Oh yes!". But I hadn't. I had lied. She closed the bible study up and said, "Oh, we don't have to worry about doing this then." And that was the completion of my New Believer's bible study.

How I learned to be a Christian was from observing others in my church. So hungry to seek the truth, I took what they said as correct and didn't question it. In my mind, they knew far more than me. The church asked me if I wanted to give a testimony one Sunday and I jumped at the chance. I wanted to shout from the roof tops how I felt now that I was a Believer, and wanted the opportunity to tell others what He had done in my life. I had written a worship song and sang it after I gave my testimony.

In my testimony I shared how I had slept with men, but I had no desire to do that now until I was married. I thought it was in a safe environment and that part of my testimony would give glory to God. But I was in for a rude shock after the meeting had finished. One well-meaning church member remarked how I was brave for sharing such intimate details with everyone. In my enthusiasm to tell others what He had done in my life, I had just assumed that others would be just as happy to hear about my changed life. I had not used wisdom in sharing that part of my past. But the truth was, I had a past unlike most other girls in the church. The majority of the girls had grown up going to church every Sunday and were virgins. I immediately felt shame and condemnation come over me. My plans for fitting in with my new friends wasn't going well. They just could not relate to me.

The root of condemnation had bought forth it's first branch - 'unworthiness' and it was growing stronger every week. Because I had no foundation in the Word and had no discipleship, I felt unworthy and stigmatised by my past. The branch grew larger one Sunday when we had a move of the Holy Spirit at one of our meetings and everyone fell down or manifested some  way or another- except for me. I cried as I desperately wanted to feel His tangible presence. A young lady came to comfort me and suggested that I had some sin in my life that was stopping the Holy Spirit. From that day on in my mind, I was unworthy and undeserving of His presence.

This ugly bush that grew skewed my thoughts. What I couldn't see was the truth.The truth is, I was made worthy by His blood. It didn't matter in His eyes what my past was, because when the Father looked at me, He didn't see my sin. He saw a beautiful daughter and loved what He saw. I didn't know that I was His beloved and He was mine.    16 My beloved is mine, and I am his.  He feeds his flock among the lilies. (Song of Solomon 2:16, New King James Version) I didn't see myself the way He saw me.
And so the branch that would later bear the fruit of depression, remained in my heart until the time that I would cry out to Him and He would rescue me and set me free from the never-ending winter.

Still taking lessons from the King,



To read the rest of my story click here:

11 comments:

  1. Again, the Lord uses you to touch a place in my heart, the way only He can. I am often brought to tears when reading your blog, but it such a good..."thank God, someone understands me" kind of way!
    You are such a gift to me Dear One!
    Much love to you my sister!
    Angie

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  2. Your story sounds very similar to mine. I had also struggled with depression and took anti-depressants for a time. I even taught myself how to swim.

    When I was a new believer the church didn't know what to do with me either. Only it wasn't the CHURCH who all dressed up in Amish style clothing, it was ME! My idea of what a Christian believer looked like came from a desire to be completely different from the type of girl I was.

    Thank yo for sharing this. I know how hard it can be to open up and share our struggles and pain.

    Have a blessed week!

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  3. I can't tell you how much reading your story touches my heart. It helps me see that I am not the only one who has felt/feels these things. Thank you so much for sharing. I am always blessed when I come here.

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  4. So glad you have stayed true to yourself and not given up and settled for the mediocre! xx

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  5. Hey Jo, as I read through what you are writing I feel a sense of sadness with the how the church did not know how to love you and disciple you, but on the other hand I can see that your salvation was real in your heart and that hunger deep in you for our incredible God has carried you through.

    Our walk with God is a daily effort to know our King and hear His voice, but so many live week to week thinking just going to church once a week is going to cut it. You can testify that you walk with with Jesus each second of the day and that is the most powerful message to the anybody!

    God bless you sista! xxx

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  6. Love this, and love that He has done such a good work in your life. You continue to inspire me! xo

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  7. You and I would probably have a lot to talk about if we met for coffee. I was 17 when I became a Christian and I have a very similar past. Thank you for being so real on your blog. You are a rare and beautiful child of the King.

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  8. Wow, Jo! That was a powerful post!! I wanted to keep reading - part three, part three! God is so good. When we accept Him, we ARE new creations...the old is GONE, washed clean by His redeeming blood! Thank you for sharing. I think it is so important to tell this lesson learned for others who are experiencing the same thing you did. As you know, all things happen for a reason, and God is using your journey into Christian maturity to help guide others, too! Wonderful post!

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  9. Hi! I got your comment on my blog and wanted to hop over and say hello.

    It's so sad to me how unprepared Christians are to meet with reality. I think it's wonderful that you shared what God had delivered you from. Those who can't hear about those details without wincing simply aren't facing the reality of mankind - our sinful human nature. They won't admit it, but they have the same sin nature and many of them came from the same sort of past - or worse.

    You should have been embraced, loved and nurtured in your new walk. Shame on them for making you feel that you didn't deserve the blood of Jesus. Like any of us do!

    Have you read the book "Unchristian". Amazing and sad truths are documented in that book. All I have to say is... Where is love?

    I want to be like Jesus. I want to point others to the loving and forgiving Savior who loved and forgave me - a wretched sinner. Jesus gave me hope. Jesus gave me vision. Jesus turned my life around.

    Thanks for being REAL. It's those kind that make a difference in this world, because every single person knows their nature and their temptations. You are making a difference.

    Lynnette
    PS Your boys look more alike than any siblings I've ever seen. It's like the same kid at different ages. ha! SO CUTE!

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  10. You are a gift to SO many... continue to be true to all that God is asking of YOU. We so often start operating in what we think a "Christian" should be... when really it's all about Jesus and His work that makes us who we are as Christians.

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  11. Can you sing me that song your wrote?
    Love your honesty. Love that our God is a grace giving God.
    Thankful that you aren't Christianeze - love you realness.

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts on my lessons!

I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

Love,
Jo Princess Warrior xo