Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Overcoming depression Part 3~ a tree hugger

My depression did not start after I had my second child and the Doctor had diagnosed it. It had been brewing for years in my heart. The seeds that had been planted in my heart grew roots and grew into a tree to finally bear the fruit of depression. It was years in the making. For years, I became a 'tree-hugger'. I had become so used to this tree being in my heart that I was unaware that it tainted my view of the truth. I embraced my tree, holding onto it and even fertilising it with my own negative thoughts and words. Little did I know that the very thing I held onto so dearly, would produce a destructive fruit years later.

I could write separately on all the branches in detail of the tree that grew in my heart that bore the fruit of depression, with deep seeded roots of condemnation. And maybe one day I might. But for now, I will briefly name each branch, in the hope that others that are suffering with depression, could search their own hearts, and see if they too might have their own tree that casts shadows on their  vision of who they really are, and how He really sees them.

The truth is, we all have seeds that have been sown in our hearts from the day we arrive on earth from our mother's womb. Seeds come in the form of words- words that are spoken over our lives. Some good seed falls deep into your heart, causing beautiful fruit to grow and we flourish. Other seeds are ugly and cause hideous fruit to grow - like my depression. I had a mixture of both spoken over my life. I chose to believe the lies of the destructive seeds over the good seed.

When I was came into the Kingdom of God, this tree was but a sapling. At the moment I first believed, my sins were washed clean by His Blood, but the tree still remained and would be built upon each and every time seeds, contradictory to the Word of God, were spoken over me. Because of my lack of knowledge of what the Bible said about me, I still could not see myself the way He saw me. And I did not fully comprehend just how much my King loved me.

my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.Hosea 4:6

In my last post, I shared how my branch of unworthiness grew in an environment that failed to nurture my new nature and guide me as an immature Christian. I came into the Kingdom with feelings of unworthiness and because of my lack of knowledge, I perished instead of thrived. The church that I attended then has grown so much in His Name, and I am happy to say that if an unbeliever walked into that church today, they would be showered with His love. If a new Believer walked into that church, they would be nurtured and grow as He intended them to. I understand how on the cross Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Luke 23:34. Unlike my Saviour who was able to say it as it was happening, I was unable to say it until 15 years after the events. But the truth is, they did not know what they were doing.

My Branches came in many different forms, all of them lies that stopped me from seeing the true picture of my King and the true picture of myself. Having never experienced true unconditional love, I sought to please my King by serving in the church. "Maybe, just maybe", I thought, "my King would love me more if I worked for him harder." And so I strived to earn His love. But of course, I could never earn His love because He IS love. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8. He loved me more than I knew, unconditionally - I just didn't realise it. I couldn't love, because I didn't know God. I knew of Him and knew how He sent His son for me to die for my sins, but I did not know Him.

Another branch was rejection, a seed that was within me from a little girl. I believed the lie that everyone had rejected me, and that included my God. While I desperately wanted to be accepted by Him, (I didn't understand that I already was), I didn't fully open my heart to Him as I thought that He would reject me too.

Unforgiveness was another branch that grew. I didn't want to let go of the hurts, and so I held on so tightly to unforgiveness for years after the wound was inflicted. I didn't know that by holding on to the offence I was only doing damage to myself, not the other party.  Yet another branch was my identity crisis. Because I despised myself and I didn't see me as someone that I wanted to be, I became a chameleon. I changed according to who I thought people wanted me to be. I took on traits of others to be accepted by them. By doing this I didn't even know who 'me' was anymore.

The biggest lie that I believed was the Word of God was not credible. This seed was sown by someone in an authority position in my life when I was 7 years old. During my Religious Education lesson at school, a Nun told the class that the Bible was not real. She explained that, "It is just a bunch of stories to explain where we came from, because people were looking for answers. But it is not real." Thinking that a nun would know better than me, I believed the lie. Even after I was born-again, I listened to sermon after sermon full of scripture, week after week, but this branch prevented me from seeing the truth. I even studied at a bible college for a year. I thought that I believed the Word of God, but until this branch was cut off, deep down in my heart, I questioned the credibility of the Word. I would later learn to use the Word of God as a sword against the darknes,s in my journey of overcoming my depression.

While I hugged my tree, I remained in my state of bondage. I was bound up by all the branches that I embraced. It was so much a part of me that removing it would mean reopening some of the old wounds that helped it grow, in order for them to heal properly. The longer I held onto them, the harder it would be to let go of them. I had to come to the end of myself, and realise that I could no longer live with this tree in my heart. It was only then that I would cry out and discover that not only does He save us from our sins and our eternal punishment that we deserve- but He continues to save us from anything that hinders us from becoming who we were meant to be, if we trust Him. It would be His love that would finally set me free from my depression and rip the tree out by it's roots forever. God is love and love never fails. Love never fails.1 Corinthians 13:8

Still taking lessons from the King,

To read the rest of my story click here:


  1. I love your writing. It is very eloquent. What a great way to describe depression and how it grew in your heart. I added your blog button proudly to my blog.


  2. I love that imagery. We're all hugging trees that we ought not.

  3. Jo - You have a beautiful way of expressing yourself. I was able to grasp exactly what you were saying when you described yourself as a "tree-hugger". Isn't it wonderful that each day God teaches us something knew? Your story is one that others in life have also experienced...but the answers you provided may be quite new to so many! So, thank you for sharing your story...His word...and telling of His healing love.

    Living for Him, Joan

  4. Thank you for opening your hearts to us, Jo.
    I can relate to having all these branches and holding tight to all that was holding me down.

    This was probably my biggest stronghold though:
    "Yet another branch was my identity crisis. Because I despised myself and I didn't see me as someone that I wanted to be, I became a chameleon. I changed according to who I thought people wanted me to be. I took on traits of others to be accepted by them. By doing this I didn't even know who 'me' was anymore."

    It's hard to break free and discover and be who Christ has made us to be, but the greater we grasp His love the less we need acceptance from others.

    Much love and thanks, sister!

  5. Princess Warrior,

    I think you know me.

    Sweet dreams.

  6. I so appreciate you sharing your journey through all of this. You've made me stop and pray about some things in my own heart that need to be fixed. I'm so glad I get to follow along with your blog! :)

  7. Hi dear - Thank you so much for sharing your story. I especially like the use of branches as our depression points. Oh my you have helped so many of us who might never have known how to overcome such low points in our life. I just love the use of branches. Thank you so very much. Love you lots I will miss you

  8. Hi Jo

    I just want to say that I think your blog is really beautiful. You are so encouraging and a fabulous role model to other women.

    I'm a christian too and God has recently asked me to play a role in helping others with depression after I helped a member of my new husband's family with depression. I'm a biochemist, natural health practitioner and medical writer, and I've recently finished writing a book about the physical causes of depression. I'm a kiwi but don't hold that against me.

    Thanks again for your beautiful blog (not just the artwork but the words of grace).


  9. Hi Jo, I stumbled onto your blog... I think God led me to to your blog. I can relate to a lot of your experiences and journey of depression. Your words are inspiring to me. Your blog is awesome :)

    Jess xxx

  10. Hi, I just stumbled on your blog today. I find that I also deal with a lot of these things, even though I have been a christian all my life. I especially find that I don't feel accepted by other Christians around me, excluding my family. Your story gives me hope that maybe I can over come it. BEx


Thanks for sharing your thoughts on my lessons!

I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

Jo Princess Warrior xo