Someone recently told me that they were surprised to hear that I struggled with depression. So, as a follow-up to my post entitled Discouragement is Depressing I wanted to talk a bit about depression in the first person. First I have to say that anyone who has read the Psalms understands that dark times and seasons are not reserved for the ungodly. Depression hits the best of us and, if we allow it, depression will help us change.

I wish that I wasn't so familiar with depression. Honestly, family events have devastated me over the years. Family life has often been brutal since my first wife's heart failure in 1990 and her death in 1994. Watching my son and daughter struggle with their mother's death has probably been the hardest and most depressing of all things in my life. I started experiencing health problems in 1999 that severely limited my ability to walk and exercise. In 2002 my beautiful wife Ann was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Life has been hard.

In all this I have had to change and change has not come easy for me ... needing to change has been cause for depression ... giving up on my life goals has brought darkness ... it has not been easy for this onetime fundamentalist. I have found, and I continue to find, that life can only be found in the Lord. I recently shared in our Longest Night service at church about how in deep despair I cried out to the Lord in worship and found Him there during the 4 years of my first wife's illness. The Holy Spirit still brings comfort and encouragement. Depression is not fatal as long as we continue to go to the Lord ... His yoke is easy and burden light.

This is where the battlefield truly lies my dear friends. Going to the Lord in worship and allowing your heart to break before Him ... giving Him your dreams and trusting Him to bring beauty for ashes ... the oil of joy for mourning ... this is where we find life ... as we let go. I read this verse this morning:
God helped them as they fought. God handed the Hagrites and all their allies over to them, because they cried out to him during the battle. God answered their prayers because they trusted him. (1 Chronicles 5:20)
God helped them as they fought because they prayed ... because they trusted Him. Make no mistake about this - depression is an intense spiritual battle ... one that only the Lord can win for us ... but only as we fight ... only as we pray ... only as we trust. I wish I could say that the battle was easy but it is not. I'll close with this quote from author John Eldredge:
"The story of your life is the story of the journey of your heart through a dangerous and beautiful world. It's the story of the long and sustained assault on your heart by the Enemy who knows who you could be ... and fears you. But it's also the story of the long and mysterious pursuit of your heart by the God who knows you truly and loves you deeply."
Depression is an assault on our hearts by an enemy who wants us to believe that there is no redemption in pain. As 2006 closes I am reminded that this is why I write ... to remind you that God has an eye for redemption ... He can bring beautiful redemption from the ashes of depression. My life is a testimony to that redemption.


  1. Thanks, Bob. People are always surprised to hear that I , too, at times suffer from depression. I also believe that "life can only be found in the Lord." If it were not for Christ, I could not have overcome the depression brought on by life's circumstances over which I had no control.
    The key, as you mentioned, to overcoming depression, is in giving our trust over to God, and by fighting with the only weapon with which we can win - an intimate, close walk with God, who is able to fight for us. And our praise and worship of Him - our humility (not humiliation) is what lifts us up.
    Yes, He is able to redeem what the world might see as hopeless. An He does it in a way that the world perceives as totally impossible.
    Thanks for your insights, buddy. I wish you a healthy and prosperous 2007.

  2. KB, I am glad you shared this. I can understand why people are surprised that you struggle with depression because you are always so encouraging to others.

    People are never too surprised to know I struggle with it (I wear my emotions on my sleeve, as they say).

    Thanks for this reminder that depression is an assault from the enemy. God bless you and your family.

  3. Going to the Lord in worship and allowing your heart to break before Him ... giving Him your dreams and trusting Him to bring beauty for ashes

    Amen, KB.

    We're all in this together.

  4. I needed this today...thank you, KB. You are a blessing.

  5. My depression is a dragon to be slain. When it engulfs me, the best thing I can do is GET UP and fight against it. "I can do ALL things thru Christ...He is my strength and my power." There are times that I physically could not move, yet Christ gave me strength to say "NO MORE!"

  6. Found you via Janna's blog and so glad I popped over here. I truely understand depression, having experienced serious bouts of it over the years. I'm so sorry about your wife. You are so right--the Lord can bring redemption from the ashes of depression. Thank you for sharing this.



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