Thursday, October 13, 2011

After my ordination, Deanna and I were congratulated by dear friends, Nate and Amy

All of us have a story. Each of our stories are wrought with difficulties. How we respond to those same events shape who we are and reveal much about our walk with Him.

Sometimes, the difficulties we endure can seem so overwhelming in the moment, that we may not endure them as well as we would like to believe we would.

Back in the early 90's, I endured clinical depression. I had very dark thoughts and and overwhelming urges that were difficult to supress. I heard pastor's preach sermons on the topic. I was led to believe that if I suffered from this, I was not spiritually as mature as I ought to be (Who among us is as spiritually mature as we ought to be?).

I felt like much less of Christian, and much less of a man.

I have found that most men who preach this, have never endured depression.

It's very easy to find people who are depressed and use their walk or lack thereof to prove theories.

The reality is, there are many reasons for the onset of depression. Some are inherited, some are brought on by physical issues, and still others are brought on by events in life. They may even work in harmony with each other.

We are inundated with commercials that tell us to use their depression meds.

In my home, I often have the tv remote. One of my jobs is to mute the tv when those commercials (among others) come on. If I don't do my job, I risk losing remote privileges. I like having remote privileges.

Depression is very real, and while deep spiritual maturity can help prevent certain aspects of depression, it cannot allay all.

The stigma attached to this keeps too many from getting the help they need. Personally, I want a Christian doctor who knows/understands me, to be a part of the healing process. If one is not available, don't hesitate to get help from those available.

Last week, a very godly brother, a man who has been a significant part of our lives, brought his life to an end. He was a young father, and deeply loved his wife, daughter and family. He was also deeply loved by them.

He held a significant position (unpaid)in his church. He had the Spirit of the Lord all about him, as he interacted with others. He and his wife helped get my son to the mission field through financial gifts and prayer. They used to lead worship side by side on the praise team, in church.

To know him was to see the heart of our Savior.

He had endured multiple, major back surgeries. He lived with more pain than most ever experience. He had endured depression. He had sought help, in the past, and overcome it.

None of his family, friends or co-workers were aware that his depression had returned. In fact, his bride did not know until papers came in the mail, that he was to fill out for his doctor, to begin the process once again of obtaining the help he needed. They came too late.

That others did not know, was not unusual. Not for him. He was too selfless to occupy others with his needs. He had always had a very even temperment.

He had spent the morning working at his church, helping out on the grounds.

When he left, he obtained the means to take his life, went to a remote area, and completed the task.

When you are depressed, when you are in that circumstance, it is nearly impossible to reason your way out of the thought that 'things will not improve no matter what.' When you are in that moment, the fact that you have a good life, a family who loves you, a good job, or whatever else, is of little consequence.

Your lone thought is getting out from under the pain.

The solution he chose is permanent.

His daughter walks through the house looking for her daddy. She isn't even two years old. She doesn't understand what has happened. His wife is doing her best, but is overwhelmed by her own grief.

This isn't the way it is supposed to happen!

His parents, our dear friends, are setting an amazing godly example for all who look on. So is his wife for that matter.

At his funeral, his wife pleaded with those in attendance to eliminate the stigma of depression and understand the realities of it, and to get help. His father shared the gospel message, and implored others to receive Christ as Savior, as his son had done.

Many lives were and are being, impacted!

After all of this was over, we returned to his parents home for some private time. His brother and wife purchased a flowering tree to plant in his honor. His mother requested we plant it out the kitchen window where she could view it while completing tasks.

It's hard to believe, but just 6 years ago this week, this same family stood beside us as we planted a tree in my sons honor. We have pictures of this same young man and his father as they helped plant it.

The changes forced upon this family will be unpacked daily. They are part of a fraternity they never wanted to pledge. They will mourn daily. The grief will last a lifetime.

They serve a Savior who is bigger than their pain. It doesn't mean they won't feel it. It does mean He will give them the strength and mercy to endure, moment by moment, day by day, until they are in His presence, eternally. On this day, they will be reunited with him.

If you are depressed, please get help. There is no shame in getting healthy. The voice and pervasive lack of reason that one entertains in these dark moments, are not from above. You CAN overcome. You MUST take action. NOW!

It's worth it! He is worth it!



At 5:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brent, thank you so much for sharing your story and ours. We already know of 3 people who have made appt.'s this week to begin medication and treatment - all strong christians actively pursuing God. As you and Deanna know all too well, our hearts will never completely heal, the smallest things bring the strongest reminders . . .but oh, how faithful is the God we serve and love. He is loving us through this, moment by moment. we love you all, carol

At 7:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said my brother. Psm.27:5-6 For in the day of trouble he will keep me secretly in his pavilion: In the covert of his tabernacle will he hide me; He will lift me up upon a rock. And now shall my head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me. And I will offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto Jehovah. I love you. Elsie Jay


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