photography by Anthony Kaetzel
...because you know that
the testing of your faith
James 1:3 NIV
Tomorrow, January 15th, is a special day for me. It is the 7th anniversary of my "dark night of the soul." I celebrate this day because I have persevered... and continue to persevere. My major depressive episode of 2006 brought me to my knees. Depression was... and continues to be a test of my faith. And as I look back I can see that my ability and willingness to persevere in the face of depression has grown stronger... has made me more complete... has made me more mature... and has shown me that I lack nothing when I turn towards the healer of my mind, soul, heart and body.
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness,
Prepare ye the way of the LORD,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Isaiah 40:3 KJV
This week I have been studying about John the Baptist. About how he hung out in the desert and that he prepared the way of the Lord... and not only the way of the Lord, but also he prepared a way to the Lord.
"And he will go on before the Lord,
in the spirit and power of Elijah,
to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and
the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous
—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Luke 1:17 NIV
And it made me think of the ministry that God has placed before me. That He has chosen for me. He uses my intimate knowledge and experience with depression to prepare a way for others who are suffering with depression. I am not the one who heals or the one who counsels or the one who diagnoses or creates a prognosis. I am the one who shows the way towards the conquering of depression. I am a living breathing resource.
I am a living breathing resource. And sometimes I wonder if that is why He keeps her so near. Because I have not conquered my depression, but I am conquering my depression. And because it is something that tests my faith almost daily and has developed my perseverance, I am able to pass on to those who don't even know who they are fighting... a sword and a shield. A fighting chance. And better yet, I am able to tell them that I have persevered and am persevering... and they will get better... because God is greater than depression.
"Consider it a sheer gift, friends,
when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.
You know that under pressure, your faith-life is
forced into the open and shows its true colors.
So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely.
Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed,
not deficient in any way." James 1:2-4 MSG
A reminder for me that I don't need to run away from the testing of my faith...
that it develops my ability to persevere
and reminds me of the One
who fights for me.