Did you know millions of American’s suffer from depression every year?
We all suffer from depression from time to time. If you are battling feelings of grief and loss, depression can be debilitating.
I sit here today with such a tremendous pain in my heavy heart as I mourn the loss of my beloved dog Parker. Parker was a sweet little boy who would steal your heart if you gave him the chance to stop barking at you. You see he didn’t bark because he was mean. No, there wasn’t a mean bone in his body. He barked because he was afraid you were going to hurt the only person in this world who ever gave him a chance. Parker had been tossed from home to home more times than I could count. By the time he got to me he was a hot mess. Separation anxiety, excessive barking and marking were just a few of his issues, but the love he had far outweighed any trouble he was. He would look at you with eyes of love that just screamed “I am so thankful for you”.
So when he was diagnosed with congenital heart failure, my heart sank.
I knew his life would be shorter than we hoped but we didn’t expect him to be gone within weeks. The effects were devastating. Although I was prepared for eventually having to say good bye to Parker, I was not prepared for the feelings that followed. As I laid there with this gut wrenching pain in my stomach and ache in my chest, I tried so desperately to get a full breathe of air into my lungs. I feel like it is going to kill me.
Many Christians will feel like they are not very “Christian” if they are struggling with depression. Many well meaning friends will try to help you feel better and snap out of it.
Yes, snap out of it. You wish you could don’t you? You want to just shake your head, rub your eyes and say “ok, time to move on”
If only it were that easy. Grieving the loss of anything important in your life can take time and the amount of time differs for each of us. There is no magic formula but there does come a point where you find your emotions shifting more from grief to hope. No, the loss will never return but the hope of a new day sheds light on the darkness of the loss and you begin to see God’s hand at work in your life again.
When will this happen? It’s different for everyone but I do know that there comes the time where we must begin to intentionally turn from the loss, turn from the pain, turn from the cathartic soothing that has kept us in a fog and turn towards the One who holds each tomorrow.
I know for me, this wasn’t the first time I had felt the pain of loss. But it was more new for me to grieve the loss than it is was run from it, distract myself from it or pretend it didn’t bother me. That was the old Kris. Was it easier? In some ways, yes. But that ability to block out those feelings also kept me from the very feelings that brought me such joy. It’s a package deal and I signed up for it.
As I reflect upon all of the things that I have lost in the past, there is one thing that is common for each one… the pain does pass. God brings healing and uses it for our good and His glory. I do know that one day I will be able to walk by the spot Parker would sit on the floor while he waited for me to come down the stairs and smile at the fond memories of him
Regardless of the pain you are feeling today, I encourage you to feel it. Don’t let it rule you, but let yourself feel it. Write a letter to it. cry, scream, do what you feel you need to do, but don’t avoid it, rule you or cause you to sin against God.
Kris Reece holds a Ph.D. in Christian Counseling and a Master’s Degree in Theology. As a Christian Life Coach, Personal Development Coach, Counselor, Author and practical Bible Teacher, her passion is to help others unleash to discover their potential and become everything they were created to be.