A little more than eight years ago I entered a mentoring program at House of Hope to face my depression head on for once and for all. The mentors told me that God could heal me and I was desperate enough to give him a shot because nothing else I tried had worked. The medication my doctor prescribed had worked well in the beginning, but my body stopped responding to it. Even though I tried different medications, the side effects were starting to outweigh the benefits from my initial experienced. My daily ‘happy pill’ wasn’t working anymore.
The medication had given me enough hope of feeling ‘normal’ that I began to depend on it. I gave regular testimonies about how good I felt. When ‘normal’ evaporated, hopelessness moved back in. This was a normal I wasn’t willing to accept. My boys deserved better.
House of Hope’s program was intense. I was expected to not only participate in group therapy type sessions, I also had to attend bible studies, personal development classes, and do my homework. It was hard. I hadn’t had time to read a book that didn’t rhyme and have pictures in years. I still don’t know how I was able to pull it off other than I know that a small army was praying for me.
After I graduated from the mentoring program depression free, I tried to do life the way I had before. It didn’t work. Joy felt too good to not be my permanent ‘normal’ and my circumstances hadn’t changed. My kids still needed more than I had to give on a daily basis. I had a choice to make. Fall back into my old habits OR learn how to make the truth I’d learned during those three months continue to transform my mind and heal my heart? I chose Truth.
For me, this means doing my homework. I have to have some kind of bible study to work on almost every day. My family had to learn that this was an important step in staying healthy. Like taking medicine. If I begin to feel funky, I can almost always relate it to not being in a study.
The truth is that I used to resent the fact that I needed that kind of maintenance to feel ‘normal’. Finding time isn’t any easier now than it was all those years ago, but the stakes are too high to ignore the facts. I am a different person than I was eight years ago and I will never go back. Whatever it takes.
Some of us need more maintenance than others. That’s OK. I don’t know what it is that you need regularly to feel ‘normal’ or experience peace and true joy. Perhaps you’re not even sure. This I do know, the more you allow God to be part of your everything, the more you will not want to go back to life without him.
He loves you with an everlasting love. Every single day.
**Some of my favorite resources have been studies and books written by Beth Moore. Not all of her studies have intense homework. I highly recommend The Inheritance series as a great place to start. Priscilla Shirer, Jennifer Rothschild and Kelly Minter have also written studies that are about six weeks long. These are fun to do with some girlfriends and all of them have digital video downloads for as little as $5 per week. It costs about the same as my favorite Starbucks drink, but lasts a whole lot longer.**