“I don’t want to live,” she said to me.
Her red stained pupils tried to hold back the tears from pouring onto her well-kept mascara. As the words spilled out, I saw the monster of despair weighing down upon her shoulders, whispering to her that she wasn’t going to win the battle she was facing.
She was doing well on the outside.
She had a roof over her head, food in the refrigerator, and her health was intact. She was checking off her list of self-care tips given to her by numerous 12 step meetings and self-care groups, but nothing was helping. No self-care steps would drown out the screams that lay within her.
She was weak. She had no more strength in her, no more fight.
Recently, Depression has been trying to get it’s nasty claws into those dear to me, and some days it seems to want to pick fights with me as well.
Have you ever seen that Facebook meme that says, “God gives His greatest battles to his toughest soldiers?” I think I might have re-posted that before. One day as I was sitting down just thinking and praying for others and myself, I realized that the quote might not be entirely true. I say this because I know I have been weak many times. It was then that God decided to speak to me, to use me, to heal me, to encourage me, to strengthen me. So, I have come to the conclusion that being weak is a pre-qualification for being strong; not in our own strengths but in His strength. One favorite verse among many is
Matthew 11:28-29,“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Another great verse is Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. He writes to them a letter to help encourage them and help them understand that in his weaknesses, God makes him strong.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 says, “ Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
The National Institute of Mental Health defines Depression as a severe reaction/symptoms that affects everyday activities. For example; losing your appetite, persistent emptiness or sadness, not wanting to go out in public or go to work, easily being irritated, thoughts of suicide or death, and for some, it could be physical aches and pains. An online article in the Washington Post written by Amy Ellis Nutt entitled, “Suicide rates rise sharply across the United States, a new report shows.” This article stated, “Nearly 45,000 suicides occurred in the US in 2016- more than twice the number of homicides- making it the 10th leading cause of death. Among people ages 15-34, suicide is the second- leading cause of death.”
That is huge!
I have lost friends and relatives to suicide. All of them had someone in their life that wanted them alive, that needed them to live, that still suffer greatly because of their absence. This is my plea to those who are struggling in their depression.
To my Beautiful Sister in Christ who said she did not feel like living anymore, and to those who’ve lost someone to suicide and are still struggling with weakness—it is okay to be weak.
Go to God and ask him to reveal to you His strength in your weakness. Know that many people love you and God can use you in your weakness.
Nutt quoted a medical director of the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention named Christine Moutier in her article. Moutier said this, “I think this gets back to what do we need to be teaching people- how to manage breakups, job stresses, what are we doing as a nation to help people to manage these things? Because anybody can experience those stresses. Anybody.”
We, at one point in our lives, will experience stresses that can lead to depression. In those times know that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we could ask or think. According to the power that is at work in us (Ephesians 3:20-21).
And part of us caring for ourselves is recognizing that it is okay to be weak, feel powerless and that it is okay to not be okay. I leave you with these two quotes I feel sums up how sometimes self-care is being weak and being weak is being strong. One is found in 1 Corinthians 1:27 “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” The other one was a Facebook Meme by TobyMac #SPEAKLIFE series.