Dear Depressed Me,
Oh darling. How I wish I could tell you all of the knowledge and the things I know now on the other side, that I did not know back then. However, if I told you, you wouldn’t believe me. If I even tried to speak any encouragement or wisdom or love into your life right now, it would go through one ear and out the other. Nothing would sink in or wake you up. I wish I could swoop in and give you a hug and tell you that someday it would all be alright. That someday, you would look back on this time of darkness and wonder how you could ever have thought the things that you thought and said the things that you said and did the things that you did. One day, darling, this will all seem like a blurry, fuzzy, horrific nightmare that you never seemed to wake up from. Memories from that time will periodically come back to haunt you deep from within. Flashbacks will occasionally plague your mind and send chills up your spine and shivers down to your soul. Things people say or do will strike a cord in your heart that reminds you of something painful, and you will want to cry right then and there and scream and run somewhere far away where pain does not exist.
Precious one, you have forgotten your valuable worth. You used to look in the mirror and see a beautiful, confident young woman who lived for the glory of God and not for the assurance of other people. Now when you walk into a room with a mirror, you hide your eyes because you can’t even bear to look at the girl staring back at you with brown eyes that you no longer recognize. You see a girl who is hiding. Hiding behind her fear of what is happening to her, her fear of never being able to crawl out of the darkness, her fear of what people will think of her. You see a girl who is held captive. Captive behind bars of loneliness, captive behind bars of heavy burdens that she is carrying on her own, captive behind bars of despair and sheer hopelessness that her life will never get better. You see a girl whose joy has been stripped away. Friends, family, loved ones, ice cream, running, dancing, music, all things that used to make her happy never seem to bring a smile to her face anymore. In fact, these things make her sink even deeper as she remembers how her life used to be, and she remembers that things aren’t like that anymore. You see a girl that has separated herself from what she is going through. You see a girl that stares at her jar of pills at night when no one is around, and lets her imagination run wild. You see a girl who can’t pull herself out of her warm and comfortable bed, because the world outside of that bed is dark and evil and hateful and scary. You see a girl who views herself as worthless and unlovable.
But my dear, there is hope to be found. One day you will look back on this time in your life and shudder. You will feel sick to your stomach when you think about the dangerous prison you once held yourself in and the steel chains that held your tiny wrists to the ground. You will remember things you did and thoughts that you thought that echoed how you felt inside, and thank the Lord for saving you from worse as He did. You will want to yell and scream and shout in the ears of your depressed self and say,
“WAKE UP! THERE IS HOPE. DON’T YOU DARE GIVE UP. THERE IS SOMEONE WHO CAN SAVE YOU. THIS IS PAID FOR ALREADY. THERE IS SOMEONE OUT THERE WHO LOVES YOU ENOUGH TO DIE FOR YOU ON A CROSS. SURRENDER TO HIM, LOVE. FOR HE CAN TAKE YOUR PAIN AWAY AND SET YOU FREE. SURRENDER. THAT IS ALL YOU NEED TO DO.”
“You’ll be able to face the world unashamed
and keep a firm grip on life, guiltless and fearless.
You’ll forget your troubles;
they’ll be like old, faded photographs.
Your world will be washed in sunshine,
every shadow dispersed by dayspring.
Full of hope, you’ll relax, confident again;
you’ll look around, sit back, and take it easy.”
Even if you could have said this to yourself, you wouldn’t have believed a single word I said. You would have taken it in and listened intently, but weighed it out like a grain of salt. People you deeply and sincerely love are going to give up everything for you. They are going to make sacrifices and tell you how much they love you. These people who are so near and dear to your heart that you have daily taken for granted will never leave your side and they will never give up on you for one second. Ditching you in your hole of darkness and picking up and walking away won’t be an option for these people. Today, when you are looking back on all that they did for you, all you will be able to do to express your immense gratitude is thank God for creating them and having them in mind when He mapped out your life. You will never, ever, ever again take these people for granted. In fact, you will thank Jesus for them every time you remember them, for you have them in your heart (Philippians 1:7).
If the Lord sat you down when you were born the moment you entered the world and took your very first breath, there is no way on earth you would have said to Him, “Hey God, I want to stay home from my sophomore year of college at Texas A&M and live at home for a year because I suffered from severe clinical depression during the fall semester and need the spring semester to recover and heal from what I went through.” This would not be your ideal and perfect plan if you could have mapped out your life. You would have wanted to have your perfect 4 years of college, graduate from nursing school in the spring of your senior year, and live in your sorority house at A&M with your best friends during your sophomore year. You would not have chosen to live at home this year. With all of your best friends and people whose time spent with them you cherish every second living three hours away in a different city, only to be reached by phone call. And every time you road trip down to visit, you will never want to leave and return to your hometown, because College Station is where you belong and where you want to be.
Hang on, sweet one, you will get there soon enough. It will be a long and bumpy road until you do, with curves and storms and rainbows in between, but you will make it. Just be still, take a deep breath, and surrender. A day will come soon when you will surrender on your knees to your Savior. You will cry and cry tears of sadness and joy from your newfound hope that has been lost for so long. You will return to the loving arms of your Father who will gladly accept you back and hug you without ever letting go (Deuteronomy 31:8). You will rest in the shadow of His wings (Psalms 91:4) and drown in His oceans of grace that transcend your understanding (Philippians 4:7). Chin up, beautiful, for that day is to come. But until that day, allow yourself to feel. Don’t repress your feelings, and feel shameful for being sad. Don’t feel like you are a burden to other people or that you are “too much” for them to handle. It is okay to cry. It is okay to eat your feelings with Bluebell sometimes and listen to sad songs that stir your emotions and watch a movie that takes your mind off of reality for just a little bit. The best days are yet to come. Give up and surrender to Jesus, for He is waiting for You. He is jealous of the idols in your life that are warring against your soul (Exodus 34:14). He is waiting for You to allow Him to define your identity (2 Corinthians 5:17) and to shower you with His unconditional and unfailing love that removes your transgressions from the east to the west (Psalms 103:12).
The road to recovery won’t be easy though. You will have to sacrifice people you deeply love and cherish in order to give your affections and passionate love to God alone. You will have to daily remind yourself of truth to fight the lies that the devil will engrain in your little finite mind. You will have trouble sleeping because your mind will never stop running.
Turn off the lights and light a candle before you go to sleep, play a soothing lullaby that hushes your thoughts, lather the bottom of your feet with lavender oil to help you relax, put on your favorite soft, cotton pajamas and fuzzy socks, drink a hot cup of chamomile tea with milk and honey, and gently shut your weary little eyes and sleep.
Congratulations, you have made it through yet another God-given, wonderful, irreplaceable day. Sweet dreams, darling, for the One who holds tomorrow in the palms of His hands never sleeps. His guardian angels are surrounding you tonight and fighting off all of the bad things (Psalms 91:11). Rest in the knowledge that tomorrow is a brand new day. Your sins from today and struggles that you faced will no longer be remembered by your Creator tomorrow (Hebrews 8:12), for His mercies are new every morning. They never fail, great is His faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23).
When you wake up in the morning and as you get ready in front of the mirror for the next adventure that each new day holds, look yourself in the eyes, and tell yourself that you are loved. Loved by the Ultimate Lover (Song of Solomon 6:3), the Ultimate Healer (Psalms 41:3, 73:26), the Savior of your life. Tell yourself, Meredith, that you are enough. But not because of what you can do on your own measly strength, but because of your Mighty Warrior (Zephaniah 3:17) and Strong Defender (Proverbs 23:11) who proclaims to the world that you are His (Isaiah 41:3), and that is quite enough. When you are weak, beautiful child, He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:9).
“God is the highest good of the reasonable creature. The enjoyment of him is our proper; and is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Better than fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of any, or all earthly friends. These are but shadows; but the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God is the fountain. These are but drops, but God is the ocean.”
There is so much to live for. In the midst of this broken, hurting, painful, dark, evil, desperate world that we are all stuck in together, there is beauty to be found in the ordinary. In the blue, cloudless sky where the sun is shining bright, in the sound of a baby laughing, in an innocent kiss on the lips from someone you treasure, in the divine taste of the most delicious chocolate cake that makes your taste buds do a happy dance, in the words “I love you.” Life is beautiful. Life is precious. Life is short.
2 Corinthians 4:17 (ESV) “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
Live for today, darling, for today in of itself is all you can handle. Tomorrow has enough worries of its own. Take a long, deep breath and hang on tight, sweet girl, because life is one wild ride. Luckily, you can place your hope and trust in the Ultimate Engineer of the thrilling roller coaster of life. He made the beginning of it, the middle, and the end. He wants you to fasten your seatbelt of trust because He knows it will be a crazy ride. He knows there will be times that you feel as if you will fall off, and you will want to vomit. He has placed people by your side on this roller coaster, however, to squeeze their hand as tightly as you can when He cannot physically be there to do so. He knows that there will be peak moments, and times where you are racing so fast downhill that your stomach drops all the way to your throat and you are screaming at the top of your lungs. This whole time though, the seatbelt is holding you steady. You feel safe and comforted knowing that there is no way you will fall off the ride. You are secure in the arms of your Savior (Isaiah 49:16).
But oh my dear, He knows too that once the ride is over, and you think about the twists, and turns, and hills, and loops and all that is in between, you will first wonder what the heck just happened because it went by so dang fast. And second, you will simply smile and say, “That was fun! Lets do it again.” Except unlike a theme park, this time, there will be no again. At the end of life, your ride will be over. You will be in eternity forever with Jesus Christ and have the chance to finally meet Him face to face (2 Timothy 2:10). Therefore, live like there will be no again and cherish each moment you are alive (Ephesians 5:16). Take advantage of the loops and the hills and the topsy turves because those draw you nearer to the One who made you (James 1:2). The One who knit you together and knows your inmost being (Psalms 139:13).
Believe me, darling, you will be just fine. You don’t have to do anything except one thing: surrender. For He has already overcome.
Love, Redeemed Me
I love this video– I think it portrays the message behind the song so aesthetically and powerfully. I think stories told through dancing are the most beautiful because you can visibly see and feel the emotion through the body language and the movements. The deeper meaning behind this dance is that the girl is going through something incredibly difficult in her life that is much bigger and deeper than herself, and I like to think of the man in the video as a picture of Jesus. At 0:35 in the video- you can see the man watching her from the corner with pain and love in His eyes, as if He desperately wants to come in and rescue His precious child. When He comes in to dance with her, their moves start to sync and follow after each other. The man will periodically leave throughout the video, and her moves become crazy and all over the place again symbolizing us running from the Lord and attempting life on our own power. And then when the man leaves at the end of the video, the wound on her chest from the beginning of the music video has miraculously healed. At the end of the day, Jesus was all she needed to be healed. All she had to do was surrender, and follow Him. Feel free to watch if you so wish 🙂