When Depression is Real

Originally published Friday, 27 March 2015.

The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]! Habakkuk 3:19 (AMP)

I used to be a paramedic. 

For a year I pulled on a blue overall and spent two 12-hour shifts a week on an ambulance. 

Before I started working as a paramedic I loved the idea of riding in to save the day, of rescuing people, and making everything okay. 

But the reality of being a paramedic in South Africa was very far from my ideas. 

The first case I worked was with a newborn baby that passed away. A baby who I had been assisting to breathe for an hour before he passed away. 

My heart grieved that little child. 

As the year progressed I grew more and more reluctant to pull on the uniform, and go out and work, more anxious about what the night would hold, about the domestic violence I’d face, the vehicle accidents and the homeless people I’d attend. 

About half way through the year depression and anxiety became my friend. Most shifts I didn’t know how I would make it through. I felt constantly nauseous. I wouldn’t sleep and then I’d sleep for days. I lost my appetite. 

The only thing that pulled me through each long dark day was God. 

God was my strength when I had to hold my hand against the neck of a man who was pumping blood out his body with each heartbeat.

God was my bravery when I had to walk into a domestic violence situation and treat a wife quickly before the husband returned. 

Every time I felt like I would never make it through another shift, I’d feel God helping me to walk – not stand still in terror as the amplified bible puts it – but make progress through trouble and suffering. 

Before I had depression that year I thought it was something I could shake off, something that just needed prayer. But depression is real, and it is hard and it requires God – and an entire army of people who love you unconditionally, and healthcare professionals, and often medication – to find your way through it. 

It took me over a year to shake that cloak of darkness off, to learn how to live when depression no longer lingered, but what I learnt in that time has remained with me. A decade later my depression taught me that even on the toughest days God is my strength and bravery. (tweet this)

It is God’s strength that bolsters my weakness.

It is God’s strength that makes me brave. (tweet this)

God’s love that will never leave me or forsake me but help me to make progress through suffering, through the darkness that is depression. 

Ponder: What experiences in your past have taught you that God is with you on your darkest days?

Pray: God, when I feel weak, give me your strength, when I feel afraid be my bravery, help me to walk through the dark places and remind me that I am never alone. Amen.

{Share this post}

You can share this devotional on twitter by clicking here. I’d also love for you to connect with me on my Facebook and twitter pages or if you're viewing this via email you can leave a comment by clicking here.

Get a copy of my e-book Life, Life and More Life for free. Just subscribe to receive my devotionals every Monday and Friday. In the book I share some of thoughts on how to make every moment count, gleaned from my experiences of loving my husband through 18 sessions of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. You can subscribe here

- This was orginally published on my site in November 2014. To read more devotionals like this go to ilovedevotionals.com