Beauty from Ashes

Image credit: canyonridge.org


I had my first counseling appointment yesterday, and it went well. I’m glad she’s a good fit for me, and I don’t have to keep looking. She prayed with me, and we got started.

She confirmed that I do, indeed, have most of the symptoms of depression. She said I’m pretty much only lacking the severe symptoms. I thank God for that. In a way, it’s good to know that I’m not just a plain ol’ drama queen who can’t get her emotions under control. There is simply something happening to my body as a result of several different factors over several years. At the same time, it’s hard to face the fact that I am depressed.

(After all – what we hear all too often in Christian circles is that being a depressed Christian is an oxymoron. That it is somehow sinful to have a chemical imbalance in your brain. But that’s another soapbox for another day.)

Depression doesn’t look like what we all think it does, by the way. It’s a strange creature, that makes you question your sanity, and lies to you about yourself. The main thing it tells me is that, no matter what I do, nothing is going to change, and nothing is going to help.

Since I want to fight it off naturally as long as possible, my counselor said I’m going to have to do the hard work of facing down those lies and doing what I need to do anyway. She gave me some homework to focus on this week, and she gave me hope. She told me that I am “insight-driven,” and that since I already “know” what will likely help me, I just need help getting those things done on a daily basis.

I have a fight ahead of me. Every time those lies surface, I’m to just “do it anyway.” Whatever “it” is. I hope I’m ready for this. I can do all things through Christ. Right? Yes. Yes, I can.

Anyway.

Won’t it be nice, someday, when we’re past all this forever? When we can look back and really see?

“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” ~1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV)

The Hiding Place has convicted and inspired me. I’m supposed to be thankful for my depression, as weird as that sounds.

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

I want to be like Corrie and Betsie, thanking God for the fleas infesting their barracks in the concentration camp. It turns out that those fleas were what kept the guards out of that barracks, and freed the ten Boom sisters to share the love of Christ with the women they were surviving with on a regular basis. They bound those women together and taught them Love.

I don’t have to like the “fleas.” I am just going to thank God for them. I don’t have to rejoice that I have depression – only that God can use it to draw others to Himself. Corrie did it through gritted teeth, partly to please her sister, but she did it. And God honored even that.

My mind is blown.

“As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.”
~Psalms 103:13-14 (NIV)

What paltry efforts God is pleased with from us – his little dirt balls infused with his very breath! He demands maturity and perfection in our steps, then is satisfied with our toddler-like, clumsy gait. We are enough for Him. He delights in us and has compassion on us.

I don’t understand. I cannot offer perfect worship. I can’t. But whatever I do have, he takes it as if it were perfect, then hands it back to me all beautified and shiny.

Everything is a gift. And he will make everything beautiful in its time.

Even depression.

Beauty from these ashes is what I look ahead and see. I don’t know what form it will take, or if I will ever see it earthside, but I know that it’s looming large and lovely over my life, waiting for my arrival.

Grace & Peace,
Tiffany

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7 thoughts on “Beauty from Ashes

  1. I remember my own little ones trying to copy me, how it blessed me that they even WANTED to, and their skill level had nothing to do with how pleased I was. They loved me and wanted to grow up to be like me. I was blessed.

    Love you, girl. Praying…

    • Thank you, Katherine. I know your prayers are being answered, because there are areas of my life God has protected that would probably have suffered more if not for the prayers of the faithful.

  2. Beautiful thoughts, TIff, even in the midst of pain. Or maybe even more so because of the pain.

    The phoenix tattoo I got after my stint in the mental hospital last fall is a visible reminder for me that He can, indeed, bring beauty from ashes. I am still waiting for the day, but I believe it is coming.

  3. This was encouraging to me, thank you. I’m walking a very similar path, only mine is with PPD/anxiety. I’ve been working with a counselor for the last few month to identify and fight against those lies as well, and it’s not easy at all. The challenge of giving thanks in everything, like Corrie and Betsy pierces me to my heart. I want that! I’m going to take that and write 1Thess 5:16-18 where I can see it when my day feels overwhelming. Thank you for sharing your heart and your challenges. It makes me feel not so alone. I’m praying for you as you walk this path! ❤

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment, Kailah. I will gladly return the favor and pray for you, as well. I’d also encourage you to look up 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. So much hope there.

      • Thank you so much for sharing about this. I’ve felt uncomfortable sharing about my own depression–fearful of being judged. And thank you for the 1 Corinthians scripture which I’ve never heard or seen. And I’m gonna go look up the 2 Corinthians you shared with Kailah. I’ll be praying for you, Tiff!

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