I sat in a heap on my bed, my Bible on my nightstand. I knew I needed to open it, but I didn’t have the desire to even try. I could hear my husband out in the living room laughing with our kids. Their high-pitched squeals went in one ear and out the other. My baby was peacefully sleeping in the pack-n-play next to my bed. I looked at him and felt nothing. I was so tired of trying to force myself to be normal again. And it was not OK.
God, why do I still feel like this? Why aren’t you making me better? Why can’t I feel anything? Are you even there?
Where. Is. My. Joy.
My head was screaming but my heart was empty. I felt everything, yet nothing at all. I was two months postpartum and I realized that this was really happening. Postpartum depression had hit me like a ton of bricks, and I was drowning in the shame of a darkness that didn’t have a face.
But me, I have a face. I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a friend. I am a Christian! I’m a daughter of the King! I have the Spirit of the Living God inside of me! So why wasn’t “The Joy of the Lord” coming through and being my strength? Was I not strong enough in my faith? Was I not seeking hard enough? Was I not praying fervently? Was I not trusting in my Healer?
I was so tired of asking, “Was I not. . .?”
One of the things I love about God is that He takes into account that fragile frame we have and has compassion on us (Psalm 103:13-14). He sees us in our depravity and He knows our hopelessness apart from Himself. And because of this, our good Father provides us with endurance– a way to escape the hard testing of this world (1 Corinthians 10:13), or in my case, postpartum depression.
Now if you’re anywhere like I was 2 months ago, the word “endurance” probably isn’t in your vocabulary anymore. I mean, I didn’t (and some days still don’t) have enough endurance to get out of bed in the morning, let alone face the darkness of my postpartum depression head on. But when I heard the hope of Matthew 17:20-21 and combined it with a month’s time of taking Lexapro, a ray of light began to shine onto my dark heart, and the fog began to lift.
“For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”
So I made a choice. I decided I was done dwelling on the things that made me not OK and focus on what I knew I had in my mustard seed faith.
- I didn’t have an emotional connection to the Lord or anyone else around me, but I had the certainty of my salvation.
- My mind was dark and my heart was heavy, but I had the knowledge that the darkness is not dark to my Father.
- I didn’t have the strength to move the mountain of depression in front of me, but I had hope in a God whose strength is greater than any hopelessness that weighed me down.
- I had the shame of not being OK, but I had confidence in a God who sent His Son to heal my heart and mind.
- I had loneliness that seemed to haunt my every waking moment, but when I finally chose to be vulnerable and tell people what was really going on, I had family and friends who rallied around me in my greatest time of need.
The good news? My mustard seed is growing. It’s been planted in fertile soil– the Word, accountability, Lexapro, and of course chocolate. And for those of you wandering in the darkness of postpartum depression and the hopelessness is looming over you, hear me loud and clear:
It’s OK to not be OK – even if you’re a Christian. Cling to your mustard seed faith, mama friend. The light will come back. And so will your joy.
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