Sunday, March 22, 2015

{Musings} Seasons

{via Amy Weiss} 

(Not so) fun fact: I have depression. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you probably know that I had postpartum depression after Cal's birth. What fewer people know is that I have had depression since I was ten. That doesn't mean that I've walked around in a fog of melancholy for the last seventeen years; I have gone years without a depressive episode. What it does mean is that it probably isn't going anywhere. While there definitely is a pattern to my depressive episodes (basically, hormonal changes = total upheaval), it doesn't appear to be an isolated event.

For this reason, I have always deeply loved Paul of the New Testament for sharing about his "thorn in the flesh" in 2 Corinthians 12. He begged the Lord to take it from him, and his loving, compassionate Heavenly Father told him, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." Paul responds to this difficult statement with an amazing attitude, responding with gratitude for his trial and the opportunity it gives him to rely on the Lord.

Like Paul, I have begged the Lord for my own "thorn in the flesh" to depart from me, and also like Paul, so far the answer has been no. There have been times when I have gone several years (the longest I've gone between without being deeply depressed was when I was dating/marrying Scott -- hooray for marrying a good man!) and thought, maybe I am done with this, finally. But so far, that has not been the case.

I recently read another book by Madeleine L'Engle (read everything she ever wrote, right now!) (but this one was The Irrational Season) where she discusses healing vs. curing. She talks about how when we pray for healing, we are often actually asking for curing. We want the cancer to be conquered, the pain to be soothed, the sadness to be erased. However, God doesn't always fix or erase the problem; instead he gives us strength to endure it. Of course, we can't use that strength unless we are willing to accept it, so if we are angry that the problem still exists -- if we are seeing only that we haven't been cured -- we are not always able to be healed.

Recently, I was in a season of depression. Not a horribly severe one, but definitely more than a bout of sadness. I was going through massive hormonal changes (read into that what you will), had low energy levels, and felt sick. Cal and I went through a month when we were sick three weeks out of four, and in addition to that Cal has been feeling particularly two lately (dropping his nap, screaming loudly and in public, refusing to eat food and throwing it on the floor). I was having a hard time getting out of the house, performing my basic responsibilities, finding joy in anything (you know there is something wrong with me when I don't even want to read).

When I am sick, I always notice the moment when I start to feel well. There is nothing better to me than suddenly having that return of energy, being able to breathe again, being able to eat again. I haven't always been as good at noticing the same thing when my mental and emotional health is restored -- I think often it is a more gradual thing. However, this time it coincided with feeling physically better and spring descending on Los Angeles (and yes, you can tell a difference. The temperatures are not that different, but there is something in the air that feels better and more joyful when winter is over! And also, swimming). And recognizing that I am okay again, that my depression is in remission for a while, and being able to feel energy and happiness again, almost makes it worth it, just like those first gorgeous days of spring in contrast to a harsh winter almost make up for the months of grey slush and overcoats.

I know there are seasons of depression left in my life, and that I am not going to be cured from this disease in this life. I also know that the love of my Savior can temper the darker seasons and offer me healing and solace as I endure them, and that there will be flowers and sunlight on the other side. And while I wouldn't walk backward through the last several weeks, I know the joy I feel today is stronger because I've passed through them.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing, Lorren. I will be praying for you. I know the Lord understands your pain, and how wonderful it is that you lean on Him.


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