I’m finding that I’m experiencing a low level of depression these days. That’s not too surprising given the post-breast cancer hormone therapy, and the lack of sleep from such frequent hot flashes during the night. But for me, it’s sending me back into childhood patterns that aren’t helping. I know now that I was severely depressed as a child when I was emotionally abandoned by my parents at about age 9 or 10.
My way of coping then was to completely shut out the world, totally stuffing my feelings, mainly by reading compulsively. I would check out the maximum number of books allowed at the local library, 12 at a time I think, and read them all by their return date in two weeks. My depression came and went, but whenever I was stressed and anxious, I went back into lock down mode. During the terror years of junior high, I would even read while I was walking down the halls, not an easy trick!
Some days now I feel such low energy that all I want to do is read and watch movies – washing my hair seems like a big achievement. I’ve also added a new form of escapism that wasn’t available as a child – playing games on my iPad. Ways to escape have increased dramatically since my childhood!
But during these days, I am also having quiet conversations with the Lord. He is very gentle with me right now, nudging not pushing, encouraging not condemning. Trying to help me make simple life enhancing choices, like taking a walk or sitting outside on our deck. He’s also trying to convince me not to condemn myself either. His kindness and patience with me is wondrously supportive and affirming.
I’m also hearing that He is using this time in my life to take me back to the shaky foundations of my childhood. Going in to lock down mode was a mechanism that helped me cope with my despair as a child, but it’s not my only option now. He’s showing me that this stripping away that I’m undergoing now is His mercy – so that I can repair the foundation of my life based on my relationship with Him and not on my own meager resources.
When we bought our current house, we had to do extensive foundation repair before remodeling. Our living room and deck are cantilevered out over a branch of the bayou, supported by huge cement pillars. Since it wasn’t possible to get in any machinery, all the digging had to be painstakingly done by hand. It was a dirty, slow and miserable process but it had to be done so our house wouldn’t be in danger of falling.
The Lord is working through this slow and painful process with me now to repair and rebuild my own foundation – to be built upon the rock of my faith in Jesus and not the shifting sands of my circumstances and emotions. I can’t quite count it all joy yet, but I know it’s His loving hand at work for my eternal good!
Mathew 7:24: Therefore any one who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.