Like all of you, depression is not my only face. It just happens to be the face I felt was hidden most from the world. As humans, we have many faces. For some reason we try to put ourselves in a box. The number of tests on Facebook alone to find out what kind of personality we are, whether we are left brained or right brained, extravert or introvert, etc is a testament to our obsession with trying to define ourselves. The truth of the matter is, no one person fits in one neatly wrapped box. We are unique and complicated. And often, quite messy.
While one of my faces may be depression, I had to write about another. Joy. As hard as life can be at times, the joy I find outweighs it all. God has not given us trials to watch us wither and be defeated, but to triumph and find true joy that will last through all circumstances. About 16 years ago I was on my hands and knees, begging God to give me joy. I had reached the point where I could no longer do it on my own. I had tried to find joy in just about everything I could think of..."if only I had a husband....that new job....the new house...that raise....a child". And you know what? God gave it all to me. Yep. He showered me with everything I thought I needed. I wasn't filled at all. I was empty and longing for something more. It wasn't until that day, 16 years ago, when I surrendered it all to Him that I began to experience true joy. I laid face down on the ground, asked Him to take over, and took a ride on the best journey of my life.
Through giving my life to Jesus fully, spending time with Him in prayer, reading His Word and being discipled by some very Godly women, I found true joy. I was able to see that life wasn't about living for this or that, but for Him. I have valleys, for sure. Depression is like an illness that comes and goes and leaves me reeling at times. But God has always been faithful and always pulls me through it. I now have that history. I know when the storm comes, it will also clear. And even in the storm, God provides me with great shelter.
I am blessed beyond words. I have an amazing family. I have parents, in-laws, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles who are my rock. The friends God has placed in my life are a true gift. Their wisdom and friendship mean the world to me. Have I mentioned that I have 3 incredible kids and an amazing husband? They are far from perfect, but they bring me so much joy. Life is filled with so much beauty. The world alone, God's creation, can change my mood in a moment. And you, God's children, you bring me joy. A cup of coffee and a friend, whether new or old, always fills me with joy. The greatest joy for me isn't something I have already received. It is the hope of what is to come. I know that any momentary struggle (and yes, even one lasting a lifetime), will one day be gone. One day we will be in a world where there is no more pain or tears. That brings me joy!
My encouragement to you is to share your many faces with others. The only way we know we aren't alone is to engage with one another in real conversation. Share your hurts, but share your joys. Share your passions and your heartaches. You never know how being open and honest will impact someone in your life. And if you are like me, loving on others will give you even greater joy.