It hasn’t been easy here. It hasn’t been what I thought it would be. I guess I thought it would be romantic and serene. Quiet and peaceful. Picture-perfect. I imagined daily walks through town, hand in hand with my honey. I imagined getting pregnant and planning for family growth.
Reality hit hard this last month.
Pete and I called it “survival mode.” We had to learn how to make it. From the rough weather (60 mph winds and sub-zero temps) to the challenge of new jobs, we were overwhelmed. Our marriage took the brunt of the blow, as each of us faced trials and recurring bouts of despair. Worst of all, we missed our people. We had left behind dozens of loved ones who historically helped us weather the storms.
I learned more about depression in these last two months than I have ever known. I learned that it makes you crave solitude and secrecy, two dangerous tactics of the enemy. I couldn’t reach out for help. I couldn’t even reach to my husband, an armchair away. I would meet up with new friends and desire them to love me and ask me how I was doing. I wanted so badly for someone to care enough to go out of their way for me.
And while I’ve been sulking and crying and despairing, I’ve been missing out. All this time, I could have found rest in Christ. I could have turned to Jesus. He cared. And even though I knew that, I couldn’t reach for Him. I let the enemy win. I’d go to church and not sing. I’d cry looking at all of the babies around me. And I’d lash out at Pete as if he was the one deliberately hurting me. I was an ugly mess. For sure.
I can’t say that I have yet recovered in full. But we made serious gains last week after hitting rock bottom. Fully ready to move back home, we realized we needed to be more intentional about seeking God together. So Pete initiated daily “family meetings” where we check in, pray together, and identify prayer and marriage goals for the next day. It’s incredible to see the transformation already. We have hope restored. And strength to persevere.
No matter what happens out here or how it all transforms from here, we will always remember this journey – and how it brought us to a breaking point, to the end of ourselves. If there is one thing I now know, it’s that I have a teammate in Pete, a partner. He’s family. But more than that, I am reminded that I have a greater teammate out there in Christ.
If you are suffering from depression, loneliness, or despair, you are not alone. You are loved. Cherished. Adored. By the great author of the universe, Himself! As hard as it may be, turn to Christ. While there are countless ways to mask the pain, there is nothing in this world that can replace those feelings with joy… except for Jesus Christ, our Savior and King.
Merry Christmas, friends and loved ones!