The Middle of the Street

In a crisis…I’m your woman.

When decisions need to be made, people taken care of or action taken I think fast, push through and get it done.

Then I lie down in the middle of the street.

I was talking to my mom and she told me she was worried about me.

She said I do too much, don’t know when to quit, and she’s afraid that one day I’m just going to drop dead in the middle of the street from exhaustion.

At first I laughed, because my whole life she’s been telling me to slow down and accept help.

My first sentence was, “Sissa do it self.”

But last weekend I really thought about it.

I realized that although I haven’t dropped on the pavement yet, I am standing in the middle of the street.

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Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Psalm 42:5

I’ve dealt with depression for the majority of my life.

By now I’ve gotten to the point where I can sense it coming, see the triggers and choose whether or not I will succumb to it. Because in some ways depression is very comforting. The idea of curling up into a little ball within myself and shutting everyone out sounds…peaceful.

But that is a lie straight from the pit of hell.

Because although Satan would love for me to give in to those SELF-pitying, SELF-centered, SELF-loathing (are you seeing a pattern) thoughts, I know that it is anything but peaceful.

My husband would watch as I slowly moved away from him mentally, regardless of how physically close we were.

My children would feel neglected and confused as mommy shut herself in her room and let them watch TV all day.

And my spirit would rebel against the lies my mind was churning out, but find that the waves of depression are a lot easier to enter than to leave.

::

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

God revealed to me that there was something more going on than sleep deprivation and stress.

A battle was being waged and I needed to be on the alert.

I sensed depression hanging over me, slowly moving in like a storm cloud. It peeked around the corner, it lurked in the shadows, it was waiting for me to invite it in.

And honestly, I was so tired and overwhelmed that I was beginning to welcome it. A little “me time” sounded nice. But this was not the healthy kind of “me time,” and I knew God was calling me to arms.

I told Josh what I was sensing. The next day at church I spoke with a couple of people who promised to pray for me throughout the week. I was raising my defenses.

Having dealt with this for so long, I should have been more aware that it was coming. As you know, if you’ve been reading here the last couple of months, things have been hectic for the Brothertons. Deaths, graduation, birth, travel, and a new school year have all been handled and now we’re in a down time.

There are no crises for me to handle.

No goals for me to attain.

No tasks at hand other than the day-to-dayness of being a SAHM of four children–which through its sheer neverending repetition is another trigger.

::

Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:11

I poured over the Psalms when I was in college. I remember when I first discovered Psalm 13, Psalm 42 and Psalm 43; the wonder I felt at finding that someone from so long ago could perfectly describe what I was experiencing.

And I found hope in them.

In Psalm 13, David says:

But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for He has been good to me.

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In Psalm 43 we read:

Send forth Your light and Your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to Your holy mountain, to the place where You dwell. Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight.

Trust. Rejoice. Sing.

These men fought back.

It is not easy.

I needed the support of my husband. The prayer covering of other believers. The Spirit of God.

So, Mom, don’t worry.

This time Sissa asked for help.


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18 Comments

  1. Teresa Dawn says:

    This was a great post :)

    1. Melissa says:

      Always so encouraging to hear! Thank you. :)

  2. Danielle says:

    Good words, Melissa!

    1. Melissa says:

      Thanks Danielle! Loved your devotional today. :)

  3. LS says:

    i’ll be be praying so hard for you that that cloud is unable come in and overwhelm you. . .and that the prayers will guard you and the Lord will be a shield about you. . .a shield that will guard in the front, on the sides, and on the back. . .

    . . .i understand all too well that cloud you are talking about. knowing that is coming and feeling helpless to stop it and in a lot of ways just wanting to let it in. to succumb to the pain for just a little while. to choose ‘easy’. but i know its a lie. straight from the pit of hell. so like you, i keep fighting. keep clothing myself in the armor of God MULTIPLE times a day.

    praying for you sweet friend. keep fighting. praying and standing in the gap with you. . .

    1. Melissa says:

      Thank you for your prayers. They are much appreciated. God put you on my heart this morning, so know I’m praying for you as well. :)

  4. Amy McDaniel says:

    Melissa, Thanks so much for being so real here. Depression is something that I struggle with as well. It is a really hard subject to bring up to others. Even with my husband it is difficult because his mother suffered mightily at the hand of depression. I have been fighting for weeks to keep my head above the water. Thank you for those truly encouraging words today. They have been “apples of gold in settings of silver” for me today. God bless you in this journey.

    1. Melissa says:

      I’ve always viewed depression as getting knocked down by a wave. In the singular it doesn’t seem so bad, it’s the repetitiveness that makes it so difficult. Your description of keeping your head above water goes right along with that picture. Praying for you today. Stand firm in the promises of God, remember your history with Him and praise Him despite the distance you may be feeling. He will see you through!

  5. Sarah says:

    Yuck! Having recently come through a bout with postpartum darkness myself, I say that with all the vehemence I can muster. Blessings to you as you work to find the jewels in everyday life. It’s such work – more than the heart can muster sometimes.

    1. Melissa says:

      What’s wonderful is that something has definitely broke since last weekend. The thoughts that were haunting me, the fatigue, and the desire for seclusion have all subsided. In fact, I didn’t even realize it until one of the women praying for me asked how I was. That’s when I recognized how much better it was! Their prayers were highly effective!

      And I am so glad to read that your battle is in the past tense. :)

      1. Sarah says:

        So glad things are going better. And mine is more or less in the past. I keep feeling better, and it’s only then that I realize how bad I actually felt.

        Prayer is amazing, isn’t it? It never ceases to amaze me what it can accomplish!

        1. Melissa says:

          I remember when I was pregnant with my firstborn I was so worried I’d have PPD because I already experienced bouts of depression. I prayed and prayed for balanced emotions and specifically against PPD. I don’t think this was related to the baby, but definitely lack of sleep and poor eating contribute to my ability to resist depression. What I’ve found interesting about depression is that it begins to feel normal. I see happy days as rarities and assume each morning that I’ll wake up depressed. It was such an epiphany to discover that that is not normal.

  6. Melissa says:

    i could have written so much of this…and really, your mama might as well be MY mama (and my dad for that matter!). i relate to so much of this…i will come whisk you away soon for some girl time because sometimes your soul just needs space to breathe away from the heaviness of life.

    p.s. did you know EV Free Fullerton just opened a new library? i’m going to check it out tomorrow…excited to have a place to find christian books…

    sending lots of love and prayers!

    1. Melissa says:

      That sounds fun! :)

  7. This really hits home for me. I also have been struggling for many years now with depression, know all the signs for me, and am sometimes sucessful (through His grace) to ward off the coming storm. I will be praying that you can find refuge in Him.

    1. Melissa says:

      Thank you for your prayers! They are much appreciated! Praying for you as well. :)

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