Welcome, Dear Readers!
This year I’ve set out to get to know you better, hear your story, what God’s done or doing in your life, lessons learned, trials, triumphs, recipes, and fun projects. I want to hear what you have to say, and so do a whole host of others.
I’m a stay-at-home mom in Clarksville, TN. But I do also work at Disney’s Animal Kingdom as an Educator seasonally. I have three beautiful children: Audrey, 5, Andrew, 4, and Aiden, 16 months, and one wonderfully supportive husband, Greg. I have been a “closet writer” for many years and my debut novel will be coming out this summer.
His Eye Is On The Sparrow: Postpartum Depression
Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father….so do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29, 31
Why should I feel discouraged? Why should the shadows come?
Why should my heart feel lonely and long for heaven and home?
When Jesus is my portion, my constant friend is He
His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.
I sing because I’m happy
I sing because I’m free
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me.
I love this song. Maybe because my grandfather sang it often and it’s a fond memory I have of him. But in the midst of my (post partum) depression, this song took on a whole new dimension (meaning) for me. This song proposes that with Jesus as our portion, we shouldn’t feel discouraged and the shadows shouldn’t come over us. You and I know that this is not true; that even with Jesus in our life, depression will come. It rains on the righteous and the unrighteous the same (Matthew 5:45). Depressive disorders fall on those who live with Christ in their lives and those who live without Him just the same. It doesn’t seem right, it doesn’t seem fair…but yet it is true. Scripture tells us that this is how it will be.
This song does, however, hit on the very thing that separates a Christ follower who suffers from depression from an unbeliever who struggles in that same darkness: “Jesus is my portion, a constant friend is He…His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.” We have a constant friend and companion with us that walks with us through the whole thing. Even our spouses and closest friends cannot understand and may very well end up getting shut out in our attempts to escape from our lives, but we cannot escape from God. And, though it may feel like you can’t see Him at times, that you can’t feel Him (though we know feelings are deceitful, right?), He is there…every moment of every day. He is experiencing every agonizing moment of that darkness with you. He is watching over you as this verse and song says, but more than that, He is with you. Let Him be with you. Let His presence wash over you. Ask Him for that very thing. What part of your depression are you thankful He sees/experiences with you?
Wow, Sara, that was beautiful. Thank you. Could you share with us a favorite scripture and perhaps the reasoning?
For God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
There is so much hope in this verse for those who live in fear and anxiety and for those who struggle with mental illness. During my depressive episodes, I truly felt as if I was losing my mind because of the intrusive thoughts (thoughts that were not my own that came into my mind urging me to…well, mostly to hurt myself). To not feel safe in your own skin is a, well, a very scary, very crazy feeling. But that is not who God made me to be. He did not give me a spirit of fear. He gave me a sound mind. And He gave me the power to defeat what Satan has in store for me (I’m NOT saying depression is from Satan…depression is, by and large, a chemical or hormonal imbalance…but believe you me, Satan will take every advantage he can get).
You’re so right. You know, I love hearing how God has set people free, and I think you can relate. There’s so much more to freedom than patriotism. Would you share a time with us when you experienced God’s freedom?
I experienced a lot of freedom during the course of my recovery from depression. It was a hard place to be in for sure, but it was also a place of healing. In the depths of my depression, everything was dark, there was nothing there but this inescapable gloominess. I couldn’t even find God, though I cried out for Him. I knew He hadn’t abandoned me because His word says He never would, but I felt all alone. Where was He? Why couldn’t I see Him? But now, as I walk in freedom from that darkness, I look back and see, just as the poem “The Footprints in the Sand” proposes, one set of prints during that time. What? He was carrying me to be sure. And I now believe that I couldn’t see Him during that time because He was holding me so tightly that my face was pressed into His shoulder, blinding me. But how did I find that freedom? Through faith steps. I had to let go of the need to see the whole path. God only showed me the step in front of me, as a lamp unto my feet. And even at that, sometimes only dimly lit. I found that I would have to take that step in faith and then trust that He would provide enough light for the step after that.
There’s nothing about what your describing that sounds easy, but totally worth every step you took in blind faith. We all struggle in our walk with God, what affected your walk the most through the depression?
The fact that I felt He wasn’t there. During my second episode of post partum depression, I struggled with why He would allow this to happen to me again. I struggle through verses like…”I am the Lord and there is no other, the One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity. I am the Lord Who does all these.” Isaiah 45:6b-7 How do I deal with that? A kind, merciful, gracious God “creating calamity” in my life, “creating” this darkness that threatened to swallow me whole? But I had much to learn about being disciplined. About what lengths He would go through to draw me to Himself, to teach me, to mold me. (Again, not saying depression is a sign you are being “punished” by God. Quite the opposite…but I DO believe that God causes ALL things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
I have held on to that verse for years, Sara! It’s given me strength in good times and in bad. For our readers out there who may be experiencing depression, what three things would you say to someone who is struggling?
1) God is there – you may not believe it, you may not see Him, but He is there, in that darkness with you; He feels it, He cries for you, with you, over you; this is a time He can draw you close to Him, if you only let Him.; quiet yourself and let Him speak to you, dear soul; you would be amazed…the God who sings over you (Zephaniah 3:17) wants to speak into your heart in the silence if you’ll only let Him
2) Take one step at a time – one step out of bed at a time; one faith step at a time…don’t try to see the whole road, just look for that one step in front of you.
3) Don’t trust your feelings, trust His word – your heart is “more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9) It is not to be trusted. The Word of God is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword…discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12); our emotions are fallible; God’s Word is not; so when your feelings or when intrusive thoughts threaten to take you down the wrong path into negative thinking or something worse, turn to God’s word to find the truth
Sara, thank you for being here with us, and thank you for your transparency. It’s been such a pleasure having you here today!
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