I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel:
my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.
Psalm 16 verse 7
Note… I am writing this post after the current storm (night season) has passed. However, the storm was recent enough for the emotions to still be fresh and real. My purpose for writing is 1) to give understanding for those who know someone suffering and 2) to give hope to the sufferers.
Darkness… Depression… Feeling low… A storm… or whatever you want to call it, is something with which I am very familiar. My first bout with debilitating depression, that I remember, hit after my first child was born 19 years ago. I didn’t know then what was happening. The second “storm” of darkness surrounded me and paralyzed me during pregnancy about 10 years ago. The most recent cloud appeared at the onset of Menopause. Hormones, health, major life stresses, and relationships all played into the darkness. But whatever the cause, whatever the reason, I am here to offer HOPE. First, I want to describe the view from the eye of the storm. Then I want to offer a shelter of protection and a pathway to hope that I have found.
The Night Season
You wake up heavy… heart heavy, body heavy, head heavy. Thoughts of getting up and facing the day seems unbearable. Your “why” for today and even purpose for life is a question. “What difference does it make?” “What difference do I make?” I’ll sleep a bit longer and maybe I will feel better if I try again in about an hour. Another hour goes by and now guilt is added on top of the other burdens that so heavily beset before. The room looks dark even though light peeks in from the window. Colors don’t exist and are not noticed. Faces, even smiling faces are ineffectual to break through the heaviness. “Just do the next thing… Shower, dress, make breakfast,” you tell yourself. You don’t even have enough energy to smile. It is too heavy to offer, even to the sweetest ones. You force yourself through the daily grind, but overlook so much: the mess on the floor, the clutter, the laundry, the dishes, sometimes you even look through people… numb. None of it makes sense… The words of Psalm 16:6, “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.” are still true, so “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?” (Psalm 42:11)
A Shelter and a Pathway
Where do you go when all seems empty? What do you do when things don’t make sense, and you can’t uncover the heavy darkness that engulfs you? Where do you hide? Should you hide? Should you tell someone? What do you say? How do you get through?
I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Psalm 16:8
- Set the Lord before you. No matter how dark or lonely you feel. Open God’s word. EVERY DAY. Read a Psalm. Read through the gospel of John. God’s word is living and active and WILL give you hope and guidance. Write down truth in a journal. If you do not know the Lord, do this exercise and open your heart to what He has to say. Believe it.
- When things don’t make sense, cry out the The God Who Hears and Understands all. He will answer. Wait for Him. Listen to truth. Listen to His word on your phone with the Bible app. Even if it is in the middle of the night. Play the Psalms and your soul will find peace.
For Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt Thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 16:10-11
- Ask the Lord to help you find an accountability partner/prayer partner for daily or weekly accountability. Confess your thoughts to them and ask them to pray for you and over you. Give them permission to speak life and truth into your life. Remember, this is a “season” and it will pass. You will want someone helping to direct you through the darkness and help lead you to the light.
- Start a Gratitude journal. No matter how dark, grapple for anything and everything you can think of to Thank God for, to thank those you love for, to appreciate. I’m talking… “warm socks”, “a blanket”, “a hug”, “coffee”…
- Create a ROUTINE and HABITS or ASSIGNMENTS for yourself and “Do the Next Thing” (as Elizabeth Eliot used to say) no matter how you feel. Just Do It. Get up, make your bed, read your bible, exercise, get a shower, get dressed, eat one healthy meal, smile at every person you see.
- Surround yourself with positive- in addition to the bible, read books, listen to positive podcasts, follow positive people on social media, listen to and sing worship music.
- Smile at yourself in the mirror. (I am not kidding! This helps!)
- Memorize or meditate on Scripture, write it everywhere you can – on your mirror and refrigerator and remember the truth…
- Find someone to serve, write a thank you note, or send encouraging text.
- Pray Scripture, calling on His Name. Some of my favorite scripture prayers are Colossians 1:9-12 or Ephesians 3:12-21 or Pray the Psalms with David. Say them outload. Pray them over and over.
I cry aloud to God,
aloud to God, and He will hear me. Psalm 77:1
If you are in the night season, please know that you are not crazy and you are not alone. You have great value and purpose, so much so that the God of the UNIVERSE created you in HIS image and He sent Jesus to live and die for you. Do NOT give up. There is a path out of this season that leads to life and joy and peace. If I can make it out, so can you.