A few weeks ago I had a dream. I was walking along a path. On the right side was the mud-filled river. Slowly weaving its path to the sea. The ground beside the water was muddy and wet. As I walked along and I looked to my left. It was filled with broken down shells of houses. The houses were made of concrete and some had doors, others had none. I walked passed almost a hundred houses.
The windows were all broken or missing. No grass, or plants could be seen. The concrete was a mixture of gray and brown. Behind the houses rose the hill to the rest of the world. The houses stood against the hill, protecting the world from the flood of the river. The houses took the brunt of the water when it was rushing after a rain.
As I walked along, I noticed the houses were empty. Every once in awhile I saw a house that was not.
“Someone lives here?” I asked to no one.
I was alone in my dream, walking along this road beside the river.
Suddenly a voice spoke through the sadness, “These houses are the people living on the edge of sadness, depression, and anxiety. Some people live their entire lives with the threat of floods right around the corner.”
I woke up. Immediately the song by Sara Groves, Floodplain replayed in my mind. Sara wrote this song because some people battle depression and anxiety, and their hearts always feel like the floods are coming. They walk around and seem fine on the outside. They have jobs, friends, and family. They go to activities and wear a smile….but the flood of depression could come at any time.
Floodplain: a nearly flat plain along the course of a stream or river that is naturally subject to flooding.
Some hearts are built on a floodplain
Keeping one eye on the sky for rain
You work for the ground that get washed away.
When you live closer.
Closer to the life and the ebb and flow….
The dream happened about a week before the depression came. Sometimes the depression hits me like a ton of bricks. I used to not be able to tell when it would come. I would find myself super irritated. I would snap at the children, anger boiling deep inside erupting like a volcano. I would cry with remorse only a few minutes later.
I would yell at my husband if he was a half hour late from getting home from work. I would pick fights and be so negative. We would have a huge fight, which would only end when I was laying on the couch downstairs in the dark. In the dark of midnight I could see it. I could see the darkness in my heart when the world was dark from the sun.
I knew why I was irritable, yelling, and just a hot mess. The depression was back. The depression would consume me at night. It would cloud my thoughts, bring terrors and worse-case-scenerios to my mind. I would cry and cry and cry in the dark. In the dark sadness consumes my heart, so I can’t see any goodness.
The other day I had a moment where I realized the depression was there. Just like the song.
The water spreads like sadness…
The waters of depression and anxiety spread, rushing around me in a flood. If you are like me, I never see the water coming. I can be fine one day, but the next day I’m in the spiral downward with no warning. I sometimes don’t know I’m climbing back into the pit until I’m sitting in the dark of despair.
As I walked along the road next to the river in my dream, I wondered how anyone could live here. It was dirty, lonely, and scary. The houses were ugly, and no life was there. And that was how I saw depression. Ugly, lonely, and prone to danger.
I missed it in my dream. I thought the entire time I was walking along the water’s edge it was horrible. I picked through the mud and could only see the brokenness.
I missed the Presence while I walked. I woke up feeling like I had a picture of depression, but what I missed in my sub-conscience was the Person in the picture. The Person speaking through the darkness has no audible voice. The Person walking beside me has no physical appearance, but the Presence of this Person is there.
In the waters of depression I’ve had moments of complete and utter feelings of aloneness. I’ve questioned my own life, my value, and the very beliefs I’ve always held dear. I questioned the very existence of God Himself.
In the floods I’ve also been lifted above these moments. I’ve felt my heart beat from anxiety to peace in a matter of minutes through the supernatural power of God’s Presence and the powerful reading of His Word.
It is truly in my darkness I’ve seen His brilliant light shine the brightest. These moments, although few and far between, are moments I’ve clung to. Sometimes you just need a little truth to get you through. The truth doesn’t feel real in the moment, but that’s ok. Living on the edge of “I don’t know…” can still be beautiful. In the sadness, we can find hope because we can find Him.
So here are seven truths I hold on to when I’m overwhelmed with sadness:
- God is my refuge and fortress. – Psalm 46:1
- God keeps me safe. – Psalm 4:8
- God sits with me in the darkness. – Micah 7:8
- God loves me and holds me. – Psalm 28:7
- I don’t have to be perfect. – I John 1:9
- God hears my prayers. Psalm 28:6
- Jesus knows all about my suffering. – 2 Corinthians 1:5
Keep these little truths in your pocket. I call them Pocket Truth so you can carry them with you in your heart (and pocket). Something small and easy to remember. One side has the truth, the other side has the verse to go with it. I’ve cut mine out and put them on my nightstand. I laminated them and keep them in a little box. I pull out a scripture before I turn out the lights to remind me of these truths. I also keep some of them in my purse and on my desk. Download and print your copy here. You might also like my Psalms to Help You Sleep printable here.
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