You’ll be sad, very sad, but your sadness will develop into gladness. – John 16
There was a time in my life where I was going through a very hard time. It was the first time I realized without a doubt that I had depression and anxiety. At first I tried to hide it from family and friends because that is what I had always done. I kept it inside and just suffered in private. Soon enough it would go away as it always had done since I was about 16 years old when it first happened.
But for some reason, this time was different. It was so dark and so deep. I felt like I was drowning. My anxiety heightened and most days I felt it hard to breath. I would wake in the morning not because I wanted to start my day, but because I had to continue to mother my children and prepare for work. I would spend my days waiting for the moment when I could crawl back into bed because the thoughts that ran through my head only told me that I was a terrible and horrible person. I couldn’t eat and felt like the life was being sucked out of me. This made me irritable, angry, and sad. So very sad. Before bed I would go in the shower and just cry. And I would beg God to take away the sadness and make me feel better like I always had before.
Within a few months I knew I needed help. I told my husband what was happening and I called a therapist and started going once a week. With those weekly sessions, my symptoms eventually lessened over time. I felt more like myself. I felt less sad and found more reasons to smile. Until one day I woke up and felt the joy back in my heart.
I wish I could tell you this never happened again, but it still does. It will creep back into my life slowly but surly if I don’t pay attention to it. I have to keep vigilant to know when I need to go to therapy, get back to the gym, or re-evaluate my choices. All the things that help me get back on track, but that took a long time to figure out.
“When a woman gives birth, she has a hard time, there’s no getting around it. But when the baby is born, there is joy in the birth. This new life in the world wipes out memory of the pain. The sadness you have right now is similar to that pain, but the coming joy is also similar. When I see you again, you’ll be full of joy, and it will be a joy no one can rob from you. You’ll no longer be so full of questions.
“This is what I want you to do: Ask the Father for whatever is in keeping with the things I’ve revealed to you. Ask in my name, according to my will, and he’ll most certainly give it to you. Your joy will be a river overflowing its banks!”
I have experienced extreme sadness that turned into joy. That joy came back by the grace of God and the time I took to figure it out. I don’t want that joy to ever be robbed from me again. My faith is the same. When my husband and I decided to make God the center of our lives there was a peace and joy that descended on our family. One that didn’t come from the things we had or the places we traveled or the things we did. It strictly came from God and wasn’t anything that could be taken from us.
Am I glad that I went through such a deeply, dark time in my life? No. But it is something I wouldn’t change because it taught me the tools I needed to survive in the future. It taught me to be graceful and less judging of others – who’s stories I do not know. It showed me how strong my faith was, because God is the one thing I turned to all day, every day. It was God I prayed to when I fell to my knees when I didn’t think I’d make it through the day. It was God I begged to every night in the shower. It was Jesus that was there holding me fast and wiping my tears…every. single.day. It was my faith that pushed me forward and helped me reach that pure joy that made my soul feel whole again. It was Jesus disciples that said it best in our reading today. Meditate on these words my friends because Jesus IS the answer to all joy!
His disciples said, “Finally! You’re giving it to us straight, in plain talk – no more figures of speech. Now we know that you know everything – it all comes together in you.”