It’s a reality: pastors wives and depression.
“I just feel so forgotten and alone.“
My heart sank as I listened to my dear, dear friend share how “down” she felt. She shared how she just felt empty inside. “Teri, I just give and give while people take and take.”
It took some chatting to realize that she was not clinically
depressed – just burned out. She was just down.
I’m not doctor, so I gave her the number of someone to talk to about her feelings. Women – especially – can feel depressed for a host of reasons. Our biology, hormones, and Harvard Health even says “stressful life events, medications, and medical problems” all can bring on depression. Depression is not a form of weakness.
As I listened to my friend struggle, I felt tears stinging my eyes…itching to roll down my cheeks. I love her so much. We have wonderful history and we have known one another through many dress sizes, lots of kids and a thousand hair colors.
Although hundreds of miles separate us, we remain close.
I wised I could help in some way, but honestly, I didn’t know what to say.
My human side wanted to say, “Girl! Shut up! You live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country and you have a wonderful home, a loving husband, an amazing ministry and great children.”
But, that is not what she needed to hear and the truth is that is not what I really wanted to say.
What I wanted to say is exactly what I said: “I know how you feel. I’ve been there. A lot of pastor’s wives have too. Don’t worry, God has got you. You’re not forsaken – no matter how you feel”.Your pastor's wife is not made of stone. Think of how you can encourage her today. You'll never know the magnitude of her sacrifice. Never. Click To Tweet
Then I inquired about her prayer life. Was it consistent? Was it precious time with just she and God alone in a room?
Her answer did not surprise me in the least.
When depression happens to me…
I know when my life gets out of wack, there is always one common denominator: a neglected prayer life.
When we neglect that time alone with the Lord, our resources (patience, long-suffering, love, hope, etc.) are exhausted – used up.
We begin to run on fumes. After a while, an emotional and spiritual crash happens and manifest itself as depression. Sometimes, we shop to try to “fix” things a bit. Other times, we try to lose weight. It doesn’t fill the void either.
The void is too big and is often our own doing.
We moved from the Lord. He didn’t. We did. Read my GodsyGirl post about just this topic.
Neglected prayer time is like skipping the gas station because you don’t feel like going.
It’s stupid to not re-fuel. Work, strive to never neglect your time alone, set aside, all by yourself, concentrating only on Him time.
Sometimes depression can hit even when your prayer life is consistent. Then, you have to turn to gratitude.
If my prayer life passes the “sniff” test, then, I simply need to think about how blessed I am.
I need to meditate on it; recall it.
Usually, there are blessings just happening all around me and I miss them because I’m so focused on what I’m not getting.
The Holy Spirit brings blessings to my memory. That helps me a lot.
For example, he reminds me of my sister at church who spoils our family rotten with yummies and lots of love.
Or maybe he reminds me of my technology sister who acts as a pseudo auntie to my little boy and always looks out for him.
My mind may go toward my best friend of 22 years who is more like a sister than a friend.
Somehow, He always finds a way to remind me that He, Himself, loves me beyond measure.
Think on these types of things when you feel down. Think gratitude
Well, I jumped topics a bit, but you get my point. If you missed it, here is what I’m putting down:
If you’re feeling low
1) assess your prayer life (there is usually a connection your sadness and lack of time with the Lord, and
2) peep out the blessings in your life. Making them part of your immediate awareness. Some people like to journal their blessings.
Remember, you cannot be a good help-meet to your husband when you’re running on fumes. It’s stupid to remain on fumes and not re-fuel.
Nor can you be an encouragement to the women in your congregation when you’re depressed. So many people love you and need you.
Fill your tank and be grateful for the blessings in your life – thank Him even for the struggle -because He does have a plan. Although some days just stink like yesterday’s garbage, remember, your best days are still ahead of you and no devil in hell can stop it. Hang in there. Amen?
Update: my friend is taking life one day at a time, she’s prayerful and grateful. Plus, she gave me permission to blog about this. 🙂
This is her wilderness season; mine may be next. Either way, I know we’ll be there for each other as we have for years and years. She’ll likely remind me to read the blog post.
Thank you for use of the photo Cristian Newman.