For this week’s mentor Monday, I’m overjoyed to have a guest post Debra from As I See it Now. Debra has been one of my favorite encouragers for years. A mom of an adult daughter, she has much wisdom to share with us. Thank you so much, Debra!
So there I was… out in the hot Nevada desert in 1989, newly-moved into a mobile home in a town far from any shopping malls, with 9-year-old Naomi and my husband, Tom, who worked four days farther out in the (bleak) desert then stayed home for four. Well, when things went smoothly. Often he worked longer stretches.
In that dried-up place, complaining about the heat, the sand flying in my face, the lack of scenery and fun things to do was easy. And since Nevada is the most transient state, even church people hesitate to form friendships with new folks who’ll just probably escape soon, so I felt ultra-isolated, as well.
I’d been a positive person, but in Nevada? I caved-in and became morose. Naomi would leave for school and then I’d let myself go– I’d complain by the hour and for whatever reasons, I began sewing clothes for Naomi even though I hated sewing. I gave-up trying to make friends (I’d always been shy) and instead, became passionate about writing letters to faraway pen-pals.
Tom made more money than we needed, but spending it never cheered me up. (Wild, huh?)
Around noon each day, a cold, inky blackness seeped over me, nearly choking me and I’d try to run away by taking walks or driving to the supermarket where I’d pray someone would smile at me. Anyone. Then Naomi would arrive home from school and I’d force all these shattered pieces of myself back together for her sake, for I didn’t want her to remember a childhood with a depressed mother.
Most likely, being cheerful for her probably did much to save my mind.
Finally, after some negative-minded, wasted years, I asked God to show me why I was so miserable.
Oh dear. God told me my attitude stank. I wanted things He didn’t want for me and I complained about what He’d already given me (so why should He give me something better?). Resentment filled me with bitterness and spoiled the chance of new friendships, delights and adventures.
He showed me I could have found happiness by telling others hello at the supermarket rather than waiting for them to show kindness toward me.
After all, it is in giving that we receive.
But most of all, He showed me the way to a rich life is to seek to know Him. Not just about Him, but to know Him so intimately that I feel Him beside me at the supermarket, the movie theater, the coffee shop. Everywhere.
Slowly God walked me out of depression. He helped me renew my mind so that I’d see things His way, not the world’s way (the world is so clueless and reactionary). And He showed me that His joy is my strength–lose that joy and I’m, well, sunk.
How different the past 18 years have looked! Oh, I’ve experienced the occasional bad days, but never has that inky black depression returned. God set my feet upon solid ground of His peace and joy and the desert in my soul vanished: He replaced it with a well-watered garden.
Facing truth about myself set me free, indeed. And that Truth wants to do the same for anyone who’s ready for a whole new life.
Look for my eBook, Fearless Mothering, this fall!