I suffer from depression and anxiety. Some days I cope better than others.
Yes. I am a Christian.
I am also a rape survivor, clergy abuse survivor, bigotry and misogyny survivor, etc.
But I am not a victim, even though there are those who would victimize me. I don’t hate those men. And I don’t hate the women who support them. They are also in need of mercy. I don’t blame people who have hated me and still hate me simply because of my color, because they are not obligated to like me in the first place. It’s just the truth. And yes, it would be nice if people would just “get along”, but we are people and flawed and that’s the way it is and the way it’s always going to be. Doesn’t make it right or comfortable. But it’s life in a fallen world.
But the burden of suffering has been heavy in my life, and sometimes the scars still itch.
Depression is sometimes more of a companion than an enemy. I feel myself sinking into its obsessive arms, and if I’m not careful, I fall asleep. Disturbing dreams fill me with anxiety and cause me to awaken feeling lost.
I still cry out to the Lord during these times. I ask Him what direction He wants me to take, or if He just wants me to remain still. I ask Him to give me grace and strength, which He always does, and His Spirit never fails to comfort me when I can’t counsel myself back to reality.
People ask me why I’m still faithful, still trying to follow this God that my African ancestors may have known nothing about. Asking me if I know that I am following the God of the oppressor. The God that in their view, justified injustices.
I allow myself the comfort of my faith because I know what is in the Scripture. What Word is there. What it means to me as a woman. I look at Jesus, raising the countenance of people that those in His society despised. I look at his disciples. It is unfortunate that people have taken the Scripture out of context and used it to manipulate, exclude, murder, judge, and condemn. That they don’t take the time to understand the history of the times the Bible was written in. That those who translated those writings did so through the flawed lens of the mortal mind.
The fact is that some of my scars occurred before I was born. My ancestors bore them for me. Yes, their ancient gods were stripped from them. Their language forced from their lips. And yes, there is only so far I can go back in my family tree before dignity is replaced by darkness. I am not naïve.
But by the grace of God, my recent ancestors read and understood the Scripture. But not as some would have them read it. I was taught to read it for the freedom it gave me. For the grace. The forgiveness. The inclusion. I was taught about the unconditional love of the Father. How my sex or my color did not matter because He sees me through the eyes of His Love. His perfection.
I was not taught to read it to justify enslavement, bigotry, rape, theft, or any of those things that evil people perpetrate making the Word an abomination instead of inspiration.
So I make no excuses for my love of Christ. If not for my knowledge of the love He has for me, I would be without hope.
In my depressed seasons I eventually claw my way from the comfort of my despair and into the arms of Christ. I do this as if my life depends on it because it does. I am not ashamed to say that despair can be comfortable. It is an enveloping darkness that allows for the complete surrender of sanity. I don’t have to think about anything but every breath I take brings me closer to death.
But then I think on what the Lord has said I am to Him and I remember that darkness is not my destiny. I remember that my purpose is eternal and the history of my broken ancestors or my own past mistakes cannot keep me from it.
I have been in battle and have the scars to prove it. I have also seen my Deliverer, and He is there still.
If you are in a season of depression, your despair will try to seduce you.
Don’t let it.
Remember Whose you are.
You are remembered.
You are loved.
You are worthy.