Today’s story takes us into the valley of the shadow of death, deep into one woman’s journey through the torments of depression that overshadowed most of her life.
But it also takes us to the heights of faith that clings to God’s promises, and to the joy that comes with His presence. It is a brave story of belief, even in the darkest hours. It is an inspiring account of the defiance of doubt, despite a crushing reality which would accuse God of not being good.
This woman is one of my dearest friends. Her faith is one of the sweetest, purest, most childlike faiths I have ever seen. When she prays, you can feel her trust in the Father, and when she praises Him, it is clear she means it with her whole being. There is no lip service with her, no religious platitudes.
May you be inspired today to believe God for joy in the hard places. And may you trust that, in all of it, His goodness really is there. He wastes nothing, and stories like these are a demonstration of His larger-than-life purposes to bless the whole world through our little journeys with Him. He is our living Hope, always with us, and always bringing beauty out of the mess we see and the pain we endure!
“My name is Cirila and this is my resurrection story…
I’m in my late forties, I am a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, friend and I am loved by Father God and I love him!
Our Lord and Savior Jesus had been calling me since a very young age. As an 11 year old I remember feeling joy as my mother, brother and I recited the Lord’s prayers. I remember thinking I always want to feel this way!
As a teenager someone gave me a sticker that simply said “God loves you” and oh what joy It would bring me to read that God loved me!
Little did I know at that time that the anxiety that touched my childhood from time to time would later manifest into full blown clinical depression and devastate my life and the life of those around me at times. And yet our Savior was always with me and helped me in my darkest moments of clinical depression.
My first long episode of depression came in the form of postpartum depression. At that time I was a young mother, loved my husband and child but something just wasn’t working right in my brain. At that time I believed in God but wouldn’t surrender my life to him. Somehow, though, He still had mercy on me and I came out of the depression.
By the time we had our second child, we were fully committed to Christ, loving and serving him faithfully. And yet, from the first night after I gave birth something wasn’t right. I began to have nightmares that were more like hallucinations, if you can imagine something so hideous. I would cry, pray, repent, read my bible and do all that I knew to do in the Lord to get better. My husband would pray for me too during my most extreme moments of despair, and God was faithful and would bring me relief. But the vicious cycle would always start again. I held on to the Lord for dear life itself and would read scriptures that would always comfort me. These were some of my favorites:
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell[f] in the house of the Lord
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge—
no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
‘Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.'”
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:31-39.
During my ordeal, my doctor suggested that I take medication. but out of ignorance I flatly rejected it. By the grace of our Lord I once again came out of the depression.
When our 3rd child was born, I clearly remember the moment the shift into postpartum depression started. It was during my child’s birth! It was awful. But this time the postpartum depression was worse because a traumatic event from the past came roaring its ugly head at me, and I despaired at the torment I was living in. When I could no longer hide what was happening inside of me I shared with my husband. God was always faithful and would hear our prayers and give me the strength to continue moving forward, but it was so hard.
My doctor would later explain that because of the postpartum depression, my defenses were down and this allowed the traumatic event from the past to surface the way it did. This time I was almost incapacitated by the depression. Suicidal thoughts were very real and scary. After six months of dealing with this monster, I imploded.
After this, my husband, a man of faith, prayed for me like he always did, and he told me that he would never judge me for needing medication to get better. After that, I began a very long journey into healing with the help of medical professionals. But our Lord was with me and my family through it all.
Some might ask why a good Father would allow such torment. In my moments of despair, I’ve asked myself and my husband the same question many times… and now others who are suffering through different forms of clinical depression ask me that same question.
While I don’t have a perfect answer, what I can tell them – and you, dear woman of breakthrough – is that, truly, “all things work for the good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28). That He’s is a good father. He’s the keeper of not only my soul, heart, mind, and life, but of yours too! He will never leave you or forsake you or your family. You will survive and, despite the sorrows – just like our Lord Jesus – you, too, can endure for the joy to come! Hebrews 12:2 confirms this: …”looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
The joy that He allowed me to feel as a child, teenager and at salvation was always a reminder to me that God was and is real! Though weeping may endure for a night, joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5)!
This is a promise which has echoed over the dark seasons of my life, and I have held onto it. Finally, I am beginning to see breakthrough and am tasting the beginnings of this promised joy. Indeed, God is a good and faithful God, and I am continuing to believe Him for more of all that He has promised. The darkness has actually made the experience of joy deeper, brighter, and more wonderful for me. This is my story, the story He has entrusted me with, and I am confident that His beautiful, mysterious purpose is woven all throughout it.”