For the past few days I’ve felt like I have been slipping back down into the deep, black pit of postpartum depression. That’s how it always goes for me: I slowly start loosing more and more of my joy, of my hope. In the place of joy and hope, my heart begins to fill with pain (literally, I can press a hand on my chest and ease the ache). Next comes the feeling of being weighted down, as if my blood has been replaced by lead. My thoughts get lost in mental fog, and every task—down to changing the last dirty diaper—becomes so. incredibly. difficult. to. accomplish.
Yesterday morning I began my prayer time by writing a note in my prayer journal begging Jesus to “remove this cup [of depression] from Me; yet not my will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42).
Jesus responded to me right away in my readings, first in my daily devotional: “If you have hope, this will make you cheerful.” (J. Escriva, Friends of God, 76).
Yes, I thought to myself, this is true: I have experienced this for myself recently. We are moving back to my hometown next year and will live near family again (currently we live on the other side of the country from family). I have been so excited about this move, about buying a house and about settling down. I have had so much HOPE lately for the future, but yesterday morning that hope was not enough to make my soul cheerful.
That is when Jesus gently directed my thoughts to this verse: “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast.” (Heb 6:19).
I struggled to find the meaning of what the Lord was telling me. The hope in our new home that had buoyed me just days before had faded and my soul did not feel anchored.
Finally, the Lord gently reprimanded me, saying “set your HOPE on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Col 3:2).
A light turned on for me: I realized that the excitement—the hope—I had been feeling about our future house was good, but that it had blinded me. If I was so hopeful for my future earth house, how much more hope I should have for an eternal home with God in Heaven! How much more glorious will my Heavenly home be than any home I could ever find on Earth!
I realized I have been placing my hope in earthly things; I have idolized these things and that is why hope has not been a sturdy anchor for me. I do believe that my depression is a mental illness that needs to be medicated; however, I also believe that focusing my hope on things above—God & Heaven—will provide me with that steadfast anchor.