Chronic Illness and Depression Need Not Define Your Life

illness-and-depressionIt is no secret that chronic illness and depression can accompany each other frequently. Jackie shares that there is something even more powerful, however.

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:5).

If you suffer from a chronic illness, then more than likely you have dealt with depression. Thankfully, I’m usually very optimistic and experience much God-given joy. I’m also well acquainted with clinical depression that for two years, twenty-five years ago, filled me with hopelessness and profound sadness. I would take my Sjogren’s disease any time over paralyzing depression.

Its grasping tenacious tentacles robbed me of happiness. I recall standing in the grocery store and not being able to make a selection. I couldn’t get excited about anything–in other words, I flat-lined emotionally.

My thoughts were sad and painful. With marvelous counseling and medication I was able to look deep within and painstakingly discover the underlying reasons for my depression.

God gave me a verse at the beginning of my dark journey, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work with us” (Ephesians 3:2). I hung on to that promise even though most of the time I thought it would never come true.

But God did immeasurably more than I could think. I can’t even express the enormous transformation.

Do I ever get depressed now? Occasionally. The other day, my flare-up was so debilitating that I felt pretty down. Then my sister sent me the link to a song that lifted my spirit to no end. It is “I Will Follow Him” by Andre Rieu.

I can always depend on God’s manifestation of grace to surprise me. In His time He entered into my depression and gave me peace. If you are depressed, my heart goes out to you. Know that God will step in and lift you up. Seek help for God wants your healing.

Prayer: Dearest Abba, you understand my depression. Guide me towards healing. Above all, let me learn from it. Amen.

Are you experiencing depression today? What can you do to make a difference?

About the author:
Jackie Smith lives at the foot of the Smoky Mountains in beautiful Knoxville, TN. She has Sjogren’s disease and migraine headaches. Jackie had a bilateral mastectomy over 25 years ago. A few years ago she had her colon removed, necessitating a permanent ileostomy. Jackie has her master’s degree in Child and Family Studies. While she has never been able to work using her degree, she has great joy using it with her husband, 5 children and 13 grandchildren. Jackie loves sharing with others through her writing how God is so in love with us.

This is the video Jackie spoke of above, “I Will Follow Him” by Andre Rieu. It is a beautiful song and there are a variety of performances of it on Youtube if you would like to be saturated with this message. I loved this video because of the joy all of the audience exhibits.

Some of you may recognize it from the movie “Sister Act.” If you are feeling nostalgic here is that version.