How Postpartum Depression Changed My Life Forever

Jocelyn Wallace October 11, 2011

My name is Jocelyn.  I have been a biblical counselor since 2001.  I currently work at Vision of Hope Residential Treatment Center, where I help girls who are struggling through unplanned pregnancies, drug and alcohol addictions, habits of self-harm, and eating disorders.  This morning I am going to be sharing a very private part of my life story that I have never shared publically before.  This part of the story of my life begins in April 2002.  My husband and I had weathered a few turbulent growing years in our early marriage, and we were celebrating five years. 

Without really having any concrete plan we found ourselves pregnant, because you know, that’s what you do when you’ve been married five years, and you love God and everything.  So on April 23, 2002 I found myself 27 weeks pregnant with our first baby, just about ready to enter the last 12 weeks of my pregnancy. 

I was working full time in a Christian ministry running a faith based (although whole heartedly integrationist) transitional housing facility.  I had been working there for the past 5 months, and was on a quest to clean it up.  My first months were all about helping the ministry transform through the application of Biblical counseling.  I had gone through Biblical counseling training at my church and was on fire for the authoritative and sufficient word of God being applied to hurting people’s lives.

So on that day, nearly nine years ago, I got up and went into work just like any other day.  That day at work was particularly hard, since I was dealing with a woman with a psychiatric diagnosis, who had gone off some meds cold turkey, was having out of control behavior, and was threatening to kill herself.  By the end of that long day, I was a shaky mess, since there were police involved and a trip to the psychiatric hospital for my client.  On top of that I really didn’t feel that good.  My stomach hurt really, really bad.  I felt like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich whose peanut butter was on fire. When the excruciating pain didn’t get better, my doctor’s office advised me to get to the hospital immediately.    So being the strong woman that I was, I drove myself to the hospital since my husband was at school, or at least I tried to until I realized I couldn’t, so I stopped in a nearby town and had my friend drive me the rest of the way.  I felt like I was dying, but I was pretty sure that when I got to the hospital they would roll their eyes at me and say “You silly first time mothers, just go home and go to sleep and everything will be fine.”

However, in the next 2 hours, every definition of normal in my life became rewritten.  I went from being obliviously and innocently excited about our first baby to finding out from the doctor that I had 24-48 hours to live unless they got the baby out.  I didn’t know what was going on but I knew that I was very sick.

I had never even been to one Birthing Class.  I had never even toured the hospital.  I didn’t have any clue that a 27 week baby could even survive outside the womb, but Dr. Wickert was talking about how that was the plan.  They were giving me steroids to make the baby’s lungs mature more quickly, and they were going to try to keep the baby in as long as possible, but according to the doctor, the baby was coming out within the next day or two. 

The next 12 hours was a blur of seeing my husband ushered out into the hallway and noticing his terrible reaction to the doctor’s news, seeing the numbers on my blood pressure monitor and realizing they were high enough that I could have been having a stroke, throwing up repeatedly, writhing in pain, calling my parents who were in North Carolina at the burial service for my mom’s mom who had just died two days before after a 3 year battle with colon cancer and telling them that they should probably make the 13 hour trip to be with us as soon as possible.   All night long, as she drove 13 hours, my mom, who was a hospice nurse, was getting updates from the nurses at the hospital about my blood counts and liver panels, and I knew she was freaking out because they were bad.  She was worried that I might die before she got there to see me one last time.

Finally, they got me stabilized, and the next day they wheeled me to the operating room where my doctor, Dr. Miller, cut me open and pulled out my tiny little 1 pound 13 ounce baby that was born 12 weeks early in order to save my life.  There was a NICU team standing there waiting to put her on a ventilator.   I felt like death warmed over, and I just wanted to go back to 2 days ago when everything was innocent and fine.   I was put in recovery and spent every ounce of energy I had trying to stay awake, desperately trying to wiggle my toes so I could leave that recovery room and just go see my baby.  They wheeled me to my baby’s side in the NICU and I almost threw up as I looked at my baby and realized that I didn’t even recognize her to be human.  She was so tiny and was lying under a see through plastic blanket that covered her whole entire body, even her head.  There was a machine breathing for her, and all I could think of was that she looked like a pound of hamburger that you buy from the store on a Styrofoam tray wrapped in saran wrap.  She looked like an ugly little red rat.  What kind of a mother is revolted by the sight of her own baby?

I got wheeled into my room where I went through the motions in a big black fog.  I visited the baby through pictures and then finally when I was allowed to leave the room I went and saw her for the first time after that horrible 1st post surgery visit.  She was all hooked up to wires, laying under a plastic blanket, and she would scream and scream and scream.  I looked at her and told myself “Don’t you dare start loving her, because when she dies you will not be able to handle it.”  I told my husband I was going to hold her loosely in case God decided to take her and he got angry at me and said “No we’re not….we’re going to fight for her.  We’re going to beg God to let her live.”  And all I could do was cry and cry and cry and cry because I could not imagine letting myself love her and being able to handle that much grief when I lost her.  It was easier to just not love her, and what kind of terrible pathetic mother didn’t love her baby?  Everyone said it…. You look at your baby and you instantly feel a surge of love.  That was baloney…. I looked at my baby, and I felt nothing but pity.

All of my dreams that I’d had since being a tiny little girl were ruined.  I wanted to have a wonderful pregnancy and look adorable in those cute little maternity clothes.  I wanted to have a tree huggy natural birthing experience, where I embraced my true womanhood and pushed out a baby then got up and washed the dishes without even a shot of pain relief.  I wanted to nurse my baby with the wind blowing my long blonde hair as butterflies wafted in the distance through sunlit daisy fields.

And this is where I was….. in the middle of a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where there were machines beeping all around me and alarms going off all of the time and nurses rushing to babies and parents crying.  I couldn’t even comfort my own baby.  Every time I touched her she screamed.   I wasn’t a cute pregnant girl, I was monstrous and sick and puffy, and my own parents didn’t even recognize me when they saw me in the hospital.  Breastfeeding wasn’t a glorious spiritual experience.  It was terrible.  I was afraid of EVERYTHING.  I was afraid my baby was going to die.  I was afraid I was going to pass out or throw up when I went to visit her because it was so disgusting and being in the NICU made me nauseous. 

On top of that, I still had a business to run.  I took two weeks off to recover from the surgery, but then I went back to work because I only had six weeks of maternity leave.  I needed to save some of it for when the baby got out of the hospital.  So for the next two months my life became a flurry of driving 30 miles to work, 30 miles to the hospital, 30 miles to home, 30 miles to work, 30 miles to the hospital, 30 miles to home, until I finally just moved into Lafayette and slept at a friend’s house. 

We juggled work, driving, seeing each other, updating our parents with the baby’s progress, dealing with the baby illnesses and setbacks, and simply trying to remember to eat, until finally the doctors said it was time for her to come home.  I was so afraid to leave the hospital.  We knew the nurses could do anything.  We had seen them resuscitate one of the other babies there while we were visiting our baby, and we knew we would never be able to do that at home. 

For 3 months we took care of her at home, and we managed.  Things began to get a little normal, but then during our first big car ride that was 10 hours long I realized that I didn’t feel well.  In fact I felt a lot like I did when I was in the hospital originally.  I felt light headed and short of breath and panicky.  Then while we were at our parents house it became evident that their marriage was truly terribly broken after years of warning signs and worrying.  While we were there and I was worrying about my parent’s marriage I had my first full blown panic attack, only I didn’t know what it was.  I just knew I felt like I was going to die, and 6 months earlier, when I’d felt like that, I actually did almost die.  On the drive home, for 10 hours straight I had panic attack after panic attack, and for anyone who has ever experienced one, you know the extreme physical results they have on your body.  The entire drive home I was on the phone with my doctor’s office, trying to figure out what was happening (not realizing that it was just panic attacks).

We finally got home, and I fell exhausted into months of horrible overwhelming panic.  I was so terribly terribly sad.  On top of all the things that I was physically feeling I was starting to understand that my parent’s marriage, a pastor and his wife, was really really broken, and what was happening as a result was that I was questioning things to God that no good Christian girl should ever be questioning.  And I couldn’t handle that I was questioning what I was questioning, so my sadness was mixed with shame.

My life became completely overwhelmed by darkness.  I woke up sad and went to bed sad.  I was so extremely tired all of the time.  The baby was up every two hours to eat, and at six months she was still only 8 pounds.    I was worried that I couldn’t even make enough milk for my baby.  I couldn’t do anything right.  There was no joy in my life, and I was a Christian, and that is never supposed to happen.  I was full of shame.  Shame that my life was falling apart and I didn’t know how to get it back together.  Guilt that I didn’t know how to be a good mom or daughter to a mom that was also falling apart.  Inadequacy to know how to take care of this special baby when I couldn’t even take care of myself. 

My thoughts were constantly going to what if…..  What if she had cerebral palsy?  What if she had a brain bleed?  What if the baby’s heart monitor went off in the middle of the night?  What if I didn’t hear it?  What if she died?  What if my baby died, would I ever be able to handle that much grief?  What if the baby died and then on top of that my husband died?  What if my baby died and my husband died and then my mom died?  What if I found myself completely and desperately alone?  What if the rest of my life was this dark?  What if it never got better?  What if I had 50 or 60 or 70 more years of this panicky darkness always shrouding me? 

I started envisioning what my life would look like if all of those “what if’s” happened.  I could picture myself sitting in the front row of church with a tiny little baby casket in the background holding my dead baby’s body, grieving all by myself.  I could see myself drowning in a grief that was so horrible and terrible that it almost killed me.  I could picture the grief so terrorizing my life that I ended up committed, sitting curled up in the corner of a psych ward, sucking my thumb, rocking back and forth, with no husband, no mother, completely and utterly alone.  Eventually, every fear, every what if question lead me to that spot.  I became so good at being afraid and sad that every fear eventually lead to that picture in my head.

Sitting curled up in the corner of the psych ward, sucking my thumb, rocking back and forth, completely and utterly alone for the REST OF MY MISERABLE LIFE.

I would wake up in the morning, exhausted, and scream out to God in my head “Why didn’t you just let me die in my sleep last night?  Aren’t you merciful?  Why won’t you let me out of this terrible existence?”  And then I would get up and trudge through another miserable panic filled day so full of crying that I couldn’t even do anything but sit at my desk at work and stare.  And every day was the same…. My mind full of questions that I wasn’t allowed to ask to a God that wasn’t kind enough to just kill me.  My brain felt like it was going to explode.  I had so many problems in my head, so many questions, so much crisis, and God was very very very far away.

And NONE of this should have been happening.  I was a Christian.  I was a biblical counselor for pete’s sake.  I was a maverick, cleaning up a ministry and righting wrongs, fighting for justice for the oppressed.  I was helping people change.  And this wasn’t allowed to happen. 

Christians don’t fall apart.  Christians don’t get depressed.  Christians don’t get so stressed out that they forget how to walk up the stairs.  Christians don’t start being afraid to use scissors around their baby b/c they have delusions that the scissors might fall onto the baby and cut the baby open and they can picture the baby’s guts falling out all over the place.  Christians don’t imagine their baby’s funeral.  Christians don’t find hope in a little pill that promises to take their depression and anxiety away.  Christians don’t go to the emergency room for panic attacks.  Christians don’t doubt God.  Christians don’t beg God to kill them. 

So there must be no reason to live.  My whole life was dedicated to being a Christian… being a good one.  I was strong.  I was brave.  I grew up as a missionary kid in a third world country.  If this is how God treated strong, brave, courageous Christians then what point was there in being alive?  I knew my alternative to being alive with this much suffering …and that was being dead and waking up in heaven.  I knew where I was going, and it wasn’t worth staying on earth and fighting this hard each day only to wake up the next day and have to do it all again.  All I could think about was that I needed out.  I needed God to just let it be okay for me to die. 

But he never let it happen. 

I couldn’t hurt my husband and my mom and my tiny little daughter by doing it myself, so I just kept on existing.  Kept on waking up day after day for months and months and months, living panicky moment after panicky moment, begging God to just put me out of my misery.  Why would he have saved my life in the hospital just to put me in this position where I was wishing I could just die?

And I never told anyone… especially the people at church.  I never asked for weekly biblical counseling, because Christians do not suffer this way.  They don’t bring trials on themselves like this.  They are strong and brave and obedient and they smile and fight on, and they do not let feelings run their lives. 

No one knew what was happening, except for my husband and my mom, and even they didn’t know how bad it was inside my head.  They just knew it was bad, and that I needed help.  And that we were never, ever, ever, EVER having another baby, EVER.  

Because we were never ever going through this again!!!

The remainder of the story of my journey through Post-Partum Depression can be summed up in these two verses from Deut 8:2 and 3 “And you shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.  And He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.”

Before Post-Partum Depression I would have NEVER told you that good could come from anything that hard, that in all cases things that were that hard would always be bad and they should always be avoided.  However, the conclusion from my walk through this devastating experience is that this is the best thing I could have ever gone through.  

Like Deut says, I was humbled.  I was tested.  I had the opportunity to see what was in my heart, and I found out whether I was really going to follow my God.  What I found in the middle of this trial, when it was the ugliest, was that when I was tested and looked inside my heart what I saw was ugly, disgusting sin, not righteousness.  

Additionally, I learned that only a small percentage of my total problems were because of real innocent suffering or the results of simply living in a sin cursed world.  Living through the physical effects of my sinful thinking, desiring, and acting was actually what led to my depression more than any physical cause.  The majority of the problems I faced were the direct results of my choices, and most of my choices were self-protectionary, self-centered, and fearful.  God absolutely delivered on 2 Cor 9:8 when he promised that he would give me enough grace to handle every trial he sent my way, but like Jonah 2:8 says when I clung to my worthless idols I forfeited a lot of the grace that could have been mine.  Looking back, the medical problems were actually easy.  The problems that were a result of the spiritual struggle and theological fallacies were devastating, and every single problem I experienced there was the result of me having invested in that consequence, sometimes for my whole life up until that point. 

So during this time I learned some major life changing lessons

  • First of all, I learned that God is not freaked out when I ask him honest questions.  I found that he is a big God, who has answered lots of peoples’ hard questions all through history, and questions about my existence and my purpose and his sovereignty didn’t make him mad at me.
  • I realized that I was afraid to look at the Shepherd square in the face because I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to trust him to be big enough to handle my problems or good enough to care about my suffering. What I found when I did finally look at him with naked honesty is,that like Psalm 119:68 says, He is good and He only does good, even if that meant a preemie baby, a difficult problem with my health, and the decision to let me suffer with postpartum depression.
  • I also learned that he is great and powerful and was sovereignly and providentially unfolding the events of my life for his glory and my good.  Trusting God by Jerry Bridges was a book that I read and reread during this period of my life that helped me learn this point.  God could have actually prevented me from suffering with that postpartum depression, but he had chosen not to.  What he does allow is for the purpose of me understanding and knowing him better.  If God could have prevented it but didn’t, that didn’t make God unkind, it proved his supremacy and wisdom.
  • I also found that unless I know why I am alive, I won’t really have any reason to live.  And once I did know why God had created me, I couldn’t imagine being dead.  On days that I woke up screaming at God that I couldn’t believe he hadn’t let me die in my sleep the night before, the only reason I was able to get up was because at some point in my life I had memorized the first confession of the Westminster Catechism.  “What is the chief end of man?  The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”   I realized that I didn’t even have any idea what that really meant but if God was going to force me to live, then I’d spend the rest of my life figuring out how to do that well.
  • Another big thing I learned was that there is a big difference between doing Christianity and being a Christian.  I was very active doing many righteous things as a believer before this happened, but I learned that when push came to shove, and it’s just me looking into my savior’s face, all of the things I do for him are not as important as knowing who I am because of my union with him.  I learned that I have to BE in Christ before I can really know how to DO because of Christ.
  • During this time, I also learned that the Bible is not JUST a tool, although it is a tool.  But I learned that the Bible is God’s love letter to me, describing how he’s going to continue to pour out his loving kind faithfulness on me, his beloved child, forever and how he wants me to return that love by my obedient choices, even when it’s hard.  As the maker of my body, he wrote the Bible as his description and instruction of how, even in a body that is cursed by sin, I can know how to live in a way that leads to my best happiness and satisfaction.
  • I also learned that the false gods that were filling my life were nothing compared to the one true God.   Three big idols -  “not being afraid”, “Being satisfied”, and “Upholding an image” - were cruel insane masters.  They wanted me dead, and they wanted my death to be slow and torturous.  God is a kind master, who sacrificed Jesus to purchase me and make me his slave, but his yoke is easy and his burden is light.

Anyone facing a deep depression like this is likely to have different idols controlling them than I did, but I’ll briefly describe each of my idols and what I learned…

Not Being Afraid

I realized that in almost every facet of my life I was crippled by fear, because I was SURE that I would not be able to handle what God decided to make me walk through.  Really truly trusting I Cor 10:13 and reading and studying the book Overcoming Fear, Worry and Anxiety by Elyse Fitzpatrick were essential in retraining my brain and body to know how to handle fear and anxiety.

Additionally learning how to use verses like Eph 4 and Phil 4:8 were very important.  I almost had to relearn how to think.  I realized eventually that just because something is potentially true or even possibly true does not make it really true, and my energy should be focused only on dealing with the truth that God actually asked me to handle, not all the made up stuff in my head.  Half of the battles I thought I had to face weren’t even real, they were potential battles that I thought I had to be ready to maybe face.  I was sucking the energy God HAD given me to fight battles he HADN’T assigned me to fight.

One of the biggest fears I realized I had was the fear of loving, because I might get hurt.  The delusion that love is easy and natural was a hard fallacy to conquer.  Choosing to love a daughter that could die was a decision to learn to love the way God described in the Bible.  Giving passionately of myself to invest in something other than me meant being willing to love at great cost.  The almost 9 years since my daughter’s birth have resulted in a love for her that I could never have imagined, and I can barely explain.  There have been real struggles, real heartache since then, real true difficulty in this crazy parent / child relationship, but I have never ever loved anyone in my whole entire life the way that I love her.  It’s almost an insane kind of love that can’t be described that actually hurts to think about and has nothing to do with feelings.  I have invested in her.  I have poured so many hours into learning her and helping her figure out how to handle some of her unique challenges.  I have given up so much of my comfort to deal with her biblically.  I can’t believe I was ever willing to be okay with not loving her in order to protect myself.  The return has far outweighed the investment.

Being satisfied

I learned that my life was filled with a string of expectations and dreams and fantasies in my head that I was pretty sure were going to satisfy me.  I learned as those dreams were stripped away from me, one by one, that the only thing that would ever really satisfy me was God.  Psalm 145:16 says “you open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.”  That verse became THE promise that I balanced my life upon.  I was willing to stake the continuation of my life upon that promise that I would be satisfied, even if it had nothing to do with being a cute pregnant girl, having a dream of a delivery, and nursing my baby like a fairy tale. 

Since then, all sorts of other dreams have flitted away as I’ve consistently come back to that promise.  Perfectly obedient children will never satisfy, a drama free job will never satisfy, a boss and co-workers who always understand me and are passionate about working with me will never satisfy.  

I wasn’t put on this earth to be satisfied, and honestly, many of the longings of my heart are incapable of being satisfied on this earth.  I realized that many of the things I longed for were actually my heart longing for home, and there was probably going to be 50 or 60 or 70 more years of delayed satisfaction about some of those things.  But 50 or 60 or 70 years of delayed satisfaction is not the same thing as 50 or 60 or 70 years of depression that makes me want to kill myself. 

Unfortunately, on this topic of being satisfied, I realized that when it got hard and I wasn’t getting what I thought I needed, I wanted to escape.  What’s terrible was that I was using fantasizing about dying and going to heaven as a tool of unbiblical escape from those hard things.  In the years since this terrible depression I have begun to long for heaven in a whole different and much more biblically informed way.  I can barely wait to get there.  I think about it all of the time.  But instead of thinking about how I’m going to get out of life by going there, I’ve come to learn to think about it as the place where my Shepherd dwells, whose kingdom is going to be established forever, where I am going to get to finally experience his real comfort in a way that I have, as yet, only experienced in the Shadowlands.  Heaven is not a tool I use to comfort myself and fantasize about escape in a way that serves me.  Heaven is a place I will soon be living for all of eternity from which I will be serving my king.

Upholding an image

One of the Images that I didn’t even realize I was upholding was the image of Christianity as an emotionless, feelingless existence where by the force of your will you conjure up the personal strength to do what is right simply because it is right.  Christianity is also not simply an emotional, feeling driven experience.  But God did give us feelings and emotions, and he commanded me to use them in my experience of loving him. 

Another one of the images I held up in my mind was that Christianity should not take time or effort.  I should know the right thing to do, and I should simply do it immediately without thinking about it.  I learned that, yes, obedience needs to be immediate and complete, but that sometimes, as you figure out what that looks like, it takes times.  Some of the things I have learned took me years to figure out.  But I didn’t stop obeying in the process.  I just told God that I had remaining questions, and if he could please help me figure them out at some point, I would appreciate it.  In some cases I learned the answers to my questions when my daughter was 4 or 5, but in all cases I trusted that there would eventually be answers to my humble but real questions about living the Christian life.  In some situations, I am still learning the answers to questions I started asking in 2002.  I’ve learned a lot about the concept of perseverance and waiting patiently on the Lord.

Finally, I had invested in this level of depression by cutting myself off from real relationships and living this image of a strong and courageous Christian woman.  I did what I did because I was naturally strong, not because I was connected to the Source of strength or had honest help from my family of believers.  Some of my best and most godly friendships now were formed during that period of intense trial as I eventually learned to open up and ask people to be a part of my life.  One of the best things that those relationships did for me was to become a sounding board for the truth and a means of LOVING accountability.  I can’t get too far off track with what is true and end up thinking all sorts of totally outrageous fantastical delusions when someone is asking me what I’m thinking and then honestly helping me evaluate it. 

You may be asking what has happened since then….

There have been instances since this period of time where really hard things have happened.  Some of them were devastating and in one of them it was so terrible and tragic that I cried for about 3 months straight.  But working through these giant theological issues during this period of postpartum depression ensured that even when it was hard at later points in my life I never fell apart and became unglued, delusional, or incapable of action like I did in 2002.  Not even when we decided that the only thing worse than going through this a second time would be to  have an only child, and we decided to take the giant leap of faith that God would be able to sustain us to have a second baby and handle whatever circumstances he gave in that endeavor. 

There are times even almost 9 years later that I feel like my soul still has scars on it.  Going through this was the hardest thing I have ever dealt with, and I’ve dealt with some hard things.  But I am okay with the fact that there are scars.  I am okay with the fact that my heart feels like it was ripped open and exposed.  I am okay with feeling battle weary.  I was in a war.  My heart, upon examination, had huge cancerous growths in it, and when God did surgery on my heart, there were major ideologies, and theologies, and philosophies about life and living that he had to cut out.  In their place, God grew biblically accurate theologies, but there are scars there from years of wrong thinking and believing and acting.

This experience was revolutionary in the way I think about biblical counseling.  I was passionate about helping people change before this happened, but after this happened I thought of biblical counseling more as being willing to help another soul suffer well while God is choosing to have them walk through difficult trials.  It’s the same thing, but entirely different.  God is a jealous God, and He will not share his glory with anyone.  He wants his own possessions to be in the continuous process of changing and conforming more into the image of his beloved perfectly thinking, desiring, and functioning Son.  My whole life, and my counselee’s whole lives, are nothing more than a continuous evolution, and all of that change happens with us trapped inside sin-cursed bodies, thinking with sin-cursed brains, and all of it has the potential to be very, very hard.  My job as a counselor isn’t to simply give my counselees the “four principles of this” or the “3 rules of that” and give them 50 things to do.  At some point that is simply behavioral change.  My job as a counselor is to LOVE my counselees, to sacrifice to serve them at the most terrible times of their lives, and to suffer with them while they “get it.”  I probably say a lot of the same things I used to say, but I do it completely differently.  I think it’s probably the difference between being PASSIONATE about theories and philosophies and COMPASSIONATE about real people who are suffering.

Every day there are hundreds of people in your sphere of influence quietly going through serious spiritual warfare, and they, like me, are going to be too prideful or too ashamed to let anyone know.  In their hearts they are in the process of deciding whether they are going to follow God forever or run away from him in fear.

I am thankful every day for the wonderful gift of 18 months of the most terrible postpartum depression I have ever personally experienced anyone suffering.  I’m sure there are worse stories, but for me it was terrible.  Post-Partum Depression was the dividing point in my life, the difference between when I thought I understood what it meant to follow my shepherd and when I really understood what it meant.  I would never trade this horrible experience, because through it I learned to trust what the Psalmist says in Psalm 119:65-72 “You have dealt well with your servant, O Lord, …. It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statues. ”

What I needed when I was at my worst was hope….hope that I would ever be able to get through what I was facing.  I never imagined that I would look back and tell God that what He did to me and what He taught me about Himself through this was good.  At Vision of Hope there is a quote in our living room that reads “O hope of every contrite heart, O joy of all the meek, To those who fall, how kind Thou art! How good to those who seek!” 

So here are my final thoughts as you process all of this lecture…. Isn’t depression just very intense discouragement….an extreme lack of courage in the face of daunting tests of faith?As you think about how to apply anything you’ve heard today, think of this parting advice….Help your counselees be courageous to seek …..especially in the middle of something as difficult as Post-Partum Depression.

They’re going to see that the One True God they find at the end of their honest questions is definitely worth looking for.

Psalm 34: 

4 I sought the LORD and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.

5They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed.

8 Oh taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and His ears are open to their cry.

18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

22 The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.

Isaiah 49:23: Those who hope in me will not be disappointed.

Jocelyn Wallace

Jocelyn counsels, teaches, and coordinates small groups for Faith Church.