Life was smooooth.
After my run with Postpartum Depression, I felt on fire(in a good way). I was less panicked, I was happier, I was brave, I was laid back, life was good. I was getting more involved in church, I got baptized, I made lots of new friends, joined a couple bible studies, and was plugging away at a devotional, trying to discover my purpose in life beyond raising kids and feeding a husband.
I was excited about God and excited about anything and everything I could do to glorify Him.
And as if the timing could not have been more perfect, a year after my darkest days with Postpartum Depression, I fell back into the trap again.
It really snuck up on me this time. I was noticing that I became a little more critical of my husband and a little more withdrawn from friends and less interested in things that I used to enjoy. But it was a busy season. I figured it would pass.
Somehow, I found myself back at square one and for what felt like no reason at all. I was clinging to my husband, sobbing, apologizing for my brokenness and the burden I was to him and my son. For a few dark days, I really believed once again that they’d be better off without me. My weaknesses were magnified and became all I could see. I felt like there was no hope, that I’d always be the overly emotional, mess of a wife, falling in and out of depression for ‘no reason’, forever burdening my family with a reason to coddle me.
When I found myself back in the big comfy couch, admitting to a counselor all that had transpired over a short time, her concerned eyes gave way to a deep breath, she pulled her glasses from her face, and looked at me with a seriousness about her that I hadn’t seen before. She said “No psychiatrist is going to back me up on this, but you mentioned your involvement in the church and your baptism, and Ashley, I truly believe that the devil plays hardball. He knows that you are headed for great things in God’s kingdom, and he’s trying anything he can to take you down.”
We’d talked about church and God before, but I didn’t anticipate her advice including spiritual warfare, so I was a bit taken aback.
My first instinct was to think “ahhhh she is one of THOSE Christians.”
But the more I pondered her words, the more I believed everything she said.
I was out in search of God’s heart and Satan was whispering cruel little nothings in my ear: “you’re useless, you can’t do anything for God, you’ll never change, you’re a bad Mom, you’re a bad wife, you’re a bad friend, sister, daughter, person. You’re wasting everyone’s time. You’re taking up space. You’ll never amount to anything for anyone.”
And he tripped me up. I totally bought it. And he almost, almostttttt had me.
But Guys, here’s the great thing: the Devil DOES play hardball, but God….God plays to win.
A few days after this had all transpired, I heard a song on the radio, that quotes the scripture:
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me, Thy rod and thy staff, They comfort me….”
I listened to those words and for the first time, felt like I understood what it felt like to walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
The song continues:
“…when I’m beat down broken . Hold my heart when it’s split wide-open. Turn these eyes to my sole protector, And break the will of this born defector.”
That small reminder helped to set my head straight again. This life and our walk with God is arollercoaster. There are so many ups and downs. The good news is, God is there with us the entire time.
Whether you know him or not, he’s walking next to you, ready to carry us through dark times, ready to help us fend off anything trying to keep us from Him. And all he asks of us, is that we know that.
When I finally said “Okay God, I’ve had a rough time lately, but I trust that you’ll get me through this and use it for your good.” He did just that. And I’ve got no doubt that he’ll do it again and again and again and again until I’ve fulfilled my purpose in this life and join him for a blessed eternity in Heaven. I’m still going to have tough times, I might still face issues with depression…
but listen, Satan, I’m not afraid. You play a tough game, but my God will win this broken soul.
Just days after I initially wrote this, I lost my second pregnancy. And in a situation where I would’ve typically shut down and blamed God, I’m okay, and still trusting in his promises. More on that later.