When I Couldn’t Pray Depression Away

My eyes fluttered open slowly, while eager rays of luxurious sunshine tried their best to break through my closed blinds. I turned to my right and saw the sleeping face of my toddler daughter, so lovely as her tiny nose sniffed the air above her, and long lashes curled towards the ceiling. I bet even the angels blushed at her beauty, and although the sight of her caused my heart to be happy, overall I was not. I found that odd.

Normally a very optimistic and joyful person, I didn’t take well to waking in a foul mood. But it wasn’t just foul, it felt rather hopeless. That was the worst feeling of all. Indeed for a third day in a row I had awoken to sadness, and for the life of me I couldn’t pinpoint anything that I considered adequate cause. Yes, there had been upset, unexpected events, and even stress, but nothing that my logical mind thought should be causing me distress. Now if only my heart could agree.

With the onslaught of bad feeling and melancholy sadness there was also frustration. In fact I felt oddly guilty for my persistent poor mood; after all, in my opinion my life was absolutely the best. So how could a woman who had everything she could possibly want feel as if she was lacking? Instead of the contentment I desired to reside within me, I felt as if it had been replaced by a hole. Visions of water circling the bathtub drain come to mind, as that’s what it felt was happening to the hope and peace that normally prevailed in my life. They were draining right out!

I did the only thing I knew to do, the thing that normally made me feel good. I prayed. And I prayed. I put on the armor of God, I read devotions, and I listened to worship music. It seemed to help, but the next thing I knew I’d be down in the dumps again. I wondered why it wasn’t working. Why couldn’t I pray my depression away, and it be gone for good?

Instead I would wake again the next day, and the first thought on my mind, aside from bad dreams I had experienced, was the realization that I still felt blue. Beyond blue.

I began to crave God’s word as it seemed to be the only thing that helped. Even though the good feelings didn’t last, the peace I felt after reading scripture was worth it, so I read more. I dove into the Bible when I woke, and I would put my phone down at night, reaching for His book again before bed. I meditated on His goodness, and I just kept telling God that I trusted Him.

In my frustration I realized that I had zero control of my emotional state. Though I wanted to be able to be strong enough and “spiritual” enough to combat the darkness and depression, I could not. It had very little to do with what “I” did to make it go away. I realized it was something I had to come back to day after day, and moment after moment. I didn’t even know what to say beyond, “help me.” So that’s what I said.

Help me.

Yesterday I woke up. The thirsty sunshine sought its entry into my bedroom window. My sleeping daughter’s upturned, cherry of a nose beckoned to be kissed, and her dark eyelashes continued to curl towards the heavens. I smiled. And I realized I didn’t feel sad. I don’t know where my melancholy sadness sprinted off to, but I know I didn’t make it disappear. If anything, this past week’s sufferings humbled me to the fact of how strong our emotions can be, and how totally reliant on Jesus I truly am. I can’t always pray my depression away. But I can pray.

Brie Gowen
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Brie Gowen is a 30-something (sliding ever closer to 40-something) wife and mother. When she’s not loving on her hubby, chasing after the toddler or playing princess with her four-year-old, she enjoys cooking, reading and writing down her thoughts to share with others. Brie is also a huge lover of Jesus. She finds immense joy in the peace a relationship with her Savior provides, and she might just tell you about it sometime. She’d love for you to check out her blog at BrieGowen.com.