Fifth, and most importantly, I am constantly reminded of my complete and utter dependence on God.
He is the one who has to sustain me in these times. He is the only one who can bring me up from the pit. I cannot do this Christian life on my own apart from God.
One of my friends pointed out that depression is actually a gift from God because it leaves us in a place of humility and brokenness that cannot be achieved in other ways. It is in these places that God begins deep healing of old wounds.
Without depression, I would never take the time to allow God into those hurtful places. I know that God will not leave me here forever, though if he chose to, I also know that he would sustain me through it each day. God is good and faithful even in these times.
My struggle with depression is not the result of being a pastor’s wife. If my husband was in another vocation, I believe I would still struggle.
However, being a pastor’s wife (as well as being a pastor) intensifies this struggle. The exhausting nature of caring for the church, the temptation to carry the burdens of those who are struggling in our midst, the demands on our time and on our family, and the spiritual battle that we daily face all contribute to exhaustion and vulnerability. This exhaustion is especially intensified as we try to do all of these things in our own strength, apart from God. Therefore, finding pastors and their wives struggling with depression is not uncommon.
So let me encourage you if you find yourself in this place as a pastor’s wife or not.
First of all, you are not alone.
Many Christians have very real struggles with depression and have for the whole course of time. You can be a Christian, even a strong, mature Christian, and be depressed.
Next, let me encourage you to get help with your battle, which cannot be won by yourself.
This battle demands encouragement, counseling, and, at times, medical treatment and prayer. You have to be courageous enough to speak up and admit your struggle. Until you ask for help, you can’t get help.
However, the irony of depression is that sometimes we are unable to ask for help. So if you know someone who is depressed, then reach out and offer them help. Depressed people do not need to be forgotten. Even though they may be silent, they are suffering, and many times by themselves.
If you are struggling, then find a friend in whom to confide. Talk with your spouse about it and start sharing your struggle instead of staying silent. We have to be honest about our struggle, but we need others to ask us about it as well.
Finally, let me encourage you that God knows your need.
He knows where you are and He will be faithful to you in these moments. The work that Christ did on the cross provides forgiveness for our sins and our shortcomings and gives us the freedom to walk with God and not lose his favor. The work Christ did provides healing for our souls. You are not alone in your struggle, you are not alone in your darkness, and you are not alone in your pain. God is real and his people do care, and he will bring you through this struggle with a greater love and dependence on him.
NOTE: This article about the pastor’s wife and depression was originally published here at Counseling One Another and is excerpted from the book The Pastor’s Family by Brian and Cara Croft.