I woke up one morning and simply did not want to get out of bed. The dead weight inside of me felt like I had come to the end of the road at the ripe old age of twenty-five years old. Perfect life from the outside; shattered soul on the inside. By this time we relocated to Augusta, Ga. and started attending a large, evangelical Bible-believing preaching church. Sitting under good, solid preaching and teaching began a chain of events that brought me eyelash to eyelash with the One who saw me from Day One.
We’d just bought our first home and were so very proud of our accomplishments. No doubt, Jeromy and I are hard workers and his discipline taught me much about saving and spending, especially during those early years of marriage. We were and still are goal-oriented finish what you start people, and we had done just that. I was traveling all over the southern part of Georgia supervising student teachers and loving every minute of the actual job. However, the driving time gave me endless moments of silence. Time to think. For a couple of months, I’d carried that heaviness around inside of me, but didn’t voice it. One day, playing that game was over. I could no longer fake it. I was done. I had officially come to the end of myself. Earlier in our marriage, I met a dear professor who became a second mother to me and during this time I shared my heart. She, along with my best friend/husband, insisted I seek help. I’ll never forget the day I was officially diagnosed with Clinical Depression. I’ll never forget the day I received my first prescription for an antidepressant. I was furious and humiliated. Didn’t want to take it. The worried looks in the faces of those I loved motivated the swallowing of my pride and my medicine.
One morning I got up from the mattress we had in our master bedroom. We had just ordered brand new bedroom furniture and hit had not arrived. I walked, bleary eyed, into the bathroom and the reflection in the mirror terrified me. My eyes, always alive with energy and humor, were dead. Horrendous thoughts tortured me, and as if propelled by a gunshot I ran out into the backyard and sat in one of the plastic chairs on the porch. Still wearing boxer shorts, an old t-shirt, hair matted from sleep, I’m sure I was quite the sight. I was hysterically crying, weeping. Tears pent up my whole life poured out in puddles on the concrete that day. Finally, I screamed. A guttural scream that should have brought the neighbors out with 911 on their fingertips, but it didn’t. My words seethed through my teeth as I wept tears of bitterness, “I don’t know what you’re going to do with me. I’m such a mess. But I’m yours. All of me. Do whatever You want.” It was the first moment in my life since the day I accepted Jesus that I held His face. And when I did, this is essentially what I said to Him, “I hate you. I don’t love you. I don’t like you…..I’m so scared. Please, please don't leave me.” For the first time in my adult life I was gut level honest with my Savior. And this is how He replied, “Baby, I know. I’ve known the whole time. I saw you then and I see you now. It’s okay. I’ll never leave you. Nothing can separate us.” A bucketful of grace poured out all over my highlights that day. Grace upon grace. It was a turning point in my life. I was suffocating under a stock pile of my own junk, enveloped by the darkness. When I reached out and was honest for the first time in fourteen years, beautiful, life-changing light filtered in and shone on my tear-streaked face.
The Galatians 5 challenge is all about pursuing one fruit during 2016. Mine is peace and through the telling of my story I hope to share a little of what this journey looks like for me. I invite you to join me.
Galatians 5:22-23 The Message
But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
Amanda Williams is a forty-year old wife and mother of two who can still swing her pony tail and display just a tad of sass. She is also a Jesus loving girl who realizes she is nothing without the One who saved her. Amanda has two degrees specializing in serving students with special needs and is currently working in the field of Leadership Development. She is a Christian author, speaker, blogger, and publisher who loves serving beside her husband at her local place of worship, First Baptist Church of Ocala.