So often when I look back, it’s the bad times that first come to my mind, but I’m trying to view them instead through the lens of God’s goodness and deliverance. And yet it’s when we really remember how dark those days were that we can see how much deeper God’s love and grace are.
In 2013, something broke inside of me and I slipped into a deep depression. I wrote that November:
Some months ago one judgmental remark from someone put me into a tailspin and brought me face to face with painful memories of past abuse. At first I disassociated from my feelings. I didn’t want to feel at all, because it hurt too much. I continued on in life like a robot. But I became more and more depressed until one day something inside me broke. I sobbed and cried, “I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m so sick of being strong for everyone around me…”
It was like I was sinking deeper and deeper into a sea of turmoil, gulping up water. In my mind Jesus was standing above the surface looking down at me and shaking his head. “Hopeless case, that one…” I felt so forsaken of God. His promises seemed bogus, and I could not grasp a single one.
The weight of depression stomped me down, down, down…
I couldn’t have made it that dark day without the grace of God. By the end of the day my heart was still heavy, but the care and compassion loved ones gave me lifted me up to see a pinpoint of hope. And the next day, God had a pleasant surprise for me.
“I will give thanks and praise the Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell aloud all Your wonders and marvelous deeds.”
My husband suggested I take my writing pad and go to the Falls. He knew nature often relaxes and comforts me. It helps me to remember God still has all things in His control. I sat on a rock and watched the water rush over the red rock formations. I let the sound of it sooth my weary soul. I imagined the wind as the breath of God kissing my face and telling me I will make it through this.
When I walked along the paths and around the Art Barn, I stopped in awe. There in front of me written in chalk down the front of the steps was a message that still impacts me today. “I will love you every step of the way. ♥” I knew it was God speaking directly to my despairing heart.
Then I remembered a song – “Steady My Heart” by Kari Jobe.
“Wish it could be easy
Why is life so messy?
Why is pain a part of us?
There are days I feel like
Nothing ever goes right
Sometimes it just hurts so much
But You’re here
I know I can trust You
Even when it hurts
Even when it’s hard
Even when it all just falls apart
I will run to You
‘Cause I know that You are
Lover of my soul
Healer of my scars
You steady my heart.”
Sometimes God sends the greatest comforts out of the deepest valleys, doesn’t He? My heart still felt wounded, but I knew I could run to Jesus and He would pull me up again out of the pit and set my feet upon the Rock.
“He reached down and drew me from the deep,
dark hole where I was stranded,
mired in the muck and clay.
With a gentle hand, He pulled me out
To set me down safely on a warm rock;
He held me until I was steady enough
to continue the journey again.”
Psalm 40:2 Voice
Out of that time, God led me in a new direction. Instead of Trudy Den Hoed: Freelance Writer, I changed my site to Freed To Fly: Hope, Healing, and Freedom for Hurting Souls. I stopped pressuring myself to build a writer’s platform and write for publication in magazines or a book. I became more deeply convicted that I’m here to write to God’s glory above all, and my desire to plant seeds of hope in the hearts of hurting souls became even stronger.
At the end of that year, God led me to (in)courage. And onward from there to Faith Barista, Holley Gerth, and Jennifer Dukes Lee. And though it remains a learning process, through these God-inspired women, God led me to be more authentic, to remember I am pre-approved by God, and to place my identity in Jesus. And through them, I gradually opened my heart to many more of you out there in Cyberville.
I set out to encourage others at this site, but I have been overwhelmed by the support and encouragement many of you have given me. At first I felt uncomfortable and resisted it, because of a deep voice in me that says I don’t deserve it. But gradually, God is teaching me to receive encouragement as well as to give it. So thank you so much, my dear online friends.
“I thank my God every time I remember you.”
That toxic shame still often pierces the core of who I am and screams, “You’re worthless. How can someone like you ever make a positive difference? You don’t deserve comfort. You don’t deserve to be accepted. ”
Panic still creeps in and shouts, “Watch out! You’re going to be hurt again. Reinforce that wall.”
Healing is a process though, right? I have learned that many of you struggle with inadequacy, shame, and fear of trusting. And I know there are others among you readers who also do but remain silent onlookers. And that’s ok. I still pray for ALL who visit this site. God knows your needs infinitely more than I do. I keep asking God to bring hurting souls here and give them hope, healing, and freedom in Him. And sometimes God tells me to seek out hurting souls at other sites.
All of us have a story to tell, and there is not one story that is less important than another. There is not one hurt that is less painful than anyone else’s. Every story counts. Every. Single. One. So don’t let that bug bite you and tell you, “Your burdens are not as bad as someone else’s.” I know by experience that can stifle the grieving process. Every hurt needs grieving in order to start healing.
Remember! You are so special to God! You have been created uniquely for a special purpose only you can fill. Jesus loves you so much that He sacrificed His life for you. His arms are wide open with welcome, longing for you to run into them. Yes, life can be messy. Yes, it can hurt so much and be so hard. But He cares about broken hearts and delights to heal them.
“Steady My Heart” by Kari Jobe
37 thoughts on “Depression and Deliverance”
I LOVE what you did with wordifactor, Trudy!!!!
Thank you for directing us to the wordifactor, Linda. 🙂 It’s pretty cool! It was neat how every time I wordifacted certain words, the combination would change. I was hoping they had a butterfly, but a bird flies freely, too. 🙂 I haven’t figured it out yet about downloading a shape of our own. Anyway, thanks for adding some fun to my life. May God bless our week to His glory! Hugs!
Aww..Trudy, you have ministered to me today. I know I made this year a focus on writing, yet the pressure to feel I need to work on publishing in a magazine etc has built that I loose focus and stop writing. Thank you for the encouragement to stay centered in the knowing He loves me regardless, and am full in Him. It’s been a year of learning to let go so far! You’re journey, thoughts and openness does make a difference to me! Thank you! Steady My Heart was a go to song for me a couple of years ago when a relationship ended that I thought was going to go the distance (and had been waiting for for 16 years…). “Even when it all just falls apart, I will run to You.” May Jesus keep hugging your heart, T!
It gives me tears of gratitude to hear you were ministered to, Lynn. Yes, God loves you no matter what and you are full in Him! I’m so sorry the relationship you waited for so long and seemed to be for keeps fell apart. 😦 That must hurt so much. I’m glad you could run to Jesus in all your pain and disappointment. May we keep finding our Refuge in Him! May He keep hugging your heart, too! Hugs!
This is beautiful, Trudy. I love how God met with you in the midst of darkness and depression and that he reminded you of his love and gave you hope. I had a similar experience at a very low point when I came across the words of John 14:27 written in chalk on a path! It’s amazing how God gives us these reminders in such unusual places.
I love your heart to comfort and encourage others through this site too. You are a huge encouragement to me and I’m glad we’ve been able to connect here.
Thank you, Carly. My heart rejoices that you are encouraged through this site It’s so amazing that God gave you a reminder as well in such an unusual place. When I went back, the words were gone, but it confirmed to me how perfect God’s timing is. He is not limited as to how or where He comforts us, is He? I am glad we “met,” and your site gives me encouragement as well. So thank you for that, too. May The God of all hope give us peace and strength in Him each day! Hugs!
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What a blessing to read more of your story, Trudy. I’m so glad you allowed that dark time to send you in a new direction with your blog … your heart of compassion shines through every post. And I love that God spoke to you through chalk words on concrete steps! 🙂
Thank you for your kind words, Lois. I’m so glad you were blessed. Isn’t it wonderful when God surprises us with unexpected blessings? I feel so surprisedly blessed by you readers here, too. May God help us to keep our hearts open to His blessings and help us to praise Him even in the storms! Hugs!
Oh Trudy, God’s timing is so amazing! In 2013 I was walking alongside my daughter as she experienced a very deep depression. Some days neither of us felt like we were going to get through to the other side, and then this same Kari Jobe song that you posted would play on the radio. As the tears are running down my face today, I am so thankful that you listened to the Lord and opened your heart to be vulnerable on your blog. You are a blessing to me, my newly found online-friend. –Hugs & Blessings to you
That’s amazing, Bettie, that the same song blessed us in the same year. I hope you and your daughter are doing better now. I’m so grateful you are blessed here. I am blessed to have “met” you. Your posts often speak to my heart. May God help us to run to Him even when it hurts, even when it’s hard! Hugs and blessings to you, too!
May God continue to lead you and guide each step of your journey so that you can bring comfort and hope to those around you! You DO matter. Your life is a testament to God.
Thank you for this loving prayer and encouragement, Anita. I appreciate it so much. God is such a faithful Guide, isn’t He? We can’t always understand where He leads us, but it always ends up for His glory and our good. May God bless you and guide you as well! Hugs!
I love this honest, authentic post! What a remarkable message God gave you when you saw the chalk-writing on the steps. How true your words are that each of our stories is important and as we connect with each other, we build the sisterhood we share! So glad you continue to pen your words (and I love your word graphic!) and I’m always eager to read them! xo
Thank you, Valerie. I’m so glad you enjoy reading. I’m always eager to read yours, too. I’m so used to that once a week post that I’ve been worrying about you when there wasn’t one last week. “Sisterhood.” I love that thought. 🙂 I haven’t thought about that sidewalk message for some time, but as I looked back at God’s mercies in dark times, I remembered again how remarkable it was. I need to remember His messages more often! God WILL always love us! And remember YOUR story is important, too.May He give us courage to speak out our stories that are so interwoven into His story! Hugs!
HI! This was wonderful. I had a spell with intense post-partum depression. I also found hope in writing it all out. I love that you are writing to tell God’s story. I really enjoyed reading this with my cup of coffee and sun coming in my windows. Felt hope.
Stopped by from #TellHisStory. Have a wonderful, wonderful day.
Welcome Courtney. I rejoice that you felt hope. Sitting with a cup of coffee in the sunshine sounds so cozy. I’m so sorry you had postpartum depression. That must have been so awful. I hope you are doing well now. May the God of hope fill us with joy and peace in believing! You have a wonderful day, too! Hugs!
Hi Trudy! What a horrid day you had, and it’s stayed with you. But you know, its now more a story of overcoming and transformation, and not of depression and hopelessness. How God worked in you so mightily!
You have some very talented blog-friends Trudy. I’m ready Holly’s new book right now, and have read Love Idol too. I know they have blessed you too. I didn’t know you had another blog before this one, and isn’t it wonderful that we decide what our blogs will be? We can change it at any time, and make it what we need it to be.
I have been very thankful that we know each other through our blogs. Thank you for all the times you have lifted me up. May God continue to support and inspire you!
Thank you, Ceil. I’m so glad you have been lifted up. Yes, it was a horrid time, but I love that you call “now more a story of overcoming and transformation.” It really is that, isn’t it? It is in the midst of dark valleys that God transforms us the most and molds us more into His image.
I am very thankful I met you, too, Ceil. You have lifted me up many times as well. May God continue to support and inspire us both! Hugs!
By the way, how is your ear and sinus problem? I still think of you and pray for you!
Thank you for asking Trudy. I was just at the ENT yesterday, and it looks like this is a permanent thing. I am struggling with the eustachian tube dysfunction, and I have plans to fly in June. Yikes. Please pray that I can do that without too much pain?
Oh Ceil. I’m so, so sorry it’s a permanent condition. I will keep you in my prayers. Big hugs!
Trudi- Thank you for you loving and encouraging post. I always feel loved when I come here and it means so much. I love that Kerri Jobe song too- one of my favorites!! So neat what the lord had for you to read on the stairs that day! How wonderful is that?! – What a kind God we have!! Thanks for this post Trudi!! xoxoxox
Oh Susie. It makes me so happy that you feel loved here. Yes, we certainly do have a kind God. So often I doubt and distrust Him and His ways, but He is endlessly patient with me. May we cling to the truth that God will love us every step of the way, even when it hurts, even when it’s hard! Hugs!
I’m so glad you and your family have recovered from illness. 🙂
“And yet it’s when we really remember how dark those days were that we can see how much deeper God’s love and grace are.” That is so true. I love the message on the steps that you found! God is so good to send us love messages sometimes when we least expect them (and the least likely places!). I’m not familiar with this Kari Jobe song so going to listen now! Thanks, Trudy.
Thank you, Lisa. There are times when we fail to see it, but God’s love is so much deeper than any darkness we will ever have. Yes, God is truly so good to send us His love messages when and where we don’t expect them. He sure is patient with us, isn’t He? I’m sure you will like the song, Lisa. May we run to Jesus, the Lover of our souls, the Healer of our scars! Hugs!
Yes! Your story matters! Speaking honestly here in our writing space is healing for you as well as others. Reminding us of God’s infinite love and the truths that only come from Him is a gift that I treasure. You make a difference here and I know I have been blessed by your friendship and encouragement. Hugs to you friend!
Thank you so much for your kind encouragement, Mary. I am so glad you are encouraged by God’s infinite love and truths when you come here. I am blessed by your friendship as well. May we together continue to seek His glory above all as we write! Hugs!
Just tears … all over the place! You touched on the heartbeat of so many women. Our insecurities. The whispers of the enemy that taunt us with the lies of “unworthy”. You bless me so very much and I am thankful beyond measure for your tender heart and encouraging spirit. Thank you so much for standing alongside me on the launch of Moments of Hope! Your posts are filled with just the kind of hope I prayed God would bring to Moments of Hope! I hope to see you back this Monday!
Thank you so much, Lori. I rejoice that you were blessed here. Yes, so many women battle insecurities. The enemy can be so persistent with his evil whispers of lies. But God’s love is stronger! We have to keep reminding each other of His truth, right?
I’m grateful God led me to you, Lori. And not just because I won the Panera Bread gift card either. 🙂 I have been blessed with many tasty morsels for the soul at your site. I am proud of you for launching “Moments of Hope.” 🙂 I love the name! Hope is what we all need. May God bless the link-up to His glory and to the welfare of souls longing for hope! Hugs!
Trudy, I’ve been thankful for your authenticity ever since I’ve known you in cyberspace. You are living out your God-given calling here and it is beautiful to behold. These are such encouraging words: “You are so special to God! You have been created uniquely for a special purpose only you can fill.” and ones I hope you can take to heart.
This is special place, a harbour of hope for hurting souls and a growing sisterhood, a sweet community where all feel welcome and accepted just as they are. God is truly using you, my friend. I hope you know how much you matter and your words matter to me and to so many. Thank you for being faithful. Blessings and hugs! Xx ❤
Such kind and loving words, Joy. Thank you so very much! I’m so glad you find hope and acceptance here. I hope you, too, feel how special you are to God. I know you also struggle with feelings of insignificance, but you are so significant to God, to me, and to others. May we together keep clinging to our special significance in Christ Jesus! Blessings and hugs to you, too!
So powerful, Trudy, and I for one am thrilled to have found you online! I adore how our Great God left you a love note on those steps! He is our refuge in times of grief and sorrow and He will heal all hurts. Many blessings and thank you for having the courage to share your story with us!
Thank you for your kind words, Carrie. I am grateful for having met you as well. Don’t you just love God’s unexpected love notes? Yes, He is our Great God, infinitely bigger than all our grief, sorrow, and hurts. May we learn ever more deeply of His amazing love for us that we would run to Him more freely! Hugs!
Trudy, this is lovely. I’ve been there, and you caught the truth of deliverance exactly right. Bravo!
Thank you, Andrew. We couldn’t do without the truth of Jesus’ love, could we? May His love fill us and guide us always! Blessings to you!
Thank you for sharing your story! It’s amazing the way God loves us and talks to us. I’m happy for you that you can see Gods loving hand in everything and recognize the messages He gives you!
I really connected with the photo of the drowning person with their hand reaching upward. That is exactly how I felt when I hit bottom with anxiety. I tried grabbing onto so many things, and latching on for dear life. The people around me didn’t understand it, but I tried to explain to them that I felt like I was drowning. I finally prayed “Dear God, please help me!” I believe He helped me learn that if I quit struggling, and let go of everything, that I would not only float, but I would rise up and fly!! I may not always feel like I am flying, but I don’t feel like I am drowning any more. Like you said, “Healing is a process”. 🙂 I’m grateful for the journey!
Lots of Love,
Your niece, Shelley
Hi Shelley! I’m so sorry you had to struggle so much for so long, but I rejoice that God brought you up out of that horrible pit. I love how He taught you to quit struggling and let go so you will float and even fly. He loves you so much, and I’m so glad you now know it deep in your heart. You are so brave, my dear niece, in stepping out to follow Jesus in spite of opposition. The way will be hard sometimes, but He will never leave you or forsake you.
After that time, I did end up going back on an anti-depressant, but I know God has blessed the means. There are still times I get depressed and feel like I’m drowning. I start looking at the storm instead of Jesus. But He is so patient with me and helps me to focus on Him again, and He graciously reaches His hand down and pulls me up again. But yes, healing is a process. May He teach us more and more to fly freely in Jesus! Lots of love to you, too! Hugs!