“Is it possible to live again?”
That question was asked to a crowd that I happened to be a part of on Easter this year. It may have seemed like a religious question to most of the crowd, provoking thoughts of biblical characters with the foremost being Jesus. But for me it was deeply personal.
If that same pastor would have asked me that question two and a half years ago my answer would have been “heck no!”
After Ben’s birth in September 2011, I suffered from severe sleep deprivation, psychosis, and postpartum depression.
It was the darkest time in my life. I was hospitalized for nearly 2 weeks and separated from my newborn for most of that time. The situation was completely beyond my control but I felt so much shame over it. With the help of good doctors and my amazing family I began to recover and finally feel like myself again.
A couple of doctors strongly suggested that I never become pregnant again, but at my last psychiatric appointment, when Ben was about six months old, the doctor told me that he really believed it was an isolated incident and I would be fine to have children in the future.
So, in August 2013, when four pregnancy tests showed positive, I had mixed emotions. I was happy to have another child, a sibling for Ben and a chance for me to savor those newborn days and wash away a tarnished portion of my heart. However, I still felt so much shame. I felt like some family members, friends and medical staff would be extremely judgmental.
Throughout the pregnancy I often asked God to ease my fears and replace them with His dreams for my family. I remember one particular night when I was in the third trimester of my pregnancy with Caroline and was begging God to spare me from postpartum depression this time around. I suddenly felt great peace as He reminded me that I was the only one who could undo the marvelous works that He had already done in me.
Romans 8:35 says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”
Those words spoke deep to my soul and reminded me that if I chose to cling tight to Jesus and refuse to listen to distracting and depressing thoughts then I’d be just fine.
The peace that surrounded me during labor and delivery was astounding. I literally had a smile on my face the majority of the day.
There was such joy in knowing that God was redeeming my past in such a beautiful way.
Little miss Caroline Grace came into this world after only 3 pushes and on that last push I was just beaming. In the hospital and during the first few days at home I never even experienced a hint of sadness.
The closing thoughts of Romans chapter 8 say:
No, in all things we are more than conquers through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angles nor demons, neither present nor future,nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So, is it possible to live again?
But not in your own strength.
You have to be convinced of the power of the love that Christ has for you and in His wonderfully messy grace.
Second chances are for everyone.
Podcast: Life-Giving Spiritual Practices for Weary Parents (Courtney Ellis)
Our Daughter’s Birth: A Lesson in Grace
Giveaway: 21 Books That will Change Your Life
4 Ways Your Church Should Look More Like a Psych Ward
It’s Time for the Church to Confront Mental Health (via USA Today)
Suicide: Let’s Talk about It (podcast)
Pastors and Suicide: How Do We Keep this From Happening Again?
Suicide Survivors: 7 Things to do the Day After You Leave the Psych Ward
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