Engraved: Scars

The room was dimly lit but bright enough for Rachel to see. Books that were on the floor seem pushed off from Sarah’s bed. Breathless and speechless, Rachel stepped nervously forward. Happy, helpful Sarah was crouched down at the side of her bed with earphones in her ears, tears streaming down her face and a razor slicing her wrist.

Rachel saw the blood slowly dripping from the previous fine slices on her hand. She saw the word, ‘help’ engraved on her skin.

She nervously reached out her hand and tapped her on the shoulder. Sarah jumped from where she was, and the look on her face was so devasting. 

Sarah immediately started to wipe away the tears in her eyes. She soon realized that she was only making it worse as the blood transferred to her face.

Rachel then said, let me help you. With that, she took her hand and motioned for her to sit on the bed. Before Sarah knew it, she went to the bathroom and damped a soft cloth and started cleaning her hands.

Neither of them spoke for a while. This time the silence was awkward.   

“Why?” Rachel asked.

Sarah said softly, “You wouldn’t understand.”

“Try me,” Rachel said.

Sarah shook her head. Rachel decided she wouldn’t force her friend to talk tonight. Instead, she hugged her friend and started to pray for her. Rachel started,

“Jesus, I don’t know what it is going with Sarah, I know you know. You are sovereign. Jesus, help Sarah. You rescued me in dark days, you healed my heart and restored me with Your grace. I know you can do it for her. Lord, whatever element that is fighting against her soul’s rest in You, lift a standard. That whisper’s lies in her spirit, I pray You will replace it with Your truth. Remind her of the victories of the cross and how precious she is in your sight. Send help for her ailing heart and set her free from this bondage. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.”

Sarah sobbed throughout the entire time.

Rachel decided to stay until Sarah went to bed. When she was finally asleep, she left and decided to walk back to her dorm. She decided to walk the long route. Puzzled and conflicted, Rachel had a hard time making sense of things.  When she fell in her bed, things even made worse sense. “How could this be?” she thought. Sarah was always known to be happy, caring, and modest. She was an example, especially since she is a minster’s daughter. Rachel had grown to admire the family, particularly the father. He was so caring, compassionate, and sound. “Did he not see that his daughter is struggling? How did I not see?” she thought.

Rachel had such a hard time sleeping last night that when her alarm woke her up Sunday, she jumped and cried, “Sarah!” realizing she was in her room, she settled down and then checked her phone if Sarah messaged. She didn’t see a call or message from her. “She might be still asleep,” she thought.

She had her devotion and then started getting ready for church. When she was through, she called, and Sarah answered with the brightest morning she has ever heard. She asked too how she was, Rachel responded, “Fine, I guess. Are you okay?” Sarah answered, “Yes,” without skipping a beat. Rachel then asked, “Will I see you at church?” Sarah responded, “Certainly, I am already on my way from home.” Sarah lived just an hour from school. She stays on campus because her parents thought she would be safer.

When Rachel arrived at church, she saw Sarah teaching the toddlers in Sunday School. She was so enthused about it and widely smiled when they answered correctly. She opted to observe for the day. Sarah then led prayer service during divine service and even worked at the altar after church. Rachel wondered how many Sundays she did this.

Rachel finally got a hold of Sarah after church and asked how she was. Sarah said, “Wonderful, today was awesome.” Rachel replied, looking at her hands that were covered by the shiny purple jacket she had on, “Even after last night?”

“Yes,” Sarah replied through her teeth.

“Are you sure? Because if you ever want to talk-“

Sarah cut her off, “I am sure.”

Sarah then said she was going home now so she will see her at school. Rachel then turned to walk but saw Mark by the refreshment area. She decided to see what she could find out from Mark.

Mark was wearing a white long sleeve oxford shirt today and navy-blue pants. He never really liked ties and only wore them on special occasions. He was always one of those sober brothers that Rachel felt comfortable with. He already had a slice of cake in his mouth and made a big swallow when Rachel appeared.

“Rachel! It is good to see you, how are you?” he smiled and said.

 Rachel responded, “I am okay, I guess. How are you?”

Mark said, “God has been faithful.” She asked if they could sit on a bench nearby. She said, “I have something to talk to you about.” 

“What is it?” he asked.

Rachel then said, “I…wanted to ask you about Sarah.” Mark took a sip of his grape-flavored cran-water drink. Rachel continued, “I’m concerned about her, have you spoken with her lately?”

Mark gave a loud sigh and said, “Things have been complicated between us. So, I wouldn’t know.” He wished he knew more to share.  Maybe it was the sound of desperation in her voice or the fact that she seemed so uneasy. “Did something happen?” he asked, sounding more concerned than he liked. 

Rachel replied placing her hands in her lap, “That’s what I am trying to find out.”

She then realized she didn’t touch her watch when she was uncertain or nervous anymore. She knew there was a shift in where she drew strength from. She knew it was God. She would celebrate that but first, she needed to hear more. Probably whatever is affecting Sarah is somehow still tied to Mark, just as how her childhood was affecting her present. She then asked, “Why are things complicated?”

Mark let out a sigh, “It’s a long story.” Knowing she didn’t have to go back with the bus that was now headed for campus but could take public transportation, she said, “I have time.”

Depression

The oxford dictionary defines it as, feelings of severe despondency and dejection. It is derived from the root word ‘deprimere‘ which means ‘press down’. It is so common that most people don’t always take it seriously whether in themselves or others. Psychologists renders it a mental illness, I agree to the extent that it means our minds are sick, that they are not operating healthily. The causes tend to vary between persons. It could be an improper diet, lack of exercise, insufficient sunshine, trauma including common unfavorable circumstances, discouragement, inadequate rest, imbalanced hormones, lack of submission to God, demonic harassment, inadequate social interactions, sin, drug abuse among other reasons. I am just making it clear that the cause is not always spiritual. I encourage you to spend some time to introspect, read the Word, talk with a friend and pray to find the root cause.

I have always thought depression was something Christians should never experience. That’s because of the close relationship they should have with God. I thought it was never possible to experience this feeling of being ‘pressed down’ mentally. Let’s just say I found out soon enough. Whilst I agree that this is not God’s will for us, he provides us with an antidote for healing our heavy minds. I chose two persons in the bible to describe the signs and how to overcome depression. The first person is Elijah, I particularly loved the documentation of his dark season as I find it very relatable. Especially considering the number of miracles he did and his closeness to God. I believe the account I am about to share with you is one of the reasons James says he was a man just like us. (James 5:17) We get to see him weak and vulnerable. That’s not very popular today.

Signs of Depression

You can use these to identify it in your own life or that of the people around you. Here are some major signs of depression:

  • Fear (1 Kings 18:3)
  • Unhealthy Desire for Solitude (1 Kings 18:4)
  • Desire to die, Suicidal (1 Kings 18:4)
  • Self-Loathing (1 Kings 18:5)
  • Fatigue (1 King 18:5)
  • Perceived Loneliness (1 Kings 18:10)

How to Combat Depression

Overcoming depression is not a walk in the park, so don’t tell yourself to just get over it. It doesn’t work at least for me it doesn’t. There are times when you feel like a prisoner in your mind even when the door is open it seems you don’t have the strength to walk out. How do you fight when you have to fight your self? What destroys us from within cannot be healed from within. The next hero I would like to shine some light on is David. The truth, up until last night I never truly saw or understood the struggles David went through. It was when I began reading the cries of his heart, I understood that he did have a lot of mental battles that outweighed the physical ones. Let’s look to him to help us navigate these dark moments or extended periods. I would encourage you to read them all, I will share selected verses only.

Psalm 130:1 NLT

I took my troubles to the Lord;
    I cried out to him, and he answered my prayer.

Psalm 121 NLT

I look up to the mountains—
    does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth!
He will not let you stumble;
    the one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel
    never slumbers or sleeps.

Psalm 120 :1 NLT

I took my troubles to the Lord;
    I cried out to him, and he answered my prayer.

Psalm 116:1-4 NLT

I love the Lord because he hears my voice
    and my prayer for mercy.
Because he bends down to listen,
    I will pray as long as I have breath!
Death wrapped its ropes around me;
    the terrors of the grave[a] overtook me.
    I saw only trouble and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
    “Please, Lord, save me!”

Psalm 102:1-7 NLT

Lord, hear my prayer!
    Listen to my plea!
Don’t turn away from me
    in my time of distress.
Bend down to listen,
    and answer me quickly when I call to you.
For my days disappear like smoke,
    and my bones burn like red-hot coals.
My heart is sick, withered like grass,
    and I have lost my appetite.
Because of my groaning,
    I am reduced to skin and bones.
I am like an owl in the desert,
    like a little owl in a far-off wilderness.
I lie awake,
    lonely as a solitary bird on the roof.

Psalm 88:1-10 NLT

O Lord, God of my salvation,
    I cry out to you by day.
    I come to you at night.
Now hear my prayer;
    listen to my cry.
For my life is full of troubles,
    and death[b] draws near.
I am as good as dead,
    like a strong man with no strength left.
They have left me among the dead,
    and I lie like a corpse in a grave.
I am forgotten,
    cut off from your care.
You have thrown me into the lowest pit,
    into the darkest depths.
Your anger weighs me down;
    with wave after wave you have engulfed me. Interlude
You have driven my friends away
    by making me repulsive to them.
I am in a trap with no way of escape.
    My eyes are blinded by my tears.
Each day I beg for your help, O Lord;
    I lift my hands to you for mercy.
10 Are your wonderful deeds of any use to the dead?
    Do the dead rise up and praise you?

Psalm 86:16-17 NLT

Look down and have mercy on me.
    Give your strength to your servant;
    save me, the son of your servant.
17 Send me a sign of your favor.
    Then those who hate me will be put to shame,
    for you, O Lord, help and comfort me.

Psalm 77 :4-12 NLT

You don’t let me sleep.
    I am too distressed even to pray!
I think of the good old days,
    long since ended,
when my nights were filled with joyful songs.
    I search my soul and ponder the difference now.
Has the Lord rejected me forever?
    Will he never again be kind to me?
Is his unfailing love gone forever?
    Have his promises permanently failed?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
    Has he slammed the door on his compassion? Interlude
10 And I said, “This is my fate;
    the Most High has turned his hand against me.”
11 But then I recall all you have done, O Lord;
    I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.
12 They are constantly in my thoughts.
    I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.

Psalm 73:13-19 NLT

Did I keep my heart pure for nothing?
    Did I keep myself innocent for no reason?
14 I get nothing but trouble all day long;
    every morning brings me pain.
15 If I had really spoken this way to others,
    I would have been a traitor to your people.
16 So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper.
    But what a difficult task it is!
17 Then I went into your sanctuary, O God,
    and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.
18 Truly, you put them on a slippery path
    and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction.
19 In an instant they are destroyed,
    completely swept away by terrors.

Psalm 69:1-3 NLT

Save me, O God,
    for the floodwaters are up to my neck.
Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire;
    I can’t find a foothold.
I am in deep water,
    and the floods overwhelm me.
I am exhausted from crying for help;
    my throat is parched.
My eyes are swollen with weeping,
    waiting for my God to help me.

Psalm 40:1-3 NLT

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
    and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
    out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
    and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
    They will put their trust in the Lord.

Final Words

Depression even though quite tempting should never push you away from God if anything it should pull you closer, if not Him then who? What other hope do we have? Will you trust Him in the valley of shadows? Below are links to useful resources.

Depression / Too Depressed to Believe What We Know / Six Ways Jesus Fought Depression

Thanks for all those who have been reading and sharing what an impact these posts have been making. My heart’s desire is for these posts to point you to Christ. You can reach out to me via email, Instagram or Facebook, the links are on this page. I would love to hear from you. Also, don’t forget to sign up so you don’t miss a post in this eye-opening, edifying, exciting, blood-pumping series, Engraved. Did you read the previous post? Here it is.

What went on between Sarah and Mark? Will Sarah share what’s going on? Did we know Sarah in the first place? You will never guess who we will hear from! All this and more next Friday. You can use your Friday lunch time more productively and spend it reading our next Post! It will be available at 12 pm for #lunchtimemedz! Remember, you are precious.

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