From Then To Now

Story on overcoming depression with God's help.  Photo of derr in field.  Text reads, "From Then To Now. The Encouragers Life."

As I watched the men throwing the rope out to wrap around the deer's antlers I empathised with the deer all too deeply.

It was stuck in mire.
It was tired.
It was scared.

It was breathing heavily groaning under the strain of its ordeal.
Sweat and muck on its coat.
It was in a bad state.

The men pulled.
I worried for its neck.
The pull forced its nose into the muck making the deer catch its laboured breath.

The truth was, if the men gave up.
It was done for.
But the pulling was also dangerous to its mortality.

The deer had wandered in.
It relied on its successes in the past to be the foundation of its accomplishment with this crossing.

It's trapping was its own instinct gone wrong.
Now it couldn't move.

Bogged down by the mud drying around it.
Encasing it.
Surrounding it.

The deer just wanted to get to the other side.
It just wanted to make it.
So it went for it.

It took a chance.
It believed it could make it.
It pressed through.
It made it three quarters of the way cross before disaster struck.

It struggled.
It tired.
It stopped.

I knew what that felt like all too well.

Survival instincts telling you to keep going.
Your body saying it had nothing left to give.

At the height of my depression I felt like this deer.

Depression is different for everyone.
It stays for longer with some than with others.
It affects and shows up differently in everyone.

With me.
I had windows.

For the most part you wouldn't have known.
I could hold it together for a time.

I could lead you to believe that I was happy.
That I was hopeful.
That I had joy.

But the windows came and for brief moments, if you knew when to look, you saw a stark difference.

You might have seen pain.

And now that I stand on the bank on the other side I now know another word.

I was scared.

Scared I would never be free.
Scared I would never make it.

Scared that those I trusted would leave.
Give up.
Leave me for the lost cause I thought I was.

I wish I could tell you I have put that to bed.
I wish I could tell you that it hasn't left it's mark.

Unfortunately, I can't.

What I can tell you is that while others tired and needed to tend to their own fatigue, despair and disappointment, one person remained on that bank.

One didn't tire.
One didn't take a break.
One didn't take His eyes off me.

That One, continued to believe I had enough left within me to make it to the other side.

He was called Jesus.

He was the figure that stood quietly on the bank.
Patiently waiting for me to rest, refocus and to give it my all long enough for Him to pull me free.

He never let go of the straps.
He tended to me while others rested.
He didn't pull too hard.
He didn't pull to early.

One question I did have around the time was why didn't God come in to the mire and pull me up?

I think there are loads of people that ask God similar things:
Why didn't you step in?
Why didn't You save me?
Why did I have to suffer?
Why did a have to suffer so long or at all?

I could never have known what I know now without questioning that moment.

To me, He simply held on to that rope.
He remained watchful.

He was ready to pull when I had rested enough that I could raise my head.

He wanted me to be able to breathe about the muck.
He wanted me to see Him.
Rooting for me.
Pulling when I was ready to push through and leave my situation behind.

I remembered that in the bible it says, "Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28

He was my safe place.
He was the destination.
He was the other side.
He was the place where I could recover.

I had misunderstood all along.

I thought getting to the other side meant that when my feet touched the grassy bank that I would have recovered from my torment.

That I could trot off into life eutrophic and grateful.

Whereas the reality was that the bank was the recovery process.

That is where I would lie while my legs got their feeling back.
That is where the muck and dried mud would be brushed off me.

That is where I would be offered a drink and given care.
That is where I would reconnect with family and friends.

When the deer raised its head and was hauled free from the slip, it flopped around confused, scared and disorientated.

The men took off the rope and the deer took its chance to dash but fell to the ground.

It curled up.

The men sat and waited.
They allowed it to rest for a time and then brought the deer to its feet.

It rocked unsteadily on all fours.
Wondering if it could make it to the bushes and fields behind.

The men backed up and talked to it like a child.
"It's ok," they said to it calmly and warmly.
"You made it.
When you are ready, you can go."

The deer, no longer panting, put out a hoof and tested the ground.

Then it took another step.
And another.

The deer quickened its steps until it gained such confidence that it could run.

And then.
Off it went.

I smiled as it disappeared into its life.
Hearing the whisper, "You are free too."

One step at a time.
Gaining confidence when the ground didn't swallow you up when you stepped out.

Hoping that this was it.
It was over.
And seeing the evidence in each success.

God used my experience in depression to not only empower me, but to show me what I was capable of coming back from the brink.

To remember that in times of trouble, to keep my head up.
And that He would be waiting to help with a pull.

God gave me evidence that He will sit with me while I regain my strength and that when He sees I am ready, that He will lift me to my feet, tell me its ok and that when I am ready, I can step out.

We should know that in the thick of it, we are built to survive.

To lift our heads.
To know that He is ready with His rope to aid us.

He doesn't want us to feel like we need to save ourselves.
He wants us to do the hard things together.

He wants us to know that we are not alone.
And that we are capable of doing amazing and life changing things, together.

Be assured that recovery periods can take time.
But since I first talked to God when I was 15 years old in my bedroom He has never left me.

From then.
To now.
And forever He will be there.

However, Jesus will wait with us for as long as we need to rest and refocus.
And that with Him in that place of healing, we are save to rest from our exhausting trails, our disorientation and when we feel bogged down by life.

We are not stuck forever.
He is waiting on the bank.

This article is for encouragement purposes and is not a replacement for a physician or other expert.

If you have been affected by this article please connect with an appropriate organisation that can provide support.

If you would like to share your story or contact The Encouragers Life please feel free to private message me on our Facebook page or on Instagram and while you are there you can give me a like or a follow for daily encouragements. You can also email me using address. 

Be sure to check out our next article here on ‘The Encouragers Life.’

 Article written by J. Bingham

Copyright 2023

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