When on Wings of an Eagle; Despair, Depression, and Suicide is Overcome.
By Anina Swan
Reference Isaiah 40: 1-31
Do you hear a lot about despair, depression, and suicide—through social media, on talk shows, or a personal story in your community? Have you been or are you currently afflicted by despair, depression and/or suicidal thoughts? Sometimes it feels like there’s no way to break free of its heaviness.
Leaning over the edge of a cliff and freefalling downward with my eyes closed is how it felt when despair from a family crisis turned to depression and eventually pulled me into an abyss of melancholy. The lie that imprisoned me was that I failed; failed as a wife, mother, and professed Christian woman. I blamed myself, solely, for the crimes perpetrated on me and my family. I was bitter toward the perpetrator, condemned that this crisis was fated in my life’s story, and ashamed of what happened.
Is healing possible? I doubted. Can happiness be attainted after something so horrible? I didn’t see it. And will I ever know inner contentment, and peace again? I didn’t have the answers. I couldn’t even fathom the answer because I didn’t know what healing looked like. I believed in God as my creator and as the Creator and Savior of the world, but I was bitter and blamed Him for not intervening before the crimes occurred. I leaned on my own understanding of my circumstance and leaned away from everyone who loved me. As I leaned away, I fell. Being swallowed in this freefall of hopelessness, I prepared to take my own life. I trusted only my thoughts and the lie that my family would be better off without me.
The week before I drove home to write goodbye letters to my loved ones, I made a feeble attempt at a cry for help. I wrote about despair in my journal, met with my counselor, talked with family and friends. But the responses I received seemed to bounce off as if I were locked in an abyss surrounded by invisible walls. I hoped one voice would break through to rescue me, but to no avail.
I wasn’t willing to wait, listen, or trust how God’s love, mercy and comfort would endure with me, endlessly and abundantly.
I was weary and lost hope to heal from shame and bitterness rooted from the crisis. I closed off all encouragement and care and looked down rather than up, therefore unable to see the clear truth about who God created me to be.
And at first, I didn’t realize I needed answers and assurance greater than my own understanding, to reach to the depths of my despair and rescue me from the doubt deteriorating my identity as a woman, wife, and mother.
Isaiah 40:28-31 tells us, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary and to him who lacks might he increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength: They will rise up as if mounting up with wings like eagles. They will run and not get tired, they will walk and not grow weary.”
In the quietness of what I planned to be my last day on earth, I looked up and said, “Unless, God, you have another way for me, show me. Please.”
Jeremiah 29:12-13; “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
“Lift up your voice, lift it up and do not be afraid. Here is our God. He rules, rewards, shepherds, gathers, comforts, carries, gently leads, measures, marks, and weighs all of life on earth. He directs His Holy Spirit…” Isaiah 40:1-27 explains.
Yes, I knew I could extinguish my life, but I also knew that the God I learned about in Vacation Bible School when I was 4 years old was all knowing, all powerful, and everywhere, (https://study.com/academy/lesson/omnipotent-omniscient-and-omnipresent-god-definition-lesson-quiz.html holy), and loved me. Because God the Everlasting, the Lord, the Creator loves us, he never leaves our side before, during, and after crisis, and promises to guide us with each challenge. And in the scope of eternity and the greatness of His glory we are a blade of grass and the bloom of a single flower that eventually withers or a speck of dust. (Is. 40:15)
Yet he still cares for each of us as a shepherd to his lambs. He values us beyond what we can fathom.
God answered that day and He showed me another way to see myself. His presence broke through the abyss of melancholy and destroyed the lies I believed to define myself.
It felt like this: as despair pushed me over that cliff of hopelessness and trapped me in a freefall, I opened my eyes just before I hit the jagged rocks below and realized, “Oh! I have wings.” And I soared up and away from the depths of despair and the lies of failure, because I saw who I was created to be through the Author of Life’s eyes. Those who loved me were in reach, I had value and purpose as a woman, wife, and mother, and it was right in front of me and I experienced the almighty God who loves me through hardship.
And I saw the light of His glory that afternoon through the darkness of my pain.
Healing from melancholy was like soaring on wings. It wasn’t elation but rather restoration. The weariness from the crisis took on a strength that helped me to understand myself from a different perspective—from the perspective of looking up to my Savior and Creator who gave me life and intricately knit me together in my mother’s womb as Psalm 136. 13-16. I learned who I was and the gift of life God gave me because of God’s sovereignty as my Holy Savior.
Ecclesiastes 3: 13 reminds us that our life on earth and the joy it brings is a gift from God and will surpass the ugliness of hardship, trials, crises, challenges, the wounds caused by our personal troubles.
I saw me as a woman with value, uniqueness, purpose in the light of God’s glory as my Creator and I trusted this to be true.
God equips us for the life we are gifted. He created laughter in times of joy and tears in times of pain, and when we grow weary from all hardship we have the ability to look up and embrace strength as if spreading wings like an Eagle. God gives abundantly to help us persevere and lift us through and beyond the hardships wanting to claim our happiness, our faith, and our lives. As he does this, His glory is revealed—because he values each of us so much.