Beautiful, Courageous You


Kelly’s Story

My journey through a dark and oppressive cloud of depression brought with it many defeating thoughts against my self-worth, my parenting and my marriage. I experienced a full assault of who I was as a human being, as a woman and as a precious child of His, Father God. Throughout depression I found it difficult to believe the Truth, that He loved me, was proud of me, was cheering for me, and that He was holding my hand always. Especially when in reality my world seemed so empty and dull. But I see clearly now that His love and Presence was the very thing that got me through my darkest days.
In one of my seemingly darkest moments I clung to the Hope that I too, like many others, would come out the other side with a testimony of Gods goodness, His faithfulness and His never ending love. I often looked at my beautiful children wanting them to see the ‘happy mum’ that I once was, that they once knew.
I looked toward my husband for comfort and understanding in the hope that he would stand alongside me through it all. I put on a brave face and with a smile that covered my dark cloudy world, I got on with it. Or so I thought…
It was not until I realised I had to look myself in the mirror and decide to stop running. In this decision it was then that I saw a change in me as I embraced the truth of who I was before God. I accepted that there was a journey for me to walk and I embraced the hand of the Father…as I watched my marriage fall apart I clung to the hope that I would walk out the other side always seeing His goodness over me.
I have walked out the other side. My circumstances through the years have been difficult but His faithfulness and love has strengthened me to stand tall throughout what life has dealt me. Life is tough sometimes but it never changes His goodness, His love and His friendship.
For me I know I am changed, that the dark cloud of depression has lifted. I know this because I see the sunny days now, I notice when the skies are blue and the sun is shining. I see also His goodness in who I am and in others. Finally, I have accepted that not everything works out as we have planned but I am ok with that. For in this place of uncertainty I run to the Father and sit in His Presence. It is here that I am embraced by His goodness, love and acceptance as I continue on this glorious journey of truth, light and love. Throughout the dark cloud there is always Hope.

Lisa’s Story

My journey with depression took me utterly by surprise. It was a long journey down, and it’s been a long journey back up. My understanding of depression is there are many different causes but for me it was long periods of extreme stress. The stress left me weak and weary of everything including life. As a little girl, my dreams were to one day grow up and get married and have stability in my life, it was a very deep need. I had been to seven schools by the time I reached year seven. I was shy and found it hard to make friends, having moved around so much made it even harder. By the time I was enrolled in my last school I remember thinking to myself that I wouldn’t even bother making friends here because no doubt we would be moving again, thankfully we didn’t.
When I married we bought our first home which gave me a feeling of security, but over the last 14 years my husband has had over thirty jobs, I’m the one in our household who figures out how to pay the bills and so you can imagine the stress I found myself under in the periods of time when my husband was unemployed. I knew I should have been trusting God in the area of household finance but for me it was the area I didn’t trust God, even though he had proved time and again that he would look after me.
Depression and the stress all came to a head when in one year alone my husband had five jobs. At this stage I was also working but my income wouldn’t cover our household expenses. I finally went to the doctor because I had fatigue that I couldn’t live with anymore. To my surprise not only did I have Adrenal Fatigue but as she put it my mental health was ‘very close to the edge’. I wanted to retreat into myself, I was very short tempered, and unfortunately my two little girls were the ones that paid the price for that.
I found myself wanting to eat too much and nothing that was healthy for me. Over time after realising there were many much-needed changes I could make, I finally took back my life. I learned to trust in God and rest in him and his promises. He is the one who walked me through the darker days of my life, and he’s the one that’s given me hope. I am reminded constantly of his faithfulness. He is always true to his word in that he has turned all things in my life around for my good.
I know what it’s like to be at the end of your rope and have to fight to go on, particularly when your children depend on you. I know what it’s like to fight the good fight by just placing one foot in front of the other. Even in the darkest situation God is the hope you need.

Tania’s Story

For most of my life I lived with a strong belief that something was wrong with me. I experienced out of control thought patterns that would filter through my mind on high repeat – you are not enough, you are dumb, you don’t fit in, you are rejectable.

Being high melancholy my thought life was a battlefield, a war of lies in my mind. I would ponder my seemly dismal existence to no end. I battled depression since I was young and it then escalated when I gave birth to my first child.
For years I went through the motions, medicated for anxiety and just getting by. I was house ridden, isolated and crippled by fear. I didn’t know who I was or how to operate and function normally.

Finally I snapped one day. I fled my family and I ran away. I ran from my pain. I ran away from life. I felt so numb and as though I was walking, dead. The only problem was that I ran away with ME and there was no escaping MYSELF!

But in my darkest days throughout a 3 years season of running, God pursued me with a relentless love that I knew not of. I could feel peace fall with each encounter over my wavering heart. His love broke through even in my darkest of night when all I could do was cry off and on until the break of day light. Then one day, he found me when I came to the end of myself, messed up and feeling as though I had lost my mind. He carried me, a wounded me, back home.

He rescued me out of the pit of hopelessness, I realised that after all these years I had believed a lie, convinced that I was I was a nothing. Truth started to envelop my thoughts and the lies in my mind were starting to break down. When Gods truth is applied to lies they have to go! I would marinade my mind in scriptures of what he says about me. As I surrendered to the love of my father he started to heal my broken heart. I made the courageous choice to get out of my pit of despair and to trust him with my heart. It was scary, but I knew that his love was my antidote.

God surrounded me with good friends. Good people who championed me on and kept calling out the true me whenever I doubted who I was. I feel so grateful that the love of my father never gave up on me and that he has turned my life from burned out ashes to profound beauty. I never saw beauty in anything until he awakened me to life. Then all of a sudden I saw colour instead of grey upon grey. Nature started to speak to my heart. I could feel Him close as I walked at sunset and could almost hear Him beckoning me to come closer to His heart. The closer I dived into His presence the most alive I felt. His presence was what I craved and needed. It was in that place, tucked up next to His heart, I felt healing come.

Through my journey out of deep depression, I had a huge revelation that impossible is not a word. That God can turn any situation around no matter how hopeless it may seem, and that hope holds on. I believed that I would see the goodness of my God in the land of the living, and that is where I purposed my heart.

Testimony means to do it again. So I say come do it again God. I release the power of my testimony over you. May the love of our good, good father wrap his loving arms around you and hold you tight through to your miracle breakthrough. He said it and I believe it, the best is yet to come!

Joan’s Story

Like many of you, I have had ups and downs in my life. I have experienced heartache, tragedy, betrayal and rejection. On the positive side I have experienced the amazing joy of friendship, love, success and family. Throughout all of life’s ups and downs I have had an amazing , growing and ever changing relationship with God.
For the last two years I have had depression which was brought on by a medical issue. This is gradually being resolved, however I have found that when the heaviness of depression comes upon me I then cling to the things that God has shown me to be true about Him and His word. In this moment the Lord stirs in me a deep hope and expectancy of His goodness.
I believe my God is always with me, He is never judgmental or scolding towards me but rather He holds me tight and sings over me as He promises in His word that He will never leave me and He will lead me out of the darkness. The Lord has promised me that He will use all of my negative experiences, including this depression, for good even though I cannot understand how it could possibly be for good, I choose to trust Him.

Mel’s Story

I don’t know that I’ve ever had depression as such but I can testify to God’s faithfulness, His grace, and His unending patience in teaching me to manage my emotions. I used to believe that to be authentic, I needed to be true to my emotions, and so I would ride a roller coaster of ups and downs. I have been learning that to be authentic as a Christian is not about emotions, but rather about establishing the new creation which is surrendered to Christ, as the dominant one. The old self is dead and that’s the part of me that tries to get my emotions to be the boss, rather than God. I have learned how powerful it is to command my spirit to be prominent over my mind and my emotions. I don’t need to pretend that my emotions aren’t real, aren’t significant or valid, and neither do I have to surrender to them. I do get to choose what I align myself with each moment. Will I choose to take God at His word and position my heart with expectancy toward Him for the answers? Choice is huge in battling emotions. The choice to entertain a thought, or not; to believe, or not; to surrender, or not; to be a victim or not; to stay in an ugly place because of what that perversely gives me in return, or not; to be thankful, or not; joyful or not. Most of the time, I have to make these choices in the midst of an emotion that screams to be heard above all else. To speak out something like, ‘I choose to align myself with you, Father. I say no to these feelings of despair and hopelessness and I speak joy and hope over my heart right now. ‘, In Jesus’ name’ feels like it achieves nothing, but I am always in awe when I look back and see how God transforms my heart as He continues to fulfill the promises I dare to claim. His word is true and He is true to His word.