Maybe you don't have to live like this - Sarah Mae
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Maybe you don’t have to live like this

“The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and good news refreshes the bones.” Proverbs 15:30

“I think I’m only considering medication because I’m writing a book and I need to be able to get it done. If I weren’t writing, I would just live like this.”

“But Sarah, maybe God is saying you don’t have to live like this.”

Maybe you don’t have to live like this. 

Maybe I could live in the light. Maybe I don’t have to suffer in the dark. Maybe, just maybe, something is a little whack with my brain chemistry but I don’t have to live with it.

I’ve been on medication for over a month now, and I feel normal again, like myself again.

I was the frog in the boiling water. Slowly, slowly, insidiously, this sadness filled me up and then one day I couldn’t tell you anymore whether I was an introvert or extrovert. I couldn’t tell you what I liked to do or the last time I enjoyed going somewhere. The boiling happened so slowly that I don’t know when it began or how long I’ve lived in the hot, dark water. I don’t know when I started to lose who I was.

It was like I was living in a dream.

But now I’m awake, and to mix all the metaphors, I feel like I’m in the sun, like I’m out of the boiling water, like I can see clearly, and most wonderfully, I know who I am again. I didn’t lose my personality. I am still me.

I wrote a love letter to myself this morning to help me understand again who I am. The beginning of the letter goes like this:

Dear Sarah,

You’re struggling to figure out who you are lately. If someone asked you, “Who are you?”, you’re not sure how you would answer. That’s okay. Let’s see if I can help.

First, you are loved and chosen and seen and known by God, who is your Father and who loves you with a faithful, steadfast, pure love. You are His daughter and He knows every intricate piece of your heart and soul and mind. What you don’t know, He knows. What you don’t see, He sees. Where you feel lost and confused, He is sure. So the first thing, dear Sarah, is that you are a loved and known daughter of the God of the universe.

I’m not advocating medication on a whim, I’m just telling you that I am better. Something was wrong, but now it’s right. That’s all I know.

I also know that my mother struggled with depression, so maybe there is some genetic stuff going on. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m writing a book about the redemption of humanity and the thread through it is the story of my mom and I and the crazy, complicated, hardness of it all. Our story is messy and sad and confusing and nothing short of miraculous. Maybe it’s that my hormones adjusted my brain or that this human body is just not perfect here on earth.

All I know is that I was blind but now I see. And I give God all the glory.

If you’re boiling, or if you don’t even know you’re boiling but you know something is off, I want to encourage you in a two specific ways that two different friends encouraged me:

1.) It’s okay to put everything on the table.

Anything can be put on he table for discussion, whether it’s homes to buy, educating our children, any big life decision, there is nothing wrong with putting it on the table.

And in that putting in on the table, we lay our hands open knowing and trusting and believing that He is faithful and He guides.

2.) Maybe you don’t have to live like this.

Maybe you don’t have to boil. Maybe God is calling you out to the light. He wants obedience over sacrifice. But the real point I’m trying to make here is this: God loves you and He wants you to live in the light. This doesn’t mean you won’t ever suffer or be in hellish circumstances. What it means is that there’s an inner peace, an inner light, an inner joy that can never be taken away, and sometimes we need outside help to find that joy again. And that’s okay.

The paradox for the Christian is that while we may suffer, we can also experience great joy. And we are free to get help.

The Scripture at the top of this post affirms that God understands our human hearts, and how we need light and joy and goodness to keep on. Here’s another version of that verse that I just love:

The light of the eyes rejoices the inner man, the heart, and good news takes away the ashes.

We have a God who sees us and loves us and helps us and takes away the ashes.

Lord, would you search our hearts and know our hearts; test us and know our anxious thoughts. Show us anything in us that is offensive or hurtful. Unfold freedom for us, bind up our wounds and heal our broken hearts, and lead us in the everlasting way. Amen. (Psalm 139:23,24, Psalm 147:3)

Love, Sarah Mae

P.S. Try writing a love letter to yourself. I know it’s weird, I acknowledge that, but it’s also helpful and kind.

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  • Dillon

    Yes! I have had the same experience. I tried in therapy for so many years, thinking, “I’ll try this before I try medication.” How I wish I known that my brain needed the support of medicine. College would have been different, so much would have been different if I had received real treatment earlier. “Dysthymia” (mild, chronic depression) still is depression, and it made it so hard for me — the anxious thoughts, the beating myself up. I really appreciate the work of Peter D. Kramer, which I discovered only after I got on an adequate dose of medication and started to feel better. Against Depression is a very important book, highly recommended! Keep telling your story, Sarah Mae, it is really important!

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Thank you for the recommendation!

  • Charise McNutt

    I am so proud of you Sarah. Proud of you for being raw and honest and sharing truth. Keep pressing on and up closer to the Father. You are a treasure!!

  • Alicia S.

    You know, yesterday morning at my house was rough, with a lot of other people’s attitudes and expectations and frustrations to deal with. And then I wonder why today I feel like crying, and why tension has crawled up my neck and started to pound on my head!

    I think we forget that our body, mind, and soul are all interconnected, and what happens in one part can affect (good or bad) the other parts. Unpacking past experiences can be hard, especially when there’s more there than you realized – more frustrations, more awareness, more sorrow.

    I’m praying that you continually see the joy of the Lord, that He continually gives you a ridiculously wonderful freedom no matter what else is going on. I pray that He always reminds you and brings you delightful gifts that make you smile, laugh,sing. I especially hope He sends you laughter!

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Thank you!

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