For He performs what is appointed for me...I was not cut off from the darkness, and He did not hide deep darkness from my face. Job 23:14,17
On January 22, 2012, I went missing. I went missing because I had awakened that morning
with a sense of dread. I thought something terrible was going to occur so I had to get to a safe
place. I left my house and literally ran for my life. I came across a building where a side door had
been left opened. I went down a hall, turned right and came upon a room where its door had been
left opened. I entered the room and shut the door behind me. I stayed there until I was discovered
by a worker the next morning. When he found me, he thought I was dead because I was dead still
on the floor. I woke up and found that I was surrounded by law enforcement and EMT. I was in
such a confused mental state, I did not even know my own name. I was transported to the
hospital where tests were run. I was fed breakfast and one of the nurses was a member of
Calvary Baptist Church where I was a member at the time and she prayed for me. I stayed at the
hospital until I told them I was ready to go home. After leaving the hospital, I made the decision
to go to Alabama with my Daddy. I knew I would be safe there. What was to be a short visit
turned into a nine month stay. I was hospitalized at Southeast Alabama Medical Center in Dothan
Alabama for seven days. I was diagnosed with Major Depression with Psychotic Features. The
word “depressed” literally means “pressed down”, that is, not up to your usual bounce. Psychotic
has always been a scary word to me because I always associate it with criminals. The word
“psychotic” means I was affected by psychosis and that word means a loss of touch with reality.
I had some false beliefs about what was happening around me. Now, you may wondering how
did I get to such a state of mind. Modern day science has discovered that some people’s brains
simply do not have the capacity to recover from the biological effects of stress and crisis. This in
turn literally shrinks a part of the brain that controls feelings.
The cause of depression is rooted in brain chemistry. The chemicals necessary to maintain
this particular area of the brain are not sufficient. As a result, one’s mood is affected, and de-
pression eventually can set in. Genetics has a strong impact on a person’s tendency to become
I was placed on medication and started acting like my old self. It looked to be that I was on
the road to recovery. Not so. In March, I had a relapse, was hospitalized again for seven days.
This time I was placed on two different medications but I did not return to my old self. I would
have to wait twenty-one months for that to happen. It would be three months before I could even
laugh or smile. You see, I could not just “snap out of” depression.
One night before my relapse, I had looked into the mirror and told myself I did not belong to
God. Suddenly, everything spiritual had no meaning in my life. I could no longer pray or so I
thought. If I don’t belong to God then His Word is not for me so it would be many months before
I read the Bible again. How in the world was I going to make it in life if I didn’t belong to God?
Looking back, I now see that God had a plan all along. He would make sure I would hear His
Word. One particular week my aunt invited me to Neighbor Night at her place of worship. Her
place of worship is a Jewish synagogue-Temple Emanu-el. I decided to go because I had always
wanted to go to a Jewish synagogue. When I entered the sanctuary, it looked to me like the inside
of a church. There were pews set up like they are here at New Bethel except they have three
sections and the building is larger. Up on the stage was a pulpit off to the right. On the left was a
table with candles. And in the middle, at the back, was a cabinet. I would out later that they call it
an ark, where the Torah is kept. Needless to say, I was intrigued and little did I know Temple
Emanu-el would be my “spiritual home” for several months. I find it ironic that I had told myself
I did not belong to Godl, but as I sat in that Jewish house of worship, I could see Jesus in their
symbols of faith. God knew what I needed. I needed to hear His Word. During those precious
nights of worship, by the way Jews worship on Friday nights, God’s Word was a balm to my
hurting soul. He knew I would enjoy hearing it read in the original language of Hebrew. He knew
the music would eventually lift my spirit. I grew to appreciate the kindness I was shown. I was
a stranger and they welcomed me in
In October 2012 I was ready to return to Jesup. Before I left I attended temple for the last time
and one of the precious ladies I had grown to know-Roberta-told me I should stay and become
one of them. She wanted me to be a part of her Jewish family. I will always treasure those nights
I returned home to Jesup late October 2012. Only a handful of people knew I had returned.
I stayed away from church because I still believed I did not belong to God and I wasn’t going to
attend church and pretend I did. But, as we know, God has His mysterious ways and His timing
is always right. A few days before Christmas 2013, I went to the Post Office. Before I got out of
the car I saw a familiar face and realized he was a member of Calvary. I almost left the parking
lot because I was afraid to see him. I assumed I would get a lecture for being out of church. I
went in and fell in line behind the man and his wife. He turned around and spoke to me. I told
I had been back a while but had not been back to church yet. All he said was, “We miss you”.
I pondered those words for a couple of days and realized it wasn’t church I missed. It was God
I missed. A scripture was brought to my mind and as I pondered it, I slowly began to realize that
only the Holy Spirit brings scripture to remembrance and if the Holy Spirit has brought scripture
to my mind that means I do in fact belong to God! Just a couple of nights later I cried out to God
in prayer that I needed Him and the veil of darkness was removed from my mind. The Lord re-
turned my understanding back to me. You see, Jesus had been by my side the whole time. He sits
at the right hand of God the Father interceding for me. Romans 8:26 tells us, “Likewise the Spirit
also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the
Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” During those
dark days, when I could not pray for myself, Jesus and the Holy Spirit were praying on my be-
half. Also, a special group of faithful prayer warriors never forgot me for those twenty-one
months. When I reconnected with them it was a grand reunion. The interesting fact is we haven’t
met face to face. We all participate on an online Bible study and we are connected on Facebook.
I began making plans to return to Calvary Baptist Church and was looking forward to seeing
everyone after being away for two years. But, one afternoon, a thought came to me, “Go to New
Bethel”. I knew that was clear direction from the Lord for I had never considered attending
New Bethel. Tammy saw my post on Facebook and told me to call them so I did. Janie invited
me to the New Year Eve Service and I accepted the invitation. I’ve been at New Bethel ever
I no longer concern myself with why I had a mental breakdown. I remember what Job said
after his ordeal, “Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have declared
that which I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” (Job 42:3)
God doesn’t reveal his grand design. He reveals Himself. (Frederick Buechner Wishful Thinking)
After I emerged from the cave of darkness and depression, I realized I had learned four things:
1. I am dependent upon the One True Living God.
I was created for dependence, not independence.
2.God was with me in that deep dark cave of depression
No matter what a child of God goes through, they have the assurance that Jesus is always with
them. Hebrews 13:5 tells us, “...I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
3. I am loved.
But God demonstrated His own love toward Tammy, in that while she was still a sinner, Christ
died for her. Romans 5:8
If there is anyone here who does not know Jesus, He died for you too. If you will confess with
your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will
be saved. (Romans 10:9)
4. I am wanted.
Ephesians 1:4-6 tells me, “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that
we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as
sons and daughters by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will to the
praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”
Jesus told his disciples in John 15:16, “You did not choose me, but I chose you...”
I want to speak to those who live with depression. Listen to the words of a pastor who faced
his own battle with depression. Jesus understands our dark feelings, our doubt, our discourage-
ment, and yes, even our depression; and his desire is to help us. Sometimes, the help we need
might include professional counseling and antidepressant medications. After all, God created
the minds that created these medications, and it is not a sin take them if you truly need them.
If you are depressed, there is help for you. It is okay to admit it, and it is okay to get help. Life
will still have its ups and downs, but there are options for if the “downs” last for a long, long