I was born into a long line of women drowning in depressive illness. This was passed on to me, not on purpose of course. The brutal wounds of life and the brokenness of genetics seemed to doom me to this curse as well. The voice of the enemy started very, very early in my life, whispering words of unlovability, insignificance, shame, defeat, ugliness, hopelessness, accusation and condemnation constantly in my ear. Though I was raised to believe in God and told that He loved me, I could never truly accept that love, that unconditional, everlasting love as real for me. In theory, I knew that His love was for all of us because I am part of humanity, but I could not bring myself to believe that His love and grace were for me as an individual. I worked to earn His favor, that seemed always beyond my reach. I could never measure up. In my mind I could never be pleasing enough in His sight. Later, when someone miraculously wanted to marry me and we had children, I would sing "Jesus loves me" to them, never using the word "me", only "you." I knew that He loved them. I couldn't prove that He loved me though. I was a complete mess, after all, so how could He? He had never said it directly to me, right? So I continued to carry my wounds around and isolate myself in my unworthiness. I seemed probably fine, though just "quiet", on the outside, but on the inside, I felt unworthy to even live. I see now that I have been depressed my whole life, though "functional". Last summer that started to change though. I started drowning in my stress. I felt completely unloved, completely worthless, completely hopeless. I became unable to eat, unable to sleep, unable to concentrate or think clearly, unable to go to work anymore, unable to tolerate noise and crowds. I was completely consumed with anxiety and could no longer function. Though it went against my "nature", I confided in a few Godly friends. If I had not done that because of His grace and mercy, I would not be here today. They prayed for and with me. They loved me. They encouraged me to get help. I was in the pit of despair and I found myself hospitalized in September. I was in complete ruins, but I see that I needed to be torn down and rebuilt. My whole way of thinking and believing had to be reshaped. It has been a long, painful process that is still not over. It is now about ten months that I have been unable to return to work. I have been very impatient with myself. It has been an intense, never-ending war. But he is putting me back together. He is bringing me to life. He is giving me an appreciation for small pleasures, and for even the breath I breathe. He has put people in my path to tell me SPECIFICALLY that he loves ME. He has sent His people to walk with me. I know that He will one day set me completely free. A couple of weeks ago I felt myself sliding back into that pit, and started to isolate myself, as had been my pattern. I was about to be sent back to the hospital. But God helped me to tell people that I was falling. I was an exhausted warrior. I could not fight anymore. So His people surrounded me. They held me up in prayer and fought for me while I was too tired. I felt their prayers with me, because His presence was with me. I have begun to overcome that battle. He is still showing me of His love. One such evidence of that love: Some land that we have in Germany finally sold last week, and the money we just received replaces what I would have earned in a year of being out of work. He is restoring. He is renewing. And He can do it for you. And He will do it for you. Never let the enemy isolate you from the body of Christ. Let others battle with you, weep with you, rejoice with you. We are not truly whole unless we are in Him and in communion with His people.