Age & Stage
There is power in verses of the Bible that speak to depression.
The lady behind the checkout counter carefully placed my change into my palm. I could see suspicion in her eyes. Enunciating her words in a low tone she said, “I would say thank you, but I’m afraid you would bite my head off.” I had not uttered a single word. Apparently, I didn’t have to. My countenance was shouting at everyone around me, step back, there’s a storm brewing! The dark cloud I was under was clearly visible, even to strangers. Stunned at her assessment of me, I grabbed my groceries and dashed out the door.
That encounter left me shaking my head all the way home. As far as I was concerned, I was just in a quiet, albeit solemn mood. In reality, it was my first encounter with postpartum depression.
As soon as I stepped in the door I dropped my groceries on the kitchen table, and went over to my sleeping newborn. Scooping her up into my arms, I held her tight and began waltzing her around the living room. In that moment, I clung to two things: my precious newborn and my heavenly Father. As I slow-danced with my baby girl, I began to hum in worship and praise, suddenly I was filled with gratitude for her sweet breath and chubby-cheeks.
Parenthood is a beautiful journey. And yet, when dealing with any kind of depression alongside young children, it can feel overwhelming. Using Bible verses, when fighting depression can provide a beacon of hope, guidance, and comfort. The Bible is not silent on the topic of depression. Let’s look at some of the more helpful Bible verses for depression.
Depression is often a misunderstood condition. As parents, depression can compound our everyday struggles, causing a sense of isolation. When that happens, remember, experiencing depression does not indicate weakness or lack of faith.
You are not alone. Many of God’s people, including King David, Elijah, and Jeremiah, faced periods of profound despair. Let’s delve into the power of these Bible verses on depression, and bring them into our own lives.
Deuteronomy 31:8: “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
This reassures us that God is always with us, even in our darkest hours. We are reminded that we are never truly alone in our struggles.
Psalm 34:17-18: “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
Even in times of profound sadness, or grief, God hears our cries. Not only does He hear us, but He draws nearer to us. This has been a passage that I have held onto in some of my darkest hours.
Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Maybe even more so, as parents dealing with depression, this invitation from Jesus brings tremendous relief, if we accept it. It reassures us that Christ understands what we are going through, that He does not add to the weight we carry, instead, He offers us His strength and rest.
Try incorporating these scriptures into your daily life. Meditating on these verses during times of prayer, posting them in places where you see them often, or saying them out loud as affirmations.
While turning to Bible verses for depression is an important spiritual practice, it’s wise to pair this with practical actions.
We are spiritual beings, made in the image of God, to commune with Him. Nonetheless, we are in physical bodies that we can not neglect. Here are some practical steps you can take to help manage depression.
Establish Routine: Structure can provide a sense of control and normalcy for both you and your children. Try to maintain consistent mealtimes, bedtimes, and other daily activities.
Practice Self-care: As parents, we often prioritize our children’s needs above ours. Mothers are particularly guilty of this. But remember, taking care of your physical and mental health is crucial. Try to make time for activities that relax and recharge you. You will be giving your children the best version of you if you do.
Connect with Others: Reach out to friends, family, or support groups. Sharing your experiences can relieve feelings of isolation and provide practical help. You might be surprised how many others have experienced the same thing. Don’t discount the value of a empathic friend.
Seek Professional Help: Depression can be a serious condition, and it’s essential to know when to seek help from mental health professionals. They can provide necessary therapies and treatments, and also offer strategies for managing depression while effectively parenting.
Stay Active with Your Children: Engage in physical activities with your kids. Whether it’s a walk in the park or a game of catch, or waltzing around the living room, these activities can boost everyone’s mood.
Be Honest with Your Kids: Age-appropriately explain your feelings to your children. It can help them understand your situation and can also teach them empathy and emotional understanding–two valuable life skills.
Remember Psalm: 42-11: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”
While you may not feel like singing and dancing, especially with children clinging to your knees, or begging for another cracker, praise and worship opens a weary heart to His guidance.
Being a mom or dad is a full-time job. Finding time for personal spiritual practices such as reading your Bible and meditation can feel like an insurmountable task under the weight of depression. Yet, these moments of quiet reflection can be a healing salve to your soul.
If you’re finding it challenging to set aside time for these practices, you’re not alone. However, the beauty of faith is that it’s not confined to specific times or places. God’s presence and the wisdom of His Word can be sought and found in the everyday moments of life.
1. Start Small: Don’t put pressure on yourself to spend hours in prayer or meditation. Even a few minutes each day can have a significant impact on your mood and outlook.
2. Choose a Regular Time: Having a set time each day for scripture reading or meditation can help make it a habit. It could be first thing in the morning, during the children’s nap time, or just before bed.
3. Use Technology: There are numerous apps and online resources that offer daily Bible verses, reflections, and meditations on Scripture. These can be especially useful during those times when you’re feeling particularly low or overwhelmed.
4. Involve Your Children: If your children are old enough, involve them in your scripture reading time. This can be a bonding time for your family and a practice they can take with them into adulthood .
5. Short but Sweet: Focus on a single verse or passage. Reflect on it throughout the day, turning it over in your mind. A verse that particularly speaks to us as parents as we look at the problems of the world we are raising our children in, rather than dwelling on the evil, we can cling to Psalm 46:1-2: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea.”
6. Seek Grace, Not Perfection: Remember that your worth is not based on how often or how long you read the Bible or meditate. God’s love for you is unchanging and not dependent on your actions.
7. Pray: Prayer is simply a conversation with God. Tell Him your struggles, your fears, and your needs. You don’t need fancy words; just speak from your heart.
Remember, depression is a formidable opponent, but it doesn’t diminish your value as a parent or a child of God. The Bible tells us in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The journey of parenthood while dealing with depression, whether it is postpartum, or grief, can be daunting. Please know, you are not alone. Your struggles are seen, understood, and there is help available. Parenting with all its highs and lows, is held in the hands of our loving God. Your faith, resilience, and love for your children are a testament to the strength God the Father, gives you every day.
©2023 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.
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