My hardest choice ever was to let God back into my heart.
All through my childhood, I’d known that my Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ, love me. It was a conviction that carried me safely through the often-tempestuous adolescent years. I knew God’s love in the good times, like when I met my husband, and the bad times, like when I miscarried my first pregnancy. That fixed knowledge helped me find peace and direction. And so it went through unemployment, major surgery, under-employment, my firstborn being diagnosed with autism, another miscarriage, and watching the family I grew up in fall apart—God’s love was a constant that gave me strength, purpose, and hope.
Then, shortly after I weaned my second child, I was struck down by a major depressive episode. I knew that depression could strike anyone and that it was a medical disorder, but I also knew first-hand God’s healing power. From Him, I sought relief from this ailment. None came.
As I grew more desperate, I read the scriptures, I prayed, I attended the temple with intense purpose—all to no avail. I felt cut off from my Heavenly Father and from my Savior. I couldn’t receive the revelation I’d relied on throughout my life because the Spirit speaks to our hearts and minds—but my heart and mind both were broken by the depression. I was left in misery, suffering the emotional pains of spiritual death.
Eventually, I was able to see a psychiatrist who prescribed medication that did more to lift the darkness than all my prayers had. Though I was grateful for that partial relief, I also felt surprisingly angry. Are we not promised over and over that the Gospel brings peace to our hearts and that our Heavenly Father’s plan is one of happiness? So why could I get those things from a pill but not from Him? He lives—even in my darkest moments, I never doubted that—but I felt that for inexplicable reasons He had turned away from me.
The depression was turning out to be a life-long struggle. Then one day I realized I had a choice: I could go on feeling angry and abandoned, or I could repair my relationship with my Heavenly Father. Even though I still couldn’t entirely trust my emotions, I chose to reach out to Him.
I began daily scripture study and prayer again. And while I couldn’t go back to the way things were before the depression, I found that with God’s daily grace I could move forward in my faith journey.
It has taken me a long time, but I have come again to a place of surety. I know my Father lives. I know that He loves me enough to let me struggle through the lessons I need to learn. I know He trusts me enough to try my faith. Above all, I know that despite how I felt, the reality is my Savior had already experienced every moment of my despair, frustration, and anguish. I never was and never will be abandoned.
Location: Pleasant Grove, UT
Marital status: Married
Children: Two (ages 12 and 9)
Schools attended: Brigham Young University, Utah Valley University
Languages spoken at home: English
Favorite hymn: “How Firm A Foundation”