When I first became a mom, I was depressed because I believed the world’s lies. Lies that said I wasn’t good enough if I didn’t have a career. Lies that told me I was a loser if I didn’t pursue higher education and make a name for myself. Lies that said I was ill-equipped to raise my son and home-school him.
I knew I wasn’t happy, but I just chalked it up to an unfortunate bout of post-partum depression. Truthfully, after my experience, I do not discount the severity of post-partum depression, but I do believe that a focus on ourselves, instead of on God, more often than not leads to depression.
In this state of self-loathing and depression, I did and said things that were not in character with the woman God has called me to be.
The attitude I had taken on was not helpful to anyone in my life and it certainly wasn’t God’s best for me. I held up various things in life – achievements, reputation, work ethic, etc. – as higher than God, unwittingly setting up idols that kept me drifting further from Him.
But God, our Faithful Father, brought me back under His wing over the course of several years. Here’s how He did it.
God Broke Me of My Addiction to Social Media
I got addicted to social media when I was striving to become a professional blogger. Thoughts of gaining new Instagram followers consumed my thoughts every day for an entire year until one day, I was fed up. I was tired of feeling worse about myself and my blog every time I saw new pictures from another blogger. I didn’t want to open the Instagram app anymore.
So, I didn’t.
Months went by. And I got freer. I got more grounded. I started to see little joys in life that I had been missing that whole year I had spent on my phone. My relationship with my son grew. I started thinking of God more. Soon, I turned off all notifications permanently so that I would no longer be tempted to go down the Instagram rabbit hole.
I had missed out on a whole lot of growth in my son’s life that past year. I was there, but I wasn’t there. I felt like I was fulfilling my responsibility by being a stay-at-home mom and blogging on the side, but being a blogger felt much more important, so that’s what I focused on. I was focused on myself and my own goals, and it took a toll on my relationships.
Our behavior toward electronics is much like the behavior of an addict. We don’t know how out-of-touch we are until we unplug from our devices and take a look around. It takes weeks, even months, to get back to reality after being so distracted by our phones.
God Cured My Depression and Filled Me with New Joy
Don’t think our phones cause depression? Well, I never took medication to treat my low moods. I just removed one major part of my daily habits – hours of “working” on my social media presence. And the crazy thing is that after the phone addiction was gone, the depression was gone, too. I no longer had really low, depressed days.
God cured my depression and filled me with new joy in everything. I started to genuinely love being a mom. I started to take real joy in every task in every day, rather than feeling bitter that I had to do it all myself. I no longer felt so bitter that I was home alone with a child while my husband and everyone else in my family was out working on a career. In fact, I was able to truly support my husband the way a wife is called to.
God Gave me a Renewed Hunger for His Word
A few months after I started experiencing this new joy, God moved me to seek out fellowship with other believers. That’s about when a couple of my friends invited me to a Monday night bible study at their church. I was a little nervous about it – nervous to “commit” to a new group of church-goers I didn’t know. We’ve all had negative church experiences. I was afraid to open my heart to people who might let me down, who might hurt me.
But when I met these people, it was clear that they weren’t just “church people.” They spent time with God. My Spirit was bearing witness with their deep, abiding walks with God and it blessed me to see that — especially in a group of people who are even more busy than I am. Almost every couple in the bible study has more than three kids.
I could not make the excuse that I was “too busy” as a mom to really invest in my relationship with God. And the funny thing? I didn’t want to make that excuse anymore. I wanted to open my bible and grow in God.
God Showed Me the Power of Prayer and Praise
I was raised around prayer and praise my whole life, but I never knew what I was missing in actually experiencing its power. Sure, I’ve been brought to tears during worship service before, but God wanted to show me the actual “mountain-moving” power of prayer and praise. That’s just what He did.
James 1:5-6 tells us that when we need wisdom, we must ask God “with no doubting.” I’ve always struggled over this verse because of nagging questions:
“What if it isn’t God’s will?”
“What if it isn’t the right timing?”
I have almost been afraid of stepping out-of-bounds by asking God for something that it wasn’t in His will to grant. But God tells us He will answer our prayers. “Whatever you ask in My name, this I will do.” That’s John 14:13.
I started practicing the whole “no doubting” thing. With every prayer, I started to look for evidence that God was answering my requests. I started to wait expectantly for Him to answer my prayers.
And you know what? He did!
And when He did, I praised His name and glorified Him for it. Very quickly, my perspective on life began to change. Everything started to become clearer, because I was seeing things through God’s eyes.
Through all of this, God changed me. He rooted out some of the idols I had been entertaining in my heart above Him. He made me a better wife and mom — the kind of woman who is empowered by Jesus every day.
Of course, I need renewed teaching from God every single day. We all do. And I’m here to tell you that life is just too hard — too heartbreaking, too empty, too pointless — to do it without Jesus.
When I finally chose to get over myself and my silly ideas about how my life should be, God changed my attitude toward everything and equipped me to be the mom I’d always hoped I’d be. The mom I could never be without God.