This may be the last post of this kind. The last of my more introspective personal type views into my life. Who knows? I might start another blog, with all my abundance of time, where I have these moments of refection....but for now I'm going in a bit of a different direction.
But before I change. Before I give you fashion tips that will rock your socks off. Before I start guiding you on a path of a living a more earth friendly lifestyle. Before we explore cities and vacation spots that make us swoon. I wanted to leave you with this.
Praise and Coffee magazine
asked if I would share the "rest of the story"
. Well, at least what I could say in 1000 words. There are still so many untold facets. Pieces and parts that may never make sense. Dark places left unvisited. But if by sharing my story one of you feels SOMETHING, then it was worth exposing my underbelly to you.
Depression is real. It is awful. It is life changing. It sucks. If you feel like it's drawing you in, get help! But never, ever feel like you are alone. Or that it makes you less of a human. It cannot define you. Don't let it. It does not define me...nor will it ever.
I am Creative. Lighthearted. Witty. Compassionate. Loyal. Fiercely protective. And often Goofy. You can define me by my boots, or my tattoos, or my purple hair. But my depression? Never.
Depression. It is a strange and ugly beast. Well disguised,
it chooses its victims carefully. Even victims too young to understand. The
thoughtful child. The creative child. One always considered too sensitive. One
who bears the weight of the world more heavily than another.
It can begin with the girl sitting at her desk…9 years old…
wondering why her thighs seem so large. Even though they are not. Or why her
face is not perfect like her friends. Even though it is.
It makes thoughts wander and go places into deep recesses of
the mind even most adults dare not travel. It seeks to gain a foothold. To find
a place to fester, with a plan to create havoc later in life.
No one is immune from its attack. Not even the girl from the
stable home. Well loved. Lover of Jesus. Even she is no match for the attack of
THIS beast. An invisible assailant seeking to destroy from within.
That girl is me.
From a very young age, I found myself very content to be
alone. My creative mind would wander to mysterious places, dreaming fantastic
dreams, and inventing countless gadgets. But that same creative mind full of
color of beauty would often wander to places dark with fear. Places that made
me hate myself and feel so very alone.
Distracted by sports and the 80’s my small bouts with
depression went unnoticed, undiagnosed…written off as moodiness or teenage
discontent. And even though it felt like so much more to me, I agreed with
those older and wiser.
Sometimes the weight I felt was almost unbearable. My mind
would race. I wanted to crawl out of my skin. I wanted to scream. I’d cry out
to God and hear nothing. That’s when the first thoughts of suicide crossed my
mind. Not so much as thoughts as, little scenes that would quickly, visibly,
play out in my mind. Then they would disappear. I didn’t dwell there. The beast
wasn’t ready. Not yet.
College. A fresh start. A new beginning. Maybe this is where
I would find myself. Find others like me. Maybe here I would not feel so alone.
But again. Feelings of inadequacy haunted my dreams. Shattered ideals of
perfection fell all around me. I would never be as talented, never be as
beautiful. Never be wanted. The beast stirred.
By now I had dismissed the God who loves me. Dismissed…not
rejected. How could He love a girl like me. It seemed as if even He had rejected
me. He would not hear my silent cries. He would not answer my countless
prayers. Where was He?
I married. Against all better judgment. Against everything I
knew in my heart. But I just did not want to be alone. This man loved me, or so
I thought. I believed this might be the answer. Maybe now I would feel
complete. I was wrong. And the beast began to laugh, knowing he was gaining
But he was wrong for now. Alone again. I searched for
answers. I searched for help. I searched for meaning. And Jesus was there. He
was waiting for me. Waiting for me to see he had been there all along. Waiting
for me to really give all of myself to him. To let him tell me how much I am
worth. And I fell into his arms. It was beautiful.
I married again. My soul mate, my best friend. HE loved me
for me, imperfections and all. My new husband left the corporate world to
pursue full time music ministry. I became a pastor’s wife and a new mom, so
much change. Soon after we were blessed with a second child and then a third!
After our Isabel was born, I just couldn’t seem to “get on top of life
again”. Strangely enough my doctor
recommended anti-depressants, “maybe you have a touch of post-partum”, he said.
Frightened and confused I agreed to try them. They helped.
We moved. Child number four was on the way. Working full
time from home, raising our children, and trying to be the “perfect” wife. Too
busy to see the signs that the beast was scheming, planning. Too overwhelmed to
recognize them. Too scared to let anyone know that it even existed within me. I
plugged on. What else could I do? I was strong. I was capable. I had no choice.
Another move. Back home to Michigan to plant a church. Here
we faced a life altering, mind boggling disaster and the beast had his
foothold. When you have given your life to full time ministry and receive such
rejection from the very church you serve, the hurt runs very deep. After years
of consuming anti depressants to numb the pain, they simply stopped working.
The desperate feeling was swallowing me. My marriage was
failing. I was failing as a mother. The walls began to crumble. I knew I needed
to get help.
But the beast fought back. Every forward step I took, he
would use his onslaught of weaponry collected over the years against me. I was
tormented in my dreams. I was tormented in my awake time. I was fighting for my
life. And devil himself was fighting for my soul. The evil darkness was so
real, so thick. I felt helpless and terrified.
This was several years ago now. The journey was VERY long,
and difficult and emotional. Not just for me, but for everyone around me. When
I painfully look back I can hardly believe that WAS me. I felt absent from my
body. I felt so very alone. I WAS determined to beat this very real thing that
threatened to take over my life. Or worse...to take my life.
Daily thoughts of suicide consumed me. I planned everything.
Then I would scream out to God to save me from myself...but I thought He wasn't
listening. He was. He would give me glimmers of hope. Something to grasp onto
and snap me back to reality.
Slowly I began to realize He was holding me in the palm of
His hand. I was not alone. He was fighting for me. I belonged to Him and He
would not let me go. I needed a reminder. I wanted to be reassured. I did not
want to do something foolish out of desperation; I would not let this beast
rule me. So I gave myself a reminder. A permanent one.
A tattoo, in Hebrew, on my wrist…. CHILD OF GOD. Because I
AM a daughter of the King. He created me. He cares for me. Even if NO ONE else
does. And EVERY time I see my tattoo I feel that reassurance.
My story does not end there; in fact it is just the
beginning. I am so much stronger now. The beast is still there. And every so
often it will raise its ugly head. I can feel it. Taunting me. Dragging me down
in my thoughts. Telling me I’m not enough.
But it’s a lie.
I am a metal smith. I make jewelry. I now design pieces for
others to help them fight the beast. Visible reminders that they are a “child
of God” and that they are, in fact, Enough.
That is my passion, that is my
ministry. Maybe you need a reminder that you belong to someone greater than the
world. The only one who will be there when the rest of the world turns its
Your life is precious. Sacred.
Do you know whose you are?
Labels: child of God, custom handcrafted jewelry, depression, enough, hand stamped jewelry, handmade jewelry, HOPE, lisa lehman, lisa lehmann, praise and coffee, sterling silver rings, studio jewel, studiojewel, tattoo