Even in the Valley

I have been struggling again with depression.  I think the main problem is mental and emotional exhaustion.  I am frustrated because even though things have been tough, I have been doing so much better than I usually do in times of stress.  I have been staying in the Word, praying regularly, and practicing the presence of Christ.  I determined to limit my work time, but I made that decision when it was probably already too late.

Christy is in town and she and Katie brought the boys by school yesterday.  Katie had to tutor and then they were going to lunch.  They wanted me to come along, but I had a lecture to prepare and meetings after school, so there was no way for me to get away.  Matt came up to my room, too.  He hadn’t seen Christy yet and we talked and I cuddled Canaan while they waited for Katie to finish her tutoring.  Matt was talking about movies and Oscar nominations and he brought up Toy Story III.  He was describing the last scene where the boy teaches the little girl to play with his toys and I just lost it.  I had a hard time getting myself back under control.  A few minutes later Christy started talking about Homeward Bound, the old movie where the two dogs and the cat find their way home to their children.  I got started again, and this time it was even harder to stop.  I wasn’t really crying about the movies, sentimental though they might be.  I just don’t have any emotional margin.

Somehow I got through the rest of the day and the meetings, but I knew something had to give.  I decided to take a personal day on Friday.  That way I can spend time with Christy, Katie and all the boys in the morning when I am fresh.  This will also allow us to leave a bit early for Georgia and avoid the rush hour traffic in Charlotte.  This decision lifted my spirits slightly, but I still had to make it thorough today.

I awoke, read my scripture, and went through my morning routine dragging myself along. I got to school and sat down to write out my final plan for the day.  As I stared at the page of notebook paper, teaching seemed impossible.  How do you give when you feel completely empty?  I prayed, not really in desperation, but more in a sort of quiet, honesty.  I told God He was going to have to teach my classes today because I had nothing.  I felt different from the moment I finished.  It wasn’t up to me any more.  God was going to have to take over.  The pressure was off.

I wouldn’t say my classes today were the best or most brilliant I have ever taught, but they might have been the best ones this week. I enjoyed my students and we had some great discussions. I taught all day and then had a poetry competition in my room for a little more than an hour after school.  It was an exhausting day, but I made it.  Jesus carried me through.

I hate being depressed.  I don’t really understand why I struggle so much with these problems, but I am coming to believe that God’s strength is really made perfect in my weakness.  I’m willing to learn whatever He wants to teach me.  I like feeling positive and happy, but when I can’t, I’ll still trust.  This is new.  I used to get angry with God and feel like He had abandoned me when I was in the pits.  This is better.  Now I know by experience that God is good all the time, even in the valley.

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2 Responses to Even in the Valley

  1. Sue Lee says:

    Dear Leslie,

    You are such an inspiration! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!

    Sue Lee


  2. DorothY says:

    I think and pray for you often.


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