Pink Bikes, Birthday Parties, and Depression: Lessons from a 3-Year-Old

Guest blog by Heidi (Schwarz) Sadler heidiprofile-300x221

Because we have multiple medical appointments this week, our daughter, Heidi Beth Sadler, has agreed to share her blog with us here. Heidi  is a musician, writer, and cat lover in Portland, OR. Visit her on Facebook or chasingebenezer.com

Depression sucks. A lot of you know this firsthand. Personally, I’ve been walking through serious depression for some time (I’d suggest you go back and read my previous blog, Loved in Depression?). I’m glad to report that while I’m still working through it, things are much better. It’s certainly not been a quick fix. Some situations are fixed instantly, but sometimes the slow, holistic method is required. The benefit is that I’ve received some beautiful gifts on this healing path that I hope encourage you on whatever arduous path you might be traveling today.

The Soul

Whimsy. It’s not a word we use very often. We’re so focused on technology and science that the idea of mystery and childlike wonder is hard to come by. Well, over the past six months, there is a special little girl who has taught me so much about whimsy and joy and wholehearted living. She’s modeled better than many adults what it means to wait with wonder and great expectancy, and that has brought healing to my heart. (Here’s a photo of my precious niece Mo and her curly little head next to Uncle Ben during a little recording time).

Mo turned three years old in April, and for the six months leading up to her birthday, she was waiting for the gift of a lifetime: a pink bike. Now, in adult terms, that may not seem very long, but for a 2.5-year-old, six months is an eternity.

But here’s what’s so cool about Little Mo. She didn’t just wait a long time for her pink bike; she waited with hope and expectancy. Every time you saw her before her birthday, her eyes would light up, she’d flash her contagious grin, and she’d tell you she was getting that pink bike. Not maybe. Not she sure hoped she would get it. Not what an awful time she was having as she waited in agony. No, Mo was sure her parents would get her that bike. And the fact that she can’t do math means she had no real idea of how long she was waiting. She simply trusted that the pink bike would come at the right time. What an amazing opportunity it was for us to be at her birthday party as my brother-in-law wheeled out the long-awaited pink bike and we bore witness to her joy in receiving it, along with an awesome helmet from her big brother.

As we age, we lose our ability to have childlike confidence in God and His promises. Pain can crush the soul. We lose whimsical joy in our mysterious Creator who has good plans for our future.

Watching Little Mo’s pink bike journey makes me long to be filled with an unexplainable hope that believes in impossible things. I long to wait with wonder. When I am full of wonder, my heart is full of hope.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.  Selah. Psalm 62:5-8 (ESV)

The Body

In addition to the soul healing, there’s been a physical component to all of this. This tender brain of mine just needed some help from my doctor. It comes in the form of a little anti-depressant pill I am so grateful to have. It might not be something I take forever, but right now, it’s just what I needed.

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also. For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away. Psalm 31:9-10 (ESV)

There seems to be a stigma around depression and medication, specifically in the church. Thoughts like, “I should be able to kick this,” or “If I was more spiritual, the depression would go away,” constantly bombard me. And while I am actively in the process of learning how to take hold of my thoughts and behaviors, medication has drastically improved my ability to function. It may not be for everyone, but if you struggle with depression, I’d encourage you to talk to your doctor. It’s made it easier to manage my emotions and learn to navigate the challenges of life with a much more even mood, which has been good for me and my community.

The Spiritual

One of the challenges of depression is the temptation to isolate. Thankfully, I’ve had some dear friends who’ve not let me go. They are people I can call if I am feeling tempted to harm myself or to give up. Their words and prayers don’t always bring an automatic change in feelings, but I can see that over time, their prayers of truth from Scripture have brought strength.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.      Ephesians 3:14b-19 (ESV)

Whether you believe in God or not, there are people out there who do, who believe we can talk to the Creator and are willing to pray for you. Contact me if you would like to be connected to such a prayerful person (see other resources below).

A Song for You

I hope that my little story brings you encouragement. My problems aren’t all fixed, but that doesn’t mean I need to wait to pursue beauty. It’s been good to write out this journey and see splashes of color throughout so much sorrow.

Here’s the link to Eyes, a song I wrote asking for a heart that expects miracles. That prayer never gets old. Maybe you be filled with faith, hope, love, and a little whimsy too. Peace to your body, soul, & spirit. ~Heidi Beth Sadler

Resources

If you or someone you love is struggling with depression/suicide, here are some resources that might be helpful. No matter what you’ve done or what’s been done to you, your life is worth it. My best advice: rip off the mask and tell someone. Don’t try to do this on your own. Know you are loved right where you are at.

Everyday Health (Depression Resources)

-American Foundation for Suicide Prevention/Suicide Hotline

*Disclaimer: Heidi Sadler is not a licensed professional. If you believe you are experiencing a mental or physical crisis, please contact emergency services.

Text/Photos are the sole property of Heidi Sadler and/or Rebecca Schnable, Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved. The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®). ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. The ESV® text has been reproduced in cooperation with and by permission of Good News Publishers. Unauthorized reproduction of this publication is prohibited. All rights reserved.

 

 

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