5 lessons that made it all worthwhile

Steve-1painting the house was a great distraction Sometime in August last year the wheels came off the wagon.

I have a history of depression but I can ‘manage’ it and keep functioning until the cloud lifts. Not this time.

I found myself in a very dark and frightening place, not knowing if I would ever climb out of it.

If “10” is the best you could ever be and “1” is the worst you could imagine, I was a “2”.

In August and September I hit rock bottom. In October, November, December and some of January I hung on as best I could as things slowly began to improve. Painting the house was a great distraction.

It’s been quite a ride. And now I’m through it.

Here’s what I learnt. . .

I am human. Tragedy, sickness, death and disappointment are part of life in a broken world. They aren’t the whole story but they are a recurring theme. One of the surprises during this time was the number of high capacity leaders I talked to who had been or were going through a similar struggle.

I am not alone. Michelle was amazing. She never lost faith in me and supported me throughout the whole time. Leaders and friends at our local church went out of their way to encourage and support. So many of the leaders around Australia and beyond left me in no doubt that I would rebound. The my Board stood by me and allowed me the time I needed to recover.

I need help. God brought two excellent Christian professionals into my life to help me wrestle with the issues, find the right medical treatment and to discover God’s agenda.

I can trust God. The book of Job became a constant companion. It’s as though I discovered it for the first time. With Job I poured out my heart to God in bewilderment and confusion. Like Job there were no “answers” or at least not the ones I wanted. God didn’t rescue me, at least not in the way I wanted. I had a strong sense of abandonment and yet somehow I clung to God and trusted that he is faithful and just. Like Job I met God in the darkness and that was enough for me. It was more than enough.

I have a future. One of the scariest aspects was the overwhelming belief that my life was over. I felt a failure and the future looked bleak. I remember walking into a hardware store and thinking, “Maybe I could get a job here.”

Yet in the midst of this gloom God was doing amazing things not just in me but in the advance of our ministry here and overseas. When I was at my weakest, God’s strength was revealed.

Of course my battle with depression probably will continue in the future. But something has changed in me through these last six months. I am deeply convinced of God’s love and ultimate victory over whatever oppresses us. I know that Jesus was no stranger to suffering and weakness and yet he reigns triumphant. I know that God has his hand on my life and our ministry and he is going to do things that will take our breath away.