Life presents us with moments of decision—crossroads where we either choose a new direction and move on, or cling to what we already have and be miserable.” – Mary Buchan, Over it: How to Live Above Your Circumstances and Beyond Yourself.
You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: “‘these people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthews 15:7)
After my dad’s burial, I was not sure what the future held for me. I was confused, frustrated and disappointed. In search of some identity, I made both bad and good decisions. I lived a hypocrite life for a long time. I looked okay on the outside but was lost inside- spiritually. I rebelled against God, I went to church on Sundays but on Monday to Saturday I did not have any relationship with God. I was mad at God for being an orphan. I went to clubs on Saturday night and be in church on Sunday morning singing in choir and active in youth activities. I went for youth camps and was active in youth activities, displaying a spiritual life but lost within. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside, you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness (Matthew 23:28). I doubted my relationship with God. I am grateful that I did not try social drugs, as this was readily available. Dad always told me that I should not be the first to smoke or drink in his family. He would remind me how my grandfather used to behavior when drunk. My home area is well known for smoking weed and it took an extra discipline to avoid smoking. My paternal uncles and aunties never smoked or drunk alcohol; this was my grandmother’s pride in the community.
I did not see any sin in my lifestyle since the religious relatives and friends seem to live the same lifestyle. I saw them live a different life from what they preach. I stopped reading the bible and went to church as an obligation. I had to prove that I was strong yet I was not sure about God’s love at all. It was sad to hear from the religious people tell me that I should be not worry since I am Christian. It was exhausting to live double life and depression set in. Everyone has a spiritual identity – either a child of God or the devil. Often, men identify themselves with what they do but women by their relationship. I had lost my dad and now losing a relationship with my Maker God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister (1 John 3:10). Relationship with God is a daily thing, our identity in Christ is a treasure but unless it becomes dominant in our thinking, we are stuck in the impossible of living right. Thus, others see us as hypocrites trying to act out the role of Christianity-failing to do what we say.
Depression is painful and sometimes so hard to describe. I refused to hope for anything good in my life because I was afraid to be hurt. I expected people to disappoint me and they did. Proverb 23:7 says, For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee. I was miserable inside but looked strong and composed to my family and friends. I told them what they wanted to hear and even lead bible discussions. Depression is real and Christians should not think that it happens to non-Christians only. I gave up on life and did not see the need to do extra studies. In school, I encouraged my friends to do extra studying and even woke them up in the morning to study but I would go back to sleep. I did well in my ‘O’ levels but not in ‘A’ levels. I actually think it’s because dad died the year I did my O levels and by then I was still in denial and still had some hope. I did not work hard for good grades in ‘A’ level. Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows (Galatians 6:7). I wished for death, but at the same time I was scared to die. I wished the earth would just open up and swallow me. One day while in school, I was feeling so low and crying. I told my girlfriend about wanting to die. She looked at me in the eye and said.
“Mary, if you really want to see your parents again then you must change your thinking. Go back to God”.
“I can’t….” I cried out.
I wondered how I go back to God who has taken my parents from me. No relative is visiting, or writing to me. My friend was really patient with me. She reminded me of the ways dad told me that relatives and friends will let me down but God will not. There were lonely days when friends talked about their parents and siblings but I did not have anyone to talk about. I wished for a sibling and wished my step mum would like me. Once in a while I would look back to what God had done for me and praise Him. What Satan meant for harm, God intended for good. God can use the bad experiences and turn them into something good. I lived with people who influenced my life. I learnt things like setting a table for a three-course meal, preparing for parties, good grooming, cooking and travelled to different countries, most important I have made friends who have stuck closer than family. There are friends who pretend to be friends, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverb 18:24). All things work together for good for those who love God. I had to change my attitude towards life. I am not always happy but whenever I am down; I count my blessings, I know God will never forsake me. Depression does not have to rule my life. No matter what I am going through, God is ready and willing to help me take my pain and turn it into something fruitful. My hope in found in Christ alone. My friend who helped me through the grieving process is still a true friend. She is my sister and we share our life secrets, happy and mourn together.