I suffered from severe depression for many years, instigated initially by the death of my brother father and grand parents in an accident at the age of 14. I was filled with fear; fear that fermented into to gut wrenching rage and ultimately a life of suffering. I turned from a gentle caring teenager into a self-destructive young adult and many judged my behaviour and gave up on me as I bounced from hospital to hospital, with no apparent cure in sight. I was tormented by the soul screaming tortuous blackness of a deep depressive .Our minds are effectively the control centres of our body and when flooded with futility everything we try to do becomes drenched by that despair.
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7(J.B Philips)
My depression became compounded by guilt and self- blame at my destructive life style and the concept of forgiveness and redemption was much like trying to grasp a slippery fish with oily hands. It takes a determined act of will not only to accept a gift that you feel you don’t deserve but to then go on to live a life of joy without guilt. To become a new creation you need to be prepared to let go of the old life. Jesus gave us life so we could be people who are ‘eager and enthusiastic’ about living a beneficial life (Titus 2; 14). How on earth could I be enthusiastic when bogged down by such guilt and shame? So how was I able to make that seemingly impossible leap from self- destructive young depressive to functioning follower of Christ? Well not without His Hands uplifting me, that’s for sure! As I look back at that time twenty years ago I can still see the face of each helping Christian vividly. It was their proactive gentle non- judgemental response that finally lifted my self limiting depression and filled me with a hunger to follow Christ more fully.
“In the same way, let your light shine before other, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
It also illustrated one thing very clearly to me. Each of us makes up the Body of the Church and Christ needs all of us to do His work, even when our actions seem small and insignificant. After all it only takes a tiny drop of perfume to leave a lingering scent. Fortified by His Love I then become a successful special needs teacher ,working for years with very vulnerable children, often with challenging behaviour themselves. (They say it takes one to know one!). I suffered a severe spinal cord injury in 2009, which literally stopped me in my tracks and left me physically challenged. However I still try to reflect His love as best as I can, the compassion I witnessed all those years ago. Today Tony is temporarily residing with my son and I. He had experienced domestic abuse, was emotionally distraught and in need of much support and a safe sanctuary. Was I delighted to share my home? I’m afraid not! My son was undergoing a very gruelling training with the police, my elderly mum has dementia and my painful disability often left me exhausted. Was I afraid to be His Hands? Terrified to be honest! It would have been so easy to offer my prayers and sneak back home, yet I felt compelled to follow His call. The result? I have been richly rewarded in so many ways for my efforts. Despite my fears I am reminded that truly nothing is impossible with Christ!
“But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”” Matthew 19; 26
Tony’s courage to face his fears has been inspirational. Best of all he has witnessed my disability struggles and is curious by my apparent strength. I have the opportunity to show Tony first hand what it means to be a Christian. He knows that I pray for him daily and has experienced moments of real peace in hard times. As I help Tony today, a Christian stranger also offered my son a free home too, so that he could study at Police College without travelling the gruelling four hours a day. As I feebly stretched out my hands, another caught my son in his time of need!
Each of us carries the unmistakeable scent of Christ (2 Corinthians 15).
All we have to do is unscrew the perfume top!