by Caitlin Craft
My life was flat, gray and numb; there was no color, no joy, no hope. For years I was trapped in self-harm, living every moment of every day seeking relief for my deep despair and shame. Some momentary relief could be found at the end of a blade. With every cut and burn, I felt less and less, losing who I really was. My identity was placed on my sin and my name was “Caitlin, the cutter.”
But God is faithful! After years of struggle with the blade and the desire, I was brought to a place of complete brokenness. I saw that what I had searched for, what I used to fill me never would, but God could. God could take my pain, my heartache and my sin. He cleansed me, refreshed me and brought me from death into life. Not only life, but life abundantly—I could feel again in a whole new way! I could laugh and experience joy.
I felt peace for the first time. I felt like a person, growing, healing and becoming whole. I felt God’s presence, His love and His comfort over the shame.
This new life came by God’s grace, but required action on my part. I found victory when I took my thoughts captive, when I cried out to God, confessed my sins and found new ways to face and express the deep pain inside.
Here are some tools for your journey:
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
Resources that I've found helpful:
Hope & Help for Self Injurers and Cutters by Mark Shaw
Relief without Cutting by Amy Baker
Self-Injury: When Pain Feels Good (Resources for Changing Lives) by Edward Welch
X-ray Questions: Drawing Out the Whys and Wherefores of Human Behavior by Dr. David Powlison from the Journal of Biblical Counseling. Volume 18. Number 1. 1999 (Google “X-ray Questions”)
13 Reasons Why Not by Matt Mizell
By Sara Ghormley
I have suffered from depression and suicidal thinking since I was a teenager and didn’t really know why. I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression in my 20’s and continued treatment (including talk therapy and medication) on and off for the next 15 years. One psychiatrist gave me a “life sentence:” I would always suffer cyclical episodes of severe depression and would always be on medication. I thought I was doomed to live as a “lesser” Christian who didn’t get to have joy and peace because of my mental illness and troubled history.
Thankfully, that’s not how my story ends. And yours doesn’t have to, either.
I started biblical counseling six years ago and began a long, hard, but also wonderful, climb out of depression. Even better than being off all medication, I now live in the freedom Jesus Christ promised to us, His children. (Galatians 5:1) There is a way through the debilitating feelings of sadness and despair: God’s wisdom, encouragement, mercy, and love poured out through His Word. (Psalm 1:2-3)
There are many “on-ramps” to the freeway of depression, and whatever the cause may be, the Bible provides real hope for change and a new life of joy. The way out requires a willingness to see yourself and God differently and to take an honest look at where your “stinkin’ thinking” needs to change.
It is critical to understand:
1. Who you are in Christ—your value and position as a child of God. (Ephesians 1:3-10)
2. The power living inside you—the Holy Spirit, to change and live. (Ephesians 1:18-20)
3. The process of sanctification—God gently works out His plan in you. (Isaiah 61:1-3)
4. The role you play in God’s kingdom—to bless you and glorify Himself. (Ephesians 2:10)
I am so thankful that God is redeeming my life daily so I can help others see their way out of the darkness and into the hope that Jesus offers.