How often have you heard someone say, "I know what you're going through, I've been there", when you know that they have never experienced what you're facing. Empty, shallow words! When someone who has actually plumbed the depths of despair comes alongside you, you "know" that they understand what you're going through. There's a unique bonding of spirits. This has happened to me often and as recently as a couple of weeks ago, I sat down with a friend and realized that he knew exactly what I was battling.
Elizabeth Skoglund (see link on the right) has penned an extremely helpful book, "Bright Days, Dark Nights" in which she tackles subjects like depression, loneliness, anxiety and change. She quotes extensively from the writings of the great preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon who was no stranger to extended periods of dark depression. The following quote was illuminating and reassured me that when we go through the dark valleys, we are fitted and equipped to take the hands of others and lead them through when they face similar situations.
“I often feel very grateful to God that I have undergone fearful depressions of spirits. I know the borders of despair, and the horrible brink of that gulf of darkness into which my feet have almost gone; but hundreds of times I have been able to give a helpful grip to brethren and sisters who have come into that same condition, which grip I could never have given if I had not known their deep despondency. So I believe that the darkest and most dreadful experience of a child of God will help him to be a fisher of men if he will but follow Christ. Keep close to the Lord and He will make every step a blessing to you.” – Charles H. Spurgeon
Whatever the mountain that looms before you or the valley that you're struggling through, understand that a loving Father is walking every step with you and will use this "dark" time to enable you to help others. You are NOT alone! Take His hand and trust His heart.