by Kristin Bonham

This month on the Beautiful Blog, we are talking about Mind Games.  In other words, thoughts and emotions and how we as women deal with stress, fear, grief, depression, etc.  You will be reading authentic stories of hope and renewal that also include those details we don’t really like to admit to or talk about. 

There is a language that you learn to speak and recognize in others when you have gone through any of these things.   From your experiences, you can identify the signs and when a woman uses certain words, they can trigger an understanding and compassion toward what she may be going through.  More and more women are struggling silently and our desire is to start the conversation in order to hear each other, understand each other, and help each other. 

I remember talking to a lady in front of the church about 10 years ago and she said something that caused me to ask if she was depressed.  Surprised by my question she asked me how I knew.  I knew because I had been there. 

17 years ago, Chris and I packed up our family and moved from Orlando to Tampa.  I thought that it wouldn’t really be that hard!  I thought, “I will just find friends who fit into my life like the friends I am leaving behind.”  Well… basically, I was unprepared for the grief that comes with letting go and experiencing a major change.  I kept trying to push through and suck it up and act like I was fine.  I was in denial. 

I went through a time of deep depression.  I struggled getting out of bed.  My 3 year old would beg me to play with him and I just couldn’t do it.  I kept the depth of my struggle to myself because I thought I should be able to get out of the emotional pit I was in.  I was embarrassed.  I felt weak and not at all the person everyone thought I was.  I felt I was disappointing God because Chris and I knew that the move to Tampa was His plan for our lives and I should just be happy.

After months of this, I finally got real.  I talked to someone who could help me and I started being honest about what I was going through.  I talked to my doctor and found out that this was not unusual and I was not crazy.   Slowly, I felt the heaviness lift and with the help of resources and people in my life, I came out of it. 

While I have many regrets when I look back on that time in my life, I can see how God has used it in many ways.  One of the most important things is that I realize that God knows all about my emotions because He created me.  Emotions are not bad; they can be the very things that cause me to figure out what’s going on.  When I finally reached out, I was able to talk about why I was so sorrowful, why I was depressed, and why I was keeping quiet about it.

I learned that the worst thing a person who is depressed can hear is, “just read your bible…, just think about all the good in your life…, just get over it!”  Many different things can trigger depression and there is not a simple solution.  It’s a journey that God is willing to lead us in.  We are mind, body and spirit and to think that we can separate one from the others is not realistic.  When our emotions are in turmoil, it affects our physical being and our spiritual walk.  The false perception is that if we just deal with one aspect, we will get better.  The truth is that God is our answer for it all and he gives us resources that can include doctors and medicines and if we lean into Him, He will show us how to walk out of this and into the freedom He has for us.   

Kristin Bonham is a pastor’s wife and the Women’s Ministry Director at Grace Family Church. She’s been married to Chris for 24 years and is mom to Taylor, Abby and Casey. She loves the beach, New York City and traveling with Pastor Chris to anywhere tropical. She collects books and reads some of them. Her favorite part of the week is Sunday lunch with family and friends around the table.

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