One year ago, I ate one piece of bacon too many, and I ended up in the Emergency Room.  I thought I had a little acid indigestion, but the doctor on call said my liver enzymes were elevated.  I was admitted, and an ultrasound of my abdomen was ordered.  Then, a surgeon was called.

Ten days later, I was discharged with 25 staples in my abdomen after two surgical procedures to remove my inflamed gall bladder and a pesky stone lodged in my bile duct.   I spent 2 months with a drain attached to my body that collected bile — yucky, smelly, messy bile.   My kidneys decided to stop functioning, and my stomach became paralyzed.

I ate bland food.  It did not stay down.  I decided to try soups.  That didn’t go much better.  Then, I spent two weeks on Gatorade and yogurt.   Eventually, I ended up back at the Emergency Room. I simply could not eat with any measure of success.

The surgeon had warned me that I might face some complications, and apparently he had the gift of prophecy.

After my second stint at the hospital, I came home with a prescription and an action plan.   For eight weeks, I ate small meals with no veggies, fruit, or fiber allowed.

I began to crave a yummy salad.  I missed crunchy things.  I longed for a salty peanut.  Raisins mocked me.  An apple a day apparently was not in my future.

I started to mourn.  I missed date nights with my husband at Paneras.  I missed breakfast with the girls on a lazy Saturday morning.  I missed getting lost in the pages of a good book.  I missed my life — my carefree, fun, doctor-free, laughter-filled life.

Then, the nausea came.  I regressed.  I gagged.  I struggled with brushing my teeth successfully.  My daily diet became Gatorade, Ensure, and half a piece of toast.

My husband and I made yet another doctor’s appointment, and we prayed.

Frustrated and tired, I entered the doctor’s office on a fateful, climactic morning that changed my life forever.  I rambled through the details for him once again — every symptom, every medication, every remedy we had tried.   He listened.  He nodded his head.  He smiled.   And then, he said the words I never thought I would hear.

“I think you are a little depressed.”

But, I am not allowed to be depressed.  I am the happy girl.  I am the mature Christian girl.   You are not seriously telling me that my physical issues are the result of depression.  Is unrelenting nausea a symptom of depression?

Apparently, it is.

Once I stopped objecting, I realized my days did feel way too long.  I no longer seemed  able to fill up the time with meaningful activity.   I found no interest in pursuits that normally brought me pleasure.

Oh, my!  I suddenly remembered that my husband had taken me to Walmart, and I did not find anything to buy.  Nothing.

I needed help.

And that was the day that I discovered the secret.

I was not alone.

First, three co-workers shared with me phone numbers for their therapists.  Three.

I do not work at a big office.

Then, a  friend from church told me to give her a call so that we could chat.   My beautiful, fun, Jesus-loving friend shared her story.   She held nothing back.  She was brave.  She let me know that she was broken.   She let me know that she struggled.

I will not be silent.   I will not be silent and turn my head and look the other way while another sister silently suffers.

This is my story.   I am broken.  I need help.   I am not alone.

You are not alone.

Today, when I realized that I needed to write this, I told the Lord I would not be silent.  I cannot stay silent because He has healed me.  He did not leave me alone.

Like David in the Psalms, I have cried in the darkness and wondered when He would speak.  I have longed for the light of His favor to return.

Today, I sat in the car heading home and holding my husband’s hand after a happy day filled with love and laughter.  And, I looked back.  I looked back at the darkness now passed.  And my God told me what to say.

It’s an eclipse. 

The Light never leaves you. 

The shadow that obscures it is but temporary. 

Really, God?

I wasn’t sure, so I checked Wikipedia for verification — because it’s not true unless you read it on the internet, right?

Here is what I found out about the word “eclipse” —

The term is derived from the ancient Greek noun ἔκλειψις (ékleipsis), which means “the abandonment,” “the downfall,” or “the darkening of a heavenly body,” which is derived from the verb ἐκλείπω (ekleípō) which means “to abandon,” “to darken,” or “to cease to exist,”a combination of prefix ἐκ- (ek-), from preposition ἐκ (ek), “out,” and of verb λείπω (leípō), “to be absent”

During an eclipse, the light never totally disappears.  There are different periods of the eclipse.  A total eclipse is labeled “umbra.”

“Umbra” means shadow, for all of you who need further convincing.

It does.   Wikipedia says so.

The darkness is but a temporary shadow.

His Light is always there.

You are not alone.

Hold on to this promise in the shadows:  There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. (Proverbs 23:18, NIV).

If you are in the shadow today, please make an appointment.   Talk to a friend.  See your doctor.  Pray with your pastor.

I spent way too much money today in the Cracker Barrel gift shop.  Life is sweet again.

The shadow will pass.  Please know I will stand with you until it does.

Q4U:   What do we need to do to uphold those who are in the shadow right now?   My heart is burdened deeply for those who struggle..  Hearing of the loss in the Warren family has surfaced so many thoughts about how we must talk about the difficult things.

My one-word focus for the year is “fruitilicious.”  Find out what that means here.

Thanks for stopping by!  I would love to connect with you on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

Joining like-minded sisters today at Faith-Filled Friday, Thought-Provoking Thursday, Tell His Story, Playdates with God, Hear it on Sunday: Use it on Monday, and Soli Deo Gloria.


Photo Credit


48 responses

  1. Thanks. I know several people who are struggling with depression right now and have hesitated from seeking help because they identify it as weakness. Everyone needs a reminder (and you did a great job) that in our weakness God glorifies himself!

  2. Lily, thanks for sharing something so personal! I too struggled several years back and it’s my mission now to help others!

    • Diane, I always turn to the Psalms and Proverbs when I am struggling with just about anything. Last year, some verses that God used to encourage me were Psalms 3:4, Psalms 4:8, Psalms 9:9-10, Psalms 27:14, Psalms 30, Psalms 34:4 & 15 & 18, Psalms 40:1-3, Psalms 46:1-3, Psalms 54:4, Psalms 55:22, Psalms 56:13, Psalms 62:2, Psalms 73:26, Psalms 77, Psalms 84:11, Psalms 91, Psalms 116:8-9, Psalms 121, Psalms 126:6, Psalms 139, Psalms 145:14, & Psalms 147:3

      Some other great verses are Deut 31:8, Deut 33:27, Joshua 1:9, Isaiah 26:3, Isaiah 40:31, Isaiah 41:10, Jeremiah 29:11, Matthew 6, John 16:33, Romans 8, Romans 15:13, Philippians 4, Colossians 3, II Timothy 1:7, I Peter 4:12-13, I Peter 5:7

  3. Thank you for your candid comments and story, Lyli! It reminds us to bear one another’s burdens. May Jesus use us and the story that He is creating in each of us.

    • Thanks, Mike. Yes! The load is so much easier to carry when you have a friend to help you support the weight. I am thankful for you and Carol and your friendship. You are both burden bearers!!! xoxo

  4. The Leamings passed your link along, Ms. Lopez. I appreciated your words. And though they describe our struggle as limited creations, they point to the hope of a limitless creator.

    In my life, I struggle as perhaps you have. I doubt even in the creator, but I still hope.

    My thoughts are with you. I still think fondly of my DCS experience and appreciate the love and patience you expressed in the classroom as one of my teachers.


    • Kev, thanks for your kind words. I think doubt and darkness are a part of all of our faith journeys at some point. I am always so comforted by the story in the Bible where Jesus shows Thomas the hole in his nail-scarred hand. Thomas had questions, and God provided what He needed… Keep asking questions. Love you so much!

  5. I often have to battle this foe of depression. I suffer from Fm/CFS and at times I cannot face another painful day of exhaustion! Yet, like you have said, it is only an eclipse and we never need to fear that there will be a shortage of His grace.
    Much love to you

    • Mia, I have two friends who deal with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue as well. Both are moms, and I am in awe of them. Blessings to you, courageous lady. Asking God to pour His grace out on you today. Hugs

  6. Thank you for opening your heart to share some difficult times. If only we would be more transparent to our friends, Christian and non-Christian alike,we could offer solace and grace to others. Keep up the good work!

    • Nancy, I am so glad that you found my spot on the web. Transparency is a window that brings in the light and fresh air…. but too often, we have the shades drawn, and we are too scared of opening up…

  7. Bless you, Lyli, for sharing this part of your story here. I remember this hard path you traveled last year–remember praying for you. Too often we forget that the mind, the body–the heart…these are all connected. God made it all to work together. Depression often happens when our body is wounded. I’m so glad for your recovery, for your sweet and strong spirit. I’m so glad the Lord is that Light that never leaves.

  8. This is SUCH a great post, Lyli. In all the times we were praying you through your physical ailments, I never knew about the depression. So thankful for your healing and so thankful that you are not silent. God is using your words in such meaningful ways. You are a great treasure.

    • You are so sweet, Jen. It took me awhile to realize what was happening. I just knew I didn’t feel well. Not myself. I assumed I just was recovering slowly… but then I realized that I had all the symptoms of depression. It got much worse before it got better, but I finally connected with the right doctor, and she put me back on the road to well being. It was a long road — or at least it seemed long while I was living it. — When I read about Pastor Warren’s son and his struggles, I realize I have nothing to complain about.

  9. Hi Lyli,
    God bless you for sharing your heart. I have dealt with depression myself in the past. Your story and encouragement are a blessing to all. I have so many great memories of working in the Elemantary Office at DCS….and Sherri, Tiffany and Troy graduating from there.
    Love ya,
    Sandy Milner

    • Sandy, thank you for visiting my blog. Being a mom to 3 kids & working full time is not easy! I was always so impressed by how you were able to do both and stay sane. Hugs to you, Ron, and those kiddos.

  10. Oh mylanta…the glory streaming in through this post! He is so very proud of you…I know it.
    May it never stop amazing me how He can transform our cracked vessels into a thing of beauty…Thank you for letting His light shine through your cracks…it’s radiating.

    Grateful I linked up after you at #TellHisStory
    All for Him with hugs to you,

    • So nice to connect with you Nikki! I love that passage where Paul calls us jars of clay that He shines through…. it reminds me that God redeems EVERYTHING for His glory. He works all things together for good.

  11. Thanks for sharing your “eclipse.” I love that definition! I can certainly relate, my husband had suffered for years with clinical depression and bi-polar disorder.

    It has taken years but he is doing so much better with the right medications; and, I believe serving on the worship team has helped him tremendously

    I do firmly believe that the dark shadow or umbra will pass … in God’s timing.

    • Jerrelea, thank you for sharing your husband’s story. This was a difficult experience for my husband — mainly because he likes to fix things, and I was rather “unfixable.” Depression is tough on relationships. Praying out loud together daily realy helps our marriage survive tough seasons like this… it keeps us centered and grounded.

      I found listening to worship music helped me as well. I had it on all the time — at home, at work, in my car. He inhabits our praises.

      Blessings to you, my sister.

  12. Lyli, I’m so thankful for your willingness to share your story. As a counselor, I see so many beautiful women struggling with depression. And some years ago I went through what I call my ‘black hole’ experience of depression. It’s so helpful to have courageous women such as yourself speaking out and giving hope to women whose lives seem bleak. I’m so thankful that we are never alone and that we serve a loving, powerful and redeeming God who brings light and healing to our dark brokenness.
    God bless you, my friend ~ Mary

    I’m so glad you came by my place tonight!

    • Mary, I think it’s wonderful that you are using your gifts to help others who are hurting. I think a lot of times folks don’t seek the help they need because they are scared of “what others will think” when the truth is that there are a lot of people who have “been there.” More than we realize…

      I so enjoyed visiting your blog tonight. I will think of you when I go to the grocery store this weekend and get into line… and I will be praying…. 🙂

  13. I am so glad to meet you! I loved this post and how you used the eclipse as an example. So so good. Thank you for being brave and bold in sharing. It seems like so many are hiding away about this in shame and it needs to be brought out to the light so people can seek healing together. satan is such a booger convincing us to be quiet. Thank you for doing this!

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  15. Lyli,
    I may never look at darkness the same again! I could have used your definition of an ECLIPSE countless times in my life. You’re right, the light never leaves, but it often feels like it does. Thanks for this brave post and this powerful reminder for us to reach out when we’re in the dark. I’ve been both the hand reaching out before and the hand pulling others along- both places are designed by God. And both places require courage. SO GLAD you’re feeling better again.

  16. You wrote this so beautifully Lyli, so thankful you shared it. I love that analogy of the eclipse, probably because it came straight from God. Those are the ones that usually resonate for my readers. I’m so thankful for the hope and healing you communicate here. And for the reminder that His light is always there, even when we can’t see it.

  17. Words on paper to the world as is a blog opens up the hearts of so many. Depression is something I NEVER thought I would face, but face I did and am doing better as each day turns to the light…The Light. I need to ALWAYS, every moment, depend upon HIm for my recovery. He opens my heart to His LIght. Thanks for your words, your openness, and for the love I heart through your words, Lyli. I am glad you were asked about scripture as that list is wonderful. Caring through Christ, ~ linda

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  19. It’s amazing what God does with our stories when we give them to Him. I’m praying God will bless you abundantly for being willing. The enemy hates our boldness in authentic blogging. Yet it is the boldness that touches the most lives.

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