I have a blog titled, "Nike: Just Do It!". I spoke a little about faith in that blog and I challenged you to "Just Do It". Set a goal for yourself and just do it. But in this blog I am going to go deeper. Let me tell you about a time when I didn't even have faith. You ready? Okay! Let's talk.🤞
I suffered from depression the majority of 2021. Mom passed towards the end of 2020 but her death didn't truly hit me until 2021 when I had to physically go day to day without her. I tried my best to pray the depression away. I mean, I prayed all the time about everything but I specifically prayed that God would deliver me from this depressive state that I was in. Every single day I prayed the same prayer. I would pray in my secret place at home, in the bathroom at work, at my desk on my lunch break. I would listen to sermons on YouTube from Pastor Michael Todd and rewatch Facebook lives from my own pastor Tyrone Rose. I was trying to hear a word that would change my life. I would also go to church and try to praise the depression away. I tried to eat it away. I even tried to drink it away. I found myself drinking more wine than I ever did before. But even after doing all of that, I was still very depressed. I can honestly say that prayer didn't work for me. It wasn't working for me. I know that may sound strange because we've learned that prayer changes things so let me explain.
On Dec. 8, 2021, I believe that I was taught the most valuable lesson of my life. My spiritual sister, Catricia drove to my house to visit me. The girl has the gift of discernment like I've never seen before. She knew something was wrong. She drove 45 minutes just to check on me. When was the last time someone genuinely checked on you? That day she walked into my house and hugged me. I swear I started sobbing immediately. You see, that day I woke up and went to work like I normally did. To the average person it was a regular Wednesday but I woke up feeling my absolute worst. I was so down and out that day. I missed my mom that particular day like I had never missed her before. I don't know why and honestly it didn't matter. I just know that all I wanted to do was disappear. Catricia sat down and I explained so much of this to her. We talked about God, her experiences, and my experiences for a long while. But the thing that stuck out to me the most was when she started to talk about God's promises. She told me that when she prays she intentionally reminds God of his promises. I swear in that moment it was like a light bulb went off in my head and I realized that I hadn't been doing that. Catricia also told me that when she prays she leaves it. She doesn't pick it back up. She's formed alters around her entire house of little prayers that remain stationary. In her kitchen there's a sticky note of a prayer, in her bathrooms, the living room, bedroom, even her car.. prayers are everywhere. Catricia is so confident in God's promises, that she prays and leaves it there. I wasn't doing that either. I would pray and then pick the same prayer right back up. I wasn't confident in God's promises because I wasn't actively reading his word. How many of you can admit that you don't read the word like you should so you're also unfamiliar with the promises of God?
See the Bible is the ultimate truth and God is faithful to fulfill all of his promises. Yes, I wanted to be delivered from depression and I prayed hard but that's it. I would just pray. I didn't read the word to gain the knowledge of God's promises, I didn't remind God of his promises thru prayer, and I didn't have faith.
There it is, the word that I know so well: Faith. I've heard this word all of my life. But what exactly is faith??? Faith simply means "believing in God". To break it down even further...Hebrews 11:1 tells us that "Faith is the assurance (a promise) of things hoped for; the evidence of things we cannot see." In my own words, faith is believing that God will fulfill his promise even when I cannot understand how...even when I am not able to see it...even when it seems impossible. When I prayed, I didn't believe that I would be delivered from depression because the next day I would still be depressed....and the day after that and the day after that. But I had to ask myself a very serious question..." What's the point of praying without faith?
Prayer is excellent but before I prayed I had to have faith. I had to believe that God was going to answer my prayers. Faith is superb. I realized once I began praying in faith that my days started to go a little smoother....but I was still missing one key component. It wasn't enough for me to read the word and become familiar with God's promises. It wasnt enough for me to pray and ask God to deliver me from depression. It wasn't even enough for me to have the faith that God would do it. Because I wasn't doing the work. The key component was WORK!! We ask God for things all the time. We pray without cease but even with faith attached many things that we pay for will never come to fruition because we aren't doing the work.
What do I mean by "works"?? Works simply means "actions". The way to activate your faith is thru your actions. For example, after having that conversation with my sister, Catricia, the very next day;(Thursday Dec 9, 2021) I woke up and intentionally decided that depression would not ruin my day. I went into my secret place to pray. I asked God to deliver me from depression and I left it there. I got off my knees with tears in my eyes and for the first time I truly believed that God would do it. I had faith. I went on about my day and I found myself actively remembering things about my mom that I hadn't thought about in years. In the days to follow, I started to analyze my feelings concerning mom's death. I needed to know what God promised when it comes to grief. I wanted to understand why mom's death had put me in such a depressive state. I studied God's word to find the answers and I found myself feeling better. Other days I would even walk up to mom's picture and talk to her. This was therapy to me. In all of these ways as you can see; I began to do the work. I activated my faith by my works. In doing the work, God began to reveal some things to me concerning the relationship with my mom. He even told me why he had to take her away from me. I gained the knowledge, the understanding of why I was so depressed. James 2:18 says, "Show me your faith apart from your works and I will show you my faith by my works." It was thru prayer, faith, and my works that God delivered me from depression.
God promised me in Deuteronomy 31:8 that he would never leave me nor forsake me. I knew that God was with me all 2021. When I wanted to die, he never left me. I was never forsaken. God kept his promise. I prayed in faith and I did the work. I'm still doing the work.
I still get sad sometimes. I still grieve. But the word tells me not to conform to the patterns of the world but to be transformed by renewing my mind. My mind has been renewed. I have faith in the promises of God and I believe that my sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in me. There is a purpose for my life and I believe that 2022 is the Year of the Great Reveal. Depression no longer has a hold on me. I no longer claim it. If I want to cry, I do but then I dry my eyes and keep pushing. It's daily work but it's worth it.
So to all of my family and true friends; I'd like to challenge you to encourage someone based on your belief in God by your works. Share your testimony with someone like my sister Catricia did with me. Let's normalize not just telling people to pray. It takes more than just prayer. We have to activate our faith thru prayer. We have to do the work. Pray. Believe. Work Hard. Repeat. Why?!? Because FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD. (James 2:26)
Romans 1:12 reads, "When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith but I also want to be encouraged by yours."
To my sister Catricia, thank you for teaching me how to pray differently and more efficiently, thanks for helping activate my faith, and most of all; thanks for encouraging me by yours.