Being Real, Family, Holy Spirit, Prayer

Depression, Control, and Thanksgiving

IMG_4260Thanksgiving this year is nestled in the hills just outside Chattanooga, TN. Windy. Cold. Our little cabin pops and cracks as it allowed the wintery breeze breach its thin walls. Our Christmas music sings through the cabin while a fire lights the main room. Little feet run across the wood floors and up the stairs. Laughter fills the house.

It’s our first Thanksgiving, just the six of us. We didn’t travel back to family, we just took off in the other direction to have our own family vacation. JT and I are for real grown-up’s, making a vacation memory for our four children. We have a hard time being okay with this idea, even if there is no way around the fact that we are now the age we remember our parents being.

My oldest is in the kitchen working on the mashed potatoes. My second born and third born are upstairs giggling about something silly on the phone. My son and JT are playing video games in the other room. I sit here, looking at a fire, listening to it all happen and am thankful.

This season does nothing in me but bring me happiness and cherished feelings of being a kid. I can feel the warmth of my house, the yellow hue of the lights, the safety in my parents room. They created a home that left me with memories I want to return to in my dreams. I am praying all of this is the same for my four kids.

I didn’t feel like this the last few years. This is our fourth Thanksgiving in Tennessee, and probably the first I am truly content.

Year one: felt like a vacation. My family came to see our “new” lives.

Year two: vacation feeling gone. Thankfully, we had great friends to share this time with and my parents came over for it.IMG_4245

Year three: Between year two and this one, I had sank into my deepest depression, wishing, crying, wanting to move home. It was the worst of my season here. But, also between these two years, we had moved again, back into Nashville after being outside of town, and life was much better. My family came back up to Nashville and it was so full of life and joy!

Now, year four: a cabin in the woods. My heart is full, my weight is down, my kids are healthy and happy, JT is on a new adventure after quitting his job at Crosspoint, and I have learned to let go the perceived control I had over my life.

That was the underlying problem of all my depression and heartache, I wanted to control my life. I wanted to lay down the path for the history and memories I wanted. Me. My life, my plan, my dreams. But, I have learned a most valuable prayer…

“Lord, I realize I have the responsibility of _________________, but I do not have control. I have the responsibility, but you have all the authority. I surrender all to you again, today.”

This, this has become a prayer, a daily surrender of the grip on whatever I want to control. It doesn’t relinquish my responsibility to whatever He has given me, but I do not have to carry the weight of feeling like I am in control. Jesus was very clear about this:

Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear…Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?…your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom, and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6

It’s not a matter of feeling the sense of “not worrying”, but a matter of obedience. Jesus said not to worry. Either I do that or I don’t. Simply stated, not simply done. However, I must. We must. If He said it, we have an obligation to obey it. But, not in our power. We relinquish even our own power to not worry. We surrender our “control” over our emotions and dive deep into the presence of the Spirit of Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith. We “give up” our control of trying not to control, and bow before the Creator in reverence every day, surrendering all that will fit in that blank up there.

Therefore, we are thankful.

We are thankful for what has passed.

We are thankful for what will come.

tree1We are thankful that we do not have to worry and are, in fact, told not to. We do not worry because the Father knows what we need. He knows that if and when we seek Him first, everything we could possibly worry about will dwarf and shadow and fade in light of His grace and love and purposes. When we are surrendered to the Spirit in us, complete abandon, waiting on Him, trusting Him, believing He is working regardless of how we feel, we have peace, we have joy, we have “all these things” given to us.

And we are thankful.

What do you need to put in the blank? Your marriage? Finances? Health? Children? Work? Surrender and thank Him for His great presence and His faithfulness!


“Lord, I realize I have the responsibility of _________________, but I do not have control. I have the responsibility, but you have all the authority. I surrender all to you again, today.”





3 thoughts on “Depression, Control, and Thanksgiving

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *