“I just want to make new friends and stay calm.”
Grace told this to her mom before the first day of school this year. As Robin prayed for her daughter the night before, she hoped this year would be better. You see, last fall, Robin and Craig found out their daughter was struggling with depression—to the point where she began harming herself and even attempted to take her own life. They were scared—the unimaginable had become something so very real to them. In all of the fear and confusion following, Robin and Craig did the only thing they could think to do: They sought emergency professional help so that their 13-year-old daughter could receive depression counseling in a safe environment.
For Grace, anxiety was constant. It started as a child growing up in foster care and never feeling like she was good enough. Grace always put more pressure on herself than anybody else. As she got older, she continued to strive for a standard of perfection that she could never reach. By the time middle school came around, Grace’s self-esteem was at an all-time low, and that’s when the depression started to grow.
She put on a brave face and a fake smile with the hopes that her friends wouldn’t notice the chaos that was really going on inside. But thankfully, one friend noticed, and she encouraged Grace to tell her parents about all of the self-harming. God put that friend in Grace’s path who would help change the trajectory of her life! Isn’t it amazing how God often uses people to heal us?
The value of professional counseling
As Grace continued depression counseling, her therapist dialed into the feelings she was experiencing. Slowly, Grace gained more clarity. She learned coping skills that would help her understand her depression and process through it in a healthy way.
Robin and Craig watched as their daughter’s strength increased with every visit, and they supported Grace at home as best they could. This involved keeping the conversation going and consistently checking in with her on how she was feeling. It meant speaking into Grace’s life—speaking God’s truth over her even in the moments when she didn’t want to hear it or found it hard to believe. They made it a point to regularly remind Grace of God’s grace, who she was in Christ, and what God says about her.
Through this season, Grace’s parents clung to this truth:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 NIV
Months later, as Grace and her sister stood on their front porch, Robin snapped some photos before their first day of school. The girls were all smiles, being silly and having fun with each other, and in that moment, it all came full circle for Robin. It had taken all summer for Grace to decompress, but she was in a healthier place. God was working things together. Robin knew this year of school would be the best year yet for her girls. Why?
Because of how God was working in Grace’s life through people and through depression counseling.
In her counseling sessions, Grace has learned all the tools she needs to make a fantastic comeback, and that’s what Robin and Craig are believing for this year. They’ve watched as God has worked in Grace’s heart throughout all of this chaos. She’s grown in her understanding of His love for her, and, with the added help of depression counseling, Grace has become an overcomer!
*If you or someone you love are in a suicidal crisis, call 988. If you or a loved one are experiencing depression, there is help and hope available. Ask for prayer, connect with a counselor in your area, and seek help from those in your life.