on cloud cover

Over the years, I’ve reflected a lot  on depression. And not just on my own experience with it, but the mental illness itself, as we know it in our society–in all its forms.

I’ve also heard depression (reoccuringly) described as cloud cover.

Fittingly so.

It’s like a pervasive, extensive, ubiquitous  mass of fog. A wide-reaching sheet of floating ice crystals; that are sometimes visible, sometimes not. Light scatters among these ice crystals, producing the seven wavelengths of color, combining to produce white light. A blank, empty canvas.

Or often, they appear more gray than white, as they get thick enough and far enough from earth, the light doesn’t even make it through. As the clouds multiply on top of one another, it deepens its’ hue all the more, casting shadows everywhere they go.

SONY DSC
SONY DSC

Aside from its uncanny similarity to the clouds, what I’ve also come to understand is that depression (in most cases) can be just as must a spiritual sickness as it is a psychological one.

And not just a spiritual sickness, but I’ll go as far to call it a war —an ongoing, ruthless battle that keeps you covered deep in the trenches.

Please know, I don’t believe being depressed makes a person not spiritual. We’re spirit beings, so we’re always engaged in a realm of the spiritual. I do think of the spirit as something you’re either being continuously filled and renewed by, or something that is supernaturally lacking; starving,  if you will.

((Further, I’ll add the disclaimer right now, that I speak only from my own experience and observations – I am not a doctor, a psychologist, a minister, or any of that. I wholeheartedly believe that every case and every person is different. There’s environmental, situational, chemical, relational, seasonal, and many other causes of depression.  Not for a second do I make light of any level of depression, intend to compare, or to condemn medication, and I most certainly do not withhold talking about the matter. Capichè?))

But what I do know, is what His word says, and what the Holy Spirit imparted on me to share.

What I also know exacerbated my own account with depression was the mental, physical, and spiritual isolation that came with it.

That may sound like a simple fix… like, “Um, hello, couldn’t you of just had like more of a social life? Lighten up, go out more, just have fun!?”

Yeaaa, ok… see that’s where we make matters worse–{enter cycle of parties, attempted quick fixes, empty relationships, status quo}.

Let me just tell you, you can be surrounded by people (lots of people), all day long, and still, never feel more–not just alone, but straight up lonely. So no, I couldn’t of “just had like more of a social life, lighten up, & more have fun”. 

We take a supernatural, spiritual starvation, and we attempt to satisfy, fill, and fuel ourselves with fleeting, natural, human circumstances.

And whatever spirit (s) you seek being filled with (and are open to receiving), will undoubtedly alter your course.

“Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” -Proverbs 18:1

Here’s the other thing, depression is just as much a temptation as any other sin. Because what the enemy knows is that he further he gets you down, the thicker the fog becomes, and the lonelier he entices you to believe you are.

But when you bring that temptation into the light, it loses is power. When you take your emptiness, your isolation, your aching soul into the light, you get to watch it lose its stronghold over you.

“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.” {psalm 34:17-2 ESV}

A relationship with Jesus has never been about sin and temptation anyway. It has always been about victory. Freedom. Change. Renewal. Restoration. Continual beginnings, and always a new horizon.

Not brokenness, but fullness. Yes, even like the fullest of clouds.

Fullness and chaos are a beautiful part of life. The good news is, we’re all in it together.

“We weren’t created to live in isolation, but to share life together. In fact, God’s nature is relational—and because we’re created in His image, we, too, need relationships. That means taking off the masks and opening our lives to other people. Telling a friend what’s really going on below the surface. Asking the hard questions, and giving the hard answers.

If you find yourself lacking real friendships, make a point of identifying those you trust and begin opening your life to them. Your openness will encourage them to share their life with you.” {-relevant}

You were never meant to do life alone.

God is not asking you to fight battles all by yourself. Cast out the stagnate isolation.

 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism … {ephesians 4:1-32 ESV}

What the enemy doesn’t realize about “cloud cover” and getting us down, is He’s only clearing the way for our Savior to do his greatest work.

God sees the small and says, “I will e l e v a t e you”. God sees you in your shadows and says, “I am with you.”

Time and time again, He leaves his place on his  throne, comes down into our trenches, greets us in our  pit, outstretches his hand, and gives us an invitation to live in his ever-present grace. {adapted, Josh Kelly – wave church} 

When we get up and do something (literally, anything) about the depression, we break the chains of isolation, of fear, and of spiritual war.

Get involved somewhere. Go confide in someone trustworthy. Someone who can help you.

And when you still feel nothing, don’t lose hope. 

“Do not despise these small beginnings, the Lord rejoices to see the work begin”. {zecharaiah 4:10}

He sees you. He will meet you. You will experience His presence. You will stop falling, and you will start rising. Yes, you. You will r i s e in love–over and over.


Trust me, I battled depression for years, and it’s still a daily choice to overcome it. I remained so isolated at heart, so numb in thought that it’s often hard to remember the excruciating details of it all. But in this moment, I’m in awe of the sanctification he’s been doing in me every single day. It’s not always about what happened, but what’s happening I used to think my heart was breaking constantly, and now I know it’s just w i d e n i n g; opening.

He’s quieted my inner critic and anxiety enough to hear His truth and feel His peace–even in the midst of my doubting and unknowing. And I’ve had to work really hard at these levels of openness, sharing, relatability, accountability, and yes…true vulnerability. They’ve never come willingly to my stubborn, competitive, perfectionist self. Even hitting “publish” on these posts makes me squirm–yet, something tells me to do it anyway.

I’m blown away by His humility and feel the overwhelming need for more of it in my own heart. My eyes well up thinking about all the times of restless isolation and resistance, knowing now how I crave that soulful, spiritual, heartfelt conversation and connection. And still, it scares the heck out of me!

But a positive, trusting attitude will enable you to expect good things in the future, not bad ones. Casting fear aside, confidence is the fruit of trusting God. When we trust Him, we may not have all the answers, but we’re confident He does. {Joyce Meyer}

“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” {1 john 3:2 ESV} 


I think the metaphor of depression & cloud cover  is all the more testament to my *complete* obsession with the sky. Because when I look up, I see that in reality, even white clouds aren’t filled with nothing. As misleading as their lack of color is, they’re actually filled with everything–all the light, all the colors, in their purest form. Their blank, white color is mistaken for emptiness, when in reality, it’s complete fullness.

And although gray clouds may forecast storms, even they hold within them incredible coverage and promise. They’re the safe-guarding from a Lord and Savior who, when the storms of life arise, instruct us to keep our minds and emotions as still as possible. Choose to see your shadows not as darkness, but as coverage; the divine protection and provision for greater lessons and newfound strength to come.

“…For in you, (O God), my soul takes refuge; in the shadows of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. … God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness.” {psalm 57:1 ESV}

You are singled out for something.{phillipians 2:3} Our God doesn’t quiver, He doesn’t stutter, and He most definitely doesn’t make mistakes.

“For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.” {psalm 57:10 ESV}

K.V

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One Comment

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  1. JIMMIE INGRAM May 11, 2015 — 1:23 pm

    VERY GOOD KAITLYN – LOVE YOU

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