Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Breaking out of Insanity -- She Speaks & Proverbs 31 Contest

Someone once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. As a counselor, I know that isn't quite right, but there is a ring of truth to it. I have been dealing with depression since I was 10. That is at least the first time I remember wishing to die. There was no hope of help in my family of origin. We were much to private for anything like that. Thus, I didn't start getting help for it until I was an adult.

Unfortunately, one of the things I have learned is that once you deal with major depression, the likelihood of it recurring increases every time you have an episode.

The fall of 2005 wasn't any different. That fall I went to a conference on abuse called The Wounded Heart put on by author and speaker, Dan Allender. He spoke of an opportunity to go to a conference in May or June that was really along group therapy session. I was hesitant but decided that I needed to do something different. I didn't want to keep running around on that treadmill of depression. So, I called to get information.

There was a long application that had to be filled out that included lots of personal details. I bared my soul and filled it out. Then I found out that you had to do a phone interview as well. So, I anticipated and worried about the call. What would they ask?

The call came in February 2006. They didn't ask much of anything. Instead the call was to say that I wasn't eligible to come! Maybe, they said, in a year --after another year of working with my doctor and therapist. Even though I was nervous and hesitant about the whole thing, I was crushed.

But God had different plans for me. As so often is the case, He gives better gifts than we can imagine.

At some point, Lysa Terkeurst spoke in a nearby town. My counselor, Julie, went to talk. She told me about it and said that she had wished that I could have heard her. She then went on to say that Lysa was going to be in Normal at Hearts at Home. Not being a mom, I didn't think that I could sneak in on that. But I did start checking out her books.

At one point that spring, I emailed her and told her a bit of my story. I was actually surprised that she responded. But as I cruised the web, I checked out Proverbs 31 and found out about She Speaks. Since I had saved for the Wounded Heart conference, I had some money. Having always loved writing, I decided to step out and go. (Please note that I generally hate large crowds, going somewhere like that alone, and traveling alone.)

While I learned a lot about writing and speaking, God used this conference in a mighty way to mend a hurting heart. When I cried on MaryBeth Whalen while trying to meet with her to talk about writing, I think they called the troops out. They got word to me that Lysa wanted me to go to the prayer room and meet with Luanne. I nervously complied (popping in and out several times before staying put). Somewhere in all of that -- talking to MaryBeth, a prayer with Luanne, talking with Teri, and other people -- God wrapped His arms around me and a spiritual part of me relaxed that I don't think had ever relaxed before.

There was a pronounced difference in my life that summer and fall and winter. It turns out it was visible:

  • I got a note from one of the members of the church's leadership team saying how touched he was to see me reaching out and talking to people on Sunday mornings. (Me -- the one who assumed no one would want to talk to her.)

  • We had a game night in Dec. Even at those things, maybe even more at those things because of the lack of structure, I often felt out of place and was quiet and reserved. That night however, I belly laughed so hard I cried. A couple people announced that watching me was more fun than playing the game. This normally would have sent my self-conscious self into a spin. But, I took it for the compliment it was.

  • In Feb. my pastor had me come up and tell the church about starting a private practice in counseling. He said something about the change in me and the church whooped and hollered!

With starting a private practice, I didn't feel like I had the funds to go last year. And then tragedy struck and a dear friend died very suddenly. After one of the most significant breaks in the depression I had ever had, I felt the depression sink it's teeth into me again.

I am working through it. And have determined to "not just do the same old thing and expect results." While I am still going to counseling and all of that, I've had some more practical pieces to the plan: keeping scripture always in front of me, taking a class through a local Christian group, writing weekly on hope to fix my eyes on Jesus, and finding ways to feed my soul.

So, I want to go to She Speaks again for two reasons. First, I think it would feed my soul. Second, I believe with all the writing I have been doing about hope, that a book is forming and God is calling me to go this time with a complete proposal and pitch it. That's scary since I fear rejection, but . . . . Even if it doesn't get accepted, I think I may be writing it as much for myself as for anyone else.

But money is very tight. The business has never really taken off. Along with the depression there has been an increase in doctor bills. This is not to mention two falls -- one off a horse where I broke my tail bone and one fall down a full flight of stairs while playing with my niece where I fractured a few fingers and sprained a knee and ankle. And my roommate moved out this summer and I haven't been able to find a new one. So, it is tight. Yet, I'm cutting away every inch I can to try to be able to come.

Proverbs 31 is sponsoring a scholarship contest. So, this is what I'm entering. These are the reasons I want to go. You can find out about She Speaks by clicking here and you can enter the contest by clicking P31 Contest

Perhaps, it is selfish to want the scholarship since I've been blessed by being able to go once. I don't know. But, it never hurts to try for something. God will somehow provide a way.

Thanks for reading all of this. I hope you will consider going!


Elaine said...


I normally don't take a lot of time to read others' stuff because...well, it takes time. But I read your story and I was touched. Touched by your courage to speak at all and then to want to speak to others. I can see that you really want to be a minister to people; to give them hope and courage and safety even. I believe that God's way is using the most broken, the most wounded because we really are all the same. It's only those who "know" who can truly aid another.

BTW, I know how to do the button thing. I was in the same boat in not knowing how to do it. I did eventually figure it out. So, email me if you need help.


Believing in God's best for ALL of us!

Jenny said...

Hi! I was reading through the people who have entered the contest and your struck me for several reasons. Mainly because I know how hard depression can be. I love that you are writing on Hope weekly. Keep it up! I'll say a prayer for you.


Heather@Mommymonk said...

Amy, I really enjoyed reading about your experience with She Speaks. I am so glad I've met you - I think our hearts have the same beat!

So, will you tell what your vision is for a book? Please? Pretty please? :)

Luanne said...

I am hoping you will be able to find a way to get to the conference this year. Whether it's the scholarship or another means just keep believing that God will make a way. Thanks for all your heartfelt sharing.


Renee Swope said...

Amen to all of the comments. I am praying that you win the scholarship or if not, that God provides a way. I would love to see you. And this year I have a session I am doing Satruday night about Living/Ministering "Without A Doubt." Doubt can be such a powerful presence that leads us deep into depression. I've been in that pit girl and I know how hard it is to make sure it doesn't get it's grip again.

I am praying for you! And congratulations on winning my "girlfriend give-away" on my blog this week. Please email me your address so I can send your gift.



Missy said...

Hey Amy. Thanks for stopping by my blog and for sharing your heart. God has brought you through and I know He has amazing plans for your life. I'll be praying for a way for you to go to the conf, either through the scholarship or another way. Blessings!

jennyhope said...

oh i so hope that you get this one!! =)
What a blessing in reading your story! PRAISE GOD!

Lelia Chealey said...

Awesome testimony!!! I read through this with tears in my eyes as I have been in that depression pit. I am so glad God yanked you up and out of it. You're awesome Amy & I can't wait to meet you in person this summer! He's gonna get us there, my sister in Christ, we got to believe that!! :)
Blessings & hugs~

Celly B said...

How awesome that She Speaks has had such a positive impact on your life. I, too, have struggled with depression throughout my life, and it became even more pronounced after the birth of my children. Isn't it wonderful, though, that God can use others to break through that darkness? I believe that you are called to do that, too, by sharing your testimony. I pray that God blesses your sharing your story.

Miss Sandy said...

How wonderfully evident it is to see God at work in your life through this wonderful post. It so touched my heart and I will pray for you to be daily infilled with His joy!

Bev Brandon said...

I started to read the first five stories but actually stopped with your #3 one for the "depression" byline so spoke to my heart. So grateful to my good God for what He has done for you. How absolutely precious. You are just adorable and love wisdom and words, don't you? So touched to hear how your beautiful God has delivered you from depression and is delivering you daily. You so honor HIM. Hope you get this one! Bev

mark savage said...

Hey Amy, Great job. God is dong amazing things n you. How exciting in how you are impacting other people. mark

Elisa @ Extravagant Grace said...

Amy, I'm so glad to meet you through this SheSpeaks contest. Your story is very inspiring and touches close to home. I pray that the Lord will provide for you to be a SheSpeaks this year, for no other reason than to be loved on by human hands as expression of the deep, deep love of Jesus...all for you!