Blog by Annalise Bush
The first time I ever really admitted I was depressed, I was a freshmen in college. Poetically, it was raining outside. Weak and alone, I humbly whispered to myself, “I think I’m depressed.” It’s is a nasty monster. It locked me up inside a lofty tower and left me for dead. At this time of my life, God and I weren’t really on speaking terms. We were once close friends, and ever so often he’d leave me a sweet voicemail on my subconscious, but hardly did I ever pick up the phone when He’d call. It was when I chose to keep my depression to myself, that I was unknowingly pushing away the only person that could help me. Drowning in my own shame, I thought that because I was a leader in the local church, I shouldn’t have this problem. I was scared to share my mess with Jesus.
So I kept quiet. Which meant that the depression got louder...and louder...and louder. The volume of it started to choke me. I remember crawling weakly onto my floor, my cheeks tear stained and puffy as I cried out to Jesus! My Psalm 46 moment was coming to a climax.
“God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.”
That was it. The moment that plucked the hopelessness out of my belly. He responded to me “I am here.” I started to breathe again. Sometimes, we don’t have the words to say or the prayers to pray, but when we go to Him with a broken and contrite heart, He will never despise it. In that moment, I felt His comfort in the room. And out of His comfort, grew my confidence. What was just golden embers, He breathed on again. Until it lit a forest fire in me!
The darkness had to bow to the brightness! Praise started to rise up and I would sing my guts out about the awe and wonder of God, until depression was just a thing of my past.
By the power of Jesus, I am able to speak out against the lies darkness emits. When I tried to work out of my own strength, I could never win...but, it is CHRIST in ME who gives me STRENGTH.
It’s like when Paul and Silas were locked up in prison by King Herod in Acts 16. They were both in chains, guarded and had no way out. I could only imagine what they must have felt. And still, they sang hymns to God! Giving Him glory and praise! When the earthquake happened, the prison shook, the doors flew open and the chains fell off, it was probably no surprise to them! They could see that the breakthrough was coming!
I felt like Paul and Silas. When I was depressed I found myself in chains I couldn’t break out of. But, when I called out Almighty God, He went before me and shattered the prison walls and set me free!
The song “Praise Your Name” was birthed out of hope to see people set free from the darkness taking them prisoner. I remember when Corey, Rhyan and I were writing this song, nostalgia hit me...the word weren’t exact, but the same heart and passion were there. If Paul and Silas were here today, I think they’d sing this song.
“I’m gonna sing my way out of the valley,
I’m gonna shout my way up to the mountain,
I will take hold of the truth of your promise,
I’m gonna praise!
I’m gonna praise!
I’m gonna push through till every lie crumbles,
I’m gonna dance in the midst of the rain,
I’m gonna rest in the arms of the Father,
I’m gonna praise!
I’m gonna praise your name!”
Even today, when depression or hardships try to sneak up on me, I declare these lyrics over my life! Anything that is outside of the very nature of God, has to bow! And through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can sing to our hardships and collide with His peace and abundant joy..
My hope and prayer, is that this song will be the one you choose to sing in the middle of your battle. May you be met in His peace, may Heaven’s joy overwhelm you, and may His presence set you free!