Wildflowers from Winter: Hope after Depression

I can’t believe we’ve reached the last of our real-life Wildflowers from Winter guest posts. I hope the stories of these women have uplifted and encouraged you.

This last guest post is from Teri Metts and is every bit as beautiful as the others. I trust God will use her words to set many hearts free today.

A Ministry is Born

Can someone who walks in close fellowship with God battle debilitating insecurities? Is it possible to say, “I trust God,” and yet still suffer with depression? Not only is it possible, I know from experience depression and debilitating insecurities plague many who genuinely love the Lord.

Although my Christian mother raised me in church, our home life was unpredictable. My alcoholic father’s drinking and chronic unfaithfulness often drove my mother to bouts of depression and emotional outbursts. As a result she depended upon me for emotional support long before I was mature enough to handle her needs. It wasn’t uncommon for her to fly into a rage and then not speak to me for days as punishment for something often beyond my control, which ultimately produced within me a deep-rooted fear of rejection.

By the time I reached my teens, I’d begun experiencing panic attacks fueled by waves of insecurity in my closest relationships. In an attempt to protect myself from the rejection I feared might come, I spent years shutting down emotionally. I hid behind a mask of false security and self-confidence, allowing others only so far into my world. In my mid-thirties, I learned burying one’s emotions eventually results in a volcanic-type eruption called depression. For a season I battled this demon in silence, still fearful of experiencing rejection should others discover my weakness. Always at the back of my mind were these troubling questions: How could a respected minister’s wife, missionary, and Bible study teacher admit she struggled with depression and overwhelming waves of insecurity? Wouldn’t that be a poor reflection on the love I had for God and the faith I claimed to place in Him?

By the spring of 1999 I could no longer hide the depth of my emotional unhealthiness, and my worst nightmare became a reality. Dreading the questions, or worse yet, the silent accusations, I wanted to go into hiding. I was convinced no one would ever again seek me out as a friend, teacher or spiritual mentor. They would label me a fraud. I felt as if my total sense of value and self-worth had been jerked out for underneath me. But God knew my exposure would ultimately be the catalyst He would use to set me free.

Once I was at the bottom of the pit, God reached down and picked me up. That summer (’99) He began a restoration process in my life as I facilitated a support group for women who also needed to face the demons their pasts had created. After the first group finished, two more began, with a waiting list for future groups. I was blown away. Admitting to my own battles had not pushed others away; instead, my admission became a magnet drawing them to me and giving them the courage to share with others their own struggles.

The following spring I started a ministry for women called Hem Touchers. Over the course of that year, God led me to write two Bible studies – Touching Jesus & Embracing Christ to use with ministry participants (women who, like me, needed to trust Him to heal their hurts). Twelve years later these studies are still being used by God to help others find healing from past and present life hurts.

I’m offering a set of these Bible studies to one person commenting on today’s post. If you would like to be entered in the drawing, be sure and leave your e-mail address.

This hymn was one of Teri’s favorites as God lifted her from her depression.

Teri Metts is a pastor’s wife, Bible study teacher, and former missionary to the Dominican Republic. Over the past twenty-five+ years, she has written Sunday School literature as well as numerous Bible studies, including two twelve-week studies, Touching Jesus and Embracing Christ, as curriculum for Hem Touchers Ministry, started in April 2000. 

More recently, Teri has entered the field of Christian fiction. Her first novel, Caribbean Paradise (set in the Dominican Republic), was published in 2010, followed by Pearl of the Caribbean (set in Haiti), in 2011. She is presently at work on the third and final Island Legacy Novel, Caribbean Freedom (set in Cuba), which releases in February 2013. 

Teri lives with her husband Joe and their two dogs, Buddy & Shug, in Mississippi. They have three grown children (two married, one single) and four grandchildren. In 2006, Teri and Joe bought their dream home, a 1910 bungalow. Be sure and check out Teri’s Christian-based blog and website at www.bungalowretreat.com, where she depicts country-living, bungalow-style, through words and pictures. 

Let’s Talk: Have you ever been afraid to share real parts of yourself for fear of how others will respond? Do you know Teri? Say hi. Introduce yourself. She’s an inspiring woman! 

Do you have a story you can share? Don’t miss out on the Wildflowers from Winter blog hop on May 4th! I cannot wait to read your testimonies. 

Don’t forget to send me the link (katie@katieganshert.com) so I can include it in my blog post next Friday. All who participate will be entered to win a $50 gift card to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Christianbook.com (winner’s choice).

Please help spread the word. How cool would it be to flood the internet with stories of hope and healing?

36 thoughts on “Wildflowers from Winter: Hope after Depression

  1. Teri, I love how God has used you to minister to others. Thank you for sharing your story!
    ~ Wendy

     
     
    1. Thank you, Wendy. And thanks for stopping by.

      Teri

       
       
  2. Katrina

    I think this is a very real fear for women in general … fear of sharing the real parts of ourselves. I think we’re afraid of judgment. Which is too bad, because I think if more people shared, they’d find the support they so desperately need! Great post! (nkharrmann@yahoo.com)

     
     
    1. Katrina, you’re exactly right. We fear the judgment, and yet I’ve discovered once women open up, more often than not, they do find the support they need. But taking that first step is hard. I believe that’s why Hem Touchers Ministry has been so successful. It gives these women a safe place to be honest.

      Thanks for stopping by.

       
       
  3. Nice to meet you, Teri! Amazing story! I’ve been scared to show real parts of myself to others, mostly when I was younger. The older I get the less I seem to care. What you see is what you get. I think showing my own insecurities can actually minister to others.

    Great post!

     
     
    1. Thanks, Jessica. And what you shared is exactly what I long for women everywhere to grasp. Showing our own insecurities really does minister to others. It lets them know we’re no different from them and can relate to their struggles, thus enabling them to open up and be real too.

      Thanks for stopping by. Teri

       
       
  4. I find that depression is the dirty little secret carried around by so many people. Generally, woman feel that if we cannot nurture ourselves, we have failed everyone else.
    Teri, I would be curious to know your views regarding medication as a companion treatment for those who suffer from either chronic or externally triggered anxiety.

     
     
    1. Jennifer, thanks for stopping by. You’ve posed a question I’ve often been asked. Although I’m no longer on medication, I did take anti-depression meds for a number of years.

      I believe depression and anxiety disorders are in many cases no different from those who have diabetes, or heart disease, or a variety of other physical problems that require meds to help treat or control. Although there are still those who disagree, I’m thankful doctors now realize the good that comes from treating depression and anxiety disorders with meds. I don’t believe this shows a lack of faith in God (as I’ve heard some say) to get us through anymore than I would say those who take meds for heart disease or diabetes aren’t trusting God as they should.

      Hope this helps. Teri

       
       
      1. THANKYOU!!! You may have observed those who NEED meds but refuse to take them and fall further down the rabbit hole without them. Then when they do take them, it’s like having life given back! One of them is typing this right now…

         
         
      2. BTW-mine was an external stress compounded by years of chronic pain, then POOF! Buh bye Jennifer, hello crying. Thank the Lord for meds, my life is sweet now.

         
         
      3. Jennifer, I’m rejoicing with you! Something I left out of my previous reply is that I have fibromyalgia, and although I no longer take meds for depression, I do take Lyrica for my fibro pain. Of course, depression often accompanies fibro, or vice-versa, don’t know that they know for sure. Either way, I thank God for this med that helps me manage my pain.

         
         
  5. Deborah Carter

    Teri

    I love you! You have always meant so much to me—I have felt a kinship to you from the start —God has used you so much in my Life alone—you may never know in this life how much you are loved —keep doing what you are called to do my sister in Christ

     
     
    1. Deborah, thank you so much for your words of encouragement. I love you too, and definitely understand what you mean about the kinship between us. Wish we lived close enough to visit more often. Miss you guys!

       
       
  6. I don’t announce many parts of my life because I don’t prefer to fit into others’ stereotypes. It’s freeing to slip, slide, and away and avoid most relationships. If somebody attempts to pin me down, I just flutter away before the point stabs me….I’m constantly on a path to self-awareness so that I can detect my patterns, determine why I shut down regularly (not depression, just shut-down mode).
    p.s. Hi Teri! Thank you for your story and encouragement.

     
     
    1. Jill, thank you for your honesty. Your tendency to guard yourself in relationships is not uncommon. Even within Christian circles our relationships are often only an inch deep, because we’re afraid of that “point stabbing us” as you said. “Detecting our patterns” is a good starting point. Like you, initially my tendency was to shut down. We don’t have to open ourselves up to everyone, but it is helpful to find a trusted few we can just be ourselves with.

      Thanks for stopping by. Teri

       
       
  7. God is so good. I’m loving hearing these stories of breaking free. I’ve definitely struggled with secrets. When my mom was dying of cancer, I struggled with doubt. Everyone was gushing about how “strong” I was, and I felt like a complete phony.

     
     
    1. Oh Lindsey, your story about people watching to see how strong you were when you mom died hit a nerve with me. When our oldest son was 8, he was hit by a car and almost died. I stayed strong until we knew he was going to be okay, and then I fell apart. For months I struggled silently with depression, but as a minister’s wife felt it was my responsibility to put on my smile and act strong. At a ladies’ meeting one day, a woman said to me, “If it had been any one else, I would have been worried. But because it was you, I knew you were fine.” But I wasn’t fine. Even so, I smiled and said, “thank you.” In time I learned to speak up for myself, but even now occasionally fall back into old habits. It’s something I have to watch.

      Teri

       
       
  8. Jacqui Cherry

    Daniel 2:22 “He reveals deep and mysterious things  and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though He is surrounded by light.”

    Satan loves to keep things hidden, to attempt to defeat us. But, praise God, He brings them to light so that He can heal us!

    I’m so thankful for your testimony to your faithful God. And so thankful for the gifts He’s given you, that yu might share Him with others. He truly is our Hope.

    I’m so prud of you, Teri…of your courage, your talent, your faithfulness. And I think you know how much I love you! God bless you, and those who find His Truth through you.

     
     
    1. Jacqui, what a great truth. It is Satan who tells us we need to keep these things hidden and not bring them to the Light. He knows he can keep us living defeated lives as long as we’re ashamed to admit the truth.

      Thank you so much for your encouragement. I love you too, my friend.

       
       
  9. Betty Stafford

    Teri, your material brought me from the depths of depression….some 11 years ago….and I STILL depend on the Truths…..day by day! Because of Hem Touchers, I am compelled to share this same study, Touching Jesus, believing it will be THE difference in others lives! Thank you and praise the Lord for your obedience! Love you, my friend!

     
     
    1. Betty, thank you for stopping by and sharing. I’m praying for you, the other facilitators and participants as you go through Touching Jesus this summer. Love you too, my friend.

       
       
  10. Thanks for sharing your story, Teri. Parts of it resonate deeply with me because I can empathize. I love how the Lord is using you, a broken vessel, to reach others with His love. We “cracked pots” can make a difference when we let our flaws show and use them as a way to connect with other needy people. May the Lord bless your work with Hem Touchers.

     
     
    1. Thank you, Keli. For far too long I feared others would be turned off if they discovered I was a “cracked pot”. But I know now we’re all “cracked” in some way. If we weren’t, we’d never realize how desperately we need God.

      As for Hem Touchers, I’m no longer personally involved in teaching classes, although the studies I wrote are still being used by women who’ve been through Hem Touchers, as they continue the work God allowed me to begin 12 years ago.

       
       
  11. Thanks for sharing Teri. It’s amazing how God can use us when we take our masks off. The enemy would like nothing better than for us to believe we are all alone. But when we start sharing our pain we find we are not alone. God bless you for sharing your pain and finding the joy.

     
     
    1. Thank you, Melissa. One of the most freeing things I’ve ever done was taking off my mask. Terrifying at first, but ultimately so freeing, because as you said, I discovered I wasn’t alone.

       
       
  12. Teri, Thank you for sharing your story. I can relate to your story on nearly every level. I’m sure I am not alone in that. 😉

     
     
    1. Thanks, Shelly. I agree. I believe there are many who can relate, at least at some level. That’s why I’m so thankful God brought me to the point I had no other choice but to share the truth with others, and how I’ve gotten to see the ministry opportunities my honesty has provided.

       
       
  13. Teri, your story is beautiful and a testament to the love and faithfulness of our Mighty God. My husband often tells me I can’t be friends with everyone – and he says that because I try too hard to make everyone like me. As a little girl in elementary school my friends would reject me for the silliest things and so I tried to find ways for them to like me everyday.

    As I’ve gone through deep, foundation shaking experiences, I’ve only spoken out to the people closest to me (my husband, my mom, aunts, sisters) – because I didn’t want my friends to know the ugliest parts of me, for fear they’d reject me, too. I had to come to a point where I was no longer afraid, but faithfully sharing my story to those the Holy Spirit has lead me to share it – because He wants to use my story to offer hope to others. My blog has become a great way for me to do this. I am able to share my heart and my passion for the Lord there. I’ve been blessed and humbled by the ways in which God is using my testimony for His glory.

     
     
    1. Gabrielle, thanks so much for sharing your story. I can relate to that little girl in elementary school you talked about. I too am a people pleaser, and have to daily rely on God to help me not focus so much on what others think and more on what He thinks.

      How exciting you now get to share your story on your blog. I’d like to check it out if you’ll tell me how to get there.

       
       
      1. My blog address is http://www.gabrielle-meyer.blogspot.com. I am planning on sharing the whole story on May 4th with the Wildflowers from Winter blog hop. I’ll be praying for the others who have decided to share their stories, too – I think it will be an amazing day!

         
         
  14. Teri, I’m so sorry you had to suffer so many years alone, but thankful God has used your freedom to be a witness for Him. Woman wear many masks for fear of sharing who they really are with others. God always loves and accepts us, but we must learn to offer that same love and acceptance to one another. The best part is that His truth then set you free and you have been sharing that truth so that others may find the same victory! Praying His amazing favor just continues to bless your life! Thanks so much for sharing. <3

     
     
    1. Karen, thank you for stopping by and for you kind and encouraging words! And you’re so right, while God always loves and accepts us as we are, we do need to learn better how to offer that same kind of love and acceptance to others. I’m thankful Hem Touchers has become a place where hurting women have been able to find that kind of safe environment.

       
       
  15. Powerful and moving story and song. Thanks so much for sharing it Teri! Blessings!

     
     
    1. Thank you, Janet. Glad you enjoyed the song. It’s one of my all-time favorites. Whenever I hear it, I envision God reaching down, placing His fingers under my chin, and gently lifting my head.

       
       
  16. Dawn Turner

    I hid who I was for years as a result of childhood sexual abuse. I saw myself as a freak that no one could possibly love, and I even doubt that God could love someone so horrible. I took responsibility for what my perpetrator did. Then, one day, God showed me how much He did love me, and it was through a tragedy in my life. He let me know I wasn’t alone, and for the first time I KNEW He loved me even if the rest of the world couldn’t. I continued to battle trust issues though (particularly where people were concerned), suffered panic attacks just trying to leave my home (which got worse instead of better and doctors gave me NO hope for them to actually go away), struggled mightily with depression (to the point of being suicidal), and saw my health take a tailspin (which only made the depression worse).

    Then God brought a couple into my and my husband’s lives that recognized my fear and brokenness, and He gave them the wisdom to break through the pain of the past. (God knows when we need support with flesh on it, I’ve found.) I’ve gone from someone who couldn’t speak in public, even a very small group, without throwing up my toenails and suffering panic attacks to teaching a small group of women in Sunday School. (I still don’t like speaking in front of large groups, but I haven’t had any need either.) I’ve gone from never sharing my pain with anyone for fear of what they’ll think of me to sharing it with anyone I feel God prompts me to. I’ve also gone from taking it personally when someone reacts hatefully to recognizing that is their heart issue, not mine. (Sometimes it really isn’t about me. Imagine that! 😉 ) I’ve been able to talk to so many women with abusive backgrounds who were in that same broken state I was. I also found forgiveness for my abuser, even though he still to this day denies he did anything. I pray for him to accept Christ. As much as he hurt me, my heart aches with the thought he’ll spend eternity in hell.

    A handful of years ago, God put me in a unique position that I never would have dreamed possible. I was able to counsel not with a victim but with a convicted sex offender (who had molested a child). I shared my story with him and opened his eyes to the damage he had likely done to his victim emotionally. (He doesn’t know how she’s been affected since he, of course, hasn’t been permitted any contact with her since that time.) The man wept as he realized the true depth of the impact of his sin. I wept for his pain, the pain of his victim, and for the fact that God showed me He truly can use us in mighty ways that we can’t even possibly imagine when we don’t let fear prevent us from stepping out in obedience.

    I know I still have a LOT to learn, but God is so infinitely patient and loving. I know I can count on that, even when I’m being obtuse or stubborn. Knowing that helps keep the fear at bay. And the depression? It still rears its ugly head from time to time when I try to muddle through life on my own power. But then God reminds me WHOSE power I’m supposed to be using, and His is WAY bigger than mine. 🙂

     
     
    1. Dawn, Wow! What an awesome testimony, and thank you for sharing it! A number of women I’ve ministered to over the years were sexual abused, and I’ve seen firsthand how hard it is for them to break free from the shame of believing they were at fault for what happened. I’m excited to hear you’re not only walking in victory, but that God is using you to help minister to others. And what a great story of how you were able – by God’s grace – to minister to someone (the sex offender) I’m sure at one time you would have scorned.

       
       

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