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Welcome to another guest post in our Stories of Overcoming Adversity Series. Today, you’ll hear from Erin Boado from Lullaby Lark. She’s a beautiful mama who will be talking to you about overcoming anxiety and depression as a special needs mom. Erin has a wonderful blog where she speaks to special needs mama’s about overcoming discouragement. Her contact info and bio are at the end of the post, so be sure to check her out.
Overcoming anxiety and depression as a special needs mom is no easy feat. Believe me. I get it. As a special needs mom myself, this is an area in which I have struggled greatly.
At times, I’ve felt justified in my sadness and fear because I know most every special needs mom feels the same way! Because of my painful experiences with my medically complex son, I’ve felt that I have a right to my fear. I’ve earned it!
My son, Griffin has been in the hospital at least once every fall and winter since he was born. Every doctor visit, chest x-ray, ambulance (or airplane) ride, and hospital admission taught me that fear and sadness are the appropriate reaction to my family’s stressful and pain-filled circumstances. Anxiety and depression had definitely found a foothold in my life and heart. But, in my four years as a special needs mom, I have discovered these four essential tips for overcoming anxiety and depression.
For more on this topic, check out my recent post with 20 scriptures for moms struggling with anxiety or depression.
From One Special Needs Mom To Another, These Are My Essentials For Overcoming Anxiety and Depression
1. There is no need for anxiety when you rest your identity and self-worth in Christ.
The “Proverbs 31 Woman” is anxiety-inducing to so many women, myself included. At times, I’ve looked at her and instead of drawing inspiration in my own motherhood, I’ve begun to list all of my inadequacies and all the things I should be doing. But I urge you to take another look and imagine what God is saying about the value of a mother’s work–the value of YOUR work as a special needs mom. He says you are worth more than rubies. He says that you deserve honor and praise for the work you do. Take comfort in that, sweet friend, that your Father in Heaven values your work so greatly. If you rest your identity and self-worth in him, you will be well on your way to overcoming anxiety and depression.
“A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”
2. Take captive the negative and intrusive thoughts and make them obedient to Christ.
I don’t know about you, but my anxiety often feels like a running dialogue in my mind of all the things I need to do, haven’t done, haven’t done well enough, should have done better, and have to do RIGHT NOW! When I entertain those thoughts, I can start to panic and feel as if I’ll never get anything done and never be a “good enough” mother. Then the depression starts to sap my energy and drive to even try. The two often play off of each other until I’m completely immobile. But Jesus gives me so much hope for overcoming anxiety and depression! He says that I have an option. I don’t have to dwell on the negative. There are so many other great things I can think about, so many powerful truths to battle those intrusive thoughts.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9 NIV
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV
3. You can overcome worry with worship.
Though these emotions can be very heavy, overcoming anxiety and depression is possible when we focus on the greatness of our God. For me, something as simple as a trip to the grocery store with the kids can bring me to my knees with worry. I worry about judgment if the kids and I don’t look our best. I worry about safety, if I installed the car seats correctly, if they may be exposed to germs, and a hundred other things. By the time I’m done worrying, I’ve completely exhausted myself before the shopping even begins. By that time, it seems better to just stay home, where the sadness and self-sabotage sets in. Can you relate?
But this scripture offers such freedom. Instead of carrying around those heavy emotions, God offers to carry it. And instead of being brought to my knees by worry and sadness, I’m invited to fall to my knees in humility and worship of my incredible, loving Father.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 NIV
4. Turn to God alone for your help and comfort. Everything else WILL leave you empty.
When I’m feeling depressed or anxious, I am often tempted (and often give in to the temptation) to turn to other things to soothe my aching heart. Food and mindless television are the usual culprits. But I love David’s heart in this psalm. He is in the pit, and instead of turning to other things for comfort he cries out, “Lord, be my help.” And guess what? God is there to rescue. He’s there to rescue you too, sweet friend. He longs to help you overcome your anxiety and depression, turning your crying into dancing and clothing you with joy.
“To you, Lord, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:
“What is gained if I am silenced,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
Lord, be my help.”
You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.” Psalm 30:8-12 NIV
Remember These Four Essentials For Overcoming Anxiety and Depression
Sweet friend, if you can discipline your heart and mind to find your identity in Christ, take captive your intrusive thoughts, worship in the midst of your difficult emotions, and turn to God alone for your comfort, you will be well on your way to overcoming your anxiety and depression. As special needs moms, I know just how difficult that can be, but take hope! Your Heavenly Father is with you every step of the way.
Hey, friend! I’m Erin, the mama behind Lullaby Lark. I help discouraged moms find hope and healing. I live in Augusta, Georgia with my husband, Ben, my two sons, Griffin and Caspian, and our two fur babies, Ollie and Izzy. Griffin was born with a chronic lung disease called pulmonary hypertension, as well as some other complicating factors. We have spent the past three years learning and growing together through this experience and relying on the hope that we have in Jesus. You can connect with me on Facebook or Pinterest.
I hope you enjoyed today’s post. For other stories in our series, check out my compilation post, Powerful and Inspiring Stories of Overcoming Adversity. Check back monthly for more additions to this series. Please show your support of Erin by leaving your comments below and by sharing this post with others.