(The story of Abigail Delp written by Mary Alysse Dodds)
I felt like curling up in a back office and crying. I texted my husband from my office at the swine vet.
“I’m praying for you,” he texted back, even though we usually go weeks without texting. And he did pray for me.
Here I was too prideful and afraid to tell him that it was an accomplishment to get out of bed in the morning, that my mind went haywire every night, and that I felt like I was acting 24/7 for the man I slept beside at night. I thought he’d regret having married me if he found out, and we’d only been married four weeks. I thought Jonathan and God would think I was being weak and faithless.
Jonathan was surprised when he found out about my depression in a post-marital counseling session, but he was understanding. He took such good care of me, and he was kind and patient.
Wow, I made this a much bigger deal in my head, especially since Jonathan loves me. I’m understanding of others’ struggles. I don’t know why I expect others to condemn and abandon me. I knew if Jonathan came to me and told me he was struggling with something, I would be understanding. I wouldn’t condemn him and think he was the most horrible human being because he was having issues.
Still, I was too prideful to show my weakness and afraid Jonathan would feel like he had to pull himself up by his bootstraps and and deal with being stuck with a depressed wife. But when it was all out in the open, Jonathan prayed for me and encouraged me.
God is such a good God. Jonathan’s graciousness in my sadness made me realize how much God loves me, specifically me. It didn’t matter what else was going on, how depressed I was or how faithless I felt like I was being. I perceived it as a weakness, but God used it as an opportunity to grow my faith. He used it to deepen and strengthen my marriage and prepare us for hard times in the future.
Of course God takes good care of me. It made sense. I really sought God about who I should marry, even during our dating relationship. Then when Jonathan did take good care of me, such good care of me, and was so kind and patient with me, it made sense. Of course God was going to make sure I was with somebody who wasn’t going to blow his fuse when I was having issues. God tends to know what he’s doing.
After Jonathan found out, it took a couple months to work through my depression.
That depth of vulnerability and support were necessary, Abigail, I heard God say while I was praying. You needed to explore sadness, oneness, and encouragement to know that you could survive hard times because something is coming.
I thought it sounded kind of weird, but two weeks after our anniversary Jonathan’s mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. It’s been two years, and we’re noticing her change. We’re still processing and grieving. I wish I never would have had to go through that depression, but I know Jonathan and I wouldn’t have handled this the same way if I didn’t.
Even though we have a firm foundation in God, it’s still unnerving when the world is tilting around us. But it will all right itself again, because of course God takes good care of me.
Abigail (Schlicher) Delp is a wife, swine vet office administrator, reader, and introvert. She teaches Sunday school and is the discipleship coordinator at her church. She makes her meals a month ahead, but procrastinates cleaning. She listens carefully and cares fiercely like a good oldest child.