My name is Maria Royall, and God used death to give me life.

Depression is death in its most confusing form. Your body is not dead, but your mind, emotions, common sense, rationale, and former ambitions are. It feels like you should be dead, and eventually, everything will make you wish you were. This diagnosis was not on my radar over two years ago when my good friend Molly told me I wasn't normal and needed to see a doctor. My life had always been fine, and that was my biggest problem.

I grew up as the quintessential middle child - acting out for attention, feeling overshadowed and under-loved in comparison to my siblings. I eventually learned the art of over-compensation and became the least loving and most judgmental rule follower you've ever met. I loved rules and despised those who didn't. They had a freedom and joy that I didn't, with seemingly no consequences. No matter how many sermons I heard, how much I read the bible, or how demandingly I prayed, that bitterness refused to leave me at my core. 

The most beautiful and terrifying thing to me is that someday, God might answer our prayers. I truly believe that He delights in destruction in our lives - not because He loves to see us hurt (He weeps over our pain), but because He loves to rebuild us. The destruction of my life came through the gift of depression. I lost my ability to love. I shut out most of my friends, and the ones that remained couldn't understand, no matter how much they wanted to. I lost my ability to learn and dropped out of school. I lost my ability to have an appetite, developed an eating disorder, and dropped well below the healthy weight for a girl my size. I passed out anytime I missed a meal. I asked my then-fiance (now-husband) to leave me, because he didn't deserve a mess like me. I thought I might never get better. I was ruined.

The one thing I never questioned was God's goodness. That is something that I refuse to let my circumstances dictate. God was gracious enough to take away every other pleasure in my life, because I needed to know if He was enough. Friends, please believe me when I say that He is. I would joyfully endure this entire ordeal again for another glimpse of who He is. I can't explain what exactly I learned that made my illness worth it, but I can say with confidence that He met me and it changed me. My bitterness fled with this sobering understanding of my brokenness and His perfection.

I challenge you to pray honestly. Tell God how you feel. If you don't truly believe that He is worth your devotion, tell Him. Ask Him to reveal Himself. Quit pretending that you are fine when you aren't. God is gracious enough to transform your doubt. Be bold, trust Him, and ask for what you need with expectancy.