Depression is not something that magically disappears when you slap a band aid on it. Sometimes the last thing you want to hear is another Bible verse or an encouraging word from someone who has not walked in your shoes. We all have moments when we need someone to grab our hand and help pull us up out of the depths of despair. It’s the moments when we cannot even reach back for the extended hand that are hardest to get through. No matter what you are facing today or tomorrow, or what you went through yesterday, there is hope for you. Psalms puts words to the hardest seasons of life when it’s hard to find words to pray.
I’ve been there in the dark season of depression. I know what it’s like to wonder if this thick cloud that seems to surround me will ever lift. I’ve sat in the waiting rooms, read the articles, and attempted to talk about the moments that made me question if I was ever going to be ok again.
We cannot cover depression with a bandage or pretend like there are not tangible physical reasons for mental health struggles. But what we can do is use the resources we have wisely and share the hope we find in scripture.
There are a few Psalms that helped me through some of the darkest moments and I want to share them with you. The Psalmist conveys my feelings in ways I could never verbalize on my own. I have prayed these Psalms many times while asking God to deliver me from the struggle at hand. Every time I read them, I am reminded again of how amazing and alive God’s Word really is. While I love the entire chapter of each of these Psalms, I included the highlights that speak directly to my heart. For deeper study, read the entire chapter.
If you are encouraged by one of these, it’s your turn to hold out your hand to a friend and pull her up. Be an encourager and pass this on!
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A Psalm for the fearful heart
“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” Psalm 27:1,14
Fear is gripping. It’s the feeling that starts small but grows and seems to take us down faster than we want to go. But God gives us big truths to cling to from this psalm. He is our light! He is our strength! When fear grips us, we know where to go to find light in the dark and strength when we feel depleted. It’s not that we immediately jump for joy and have miraculous physical power, but remembering where the light comes from, helps lead us in the right direction when we are in the depths of the dark.
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A Psalm for the waiting heart
“I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.” Psalm 40:1-3
Seasons of depression go by slower than other seasons of life. The days linger and the nights seem to never end. But the psalmist here reminds us that God pulls us up out of that terrible place and gives us steady ground to stand on. When we feel like the night will never end, this gives us fresh hope to rise up with a new song for a new day.
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A Psalm for the discouraged heart
“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” Psalm 43:5
The question why is one that is hard to answer in seasons of depression. Sometimes there is no good answer. But we can always find an answer for where to find hope. This psalm spells it out for us and walks us toward God with praise and thanks for salvation.
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A Psalm for the grieving heart
“I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes. Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping. The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD accepts my prayer.” Psalm 6:6-9
Grief changes us. It forces us to stop and acknowledge the pain of the world around us. Loss ushers us into an emotional cycle that we can try to ignore only to be hit harder when the next wave of grief overcomes us. Tears are not a sign of weakness, they prove a person is letting him or herself come face to face with something difficult. The hope we hold is that God hears the cries of His children and He gives us words to help express the deep ache of a heart in grief.
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A Psalm for the overwhelmed heart
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah. Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalm 46:1-3,10
Life is paralyzing when struggles surround us. There is no shame in being still, and this psalm gives us the very tangible value to slowing down the soul and letting the season of struggle be a gift rather than a curse. Being still and letting God into the depths of the overwhelm is perhaps a key to finding the help we need to make it through another day.
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A Psalm for the terrified heart
“Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me; all day long an attacker oppresses me; my enemies trample on me all day long, for many attack me proudly. When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?” Psalm 56:1-4
Life is complicated when people let us down or hurt us on purpose. But there is one person who is always steady, faithful, and true. If you are worried about what might happen next or afraid of what people will do or say, know that God is gracious, merciful, loving, and kind. He wants to hear you pray the words of the psalms.
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A Psalm for the desperate heart
“Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:1-2
Walking through depression isn’t something I want to do again, but I am thankful for the season when my heart was faint because I experienced God’s presence like never before. These Psalms gave me prayers to pray when I had no words. Wounds of life had run deep and my mind was filled with fear and despair.
No matter what you are going through or how hard life may be, speak these simple psalms to the Lord today and let Him meet you right where you are. May God bless you and begin to give you a glimpse of hope.
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Micah Maddox is a women’s event speaker, Bible teacher, and author of Anchored In: Experience a Power-Full Life in a Problem-Filled World. She is passionate about helping women find purpose, peace, and calm in our chaotic world. Micah is on the Proberbs31 First5 Writing Team. As a pastor’s wife, mother of three, and foster mom, she contributes her time to her family and local church serving as a women’s ministry leader. Micah loves to give a voice to hurting hearts and writes to the one who needs encouragement. You can connect with her at micahmaddox.com.