When withdrawal doesn’t get the final word

Column Post by Glenda Harbinson

Lately I’ve felt God leading me to discontinue a specific medication I’ve been taking for some time now. I come from a long line of depressed women and have the diagnosis of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). For a while I used this medication according to the season, but when switching became problematic I started adjusting the dosage.

I weaned off as instructed, and this week I took my last dose. I felt both relief and a tinge of anxiety as I swallowed that pill but I was looking forward to what God had in store for me. I had no idea of what was ahead.

Nobody had told me that long-term use of this particular medication could cause physical addiction, or that the problems leading to the use of this particular medication would return tenfold in the throes of withdrawal—even with a slow weaning process.

Two days ago I had no idea what was wrong with me. I was screaming at God for help, begging and pleading, unable even to cry. The people to whom I most often turn for support were not available, so it was just God and me. I was beyond thankful I had been encouraged to immerse myself in God’s Word, and that verses I had been given so repetitively had become engrained in my mind.

God kept bringing Philippians 4:4 to my thoughts.
Rejoice in the Lord Always and AGAIN I say Rejoice.

I couldn’t cry. I could barely feel. All I could do was rock back and forth, muttering under my breath to God, thankful that He didn’t care what form my prayers took. I’m not sure anyone would have recognized my attitude as one of rejoicing, but I thanked God that He was with me. That He understood. That I had friends who would love me through this no matter how long it lasted. I rejoiced that I had spent the last few months growing in Him and could lean upon that growth.

I listened to a Bible study I will soon be transcribing, knowing I would find both encouragement and words of comfort. What I heard changed my life. The man I call my dad said, “The reason you are struggling is that God wants to use you! The enemy knows that, so he works to circumvent your ability to really get onto the battlefield. If you’re on the bench, you won’t be causing him problems!”

The dam broke and I cried. I cried out to God the emotions from the weeks past, and I cried in relief. Yes, I may deal with the physical withdrawal of this medication for a few days or weeks, but God is much bigger than this. I don’t have to sit it out because of this. God can use me—use even this—to honor Him, and I can choose to allow Him to empower me rather than letting Satan sideline me.

It’s a no-brainer. Here I am Lord. Use me!

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P.S. We’d love to know your thoughts, so please be sure to comment below. Each of our commenters will be entered in a drawing for this month’s FREE book giveaway, Mothers & Daughters: Mending a Strained Relationship by author Teena Stewart. 

Glenda is a homeschooling mom of four in New Brunswick, Canada. She also fosters one teen and provides respite care and tutoring for another. She and her paramedic husband Mark have been married for 24 years. Glenda’s writings often reflect her personal experience parenting and teaching children with developmental and learning differences, as well as a particular empathy for moms with chronic illness. She blogs at http://pwsmommy.homeschooljournal.net/ and can be reached by emailing glenda.harbinson@gmail.com

Read more encouraging stories from brave-hearted women here. Be sure to grab your free copy of inspirational quotes and writing prompts while you’re there. (Look over on the right hand side!)

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