Thursday, May 1

God WILL Give You More Than You Can Handle!

“Wow,” someone said to me as I dropped my twin babies off at the church nursery, “You have twins. God didn't give me twins because He knew I couldn't handle them. God will never give you more than you can handle.”

I didn't say anything. Those days, tears were always stuck in my throat, threatening to spill over as depression constantly clouded my mind. What does “handle” mean, anyway? I thought bitterly.

So many people told me the same thing but I knew it wasn't true. Unless I was “handling it” when I threw vases and broke them against the wall, thanking God I didn't hurt my babies during my fits of rage. Unless “handling it” was screaming (yes, cursing, even) at my husband or babies who cried all night. Unless “handling it” was running outside and slamming the door and wishing I had my own car so I could run away. Unless “handling it” was crying into my pillow every night and wishing I could die.

When I first became a Christian, 5 years before depression set in and challenged everything I thought was true about God, I argued with a college professor that “God will never give you more than you can handle.” He said, “Well, Celena, there is a verse that says 'God won't tempt you beyond what you're able to endure' but 'enduring' is much different from 'handling.'”

To handle something means you've got it under control. While the world assumed I was handling being a new mother of twins, I was actually flying off the handle just about every other day. Webster's dictionary described me well: “flying off the handle: going into a state of sudden & violent anger.” That was me alright.

For about a year and a half, I struggled with post partum depression. I think it's important to talk about because when I was going through it, I was very ashamed and thought no other Christian ever struggled with it. I didn't tell my doctor because she knew I was a Christian and I wanted to have “a good testimony.” I'd heard countless preachers say Christians shouldn't need medication for depression. Please don't think I'm saying whether I believe that or not: I will never tell someone what to do in that situation. I made it through without killing myself but that was about as close as I came to “handling it.” But that's me, and it's not you... or someone you love who's fighting with all they've got just to make it to the next day.

When I was fighting depression, the only book in the bible that could begin to console me was the book of Job because he questioned God the same way I did. Job said things like,

“I was at ease, but He shattered me.”
“Why do You hide Your face and consider me Your enemy?”
“Though He slay me, yet will I serve Him.”

I would lock myself in the bathroom, the only place I could be alone & cry out to God with a heart like Job's:

“God, why won't you deliver me?”
“Do you hate me? Why do you hate me? What did I do wrong?”

And He spoke to my heart the words He spoke to Peter, “You don't want to go away, also, do you?”

And I cried out, even though everything within me was certain He had something against me for some reason... that He hated me even!, “Lord, where else can I go?! I know that You have the words of eternal life. I believe and know that you're God. There's nowhere else to go!”

So... I endured. I endured. I didn't handle anything. I couldn't handle it on my own. I couldn't even “handle it” as I prayed and sought God. But I realized how much I needed Him more than I ever realized it before. When I first prayed at the altar 5 years before all my real problems began, I was a very happy sinner. Yep, sinners can be happy! I knew something was missing, and when I prayed to ask Jesus to come into my heart, that was just the icing on the cake. I knew He died for my sins but it was so superficial. Jesus was my buddy, my real life genie in a bottle. But when He finally “gave me more than I could handle” and I realized how much I really, truly needed Him, He became my Father and my Savior, the One I could never run away from... no matter how bad it got.

So is God not God because He gave me more than I could handle?

I believe He gave me more than I could handle so I would understand that I'm still a sinner who needs His grace. Before I fought depression and anger, I didn't realize I had that potential for such anger inside me. My faith was superficial. For 5 years, I had a life of ease, just like Job did before calamity struck. I loved God because He was good to me, because He blessed me. I didn't realize that even if He never did anything else for me, dying for me was enough.

I am so thankful that my children will never remember that I used to scream at them, cuss at them, throw things, and slam doors. I'm so thankful that I never hurt them. I'm so thankful that I can smile a sincere smile and can laugh so hard my face hurts. For almost 2 years, I wondered if I would ever laugh a real laugh again! My friends tease me when I laugh so hard I snort, but I love when that happens because every single time I do God reminds me there was a time I thought I'd never be happy enough to laugh that hard again.

I am so glad I'm not there now, but I wouldn't go back and change it for anything. And I think it's worth mentioning that God truly did deliver me from anger and post partum depression. If you've struggled with it one time, you don't have to struggle with it again. When I had Sammy, depression didn't even try to sneak back in. I was truly delivered from it and God blessed me so much by giving me such great joy with my final baby whose name means, “heard by God.” God did hear my prayer, and He didn't answer it the way I thought He would and deliver me right when I asked... but He did a more glorious work in me than I ever would've thought to ask for by making me “endure.”

And so I praise His name and I thank Him so, so much for being a God who sees the end from the beginning and will give someone more than she can handle!

24 comments:

  1. Thank you for being so open & sharing this. While I've never dealt with post partum I have had a chronic nerve pain disorder since childhood and there have been any seasons of depression in my life dealing with that and it isn't helpful at all when someone tells you "God won't give oyu more thank you can handle". Praise God I am in a much better place now. Glad you are too!

    ~Stacy

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  2. You're ability to expose yourself for Christ is a true blessing to others. Thank you for sharing.

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  3. I love when people reveal themselves to the world

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  4. Thank you for sharing this. I can identify with you on this one as I suffered from postpartum anxiety with my first baby. I would have panic attacks every morning just from waking up and thinking "how am I going to handle being a mom today?" and I remember hiding in the shower freaking out and just saying "God help me, God help me" because that was the only thing I could do. Thankfully with medication and counselling and most importantly, God's help and the support of a few good friends, life became normal again and I didn't go through the same thing with my second child. You're so right, these kinds of experiences show you how much you really need God...

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  5. Thank you so much for your transparency. I love to hear uplifting stories from people who will be real in their pain. It is so true that when life is going well, we, as humans, really don't seek Him (the Lord) more. BUT, when calamity strikes, our world comes to a halt and we really realize how much we need Him.

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  6. Tandi Cortez-RiosJune 30, 2013 at 3:11 AM

    Beautiful story! :)

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  7. Thank you for sharing! I love your blog too.

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  8. Thanks for sharing. My daughter is currently dealing with depression and your story gives me hope.

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  9. I have battled depression and felt awful for being impatient with my son reading your post made feel not alone. I never thought about the difference between "handling" and enduring things.

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  10. I have had periods of depression off and on for many years.Thanks for sharing your story with us.

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  11. Wow thanks for sharing, I have twins and it is really hard. My husband always says "God will never give you more than you can handle". Love this post. Thanks so much for the words!

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  12. Refreshing to read such honesty! I can completely relate to your experience so I appreciate you sharing. You're a great writer!

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  13. God is so good---My children are all seven yrs apart-- three mis-carriages between them-- God does more than know --We have been so blessed in so many ways,and yet my heart aches everyday, but I do have the hope and faith I will meet my other babies. I love how you share your thoughts. Thank you

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  14. Wow, what a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing!

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  15. I appreciate your candidness, like many other people who have responded. Too many times I've read something that seems artificial and that just leaves you feeling like you'll never measure up. Not your blog - you keep it real :) Thanks!

    wont_forget_this_address@yahoo.com
    Amanda K

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  16. You have a beautiful family.

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  17. I so enjoyed reading your post and I agree with the title also. It is hard to carry crosses that he sends us at times but he gives us the strength to carry them and it is out of love or him we do.

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  18. God truly knows the beginning to the end! Great post!

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  19. Celena, what a beautiful testimony. Some might scratch their heads and say, "Why I would never do that?". But, you don't know until you are so depressed that nothing makes sense -- even yourself. I know, because I have been there; and, I was also ashamed that I a Christian could not just trust God, and get better. However, He provided the way, and I am thankful that Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit were guarding my Faith, and helped me through. I tell you this as I know I have another river to cross, not depression but something I am having to carefully pray about and hold my tongue, until the time is right.

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  20. Wonderful! this is really inspiring and emotional.

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  21. wow, what a story, thanks for sharing

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  22. Thank you! I have twins and I feel that it's too much to handle right now. They are 4 months old and cry every night. Reading this is a breath of fresh air. I will continue to endure in order to find control in something that j don't understand.

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  23. Thank you! I have twins and I feel that it's too much to handle right now. They are 4 months old and cry every night. Reading this is a breath of fresh air. I will continue to endure in order to find control in something that j don't understand.

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