4 Nov 2014 by Adeline Lum CM –
A beautiful and intelligent veterinarian, no one would think that Melissa Phoon was undergoing depression during her college days behind closed doors.
Though she attempted to find solace, comfort, and fulfillment in her romantic relationships, her heart was finally smitten by the relentless, faithful, and unconditional love of our Abba Father.
“I didn’t have any self-worth at that time. And I thought if the experience was too painful, sometimes you want to hurt yourself to feel that you’re living,” said Melissa who first discovered depression after her first break up with her boyfriend.
“So, this is the first time I feel it hurts so much that it can suffocate you. It hurts you so much that you cannot breathe. It hurts you so much that you cannot eat or drink,” said Melissa, who recalled how her friends would comment about her rapid weight loss. “I eat not because for joy but because I need to eat. I do things not because I am happy but because I need to live.”
Like a bubbling brook, she would suddenly burst into tears while driving or before sleeping. Sleep was the best way to escape her despair before she woke up crying again. Her daily routine were void of emotions and purpose in life; though her depression had not descended to the worse level because she still had a goal to complete her studies in college at that time.
But God saw her pain and sent her a course mate who somehow introduced her to a friend in a church near her college. There, she was showered in love and met her second boyfriend who showed her how a man would act if he loved a woman.
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)
“I think the purpose he is sent by God is to take care of me. I feel that I am still worthy to be loved by someone. I find that I am still lovable in a way,” said Melissa.
However, she eventually broke up with her second boyfriend due to irreconcilable values. Some time later after a brief third relationship, Melissa experienced a descent to a real depression where she ceased to feel.
“I look perfectly fine and normal but I know something is not right. I have no feelings at all. And I just feel constantly tired. I used to be an easily pleased girl from just hanging out with a friend and getting a call from a friend.
“But when all these little things don’t make me feel anything, that’s depression. There’s nothing for you to look forward to. You cannot feel. You are in an emotionless state.
“When you can’t feel, it’s even worse than you can feel hurt because you can still feel pain; you can still cry. The routine you repeat everyday has no significance. It’s just meant for you to continue existing on this earth because we are living in a system where we need to pay for everything—the food and the place you stay,” said Melissa.
Not only she did not have any joy, she did not feel anger, sorrow or fear as well. She almost felt that she was not a human being. And how she sees herself began to dim.
“I think depression is like you have a photo of yourself but you cannot see yourself anymore. It becomes very blur. I know that I exist but I don’t know who I am, so I cannot see myself. And when you look at the mirror, you asked, ‘Is this the person that I know?’
“I knew if I don’t do anything about it, I would commit suicide. At that point in time, I didn’t think if I commit suicide, people would care because maybe my existence is not important at all.
“If let say I look at myself as an ant in this world, I am just ant. There’s nothing much about it. I am replaceable in my company. Everyone is replaceable. Boyfriend or girlfriend is also replaceable. Nothing is permanent,” said Melissa.
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Matt 10:29-31)
But since she joined her cell group, Melissa began to experience feelings of joy, peace, and finally rest. God sent her many friends to care for her in unexpected ways; one even took a day leave to accompany her to the hospital for surgery.
“God has sent me friends who need help from me or need my company. And from there, I can see myself in them. I can see the reason I need to go through all these things so that I can understand them better. I never thought that my experience would encourage them,” said Melissa.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Through God’s pursuit of Melissa’s heart, she saw that it was okay for her to broken and vulnerable before Him.
“Throughout this journey, I learn to accept that I can feel. It’s okay to be weak. It’s okay that you’re not perfect. I don’t have to live up to other people’s expectations. And let say if I need a rest, I should be able to express it. If let say I am angry, it’s okay to be angry.
“There’s nothing wrong to be angry. There’s nothing wrong to be bitter but you cannot be bitter for your whole life. It’s okay that I don’t have to uphold the perfect image that I want to portray to other people,” said Melissa.
And looking back, she thanked God for using her relationships to teach her multiple lessons in life.
“I learned that there’s no one straight way but there are many ways. And you have the right and freedom to choose what you want. I used to have many criteria that I look for in a guy. God blessed me with that kind of boyfriend but at the same time, it comes in a package with other flaws as well,” said Melissa who learned from her first relationship that her ideal might not necessarily be God’s ideal for her.
“Towards a certain point, I cannot let go of this guy because he’s my first love. So, I kept holding on the wrong relationship until a point, I ask God if he’s meant for me. God broke it off and make it happen.
“I felt very hurtful then. And I didn’t know what to do because I had so many dreams with him. So, I was asking God, ‘Why he didn’t appreciate what I done for him?’ Isn’t that enough or more than enough?” she added.
One of the lessons she learned in her relationships is that women should always trust their instincts if they feel that something is not right at the beginning of the relationship. This is because their instincts are accurate most of the time. Also, if your friends were to treat you better than your boyfriend, then it is a red flag to reconsider the relationship. A good relationship should nurture us in all ways to become better in freely expressing ourselves.
Mostly, she learned about the difference between like and love. Liking a person comes from the good feelings that come from spending time with the person, which dissipates during inconveniences or foul moods. Loving a person, on the other hand, comes from making a willing commitment to work together, tolerate each other, and bring out the best in each other.
And after all these experiences, she realized only her Abba Father could fulfill all her needs of security, comfort, love, and encouragement.
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)
“I was looking for different guys to fill my cup but it was never filled. Looking back, I was looking for qualities I don’t have in me in another guy. And I hope that it can complete me.
“But it didn’t work out, I still feel constantly insecure in my life. But I find joy when I enter the cell group—each and every small little things in cell—I feel that it’s speaking to me… the many small incidences. I knew that God was pursuing me,” said Melissa.
Akin to a beautiful doll, Melissa sees herself as that doll but it that has broken machineries inside. Although she was adorned with hairstyles, dresses, and makeup from her master, which personified positions of authority in her life such as her parents and teacher, everything that was put on her was unsuitable or ugly. And although she appeared perfect outside, she knew she was broken inside. But instead of finding her Maker, she searched for the hairdresser, bartender, and pedicurist to fix her.
“I didn’t go to the right source to fix although I knew there was a mechanic there. And the mechanic was waiting for me. But I didn’t go to the mechanic to fix myself because I forgot about him until one day, the mechanic awakens me,” said Melissa.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. (Psalm 139:13-15)
The Maker fixed the doll’s machineries with new bolts and screws. He knew the best hairstyle, the most amicable dress, and the most suitable make-up for Melissa because He made her. And holding Melissa in His arms, the Maker was proud of her precious possession, ready to show her off to the world!
“I know who I am now. I am the child of God. And my Father truly loves me not matter what I do, no matter how bad my tantrum is, no matter how useless I seem to be, I am still the child of God. Nothing will change my value in Him,” said Melissa with a contented and satisfied smile. “I am still in my journey with God but I know He will never let me go and He is always there for me.”
Courage is not born from living a smooth life without problems, but a bumpy ride where sometimes you feel you are about to be thrown out of your ride. But like how Noah was in the boat that was tossed to and fro by the vicious waves of the flood, he was safely shut in the boat by God. And this is how life is, my friends, in going through the troubles in our life. Although we are swirled, tossed, and turned, by wave upon wave of troubles, know that you are safe in Your Father’s Boat! No troubles will overcome you! (John 16:33) And you will rise above every wave of challenge because God is with you! (Matthew 28:19-20) He will be your greatest comforter. (Psalm 56:8, Psalm 116:1-2) He will never leave you. He will never forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6) He will do what He says in His Word. (Numbers 23:19) Nothing in your life is not in His Control. (Psalm 22:28) He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, (Revelations 22:12) the Creator of Heaven and Earth, (Nehemiah 19:6) your Everlasting Loving Abba Father in Heaven. (1 Corinthians 8:6) You are in good hands, my friends. You are not alone! And you are meant to overcome! You have hope! You have courage! And you can conquer all your troubles and fears!
And courage is when you reveal your vulnerable parts like Melissa. Sometimes, we feel discouraged of why certain things are happening in our life. But like Melissa, God has used her to connect and comfort many people who felt depressed like her before. Are you encouraged by this story? Share your story with others as well, you will never know who you would save.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
Finally…when all is said and done, let’s take a deep breath now and embrace the adventure before us. Bon voyage!
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