Were the family and friends of Andrea Yates aware of the seriousness of her depression? Many people questioned, “Did Andrea’s husband do enough to ensure his wife’s safety and the safety of their children?” The court trial revealed that Andrea had been hospitalized for severe depression several times, and twice she was released prematurely. Rusty (her husband) appealed to her last doctor, stating that Andrea needed the medication that had proved successful in the past – but his plea was to no avail. At home, a schedule was arranged where Rusty left for work every morning at 9:00. Then his mother came at 10:00 to help Andrea with the children, their homeschooling, and the housework. Andrea was left alone at home with the children for only one hour of each day. But during that one hour on June 20, 2001, Andrea carried out the drowning of each child.
How could this tragedy have been avoided? What steps could loved ones have taken to help Andrea move from the darkness of despair into the light of hope? If they had been more keenly aware of the danger, they could have learned much more about her malady and been discerning about what to do.
“Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.”
When you are walking through the valley of the shadow of depression, recall God’s heart and repeat this truth to yourself each day…“I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13)
While we can’t choose what we inherit genetically, we can choose what we dwell on cognitively. In the medical world, brain scans of those suffering with depression often show marked improvement when words of hope, affirmation, and purpose are continually reinforced. In this respect, life is a series of choices. You can choose today to put the Word of God into action.
1 Thessalonians 5:16–24
- “Be joyful always.” Choose to write down and continue to focus on the positives in your life. v. 16
- “Pray continually.” Choose to talk to God about everything. v. 17
- “Give thanks in all circumstances.” Choose to thank God for what you are learning right now. v. 18
- “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire.” Choose to change when God’s Spirit convicts you to change. v. 19
- “Do not treat prophecies with contempt.” Choose to take God’s Word seriously. v. 20
- “Test everything.” Choose to ask, “Is this right in God’s sight?” v. 21
- “Hold on to the good.” Choose to do right, even when you are tempted to do wrong. v. 21
- “Avoid every kind of evil.” Choose to turn immediately from temptation. v. 22
- “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.” Choose to see how God has “set you apart” (sanctified you) to be what He intended you to be. v. 23
- “May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless.” Choose to commit your whole being to doing what God created you to do. v. 23
- “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” Choose to rely on God’s power to do what you are called to do. v. 24