top of page

When We Feel Like We Don't Have Enough Faith: Healing from Anxiety and Depression

By Andrea M. Nyberg

Brave Women Series - Andrea's Story


I remember the first time I walked into the meeting for new moms at my church. I felt the twelve-year-old middle school girl inside me cringe at the fear of not being invited to sit at the “cool kids” table. Moms scurried around with babies on their hips, toddlers at their feet, and the smell of coffee in the air. I silently envied the women walking by in their chic outfits, beautifully styled hair, and full faces of makeup. Meanwhile, I was still clinging to my maternity pants at 10 months post-partum and rocking some gnarly hormonal acne.


Everyone else looked like they had it all together while I stood there barely holding it together.

My gut instinct was to mold myself into the type of person I thought others would like. I feared if people really knew what my life looked like, they would misunderstand me, judge me, or decide I was not someone they wanted to be associated with. But after weeks and months of showing up to that mom’s group, God helped me understand that being myself was the best gift I could give to the world—and myself.


 

"After weeks and months of showing up to that mom’s group, God helped me understand that being myself was the best gift I could give to the world—and myself."

 

The truth was, I was drowning in anxiety and depression. And I couldn’t make sense of it. I had been a faithful follower of Jesus for years, but I felt I lost in my faith. I had everything I’d ever prayed for—a faithful husband and two beautiful children—but I felt like they’d be better off without me. How could this be possible? How could I know the hope of Christ but feel so hopeless?


I went to Scripture for hope and comfort, searching for verses about fear, hope, and perseverance. Time and again, Scripture invited me not to be afraid and to put my trust in God. But in my frayed state of mind, instead of a gentle reassurance of God’s presence with me, all I could see was the wagging finger of a fed-up father raising his voice at me and shouting: “Andrea, haven’t I told you a hundred times to stop being so afraid? Haven’t I told you to stop worrying? Why can’t you just listen to me? All it takes is a mustard seed-sized amount of faith... can’t you at least do that?”


 

"Scripture invited me not to be afraid and to put my trust in God. But in my frayed state of mind, instead of a gentle reassurance of God’s presence with me, all I could see was the wagging finger of a fed-up father raising his voice at me..."

 

The voice of fear and sadness had so tainted the goodness of God that I could no longer grasp the truth of Scripture. I spent hours on my knees begging God to release me from this prison, but nothing changed. In my mind, his silence confirmed my failure. I didn’t have enough faith. I wasn’t doing it right. I wasn’t worth saving.

 

"The voice of fear and sadness had so tainted the goodness of God that I could no longer grasp the truth of Scripture."

 

It only occurred to me this past year, after a nine-year struggle with mental illness, that God’s command “do not be afraid” has much more to do with his faithfulness than with my faith. Through the lens of fear, it’s all up to me and how much faith I can muster up. But through the lens of love, God is a trustworthy Father who is helping me and healing me in ways I may not see clearly in the moment of my desperate pleas.


 

"God’s command “do not be afraid” has much more to do with his faithfulness than with my faith. Through the lens of fear, it’s all up to me and how much faith I can muster up. But through the lens of love, God is a trustworthy Father who is helping me and healing me in ways I may not see clearly in the moment of my desperate pleas."

 

God was hearing my prayers. He was just answering them in ways I wasn’t expecting.


One of the ways I now see God answered my prayers was through that mom’s group at my church. I showed up as an insecure woman with a deep fear of letting people know “the real me.” But I learned that by bravely being myself and sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly of my life, God could use these women as an extension of his love and care for me.


 

"Bravely being myself and sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly of my life, God could use these women as an extension of his love and care for me."

 

Our group had a private Facebook group, and I could feel God asking me to bravely share my struggle with the other ladies. To my surprise, dozens of replies and private messages flooded in with stories of solidarity. One reply, I truly believe, helped save my life.


After suffering from what I now know was a panic attack, but in the moment felt like a heart attack, I went back to that Facebook message. It contained the name and phone number of a trusted therapist my friend recommended should I decide to talk to someone. I had spent an exhausting night at the ER only to be told I was “fine” and I felt more ashamed and confused than ever. But after fifteen minutes of sitting with this caring counselor, we uncovered I had been battling generalized anxiety disorder and clinical depression.


The darkness had a name, and I now had the tools in my hand to face it.


I had been begging God to heal me of my illnesses. I wanted an instant snap of his fingers to take my pain away. But I see now he answered my prayers by bringing me into a community. He answered my prayers by showing me that he is still the same good God when he does an immediate miracle as when he heals us slowly and walks with us through the storms of life.


 

"He answered my prayers by showing me that he is still the same good God when he does an immediate miracle as when he heals us slowly and walks with us through the storms of life."

 

“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

(Isaiah 43:1-2 NLT)


 

Brave Woman Manifesto


Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story. And by the way...


You are Brave!


No matter what you are facing, God has made you in His image, which means He equips you with His courage, strength, and power. I would love to connect more and give you a FREE gift - the BRAVE WOMAN MANIFESTO: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard. Click HERE to sign up for my monthly newsletter and you’ll receive the FREE Manifesto, as well as recent blog posts, updated resources and personal details delivered only to my empowered email tribe.


AS A BONUS… Subscribers will also be the first to receive news regarding the book I am writing with Moody Publishers! SIGN UP for more info on my book’s release and availability.


 

About Andrea


Andrea M. Nyberg is an author, speaker, and photographer passionate about (re)framing the collision of faith and mental health and its impact on our identity, emotions, and relationships. Her debut book, I’m Such A Messterpiece: Shattering Stigmas, (Re)Framing Our Fears, and Finding Ourselves Fully Loved, invites others who are facing a crisis of faith and identity to consider that pain and hope can hold hands and a mess can still be a masterpiece. Andrea lives in Northern California with her husband and two children.


Connect with Andrea on her website or on Facebook and Instagram. Get Andrea's book here.


1 Comment


Stephanie Forshee
Stephanie Forshee
May 29, 2023

Love this!

Like
bottom of page