May 2024 Project Help blog
Compassion Ministries

Trusting God: A Testimony of God’s Work through the Depths of Depression and Anxiety

In 2016, I was the director of Friendship International, a ministry sponsored by ten Baptist churches in Austin, Texas, where volunteers helped people of other nationalities in the community learn English and understand American culture. Our volunteers spoke, sang, played musical instruments, and displayed many other talents in an opening assembly. Roxane Roelse, a certified ultrasound technician and volunteer for a pregnancy resource center, shared her testimony, much of which focused on her time while a stay-at-home mom, during one of the assemblies. This was her testimony. — Virginia Kreimeyer

Roxane’s Story

My struggles with anxiety and depression are not easy to talk about. But knowing God is right here with me is why I can tell my story. By sharing what I went through and where I am now, I hope to point others to Jesus Christ.

My struggle seemed to hit the hardest when my son Avery was a baby. Symptoms of depression plagued me, and sadness overwhelmed me when, as a new mom, I wanted to be happy. Severe anxiety and nervousness made concentrating difficult, resulting in chest pains like the feeling of having the flu. While I had physical symptoms, what was going on in my head was worse.

Frightening thoughts and images ran through my mind constantly. It was as though I was forced to watch a scary movie without being able to look away or turn it off. These images often involved people I loved. I was ashamed and could not open up about what I was going through. I began to feel as though I were a person who could not be trusted, especially with a child.

When the symptoms became too difficult to bear, I finally told my husband. I tried to explain I didn’t feel right and had scary thoughts. God used my husband and his devoted love when he insisted that I seek professional help, which put me on my road to healing. I will always be grateful for this advice and for his commitment to me.

Turning to God

During this time, I regularly went to church and even served. I was beginning to see how much I needed help, and continuing to learn more about Jesus and His great love for me was sustaining. I learned I had obsessive-compulsive disorder, which was leading to the intrusive thoughts and images I was experiencing.

When my daughter Ashley was two, the symptoms began to hit hard again. While I now recognize I suffered from intrusive thoughts on and off throughout my life, during this time, they became unbearable. However, once again, God’s hand provided supportive people around me. As I began to share my concerns, I learned many other moms were struggling too.

The Book That Helped

A couple of years later, I read a book that helped me examine my thought life and identify the root cause of my mental illness. Basically, continual toxic thoughts rewired my brain to function differently from the way God originally designed it, which was exacerbated by some hormonal and physical problems. The truth in Romans 12:2 became paramount as I learned to renew my mind in Christ and not accept whatever thought popped into my head. I realized I had to replace the lies I had been accustomed to with the truth of Scripture.

In 2 Corinthians 10:5, Paul wrote, “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (NIV). With the Bible, I began to know the greatest counselor ever: the Holy Spirit. He helped me deal with many things I tried to ignore and helped me accept difficult things, especially forgiveness for my mistakes. I found a lifeline in Psalm 55:22: “Cast your cares on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” The more I read the Bible with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, the more I began to really experience God’s presence, learned to hear His voice, and began to experience a peace I didn’t know was possible.

The peace is so evident at times it feels as though the hand of God is on my head and keeping it calm. After a while, I felt God leading me to get off my medication. With my husband’s blessing and the doctor’s OK, I did. We hoped and prayed. All the intrusive thoughts and images were still gone. It is not that I never have scary thoughts anymore, but many things that went on in my head are truly gone, and that is a miracle! Many people still need medication and therapy to manage their mental health, and that’s OK. God is completely able to heal, but just as physical illnesses still occur, He has provided ways for professionals to help us.

Jesus Is the Answer

You want to know who did it? His name is Jesus! I know Him as Savior and Healer. I learn more about Him every day. By learning who He is, I learn who I really am. Jesus taught me how to renew my mind so I know what is from God and what is not. I no longer view hard times the same way because I see His grace every step of the way.

He is even using my story to help others. I have shared my story and seen the positive influence it has on people. With mental illness and depression being so prevalent in and outside the church, people need to know the peace and healing I have found in Jesus Christ. This is the reason I am sharing my story with you. Let me end with what I call my life verse: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6–7).

Virginia Kreimeyer is a retired United States Air Force major and college professor who volunteers at church and nonprofit organizations where she can share the love and comfort of Christ with others.

Disclaimer: The information shared on this page is not meant to diagnose or treat a mental health condition. We encourage you to follow up with your health-care provider and seek a mental health professional for individual consultation and care.