To look at me today, you would never guess I once struggled with severe depression. I am full of the joy of the Lord and minister several times a month at churches and conferences where I help people get free from all types of bondage.

But nearly 30 years ago, I was almost debilitated by this malady. When I was in its grip, all I wanted to do was go to bed and sleep-hardly an option for a wife and mother of two young children. It got so bad I didn't care to be around people at all.

I know now that the depression had a spiritual root, but it was almost certainly exacerbated by a physical condition I was experiencing at the time-a hormonal imbalance caused by female surgery I had at age 32.

The result of the imbalance was that I began to have drastic mood swings. I could be extremely happy, functioning normally with my family and co-workers, and some small thing would go wrong. I would burst into tears, explode and become depressed. I began to avoid social situations because I was afraid of having an emotional outburst.

When I first began to experience this difficulty, I had been a Christian only a short while. I didn't know God's Word, so I wasn't able to appropriate His promises for my life. I was looking for a natural, rather than a supernatural, solution.

For this reason I gladly accepted my doctor's recommendation to take Valium for the mood swings. I didn't like the idea of being on drugs, but I was grateful that I would be able to cope-at least whenever the Valium was in effect.

For six months I lived in a trance-like state of mind. As long as the medication was in my system, I was calm, but if I had to miss a dose, I lost control.

Once when my family and I were on vacation in North Carolina, my husband took us out to eat. While we were still at the restaurant, the time came for me to take a dose of Valium.

I reached in my purse for the bottle of pills but couldn't find it. I literally fell apart. I was so upset and unnerved I couldn't eat.

My husband told the kids he would take me to the motel and put me to bed and then come back to take care of them. He couldn't find the Valium in our motel room, so he gave me some pain killer I was taking that helped me go to sleep at night. My nerves were absolutely raw.

After this incident, I went into the deepest depression I had ever experienced.

What Is Depression?

Webster's Dictionary defines depression as "dejection, as of mind; gloominess, pressed down; downcast, discouraged and disheartened." Common symptoms of depression include feelings of sadness, hopelessness, helplessness and worthlessness.

People with depression experience difficulty sleeping and changes in appetite. Sufferers no longer derive pleasure from activities that were once enjoyable and may have difficulty concentrating and making decisions.

Some people have vague medical complaints such as generalized aches and pains that won't go away, backaches, headaches and stomach ailments. Depression also may be characterized by thoughts of death and suicide.

Depression not only affects your emotions but also causes physical diseases. Chronically depressed people are at greater risk of developing cancer. Heart attack survivors who also have depression have an increased risk of dying within six months.

Blood tests can be done to determine the degree of depression a person suffers from. They are able to reveal a person's condition because "the life of the flesh is in the blood" (Lev. 17:11, NKJV).

When you receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior you receive His cleansing blood, which contains His DNA. This DNA is "the blueprint of your potential." The blood of Jesus enables you to fulfill the destiny and purpose God has for your life.

However, in your natural blood line you have family iniquities, or "bends in your nature," that come from repeated sin patterns or learned behavior patterns in your own, or a relative's, life. These bends can be toward good health or poor health, sound mind or depression.

Suppose you have an uncle who is always depressed around the holidays. If his pattern of behavior is not broken, it can become a family trait. Instead of rising above this family iniquity, you may develop a helpless attitude that leads to hopelessness and discouragement. You may begin to think you can never shake the "weakness" in your family.

Remember: The devil's job is to steal, kill and destroy. What better way to destroy someone than to assign an army of demons who are familiar with your blood line iniquities? This army of evil spirits is an assignment from Satan to destroy the plan and purpose God has for you.

The good news is that Jesus has a plan for your life, and His plan is that you might have life and have it more abundantly. He wants you filled with joy, walking in peace, and living a victorious life free from depression.

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