Testimony: Pastor's Wife Battles against Depression

A picture of a woman opening her hands to the sun
A picture of a woman opening her hands to the sun (photo: pixabay.com)
By Esther TianJune 14th, 2023

A southern pastor's wife experienced depression as a result of academic pressure, but found healing through her faith in God. After she became a Christian, Jingwen accompanied her husband to North China, where her illness resurfaced. Nevertheless, she once again experienced recovery through justification through faith.

Jingwen (pseudonym), born in the 1970s, is the wife of a pastor and comes from an intellectual family in south China.

Under the strict discipline imposed by her father, Jingwen's sole responsibility was to dedicate herself to rigorous studies and secure admission to a prestigious middle school, high school, then a good university. She excelled and held the top position during her junior high school years. However, the turbulence of adolescence during high school made it challenging for her to concentrate on her studies. Moreover, she displayed a greater inclination towards liberal arts than sciences, resulting in a sharp decline in her science grades. By Grade 10, she experienced overwhelming anxiety that seemed beyond her control.

Following a visit to a psychiatrist accompanied by her mother, Jingwen commenced taking medication for anxiety and depression.

Jingwen admitted to previously engaging in idol worship and paid someone to tell her fortune. Once, she knelt before the Guanyin statue in her home and fervently prayed, "If there is a God, please come to my aid." One night during her final year of high school, Jingwen knelt on her bed and cried out, "God, God, if you truly exist, I implore your assistance."

Unexpectedly, a few months later, a female classmate expressed her desire to introduce Jingwen to God.

With the introduction, Jingwen began to read the Bible and pray. With intense study in high school, she could only go to church occasionally. Several girls in the class believed in the Lord together. Before the college entrance examination, they prayed together for good exam results.

Jingwen was worried that her mental state would hinder her ability to take the exams. But she managed to be admitted to her desired field of study at her dream university.

Throughout her college years, she frequently joined her fellow sisters in riding bicycles to the home of a preacher for Bible study on weekends. Within approximately two years of her newfound faith, she successfully discontinued her medication and emerged from the depths of depression.

Following her graduation from college, Jingwen made the decision to marry a fellow Christian, but she had yet to encounter her ideal partner.

Eventually, a brother who had a deep love for the Lord appeared in their church. Although he fell short in terms of height and appearance, he possessed a fervent desire to learn and was highly regarded by the pastor. Jingwen chose to enter into a courtship with him, feeling a sense of tranquility in her decision. In 2006, they exchanged vows and were joined in matrimony.

Subsequently, when their child was just a year old and Jingwen's health was not at its best, her husband was assigned to work in North China.

Despite facing various challenges, including economic hardships, they embraced their calling and relocated to a northern city where her husband was ordained as a pastor. However, due to the local church's teachings regarding the role of women, Jingwen was unable to actively engage in church service as a pastor's wife.

A few years later, Jingwen's depression resurfaced due to unfavorable dietary and weather conditions, coupled with limited opportunities for social interaction.

When reflecting on the underlying cause of her depression, Jingwen candidly admitted, "First and foremost, I believe there was an issue with my relationship with God. Numerous voices accused me, saying, 'You're a pastor's wife. What are you going to do?' Some would remark, 'Being a pastor's wife is a difficult and joyless existence. No one will understand you, and you will face poverty. Look at how poorly the pastor's family lives!' The lies of the devil overwhelmed me, and anxiety resurfaced."

In severe cases, the threat of death loomed over Jingwen. During such periods of illness, she found herself unable to perform even the most basic tasks, including caring for her child. Under the weight of the devil's deceit, Jingwen began to believe she was a burden to her husband. Satan often injected her mind with distressing thoughts, such as "You are destined for damnation."

During this trying time, God provided guidance and hope through a fellow sister in Christ. This sister imparted a message to Jingwen, saying, "God wants you to endure this hardship and experience transformation. You will shed your cocoon and emerge as a butterfly. You will soar, and your life will be renewed."

Thankfully, the pastor started to identify the theological shortcomings within the church. In 2016, he embarked on a sermon series titled "Justification by Faith."

Through these sermons, Jingwen recognized that she had become entangled in religious legalism. She began to learn how to combat the devil's lies using God's truth.

During this period, she had a sister living abroad who she prayed for daily. Jingwen eagerly awaited the sister's daily sharing of scriptures via WeChat, which they would then pray over together.

Returning to her faith in Christ, Jingwen once again relinquished her reliance on medication and gradually experienced improvements in her physical and mental well-being.

In 2017, God led the couple back to the city they had previously resided in for seven years.

As Jingwen's mother required a time-sensitive operation that had already been postponed for a month, and her father's health prevented him from providing adequate care, their return came at the perfect moment. With their assistance, her mother successfully underwent the operation and began her recovery.

Gradually, Jingwen's health began to improve as she settled back in South China. In 2018, the couple established a local church. Jingwen not only actively participates in prayer and leads worship, but also delivers sermons in the church.

- Translated by Oliver Zuo

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