No Bootstraps To Grab

I’ve been sitting in the library for the past couple hours trying hard to answer a discussion question for my online class.  Doesn’t seem like a big deal.  It’s not.  But what is is depression.  Depression is a big deal.  It’s real.  Real as Oregon fog blocking the view of a breathtaking coast.  Maybe it’s cause I’m an Oregonian.  Probably not.  More likely it’s my genetic heritage and part of life in this broken world.  But it’s a reality that I walk into somedays.  Unwillingly.  But nevertheless it’s there.  
Depression is real.  People don’t like to talk about it.  I don’t either.  But it needs to be talked about more and more.  As a Christian, I have no holy potion that keeps me from facing it’s darkness.  But I do have a living God who has given me his precious word and shown me who he is in Christ.  This is the light I cry out for when depressions fog descends.  I can’t pull myself up by the bootstraps and feel better or muster up enough faith.  But I can call on the same God the Psalmist called on when he cried, “My heart throbs!  My strength fails me and the light of my eyes- it also has gone from me.” (Psalm 18)
As I was looking out at the nice sunny day with puffy eyes, a heavy body and burdened heart this poem came to me.  Maybe you can identify and cling to Jesus with me!
No Bootstraps To Grab
by Sheila Dougal
It’s sunny outside
A record high
In the Valley of the Sun
But in my mind
It’s foggy and dull
A familiar low
In the Valley of the Shadow
May look nice
Facebook smiles
Twitter likes
But when the fog rolls in
Circumstances grow dim
I need a light
My feet in sight
Word of God
Light to my path
Fog can’t see in
Without faith solid
But faith is a gift
Can’t muster it up
No bootstraps to grab
Abba I plead
I won’t let up
It’s messy!
Like Jacob
Won’t let go till you bless me
But sunshine and rainbow
Aren’t my request
Just give me faith
To endure Depression’s test
Something real
A promise to hold
Shine light at my heels


  1. Anonymous says:

    I love you Sheila and I know how dark depression can get…it takes a lot of strength, determination, and faith to break through the seemingly endless tunnel of darkness where there seems to be nothing to grab hold of. Will be praying for you always honey…

  2. Tara says:

    Hello, I am new to this blog. It came as a redirect from an article you wrote through John Piper’s website. I am so grateful to have found a sister like you. What an encouragement you are to those struggling with depression or unbelieving family. May God continue to be be glorified through you. You are a living proof of His strength being made perfect in our weakness. How beautiful are your feet dear sister! Praising the God of all glory with you!!

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