Togo, West Africa 2011
The heat was intense. I sat at a makeshift medical clinic in a foreign land, under the few trees I could find for shade.
This was my second time to experience life among the Togolese. Although my medical background extended only to administering liquid Tylenol to my young children, my heart was willing to serve. And I did by reviewing medications and instructions with the patients before they left clinic. With flip-flopped feet caked in dirt and sweat soaking through my scrubs, I questioned what help I was really offering.
A petite young woman sat down at my medical station. Her name was Akoua. Her baby sat contently on her back wrapped with fabric typical of her culture. I reviewed her chart and saw the words “depressed” and “going mad” written in blue ink. As I looked up into her brown eyes, I recognized that quiet desperation.
There are few defining moments in life. For me, this was one. You see, I too battled with depression. Yet, I hid my struggles because I’m a Christian. I’m supposed to have it all together. Or so I thought. While depression has its stigma back in the United States, it is nothing like in Togo.
I heard God whisper, “You need to tell her you deal with this.” He presented me with a choice that would alter the trajectory of my life.
Obediently, I opened up to Akoua through a translator and shared for the first time my similar struggles and what God had been teaching me. As I spoke, relief and hope flooded Akoua’s face. She realized that she was no longer alone. Despite our many differences, we were now in the trenches together, fighting similar battles.
The following day, Akoua walked for hours to other villages, looking for me at our new clinic site. It wasn’t me drawing her there; it was Truth. We talked about the universal battle we all find ourselves in, and how we have to fight for the life that Christ died to give. Akoua and I parted as sisters in Christ, equipped for battle using the Word of God as our ammunition.
When I flew home days later, God made it clear He wasn’t through with me as He again whispered, “Now go home and do this.” While I didn’t know what all “this” would entail, I knew I needed to obey and take humble steps of faith.
Since that day, He has taken me on an extraordinary journey of self-discovery revealing His eye-opening Truth and healing power that can overcome any struggle.
That meeting in Togo was an appointment set up by the Author and Creator of life. This divinely orchestrated moment was not just about two people who deal with depression. It was a revelation and the birth of a mission: to see the Truth in any struggles we face.
The Believers’ Battle Strategy
by Christie Michaud – Coming 2018
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