I found myself in a deep depression on this past Shabbat – so deep, I actually sat and cried for hours on end. I’m not necessarily the “depressed” type, but lately, I’ve found myself becoming more and more despondent, thanks to all the “bad” that is happening in the world, including the endless in-fighting amongst Believers (something that recently caused me to leave Facebook, because I simply couldn’t take the nonsense anymore). Many of you know exactly what I’m talking about….
Anyway, my depression was kicked off by the fact that we allowed ourselves to be talked (by some new acquaintances) into attending a Messianic synagogue located approximately an hour’s drive from our home. Due to reasons I don’t wish to discuss here, suffice it to say, we had not set foot into any congregation since Passover 2008 and had planned on NEVER attending another congregation. But now, there we were, finding ourselves in this supposedly “wonderful, awesome congregation” that came highly recommended by people we had basically just met.
We should have stayed home….
Although the service was very nice and the Rabbi did a great job, our reception was “cold” – to say the least. Not one person had reached out to greet us. Not one person had said “Hello and welcome” or anything else. And afterward, at a small oneg (fellowship lunch get-together) in the synagogue’s kitchen, not one person came to join us at the table. People saw us and some smiled, but no one (except the Rabbi who had stopped by briefly during the worship service to chat for a couple minutes) bothered to talk to us! It was truly the “coldest,” most unwelcoming experience we have ever had!
Fed up with the collective “cold shoulder” and failing to feel one iota of love and fellowship, we left, never to return, wondering why we had allowed ourselves to be talked into leaving the comfort of our home where Shabbats are always full of rest and joy and comfort and true STUDY of YHWH’s Word.
Unfortunately, by the time we got home, I was feeling devastated – all because I don’t always handle rejection well. And, let’s face it: We WERE rejected at that synagogue. We apparently weren’t even worthy of a “Hello” or “Thank you for coming to our synagogue,” let alone, being asked our names.
Here's the thing: I have suffered rejection all my life, starting with my natural mother in Germany who gave me away at birth, forcefully jerked me out of my happy home at the age of 9, and was too selfish to bother bonding with me, or to recognize that her own daughter was being endlessly sexually abused by her new, American husband. The feelings of rejection continued throughout my Army career (I joined mainly to get away from home!), because back when I was in, many men felt that women didn’t belong in the military; and all my promotions – including my ultimate promotion to Sergeant Major – were NOT because I had met and/or exceeded expectations, but (according to some) “because the Army has to promote some token women.” And after I finally found God (at the age of 44), and had a driving desire to “lead people to the Lord” I’ve met tons of resistance by men who insist that women are to sit down, shut up and remain “barefoot and pregnant and in the kitchen”….
And so that is part of the reason why I allowed myself to fall into a downward spiral after our cold reception at that synagogue. I was hurt, plain and simple!
Thankfully, the next day, after I came to my senses, I realized something profound: Negative feelings are NOT from God; they are from the enemy, who knows exactly how to push our buttons! He used what happened at that synagogue, to remind me of who he tried to force me to be, throughout my life – a sad person with a persecution complex, feeling she was never “good enough” or “smart enough” or “capable enough” to amount to anything! In other words, he did what he always does: He LIED! He caused me to become self-centered (instead of God-centered); to “concentrate on the past” instead of remembering “who I am in YHWH” and “looking toward the future” (see Philippians 3:13 and a host of other scriptures).
Satan is the “father of lies” (John 8:44)! He wants you to believe you are worthless, ugly, stupid – you name it and he will help you achieve all the negatives in your life! He WILL keep you from reaching your God-given potential IF you let him! Unfortunately, I once again fell for his wiles after the synagogue experience…but I have now promised myself – NEVER AGAIN! The next time depression hits me in the face, I will do my level best to remember WHO I AM (as opposed to who satan WANTS me to be!)….
As for that synagogue – once the depression receded I thought to myself:
I need to STOP those "voices from the past" from making me feel like "nobody, worth nothing!" I AM SOMEBODY and so is my sweet husband! We belong to YHWH! We were worth a "Hello and welcome!" from somebody at that synagogue!
Had they bothered to ask our names, they might have discovered that they had in their midst a godly couple who followed biblical principles to become completely debt-free (no mortgage, no car payments, NOTHING!) who are not stingy when it comes to tithing. They would have discovered a man who was a “retired” high-ranking Air Force officer with a Masters degree in Physics (who recently retired from his second career as a contractor with Space Command), who was chosen as an alternate astronaut for the Air Force’s Manned Space Program during the Eighties; a man who is a calendar expert and amateur astronomer, used who continues to be used as a consultant by Aramaic scholar and author, Andrew Gabriel Roth.
They would have discovered a woman who had overcome childhood rejection and sexual abuse to work her way up to Sergeant Major in the Army; someone who went to night school for 20 years to get a college degree; someone who found God in middle age and went on to become a leader in a prison ministry for 5 years and to teach Bible classes; who by the grace of YHWH became the original editor of Andrew Gabriel Roth’s Aramaic English New Testament; who has a huge website for God that receives well over half a million hits per month; who has written and published 8 books of her own and been used by God to lead some hard-to-reach people to Himself….So, SHAME on the members of that synagogue for ignoring us!
It wasn’t OUR loss; it was THEIR loss! ANYONE who walks through the doors of their synagogue - regardless as to who they are, tall or short, young or old, rich or poor - is worth a "Hello and welcome!"
So, the next time you feel depressed, down and out, upset over something you have no control over, remember WHO you are! Satan doesn’t own you! You are a child of YHWH/Y’shua! Nothing else matters. Give it all to Him, the moment you recognize depression or upset trying to creep in. We ALL have issues - and to help us overcome and deal with them, I have written an article containing some suggestions on how to heal.
We need to stop beating ourselves up and start remembering WHO we are. YHWH knows we are human and that we experience troubles and turmoil. He, time and time again implores His people to to trust Him and turn to Him. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect; He just expects us to TRY and to be OBEDIENT to the best of our ability.
Those who are in tune with Him recognize that everything that happens in our lives is a “learning moment” and that we need to move our “carnal” ego aside and glean from it. If we don’t, then we allow the enemy to win….I certainly learned something!
The bottom line is: It’s NOT “about us”; it’s all about YHWH/Y’shua! In the grand scheme of things, we are to serve and obey and ENJOY Him, and to look forward to our eternal life with HIM! Halleluyah!