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Her Outward Appearance Hid Deep Pain

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“I really, um, put on a front of success, so on the outside, no one ever knew that I was struggling with some really deep issues.”

Steve and Rachel Lawrence were overjoyed when they had their first child in 2017. She was a 25-year-old ICU nurse and in her second year of seminary. He was a young police officer. They were both committed Christians and ready to establish a godly home with their budding family.

However, over the next month the bliss faded into a lingering dark fog. Rachel was not only a faithful believer in God, but as a nurse she understood the reality of anxiety and depression, and more importantly how they can deeply affect mothers in postpartum. “I was following the Lord so fiercely, but I came into bondage to what I believe was a mixture of postpartum depression and deliberate spiritual warfare,” Rachel says. 

Over the next year, she fought a losing battle with crippling depression and anxiety. She shared, “My heart would start to race. I would feel pressure on my chest…I had a hard time doing tasks…I overate, and my hygiene diminished…I would have days where I just could not get out of bed.”

Rachel’s husband Steve also began to see the battle his wife was facing daily. As a police officer, Steve was used to rescuing people, but he felt helpless now. In Steve’s words: “It was hard to know what to do. I felt lost myself. One thing I would do every single day is pray for her. Pray for her comfort and peace and that the attacks would stop.”

Rachel’s battle began to really shift when as an ICU nurse, she was caring for a brain-dead teen who attempted to take her own life ---- she was plagued with the thought that it should have been her instead. Unfortunately, when she reached out to her doctor, he failed to understand the gravity of what she was dealing with. She remembers him telling her that she was a beautiful mom with a wonderful family and that she was just tired and needed to rest. This only added to her condemnation ---"I was like, ‘Look at you. You have everything. Why do you feel this way? God has blessed you. You are such a terrible person to feel this way,” she says.

Rachel hit rock bottom when she had a vivid image of her holding a gun to her head. “I had an image in my mind of me taking my husband’s police gun, holding it to my head and ending it…that thought sounded like a good idea…I just wanted to be out of this pain and misery,” describes Rachel. Gripped with fear, she pleaded with her husband to hide all his guns. Steve says, “When she asked me to hide my guns, it was a real wake-up call…I had this very sick pit in my stomach, that my wife would even consider taking her life, it was shocking.”

They both cried out to God for help. They both cried that they needed God to send someone ---- and just hours later that someone turned out to be Dr. Robert Carpenter, one of Rachel’s seminary professors. At the time, he was serving as a military chaplain in Africa. Dr. Carpenter shares that, “I was just there going about my day with our team, and all of a sudden, I just felt very impressed by the Holy Spirit, 'pray for Rachel, pray for Rachel, pray for Steve.' I did not know what was going on, but I just knew in my spirit God was telling me to, to pray for them.” 

Over the next three months, Dr. Carpenter counseled and encouraged the couple through emails and phone calls. Finally, Rachel had a breakthrough when she learned how to accept God’s word as truth and how to apply it to her thoughts, actions, and life. 

Steve and Rachel now have a thriving household with four children and two dogs. With Dr. Carpenter’s support, Rachel earned her Master of Divinity degree in 2022. She’s also a podcaster and founder of a ministry that helps moms struggling with depression and anxiety to deepen their relationship with God. She no longer identifies herself as a victim of depression and anxiety, but rather, as a child of God.

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About The Author

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Kane Lewis

Kelly Kane Lewis joined CBN as a Features Producer after over 15 years in the Media, Film, and Live Entertainment industry as a producer, director, and as on-camera talent, most recently in the New York City metro region. She served as Associate Media Director for multisite megachurch Christ Church, in Northeast New Jersey where she produced several human impact stories. Kelly’s on-camera hosting talent can be found on such platforms as Lowe’s Home Improvement, Tidewater Community College, and Virginia Tourism. Kelly holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from Regent University and is currently