Sketches_POST Header-01.png
  • Rachel Welcher

Bootstraps



I’ve been singing the gospel of grace since I was a child in the front row at church, looking up at my dad who stood behind a wooden podium, voice booming, with his Bible spread out like a treasure map. But I was thirty-two before I first realized I couldn’t pull myself up by my own bootstraps.

I have claimed to believe this my whole life – that I am desperately dependent upon God. I have said with the Psalmist, “I am poor and needy, yet the Lord takes thought of me.” I thought I knew what it meant. I thought I’d tasted sufficiently of the dust of humiliation and could nod along with the rest of the world-weary.

Then, a few months into my second marriage, I started finding triggers to depression everywhere - in between carefree laugher with Evan, in the laundry room between wash cycles, and even at the end of a good meal. No moment seemed safe from sudden sabotage. And I felt the disappointment of one who had hoped for better. For different. For good.

How many times will I discover that I am more a mess than I previously thought? It keeps happening, over and over again. And God keeps being there - at the end of my rope, my broken bootstraps, and all the other clichés. He stays.

He stays when the vitamins, exercise, kale-smoothies, and counseling don’t fix my depression. He stays when I visit the doctor and hold her scrawling prescription with tired hands, feeling like a failure because I couldn’t conquer this on my own.

Evan squeezes my hand and says, “it’s going to be ok” and sometimes that means today, but this time it means someday. And I squeeze his hand back, thanking him without words, as the truth of my need rests inside a piece of paper that I struggle to hand over to the pharmacist.

Original Sketch was published on Nov. 12th, 2018.


Cover image by Christine Sandu.



Don't miss a thing.

Sign up below to stay up-to-date on Fathom columns.

Where to Find More from Rachel

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Twitter