Who We Are in Christ

Sitting in the psychiatrist’s office, I felt as if my pounding heart were going to burst out of my chest.

I had been admitted to the Northern Virginia Doctors Hospital the previous evening and was staying in the psychiatric wing. I have struggled with depression for a good part of my life. I never called it that, though. I just thought I had a melancholy personality and that sadness was simply woven into my DNA. But after months of feeling as if I were disappearing a little bit more every day, I had finally reached out to a friend for help, and this was where that journey had taken me.

“Who are you?” the doctor asked.

I thought it was a stupid question. I could see my name on the top of his yellow legal pad.

“I’m Sheila Walsh,” I said.

“I know your name, Sheila,” he responded kindly, “but who are you?”

A trick question! I thought. “I’m the co-host of The 700 Club.”

“I didn’t ask what you do, Sheila. I asked who you are.”

That stumped me. “I don’t know,” I whispered.

“Well,” he said. “That’s why you’re here.”

My greatest nightmare growing up was that I would end up in a psych ward. My father was thirty-four when he escaped from the hospital where he was being held and took his own life. As I look back now, more than twenty years later, I can say with confidence that God’s mercy led me to that psych ward.

When we are forced to face our greatest fears, we discover that Jesus is right there with us. I wrote in my journal that first night, “I never knew You lived so close to the floor.” For a month I worked through the painful process of peeling back the layers I had created to protect myself. The opportunity to do so was a gift.

On the day I left, my doctor called out of his office window, “Sheila, who are you?”

I responded with everything in me, “I am Sheila Walsh, daughter of the King of kings!”

Sometimes God will take you to a prison to set you free.

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