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Posts Tagged ‘depression’

Only God can intervene. He gives me glimpses of hope and occasional moments, hours-sometimes a day or two-of beautiful, bright light shining from the typically shuttered eyes of the young man I love and adore.

Once upon a time, mirth danced in those eyes. But the child disappeared behind the silhouette of depression and now a mother’s heart beats out a prayer every day for the young man.

Please, Lord, have mercy. Give him your peace today.

When you fight depression on behalf of your child, it’s as if “a sword has pierced your own heart” because you can’t bear your child’s cross no matter the desire. I would even take on depression, once my own companion, if it meant my son could live free of it.

But only God is able to remove the heaviness, so I continue in my prayers.

Please, Lord, have mercy. Give him your peace today.

How deceptive is the Shadow's call, luring one deeper until little else can be heard-except for the small, still voice of Truth.#depressionawarenessmonth Click To Tweet

Maybe depression holds you or your loved one captive. How deceptive is the Shadow’s call, luring one deeper until little else can be heard—except for the small, still voice. The voice of Truth reaching out. I will never leave you nor forsake you. Resist. Fight.

But how does one fight when strength is diminished? And how do mothers, wives, and sisters wage war against depression as we support those we hold dear?

How does one fight when strength is diminished?#fightdepression#depressionawarenessmonth Click To Tweet

There are three keys to remember when battling depression whether you’re struggling, or you are storming the gates of heaven for a loved one. They are: Position, Practice, and Power.

Position
Ephesians 2:6 tells us that “He raised us up with Him and seated us in the heavenly realms with our beloved Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King.” (The Voice) Despite what we know of ourselves, regardless of our sinfulness, God sees us as pure and holy through the sinless nature of Christ-at least once we received Him through faith.

Our position, then, is one of strength. Through our weakness, He is made strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

If He is faithful to me, He will be faithful to my son and He will be faithful to you.#depression#mentalhealth Click To Tweet

While I long to see my son delivered from depression and fail to understand why God hasn’t answered years of prayer, I know He is faithful. If He is faithful to me, He will be faithful to my son and He will be faithful to you.

Whether or not this mother’s prayer is answered this side of heaven, my son is seated with Christ. He is promised:
-life abundant (John 10:10)
-that he will bear much fruit (John 15:5)
-his needs will be met (Philippians 4:19)
-God’s presence (Hebrews 13:5)
-eternal life (John 3:16)

These, too, are the precious promises that belong to you as a Christ-follower. No matter the momentary struggles we face, victory is ours through Jesus. There is more to life than what we experience here and now.

Practice
The practice of praise and prayer are essential to overcoming depression. If you’re suffering from depression, journaling prayers or reading through the Psalms can be a comfort. Many of them were written by David, who understood the darkness of depression.

Psalm 42 is one of my favorites.

Praising God seems like an odd suggestion, but research supports what God knew from before time began. Fostering a heart of thankfulness or gratitude increases happiness. Reciting a few favorite Bible verses, naming people for whom we’re thankful, or listening to a favorite playlist moves our focus heavenward and helps us maintain an eternal perspective.

Feel free to start with my Praise and Worship playlist.

Power
Depression is powerful. It can cloud judgment and steal joy, but I have news that sometimes gets lost amid the struggle.

God is bigger.
God is stronger.
God is more powerful.

I know there will come a day when “He will wipe away every tear…and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

What joy awaits!

That is the last tear you'll ever cry, child.#hope#mentalhealth Click To Tweet

Just as I stooped over my child after he’d skinned a knee years ago, our Father will kneel by you and me, gently gathering the last bit of sadness on the edge of His thumb and whisper, “That is the last tear you’ll ever cry, child.”

Power and might are in His hand.

Depression is painful and I wish my tears could wash it away. For now I’ll press on, recognizing my own position in Christ along with that of my son’s as I daily practice praise and prayer. Above all, I cling to the truth that I serve a God of power who renews, restores, and resurrects.

Peace and grace,
Tammy

This is Depression Awareness Month. If you or a loved one struggles with depression and you haven’t asked for help, reach out to a trained Christian counselor or therapist. Besides your local church, SAMHSA and the DBSA Alliance can provide helpful resources. As always, please don’t hesitate to let me know if I can pray for you.

 

 I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragements Mandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup

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Author John Chasteen’s words struck me. Only minutes before my daughter had shared alarming statistics about Generation Z-her, age group, gathered from Barna, the CDC, and university websites.

Somewhere between changing hundreds of diapers, flipping pancakes, and driver’s lessons, my children have either moved into young adulthood or the late teen years and I’ve transitioned from youthful mama bouncing a baby on a hip to seasoned mother who has spent more time on her knees than standing.

When I glance at young families eating in restaurants, I wonder at the challenges 
they'll face.Lord, prepare them for battle.#prayer #spiritualwarfare Click To Tweet

Now when I glance at young families eating in restaurants or strolling at the park, I wonder at the challenges they’ll face. Often, I whisper a prayer over them, Lord, prepare them for the battle.

Our wayward world skews the truth and confuses the most vulnerable-our precious children. Right becomes wrong; what was wrong is celebrated and if someone suggests otherwise that person is considered ignorant, hateful, or a bigot.

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the 
authorities, against the powers of this dark world...#heavenlyrealms Click To Tweet

But I am well educated, accept and love others even if I disagree with their lifestyles and choices, and recognize my battle isn’t with man’s standards or beliefs. Parents like myself aren’t at battle with any particular group of people. Scripture is clear, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12 NIV)

We are waging a war against the lies of the Enemy.Lies that lead our children into bondage.
Lies that leave our children feeling lost, alone, and abandoned.#lostboys #lonelygirls Click To Tweet

We are waging a war against the lies of the Enemy. Lies of identity and value. Lies that lead our children into bondage. Lies that leave our children feeling lost, alone, and abandoned.

Consider this information…

  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death for adolescents.
  • 33% report being bullied online.
  • More than 20% of teens struggle with mental health illness.
  • 50% of teenaged girls and 30% of teenaged boys use unhealthy weight control measures such as binging, purging, or diuretics.
  • 50% will experience the breakup of their parent’s marriage.
  • 40% of Gen Z is being raised without their fathers.
  • 70% believe it’s acceptable to be born one gender and feel like another.
  • 29% believe abortion is wrong.
  • 94% of boys view pornography by age 14 and nearly 25% are unable to discontinue the behavior.
  • 80% of girls view pornography by age 14 and 8% are unable to discontinue the behavior.
  • 1/3 believe lying is morally wrong.
  • 4% of 69 million children and teens in Gen Z have a Biblical worldview.

Friend, it is time to prepare the next generation. We cannot shrug them off dismissively because the battle lines are drawn; the Enemy has declared war on our children, families, and homes.

We must engage.

Our teens suffer emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.#ourteensneedus Click To Tweet

Engage our children–these beautiful gifts from God who stagger baffled and bewildered toward the deceptive traps set before them. While the average American family spends no more than thirty-seven minutes together each day, our teens suffer emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Earlier, I quoted John Chasteen. If we were to read each statistic individually, they might seem unremarkable. Innocuous. But read as a whole? Problematic and dangerous. Your teens and mine are hurting.

Send your prayers relentlessly toward heaveny.#prayingmothers #pray Click To Tweet

Mama, I know your heart. You love your child more than life; don’t give up. Jesus is your heavenly intercessor and He is praying on behalf of your beloved son or daughter. Send your prayers relentlessly toward heaven.

Below, you’ll discover four simple ways to overcome the Enemy. It’s a place to start as we trust the Lord with our children and fight alongside Him on the homefront.

Praying for my children is the single most important act I will ever do on their behalf. 
#battleonmyknees Click To Tweet

Four Simple & Effective Ways to Engage Your Teen & Overcome the Enemy

  • Pray Continually-The longer I’ve parented, the more I’ve realized the importance of prayer. I’ve come to believe that praying for my children before their birth and throughout their lives is the most important single act I will ever do on their behalf. (I’m planning to include a list of downloadble of prayer prompts in this month’s message. If you’d like to add your name to the email list, I’ll be sure to send it to you! )
  • Protect Family Time-Talk with your children about how much you miss spending time with them and determine a specific number of times each week your family will gather for dinner. No cell phones or other social media allowed.
  • Protect What Your Children See and Share-Every evening, politely but firmly insist that your children place cell phones in a designated area. Phones are not allowed to be in a teen’s room overnight and parents have access to all passwords and social media profiles-if you allow them. In addition, eliminate the ability to share photos on your child’s phone to avoid the possibility of “sexting”.
  • Protect Your Child’s Heart-Spend time with your teen each day. Go on a walk, play a board game, listen to music, or watch a favorite movie together. Share what you’re learning from scripture, offer to do a Bible study with your son or daughter. Create opportunities to grow your relationship and speak truth into your child’s life while he or she still lives at home.

I’d love to know other ways you protect your family time or your child’s heart. Please share with us below or let me know how I can pray for you.

 

Peace and grace,

Tammy

Mondays   InstaEncouragements/  Mandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup

 

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I cry to you, O Lord- I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.

We’d attended the quaint, family-oriented church for years. I’d joined Bible study groups, attended morning meetings for young mamas, and participated in Sunday school. Still, loneliness gnawed at my insides. Somehow, I just didn’t fit. One day after the traditional morning greeting, I once again watched as the women flitted from one pew to the other laughing and hugging each other while I stood awkwardly waving and smiling. I felt like the gangly little girl I’d once been-the last one to be chosen to play on the kickball or softball teams.


That afternoon, I spoke with my husband about looking for a different church. It’s terrible to feel invisible when you’re surrounded by people.


King David also experienced isolation. Having been handpicked by God, he’d slain a giant, married royalty, and had a meteoric rise to fame. Unfortunately, Saul was bent on murder. In an effort to escape, David found refuge in the cave of Abdullum along with 400 desperate men who followed him there. (1 Samuel 22)

Still, David felt alone. Unseen. Unnoticed. Was he? Was I? Are you?

The Secrets of the Cave

I’d been living in a cave. Unlike David, my cave was imperceptible. Its walls weren’t made of limestone or located in a barren desert, but they were real. My cave was called Anxiety and Depression.

My cave was called Anxiety and Depression. Click To Tweet


Some of you may have a cave, as well. Perhaps yours is named Trial, Difficulty, Sorrow, or Illness. It could be Divorce, Trauma, or Loss. We all find ourselves stumbling into desert caves at some point. While residing in the cave often feels uncomfortable, there are some secrets we can learn from David and his time in the cave of Adullam.

While residing in the cave often feels uncomfortable, there are some secrets we can learn from David.. Click To Tweet


• Caves Make Us Better Prayer Warriors
A musician and poet, David penned Psalm 142 as well as other poems and prayers during his time in the cave. He learned to “pour out”, or spill, his heart before God and set an example for future believers. While God already knows our needs, anxieties, and troubles, he longs to communicate intimately with us.


• Caves Help Us Realize Our Condition
David was surrounded by the enemy with Saul on one side and the Philistines on the other. He saw no way of escape. But God provided a route of victory. Even when we’re confused or uncertain of our future, God clearly sees the way. He is never unsure of His plans for us.

Caves remind us that God is constant. Click To Tweet

• Caves Remind Us That God is Constant
While David felt as though nobody cared for Him, the maker of heaven and earth heard his prayers. Isn’t that incredible? God hears every cry that spills from our hearts. Oh, what blessing to be known and loved that intimately.

Caves aren't our home. Click To Tweet


• Caves Aren’t Our Home
Something comes after the cave. When God brought David out of the cave, he’d prepared him for battles, victory, and then kingship. Perhaps you, too, are being prepared for a battle. Or, perhaps your cave is the battle and afterward, you’ll experience victory. Whatever the case, the Lord will bring you out the cave with purpose, fully prepared that “[you] might give thanks to [His] name”.


Peace and grace,
Tammy

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda, Mandy and Michele, Kingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup,best-of-the-weekend

 

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_...whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” - Copy

The throbbing is real but intangible. Painful but unseen. It’s the shattering of a heart already broken experiencing one more journey in the wasteland. Have you been in this place before? In the same sort of circumstance where your dreams are dashed by reality and hope drifts away like dust in the wind? Are you searching for solace, but coming up dry? Does it seem as if even God is unreachable in this desert place?

The Wasteland

The wasteland is almost uninhabitable; barren of comfort, it lacks nourishment and sanctuary is difficult to find. Even your spirit seeks aimlessly, searching for rest but finding none; lying in the pale sand only to rise up again up with the residue of silt  clinging to it-a a reminder of your unchartered journey.

Some of you may be in a spiritual wasteland or on its horizon; others remember trials you’ve recently experienced-difficult circumstances that led you deep into the arid places of the heart bereft of comfortable routines or reassuring normalcy.

If you’re passing through the refining heat of the desert, there is comfort in knowing those of great faith have also journeyed along the same gritty path.

A King in the Wasteland

Imagine being a man of great wealth and power only to discover your oldest son has betrayed you. Charming and deceitful, he’s convinced some of your closest advisors to turn against you and, as a result, you lose everything-your position, possessions, and prestige.

Discovering a plot against your life, you gather a few trusted men and escape to the wilderness. Nourishment is scarce and the enemy, your son, haunts every weary step. Battle weary, you’ve managed many losses and setbacks. Undeserved hatred. Depression. The death of a beloved child. This is a new heartache…the betrayal of a precious son and separation from your place of holy Hope. The one sanctuary of your life.

While encountering his own wasteland, the shepherd-turned-king cried out to God and scribed his words into song as a testimony for us.

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.

When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.                                                                                                                                   But those who seek my life, to destroy it,

Shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
They shall fall by the sword;
They shall be a portion for jackals.

But the king shall rejoice in God;
Everyone who swears by Him shall glory;
But the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped. (Psalm 63-NKJV)

 

Are you struck by David’s description of His parched soul? By the yearning he has to be in God’s presence? In these few, beautiful verses the believer reveals a path to joy in the most difficult of situations.

Focus on God’s Character

When I’m surrounded by the brokenness of the wasteland, I often fail to notice the stark beauty of the desert stars shining in an inky sky or the shifting shadows along the face of the rocky terrain. I’m consumed by the situation and begin to compare my unfair circumstances to other believers. Why this issue? Hadn’t I prayed enough? Why does God allow this suffering? The questions keep coming, but there aren’t any satisfactory answers.

Perhaps David felt the same way, but he didn’t resort to comparing or even complaining. Instead, he turned his thoughts heavenward and called out to the one who is unbound by circumstances. David cried, “O Elohim (the one true God), You are my El (the mighty One).”

Neither the barren surroundings nor the lack of protection garnered the king’s attention. God’s character was his focal point. When we find ourselves confused or fearful in unwelcome circumstances, our strength comes from the presence of the all-knowing, ever-loving El Elohim. Removing our eyes from the temporary and redirecting them to our Eternal horizon is the first step in rediscovering hope in difficulty.

Quench Your Thirst

As king, David knew the pleasures of fine feasts, silken fabrics, and celebrations. He was accustomed to being addressed with respect and surrounded by family members and doting servants. Now, David and a few loyal men were rushing from one cave to another without the simplest of comforts, and when crying out for his most basic needs what did he request?

More of God.

Despite his clear physical needs, David’s spiritual needs were far more acute. Body and soul, he longed to commune with God. Lamenting at being separated from the holiness of the sanctuary where he’d witnessed God’s glory, earth’s mighty king bowed before heaven’s King in humble submission asking that the Lord alone would quench his thirst.

What does your soul thirst after, friend? Is it His word? Worship? Communing with Him?  Go to Him for we need never thirst. Jesus said, “whoever drinks of the water I will give him will never be thirsty again”. (John 4:14 ESV)

Remember and Rejoice

Even though David is fleeing for his life, he recalls all of the good God has done for him. He recounts the joys, victories, and protection. Maybe David thinks of his best friend Jonathan, the rags-to-riches story of shepherd boy to king, the unexpected win of teenaged-boy over a ruthless warrior, or the birth of his son, Solomon.

Praise flows like a river from David’s mouth. As he thanks the Lord, gratitude wells up from inside his spirit and joy spills out.

Remembering God’s goodness leads to rejoicing. And don’t we all need more rejoicing-especially when we’re walking through the wasteland?

 

Leaving the Wasteland

Eventually, David was rescued from the wasteland. You will be, too, friend. Our Father promises to be your shield and protector, your rescuer and redeemer. He will quench your thirst and lead you by still waters.

Like David, we can cling to our Lord with steady perseverance and take refuge from any challenge in El Elohim-the one true God, the strong and mighty One.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda, Mandy and Michele, Kingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pleading for Us

The hard edges of time haven’t yet lined his face, but the young man knows suffering. He’s grown accustomed to fear biting at his heels; chasing him from one day to the next. Calling on God, he prays and fasts-beseeching the Lord for breakthrough. Relief from the brokenness. Healing for a hurting heart that refuses to release the tears bottled there for too long.

And his mother approaches the throne of grace; a modern-day Hannah with earnest words whispered and desperate on behalf of the man who is her son. Capturing a glimpse of the child behind his sad smile, she lifts her face to heaven.

Oh, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
If you’ll take a good, hard look at (his) pain,
If you’ll quit neglecting (him) and go into action for (him)…
I’ll give him completely, unreservedly to you.
I’ll set him apart for a life of holy discipline. (1 Samuel 1:11 MSG)

Like the grieving woman whose arms longed to feel the weight of a newborn, I make a holy vow of my own.  No holding back. No standing in the way. No talking him out of what the mighty God has planned. But, Lord, free him up to live and live abundantly-not this numb-to-the-pain and numb-to-the-joy existence. Allow beauty to move him to such depths that joy erupts from his spirit and spills wet as liquid down dampened cheeks. Let sadness wring his soul with enough strength that the melancholy pours from within; unleashing the ache and inviting the flow of God’s healing touch. Move into the empty spaces and clear out those the imposter has planted a “no vacancy” sign.

You, too, may be a modern-day Hannah with a loved one whose heart needs healing. Some days, it feels as though the prayers will never be answered and I grow impatient. I want Him to answer now. Doesn’t He see the need? The pain? The ache?

I would be the rescuer. The savior. But, my titles are all lowercase.#perseverance#faith Click To Tweet

Honestly, if I could exchange the burden with my precious one I would. I would be the rescuer. The savior. But, my titles are all lowercase and I’m ill-equipped to do anything but persevere in my faith. If I give up, the enemy will celebrate a victory. I refuse to yield my child’s life so easily.

What about you? Are you battling right now? Are you, too, pounding on heaven’s gates on behalf of a loved one? Maybe your on bended knee as a result of a dear one’s anxiety, depression, or addiction. It could be your precious one is consumed by self-contempt, brokenness, or fear.

Perhaps, you are the one in need of prayer.

Dear modern-day Hannah, remain steadfast. Jesus intercedes on your behalf.#holyprayers#remembered Click To Tweet

Dear modern-day Hannah, remain steadfast. Raise your eyes heavenward. Your heavenly priest, Jesus, intercedes on your behalf. Persevere as this woman of scripture once did and there will be a day of rejoicing. Just as the Lord remembered Hannah, He will remember you.

 

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I sometimes link-up with these wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda, Mandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/Porch Stories

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Networ

 

 

 

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Copy of courgeJust a few years ago, fear and depression nearly took him from me. Threatened to steal the world of his mischievous smile, the one that tilts the right corner of his mouth like the crescent moon on its axis. But, as I rejoice over his presence and delight in the strides he’s made toward healing, I’m reminded of the loss and tragedy dear childhood friends have had to brave.

Instead of delighting in healing? They have lived with the aftermath of a momentary decision too permanent to undo the pain of a mother’s heart. They have felt the emptiness of a home once filled with the laughter of a young one on the edge of adulthood.

People toss out platitudes and church-appropriate responses. This is all part of God’s plan. God never gives us more than we can handle. But, the words are misleading. Perhaps untruthful.

God is never the author of evil and while His will ultimately triumphs, man’s enemy is at work. Wreaking havoc. Whispering lies. Sowing destruction.

And boys on the cusp of manhood lose hope.

Brokenness is not God's plan. Depression. Chronic illness. Abuse. Suicide. We weren't meant to know of or experience any of these.#courage#hope#more of Jesus. Click To Tweet

Brokenness is not God’s plan. Depression. Chronic illness. Abuse. Suicide. Cancer. Stillborn death. We weren’t meant to know of or experience any of these. The Father who ushered breath into lungs of clay and called his creation good designed us for more.

He knows our condition, dear friend. Scripture refers to courage over one hundred times because in this world we will bear more than we can handle.

We need fortitude. Courage. Above all, we need to rely on Christ.

Why does God stay his hand in some situations and intervene in others? When two mothers kneels with all humility and beg the Father to spare their children the pain of abuse, why does he answer yes to one and no the other?

When cancer is the diagnosis and prayer warriors converge on a friend’s behalf they cannot know whether the Father will heal on this side of heaven or the next. But, the Healer is at work regardless and we are called to love and pray faithfully.

Life can feel unfair. As though we’ve been treated less than someone else. That because God won’t bend to our will He isn’t good. But, our relationship with God isn’t about what we squeeze out of him. We cannot manipulate Him through pray, or fasting, or looking good as we show up faithfully at church.

One glorious, beautiful day all things will be restored and set right. Instead of death? Delight. In place of mourning? Celebration. Rather than injustice? More of Jesus.#praise#thankful#hope. Click To Tweet

We trust Him knowing that one glorious, beautiful day all things will be restored and set right. Instead of death? Delight. In place of mourning? Celebration. Rather than injustice? More of Jesus.

Hang on, friend. The waiting won’t be long.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda ,Mandy and Michele, Kingdom Bloggers

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode, InstaEncouragments

Wednesdays   Recharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/Porch Stories

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire , Blogger Voices Network , Grace and Truth Linkup, Fresh Market Fridays

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HOPE Mental Illness.png

By my early-40’s I’d earned a few certificates and degrees, four children, two dogs–and the unenviable position of being diagnosed with several disorders. Anxiety. Depression. PTSD. PMDD. Even a penchant toward dissociation.

As a young woman, I’d been certain I could shed the shame of my childhood and embrace happiness. Peace. Living. But I didn’t realize that old, unhealed wounds fester and leach. That anxiety wasn’t something I could dust off like a farmer’s pair of worn cowboy boots.

I didn't realize that old, unhealed wounds fester and leach.That anxiety wasn't something I could dust off like a farmer's pair of worn cowboy boots.#mentalillness#hope#letsgetrealseries Click To Tweet

Time clicked by and, ever so gently, God nurtured and healed. Provided wise counsel and tools to help manage the tumult of soul-sucking pain. Gifted me with a husband who loved through it all. Sustained me when I wanted nothing more than to inhale the last of earth and the first of heaven.

Have you been there? Are you there now? Or, does a loved one bear the burden of mental illness?

I know the pain and I'm sorry you're hurting.#depression#ptsd#hope Click To Tweet

I know the pain and I’m sorry you’re hurting, friend. I’m sorry you don’t share openly because you fear being judged. I’m sorry you weep, cry, and grieve for the person you thought you’d become. I’m sorry that just getting out of bed or making it through one more day makes you feel as though you’re an overloaded cargo ship sinking beneath the weight of its cargo.

Whether you are the one desperate for relief, a mama longing to take her child’s struggle, or a wife desperate for the husband she once knew, you are not alone.

One in five adults understand.

One in five women with successful careers. One in five stay-at-home moms with dinners made by scratch and dessert in the oven. One in five grandmothers living the golden years. One in five women in every church pew on any given Sunday understand.

One in five women in every church pew on any given Sunday understand. #mentalillness#1in5#hope Click To Tweet

Not only are you surrounded by others who empathize, but there is something even better. It’s the four-letter word we forget in the midst of the hard.

Hope.

We have hope because of Christ, in Christ and through Christ.

We have hope because the end of our story was rewritten on the cross. Sin exchanged for restoration, tears for celebration, and death for liberation. Neither depression, anxiety, or any other illness can wrest these from your grasp because you are held tightly in His.

When you’re tempted to believe there is nothing better than what is right now, remind yourself of what you know to be true. There will be more to your story.

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 MSG)

 Peace and grace, Tammy

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The elderly man posted mournful adoption ads and flyers in bus stops and places about town.

“Lonely old man in his 80s. Strong-bodied. Can shop, cook and take care of himself. No chronic illness. I retired from a scientific research institute in Tianjin, with a monthly pension of 6,000 RMB (USD1344) a month. I won’t go to a nursing home. My hope is that a kindhearted person or family will adopt me, nourish me through old age and bury my body when I’m dead.”

Struck by the man’s plight, I wondered how many of us can relate to this man and his heart’s cry.

I’m worth something. I’m willing to work for love and acceptance. I’ll give all that I have for just a crumb of kindness. An ounce of approval. Won’t someone love me? Just a little?

 Have you, too, experienced loneliness? Felt isolated?

Most of us recognize the sense of abandonment that invades a needy soul during such times. Once in a while, these are the difficult feelings that remind us of our need for others. The importance of connection rather than Facebook pretension. The value of friendship rather than selfish ambition.

At other times, the Father may lead us to a lonely place where we’ll be reminded of the One who extends beyond the human longing for relationship and leads us toward spiritual fulfillment. Away from loneliness into the arms of a loving Father. Out from under the shadow of rejection into the everlasting promise of holy adoption.

Consider these words from scripture,

I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughter to me, says the Lord Almighty. Click To Tweet

“I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18) Oh, the relief and joy of total acceptance and complete love!

Sometimes, though, instead of clinging to the words of scripture, we settle into our emotions and hide in the shadows. Messages birthed by the Enemy are given shape in our darkest imagination.

You are unwanted. Unworthy. Unlovable.

 Rather than guiding us toward hope, the taunts of the Deceiver grow ever larger—filling the space once occupied by living. Laughter. Love. And we begin to despair as depression assumes headship.

Like the pounding of a hammer against a nail, the thought rings loud, “Isn’t there more than this hurt? This grief? This aching, incessant pain?” And we scoff at the familiar Sunday school song, ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It’, doubting happiness even exists.

 If you are hiding in the shadows, Friend, convinced that life is purposeless and that pain is your lot, please know:

You are loved. (Psalm 86:5)

You are seen. (Genesis 16:7-12)

You are heard. (1 Peter 3:12)

 

You are chosen. (Col. 3:12)

You are treasured. (Duet. 7:6)

You are a delight to God. (Zeph. 3:17)

Loneliness has a cruel habit of cloaking truth while depression obscures hope.  Click To Tweet

Loneliness has a cruel habit of cloaking truth while depression obscures hope. This is the position in which the Liar of old wants us to reside. Unlike our Eternal Hope, he comes to “kill, steal, and destroy”.

Raise your hands to heaven, dear one, and cry out to the God who bends low to hear even unuttered prayers. He will give you strength to endure this moment. This hour. This day.

Loneliness is a silent soul killer and depression crouches next door. If you struggle with depression and its neighbor, I encourage you to take the If You're (Not) Happy and You Know It Challenge.  Click To Tweet

 

If You’re (Not) Happy and You Know It Challenge-Day 4                                          Loneliness is a silent soul killer and depression crouches next door. If you struggle with depression and its neighbor, I encourage you to take the If You’re (Not) Happy and You Know It Challenge.

  1. Reach out to a trusted friend, family member, pastor or counselor. Clinical depression requires a network of people who will provide support and prayer.
  2. Schedule one or two proactive, depression busting activities each day. For example, set and hold to a regular sleep schedule, exercise regimen, or healthy eating cycle. Add one more positive habit to your “to-do” list every few days to aid in eliminating unhealthy choices (i.e. not eating enough, eating too much, spending hours in front of the screen, avoiding interaction with others).
  3. Volunteer Offering to help others boosts the feel-good centers in our brains and boosts our ability to meaningfully connect with others.
  4. Seek medical assistance. If you’re consumed with thoughts of self-harm or have a plan to hurt yourself, call the suicide hotline at 1 (800) 273-8255. Give yourself the opportunity to rediscover happiness. You are worth it!

Download or share my gift to you, an ebook (also available on Kindle), Moving From Pain to Peace–A Journey Toward Hope.

Moving from Pain to Peace-A Journey toward Hope1From Pain to Peace-Journey Toward Hope

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

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I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.He put a new song in my mouth. Psalm 40_1,3.png

The high-pitched whirring of the car matched the acceleration of my heart, a rapid ta-tunk, ta-tunk, ta-tunk as I pressed the accelerator. Thoughts ricocheted in my mind, rapid-fire like a motorized, ball-pitching machine.

They’d be better off without me.

This hurting wasn’t part of my plan.

I don’t think God knew what He was doing when He gave me life.

The messages repeated again and again as I rounded the edge of a mountain. Temptation rose large, whispering its poison as I imagined what it might feel like to launch off the earth at 13,000 feet.

You can stop it all. Right here. Right now.

2 Corinthians 10:5 joined the panoply of others.

Take every thought captive. Take every thought captive. Take every thought captive.

And God’s word, sharper than a two-edged sword, guided me home. Safe. Settled. Soothed.

Still, depression held on.

Depression. Even the word sounds threatening, doesn’t it? Like so many others I’ve lived it. I’ve walked through depression with friends and family. And I’ve discovered that depression is no respecter of persons.

Age? Irrelevant. Gender? Immaterial. Status? Insignificant. Faith? Unrelated. Time? Inconsequential.

Depression disguises itself as disinterest. Detachment. Despair. It swallows hope in its black, gaping mouth and casts its shadow on even the happiest moments. You feel alone. Alone in the pain. Alone without purpose. Alone without… Click To Tweet

If you aren’t that woman, you know someone who is struggling right now. She may not tell you. She may not share the pain. But, you do know at least one dear soul who–in living with depression feels lifeless inside.

Oh, how the chains of depression drag and pull like a treacherous rip current at low tide. Its power seems overwhelming and the thought of catching a breath grows ever dimmer.

Is there any hope?

Sweet friend, Jesus can shatter the chains of depression. He'll walk through the deep valley with you now--shoulder to shoulder--and lead you to an open space where you inhale deeply of life and laugh in delight. Click To Tweet

In the Bible, our Father provides examples of other people who loved Him and struggled with depression.  Job. David. Solomon. Elijah. Naomi. Most of these people were spiritual giants, yet they experienced hopelessness. They also provide us with insight as we take up our scriptural sledge hammer and prepare to destroy depression.

Depression and Spiritual Warfare

As with Job, depression can be a result of trauma and grief. After all, the enemy knows our vulnerabilities and, while restricted, he seeks to steal, kill and destroy anything of promise in our lives.

Job’s story (Job 1-3; 38-42) teaches us:

  • that the Enemy targets those who love the Lord and live out their faith.
  • God was with Job–even when Job was angry and accusatory.

Depression and the Importance of Community

Naomi’s husband and two sons died, leaving her a penniless, bitter refugee. Still, her daughter-in-law, Ruth, remained a faithful companion.

Naomi’s story teaches us:

  • even when we feel as if God has abandoned us, He remains near.
  • not to isolate ourselves. We all need a ‘Ruth’ to speak words of truth and encouragement.

 

Depression and the Challenge of Ministry

Regardless of our circle of influence, we are vessels through which God’s love is meant to flow. But, ministry–whether to our husband, children, colleagues, or women’s group–is challenging. Elijah was depleted and depressed because his ministry seemed ineffective and there was a price on his head.

Elijah’s story teaches us:

  • we must care for the needs of our body by resting and eating well.
  • that we are never alone. It’s important to seek community and trust in His faithfulness despite circumstances.

Depression and the Importance of Prayer and Thanksgiving

David might have been a man after God’s own heart, but he understood the suffering of betrayal and the heartache of losing a child. Honest and vulnerable, David’s prayers typically end in praise and thanksgiving.

David’s story teaches us:

  • God doesn’t expect us to recite pithy, sanitized prayers. We can be honest about our situation. Honest about how we are feeling. Honest about the pain.
  • praising and thanking God reminds us of the truths we know about His goodness and love.

 

These scriptures provide us with wonderful, encouraging truths. However, depression is a form of illness. If you struggle with depression, you need support and treatment for that sickness just as you would any other. Beyond addressing your spiritual needs, please seek help for your depression in other important ways. Click To Tweet

These include meeting with a counselor or therapist, sharing your struggle with a few trustworthy friends who can pray for and minister to you, caring for your body with a healthy diet and exercise, and possibly considering the use of medication for a time.

If you or someone you know is struggling with self-destructive thoughts as I had been, seek help immediately. Call a hotline or go to the hospital.

The enemy is a great deceiver and he is adept at convincing us life will never get better. He is lying. Jesus came that we might have life and live it abundantly. Click To Tweet

With prayers for peace and holy strength,

Tammy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Anzac DayPhotos flashed across the large, mounted screen as people slid somberly into their seats. A copper-headed toddler pretending to fish…a lanky teen posing for a Kodak moment with his family…a soldier with his young wife and newborn child.

A brave, broken-hearted father stepped up to the podium to share stories from the young man’s life. And between tears and laughter, he spoke of the moments that made his son. Casting a line into the icy waters of a shimmering, Colorado river. Sharing the gift of laughter with family and friends. Contending with the relentless enemy–Depression.

The father’s pain—palpable and raw—struck at my core as I considered the struggles my own dear ones have battled. The what if’s invaded my thoughts and I shuddered in understanding. Two weeks later, the reality haunts me and I pray God will protect those in His care from the pain of the dark.

Depression is real. Depression steals. Depression debilitates.

If you’ve lived in its shadow—you know. If you’ve seen a loved one experience the dark—you know.

But, there is always hope in Jesus. Consider these words, Friend.

A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
    he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”

This is what God the Lord says—
the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out,
spreads out the earth with all that springs from it,
who gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it:
“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand. (Isaiah 42:3-6)

Rest in this truth…find freedom from the emotions…rely on His promise. He will hold your hand every step of the way.

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