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Posts Tagged ‘Mental illness’

 

 

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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Allow love to drive you to your knees and cling to your cross.

Emotions ebb and flow like a mountain river rushing past my feet.

It’s that time I’ve set aside to lay my soul bare before the One who knows me best. One moment, I’m bent over in adoration, kneeling in a position of gratitude as my heart pours out thanks for sheltering the two young ones who travel in and out of my days almost as quickly as dew drying in the high desert sun.  The next, my heart fills with dark, unremitting sorrow.

Muttering, I ask “When, God? How long before you answer?” Frustration pours out hot and damp and I brush it impatiently aside.

I mourn the loss of what might have been and 
cry out to Him-longing for assurance.#faith Click To Tweet

These are the dog-eared prayers of more than a decade. Words written, wept over, and whispered. There are fresher requests uttered over soul-deep scars another loved one carries. I mourn the loss of what might have been and cry out to Him-wanting justice but longing more for assurance. Assurance of something better. Assurance of hope.

Have you ever grieved and wished you had the power to travel through time? To alter circumstances? Perhaps, even, to take matters into your own hands if it meant you could rescue the one you love?

While I can’t explain the path of suffering my dear ones are walking or rescue them from it, I know the Christ who stepped outside of time onto the cross to provide the way. The Rescuer has already come that life may be made new.

...bear the burdens of those who are wandering or wounded.
#loveothers #poweroflove Click To Tweet

This is the strange in-between of already but not yet when the Enemy takes advantage of the weak and vulnerable. He circles around the frail and unprotected, seeking to devour easy prey. But they are not defenseless. Instead, Christ calls us to be the modern-day equivalent of Simon of Cyrene as we bear the burdens of those who are wandering or wounded.

If your heart is broken and bleeding over someone you love, praise God.

Have I mistyped those words? No. Only deep, selfless love results in such sorrow. Allow that love to drive you to your knees and cling to your cross as you thank God for His continual presence.

I don’t know what your loved one is facing. It could be addiction or disease. Maybe he is walking the prodigal path or is trapped in the cage of mental illness.

The God who caused dead bones 
to rise triumphant will have the victory.#doyourpart#pray Click To Tweet

Whatever the cross you bear on the behalf of love, “Have faith in the Lord” and “give thanks…for his love endures forever” (2 Chronicles 20). The God who caused dead bones to rise triumphant will have the victory and you, Warrior, play a part.

James 5:16 (AMP) exhorts, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another [your false steps, your offenses], and pray for one another, that you may be healed and restored. The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) can accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God—it is dynamic and can have tremendous power].”

Why? Because God has provided us with heaven’s homework. If your spirit is burdened for a friend, family member, or someone you met in passing then pick up your cross. There is work to be done (Ephesians 2:10) and you were called “for such a time as this”. (Esther 4:14)

He hasn’t left you unequipped, Friend. You wield the sword of the Spirit, God’s powerful two-edged m’achaira-a deadly weapon worn by the common soldier and always at the ready for hand-to-hand combat. This God-breathed blade is razor-sharp, designed to protect you and those for whom you battle from the Enemy. In moments of weariness, you’ll discover strength between the pages of His word. Strength to praise. Strength to pray. Strength to stand.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

Mondays   Mandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

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

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday WelcomWednesday /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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_...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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Psalm 46:1

Before color kissed the sky, I awakened-already weary from a series of imagined twilight horrors. Matching the tempo of my husband’s rhythmic breathing, releasing the fear trapped inside. His arm, heavy with sleep, draped across my waist like a rope strung between a boat and its mooring.

This has become my Holy Spirit hour; a time of communing, listening, interceding, rejoicing, and weeping. Five weeks of pre-dawn wakefulness coupled with a knowing within-this is part of my calling, my equipping, my serving.

The terror of the night seeks to invade from within but loses its battle when whispered words of truth penetrate the inky space. Click To Tweet

The terror of the night seeks to invade from within but loses its battle when whispered words of truth penetrate the inky space between physical and spiritual. The enemy is shrewd, his bloodlust an open cavity for the unprepared. Palms open and eyes closed, I release the anxieties that lead my thoughts directly toward fear and utter, “Lord, help my unbelief.”

I meditate on Psalm 46, the familiar words of the Psalmist reminding me of my position. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

God is my refuge. 

He is my refuge from inner turmoil. He is a refuge from the haunting memories of childhood. He is my refuge from the silent illness crafted by my own body.

He is your refuge, too. 

Only six letters, the word seems simple. Benign. And maybe I’ve just read or heard the words too often to allow them to penetrate deep. Refuge.

To the Psalmist, a refuge would have been a watchtower, a pillar of stones positioned on a hill above the fields of a town or in the mids of ripening vineyards. From his vantage point, the watchman guarded the livelihood of his people from marauders and animals scavenging for food. Gathering family to live within the safety of the fortress; the sentry stood watch-his dear ones far from threats of impending danger.

God is our refuge.

An unshakeable pillar, God who is our strength is the one to whom we can flee. In Him, we are raised to a position of strength and encircled by safety.

The refuge stands, unmoving and Almighty. Click To Tweet

The enemy may rattle his saber and destruction may batter the stronghold, but their roar is useless. The refuge stands, unmoving and Almighty. Neither the abuses of men nor the sword that pierced His side defeated the Rock and we, cradled in heaven’s watchtower, discover the love and security of our rescuer.

God is your refuge. 

Are you distressed? Brimming with worry as Death travels where it will? Has isolation brought you to the end of hope? Do you long for relief from the world’s trials? Seek Him, Friend. Move into the security of your Salvation and rest. He’ll watch over you, nourish you with His strength, and shelter you until time fades into eternity.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

P.S. I’d love to have you join me tonight as we meet to discuss and consider how to be set free from fear. I hope to see you online!

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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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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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Neither the difficulties or joys of our todays can compare with what we'll experience on the other side of heaven..png

The man at the park glared at me, his expression communicating judgement. What kind of parent are you? Do something about your son’s behavior. Bending low to speak with his granddaughter face to face, he said, “You’re a good girl. You never behave like that little boy.”

Tempted to shout something in my preschooler’s defense, I scooped my son up in my arms to guard him from scrutiny and rushed away feeling helpless; shame and mama-guilt rubbing salt in the wound of unmet hopes and dreams.

I’d known something caused my little one to struggle. To hurt. To fear. And, after several years and a slew of visits to doctors, experts, and interventionists my precious one was diagnosed with both anxiety and a mood disorder.

My heart grieved–and still does–for what might have been.

Years later, a youth pastor addressed a concern with my husband. “I don’t think your boy should spend much time with Sara. She has bipolar disorder.”

The pastor’s response to mental illness stunned us. Fearful of the stigma attached to mental health issues, we hadn’t shared with anyone at church about the struggles our family faced. We’d been right to keep the information to ourselves. Our son had been protected from being ostracized by the people who should have demonstrated love and empathy. By those who could have opened the doors of communication and offered hope and help.

The man behind the pulpit communicated judgement. Mental illness makes someone unworthy and unsafe.

You, too, may understand the burden of watching a loved one suffer. Perhaps your heart aches as my heart does, wondering how God will transform the struggle into something that brings Him glory.

You may have felt judged in area of your life. You might carry a burden of shame you can’t seem to escape. Maybe the dreams you’d had for a relationship or a loved one have been crushed beneath the weight of difficult circumstances.

Oh, friend, the Enemy wants us to be paralyzed by our doubts and destroyed dreams. But, God promises us a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Neither the difficulties or joys of our todays can compare with what we’ll experience on the other side of heaven. Complete restoration of lives and relationships. Hopes and dreams surpassed.

1 Peter 5:10-11 (MSG) encourages us with these words,

You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.

He has eternal and glorious plans for you, for me, and for those we love. And He, who is the Word, gets the last word.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link up with the following: LMMLinkupPorch StoriesTea and Word Tuesday, Blogger Voices NetworkTea and Word TuesdaysWorth Beyond Rubies WednesdayLet’s Have CoffeeSoaring With HimPurposeful Faith, Encouraging Word WednesdaySitting Among FriendsImparting GraceDestination InspirationTune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementFaith and FriendsFaith on Fire, anitaojeda, Dance with Jesushttps://www.rachelmarielee.com/  www.instaencouragements.com, Fresh Market Friday

 

 

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I may not be strong enough to conquer anxiety, but with God all things are possible.

My voice, high and quiet, barely penetrated the good-humored discussion amongst my colleagues. Attempting to lead an activity, I was certain I noticed dismissive, bored glances of the other women. Their unspoken words, all a figment of my anxious imagination, left an indelible imprint.

  I can’t stand her. She’s such a do-gooder.                                                                                  What a fake! Nobody smiles that much.                                                                                              Great…this will be a waste of time.

I carried the weight of these illusory statements the entirety of the day; my burden a series of invisible labels wrapped like chains around my spirit. I’d believed some of anxieties most common lies.

Like the tentacles of a cloying sea animal, anxiety wraps its arms around the susceptible soul.#dontgiveanxietypower#speaktruth#mentalhealth Click To Tweet

Many of us have experienced anxiety, but we become vulnerable prey when we allow its deceit to penetrate our hearts. Like the tentacles of a cloying sea animal, anxiety wraps its arms around the susceptible spirit–enfolding each woman in her own veil of unwanted worry.

Anxiety strengthens; feeding on the suppression of truth as the mind recycles wrong thinking, misinterprets events, and begins to treat lies as reality; forgetting Christ’s reassurance that he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Perhaps you, too, are familiar with the lies anxiety thrusts deep into the sensitive soul. Do you recognize any of these?

  1. You aren’t worth anything and everybody knows it. Did you notice the way the way other people avert their gaze or avoid you? You deserve their judgement because you’ll never be enough.
  2. Your worst fears may become reality. What right do you have to enjoy and experience this moment when danger and disaster are an ever-present possibility?
  3. You are responsible for happy endings. If your husband, child, or friend is unhappy, you need to fix the problem.
  4. You are never safe. No matter the circumstance or person, you must be vigilant. Life is tenuous and safety is doubtful.
  5. You aren’t lovable. You may not even be likable. Regardless of your efforts, investing in relationships is useless. There is always someone better, prettier, funnier, or smarter who is more important than you.
  6. You should just give up on beating anxiety because it’s stronger than you. Despite prayer, counseling, medication or any other intervention, anxiety will maintain the upper hand. There is no way to manage its impact; no way to live free.

Earlier today I allowed room for the lies anxiety whispers; inviting them into my mind when I should have slammed the door at their first appearance. Now, bits of silver sparkle in the sky and I’m reminded of the vastness of God’s power and might. I recall the accounts of God’s tender love and patient guidance with a people in need of shepherding. Words of acceptance and devotion flood my mind.

I recall the Way. I cling to the Truth. I seek Life.

In His presence, I rediscover what had been momentarily forgotten.

The precious blood of Christ has made me worthy.#accepted#trueidentity#mentalhealth Click To Tweet
  1. The precious blood of Christ has made me worthy. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).
  2. Fear isn’t worth my time because He is my protector and provider.                    “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
    I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”(Isaiah 41:10)
  3. His plans and purposes are unshakeable. I’m on the winning team.                        “Remember the former things, those of long ago;  I am God, and there is no other;
    I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning,
    from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” (Isaiah 46:9-10)
  4. I am safe for eternity because I am His child.                                                                 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
  5. Even when I am at my least lovable, I am still loved.                                                      But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:4-5)
  6. Anxiety may seem insurmountable, but I know the God who split the Read Sea and brought down the walls of Jericho. I may not be strong enough to conquer anxiety, but “with God all things are possible”. Even if anxiety continues to reside nearby until my homecoming, I will choose to trust Him. “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

If anxiety is your soul’s silent enemy, would you turn to the truth of scripture? Feast on the abundance of your Father’s words and begin to drive anxiety from your heart and mind. It’s the best place to begin.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link up with the following: Porch Stories, Tea and Word Tuesday, Literary Musing Mondays, Worth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Let’s Have CoffeePurposeful Faith, Encouraging Word Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Imparting GraceDestination Inspiration, Tune in Thursday, Dare to HearHeart Encouragement, Faith and Friends, Blogger Voices Network, Faith on Fire, Dance with Jesus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Electricity coursed down my arms and into my fingertips like an electric bug-zapper lit up during a summer evening in the Florida everglades. Suddenly, my body temperature seemed elevated–ears burning, cheeks flushed. An invisible weight crushed my chest, making it difficult to fill my lungs or breathe slowly. Evenly.

My anxiety had ripened into a full-on anxiety attack.

I’d struggled with anxiety since childhood, but this was a new and overwhelming experience. Certain I was too young to for a heart-attack, I heaped on the shame.

Don’t you have any faith? God is able to manage the ticker-tape of worries steaming through your mind. What sort of Christian are you? 

Self-recrimination came easily–almost as easily as the other panic attacks, sleepless nights, and excessive weight loss.

I sometimes lose my way in the Land of What Is because I've crossed over into The Land of What Might Be.#mentalillness#hope Click To Tweet

The challenge was in accepting the truth; I have a mental illness. Like 1 in 5 other Americans, I struggle with the reality of emotions that attempt to strangle hope. I sometimes lose my way in the Land of What Is because I’ve crossed over into The Land of What Might Be; a far more unfamiliar and frightening place with all sorts of imagined disasters and potential troubles.

Over the years, though, I’ve discovered three important truths about anxiety.

  1. Clinical anxiety is not equivalent to the sinful worry noted in scripture.       Other well-meaning Christians may disagree, but as a result of this broken world some of us suffer with illnesses. Some of these, such as rheumatoid arthritis or cancer, are more readily accepted within the church. However, some of us battle daily with mental illnesses like anxiety and depression as a result of trauma or biological differences.
  2. God may choose to heal my anxiety–or not. Like anyone living with illness, I’ve prayed fervently to be healed. I’ve prayed even more passionately for others I love to be released from the burden of chronic anxiety. I am convinced that if God chooses to allow this thorn to remain while I live out my years on earth then He will use it to accomplish good in the lives of others. It is in our weakness that His power is magnified. (2 Corinthians 12:9-11)
    Anxiety doesn't make me less of a Christian.#notashamed#onbeinghuman Click To Tweet
  3. Anxiety doesn’t make me less of a Christian. I don’t need to carry shame because of anxiety. If sin is powerless to keep me from Jesus, then a condition of human frailty is even less culpable. None of my attempts to present myself worthy and whole are necessary; He only requires a contrite heart. (Psalm 51:17).

 

You, too, may struggle with anxiety. Can I encourage you to set aside your self-chastisement and shame? This is why Jesus came, Friend–to provide the Way home.

If anxiety is not on your lists of hurts or challenges, then praise God and consider encouraging a friend or loved one who is familiar with the prick and pain of this particular thorn.

I’ve included a hope-filled printable of scriptures below to pray over or share with someone else.

9 Verses Printable

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Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I often link up with the following bloggers:

Imparting Grace, Crystal Twaddell, SaltandLight, Tea and Word

 

 

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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

Mental Health Pain Hack Image

Mental Health Pain Hack Printable

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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.

livefreethursday-smFriday Link Up

 

 

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