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Posts Tagged ‘Mental illness’

_...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!

Refresh

 

 

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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Elisabeth Elliott-Today.png

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

9 Verses to Pray Over When We Are Anxious1.png

33 Verses to Pray Over When We Are Anxious2.png

33 Verses to Pray Over When We Are Anxious3.png

33 Verses to Pray Over When We Are Anxious4.png

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I often link up with the following bloggers:

Imparting Grace, Crystal Twaddell, SaltandLight, Tea and Word

 

 

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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

Mental Health Pain Hack Image

Mental Health Pain Hack Printable

https://kingsumo.com/js/embed.js

 

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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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What matters more than material blessings are the things He is teaching us in our spirit.

Charles Stanley

It all began much earlier for him, but most of the nascent signs were quiet and crept into life bit by bit–a silent predator slowly introducing the victim to its presence. Then two years ago, the boy’s everyday life shifted with such suddenness there could be no doubt. Our son knew what it was to struggle with anxiety and depression.

Sleep oscillated between the extremes of non-existent and constant.  Recurring migraines…weight loss…lack of appetite. And my adventurous, full-throttle son retreated to a solitary world that seemed impenetrable.  Once in a great while I would catch a glimpse of the boy , but the cloud of oppression that hung over him was normally the more visible of the two.

There is no heartache quite like that a parent has for her suffering child and in my grief I confronted God.  I wept.  I raged. I begged.  I prayed.

Please, Lord, please!

After more than two years of trial and error…missed school days and fading dreams, we discovered the right combination of interventions and supports–not the least of which included medication.  Finally…some relief for the boy I had soothed with lullabies not so many years ago.

During this time, my boy continued to seek after God.  He wanted more of Jesus–and, unlike me, didn’t seem to struggle with blaming God for allowing this trial in his young life.  Despite the depression…regardless of the anxiety…in spite of the weariness.

One evening he returned from youth group, his face transformed by joy.

We asked God to heal me.  I don’t need my medicine anymore.

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I was skeptical…fearful…doubtful.  I believed in miracles, but this? A young man’s life could be at stake.

Slow and methodical in my response,  I have taken the “yes, but” approach to this precious boy’s healing. “Yes–God can heal, but…”

Yes, but…healing is not probable…practical…likely.

Yes, but…this could be temporary…time-inhibited…explainable.

Yes, but…are you sure you can sleep…function…manage?

And he continues to do well.  Feel well.  Live well.

I have begun to relate to the Bible verse, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” in ways I never expected.  And I wonder if any of you understand?  If you’ve lived it, too?  At some level, those of us who are Christians must grasp the mystery of such things–at least a little bit.

We trust in Jesus, after all.

Yes, but…a virgin birth is impossible…unimaginable…implausible.

Yes, but…a resurrected Messiah is unbelievable…incredible…miraculous.

Yes, but…can we know we are sanctified…rescued…redeemed?

Yes, but…He was born of a virgin, died on a cross, and rose again in three days.

Scripture for Reflection

Mark 9:24

Genesis 15:6

Isaiah 43:10

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He meant well.  They shouldn’t spend much time together.  She has a disorder–bipolar.  I winced when I heard the words because he didn’t know about us.  We understand the stigma…the struggle…the pain swelling on the inside–but still unseen.

Church….Christian…Pastor–there is already shame poured hot like coal on the one who suffers from the burden of festering pain.  And the one in six people in your midst clutches her own secret close to her chest–afraid to let you see her brokenness.  Or, perhaps, she fears revealing the truth about a husband or a child.  If she did would you whisper, “He’s depressed. Maybe your daughter shouldn’t spend time with him.”  Would you judge her?  If she believed more…prayed more…trusted more then God would heal the wound.

So when a friend condemns anti-depressants as a crutch but implores the Hurting to pray for faith, there is a problem in the Body because the Jesus I know came to heal the sick.  The Jesus I know came to remove the burden of a fallen world from the shoulders of those bent beneath its weight.  And the Jesus I know understands that mental illness is like any other–You, dear one, didn’t cause it.

There is no guilt in your struggle, dear one, just as there is no guilt with the one who has cancer.  Church, the one in six ask you to be Jesus today.

Speak truth.  The Church is the place for the suffering.

Love like Christ.  It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 

Give grace.  The nails in the tree set us free from the wounds of this world.  Our Today’s are for His glory.

And it is by grace we are saved!

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