Friday, June 18, 2010

You Gotta Have Hope

Welcome friends! I am glad you found my blog and I pray that my writings will guide you to finding peace in the presence of God and thankfulness in your trials so that you can live an abundantly
free life in Christ.

My hunch is you're in a storm and you may feel as if you're treading water, barley able to keep your head above the crashing waves of despair.  I know the feeling well!

Let me assure you that you are not alone!

Catch this lifeline...

Jeremiah 32:17, "Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm.  Nothing is too hard for you".

Nothing means not one thing - no person, illness, dying marriage or hardship is too hard for God to restore and heal.  The same Creator who made the heaven and earth and calmed the storms, longs to rescue you from the deep waters you find yourself in today.

I realize you may have already given up hope.  But, I challenge you to dare to hope again as you and I begin an adventure to discover what can happen when we say yes to the power of Jesus.  The God that chose you, who loves you and adopted you, is a God who has resources in heaven - riches, strength, power and might - that are beyond your imagination.

There are three important questions I must ask you:
  1. Do you believe there is a God?
  2. Are you willing to apply the principles of God's Word to your life?
  3. Will you pray for the Spirit of God to strengthen you and your loved one?

Don't get me wrong.  There are no quick fixes, silver bullets or magic wands to wave.  I am a realist.  You will experience a barrage of doubt or a flood of anger, but I am convinced that God cares about you personally.  He cares about your family, your marriage and He especially cares about the fact that you are hurting today.

Will you give Him one more chance?

This post was adapted from a text by George Kenworthy, Marriage Makeover.  I HIGHLY recommend this book.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Trying To Understand Depression

SPIRITImage by Marianone via Flickr

Welcome friends! I am glad you found my blog and I pray that my writings will guide you to finding peace in the presence of God and thankfulness in your trials so that you can live an abundantly free life in Christ.

It is very humbling for me to share my story with you.  I have been through much and God has taught me much.  I never set out to blog about my trials, but God has called me to share.  I know there are many people out there, even those in the Body of Christ, who are struggling with depression, disappointment, unfulfilled dreams and devastating loss.  It is my heart's desire that as I share the intimate thoughts of my heart that you will  find encouragement in the words of Scripture as God has revealed them to me. 

And so my story goes:
My life hit an all-time low in 2002. My husband lost his job in financial services the year before and he was still unemployed. Not only was he still unemployed, he had never even done a thorough job search. No resume was written, very few applications filled out, he was depressed. I was pregnant with our third child and we were living on our savings which was quickly being depleted. I couldn't understand why my husband stayed in bed until noon, got up for a few hours and went back to bed again. He was moody and irritable. When we tried to communicate, we just ended up yelling at each other. I knew he was bummed out about our situation, but I couldn't understand why he didn't just snap-out-of-it!!! We no longer got together with other couples or enjoyed socializing as a couple. Every once in a while there was a good day and I thought I had him back, but then he would slip back into his sleepiness, moodiness, pain and isolation.

This went on for several years. It was obvious to people around us that something was wrong. For those who didn't know the details, there was just a stigma of dysfunction that made people uncomfortable around us. We had eaten through our savings, David's 401K, my 401K and we were now living on credit. We had our third child and then our fourth. After many attempts to create income, and many failures, David said I had to go back to work after 12 years of being a stay-at-home mom... WHAT? He didn't have a job and I was supposed to support the family? I was angry. In fact, I was more than angry, I was bitter and hateful.  Alas, I went back to work. God provided a wonderful job with good pay and the flexibility that my family needed, but I still didn't understand David. His behavior was so irrational. Oh, I knew the symptoms, but I had no compassion.

After My husband's depression diagnosis in 2006, he started on medication and I could see some improvement, but things were FAR from good. I thought there must be something else wrong with him so I set out on a quest to figure out his "problem". I knew this was not just a "blue" feeling, but rather a paralyzing oppression that rendered him completely disabled. I was feeling like a single mother. I had lost my friend, my spouse, my helper to a paralysis of the mind. I was working, raising four children, doing all the cooking, cleaning, laundry and household chores while David gave me every excuse in the book as to why he couldn't get out of bed. Our marriage was on it's last leg. The "D" word was part of our daily vocabulary. I had not only hit the bottom, I was falling so fast I crashed right through the bottom, but something kept telling me to hang on, that all was not lost, that there was hope.

There is a God. The problem was, I didn't know what I thought of God at that point. I knew the verse in Jeremiah that says, "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you." but I didn't know if I believed that or not. If God wants me to prosper, why is my life in shambles? I felt like a I was being held captive, in bondage, to fear, bitterness, poverty and exhaustion. Maybe you feel that way too...

In the days and weeks to follow, this blog will chronicle the road I have traveled to understanding and healing. As a disclaimer, I am not a physician nor a counselor, but I know I have found the answers I was looking for. Answers that I couldn't find in counseling sessions, classes, diagnosis or medication. If you or your loved one is on medication, do not stop taking it. Medication can be helpful, but most people reading this blog know that medication doesn't "heal" depression, anxiety, hurts, hang-ups and irrational behaviors, it simply helps one deal with these behaviors. So, if I were to give this blog a second name, it would be Beyond Meds - this is where the healing takes place.

Let me go back to that verse in Jeremiah that I quoted earlier and let me finish the whole thought.

Jeremiah 29: 11-14
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity."

This is where the journey begins - with God. Is he there? Does he hear our prayers? Will he answer?

Grace and peace be yours in abundance today~
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