Tag Archive | dealng with depression

The Best Investment in Our Children

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Those of us who are parents are constantly faced with challenges in raising our children.  As our own daughter nears adolescent the issues become more delicate and complex.

MC900440671Our daughter is 11 years old and in the sixth grade and she is a worrier.  She worries to the point that she can become a crying, miserable mess of emotions just thinking of something going wrong.  Not just “big” things but little ones as well.  Just yesterday she was approaching tears in the store as we searched for new sneakers for her because she was worried that we would not find any that suited her needs.  So when my eye caught this sentence when flipping through a ladies magazine, “Yet even in happy times, my son had been a worrier;” I stopped to read the article.

Reading it further I did so in a sense of disbelief, for once I read the title and subtitle I1000405372 couldn’t help but feel my heart sink within me.  “Surely,” I was thinking, “this isn’t what it truly talks about.”  The article title is “The Fortune-Teller’s Gift.  A crystal ball.  Gleeful fibs.  And the best $10 I’ve ever spent.”

Summing up the article Ms. Maynard’s son who at the time the article is written about, was 11-years-old and in the sixth grade.  He had always been a worrier but that year the worries had overwhelmed him and he rarely smiled or laughed anymore.  His mother, seeing her son’s misery evident by his slumped shoulders and subdued countenance after a holiday performance at school spotted a shop advertising fortune telling for $10.  They stopped and the fortune teller, who the mother recognized from her previous employment as a fast-food worker, took her son into the fortune telling session.  Twenty minutes later her son reappeared and Ms. Maynard paid the $10.  She learned from her son how perfect the rest of his life was going to be.

He was going to have a wonderful life, go to college, be a movie or rock star and marry a nice girl.  They would be the parents of a boy and a girl while living in a great house with a pool.  He was going to live a long life as were all the members of his family.  Even though his mother knew the fortune teller was a fraud and given her son hope based on a lie she wasn’t concerned.  Her son did grow up and find that the fortune teller had lied and his life did have troubles and he did have to learn how to deal with the issues in life beyond our control.  Still, Ms. Maynard considers the $10 she spent the best investment she ever made.  Her son got the message she herself wanted him to understand at that time, “Don’t worry.  You’ll be OK.”

MP900177811As Christian parents this mother’s choice certainly isn’t our choice to help our daughter learn to handle her worries and fears.  Last night, to continue with the example of the “could be” shoe disaster while her father continued to look for shoes, I took a moment to touch her hand, look into her eyes and remind her we hadn’t looked at all the shoes yet and that this wasn’t the only store we could go to.  We would find her shoes.  We then continued our hunt and quickly found her a pair that met her needs, our budget and were still stylish.

Our responses to our daughter’s worries vary, depending on the fear, situation and the time we have in the moment.  We sometimes address it enough to ease her mind and return to the issue when emotions aren’t as stirred up or time permits a deeper exploration of the problem.  We encourage her to pray about everything and pray with and for her in her presence and in our own times with God.  Together we explore the Bible for the truth she needs.  We’ve made her life affirmation Jeremiah 29:11.

We’ve also sought professional counseling services for her as well as medication when it was something that required that intervention.  We do not discount that there are times when intervention for people of all ages needs to be aided by professional help or other resources.  But we do not forget to point her towards the ultimate resource for seeking guidance on her future, assurance for her worries and calmness for her heart – God.

It’s not my place to say Ms. Maynard made a bad decision.  It isn’t the decision I would make.  Yes, her son got the message she wanted him to get, that everything would be okay, but it was hope based on the words of a fortune teller and that doesn’t work for our family.  We don’t discount that there are people who practice things that are empowered for sources other than God but God’s word gives us some very clear understanding of how He views trusting practices such as fortune telling.  Specific scriptures relating to this issue are given below.

Indulge me this one question.  Of the investments we as parents make in our children everyday what do you consider your greatest investment?

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These are not the only scriptures pertaining to this subject in the Bible.  References are from the New Internation Version of the Bible.

Everyone should study God’s word on their own with the counsel of the Holy Spirit and the use of trustworthy resources.

“Acts 16: 16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.”

“Deuteronomy 18: 9 When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. 13 You must be blameless before the LORD your God.”

“II Chronicles 33: 1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. 2 He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, following the detestable practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites. 3 He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had demolished; he also erected altars to the Baals and made Asherah poles. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them. 4 He built altars in the temple of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “My Name will remain in Jerusalem forever.” 5 In both courts of the temple of the LORD, he built altars to all the starry hosts. 6 He sacrificed his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger. 7 He took the carved image he had made and put it in God’s temple, of which God had said to David and to his son Solomon, “In this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my Name forever. 8 I will not again make the feet of the Israelites leave the land I assigned to your forefathers, if only they will be careful to do everything I commanded them concerning all the laws, decrees and ordinances given through Moses.” 9 But Manasseh led Judah and the people of Jerusalem astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the LORD had destroyed before the Israelites. 10 The LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. 11 So the LORD brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon.”

“Galatians 5: 16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

“Jeremiah 29: 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” 8 Yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the LORD. 10 This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 11 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 hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” 15 You may say, “The LORD has raised up prophets for us in Babylon,” 16 but this is what the LORD says about the king who sits on David’s throne and all the people who remain in this city, your countrymen who did not go with you into exile—“

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…a time to tear down and a time to build…Ecclesiastes 3:3b N.I.V.

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Yesterday my grief and depression teamed up to go to battle with another team within me, grit and determination, before the morning light filtered through the window shades.  Despite my intentions I forfeited to team number one.  By doing so when I picked up our daughter from school I had spent the last five hours either asleep curled up under the covers or silently naming things that began with the letters of the alphabet backwards until sleep would claim me again.  Being awake was too painful.

Yet as I backed out of our garage I managed a genuine smile as the continual promised gray skies have yielded to surprise sunshine, driving the grayness of the outside away.  My smile wasn’t plastered on so our daughter wouldn’t know I was hiding my feelings from her and the ignition of the homework routine wasn’t a battle for me, even the math.  While I didn’t manage to accomplish much on my “to do” list, having given into my despair, it helped.  Though I must promise myself not to allow many days like yesterday.  Grief has to be worked through and I have to be careful not to pity myself into a break with reality.

Today, as I didn’t start on the portion of my list of tasks yesterday, I have only one major task to accomplish:  the farewell steps of leaving my professional career.  It has to be today for I have no other choice now.  I’ve waited for a reprieve and none has arrived.  I’ve prayed for a miracle either a miracle of healing or of changed minds and attitudes but it hasn’t been granted.  Today I will:

  • Pack up 13 years of my professional life.  Give away what I do not want and bring the rest home to either incorporate into our home’s décor or go to a local mission thrift shop tomorrow.
  • Type up and turn in my withheld letter of resignation because I have yet to accept, yes even now, that this is happening.
  • Turn in my “wad of keys”, ID badge, parking decal, Wal-Mart credit card and Sam’s Membership Card to Human Resources.
  • Drive toward home no longer employed, no longer able to identify myself as what I do for a living and tasting the bitterness of knowing I am now a case number with the long term disability insurance company and soon, with Social Security.

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I am struck suddenly, with the realization of how familiar the feelings I am having now mirror the ones I had before my amputation.  Feelings of being herded into a decision I didn’t want to make but had to.  Realizing I’ve used up my last options.  Knowing the hour is fast approaching when I will have those last moments to stop this door from opening and closing behind me.

Really, I could and I feel the urge to do so like I felt the urge to yell, “No, I’ve changed my mind!” when I was being wheeled towards the operating room to have my leg amputated.  Legally my job is mine until the last minute of my F.M.L.A. runs out on January 10.  I could have my doctor fax over a release to return to work and wheel in on the 9th ready to work an eight hour day or a ten hour one.

But I know I won’t.  At least I don’t imagine I will.  Just like I didn’t change my mind about the amputation because the reality is what the reality is for I can’t work four to five eight to twelve hour days anymore.  My body just won’t take the pressure or the stress.  I risk my life to keep working, for the next time the blood clot could kill me.  How many times has God dodged that bullet for me?  Or the next infection which my body doesn’t even fight on its own anymore, will be so out of control by the time I get to help it will have progressed to far to save my life.

The door is opening, my own hand is on the knob and the weight of me and my power chair are propelling it to yield to us…

Behind me are the ruins of a time of my life in which I’ve felt successful, useful, needed, respected…

The time to tear down has for the time being, reached a final phase.  I can’t see what is on the other side of this doorway but I know, “I never walk alone.”

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Cold and Gray

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It’s cold outside and gray.  The sky is the gray of lead and the air is gray with layers of soupy fog.  The weather on television promised no sunshine until next week.  On the short drive to our daughter’s elementary school the car’s heater chugs out streams of warm air, which she cuts off on her side of the car, leaving me a double portion of warmth.  In my mind it too is gray, a fleece blanket of gray heat wrapping itself around me.  Having dropped her off I briefly consider driving eight miles to get a decent cup of coffee but decide not to.   I drive right back home and ready to go into the house.

The garage floor is gray, that fact penetrates my thoughts as I drive my power chair up the ramp into the house.  I close the door on the grayness of the garage floor as I’ve closed it on the grayness of the world outside but I can’t close off the gray thoughts in my mind.

Grief has settled into my heart and seems determined to stay.  It’s been 19 months and I should be past all this, I tell myself, but it does no good.  I recall, in pieces, bits of a dream I had last night, a black and white dream fitting to my gray mood.  My mother and I are talking.  I can see us although I can’t make out what we’re saying.  I dream a lot about her lately.  She’s been in heaven almost 13 years now.  I also dream of my father, not as often, he will be gone four years this coming February, just next month.  In my dreams they are both still alive, still with us and when I wake I want nothing more than to pick up the phone and talk to my mother.  Awake her death seems to hit me all over again but although it hurts, the hurt doesn’t linger like it did when she passed.  Then it was overwhelming, the grief, the pain rocking my world and I remember that first night when I lay exhausted by the grief of that day thinking, “How is the world going on out there when our world stopped today?  Don’t they know nothing is the same?  It will never be the same again.”

Once in the house I want nothing more than to work my way back into bed, burrow beneath the covers and go back to sleep.  My eyes are heavy with the need to just close.  My mind seems detached as it reminds me of things I need to do besides sleep.  The Christmas tree needs to be undecorated.  I’ve got the family pictures to finish arranging and prepare for being hung, along with the last of the frames painted black.  I should be on my way to Birmingham to pack up but I put it off until this afternoon.  The heat is running, I can feel it blowing, but I am chilly.  Again, the bed and the covers call to me.

As I move from my power chair to the bed I can’t help but be reminded of my loss.  In my dreams I haven’t experienced this loss.  I walk, drive, shop, and sing; all the normal activities of my prior life without the aid of anyone. The dependence I have now on someone to go with me to shop angers me.  Though I can drive I can’t get out of the car and go into a place without a wheelchair.  I can’t get a wheelchair out of the car without scratching the car and doing more damage to the wheelchair.  Other things, such as singing in the choir or special music at church are gone, just gone.

Nineteen months.  I want free of this grayness, this renewed depression but it seems to be part of my soul.

I want it back.  I want to go back to those moments when the hospital staff are wheeling me out of the pre-op room and the realization I can still say no comes to my mind.  If I could go back, would I say no?  Yes, but to what avail?  I would need to go further back and fix so many wrongs, remake so many decisions that I can’t unravel the paths of life that brought me to that operation 19 months ago.  I can’t pinpoint the beginning of what resulted in the need for the amputation.  Could I have gone back and turned the tide at any one place would it be enough?  Again I am swept away by the realization regardless, it can’t be done.

Outside it is cold and gray.   Inside, in spite of the electric lights, the heater easing away the cold it is cold and gray too.  In my heart it is cold and gray.  Only cold and gray everywhere…

I Was Afraid to Pray

At the beginning of this month I found myself back in the hospital in an ICU room with yet more life threatening blood clots.  Gratefully, though initially they believed I was also having congestive heart failure, they had been wrong.  I spent six days in ICU and another day and a half in a regular room before I got to go home.  However, I brought a physical reminder of this hospital stay for I am again on oxygen so the familiar sounds of the concentrator are ever present in our room.  The next day a woman delivered me a C-Pap machine to use at night for they believe I have sleep apnea.

There were three blood clots, one in my lungs, one in my liver and one in what is left of my amputated leg.  My survival was again a miracle as the clot that had gone through my heart to my lungs was large enough it should have killed me.  This was the third time for that to happen.

I prayed in the hospital although I found myself deeply depressed.  Recovery has been slower than usual for me and that has added to my sorrow and my grief.  In many ways I am having to learn how to do things without both legs all over again for the amputation is so painful I can’t manage the way I did just a month ago.  Blackness seemed to swallow me that I had no strength to fight.  Though I knew people were praying for me I felt alone and abandoned.  God seemed like a shadow of what was in my heart; I could see Him at times if I looked up at just the right time.  I knew He was there.  He would never forsake me.  But I was afraid to talk to Him.  I was afraid of what He’d guide me to do.

So I asked others to pray for me and their prayers lifted my darkness enough that I found myself seeking solace in the Word this morning and in prayer.  I confess I do not yet have an answer to what the next step in my life should be.  I confess that I can’t bear the answer yet.

I am a woman who has worked at some type of job since I was in high school.  Most of the time I love my job and I’ve fought hard to keep working even after the amputation and when many people thought I was crazy to put myself through what I had to do to keep working.  God’s grace has allowed me to recover from a dozen life threatening episodes in the last ten years and to return every time to the office.  What I do is a large part of how I identify myself.  My job helps me feel successful and really good at something that has a hand in helping people who are hurting.  It helps me feel productive and part of the world.  I believe God intended for mankind to work from the very beginning when He told Adam to take care of the Garden of Eden.

Yet now I must face the reality that in pushing myself to keep working I may be damaging my body further.  Certainly the stress of the last year contributed to my recent hospitalization, especially the last two weeks in September.  More than one doctor has suggested it’s time to apply for disability and leave the work force.

Frankly, I am afraid of God’s answer so praying about it has been hard.  But this morning I did.  God lead me to Jeremiah 29 and though parts of Jeremiah are very familiar to me I found new solace there this morning.

Where God is leading me I don’t know just yet, or maybe I just can’t hear His answer just yet, but regardless of which it is I know for certain that God has not forsaken me, God has a plan for me.  I must seek Him with all my heart and open myself to Him completely to know the direction He is sending me.

Yesterday I was afraid to pray.  Tonight I can still taste the sweetness of the Word that I devoured this morning.

If you’ve ever been afraid to pray, afraid of the answer God might give you there is no shame in that – God is big enough to be able to handle your fears and your honesty.  It is a fear you must face for you must not allow that fear to triumph over you when God is waiting for you to call upon Him.

“Abba Father, Praise and glory to Your Holy name.  Before You I kneel in spirit and seek Your audience.  Accept my praise of Your Mightiness and Glory.  Forgive my sins of fear that have kept me from You.  I plea for Your Mercy and Grace, open my heart to You Abba Father so You can guide me in the way I need to go now.  Help me not fear the answer but embrace the possibilities whichever way You lead me to go.  I love You Lord and I praise You as the Author and Creator of my life, of all life, of all that is good, right and Holy.  Thank You Abba Father. Amen.”

Purpose or Gunk?

Hospitals are sometimes cheerless places.  People learn news that alters their lives forever.  Sometimes for some people hospitals become safe zones where they feel safe.  For others they are restrictive places where personal freedoms are severely curtailed.  For others still they are almost second homes.  For Claire, who had been in the hospital 11 times in 8 years and who had finally agreed to have her leg amputated in order to cut back on her hospital visits and life threatening events from severe infections there were mixed emotions on her 12th visit.  Claire knew all the warning signs and could tell when she’d be a patient in a local hospital again, but this time came as a surprise.

Because it was a surprise Claire was angry and resentful.  She was also depressed.  Meg, one of the hospital Chaplains came to talk to Claire.  Claire, who takes her faith seriously, welcomed the opportunity.  Claire was again facing a potentially life threatening situation and after several episodes of these situations she was faith weary.   She was angry that she was hospitalized again.  Her heart kept rejecting the news.  She’d scarified a leg to help insure episodes like this didn’t happen again.  What else would be required of her?  She had a lot of questions.  She hoped the Chaplain would have some answers.

Meg was very kind, and she wanted to know Claire’s medical past.  So as simple and short as she could make it Claire condensed things to a nutshell and her pain, and that of her family were uncovered.  Claire admitted she was struggling with the purpose behind God choosing to allow this episode that threatened her life.  She admitted she couldn’t help wondering how much sacrifice God would require of her family and herself.

The Chaplain mused aloud, “You say you know God doesn’t cause you to suffer but that He does allow it and you believe He does so for a purpose.  Perhaps a purpose you can’t understand this side of Heaven but a purpose, nonetheless.  Correct?”

Claire nodded in agreement.  Meg continued, “So I wonder what if instead of believing God has a purpose in your suffering you consider instead that gunk happens in all our lives and Jesus helps us through it.  So maybe there is no purpose in your suffering, maybe it’s just Jesus helping you through the gunk.  Maybe if you shifted to thinking of your suffering as not having a purpose it would be easier to accept, it’s just something that happens.”

Meg prayed with Claire and her husband and during the long hours in the hospital Claire thought about the Chaplain’s words.  Claire had a lot of time to think when confined to a bed in the intensive care unit.  On one hand thinking that all the trials and tribulations and sufferings of the last eight years were simply “gunk” getting thrown at her and Jesus was helping her get through it seemed wrong.  Yes, Jesus was helping her through the gunk, but no that it was without purpose.

Job came to mind.  Job was allowed to have his belief in God to be tested by Satan to prove his faith would hold up to the challenge.  And in his suffering he said, “But those who suffer he delivers to their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction.”  (Job 36:15 N.IV.)  God communicated to Job during Job’s suffering and used the suffering of Job to show His glory and His might.  So, yes, Job’s suffering (physical, loss of children, loss all he owned, and the loss of the respect of his friends) had a purpose.  God proved Satan wrong.  God proved He was faithful to the one who loved Him with all their heart and soul.

Still Claire wondered, since she was no Job, what purpose could God have in her suffering?  She often cringed when people referred to her as an inspiration or called her courageous.  She didn’t want the pressure that came from those labels.  So she dug deeper into scripture, who was right?  Meg’s belief that all of what Claire had gone through was simply life’s gunk Jesus helped her through or Claire’s belief God had a purpose for all of it; a reason for her suffering and her families suffering which was right?  Peter, she found, had something to say about the subject.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”  I Peter 1:3-9

There were comfort in Peter’s words for Claire, there was assurance.  If the only reason for the sometimes ceaseless pain, the repeated life threatening events, the suffering was to refine their faith then it was worth it.  That was purpose enough.  James too had words of assurance for Claire to read.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

Lastly Claire ended her search with words from Paul.  Paul who surely suffered persecution for the deliverance of the Gospel but who also knew physical suffering from some “thorn in his side” from which he prayed for deliverance and did not receive it.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. ” Romans 5:3-5

The Chaplain was right that “life is messy” and sometimes “gunk” does just get thrown our way and as believers in Christ He does help us through those messy, gunky times.  But Claire knew she was right too and for her it confirmed a foundation of her faith in God.  God allows things in our lives that are messy and painful “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28.

Claire realized that God doesn’t call us to go through hard times for no reason.  Sometimes we bring upon ourselves a consequence from our sin that is painful.  Sometimes other people act and the consequences from their actions (sins) cause us pain.  Yes, sometimes life just gets all gunked up.  But God does allow suffering in our lives for a purpose.  Maybe to strengthen our own faith or someone else’s; maybe it is to build our character or to teach us perseverance or maybe we won’t know the reason until we are in Heaven and somehow then, Claire doesn’t think it will matter then at all.

However, for now, Claire knows to think that her suffering is just life’s gunk Jesus gets her through diminishes her hope.  So with all due respect to Meg, Claire will continue to believe God has a purpose for all things in her life, even the suffering.

Radio Rewards with Lesson Relearned

The radio station of my choice (local WDJC-97.3) is a Christian station.  Every Wednesday morning Roxanne and Chris host a prayer time, inviting different believers from across a wide variety of ministries and denominations to join them in the station for the purpose of prayer.  The group hears, reads and responses to needs for prayer from listeners who call in or key in their requests on Facebook.  This particular Wednesday, (September 19, 2012) from the moment I turned on the radio until I turned it off I was overwhelmed with God’s provision.

The past few months I have felt like a hay wagon barely crawling to a rest area, broken and used up.  Though I listen to WDJC every morning, this morning it seemed every song was a song I needed to hear…the kind of morning that made me long for a playlist so I could purchase and download each and every one.  They were reminders of a Father God who would never forsake me, of a Savior God who died and defeated death for me, of a Spirit God who comforted and consoled in times of deepest distress and need.  A God who answers prayer.

Sitting in the drive through lane at McDonalds for my “usual” (medium coffee, eight creamers, no sugar) I was able to text a request for prayer on WDJC’s Facebook page.  The final words of that request were “I can’t go on like this…I can’t”.  Before I reached work, that all too familiar nearly 50 mile trek the coffee wasn’t the only thing gone…so was a huge weight inside of me.  Somebody was praying.  I knew this even though I didn’t hear (so I have no clue whether the request made it on air or not) a word of prayer on my behalf.

It’s been a while since I felt the results of prayer so instantly…Since I KNEW someone was  PRAYING for me…

Only one of the straws that overloaded me yesterday and earlier this morning have gone away…God has stopped the rain but the weight of the other straws has changed.  Today, I didn’t go on like I’ve been going, the effort to get through this day wasn’t quite as all consuming…and as I waited to get out of my car I bowed my head to pray along with a caller for who had her own reason for calling, God allowed my spirit to lift…

As I rolled up the ramp into our office building a song to floated through my mind and stayed with me throughout my day,

“What a friend we have in Jesus,

All our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry

Everything to God in prayer!

Oh, what peace we often forfeit,

Oh, what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry,

Everything to God in prayer…”*

It’s difficult for me to say to those around me the words to tell them how discouraged I’ve been, how much I am struggling, how dark it seems, that I keep hearing myself saying, “THIS is not what I want to be doing!  Not what I’m meant to do!”  Difficult to find the words to tell someone how oppressive the physical exhaustion is by Friday when the work week is over…how a simple trip to the grocery store and to get my nails done on a Saturday saps the last bit of physical and emotional energy I have…how most weeks I have to choose between making five days in the office and doing anything on the weekend, including going to church. It’s especially difficult to say these things to my husband who takes on so many of what were my responsibilities

So I keep quiet (yes, believe it or not I do), for I have…

…my pride…what will people think?

…my stubbornness…I will NOT give in!

…my fear of failing…but this is what I have fought so hard to do!  Give up my job?  No way!

…my fear of falling…what if I break my “good leg”…or my arm…how WILL I GET UP?

…my sin…lack of faith…doubt…fear…failing to trust my Creator and His plan for me.

…my lack of confession…God I have sinned against You.

I’ve held it in and swallowed the bitter bites…this morning I asked myself, “When will I learn?

This morning I was given the provision of relearning this lesson through a radio stations desire to be more than a place that plays music but that ministers to their listeners, being willing to involve themselves in the everyday lives of the wounded in the most powerful way they can.  Prayer.

Instead of mourning NOT being able to stand during worship when everyone else does, I have only to lift a willing spirit to worship.  Instead of mourning NOT being able to kneel and pray I have only to humble my heart, mind and spirit and cry out to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Perhaps what I fear most is what I must go through in order to follow the path God has laid out for me.  I do not know.  I do know I can’t keep going as I have been and I can’t know the rest until I let go and let God.

“Are we weak and heavy laden,

Cumbered with a load of care?

Precious Savior, still our refuge;

Take it to the Lord in prayer:

In His arms He’ll take and shield thee;

Thou wilt find a solace there.”*

*Words, Joseph Scriven, 1855.  Tune CONVERSE, Charles C. Converse, 1868.

On the Battle Field with Depression

Dear Reader:

Before you start reminding me that the Word of God tells us not to worry (Matthew 6:25; 10:19), not to be anxious for anything (1 Peter 5:7; Psalm 12:25; Philippians 4:6), that perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:16) and a hundred other scriptures let me assure you my mind knows them.  But, honestly, I along with thousands of other people suffer from a chemical imbalance nicely labeled “clinical depression”.  To go along with that I also have a diagnosis of “anxiety”.  So there are times I find myself battling what my heart knows and feels with what my mind knows and believes.  The last four days have been those kind of day and night.

Sleep eludes me.  Fears nibble at my mind like ants do crumbs.  No matter how much I pray, praise and count my blessings there is a cloud that envelopes me and I usually grope for God’s hand to get through.  I’m not alone in these diagnosis, even among our Christian fellowship.  Charles H. Spurgeon suffered from depression most of his life for example.  But, even with that reality in our faces we so often choose to ignore our mental health needs and often at the price of our spiritual health.  I go to see a fabulous therapist & psychiatrist (when I can get out of the house & get to their offices) and I take my medication.

Part of me gets down right angry that I feel the need to “hide” my depression.  I do it anyway.  I cry when no one is around.  I nap to take the edge off.  I journal to refocus myself.  Tonight as I laid awake, worrying that both my husband and I both will lose our jobs; our child will suffer; I’ll never be strong enough to get down and up the handicap ramp in my manual wheelchair; remembering how difficult cooking supper was tonight in a kitchen not designed for a woman in a wheelchair; listening to my “new boss” (she became my boss a few weeks prior to my amputation) talk about “changes” she’d made in my absence; even looking at my “wall of support” covered with cards and notes from those praying for my recovery – I am swallowed by depression.  Worse I feel useless with one leg.

Why is it we feel the need to hide our pain?  Even from other believers?  I cringe inside as I read time and time again that I am an inspiration to many people for facing this amputation and I long to cry “but I don’t want to be an inspiration, I want to be normal, I don’t want this disease, I don’t like being so dependant upon other people when will this be OVER”?  Only I don’t.  I swallow it and hide it and cling desperately to God’s hand because even now, I KNOW He’ll pull me through.

Let me encourage any of you suffering in silence, behind doors and windows you don’t open so no one will know you too are depressed, whose tribulations and your journey through them are inspiring others when all you want to do is scream your head off – there is help – you only need to reach out for it.  For myself, I know I need to make an appointment with my therapist as soon as I can get out of the house by myself and keep the appointment with my psychiatrist.  I do need to spend extra time in prayer and praise.  And most of all, I do need to say to each you whether you or a loved one suffers from depression and/or anxiety you are not alone.  Eventually God wins, always remember that.

Faithfully,

Faye