When I Am Not Okay (Part Two)

Hey friends!

I am still here, navigating these interesting waters of depression. I haven’t really been writing much this week (even still). But, I have been trying to read our daily Scriptures. I come to you today – with a different Scripture in mind.

As a deer longs for flowing streams, so I long for you, God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while all day long people say to me, “Where is your God?” I remember this as I pour out my heart: how I walked with many, leading the festive procession to the house of God, with joyful and thankful shouts. Why, my soul, are you so dejected?
Why are you in such turmoil? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise him, my Savior and my God (Ps. 42:1-5, CSB).

Observation: The psalmist acknowledged he was severely depressed in verse 6, but he remembered how God met him before. Friends, let’s keep trying to seek the Lord God in the midst of our trials. Let’s remember how He has been faithful to us!

Taking Action: Let’s allow our great Lord to meet us where we are, even though it isn’t anywhere fun! It isn’t about how much effort we put in, but it’s about leading our broken souls to Jesus who is our great Restorer! Let’s just continue to try and draw nearer. The Lord will meet us there, even when we aren’t so sure.

I wanted to share some ideas about how I fight through depression.

Here We Go!

Turn on praise music (this is my favorite playlist right now).

Go for a physical walk with our Lord Jesus. Just walk and talk, friend.

Be willing to do better than me, and journal through your thoughts – fearlessly (and if someone finds your notes, so be it).

Sit in the quiet, and look for God’s presence in the storm (and I hope you notice He is in the storm with you). He can give us His peace, even during hard times. Choose to believe Him for this, friend.

Take hold of our great God’s promises (“He will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5),” for example).

Allow someone else to read the Bible to you. Maybe, have a friend come over and read to you. Perhaps, just allow the Bible app of your choice to read to you.

This might be more obvious for some, but limit your social media time. If you do use it during times of depression, watch where you scroll. Try scrolling through Desiring God or The Gospel Coalition instead.

This is probably my number one thing I do:

Watch some YouTube videos to draw you nearer to the Lord. Or listen to a Christian podcast (Podbean is my “go to” podcast app).

You are not alone, my friend. Let’s continue to make this journey together, as we draw nearer to the Lord – even when trials come our way. Hang in there, and keep looking to our Lord Jesus!

In Him,

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Declared Grace and Mercy {1 Timothy 1:1-2}

textgram_1489616274Paul, an apostle of King Jesus according to the command of God our Saviour and King Jesus our hope, to Timothy, my true child in faith: grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and King Jesus our Lord (1 Tim. 1:1-2, NTE).

Paul is a messenger of God. He doesn’t write Timothy to chit-chat about the latest gossip news (he wouldn’t do that, anyway). The Holy Spirit compelled Paul to write and remind Timothy to which he has been called. Here in 1:1-2, Paul reminds Timothy of the hope we have found in Christ – that Timothy too had come to know on an intimate level.

This hope found in Jesus Christ, we need to know on an intimate level. We need to dig deep into our relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ, for He is where hope and life is found. Through the Bible and prayer, Jesus is where we need to place our focus.

When our hope is fixed on Jesus Christ, we will not become easily discouraged (see Heb. 12:1-3). In Jesus Christ, the Living God, our souls are built up and “placed on a rock” (see Ps. 40:2), where we and our faith will be protected from the fiercest of storms.

The Place of Grace

“Jesus is the basis for Christian hope, because He is the Mediator of the covenant of grace (on 1 Timothy 1:1, Reformation Study Bible).”

God has true unconditional love for us, and wants to bring us back to Him – to restore the kind of relationship we have with Him. He wants to call us His friends – His people – and not His enemies. This is what led Jesus to the cross. We are given forgiveness and entrance into God’s Kingdom, as we acknowledge what Jesus has done on our behalf and just come to Him.

Pronounced Mercy

In his letters to Timothy, Paul makes sure to pronounce mercy upon Timothy’s weary soul. As a man of God, Timothy needed the reminder of God’s abundant mercy. God is going to take care of us, just as He took special care of Timothy. Even though we could do nothing to earn any of God’s grace, peace, or mercy, God joyfully gives it to His people – those who have chosen to accept His Son Jesus Christ and follow Him.

[Paul] calls down the benefits of God’s covenant, which no one merits but God freely gives. Grace refers generally to all God’s gifts and his loving disposition toward his people. Peace describes the one who is at rest in God.

Mercy in this instance denotes God’s special care of an individual in need. At the outset, Paul thus reminds Timothy that God’s unearnable love and peace will overshadow his servant even in the most difficult of circumstances. Today, this is our promise—as sure as the authority of Scripture (on 1 Timothy 1:2, IVP Commentary).

Our Living Hope

God has chosen to overflow our souls with His grace, peace, and yes – His awesome mercy. This is what we have been welcomed into, as we answer His invitation –

And He said to them, “Follow Me [as My disciples, accepting Me as your Master and Teacher and walking the same path of life that I walk], and I will make you fishers of men (Matthew 4:19, AMP).”

Jesus Christ is our hope. He is the reason we can wake up every morning and celebrate, even when circumstances are more than a little bit on the difficult side. Jesus Christ is our Risen Savior, who paid the price of our sins and has restored our relationship with the Father. We can now walk and talk with our heavenly Father like Enoch did, as he lived on earth.

And Enoch walked [in habitual fellowship] with God; and he was not, for God took him [home with Him] (Genesis 5:24, AMPC).

Until next time,

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A Day at the Hospital {The Prayer Offering}

Last night, I wrote about the goal in trials. My goal, during hard times, is to remember I am a daughter of the Most High God and allow this crucial identity to shape my thoughts, words, and actions.

Today, I was given the opportunity to put this into practice. I had an appointment at the county hospital. Things went right. Things went wrong. But, the biggest achievement? It was simply remaining as quiet as possible, as Trigeminal Neuralgia talked to Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.

As long as I stay quieter on the rough days, I can avoid saying things that might hurt, rather than help, someone. My ability to control the kind of words – becomes harder, as the symptoms become more intense. The temptation to use hurtful words is definitely there.

The Heart-Felt Prayer

Today was a day of praying for God’s peace and presence. In my life, I have little control over how I feel on a given day (with the exception of my attitude).

What I can do is control how I respond to trials. So I responded, by “trying” to stay quiet. This was both easy and difficult. It was easy, until the moment of leaving the hospital to go home. Then, the overwhelming symptoms and impatience kicked into gear.

The good news is – I survived my long hospital day. I am preparing to have surgery in about 1.5 weeks. We had appointments scheduled for today and Friday, but by God’s grace and faithful prayers of others – I was able to get it all done today.

What We Need

The truth is. . . We need to pray over our souls for His peace and presence. This is what we need more than anything.

We can survive many things, but only with Jesus Christ leading the way. I don’t know about you, but nothing soothes my anxiety quite like the peace and presence of our great Savior, King Jesus, can.

If you are finding yourself in a rough spot tonight, begin praying over your souls for His peace and presence to overwhelm you. When we are overwhelmed by God, His presence, and unimaginable peace, we are in the best place possible to overcome our trials. They will not overcome us, but we will be able to overwhelm them with our relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Lord Jesus, overwhelm our souls with Your peace and presence. We live in a difficult world. You remind us in John 16:33 that we will face troubles in this life, but You offer to us a peace that is nothing like this world’s. Overwhelm us with Your peace and presence. Thank You, Lord! Amen.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:6-7, TLB).

I have told you all this so that you will have peace of heart and mind. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world (John 16:33).

Until next time,

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Week 7: Friday Five (2 Thess. 1)

Originally, I was turned onto this mode of carrying out the “Five Minute Friday,” by a dear friend. Marie faithfully carries out this Friday series, on her own blog. The idea is to offer five bold points, that you may read within five minutes.

Five Truths on 2 Thessalonians 1

(1) As we continue to follow Jesus Christ, we are kept safe (1:1). This is perhaps one of the greatest treasures I have found. As a woman, I crave protection. So to know that my Jesus, my King, is protecting me and keeping me safe – is comforting beyond words! It makes me okay with the difficult days, when I stop long enough to realize I am being protected and kept safe by the King of Kings!

. . . To: The church of Thessalonica—kept safe in God our Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ (1:1, TLB).

(2) We are given rich blessings, which are found through our relationship with Jesus (1:2). In my digital Bible, it is translated a bit differently which helps to understand the Bible more clearly. Because of God the Father and our Lord Jesus, we have been given rich blessings and peace-filled hearts and minds (1:2b, TLB).

Does it get any better? In the world we live in, peace – filled hearts and minds are one of the greatest gifts we can be given. In a day where our minds and hearts run like they are on a treadmill all night long, the peace Jesus gives is enduring and ever-loving!

(3) We have the opportunity to do three specific things based on the knowledge of those God has placed in our path, who continue to be an encouragement to our faith (1:3-4). We can pray for them, share with others about lessons we are learning through their example, and give thanks.

Each of these things are growing points for me. I believe they are for each of us. We live in a “me first” world, which causes us to forget or neglect others, their faith, and the privilege of praying for them or sharing things we learn through their example.

(4) God can use our sufferings to make us ready for His Kingdom (1:5-6). This set of verses will cause us to give James 1 a second chance, where we are urged to count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2-4, NKJV).

We need to trust that God will use our sufferings for His ultimate good. He is preparing us for something greater. His Kingdom is worthy of our suffering (see Prov. 3:5-6; Rom. 8:18).

(5) As we face suffering, God will provide us with quality rest through Jesus’ second coming (1:7, 10). As we come into His Kingdom, we will forever know God as He honestly is – with no holding back. 

One day, we will stand in His presence and will never again be distracted by the circumstances we are facing or the things of this world. We will stand in His presence in utter awe and overwhelmed with joy. We will be fully satisfied in the Lord.

Pursuers of Peace {{Week 4}}

Hello friends!

Welcome to the beginning of week 4 for our Ephesians study – Walking into the Light! Today I have a truth to share, as we begin our new week of study. I invite you to break out your Bible and journal (link at end of post, to purchase).

Take a few moments to read Ephesians 4:3-4, and meditate on what God is teaching you about His peace. Then, meet me back here.

Seeking Out Peace

God is teaching us about being pursuers of peace. In Ephesians 4:3-4, we learn that we are called to bind ourselves together with peace. We are not talking about ordinary peace that we can find in earthly things.

We are talking about the actual peace God wants to give, to those who have trusted in Jesus Christ – as their beloved Savior!

In this particular Scripture, we are reminded that we need to put in the effort to be peace-pursuers. Peace with others, doesn’t “just happen”. Peace is something we have to intentionally seek out.

God’s Heart

God wants us to be pursuers of peace and united with the Church. It’s not from our own strength that we can do this, but by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit wants to equip us to be peace pursuers. In Matthew 5, we are reminded that… those who do such are called blessed. They are spiritually happy, because they pursue peace. Let’s get closer to learn what Jesus is teaching us in Matthew 5:9

Blessed are “the makers and maintainers of peace, for they will [express His character and] be called the sons of God (AMP).”

Seeking out God’s peace in our relationships, is part of the sanctification process (of being more like Jesus).

Because of the Holy Spirit

… we are given the help we desperately need to become a more peaceful person.

Because of God and His Son Jesus Christ, we can experience peace – regardless of what is going on in our lives.

It is by His strength, that we can choose peace in the most tense of situations (see Phil. 4:. 6-7).

Becoming peace pursuers is part of the package, given to us through Jesus Christ!

Our world is spiraling out of control. But when we come to God through His Son Jesus Christ, peace is made possible. Jesus promises to be our peace. While storms rage, we can have inner peace and work toward relational peace. A Jesus kind of peace (see Isa. 9:6). Knowing His peace changes everything!

How are we intentionally seeking the peace of God in our lives?

While we may face many disheartening situations in our lives, Jesus stands with us and promises to be our peace – if we will repent of our sin and turn to Him. How are we allowing our habitual relationship with Jesus to bring peace into our relationships?

To read more on peace, check out the first entry on our Ephesians study!

 

Walking Into The Light: A Six Week Scripture Writing Experience

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