Step by step

HPIM0267“The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?”    Proverbs 20:24

 

Depression is real. It is many times a disease that frustrates loved ones as much as the person afflicted. The Christian community has often shied away from sharing their pain for fear that their faith would be questioned. Many try to mask their feelings of despair with unnatural gaity and busyness only to deepen their pit of helplessness. My friends, depression is real. And it is not always manageable only by faith.

Depression is defined as “feelings of severe despondency and dejection.” There are many causes for these feelings, both internal and external. So many people have sunk deeper into their hopelessness by listening to well wishers who cite scriptures encouraging them to just “let go and let God.” Others are told that it is a spirit that must be cast out by prayer and reliance on God. And when that fails, and the person still feels that weight on them, they sink even further under the sodden blanket of sadness. Don’t get me wrong, I know without doubt that prayer and fasting and belief in the ultimate sovereignty of God is critical to all life. And for some people, that is all they need. But we live in a broken down world where pain happens and we are sometimes faced with illness and situations that require treatment and counseling over and beyond blind faith.

If we have turned our lives over to God, completely and utterly trusting in Him, then our steps are ordered by God. Sometimes those steps are obscure and we have to really focus on the path in order to clearly see that we are following Him and not the advice of the world. God will direct our steps as we walk with Him whether through depression or other illness, health; financial woes, times of wealth; sadness, or happiness. God walks with us every step of the way and will direct us to the path we need to take, all the while helping us to see his Hand in action.

Depression is rampant in our family. It was evident in my husband, his Grandmother, his Mother and, now, our daughter. I have had periods of despondency when tragedy strikes our family, and I have fibromyalgia which causes depression along with the pain. But I have never experienced what I see in my beloved hubby and child. They have struggled with questions of “Why?” Knowing they were children of God, trying to rely only on Him, and crying out when their faith did not seem to be enough. Let me tell you, the world will break you if you let it, and that includes well meaning Christians who have a misguided belief that taking medication is a sign of lack of faith.

I like the way Billy Graham put it when asked about depression and faith, this is from Answers  on January 9, 2017;

Q: Is it a sin to be depressed? The doctor says I have a chemical imbalance in my brain that he can treat with medication, but a friend of mine says I shouldn’t do this because I just need to pray and have more faith. Who is right? I can’t stand this much longer.


A: (Billy Graham) Let me ask you a question: If you broke your arm in an accident, do you think your friend would claim it was a sin for you to have a broken arm, and all you needed to do was pray? I doubt it. Neither is it a sin for you to seek treatment for a chemical imbalance in your brain. The Bible says that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14)–and it’s true: Our bodies and minds are very complex. Although doctors can’t solve all our problems, we should be grateful that God has enabled them to understand more about our bodies and minds, and has given them new ways to overcome many of our problems. Don’t feel that you are somehow sinning by seeking treatment for your depression; it would be wrong for you not to seek treatment.

I sound like a broken record, but I have realized that, depression is real. It is a disease that is treatable just as any other disease. I know that someone out there needs to hear this. Please, walk with God daily and let Him direct your steps. Be open to that path leading you to medication that can help. Don’t let the world add to the sense of hopelessness.

You are in my prayers today,

Sheila

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Thirty Days of Prayer for @realDonaldTrump – Day 4:His Antagonists

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“Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.”

Matthew 12:25

Father God, there are those in our country who are very much afraid of the decisions that Donald Trump may make. There are riots and protests across America. There are angry words representing the fear in the hearts of many people. This is justifiable fear, Lord, if we don’t keep You as our focus.

In order to keep America great, Father God, we must put our own wants aside and seek You and your desires for us. We must forgive those who have given us a bias and look to today. We cannot change the past, but we can move forward under the power of our Lord and Savior. Donald Trump has spoken some harsh words about women in the past and I have to admit, they cut me deep as the recipient of abuse from almost every male relative as I was growing up. I have seen horrible abuse done to the women I counsel and it is hard to not let this be a bias. Lord, help us to pray for Mr. Trump’s salvation which includes asking You for forgiveness for these statements as well as any actions he may have taken against women. Then, Lord, help us to heal from the abuse we have faced in the past.

Lord, I know that many families are afraid that some part of that family will need to leave the United States, because they are not citizens. Father, our government has always welcomed people from around the world into our lives. but we have also provided a way for them to become a part of this country through legalization. I pray for those who are afraid, Lord Jesus, that they will find a way to become citizens if they want to be a part of making America great again. Help them to understand that this is just one way that we must strengthen our people and pull together as a unified nation.

Father, I ask that You would calm the masses and help them to have understanding. You cannot fear what has not happened and, Lord, there is too much life ahead to live in anger. I ask that President – Elect Trump would forgive those who are against him and look to You for his answers to their fears. Lord, above all, let your Holy Spirit be our guide in all things.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

Thirty Days of Prayer for My Husband – Day 18: His Emotional Health

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving emotions-menlet your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7

Lord, I pray for my husband’s emotions. We know that, as we are created in your image, we have emotions as you do. I think back on the times when you were angry and how you handled each time with wisdom and justice. I pray that my Hubby would do the same. That when he feels anger, first he will ask you to show him the reality of the situation and where the anger comes from. Show him how to separate his anger from happenings around him and spiritual warfare. Teach him to control his anger toward others, but to focus his anger against Satan on his knees.

I pray for his love, tenderness and joy, that they will fill him to the brim. Show him things throughout the day that will bring these emotions to a smile on his face. Protect him from allowing sadness to lead to depression and from living in fear. These are each and every one a valuable part of my husband’s being, but I need you to show him what is constructive to his life and what is destructive.

Help my husband to recognize all of his emotions – both good and bad. If there is any emotional pain in his life, I pray God that you would bind up those wounds and what he would find help he needs to work through them. I pray that there will always be an open line of communication between us to discuss his feelings. And we give you all the praise, dear Lord.

Amen

Psalm 147:31

Thirty Days of Prayer for My Husband – Day 14: Our Disagreements

“The beginning disagreement_is_not_hatredof strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.”   Proverbs 17:14

Lord, above all, I pray for unity in our marriage. I pray for clarity in any disagreement and control over our emotions. Help us, Lord to not speak before thinking and to ask for forgiveness, from you and from each other, when we do speak in an un-loving way.

We are human, Lord, and as two separate beings living as one, we are not always going to agree. But, Lord, I ask you to remind us when we start to stray from simple disagreement  and start down the rocky road to bickering. I pray for maturity when we reach a threshold of anger and ask you to remove this from our disagreements.

I turn the things that I know that we don’t see eye to eye on over to you, Lord Jesus. It seems that our biggest disagreement over the 39+ years has been about money. Satan knows my weaknesses and blinds me to the wisdom that my husband has when it comes to managing our finances. I have asked for forgiveness more than once on this issue, but we have never go to the point where we go to bed angry; maybe a little disappointed, but never angry. I ask Lord that you continue to help us work our differences out.

Bring us together in unity, Father God, and help us to always pray and seek your direction before we talk things through. Our lives, our marriage, our disagreements, are all in your capable hands. And I thank you.

Amen

Ephesians 4:1-3