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Archive for the ‘Depression’ Category

to be known

WOW God has me on a fantastic journey of learning and growing in understanding as I study His word but also as I study to continue my education in counselling.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body…Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. “Psalm 139:13-16, 23

There is something so deeply touching about being known. We are all created for connection – we long from the time we are formed, to be known.

To know is not enough.

What are some things you think of when you think of the word “knowledge” or “to know”?  People who have knowledge are influential, superior, powerful, they can be advocates if they choose.  Knowledge somehow makes us believe we are secure, possibly safe, no longer vulnerable and maybe even in charge. But there are some things knowledge does not assure us of; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Don’t we all long to live lives that exhibit the fruit of the spirit?  As believers, shouldn’t these attributes come to us as easily as breathing?  Ppfftt!  The truth is, all too often the absence of this fruit in our lives often suffocates us with shame and disappointment. We’re left wondering why our relationships with God, and with others, are so shallow.

Could it be the difference between
knowing and being known?

To be known is to be pursued, vulnerable, examined, exposed and even shaken. That doesn’t sound very inviting. It is to allow others to assess your value, to react to you, to affect you and allow yourself to be affected by them. It is to grant others to option to love you or reject you. It requires trust. To be known, truly known, is to be loved, encouraged, forgiven…isn’t that the highest call of humanity?  I think being known is a process and we have to invite the experience.

I always tell my children that in order to know someone, you have to have a relationship with them. You can’t have a relationship with someone you never talk to or spend time with. Knowing a lot about God really isn’t enough. We can know Him and still be empty, lonely and isolated.  In fact we can’t know God if we don’t experience being known by Him to some degree…otherwise these are just facts and the heart is not involved.  The degree to which you know Him will directly reflect your experience of being known by Him. I could take this further to say that the degree by which you are known by God is reflected by the degree with which you are known by others.  In other words, your relationship with God is a direct reflection of the depth of your relationship with others.  They cannot be separated. You can know God and not make any effort to know others; but you cannot be truly known by God and not long to truly know others.  If you are experiencing this – then I encourage you to ask yourself if you know or are known. There is a difference.

Another thing I tell my children is that when you have a relationship with someone, you care about their feelings. If you know that something will hurt their feelings and make them cry, you are careful not to do that because you know that your actions impact that person. See we can know God and never impact Him or be impacted by Him. If we are known by Him, and He is known by us, then we impact one another….and because of this we are thoughtful of the things we do and don’t do.  Because of this we move towards the fruit of the spirit with hope and longing.

I’ve discovered something with my experience in counselling. All of us long deeply to be known, loved, encouraged and forgiven.  But when life beats us down we are willing to sacrifice being loved, encouraged and forgiven for being seen.  We are willing to be seen above being known.

Did you know that when you share your stories with one another (your lives), when you are truly heard and understood, both the sharer and the listener undergo actual changes in the brain circuitry?!  It actually changes the composition of part of the brain that allows for compassion for others. You both feel a greater sense of connectedness that decreases anxiety and depression.

To know or to be known.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Do not sacrifice being known for being seen. Don’t let your need to know, to be right, allow you to lose focus on being loved or loving others.
You impact God. Your choices, your brokenness, your victories – you impact Him.

Maybe you have no idea where to start, how to go about renewing your mind. Maybe you are tired of knowing and longing to be known. Back to the highest call of humanity and God’s law to love well – shouldn’t we as believers slip our hand into the hands of our neighbors and walk along-side them when they struggle?  Shouldn’t we tell our stories and listen to the stories of others?  That is literally where the transforming of our minds takes flight, like a butterfly who is released from the captivity of their cocoon…

Every story is worth hearing. Every hand is worth taking…

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Hello friends and readers…thank you for your patience with me these past weeks as I’ve been MIA again.  I just arrived home after spending 3 weeks in town for the third core of my Biblical Counselling Course. Wow, it was positively wonderful.  This entire core was on psychopathologies like eating disorders, sexuality and marriage, sexual addictions, depression and anxiety. I really enjoyed learning about these things (most of them).  I found the info on depression and anxiety to be most informative and I hope I’ll have some time to sit and share this with you in the coming weeks.

I took the kids with me for the first 10 days. They did well with their schooling, however I did feel a little torn in that there was so much to get through, both emotionally (being stirred up) and scholastically for me.  It was a wonderful gift when Mr. Handsome came and took the kids home for the last week.  I think they were ready to come home also and it was certainly nice for Dad to have his babes home.  He’s so good about helping out in this way.

Now it is December already. With being gone from home for 3 weeks, I’ve missed a huge chunk of time…and here we are already. Because we did not do all that we needed to with school in those three weeks – we’ll continue to school for another two weeks or more. Usually we do not do school in the month of December. I’ve written about our Decembers and 25 days of snowflakes here and there are some photos here as well.  It is about time to start some baking, how I love Christmas baking. This was always a very very special time with my mother and her best friend, when I was a child. I look forward to our own family traditions as our babes grow too!  Last year we read an advent from Arnold Ytreeide, here are some great ones you can check out. I’d meant to get a new one but didn’t get to it in time. Our kids LOVE when I read these out aloud.  Perhaps I’ll have to read last years once again, they never mind hearing it again!

What great traditions are you starting for December with your family?

CHRISTmas is such a special time…

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Hi friends.  I’ve decided to post this today.  It’s a bit of a stepping out moment for me. For years I hid this away so no one could see it and for the most part, I’m a REALLY good hider.  I’ve been afraid that the ones closest to me, once they found out about my struggle – might remind me of it or use it against me somehow. I tell a friend of mine, whom I’ve been walking along side for some time now – to take one step at a time, sometimes all we can manage is half a step.  I have real life friends who subscribe to my blog so I know that once I push “publish post” this will be delivered right to their inbox’s.  So this post is a step for me.  God’s been drawing me out and showing me the importance of sharing vulnerably.  He’s also been revealing some truths about my struggle – and I hope to have the courage to share them with you here in the coming weeks. 

August, for some reason, often ends in me struggling with an old enemy.  August is beautiful here and Sept. is even more beautiful. I have no idea why it hits me at this time…but it does.

Depression.

I used to call it by all kinds of other, less shameful, words…downness, moodiness, overwhelmedness, tiredness. I still wince at that word and it still takes tremendous courage to write it…shame is not of faith.  Anything not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23). Sin does not have dominion over me because I don’t live under law, but under GRACE (Romans 6:14).  We are to encourage one another by our mutual faith (Romans 1:12) so that we can clothe ourselves with Christ (Romans 13:14).

I’m never prepared for it, I don’t feel it coming.  It doesn’t take “something” to set it off. It just comes…now as I’ve begun to study the Word more, dig into His heart for me, and as I’ve reflected on my life over the past 9 months since starting my Biblical Counselling course, I’ve come to realize certain things about myself and about this struggle. 

I’m healing. 

 It’s not a fun journey but it’s a blessing that can’t be put into words. The pain of the heart does not go away until we’re ready to turn and face it. We can’t hide from past wounds. We can’t move on just because we want to. In a way I think the church today encourages us to think that once we’re saved, “Good Christians” can turn the other cheek and move on.   I used to just think that I could “CHOOSE” to move forward and forget certain things but may I assure you, this does not work. Yes, you can choose joy as you walk through the process but God wants us to mourn sometimes.  He wants us to know that certain things are NOT okay and we can trust Him with them. It’s okay sometimes, not to be okay.  It’s okay, even healthy, to feel the pain of something.  My favorite thing about God is that

He never leaves me where I am.

So I know that in those times of Divine Darkness or pain or healing, He won’t leave me there. The sun will shine again. The breeze will gently nudge me again…and all through this process, this season, He will hold me.  I will feel the hand of sweet friendships slip into my hand, they’ll hold me too.

I’m not resigned to this struggle.  I won’t give in to the enemy’s lie that this is just me, I’ll live with this forever. I am not there now (today) and I don’t look forward to this season…Of course I hope that I’m past this and this year I won’t walk thru it. My hope is in Him. So I know that someday my struggle will be a ministry.  May I let you in on something divine – I’m coming to know that this is bigger than August’s end, it’s bigger than the struggle, it’s bigger than me – I am coming to know that there are things in my life that I need to face and this struggle, depression, is one of the things God uses to get my attention and remind me not to get complacent and stop working (moving towards Him). It’s a reminder to me of the scripture in James 1:2-3, to take all trials as joy because they make us grow. God is perfecting and establishing our faith through trials.

If you want to read more about my struggle, you can go here to part three of a series I wrote on Depression.  The links to parts 1 & 2 are in that post.  I share there some of the tools I use to walk through this season.
SO this year, while I know it is possible that I will struggle, it’s with a new sort of excitement…and peace and grace.
Because I know that I don’t walk through it alone. There is a purpose to it and God won’t leave me there.
Depression isn’t part of me, of who I am. It’s part of the journey I’ve walked and as I learn to press into Him,

I know that healing will bring freedom.

Here it goes…pushing publish.
Glory to God alone.

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Depression 3

For future readers, this is part 3 in a series on Depression. Find part 1 here, part 2 here.

I want to walk through some biblical truths God has used to help me. It’s part of my journey, which doesn’t end here – in how you can deal with feelings of depression.

So what is it that He has risen me up out of:

  • In studying Esther; God used that to teach me the importance of moving from emotion into faith. Just because I feel it, doesn’t make it real or true. Then moving from faith, into action.
  • He has given me lots of little tests to succeed at so that I can have courage to claim victory over depression and fight this fight – knowing the King’s heart walks with mine. Luke 16:10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much. and Psalm 6:12 From the end of the earth I will cry out to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
  • Through study, He has taught me about the walls of Jericho (see Joshua Chapter 7)  so that I can find my sliver of gold (sin in my heart and wrong thoughts about depression).  When we remove that sin, expose the sliver of gold, the floodgates open and His blessings are poured upon us like refreshing rain – a flood of God’s love for His children, for me!
  •  God has truly given me sweet friendships, saturated with love and trust – so that I am not alone, so that I can dwell in the softness of their prayers…taking away the power of the enemy.
  • That He will quiet me with His love Zeph. 3:17 and most importantly, He fights for me. Deuteronomy 3:22 You must not fear them, for the Lord your God, Himself, fights for you. and Exodus 14:14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.
  • He has taught me to be ever watchful of my words and how I spend them. Proverbs 10:19 In the multitude of words, sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise.  This is a lesson He reminded me of just this morning!  Last night I unloaded all of my day’s woes on my husband. Not only did it make it worse, speaking them out – but it made my dear husband feel terrible!  

Terri Maxwell said in her article on Depression, “However, the times I accepted the feelings and said, “Lord, I don’t like this, but I’m going to focus on You and not on me. I am not going to make any major decisions. I’m not going to root for the cause. I will just wait. If I wait, it will pass with no damage except for feeling down. If I think about it and talk to Steve about it, it will pull me further down, resulting in wrong thoughts and words.” 

I have to be totally honest here – since I’ve just bared my soul to the depth of vulnerability – I begged God not to make me write this. I cried and stomped my feet…I called on my team for prayer.  I have to admit, it’s still really difficult to use this word, in regards to myself. I still want to say “NOT depression, ‘occassional down-ness’, that is all!” I don’t understand why this needed to be written right now…but I know I need to be obedient. 

Having said that, dear friends, do not allow this secret to be hidden in your heart. Shame is not of God. Desperation is not from Him. He has given us lots of biblical instruction.  Seek it out. Reach out to a friend who can cover you in prayer.

I have pushed myself (he has nudged me) to look at when this happens to me  –  it happens at almost always the same time of year, twice. I can prepare my heart with truths, saturated in the Word, calling on prayer from ‘my team’. I exercise, not because I love to but because I know it helps me.  I lean on God…rest beneath the shelter of His wings.

I am Laurel.  I am daughter to the King of Kings. Wife to my beloved. Mommy to my gems. Friend to many. I am filled with the Joy of the Lord.

 I am the girl

 

I hope that my sharing this with you, will touch your heart and encourage you in some small way. 

Be blessed, From My Heart To Yours

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Welcome to Fellowship Friday

 To view part one to this three part series, click here.

Hello, I am Laurel.  I am daughter to the King of Kings, wife to my beloved, Mommy to 3 little gems and friend to many.  

I am the girl 

 

Writing that first post was hard. Really hard. I am a guest on my own blog today because I feel that THAT girl, is not me…the true me. I kept saying to God, “But don’t you think I should be past it before I speak on it, teach on it?”  

A gentle whisper…a loving nudge.  

I am so ill equipped to share on this. But the really great news is – He isn’t

Matthew 10:19 “But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak…”

I am an ordinary girl with an ordinary life – He can use all of these things which have caused me shame, to bring glory. If you’ve visited my blog before, you have heard me talk about moving from emotion into faith…this is me – moving from faith, into Action

That day with Tina; wrapped in love, wet with tears, covered in prayer – was the first real step taken by me, in this journey.  Taken by me, I say, because He has been working in my heart in the area of depression, for years. But that day was the first time I was willing to admit it. Something happened that day. When I admitted my vulnerability to Tina, knowing I could trust her wholly to take me to Jesus, I took power from the enemy and put it squarely back, at the foot of the cross. I was not alone. 

Today I feel that helpless feeling of overwhelmed-ness, threatening to pull me down. All of the small things of the past weeks are pulling together in an army against me, to make a mountain before me. I can’t see past it. I haven’t the strength to climb over it. The thought of walking around it, alone, makes me cry. 

What is the difference between today and that day?  I am not alone. Today I will rest in Him. I will speak out His truths until my heart sings with them. I will read, and accept, the pure milk of the Word and I will etch upon my heart. Tomorrow I will go to Tina’s. I know I need to. I will draw on her strength and prayers.   

What are His truths?  I actually don’t have that difficult a time remembering them.  It’s just that sometimes I listen to the lies before I listen to the truths. 

Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous hand.” 

Psalm 56:11 In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid (or overwhelmed). parenthesis added by me 

Psalm 91:10,11 No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. 

Jeremiah 17:14 “Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise.” 

Psalm 31:24 Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord 

Am I free?  No.  Yet I am reminded, James 1:2,3 My Brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. I know I will be free. I know this is an important step. I know that when I no longer need to lean into Him, to call out to Him – I will stumble the greatest. 

Let’s continue this journey tomorrow.  I’d like to come along side you, if you are struggling in this area, with some biblical truths that will help you; that have helped me!

Be blessed, From My Heart To Yours

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Hey, it’s my Anniblogery!  I started this blog one year ago!!!  It’s been nice having you along friends.

So, tomorrow is Fellowship Friday and I’ll be introducing another guest. I’m going to post the first part of her story here today.

I want to share a journey with you about a girl who has it all.  She’s got a great husband, 3 incredible children whom she is able to home school, a beautiful home in the country and a great family. Christ dwells in her heart. This girl has a huge heart to serve others – there is hardly anything that makes her more joyful that sharing her heart and the heart of Christ, with others. This girl is filled with the joy of the Lord!   What more is there right? 

There is more. 

For years this girl, a daughter to the King, has suffered with bouts of depression…hidden in her heart. This girl could well be the master of hiding.

“What is wrong with me?” she would think.  “I am SO blessed, why do I feel so miserable?”

In the years that come before this post – God would speak to this girl with such passion that she would be brought to her knees.

September 2009

“I have to get away. I just need peace and rest. God help me!” She cried out.

Jeremiah 33:3 Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.

She got in her truck and started it up…nothing.  “ARE you kidding God?”  She shouted out.

A gentle whisper, a loving nudge... “Child, you can not run…”, but run she did. She ran until her lungs were aching and her legs were weak. She collapsed in the field of clover and cried in the arms of Jesus for 4 hours.

Ps 69:1 Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, Where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters, Where the floods overflow me. I am weary with my crying; My throat is dry; My eyes fail while I wait for my God.

At home, her husband sat with the children; lamenting in his own war cry.  Thoughts and fears raced in his mind and helplessness threatened to drown him. His cries would not be to God, not yet.  Can you imagine a man walking alone through these flames, without the hope that is in Christ? Alone. Just thinking about it makes me cry.

(Later…)  “I want you to come and look at something.”  He said.

She followed him to the computer and what was on the screen would horrify her. “Depression? Are you serious?”,  she snapped.

“I think you should read it.”  there was trembling in his voice now – almost pleading.

She sat and tears streamed down her face. ‘That is not who I am…I’m stronger than that…this is ugly, I am a daughter to Christ. I am beautiful…He delights in me.”  More tears.

Her husband picked up the phone and called her dearest friend. “Tina, I don’t know what to do. Please help us.”  He handed the phone to his wife.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

Shame…fear…heartache…desperation…only a whisper could escape.  “No.”

“Get in your truck and come here. Right now.” Tina wasn’t asking.

She took her dear friend in her arms; wrapped in love, wet with tears…covered in prayer.

Please join me for the rest of this story tomorrow at:

Fellowship Friday

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