Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Slower Pace

A Slower Pace - from Our Daily Bread

Monday, August 31, 2015

I Am Second ~ Ashley Rawis "I Just Didn't Know How to Be Normal"

In continuing with the I Am Second Series, here is the Story of Ashley Rawis. For more information about iamsecond.com please visit their site!

The Story - Ashley Rawis

Ashley carried the weight of the world on her shoulders. While they watched a beauty queen win pageant after pageant, she began to lose herself. “I didn’t know how to be normal. I didn’t know how to have a normal relationship with food.” How do you let go of control without losing control? Who do you talk to when you fear judgment of a huge secret you’ve harbored?  Her dilemma was never about image it was about control – the control of having a normal life. Stability. Balance. It was about security and at her lowest point she found just that.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

God Has Not Forgotten about You

Deuteronomy 31:8 “… It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

This is such a great verse and I truly believe in it..why?? Because it's true. I always come out of my phases of depression and I know that God has been with me the entire time! For me, I must reach for these verses every time I start to go through a depression phase..so I thought today I would do a little research and provide you with some keep verses to reach for.
Just doing a simple search will provide you with comfort that you are not alone!  Take heart.

Psalms 34:17 When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.
Psalms 40:1-3 I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD. 

Psalms 3:3 But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
Psalms 32:10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.
Psalms 37:3-4 Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 
Psalms 42:11 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.
John 16:33  
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Exercise and Depression? Is there a Connection?

1 Corinthians 6:19-20  

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 

I am a TRUE believer in exercising helping with depression. Here is what www.webmd.com says about depression

What Are the Psychological Benefits of Exercise With Depression?

Improved self-esteem is a key psychological benefit of regular physical activity. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain.

Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as "euphoric." That feeling, known as a "runner's high," can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.

Endorphins act as analgesics, which means they diminish the perception of pain. They also act as sedatives. They are manufactured in your brain, spinal cord, and many other parts of your body and are released in response to brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. The neuron receptors endorphins bind to are the same ones that bind some pain medicines. However, unlike with morphine, the activation of these receptors by the body's endorphins does not lead to addiction or dependence.
Regular exercise has been proven to:
  • Reduce stress
  • Ward off anxiety and feelings of depression
  • Boost self-esteem
  • Improve sleep
  When I personally get in one of these funks, yes I do reach for my Bible, my friends, my "happy" pill but I also grab my bike and go on some rides. For me, the feeling I get when I ride around the amazing sites that God has created opens my eyes to all that he has created and for a while takes me out of my thoughts of gloom. Besides the other physical things that exercise does inside me which are all happy benefits and good for me...it helps to distract me for a while.

Exercise is such an underutilized form of treatment for depression, but because I personally can attest to it's value it is a Green Light in the recoveryBox App.. that's how important I think it is.  Go for a walk today at the least and see how it makes you feel. I know you will feel a little better..and repeat it day after day and make it part of your depression toolbox.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Antidpressants and Faith

Antidepressants and Faith

Yesterday I wrote about Christians getting depressed and while I was doing a little pep talk to myself about "Let's work through these feelings and see what's really going on?!" I started doing a little internet research. I found this great article about taking antidepressants and having faith. Like I wrote yesterday, I struggle with depression as many others do. And while I see the biological component in many family members I often think back to the times of King David or Job and think to myself...'There was no little pill called Zoloft" back then so what gives.

I hope this article helps others as much as it did me.

Examining the intersection between taking medicine and relying on God. 
I take an antidepressant.

Even though I believe it is God “Who comforts and encourages and refreshes and cheers the depressed and sinking” (2 Corinthians 7:6), each day I swallow a pill.

I think of this not as turning from God, but as attempting to manage symptoms while I wait on Him. I hope I am in the company of Paul’s associate Timothy. He had certainly witnessed great miracles of healing in Jesus’ name, yet the apostle urged him to supplement his drinking water with a little wine because of his “frequent ailments” (1 Timothy 5:23).

It is humbling to take a psychiatric medication and humiliating to admit as much on employment forms.
Of course, not all believers take this view. In 1914, John G. Lake declared, “It is just as offensive for the Christian to take medicine as for the drunkard to take whiskey.”Now, I don’t condemn Lake; he was used by God in a great move of miraculous healings. But I am fairly sure he would disapprove of me.

As Paul says in Romans 14:3, the strong in faith tend to despise the weak, and the weak to criticize the strong. Sometimes we are not even sure which is which.

For me personally, this struggle has become an invitation to humility. It is humbling to take a psychiatric medication and humiliating to admit as much on employment forms.
I suspect every Christian receives such invitations to humility—perhaps in the form of a period of unemployment or a painful relationship. No doubt some of us need more schooling in humility than others. To all of us, though, the Bible says three times, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (Proverbs 3:34; James. 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5).

Humility and faith coexist in odd ways. In Genesis 23, when Sarah dies, Abraham believes God’s promise that all the land, as far as the eye can see, will belong to him and his descendants. Yet instead of claiming the promise, he pays an exorbitant fee, to people who don’t share the promise, for a parcel of land to use as a burial plot.
Is this a lack of faith? Or is it an example of humility giving faith the strength to believe and trust even when the fulfillment seems to lag?

That depends on the heart, but one thing is clear: it is not humility that hampers faith, but pride. Specifically, my proud desire to exalt or elevate myself. This putting myself forward can masquerade as faith. But it can't keep up the act forever. Repeatedly, Jesus warns us that “everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:11; 18:14; Matthew 23:12). The contexts indicate claiming a place or title or attitude of honor. Similarly, Paul says that his thorn in the flesh, probably a physical affliction, served to keep him from becoming elated or conceited (2 Corinthians 12:7).

Yet we are also encouraged to trust that, “in due time,” God will exalt us if we humble ourselves (1 Peter 5:6; James 4:10). “You bestow glory on me and lift up my head,” writes David; “You stoop down to make me great” (Psalm 3:3; 18:35).

Jesus is, of course, the great example: humbling Himself through long years to the lowest place to be exalted to the highest place (Philippians 2:8-9). But we see the same pattern in Joseph (Psalm 105:17-21) and Solomon (1 Chronicles 29:25), and most explicitly in Joshua: “that day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they revered him all the days of his life, just as they had revered Moses” (Joshua 3:7; 4:14). Unlike Solomon, Joshua never suffered the humiliation of a fall from grace, and some of his most memorable words were spoken toward the end of his life (24:15).
When and how did Joshua humble himself? We first meet him as a military leader (Exodus 17), and later he was one of the 12 spies (Numbers 13). In-between, he was Moses’ minister or servant or aide (Numbers 11:28). He endured the 40 years of wilderness wandering. And, man of action though he was, we are told that he did not leave the tent of meeting (Exodus 33:11). He learned the discipline of waiting on God.

Humility is not grasping upward to seize but extending downward to pour out.
In the New Testament, particularly, exaltation is not individualistic, a promotion to honor, so much as it is a lifting up of the name of Jesus in His Body, the Church—paradoxically, by accepting responsibility and bending low to serve. Paul “conquers” by marching in Jesus’ victory parade; he embraces weakness so that others may be strengthened (1 Corinthians 4:9-10; 2 Corinthians 2:14; 4:12).
Humility may be incomplete without service to others, but it is rooted in waiting on God. In the end, whether or not we submit to antidepressant may not be very important. What counts is whether, at one of God’s occasions, we find our way to the lowest chair and sit in it. Because in that chair, all of us—whether or not we take Zoloft—come before God knowing we are broken.
And God, seeing our need, puts us back together. Piece by piece.

~ I hope you found some comfort today!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Do Christians Really Get Depressed?

King David was depressed. In the opening verses of Psalm 13 he writes, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?”

The book of Job is filled with verses about his depression..“I cannot eat for sighing; my groans pour out like water. What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come to be. I have no peace, no quietness. I have no rest; instead, only trouble comes …. I will never again experience pleasure ... I would rather die of strangulation than go on and on like this. I hate my life” (Job 3:23-26, 7:11, 15-16, NLT).

There are other examples of depression in the Bible and so I think the answer is YES! Then why are we ashamed to say that we are in the middle of a depression spell? I truly think it's because of how society sees mental illness..because you can't see it - "It's all in your head!" and you should be able to just think yourself out of it right!?! SO WRONG!!!

Doctors believe that depression is a time when our brains become chemically unstable for whatever reason..and that it's not about self-pity or lazyness or self-denial. While these things can contribute to it we must begin to accept as a society that there are biological reasons for it.

I can attest to depression because I have dealt with it for years. Infact, it is something that runs in my family in many members and so I clearly see the biological side of things..and I can personally attest to the fact that depression causes one to withdraw spiritually. But it's at these times when I take some action steps to help deal with my depression
  • Confide in a trusted friend all my thoughts, fears, etc to see if they are founded
  • Read the Bible and search out verses of comfort
  • Attend a 12 Step meeting
  • Seek out professional help if it lasts more than a few weeks (I tend to cycle so by now I can tell when I really need help)
  • Get exercise!!
  • Take a break from the family
  • Pray
Depression really can be debilitating, but we can get a grip on it if we truly pursue it.  God can heal our depression over time or sometimes even miraculously..but we have to be willing to put in the work as well.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Musical Devotional - Matthew West's "Forgiveness"

the story behind Forgiveness - so powerful!!!

"Forgiveness"by Matthew West

It’s the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those that don’t deserve

It’s the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just too real
It takes everything you have just to say the word…


It flies in the face of all your pride
It moves away the mad inside
It’s always anger’s own worst enemy
Even when the jury and the judge
Say you gotta right to hold a grudge
It’s the whisper in your ear saying ‘Set It Free’

Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible

Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Help me now to do the impossible

It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it’s power can do
So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you

Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible

I want to finally set it free
So show me how to see what Your mercy sees
Help me now to give what You gave to me
Forgiveness, Forgiveness