Tag Archive | Christian

Get Back Up Again!

Forgiving doesn’t mean to forget about the pain.  It means to no longer let the experience hold you back for another season.  Only His abounding grace and mercy allows you to break free and to get back up again.  I will not give up!

Even though I may be one, and am surrounded by oppressors, I will never be totally crushed by them.  I will never give up, and I will continue to get back up again.

I may suffer embarrassments and become perplexed.  Often there seems no way out of my situation; but, I manage to survive.  I shall not despair…even if I am persecuted, driven hard, or ignored.  God will never desert me, nor make me stand alone.  Even though I may have been knocked down to the ground, I will never totally strike out.  No matter the difficulties that come my way, I will never give up. I’m stronger than the energizer bunny.  Yes, I have breaking points; but, when I recoup…I can get back up again.

I have become stronger and more courageous.  I have become persistent, more steadfast, and resilient with my faith.  I will try to remain fearless and determined no matter what obstacles lie ahead.  I will remain strong in the Lord despite my weaknesses.  I have the power of His words and the strength of his sword.  Victory will be mine!  I will be relentless on those that try to knock me down.  I will remember that I’m standing on Solid Rock.

Yes, we all fall short and sin.  We can be forgiven by Jesus, yet there are those who can’t seem to forgive.  Sometimes we can’t see past our own mistakes. I will be the first to admit that I make lots of mistakes.  I was in need of a change.  I finally realized that I was desperate for His grace.   It’s by God‘s mercy and grace that I, and others, can love and forgive and be able to make a change.

Our world is a broken place filled with broken people. Many often get a front row seat to this brokenness because God sends trials our way. These seasons bring us closer to Him.  So why do we feel that we have to grovel for forgiveness from others when Christ has already forgiven us?  Isn’t it what God does in the heart of a person rather than waiting for something to happen?   Shouldn’t we use some of our experiences to go out and further His kingdom?

There are  those who are called to walk with others through this deep personal pain. Gratefully, some have helped me to find my way through some of my seasons to stronger days.  It’s through a few confidants that only God  gives them grace to persevere and have good wisdom to give counsel. Sometimes counseling can be in the form of encouragement; sometimes admonishment. Sometimes people have to hear things they don’t want to hear…or say things they don’t want to say.

My pastor said that a good entry point into grace is in and through Christ…the One who liberates us.  Now we can become empowered by our obedience to live a life that He intended for us.

When we find freedom from our sin through Christ, not everyone allows us to be free from our sin.  I don’t feel very liberated when some may hold a grudge from something I have done.  I feel there are times that many (including myself) have a disconnectedness from “grace” within our own lives.

In the church we are called to help others understand His grace.  Not everyone seems receptive to “reaching out.”  If there is a disconnectedness…why not get reconnected? There are a few that seem to ask, “What’s in it for me?  How will reaching out to others empower me?”

I like what Robert Munger said, “The Church is the only fellowship in the world where the one requirement for membership is the unworthiness of the candidate.”

If we are a part of the body of Christ, we are called to encourage one another.  Don’t say that the community is like a family reunion and then never include some family to the reunion.  That’s wrong!  People get there hopes up thinking they will be included…just to be let down that they were just words.

Jesus is for everyone…especially His grace and forgiveness!

My new acquaintance, Mark Wilson, wrote, “A long time ago, Christian forgiveness used to be called, ‘the truth will set you free’.”   The problem is that not everyone feels that way.

Mark  noted that, “It is not possible to become entirely whole unless we are in relationships with the people around us. But as we give love and receive love – or learn to – then we can grow, heal, evolve and heal and become whole. We also can’t come to wholeness if we refuse to be an adult and grow up, take ownership of what happened to us and mature. What happened was not good, but ignoring it won’t heal it and won’t make it go away.

Mark also said it’s hard to under-estimate how important forgiveness is. If you refuse to forgive…the Lord’s prayer says that you will also not be forgiven. It’s really just that simple. If you refuse to forgive… you are harming yourself, and your own fellowship with Christ.

Try to think about if there is someone you know that produced sour fruit…in the beginning of the relationship.  Unbeknownst to you their fruit began to ripen.  Maybe you are blind to the changes.  Maybe you haven’t noticed the changes, or time has slipped by without concern.  For whatever reason, the fruit has become sweeter; but, because of our disconnectedness the new found fruit is not shared with others.  Instead, we may only remember being “snake bit”.

If we are truly liberated by Christ and we are members of his body…then maybe try to reconnect with the other member.  Try to remember that His grace is abounding with joy.  Why not share the joy of the fruit that has been made new and sweet with the one who was once sour. Reconnect.  Make a Difference.  Show grace.

Being faithful is the work of the Spirit.  We can’t do it alone!  Great is Thy faithfulness!

Faith is not what we look at; but what we look through.  It’s not what we have  focused our lives on but that which we should focus our lives on…on Him.  If we are God centered, then change becomes evident and we can make a difference in our own life and in others…to try and further His kingdom.  It won’t hurt members of the body to reconnect their disconnectedness.  What would Jesus do?  He would welcome any member to His body.  Again, His grace is for everyone!

Stay strong!  No matter what is thrown at you…don’t let it knock you down.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” ~ Psalm 46:1

God, my heart is truly, truly comforted by Your promises, by Your love and mercy; refuge and strength.  I want to establish myself, permanently placing myself in Your word and in Your works!!!  Thank You God for giving me strength and helping me to get back up again!

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God Definitely Has a Sense of Humor!

I think God definitely has a sense of humor!

Got questions.org says, “Perhaps the best indication that God does have a sense of humor is that He created man in His image, and certainly people are able to perceive and express humor.  Having a sense of humor is the ability to perceive, enjoy, or express what is comical or funny. According to this definition, then, God must show an ability to perceive, enjoy, or express what is comical.”

Humor has its place in the spiritual life. There are many religious people who tend to take themselves way too seriously. Humor is important because it helps us to understand how God views us and the world.

“Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them’.”  ~ Psalm 126:2

Please bear with me because I would like to write about a story within a story. I feel that it will be quite humorous…well at least to me, and a few others.  I also want to make a disclaimer. I’m going to mention an undergarment in this blog; but, I feel that it’s not too offensive.

I was taking my youngest daughter, and a friend, to see Tim Hawkins and John Branyan. These two gentlemen are great Christian comedians. Their acts make for a night of laughter. I love the fact that they incorporate how God has a sense of humor, and give examples of thus.  I laughed so hard, that I literally cried tears of joy.

Prior to the show, the girls and I had gotten some frozen yogurt .  On the way to the church, where the show was to take place, my youngest turned and told her friend that I write a Christian blog.

With all seriousness, my daughter’s friend turned to my daughter and said, “Your mom does something with Christian bras?”

There was a pause, and then I began to laugh.  I had to apologize because I was really not laughing at her; but laughing at what she said.  I loved it! Then I had to expand on what she said.

I told the girls that was a great idea!  I mentioned that my oldest is a college student, and that she had left one of the particular undergarments mentioned at our house–while she was home for the holidays.  I thought for a moment, and then went on to say that maybe I should write a bible verse on the undergarment upon mailing it back to her.

Then we all laughed about it!  What a great idea!

I’m not trying to be disrespectful at all.  I’m obviously not really going to make a line of undergarments with verses on them; but, I may surprise my oldest.

I love the verse in Numbers 6:25.  It says, “…the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;…”  I was thought that would be a great verse to put on the under garment!  She loves the Lord with all of her heart, and has a great sense of humor to boot.  I think she would think it was hilarious!

A week after we went to comedy concert, I was picking my youngest up from play practice, when I saw her friend’s mom.  I wasn’t trying to embarrass her friend; but, I had to recount the conversation that had transpired just a week before.

To my surprise, the mom had a great sense of humor as well.  She followed up by saying maybe I should write a verse of protection on the undergarment. 

Hmmm!  I thought maybe I should write, “God protects us from evil.” ~ 2 Tessalonians 3:3  

LOL!

I’m sorry but I laughed so hard just thinking about it.  That was really funny!   I thought that the mom may be on to something.

Again, I’m not going into making a line of Christian undergarments; but, what a great laugh I have had recounting the story. I have yet to send my oldest her undergarment back; but, I still plan to do within the next couple of weeks.

Tim Hawkins and John Branyan even talk about how people ask them if God has a sense of humor.  They have both said that God definitely has a sense of humor.  You will have to catch their show to find out what they have to say, or check out their websites or videos.  They are definitely funny boys, and use their God given talents to make many laugh.

I’m thankful God made us in His image, and gave us a sense of humor to make our life here on Earth more enjoyable.  His word also states that, “A joyful heart is good medicine,…” ~ Proverbs 17:22.

Why not take advantage of the medicine God speaks of…having a joyful heart?  LOL

Stop…in the Name of Love!

Domestic Violence is an abuse like no other. This type of abuse affects all involved. If there is violence in the home, the whole family is involved.  In honor of those who have suffered from domestic violence, my plea is stop…in the name of love

There are many people who can’t deal with the reality of their behaviors. They distort the truth to serve their self. There are a few who have no concern for others well-being, and will do whatever it takes to manipulate the situation.

Some people tend to hide their problems very well. They live an emotionally empty life creating situations to serve their own needs. Some want to come across as “good” people, yet behind closed doors they may become hurtful to others. But those on the outside don’t always see what’s going on behind closed doors; thus, causing further problems leading to some confusion.

After a while it becomes hard to distinguish what is real from what’s being distorted.  Those who suffer begin to doubt their reality and question whether or not they are crazy, or whether the other person is really right about what they say. Due to my past sexual abuse, I could also be one to distort reality…especially if I thought I might be abandoned, or become vulnerable.

The truth is…they, as well as myself, are not always right!

Some people don’t exhibit the volatile extreme emotions.  They are calm and quiet for the most post part.  They “seem” unmoved by the feelings of others…even if they really care about others. This also “seems” that they may not be fulfilled by the relationships within their lives. This may leave them with the feeling of being empty: thus, trying to fill their lives with behaviors that are not always acceptable. Others exude extreme emotions; wearing them on their sleeves when they are easily upset.  I fall into the later category.

Most behaviors originate from an extreme emotion triggered by fear, or lack of confidence. I know that with my own fears of abandonment, I can easily hurt the very people I care about.  I have  periods of remorse, deep regret, and shame for my extreme behaviors.  Most people, who hurt others, usually feel some type of remorse…of course there are those who do not seem to show any. Sometimes this period of remorse is called the “Honeymoon” period.

This period often has the feeling that there may be hope, and encouragement.  Then during other periods, there may be extreme agitation, that is often intensified by the lack of self confidence, or fear of not having expectations met.  Sometimes people come across as not being empathetic…especially toward another. The perception is that there is no real problem; thus, there is no need to work on any relationships.

Domestic violence is an often “smoothed over” in families today, and Christian families are not immune to its “flaming darts”. The warning signs can be hidden or disregarded.

In Proverbs 26 it says, “Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, ‘I am only joking!’…The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body…Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart; when he speaks graciously, believe him not, … A lying tongue hates its victims, and a flattering mouth works ruin.

Many may regret  hanging on, or trying to stay in a relationship, especially when it may be debilitating. The reality is that abuse hurts, no matter who you are, or how old you are. It destroys you from the inside out, and cuts away at how you believe in yourself…your very core.  There is a realization that one may face that there is no escape from the abuse without giving up a huge part of one’s life. Some put up with attacks before retreating to safety. Alcohol/substance abuse can elevate attacks.  There comes a time when too long is…way too long.

When a relationship gets really bad, they can drain us. And while we all want to be faithful within our relationships, we can really get ourselves in a bind by “sticking” with a harmful situation too long. We begin not to have enough strength left to help ourselves…much less our family.  We may become ill, or very irritable from lack of sleep.  Anxiety takes over eventually leading to despair if help is not received. When faced with domestic violence, many seek guidance and solace within their faith.

People have a desire to be faithful within relationships. But it is really important to be realistic about our own strength.  The problem is that leaving is hard. The thought of the ending of a dream as a reality is painful.  Being faithful can be tiring. In fact, one may not have enough strength to leave…if it comes down to it. Repeated “fight and flight” responses to self, or another, is tiring, and might need some extra reserves just to make it through the day. Decisions that are best made for the relationship can be quite painful and draining as well.

For the abused they often feel abandoned by God. Christians often feel compelled to stay in abusive relationships because they don’t understand the scripture where it talks about submissiveness.  Sometimes a church leader may strongly encourage the victim not to give up on the abuser; thus, they feel the need to remain in the relationship for fear of breaking covenant.  One seriously has to look ahead to the message that is trying to be conveyed.

The message is clear.  The victim got into the situation because of desiring to be loved.  Instead of looking for love from people; Love must be looked for in God–the One who loves us unconditionally.  God is love!  Put your trust and love in God.  He will never fail!

…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 .”  ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Love comforts us!  The Lord sympathizes with us.  He knows what it was like to suffer needlessly at the hands of others.  Because of this, we are allowed to “…approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need”  ~ Hebrews 4:16

Abused people are usually able to find strength in their faith and/or community. If they are comfortable doing so, they may talk to their religious leaders about their situations.  If asked by the victim, spiritual support should be given.  Be encouraging to one another.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  ~ Hebrews 10:24-25

As a religious community, it is important to have some knowledge on domestic violence issues.  Pastors could use the pulpit as a way to educate the congregation of such issues.  It’s important not to offer poor advice for a member’s situation. Sometimes advising to stay with an abuser to keep the family intact at all costs may cause more, or unnecessary, damage to the relationship(s) and sometimes safety problems.  It is good advice from religious community to suggest seeking couples counseling  from a trained professional.

There is so much madness that goes on behind the scenes.  Verbal and emotional abuse can cause much anxiety within the victim and possibly family members.  There are many horror stories of physical and sexual abuse that tags along with the previous mentioned abuses.  For some there is no way out…except by death: either being the victim of someone’s abuse, or suicide to get out.  It’s important to become educated on signs of domestic violence, and what to do.  I pray that the religious community will get involved, and that be one of the first things to do.  Even if only praying, and acting as encouragement, is all the religious community can do…that would be a blessed start and most welcomed.

Stop in the name of Love!  Stop the madness of abuse.  Become educated.   Learn of God’s unconditional love that He has for the brokenhearted.  Learn how He will renew and restore  broken hearts.  He gives strength to the weak, and rest to the weary.  Seek Him and He will open the door to healing.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  ~ 2Corinthians 4:16-18

Grace To You…and Me, Too.

I  have a page on Facebook for Grace Desired.  There are many who come and share their feelings or prayer requests on Grace Desired. My intent is not to point this person out.  I feel much the same way at times.  The point is to know that we are His Beloved and saved by His grace.

This was a post I got this morning  from one of my friends of Grace Desired (on Facebook).  The comment was:

       “It was someone who promised ‘Grace’ that abused me worst! …. grace2u! from ‘Grace Early’! Would love to receive grace but I only find condemnation!”

My heart hurts for my friend.  I’m totally empathetic and sympathetic toward how they feel. I totally understand how they feel.  I’m not a counselor; but, this was my response and prayer to my friend  this morning before going to work:

There is no condemnation through Christ…only people condemn. The  Good News is that Christ walked amongst us wearing sandals (as a human); but, He was no ordinary human.  I’m sorry that you feel condemned. I can’t say that others have not made me feel that way as well. Sometimes I, myself, have caused such feelings–even within myself. I’m not saying that you have caused that; but, I know my own behaviors. There are lots of people, including Christians (which I am), who condemn others…or falsely accuse…without knowing the whole story or being empathetic toward other’s pain. We are human! God never promised that bad things would not happen to good people. He said that He would forgive us and give us rest. Our “true”rest will not come until the day of Heaven. I am definitely lifting you up in prayer, as well as many others who visit this page. God is for us…the brokenhearted. I realize that many are against us. I know that feeling all to well…even now as I write; but, the One true Father is for us. God Loves Us! You have to believe that You are His Beloved…because that is true! Anything else…are lies from the deceiver. A lot of Christians, and I’m a Christian, don’t know how to deal with other’s pain. There are a few people who are gifted in dealing with other’s pain. In fact, once the love of Christ takes over you…you have great potential to be one of those people who can care and lift others up to Him. I know you are discouraged; but, have faith. You are a survivor, and this brokenness will also come to pass. AGAIN, we will never be fully rested until the day of Christ, and we go to Heaven. AND, Amen for His grace & mercy, and a chance to be able to rest in Him! Have a blessed day! ♥ Beth

A Beautiful Kind of Broken

Over the years, I tried to mend my wounded heart by myself; unfortunately, I did not seek help in the most appropriate way.  I have learned that I can’t be, nor anyone else can be my savior; thus, often resulting in feeling rejected which created a low self-esteem…leading to despair…because in my mind, I could not be fixed or saved.  Therefore, I must come to the conclusion (on my own & my own time) that no one can “fix” me; except, for Jesus.

My Pastor, Tom Gibbs, once told me that I must learn to let Jesus love me, and I must love Him in return.  If I don’t do this…it will be impossible for Him to pull my weeds and replace them with flowers.  I have really come far despite my abuse and lack of knowing a lot about the Good News; but, I can cultivate a bigger garden if I let Him help me, and others are willing to continue to mentor me.

I will say that learning to relate to God as a new creation is a difficult concept for me. I want to attempt to hide my very being from Him. I am ashamed of my past.  I feel guilty.  I don’t feel safe. The safety issue brings several things to my mind…how could He let all this abuse happen (past and present)?  What kind of sick dad sends His only Son to be killed?  That is no way to protect, or make someone feel safe.  Because of my past…these thoughts have crept up in the back of my mind.  How can I feel safe knowing that He will take care of me…when these things have happened?

The Biblical truth is that I can feel safe with Him.  I am safe to succeed or fail.  I also understood that there is truth to making individuals feel safe in church, or community.  Through communities the restoration for my brokenness can take place.  For people like me, I may think that others do not have problems that they have it all together because of the hiddenness within our community.  Often times the ones that are struggling–try to become more hidden, or withdraw, from the community because of fear that their secrets might be “found out”.  I finally understand that.  First, I was told to tell my secrets, and now…don’t tell them except to one who claims he can’t help.  So what is the point?  I am so confused!  Telling my secrets only brought more pain with no outlet to deal with them.

Unfortunately, telling past secrets doesn’t get rid of the pain …it actually just opens the door (which is not understood by most) to help begin the process of healing. When left undone, it causes much more pain and anxiety.  So what’s wrong with learning the process of helping others?  That is what I want to learn how to do, so that I can use this brokenness as a gift to help others.  Unfortunately, I have been discarded as “too needy” and not worthwhile to nurture to bring out such a gift.

There are lots of beautiful broken Christians that are at battle with a real war inside of them.  I know that I did not originally want to reveal my past with a select few for fear of rejection, and not feeling safe enough to be forgiven when my sins of my past were exposed.  I almost felt that because I screwed up with trusting some that the lesson I learned is not to confess my sinful past, or abuse, because now I no longer feel safe.  I keep telling myself that it would have been best to have kept things hidden; although, hiding would not have changed any of the abuse, then or now.

I feel this safety issue is a very sensitive topic.  Is there a question that some may take advantage of this thing called grace?  Should one be walked through the healing process of confessing, being forgiven, and eventually being restored?  Could there be a difference between immaturity (lack of understanding Him) and someone’s sinful nature of worshiping idols?  Or is it a combination?  Should they be forgiven or just discounted as a failure to abide by certain rules or time frames?

Being safe doesn’t always mean to feel safe to fail.  It can also mean to feel safe to succeed.  I want to be encouraged to be the Bride of Christ, to be His Beloved, to be that Oak of Righteousness like I have heard in some sermons.  There is a difference between righteousness and holiness. If I understand correctly, we become righteous when we accept Jesus into our heart as our Savior because of His death on the cross.  Grace enables us to pursue holiness, once we are made righteous, by seeking His Godly character & applying it to our lives.

I must tell you that most individuals who have been abused have a hard time trusting anyone, especially Christians.  There are some who would be quick to judge the abused without knowing the whole story…my story (or anybody else’s story for that matter). That was why a support system was needed to be in place, to help me learn to trust.  Yes, I know I have a hard time breaking away from dependency of others; but think about it…I have had to depend on myself for years (since I was a child), and look where that has gotten me.

Why can’t some dependency be considered for wanting to truly understand His love?  The support system should be built out of love & compassion; not out of pity for the abused to be labeled as a project to be worked on.  Especially, if the project goes awry it could cause the building of the structure to be idled.  A safe and stable place should be built for the broken and for them not to worry about performance expectations…or trying to be healed sooner because of someone else’s time frame.

Remember, the abused person is trying to heal, and for this reason one should step back & say it is not about me…it is about the child of God who carries this pain.  No one really wants to be sick!  I never wanted this pain of abuse, or the memories of it that often triggers horrible feelings within my soul.  Far from it!  I never desired to be taken advantage by a perverted man who was supposed to love and protect me…be my trusted parent.

I needed to get to a place where I could trust God and feel safe–because of what had been done to me in the past, and even what is happening now.  I also needed to trust God with what I had done.  People who have been abused have lost their identity, and often need to be validated by those who believe in them.  It’s important to talk these things out, in my case the abuse, to be able to remove my wrong perception of the present and what might happen in the future.  Yes, specialized counselors (such as mine…Clifton Fuller) are great for this; but, humor me to read on.

Abused victims, or survivors, don’t necessarily know who they are.  Over the years I took on different identities as a form of protection.  Many worked for me as a child; but now it is a problem as an adult. Sometimes there are those who can & will victimize the abused.  They will plague them with chores, verbally abusive words, until they are completely sleep deprived from over exhaustion and utterly worn out.  This allows the victim to become more easily moldable into a certain state of mind by the abuser.  Does that make sense?  This is when the victim “freezes up” during certain situations, and does not respond or handle the current situation with finesse.  I know this tactic all too much.  I have continued to live in this state of confusion for most of my life.

In searching for my true identity (in the image of God), I needed to know that I was of equal value as any other human.  My brokenness may come across as being “too needy” or “desperate” for some; but in actuality, I needed to understand my value as a person–which I don’t always see in myself.  For this reason as well, I feel that God might use me in other’s lives to learn how to build meaningful relationships with certain kinds of broken people like me.

In essence, my survival thus far, should be a blessing to others, and build  confidence that His Kingdom can be furthered by understanding the certain kind of brokenness found within me.  Those survival strategies that I learned as a child could be used as gifts to help reach others.  By recognizing their strategies, or walls they built up, I might be able to be help some of them; unfortunately, I am still unlocking some of those gifts to be able to be helpful.  It would be easier to unlock those gifts with encouragement.

In losing my identity, I also lost the true identity and nature of God.  In a sense, I am a child (a new creation), and I need to start over with the faith process.  I may need to have the basics of faith told to me more than once.  I will need to have Grace explained in depth.  I will need to understand God’s characteristics on an intimate level.  Truth is that because of my abuse, even though others may find it hard to believe, I can trust that I am in a safe place and I will not be rejected for my past, or sins.

We are all unique, and each one brings a different gift to the table.  In fact, I want to be a blessing to the community as well, and not be treated like a project.  I don’t want others to feel they have to help me because God would want them to help me; but, to help me because they have a real compassion to help me for who I am…and not knowing of what or who I could become in His Kingdom later.

I need to stop hiding behind my mask and become a beautiful kind of broken.

I shall heal your broken heart with My words of love. My truth shall prevail over all your trials and tribulations. I see your fears and sorrows; your struggles, your pain and suffering, and I shall not abandon you in your hour of need. My mighty right hand is already stretched out to heal and give peace and abundant life. I am at work. I am Jehovah – I AM THAT I AM.”

Where is My Love? Where is my Hope?

The question arises, how can a “faithful” Christian have such depressed thoughts that they may consider hurting themselves?  Even worse, what if they actually take their own life?  Could it be an alternative to facing their fears of rejection (broken trust), shame & guilt from some heinous secret, or a feeling of worthlessness and disgrace?

The Bible does say in Romans that we all sin and we all fall short.  We are human living in a fallen world.  But, knowing that we were sinners, God sent His son to be pinned and die on the cross for our sins.  Christ took our desperation and turned into something great to live for.

Granted most people, at least one time in their life, have probably had thoughts of ending it all (suicide).  The amount one dwells on suicide, or letting it consume their being, plays an important part in the level of depression one may be experiencing.  We live in a valley of shadow and death; but, within that valley there is life.

Christians are definitely not immune to trials.  Being a Christian does not solve all problems; but, it does assure one thing—His forgiveness of all our sins. This is great news!  Also, a lot of people think that Christians are “exempt” from the worst of these things.

HELLO!  So not true!  The devil works overtime to put Christians in a head lock that is impossible to get out of…on their own. Look at Job, Paul, and Moses…they were in some “real” messes that they became desperate enough to want to die.

You may be thinking, “What kept those ‘men of the Bible’ from doing the ‘unthinkable’?” It was love for  Him! It was hope in Him!

God intends for us to live a life that He desires for us…a life that includes Him.  God promised us a life of hope, love, grace, and mercy; but, He never promised a life where bad things would never happen to good people.

The truth is that the more we “live” our lives for Him, and through Him, the more the evil one tries to breakdown the life of His body in us; thus, trying to destroy us.  Because God gave us the freedom to choose, the evil one uses it to his advantage.  Satan tries to convince that harming each other, or to telling lies to disgrace…is the way of this world.  Sadly, many fall for his trap, and cause much pain for others…including myself.

The “world” can have two different meanings: 1) the world (biosphere) we live in, and 2) the struggles that we experience while living in this world.  Sadness and depression is a natural part of life.  God gave us these emotions (as well as many others) as a way of dealing with the brokenness of the world we live in.  It is the degree that we carry these emotions that can be detrimental to self, or others. Sometimes the reactions of our emotions may be due to an early childhood type of abuse; therefore, it is a way of coping.  The problem is as adults those same coping mechanisms don’t work the same way as they did with the child.

The key, in overcoming severe depression, is community…with others. Community can be within a group of church members, or within a support group outside of church.  Both can be vital in the healing and recovering process of the oppressed and depressed.  Research shows that a committed community, to those that are inflicted with brokenness, can become a vital part in the healing process.

We often need help from others to make sense of what is going on within our inner-selves, and to help us break out of patterns of sin and brokenness. Such freedom to discuss our inner-selves with another person creates a bond whose acceptance is not based on performance but on unconditional love.

The devil does not want hope or love to be found.  He will do everything in his power to divert the attention from Him to the lies of desperation that make us feel worthless (which pleases him the evil one).  He seemingly causes a feeling of overwhelming disgrace that begins abounding in once joyful hearts.  Depression can often become more agonizing than physical pain.

The Bible says that people are of great significance because of being made in the image of God—for His glory.  We have become adopted into God’s family. We learn that it is not what we’ve done to deserve to be a part of His family; but, what He did for us.  Christ’s death is the reason for our acceptance by God. He promises to never let us go.

This “amazing grace” that God has given us should lead to a life of dedication to Him…allowing us to fight the ongoing battle against the world of sins. God uses the trials of our life to help become more aware of Him, and to have a desire to be more like Christ.

God sometimes uses difficult trials to discipline.  In the fight against the evil one, hope is vital. We must listen and draw near to Him.  We must be encouraged that this is His sign of His love.

We are reminded that we don’t just struggle against our own idols, or sins; but, against “spiritual forces of evil” in the idol “world” of sin.  We must learn to put on the full armor of God.  We must wear it every day and always.  This will provide protection from the devil’s “fiery darts.  We also must “pray just to make it through the day”.

We live with many emotions.  We live with groaning hearts.  We live with rejoicing hearts.

Where is my love?  Where is my hope?  It lies within my faith knowing that there is a Lord, Jesus Christ, who sanctified me with His loving grace–by dying on the cross.

This is the day that the Lord hath made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it! ~Psalm 188:24

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