depression, anxiety, love, healing, faith, mental illness, patience, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Survival: Loving Someone with Severe Depression and Anxiety- A Guide

Living with a loved one who has severe depression and anxiety can be disorienting. The key to survival and a strengthening love can be found in our Creator. God holds us all through the peaks and valleys of depression.



Survival Guide Resume

Before I launch into this guide I first want to give you a glimpse at my resume, so you know that I know a little about what I’m talking about. For ten of the last twelve years of my marriage, I have been the husband of a wonderful woman who has had severe depression and anxiety. It started as postpartum depression after our second child was born and it has never gone away.

I will not go into the symptoms because chances are, if you clicked on the link to this article, you are very familiar with them. Instead, I am going to direct my comments to the depression newbie. The poor soul who has recently woken up to find their spouse (or someone they love) is no longer the happy, fun-loving person they married (or used to be). Who has found that their love has been brought low by some unseen, unimaginable malevolent force for which there seems to be no defense. This is your survival guide from a veteran of this fight. I hope to be able to save you some of the stumblings around in the dark that I have had to do.

Also, to make it fun, I have decided to put it in the form of a list! Because the internet loves lists right? Of course you do.

Living with a loved one who has severe depression and anxiety can be disorienting. The key to survival and a strengthening love can be found in our Creator. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #depression #anxiety #love #healing

1.

It’s not about you.

Drop your ego. It’s not about you. Really. It’s not about you. Your spouse has a disease. Unless you are just being horrible to them, his or her depressive episodes are not the result of something you did or did not do. Along those same lines, there is nothing you can do to “fix” them or make the symptoms “go away.” Your spouse is on a rollercoaster.

It is a rollercoaster through a hell so terrifying that neither they nor you would ever have the words to adequately describe it. The only thing you can do during these moments is to honor your vows, board that roller coaster with them, hold their hand and ride that ride. Is it scary? You bet. Does your presence help? Sometimes. Sometimes not. But ride it anyway. It builds empathy in you and, when it is over, gratitude and trust for you in your spouse.

2.

Don’t hide. Be open about it.

Ok, listen. Unless the people in your lives are told what is going on, they can only speculate, and they can’t help. Depression is a terrible and lonely disease. Being married to a depressed person is equally lonely. There is a stigma to depression. Don’t pay attention to it. Your spouse has a disease. If they had cancer, you would tell people, and those people would gather around in a loving and supportive group to help your spouse through the difficult and painful process of treating their cancer.

So, pretend it is cancer. Be open with your friends and family about what is going on. Your spouse needs that extended support group, but almost as important, YOU need that extended support group. YOU CAN’T DO THIS ON YOUR OWN. Don’t try. Also, if you have children, be open with them about it. Explain the illness to them. Obviously, consider their ability to understand based on their age, but don’t exclude them. If they know WHY your spouse is behaving in this way, they will be less likely to blame the behavior on themselves. You need to include them. They have a right to know and to understand.

3.

Treat it.

I am going to keep saying it until you will never forget it. Your spouse has a disease. A disease that could kill them. A disease that continues to kill more and more people every year. Diseases are treated by doctors, specialists, and medicine. Don’t let your spouse tell you they can handle it on their own. They can’t. Get them a doctor or a counselor. The good news is, there are medicines that can help manage the symptoms. The bad news is: scientists know more about the surface of Mars than they do about how the brain actually functions.

So, there is no magic pill that will cure this disease, and treating the symptoms is more akin to throwing paint at the wall and seeing what sticks. You will likely try three or more medicines before finding one that works well for your spouse and manages the symptoms without unacceptable side-effects. After many years, we finally landed on one that gives my wife a semblance of normalcy in her life. There are those that will tell you to not ever use medicine. I disagree. From my experience, it helps immensely.

4.

You are not alone.

Again, being the spouse of someone with depression can be a terribly lonely experience. There will be times where you feel like you are the only one in the world going through this. Times when you feel like you can’t talk to a soul about what you are going through. There will be times when it gets so hard, so dark, so hellishly frustrating that you want to throw your hands up, walk away, and leave them to their own devices.

These are the moments that separate the wheat from the chaff. Stay. Fight. Dig deep. Find that reserve of strength inside of you and keep going. Your love is your spouses best hope of navigating the depths of the darkness inside of themselves and finding their way to the light of joy and happiness on the other side. For better or for worse. Well, this is one of those “worse” times. Ponder the following words:

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? […]Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you…

Matthew 6:26-30, KJV

In more ways than one, you are never alone. Bring God along with you on this journey. Let Him give you comfort, let Him heal you. Surely the Author of all creation can and will soothe the open wounds of your despair with the healing balm of His majesty and love. Let Him. You are never alone. Believe it. Because after all the experiences I have had, I know it.

5.

This journey, if you let it, will strengthen you personally, and teach you what love really means.

When I married my wife, I thought I loved her. Of course, I did. But through this journey, I have learned the breadth and depth of what love really is. Is love, buying flowers for your wife on your anniversary? Yes. But more so, love is holding your trembling spouse as they sob and shake uncontrollably at 3 am due to some unseen and unassailable despair that gripped them suddenly and is making them say things as they would rather be dead than feel this way.

Love is canceling a trip you have been planning and looking forward to for months because your spouse is having a panic attack at the prospect of your absence. Love is enduring the verbal attacks of a spouse who is lashing out at you, not from any fault of your own, but because they are under an unbearable weight and have to let it out somewhere. Love is then forgiving them for that same act. 

A Gift

If you let it, this journey will teach you a lot about YOU. Is it scary? At times, it’s terrifying. Is it worth it? Absolutely. I now have an indescribably deep and abiding love for my spouse. It is so much more than fondness, friendship or physical desire. It is a love that binds our souls together and continually makes me more and more grateful for the gift of each day we get to spend with one another.

Through peaks and valleys, through better or worse, for now and extending into eternity with God, we walk together. And so can you. You can do it. Have patience, have faith, and never give up on them.

Let God give you comfort, let Him heal you. Surely the Author of all creation can and will soothe the open wounds of your despair with the healing balm of His majesty and love. Click To Tweet

Living with a loved one who has severe depression and anxiety can be disorienting. The key to survival and a strengthening love can be found in our Creator. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #depression #anxiety #love #healing

Living with a loved one who has severe depression and anxiety can be disorienting. The key to survival and a strengthening love can be found in our Creator. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #depression #anxiety #love #healing

unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt
even if, prayer, healing, Holy Spirit, capable, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Even If: Remembering that God is Always Faithful, Able, and Mighty

Sometimes it seems that the answer to our long awaited prayer is no. It is important to remember in these times that even if it is no, God is still good.



Last night I was driving home from one of many meetings of the day. As I was driving I was listening to a local Christian station. This is something I rarely do because I generally use my phone for music. This night, though, I somehow forgot, or didn’t care enough. Looking back this was a God-ordained moment to remind me even if… He is good.

You see, while I was driving the song “Even If” by MercyMe came on. I have heard this song before, but never truly listened to it. The song is about how God is still faithful, even if –insert prayer request here– doesn’t come. I sat and listened to this song and concentrated on every word.

As I sat in the car crying my eyes out (and driving like a crazy person I’m sure), I realized how much I needed to hear it. I have been in a season of looking for healing and actively praying long and hard for it to come. This song showed me that even if the answer is no or not yet, God is still good.

Sometimes it seems that the answer to our long awaited prayer is no. It is important to remember in these times that even if it is no, God is still good. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #prayer #HolySpirit #EvenIf #capable

The Holy Spirit

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.

Romans 8:26, NLT

The Holy Spirit is our connection with God. That is where the source of our prayers should come from. I believe that sometimes the answer we are looking for doesn’t come because we are not praying through the Holy Spirit. We, when using our human power, do not know what to pray. We have to allow the Holy Spirit to be a part of our prayer life.

What we can be sure of is even when we don’t know what to pray, or are praying the wrong thing, the Holy Spirit prays for us. Wow, how amazing is that? The Holy Spirit prays for us.

I read this verse, which I never read in this way before, and was overwhelmed by the love of God for us. He loves us so much that He gave us the Holy Spirit to not only guide us but to intercede for us. When we don’t know what to say the Holy Spirit prays with a prayer that is beyond words.

Even If: No

And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.

1 John 5:14-15, NLT

I know this verse says, “he will give us what we ask for.” That makes it sound as though we will get whatever we want. However, this verse is often misunderstood. You see, people tend to leave the prior verse out where it says “anything that pleases Him.”

Like I said before, many times we are not asking with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. This is likely the most common reason we do not get what we ask for every time.

Another reason this could be the case is that we misinterpret the response. Maybe God said yes, but it wasn’t in the way you expected. For me, this happened when my grandmother passed away. We prayed and prayed for her to be healed, but she passed away. It wasn’t that God said no. He healed her, but he did this by bringing her home. This was not what we wanted but it was a yes. A yes that pleased God.

Even If: Not Yet

‘My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.’

Isaiah 55:8-9, NLT

Lastly, the reason we may think that God has told us no is because His answer is not yet. We have to be patient and remember that God’s timing is not our timing. His ways are far better, His thoughts are far better, and His timing is far better than our own.

Even If

So, even if healing doesn’t come, even if our relationships are crumbling, even if we don’t know what will happen next… God is faithful. He is able. And He is mighty.

So whatever your even if is, keep in mind that thought and remember the role the Holy Spirit is playing.

I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone

MercyMe, “Even If”
Even if healing doesn't come, even if our relationships are crumbling, even if we don't know what will happen next… God is faithful. He is able. And He is mighty. Click To Tweet

Sometimes it seems that the answer to our long awaited prayer is no. It is important to remember in these times that even if it is no, God is still good. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #prayer #HolySpirit #EvenIf #capable

unsplash-logoOhTilly
restoration, healing, beautiful, beauty, create, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Restoration: Allowing The Lord to Heal Our Brokenness with Beauty

When we hand over the broken pieces of our hearts to the Lord, we can expect restoration. We emerge from His mending with even greater beauty and value.



A few years ago, I found myself in one of the most lovely places I’ve ever seen: Duck, North Carolina. A tiny barrier island at the northernmost tip of the Outer Banks, Duck is nestled between the peaceful sound on one side and the mighty ocean on the other. It was such a blessing to spend a week in this coastal paradise.

I made the trip with a group of eight close friends who were walking intimately with the Lord and with one another. One of the women in our group had a friend who owned this gorgeous beach house, and she allowed us to use her home for our annual girls’ getaway.

The place was palatial! Beautiful balconies off of each bedroom provided perfect perches for sipping coffee and savoring quiet time in the bright morning sun. Sprawling wrap around decks with rocking chairs and hammocks offered comfy spots for leisurely reading or napping in the afternoon shade.

The rooftop deck invited early evening musings as we took in stunning sunsets over the ocean. And incredible waterfront views on every side lent a picturesque backdrop for sweet conversations or time alone with the Lord.

When we hand over the broken pieces of our hearts to the Lord, we can expect restoration. We emerge from His mending with even greater beauty and value. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #beauty #healing #create #restore

A Sisterhood of Believers

In this place, we were surrounded by such magnificent beauty; yet each one of us had brought broken pieces of our hearts that needed mending. (For the sake of anonymity, I will not use my friends’ real names).

Nancy’s husband had been in and out of the hospital for over a year with repeated major surgeries and life-threatening infections. Rosalynn’s daughter was struggling with anxiety and other mental health issues. Sara’s husband had a severe health problem that forced him to indefinitely halt his career as a commercial airline pilot. She was also heartbroken over her son’s battle with alcohol and drug addiction.

Ana was dealing with severe exhaustion from issues related to her diabetes. I was in the middle of a very deep financial wilderness season where I could barely keep my kids fed and a roof over our heads.

Each one of us had arrived with so much brokenness, suffering, and strife. Our hearts longed for restoration and peace. Throughout that week, the Lord refreshed our souls with the natural beauty of the island. He comforted our hearts with the sweet fellowship of this sisterhood of believers.

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Three Artists

One of our dear friends almost didn’t make the trip. The previous year, Mary had suffered a tragic loss in her family–a loss involving the ocean. Reeling from the emotional aftershocks of the incident, Mary was still trying to find her bearings. She was not sure if her heart could handle returning to the sea. Shortly before we left for the trip, however, the Lord gave Mary the courage to go.

One afternoon, I was standing in the kitchen visiting with Mary and Sara. To set this up properly, I should mention that–in very different ways–all three of us are artists. Mary is an amazingly gifted painter, Sara is a wonderful poet, and I am a songwriter. As the three of us gathered around that kitchen island, the Lord did something beautiful for our broken artist hearts. He gave us a glimpse of the tender beauty and care that He so lovingly uses to mend the hearts of His beloved daughters.

He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

Psalm 147:3

A Poem…

Sara had brought a poem that she wanted to share with Mary. The piece described the Japanese art of Kintsugi, which means “golden joinery or repair.” This ancient art form involves the restoration of broken pottery with a lacquer that’s mixed with powdered gold. The resulting pieces–the mended vessels–hold even greater beauty and value than the originals.

As Sara recited the sweet poem, we beheld a beautiful depiction of the way the Lord heals our hearts. Just like the Kintsugi artisans, He carefully considers and deftly handles each delicate and fragile shard. And with His loving touch, He gently puts us back together again. Restoring us, He fills our seams and our scars with something even more precious than gold–His love is the bond that makes us whole. Under His master hand, we emerge even stronger and more beautiful for the mending.

But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

Job 23:10

Restoring us, God fills our seams and our scars with something even more precious than gold–His love is the bond that makes us whole. We emerge even stronger and more beautiful for the mending. Click To Tweet

A Painting

As Sara finished reading the poem, Mary was in tears. Mary shared how she had just returned from a long walk on the beach with the Lord. She had been so reluctant to return to this place of such heartbreak and loss. Yet the Lord–in His tender and merciful way–had softly touched her heart by opening her eyes to the beauty surrounding her.

As she took each step on the soft sand, He guided her gaze to a new colorful sight. Each one contained uniquely beautiful tones and hues. The soft pinks and subtle blues of the seashells were like watercolors. Puffs of white foam on the grey sand strewn with black sea bark–a black and white rendering. Stark streaks of marigold and turquoise across the sky–a bold acrylic abstract. Wisps of bright green sea grass gently waving from the breezy dunes–a simple yet alluring landscape scene.

Like a palate resting on her arm as she made brushstrokes on her canvas, this natural array of color offered new creative possibilities. Her Creator was reawakening her painter’s heart. All of this splendor was right there in front of her, on magnificent display.

Through the beauty of this simple seaside setting, the Lord was showing His beloved daughter one of His most treasured works. It was not the physical scenery that lay before her–it was her very own heart. She was a daughter after His own heart. A painter, gifted and trained by the Master. And she was His masterpiece.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

A Song

As Mary finished sharing, I almost couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Earlier that day, the Lord had taken me on a similar journey on the beach, and He was speaking to me through all the broken seashells along the shore.

I had been pouring out my heart to Him. Desperately seeking peace and assurance that my family would survive this wilderness season of deep hardship and lack. And as He often does, He brought me solace through the lyrics of a new song. I sang it there in the kitchen for my friends, as I knew it was meant not only for me but for their hearts as well. It’s called Broken Seashells:

Broken seashells, on the seashore: works of art, strewn in the sand.

In this masterpiece, He has created, even the refuse is grand. O even the refuse is grand.

We all long for beauty, the desire’s built in.

Made to reflect His glory, we’re hewn by a master hand. Yes we’re hewn by our Master’s hand.

With a blueprint on every fingertip, and a light in every eye,

a love in each heart, and a story to live by. It’s His story we live by.

We all long for meaning, for a purpose within.

Made to trust His leading, and follow a master plan. Yes we follow our Master’s plan.

With a blueprint on every fingertip, and a light in every eye,

a love in each heart, and a story to live by. It’s His story we live by.

Broken people, on the seashore: works of art strewn in the sand.

In this masterpiece, He has created, even the refuse is grand. Yes, even the refuse is grand.

Broken seashells, on the seashore…

Hope Anderson, “Broken Seashells”

Restoration

So the Lord used a poem, a painting, and a song to bring restoration to our hearts. And although not every wound was completely healed in that week, He touched our hearts in such beautifully unique ways that we could not deny the goodness of our Creator.

What has the Lord used to bring restoration to your broken heart? Do you know that your heart contains the bonds of His love, which is far more precious than pure gold?

When we hand over the broken pieces of our hearts to the Lord, we can expect restoration. We emerge from His mending with even greater beauty and value. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #beauty #healing #create #restore

unsplash-logoOlivier Mesnage
All scriptures are from The King James Version of The Bible.
advocate, trauma, hope, darkness, dirty, encouragement, hope, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Dirty: Bringing the Darkness of Trauma into the Light of Hope

The feeling of being dirty can cause us to feel like we are in a sea of darkness. When we are in these times it is important to remember that light is never gone and hope can always be found. We must stand with women who have been through trauma and we must speak out when we have experienced it. This is when we find hope. 



In November of 2017, I was raped. Since then I have felt a pull in my heart towards the traumatized woman. I have also felt a strong conviction to publicly share what I went through. I have let fear and shame and the feeling of being dirty rule my story. No longer.

Dirty

While I have struggled with self-worth and feelings of inadequacy most of my life, since that day I have truly felt dirty. Dirty, unlovable, broken, and surrounded by darkness. While in many ways I have healed, there are still days that I am not okay. I revert back to allowing anxiety to rule and to question all of my experiences. That is not truth. That is not God’s powerful redeeming love.

I know that I am not the only woman who has felt dirty. I know I am not the only woman who has felt ashamed or broken. Who has allowed her experiences and sins to cause her to question her purpose and God’s powerful love in her life. Oh Lord Help Us is for that woman. I am for that woman. Do not allow yourself to live in shame. You have a redeeming Savior who loves you. You are not defined by your past.

Feeling dirty can cause us to feel like we are in a sea of darkness. It is important to remember that light is never gone and hope can always be found. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #hope #trauma #healing #encouragement

Redemption

We have been ransomed through his Son’s blood, and we have forgiveness for our failures based on his overflowing grace

Ephesians 1:7, CEB

While rape is never the victim’s fault, my actions played into what happened to me that evening. I made a choice to be alone with him. I do not know what would be different if I had not allowed that to happen but I have had to overcome my part in it.

We have been ransomed. We have been forgiven. Our failures, our mistakes, and our sins make us feel dirty. But there is redemption; Redemption through His overflowing grace. So much grace. He turns our dirt into beauty. He transforms and renews us. His sacrifice makes us clean. We do not need to dwell on our past but can look into our redemption.

We have been ransomed. We have been forgiven. Our failures, our mistakes, and our sins make us feel dirty. But there is redemption; Redemption through His overflowing grace. Click To Tweet

Hope

The light shines in the dark, and the dark has never extinguished it.

John 1:5, GW

In the midst of pain, there is always hope. In the darkness, the light always shines. The time after my rape was the darkest time of my life. Hope seemed far off. The light was too dim to see. But it was there.

Darkness can never extinguish the light. Even in times when the light seems impossible to see it is still there. It will never go away. That light is hope. Hope that is among the trauma. Hope that only comes from Jesus. We can not fight the darkness on our own. We need His light. The light that extinguishes the darkness.

In this dark time, the light and the hope came through my story impacting others. When I thought I was alone Jesus brought people into my past that have walked similar paths. He brought people that needed to hear they were not alone. If I had not walked in the darkness in this way then other peoples lives would have not been impacted. That is the hope we can see in our pain. That one day our story can touch lives, one day we can show a woman in darkness the light that never fades.

Stand

We need to wake up. Do you hear me, sisters? We need to wake up and stand with these people battling the darkness. Not condemning them, and not sweeping their pain under the rug, but acting in love. These women that feel dirty: we need stand and with them and fight. We must speak out, and we must have a voice. Stop telling people to keep it to themselves and stop denying the facts. Darkness can come when you least expect it and we must bring this darkness to light.

I know that I have a nasty habit of judging others. I would venture to say that we all have that sin struggle in us, but we need to stop. We need to allow women that have been through trauma and struggle to find a safe place. We need to give them a safe place. If we respond with love and understanding instead of judgment imagine the difference that would make. Allow the person in darkness to see what light looks like. Show her that she can feel clean again. Share your experience with her so she doesn’t feel so alone. Inspire hope.

If you are in a place of feeling dirty and stuck in the darkness do not allow yourself to walk through it alone. There are people who have walked through the darkness and come out on the other side. We are all a little dirty. Remember that the light is never gone. Hope can always be found. As Albus Dumbledore said, “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of places, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

Fight. Encourage. Love. Support. Speak. Heal.

Feeling dirty can cause us to feel like we are in a sea of darkness. It is important to remember that light is never gone and hope can always be found. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #hope #trauma #healing #encouragement

camilo jimenez

healing, purpose, mentor, trust, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Mentor: Teaching Through Intentional Relationships

To mentor is to teach through relationship. It’s having someone to go to with questions, who will be honest. This is the purpose of Oh Lord Help Us. 



For most of my life I have loved people, but feared their rejection. When I went into high school I was desperate to fit in. And after it became abundantly clear that I was too scrawny, too pale, with too little rhythm to fit in with who I deemed to be the cool crowd, I did find that I fit in with the athletic crowd, which led me to Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

To mentor is to teach through relationship. It's having someone to go to with questions, who will be honest. This is the purpose of Oh Lord Help Us. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #mentor #trust #healing

Guidance

This filled a massive void in my life, as my family did not have a church home during this season. And with my involvement in FCA came my first mentor. When I look back over my life, her influence has been hugely impactful in the trajectory of my path. She taught me, challenged me, confronted me, loved me. Even through college she was there guiding me to make decisions that would enhance my influence, rather than destroy it.

Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more.

Proverbs 9:9, NLT

Meanwhile… Throughout high school, I was also into horses. My parents supported me in taking lessons, learning how to ride English saddle – the fancy stuff. This sparked a dream to have a horse farm one day. Combining it with my love for FCA, it was to be a camp for troubled girls.

Growth

After college, I became involved with a church for the first time. Unknowingly at the time, the women’s ministry director was mentoring me. She told me she could see Jesus in me. She saw potential in me and sent me to conferences to become a speaker before I ever knew that was something I wanted. And she involved me in leadership when I was too immature to fully realize what she was doing for me.

let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—

Proverbs 1:5, NIV

Meanwhile… Turns out, I don’t have what it takes to work with horses. That part of the dream died, but the love for ministry remained. I began a ministry at our church to provide mentoring for teenage girls. Just as it was getting off the ground, we moved.

Listening

A few years later, after my mom died, we moved to a new state with no friends, family, or church. While in Atlanta, I was desperate for an older woman in my life. I prayed, and God provided. She was actually one of my patients where I was working as a dental hygienist. For months we would meet once a week and just chat. She would listen to me dream and never told me it was a bad idea. She corrected me when I was off base. And she comforted me when the pain from missing my mom became too great to bear.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, NIV

Meanwhile… My desire to pour into young ladies was being met as I led a Bible study with some of the youth in our church. Honestly, though, my heart was running on empty. I did not have the maturity to see that I needed to be still in this season. The longing in me for my previous life was so great; I was trying to recreate what I had before. Through this, God was taking the purpose I was created for, and making a new thing.

Virtual

Our years in Chicago were a spiritual drought, but I still had my virtual mentors. Sermons I would listen to challenged my perception of contentment. Books I read brought me to a deeper understanding of provision. Being a new mom I found great comfort in parenting blogs assuring me that I was not losing my mind and that the newborn stage/toddler stage/preschool stage would indeed pass. 

But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.

John 14:26, NLT

Meanwhile… We opened a coffee shop in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago. Our desire was to be a bright spot in an area that was feeling the growing pains of gentrification. But with an ever-deepening pit of debt, and the emotional roller coaster of motherhood, we knew we had to pass it on.

Healing

Our years in Greenville, South Carolina were when mentors came into my life providing healing. Interesting thing, while I was with Oh Lord Help Us in Anderson, SC back in November at a Holiday Vendor Fair I saw my old pastor. Now, he would not know me from anyone. It was a fairly large church, and being that I was in a stage of healing, I kept to myself. But I was so excited to see him, you would have thought he was a long lost friend.

I absolutely went over to him, told him who I was, and how I knew him. He was generous with his time, asking me questions about our ministry and where life has taken me. I shared with him that when we knew we were leaving Greenville to come to North Carolina, I was sad but had complete peace. The Lord spoke to my spirit that we had come to Greenville to heal and that it was now time to fly.

When I spoke those words to him, he chuckled in a knowing sorta way. He told me that when they began the church in Greenville, their prayer was that it would be a place of healing. It was indeed that for me. Greenville and that church will always hold a special place in my heart. The people we encountered and did life with there showed me how to love others, how to give, and how to be comfortable in my own skin. My friends were my mentors.

Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.

Proverbs 17:17, MSG

Meanwhile… A friend and my husband thought it would be a good idea to start a blog. I tried to quit it, more than once, but the conviction in my spirit was so great I couldn’t. I knew that this thing, that would eventually become a bigger thing, was the vehicle to do the thing I have felt so passionate about throughout my life: mentoring.

Mentor

Mentoring is nothing more than teaching through relationship. It’s having someone to go to with questions. Someone who will be honest with you even if it’s not what you want to hear. It’s encouragement often, and rebuke when necessary. Mentoring can change the direction of your life, and keep you where you need to be.

This idea of teaching through relationship is throughout the Bible…

  • Moses to Joshua
  • Elijah to Elisha
  • Naomi to Ruth
  • Elizabeth to Mary
  • Jesus to the disciples
  • Barnabas to Paul
  • Paul to Timothy

Mentoring is not fixing others, instead, it is walking together as we heal and see our value and purpose. As painful as our stories are, none of us are a lost cause. There is value in our tragedies. Through redemptive healing, we can see tragedies as opportunities rather than assaults and become conquerors rather than victims. Having the perspective of another trusted woman helps us do this, and see our worth.

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.

Proverbs 27:17, NLT

Who has been influential in your life?

Mentoring is not 'fixing' others, instead, it is walking together as we heal and see our value and purpose. As painful as our stories are, none of us are a lost cause. Click To Tweet

To mentor is to teach through relationship. It's having someone to go to with questions, who will be honest. This is the purpose of Oh Lord Help Us. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #mentor #trust #healing #devotional #scripture
Josh Carter

balance, healing, body, spirit, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Balance: Experiencing Healing in Body, Soul, and Spirit

When we seek God’s healing, we find balance in our body, soul, and spirit. He gives us the wisdom for how to achieve this balance long term.



I’m in my final week of a six-week dietary reset. It’s been a bit of a battle, but most of the fighting happened before I even began. Before I created my first new healthy recipe or popped the first natural supplement, I had already done the majority of the fighting.

You see, the battle was raging in my mind and body, and they were at war with my spirit. I knew in my spirit that something was out of balance. But my mind and body had begun to lean in and listen to this lie of the enemy: “Sickness and exhaustion are just your new normal.”

I was struggling with severe digestive problems, fatigue, brain fog, and the list goes on. But I thought: “Well, I’m nearing forty and have had two kids. So, I guess this is just how I’m bound to look and feel at this age.” What a lie that was! How good God is! And what a difference six disciplined weeks have made!

The World’s View vs. God’s Will…

Picture your average cooking show where they’re making some gooey cheesy fettuccini alfredo. The show is interrupted by a commercial for delayed-release antacids to fight heartburn and acid reflux. The irony is so obvious, but it’s as if we’ve forgotten how directly linked all of this is.

The world tells us it’s normal to always feel sick and tired. There are pills for these things, right?! The world suggests that the standard American diet is fine as long as we try to make relatively healthy choices. And when we’re sick and don’t know why the world offers us the latest prescription drug to help slow the symptoms.

But, the Holy Spirit began to invite me to change channels. To flip my thinking from sickness to wholeness. To believe that deeper healing is possible and to begin to pursue it. Ultimately, the Holy Spirit has helped me change my view of health from the world’s view to God’s will:

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 12:2

And it is not God’s will for us to feel terrible all the time. His desire is for us to be healthy. To feel whole. For our bodies to function as the perfect creations that He made.

O Taste and See???

Before I embarked on this healing adventure, I learned that I would not be able to have coffee, sugar, dairy or a whole host of other staples in my diet. As I looked over the “approved” foods list, in my natural mind, I kind of freaked out. How on earth was I going to function!?

I was reminded of a bit by the stand-up comedian, Brian Regan, which is all about food. In it, he describes leaving his doctor’s office to the tune of “Oh, and by the way, try to lay off the dairy.” And he’s like, “What? That’s like saying, ‘Oh, and by the way, No more happiness!'” That’s about how I felt. What was I supposed to eat? How would I function? Doesn’t scripture say:

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

Psalm 34:8

This felt like the opposite of that. Like, ‘man barely scrapes by on a few gnarly nuts, seeds, and roughage.’

When we seek God's healing, we find balance in our body, soul, and spirit. He gives us the wisdom for how to achieve this balance long term. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Before I Began to Heal…

Before I began to heal, after every meal, my stomach was so achy and bloated that I had to lie down to get it to calm down. The nausea was incapacitating. Now I can eat and digest and go on about my day. Before I began to change my eating, I opted for cookies with artificial flavoring and high fructose corn syrup, which had thrown my taste buds all out of whack. But now that I’ve broken my sugar addiction, I’m beginning to truly taste and see that the Lord is good. I mean, He created fruit, and praise God, it tastes sweet again! It’s like nature’s candy.

Prior to this process, I was sort of walking around in a mental haze. I didn’t have clarity in my thoughts, and I was experiencing what has been termed ‘brain fog’. Clear headed now, I’m actually able to tackle all the things I have to accomplish in a day’s time for a busy household.

One of the biggest surprises has been the fact that without any caffeine or sugar, I now have more energy than I’ve had in years. I’m up by 6:15 am, in bed by 10 pm, and I’m not tired and sluggish throughout the day. And then there’s the added bonus that I’ve lost ten pounds, and my skin has completely cleared up!

It’s All Connected…

So, you might be saying:

“Wow. That’s great. Good for you. I’m glad your new diet is working out. But why does any of this matter on a spiritual level?”

To put it the same way that folks have for centuries: it matters because it’s all connected. Our body, our soul, and our spirit are connected to one another. And when one isn’t working properly, it throws our balance out of whack. And when we’re unbalanced, we can’t walk steadily in our full potential. In the health and wholeness that the Lord has provided for His children.

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

3 John 1:2

Our body, our soul, and our spirit are connected to one another. And when one isn't working properly, it throws our balance out of whack. Click To Tweet

Wisdom for Healing…

Sometimes the Lord heals us supernaturally. Other times, He gives us wisdom for how to heal ourselves. And He has provided so many things in nature that we can use to heal. So whether it’s a physical health issue, a mental health battle, or a spiritual struggle, we can ask Him to give us His divine wisdom for how to heal from it. And He is faithful to answer us.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

James 1:5

Finding Balance Long-term…

Had He healed me instantly with His divine power, obviously, that would have been wonderful and amazing. However, I believe the Lord had something even better in mind as He showed me how to heal myself. He is teaching me how to sustain a healthy balance, long-term. And although this new healthy eating regimen has helped tremendously, it’s not all about what I’m choosing to eat or not to eat.

The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.

Luke 12:23

Yes, he wants us to eat healthy. But He also wants us to think good, wholesome thoughts, to speak words that give life. To fill ourselves up with the daily bread of His Word. Living balanced essentially means to have Christ in the center of it all. The hub in the middle of the wheel. When we firmly root ourselves in God, He shows us how to stay balanced on the narrow path of faith.

Is there an area of your life where you feel out of whack? Are you getting a balanced daily diet of His daily bread?

When we seek God's healing, we find balance in our body, soul, and spirit. He gives us the wisdom for how to achieve this balance long term. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

All scripture references are from the KJV Bible.
Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, faith, brokenness, healing, darkness, light, prayer, scripture

Darkness: Stepping Out of the Shadows and Into the Light of Jesus

God invites us to step out of the darkness of our brokenness, and into the light of Jesus. That is where we find freedom, this is where we find healing.



Prayer is the believer’s greatest weapon. It is the first line of defense. I was named after the prophetess who recognized Jesus as the Messiah. In the last several months, more people than I even know by name have been praying for my life. I am amped to share with you my first-hand account of God calling me out of darkness and into the light. I now trust my Messiah.

Once I was told a Christian must have a specific transforming moment in their life to claim salvation. It was the evidence of the changed life he or she claimed to have. I had been baptized and I went to church every Sunday. Surely I was good to go, right? But I couldn’t recall an exact moment. I began to question my faith and everything else I believed in.

Dispelling inaccuracies…

Whoever told me I had to have a pinpointed moment of conversion was off the mark. Relationships don’t form in a single moment; they take years. These multiple moments define our faith; they are crucial to it. What is a relationship without doubt? Doubt proven wrong turns into trust. And what is a relationship without hardship? Hardships provide opportunities to share the load when you can’t stand on your own two feet.

You cannot have a relationship with someone and not interact with them. How do you expect to grow close to someone if you’re not willing to grow with them? In other words, how can you expect to grow close to your God if you’re not willing to speak to Him? You simply cannot.

What is a relationship without doubt? Doubt proven wrong turns into trust. And what is a relationship without hardship? Hardships provide opportunities to share the load when you can’t stand on your own two feet. Click To Tweet

A little history…

I have been battling progressively crippling anxiety over the last decade. Most recently, I would not be physically or mentally able to get through more than a few hours without breaking down. Anxiety/panic attacks became daily, sometimes hourly companions. At times, the assault lasted no longer than a few minutes, but others dragged on two to three hours. In an effort to stop an oncoming episode, I would scratch and scrape my arms and legs with my fingernails.

Sinking into darkness…

Amidst the chaos of my worsening state, my family and I had moved nine hours away from everything I’d ever known. The odds were not in my favor. Depression inevitably entered the scene. Within this dark cloud of hopelessness and despair, I began harming myself with whatever I could find in hopes to ease some of the torment in my mind.

After telling my parents shortly after the self harming began, they put me in counseling. That wasn’t cutting it (no pun intended) so we added medical professionals to the mix. That worked for a while, but at my core I felt worthless and hopeless. In May, I relapsed and landed in the ER. It was a wake-up call for me. Miraculously, with the support of several kind and loving brothers and sisters within and outside my church, I was finally able to begin my journey to recovery.

Goosebumps encounters…

I am 16 years old and last month I watched my first horror movie. Any fears I had about watching the film were canceled out in contrast to the horror I faced in my own life…or so I thought. I watched the movie on Thursday night without any trouble. But when it came time for bed on Friday, my last night in the house we’d been living in for two and a half years, I began to feel afraid. Pictures from the movie danced around in my brain.

I felt unsafe, like something dark was lurking in the shadows of my nearly empty room. I was scared of the dark, or rather, what I thought was concealed by it. My mind began to race faster and faster. Thoughts flooded in carrying heartbreaking things that had happened in my life. I was spiraling. Here I go again, I thought; causing my own destruction.

Glimmers of hope…

Then, like a flicker of light in the self-made darkness, a memory found its way into the turmoil. I recalled something I’d heard my Mom say once. “Say Jesus’ name over and over and over again. The devil hates it. He can’t stand it.” So I began whispering His name. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. As the fear continued so did my prayer. Then a song came to mind. The enemy, HE HAS TO LEAVE, at the sound of Your great name.

As I repeated the name of Jesus, begging for relief from all the pain, all the fear…I felt something. Not knowing what this hiccup in my spirit was, I pressed in and began talking to God. And for the first time ever I felt Him. I could feel His presence. And the small glimmer of Christ, of Love, was enough to bring me to tears.

Accepting Love…

I tried as hard as I could to continue praying through the sobs. I was astounded. After all I’d done, and all I ever would do, the Lord still said, “That one’s Mine.” Christ bled, suffered, and died, knowing so many would turn away, so many would curse His name. He still took the weight so some of us could come home.

Christ redeemed us from that self-defeating, cursed life by absorbing it completely into himself. Do you remember the Scripture that says, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”? That is what happened when Jesus was nailed to the cross: He became a curse, and at the same time dissolved the curse. And now, because of that, the air is cleared and we can see that Abraham’s blessing is present and available for non-Jews, too. We are all able to receive God’s life, his Spirit, in and with us by believing—just the way Abraham received it.

Galatians 3:13-14, MSG

Sometimes, I find myself—actually, most of the time—missing the fact that Jesus took the weight of ALL our sin. The moment Jesus walked out of the tomb every sin committed, past, present and future, was washed away. Just a small taste of my sin would daily land me sobbing on the floor. My sin alone was so overwhelming I considered taking my own life. But He loved us—HE LOVES US—He loves you, me, your coworkers, your classmates. Because we are His, He took every drop of death. He conquered it.

God invites us to step out of the darkness of our brokenness, and into the light of Jesus. That is where we find freedom, this is where we find healing. | Faith | Spiritual Growth | Christian Women | Prayer | Scripture

Stepping into the Light…

That Friday night I finally understood how much I really didn’t understand a thing. For so long I’ve been angry at God for taking so much and putting me through so much. But I understand now, it was so I would have nothing but Him. It’s like a tattoo; it hurts in the moment, but it lasts forever. All the pain was worth it. Humans attempt to promise a forever, but the forever Christ promises us goes beyond all our knowledge of time.

Dear friends, don’t overlook this one fact: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.

2 Peter 3:18, CSB

We forget how much power our God really has. If He wanted the earth to vanish beneath us, vanish it would! If He wanted it to rain cats and dogs, THAT’S WHAT IT WOULD DO! We forget to remind ourselves how truly awesome He is. So entangled by our own flesh, we completely forget who gave us this flesh. We have nothing to show; nothing. We are broken… we are ugly… we are sinners. But because God loved us, He made a way for us to step out of the darkness and come home. That makes us beautiful. It makes us whole.

God invites us to step out of the darkness of our brokenness, and into the light of Jesus. That is where we find freedom, this is where we find healing. | Faith | Spiritual Growth | Christian Women | Prayer | Scripture

Annie Spratt

garbage, sin, forgiveness, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, ministry

Garbage: Exposing Filthy Sin That Has Been Buried

A lot of garbage is being revealed in the #MeToo movement, both inside and outside of the Church. How are Christian women suppose to respond?



I was in my thirties the first time a spiritual leader gravely disappointed me. Perhaps I was blind up to that point or simply naive, or maybe it was a different world then; I don’t know. However, during that season of my life there were several gut-wrenching blows to my Christian-leader bubble: Grievous moral failures of staff members, (that sounds too nice for what actually occurred). Our oldest son’s Christian school teachers was charged with murdering his wife (I kid you not!). The affair and subsequent divorce of a couple with whom my husband and I were friends and sang on worship team.

Also, I was attending the Southern Baptist Seminary, enrolled in their Christian counseling program when the trustees underhandedly decided to shut down the program AFTER the semester had already begun! It was a mess, believe me. Let’s just say that the other students and I had a crash course in politics intertwined with religion…so much garbage in such a good place.

A lot of garbage has been revealed in the #MeToo movement, both inside and outside of the Church. How are Christian women supposed to respond? | Sin of Abuse | Forgive, Forgiveness of others | No longer a Victim, but a survivor |#exposingsin #healing #brokenhearted

Garbage In…

I’m not proud to say these combined events created a cynicism within me that took too many years to loosen its grip. (Can I hear anyone say, decades?) At first I felt entitled to my ‘righteous indignation,’ however, the Holy Spirit didn’t let me stay there long before conviction began. Much time in prayer has been spent seeking forgiveness for my attitude. Admittedly, it took a long time before I could pray for the pastor who had verbally beaten us up week after week, year after year, only to be discovered hiding his own insidious sin…more garbage. (A good insight into this phenomenon of why we stay in abusive churches- read the classic Secrets of Your Family Tree by Cloud and Townsend)

Human forgiveness is a strange thing…it is seldom ‘once for all’ like God’s. Each time I thought I had forgiven that pastor or the others, a new pastor at a different church would do something that reminded me of him or the ‘denominational authority’ stuff and the angry thoughts would rise up, again, and seek to strangle me. I have needed to forgive so many times over the years..! Do I smell something?

Garbage Out…

Now, why am I shoveling up all of this smelly, old garbage?

#MeToo seems to be shoveling up a lot of garbage…and the garbage needs to be taken out.

In recent weeks, the Southern Baptists have come under the microscope of the world with the fall and subsequent removal of Paige Patterson as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Patterson has been a prominent Baptist leader for decades. (If you have been unaware of the earthquake that took place in late May, simply Google Patterson’s name.) Due to the forcing of their hands by a Washington Post article, which cited proof that Patterson had told a female student and victim of rape to forgive her offender, (and then proceeded to put her on academic probation), the trustees fired Patterson from his position. They had initially planned to give him a generous severance package along with a new title: theologian-in-residence. This seems to have been the “MO” for the SBC when prominent leaders have been accused of various ‘moral failures.’

There have been many shots across the theological bough since that time. Dr. Albert Mohler wrote a scathing article about the judgment of God coming to the Southern Baptist Convention. Others blame him and those like him in leadership. Dare I say, the judgment of God is not reserved for the Southern Baptists?

For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

I Peter 4:17, NIV

But I digress.

Buried Garbage…

I know, I know; this ‘garbage theme’ I’ve got going isn’t very appealing to ladies. But let’s face it gals, there has been an incredible amount of refuse being slung around both inside and outside of the church that affects women and children. When sin has been buried in the smoldering dark as long as this has, there is bound to be an eruption that spews far and wide. Abuse is destructive and evil in any situation. Within the church it is especially evil because it denigrates the image of Christ and completely perverts His call to love. Dr. Tim Clinton, President of the American Association of Christian Counselors, says

“It’s tough to believe in the fidelity of God, if all you’re experiencing is ongoing abuse in your life.”

Indeed.

The Answer to Garbage…

Many of the women who gained the courage to speak to their pastors were told to forgive the perpetrators/husbands who were abusing them; while the perpetrators/husbands were seldom called into account. To say this caused a crisis of faith within the hearts of women is a vast understatement. To suggest that this was a grave misunderstanding of Ephesians 5:22-25 seems outlandishly apparent; but obviously was not to a great many within the church! (The rest of Ephesians 5 had to have been ignored).

However, ultimately, forgiveness must come eventually in order for the abused to be set free… Free from your abuser, free from your past, free from the enemy who continues to haunt you with feelings of worthlessness and victimhood. Maybe not today; the pain may still feel too great, too enormous to bear right now. But the Father will invite you when He knows the time.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18, NIV

Forgiveness must come eventually... Maybe not today; the pain may still feel too great, too enormous to bear right now. But the Father will invite you when He knows the time. Click To Tweet

To Close…

Can I close with the words of Ann Voskamp? I can’t express it any more eloquently:

It happens – there are ways to look fine on the outside…and no one knows what you’ve really survived. But the truth is? You didn’t just survive, so let’s toss that myth out right at the outset. The way you keep walking? You may be wounded. You may be hurting. You may be limping. You may feel alone and overwhelmed and unspoken broken – but you’re no victim.

You’re not just a survivor. You’re a thriver. You may bleed – but you rise.

Yeah, it may not feel like it – but you are seen…how you just keep keeping your chin up and limping brave through the hurt…how you keep taking one step out of bed and another step through the door…

But I wanted you to know your wounds are seen and you are going to be okay – it is all going to be okay.

The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.

Ann Voskamp, The Way of Abundance

A lot of garbage has been revealed in the #MeToo movement, both inside and outside of the Church. How are Christian women supposed to respond? | Sin of Abuse | Forgive, Forgiveness of others | No longer a Victim, but a survivor |#exposingsin #healing #brokenhearted

paul morris

forgive, forgiveness, pain

Forgiveness: Six Things We Can Do When the Pain Lingers

Forgiveness can be extremely hard and the pain feels like it will never subside. What can we do to heal, when the apology never comes? What does the Bible tell us about forgiveness and remorse?



Most of us learn about forgiveness and remorse early in life. In my experience, these two lessons work in tandem best when parents help mediate. (Especially when siblings are involved.) I was taught to apologize to my brothers, my parents, anyone I had hurt, to God. In turn, I learned to forgive those who had asked for forgiveness. As I got older, this lesson became harder. I did not comprehend, as a child, that some day forgiveness would be given even without an apology.

Honestly, I was under the impression that this tandem operation would be much more of a “thing”. Consequently, the less influence my parents had on my daily decisions, the harder it became to forgive and be forgiven. It was a challenging lesson as a child, and it’s even harder now. For me, it’s not the apologizing that’s difficult, it’s forgiving in spite of the pain. Especially, forgiving when the apology doesn’t happen. How do we transition toward a posture of healing when our pain goes unacknowledged?

Fresh into marriage, I learned the hard way that my husband could not read my mind. This is true for a majority of the population… we are not a clairvoyant species. Needless to say, the silent treatment got me nowhere. Indeed, the smarty, backhanded comments did NOT portray the hurt I was feeling. I had to learn how to, clearly and gently, communicate what I was upset about. When I was able to approach my husband in a posture of forgiveness, it made it easier for him to understand my pain and truly apologize.

 

Forgiveness: What the Bible says…

Forgiveness can be extremely hard and the pain feels like it will never subside. What can we do to heal, when the apology never comes? What does the Bible tell us about forgiveness and remorse?

 

Since you have been chosen by God who has given you this new kind of life, and because of his deep love and concern for you, you should practice tenderhearted mercy and kindness to others. Don’t worry about making a good impression on them, but be ready to suffer quietly and patiently.  Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

Colossians 3:12-13, TLB

 

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you…

Matthew 6:14, ESV

 

Whoa! We have to suffer “quietly and patiently”, ever “ready to forgive”. Why? God COMMANDED us to forgive, anyone and everyone so that we, too, could receive forgiveness. Commanded. It’s not easy, it’s not fun, and it doesn’t seem fair. For us, forgiveness is usually second in line to our grief and we let it stay there until WE are ready. When the pain subsides, then we forgive. However, God is just and His timing is perfect. FIRST forgive, THEN cast your heartache on the Lord for He will mend you.

 

Give your burdens to the Lord. He will carry them. He will not permit the godly to slip or fall.

Psalm 55:22TLB

 

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

1 Peter 5:7, NLT

FIRST forgive, THEN cast your heartache on the Lord for He will mend you. Click To Tweet

 

Forgiveness can be extremely hard and the pain feels like it will never subside. What can we do to heal, when the apology never comes? What does the Bible tell us about forgiveness and remorse?

 

Forgiveness: What to do…

I’ve found that healing of the mind and heart can take some time. All types of emotions creep in, during this season: anger, bitterness, sadness, self-pity. How do we handle these in a healthy manner? The list below contains methods that I have personally used during times of healing in order to combat these ugly emotions…

Throw some rocks

Living in the country has its perks. I do not recommend throwing rocks if you are surrounded by a lot of neighbors. Otherwise, they will have to forgive you for a broken window. Alternatively, wetting some paper towels and throwing them at your shower wall bears the same result. But, rocks are fun.

Write it out and burn it

Seriously, this is awesome. Get it all out; the messy, fractured emotions. It is pain, leaving the mind, through the hand. Fire destroys the negativity, physically and symbolically.

Exercise

Exercise is self-explanatory. I have found, being physically active can help release ugly feelings. Make sure it is something you actually enjoy doing. Turning on some upbeat music and having a solo dance party, can shake those negative emotions right out.

Wake up early to pray

Oh my gosh! Sleep is so precious. However, losing a few minutes of sleep replenishes our souls. Waking up 10-15 minutes earlier to pray for those who have hurt you, will bless you and them! “ Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.” (Luke 6:28, NLT)

Talk it out

Connect with someone you trust and talk it out! Your spouse, a friend, a pastor, a counselor, someone who knows your intentions and your heart.

Don’t dwell

Devotions, scripture, music, podcasts, hobbies, subjects you love; all these things should occupy your mind as to not dwell on the pain. I discovered that the longer I would dwell, the longer the pain stuck around.


The break away…

Just this evening, as I was finishing up this post, God gave me opportunity to follow through on His command. There was a disagreement, with hurtful words thrown around. In that moment, I failed the test. I was hurt and was not quick to forgive. Boy, will I remember this night. Not because of the pain, but because of the shame. I let God down and did not heed his commandment. How can I write these words for you and not live it out?! Praise the Lord for His grace!

What about you? Is there pain getting in the way of you forgiving? In what ways have you coped during a healing process?


If you have found this inspiring, share the encouragement…

Forgiveness can be extremely hard and the pain feels like it will never subside. What can we do to heal, when the apology never comes? What does the Bible tell us about forgiveness and remorse?

ORNELLA BINNI