Romans 8:28

Over the past few months I have shared a bit of my personal battle with depression and suicide. Sharing this was not easy and the decision to share was not taken lightly. It is my humble and most earnest prayer that if you find yourself suffering from depression that you will be encouraged three-fold by my story. First, encouraged to SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP. (Suicide hotline is available 24 hours a day  800-273-8255)  Second, encouraged to TALK about what you are experiencing. (Satan LOVES secrets) Finally, encouraged to NOT GIVE UP. I believe that every piece of this journey has been important and necessary. I am eternally grateful for my medication, counseling, and hospital stay. These things treated me physically, but recently God drew me back to Himself, and THAT is when I became whole. In two battles with cancer, God allowed me the distinct privilege of sharing the love of Christ with people I would not have come in contact with had I not been a cancer patient. I will not bore you with all the skeletons in my closet, but I will say with complete confidence that GOD has used every terrible, earth shaking, crippling event in my life for His good. God can (and does) use a valley I’ve traveled to be the very thing that opens the door for a conversation about the love of Christ with someone. This has turned my greatest hurts into treasures… only God could make that happen. Romans 8:28 says that GOD works ALL things (not just good things) together for the good of those who LOVE HIM (that’s me), who have been called according to HIS...

There Is Hope

Everyone thinks that suicide is such a terrible thing. Honestly, where I am now is so much worse. It’s more than I can describe. I’m NOT going to kill myself. I took that option off the table, and that’s what everyone seems to be so worried about, but I feel like I am going to crumble to pieces at any moment. It’s like I am barely holding it together and if anyone touches me I will literally break into a million pieces. I feel so FRAGILE. I feel like I can’t be depended on, like I can’t carry my weight in things, like I am not meeting expectations. I feel like I am letting people down because I can’t get my act together.  I fight back tears constantly and I am afraid if I ever let that dam open, I may not stop crying…ever. I don’t want to FEEL this way. I don’t want to have to keep TELLING myself, “Just get through today.” (excerpt from my personal blog) Perhaps you’re sitting in the dark, trying to find the light again. Perhaps you’re struggling through each day, putting on a smile to hide the darkness that wants to swallow you whole. If so, I’m glad you’re here. Please, sit with me a while. I’ve spent the past months trying desperately to soothe the ache in my soul that brought me to this dark place. I’ve been hospitalized twice, prescribed medication, and been through hours upon hours of counseling, where I’ve tried to “connect with myself” and “soothe my inner child.” In the midst of all this, Psalm 139 will not leave my...

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

I’ve been thinking a lot about the promise in Psalm 139. Specifically, verses 13 and 14: For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,  I know that full well. God’s ability to create infinitely beautiful things overwhelms me. I am left breathless by the majesty of the world around me. The intricate details on the wings of butterflies and flower petals completely amaze me. The sensation of warm sunshine on my skin in spring and cool breeze on my face in the fall remind me of the gentleness of my Creator. Waterfalls  are my favorite things in nature. I could sit at the base of a waterfall and listen to the crashing water, the birds, and all the other sounds of nature for hours. I love the smell of damp earth and decaying leaves. I love the way the sunlight dances through dense foliage. I love the way moss sways to the rhythm of the current. I love the contrast of a boulder’s roughness against the softness of my skin. All this gives me an indescribable sense of peace while at the same time reminding me of my own fragility compared to these majestically destructive forces of nature. So then, it stands to reason that I would celebrate Psalm 139. The same God that created all these wonderfully beautiful things that bring me such joy also created me…my inmost being…knit me together… actually took time and created… me. I believe that God created me exactly the way He wants me to be. It just doesn’t FEEL that way. I don’t feel fearfully...

When Feelings Scream Louder than Facts

This a sensitive topic that NEEDS to be discussed. If you find yourself struggling with depression and/or suicidal thoughts, there are resources to help including the National Suicide Hotline (1-800-273-8255). You are not alone in your struggle. I don’t usually write from the valley. It is easier to write from the mountaintop, but that’s not where I am today. I’m in the valley. I don’t know how long the path through this valley is, nor how dark it will get. So, I’ll just write from here. Please, come sit with me in the dark. On July 19th I tried to kill myself. There’s really no easy way to say that; no way to make it less offensive or shocking. This wasn’t a cry for help or a plea for attention. I fully intended to end my life. You may wonder,  “How can a Christian commit suicide?” A Christian can become suicidal when feelings scream louder than facts. A Christian can feel hopelessness, despair, uncertainty, fear, and self loathing just like anyone else. A Christian can feel discouraged, empty and alone. Being a Christian does not give a person super-powered immunity to the feelings that life’s circumstances (and poor choices) bring with them.  Feelings are fickle, deceitful, and unreliable. They are demanding and strong and loud. Most importantly, they are easily manipulated by the enemy of our souls. As a Christian, I  know that Jesus died for all my sin; I need not feel shame or guilt for the many ways I have fallen short of the Glory of God. I know that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord; that Jesus came to give life and give it more abundantly;...

The Garden Prayer

For years, the account of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane puzzled me. I couldn’t get past the following train of thought: “If Jesus is God, then He knows what God knows. If God knew that the only way to redeem humanity was for Jesus to be crucified, then Jesus knew that. Then why on earth did He ask God to ‘let this cup pass from me’ if He knew that wasn’t an option?” I dissected the account of Jesus in the Garden more times than I can count. I looked for answers, prayed for answers, asked others for answers… and got a lot of nothing. I was trying to make sense of my second cancer diagnosis when I was drawn back to the account of Jesus in the Garden … and it finally clicked. In the Garden, Jesus showed us how to go to Our Father and ask Him to take the hard things from us. He asked for another way to deal with the sin of mankind while remaining completely submitted to God’s will. The account is there for me (and for you). Scripture says this: Going a little farther, He fell facedown and prayed, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39 HCSB Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, Your will be done.” Matthew 26:43 HCSB   In the Garden, Jesus shows us this beautiful truth… When life presses on you so hard that you can’t rest, your chest hurts, and you have a hard time breathing…...

God is Great … God is Good

My family served lunch at our local soup kitchen last month. I leave there with something each time we serve there: a new or better understanding of the plight of those who depend on the soup kitchen for their meal; a renewed appreciation of the blessings I so often take for granted; a heightened respect for those who so faithfully serve our homeless community; and a desire to do more to serve where God has placed me are but a few of the things I’ve taken away from the soup kitchen over the years. Last month, I received the most amazing and unexpected gift. Once we’re prepared the lunch plates and those who were eating had been invited in and seated, the fella in charge that day welcomed everyone. He thanked us for providing the meal and for giving our time to serve it. Then he announced that it was time to bless the food. He’d prayed with us multiple times already that morning…long rambling prayers that one would expect from someone who depends on the Lord daily for every little physical thing. He prayed prayers of thanksgiving for the food we’d prepared. He prayed prayers of protection for our family and the others who served that day. He prayed for God’s blessings to rain down on our lives. So, you can imagine my surprise…no, my SHOCK, when he began to bless the food… “God is Great, God is Good…” I am ashamed to say that my immediate thought was “WHAT?!?!? Are you kidding me?” I instantly remembered teaching my children to pray “Dear God thank you for the hot dogs...

“God Won’t Give you More Than You Can Bear”

This phrase has been both puzzling and troubling to me over the years, specifically when I had cancer and during times when I experienced spiritual warfare personally and in our ministry. So, I went digging for answers. There is no scripture that tells us that God won’t give us more than we can bear or that tells us that God won’t allow more than we can bear. What you WILL find is 1 Corinthians 10:13, which states: No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV) This verse is referring to TEMPTATION. God does allow us to be tempted to sin, but He NEVER sets us up to fail. He will not allow circumstances so that the ONLY option we have is to sin. God is loving and ALWAYS gives us an alternative to sin. We misquote this verse and use it to apply to hardships, sickness, and all sorts of troubles…which seems harmless enough. I find comfort in telling you “God won’t give you more than you can bear.” It helps me reassure myself that you are okay and not in need of my help. It’s not as comforting when you are on the receiving end of this platitude. In fact, it has caused me a great deal of grief. I remember thinking on more than one occasion, “Well, what is wrong with me then? I am fairly certain that this is more...

Under Attack?

This week, I have been thinking a lot about “The Battle.” I’m not sure that Christians take Satan’s attack on us seriously. The Bible refers to him as a prowling lion, looking for someone to devour. I recently discovered some interesting things about how lions hunt. Today, I want to share something that especially caught my attention, perhaps because this is something I can personally identify with…. Antelopes, while physically fast, are mentally not quite so sprightly and pay perhaps too little attention to learning from their mistakes. Sound like anyone you know? Sure does sound like me. In some areas, I am consistently strong and victorious, but in others…not so much. I read about a group of Thomson’s gazelles crossing a patch of thick bush in order to drink. That particular patch of bush was bristling with lions who instantly grabbed and ate one of the gazelles. The rest of the gazelles scattered to safety, but over the next few hours the same group of gazelles, having apparently forgotten the recent murder of one of their companions, tried not once, but twice, more to get to the water using the SAME route…with predictable results. Oh my goodness! How many times do I walk right into Satan’s traps? Much like those poor gazelles, I forget all too quickly that my enemy is lying in wait. Scripture warns us, even commands us, what to avoid. We all have that one sin that we love: that one thing that we don’t want to let go of. If we let our guard down, Satan doesn’t have to put forth much effort to ensnare us … he simply lures...

Dieting and My Christian Walk

Recently, my hubby said something in a sermon about people being willing to give God some of ourselves, maybe even most of ourselves, but until we give Him EVERY-thing, we won’t experience Christianity the way God intended. So I’m thinking to myself, “That’s sounds a lot like dieting.” (Probably because I would REALLY like a huge plate of nachos for lunch instead of the baked fish waiting on me.) The comparison occupied my mind for several days as I adjusted to my new diet. Each time I made a poor food choice, I was reminded how similar choices hinder my Christian walk. What if I eat mostly “allowed” foods, and give up all the “bad” foods except maybe one or two? Can’t I give up the extra pizza and sugary soft drinks with friends, but eat a pack of cookies in private? I mean, giving up MOST of the foods that make me fat counts for something, right? Surely giving up MOST every “forbidden” food allows me the right to a nightly bowl of vanilla ice cream covered in chocolate syrup and candy coated sprinkles. Of course not! I have to wonder why so many of us do the same with our Christian walk. We give up most everything, only holding on to those “little” vices that we “deserve.” Surely giving up most of our sinful desires counts for something. Giving up MOST of our “old life” gives us the right to hang on to one little part of it, doesn’t it? I can have all the tools to get healthy. I can join a gym, carry a gym pass on my key ring, pack my gym bag...

Little Things

  Tonight was one of “those” nights when everybody is ill and getting on everybody else’s nerves. I think I actually heard my little one say that her brother was breathing her air. It was more than I could stand. I thought I was going crazy, but just before I told my family that I was moving to Montana to grow Dental Floss Bushes, the Holy Spirit reminded me of something…. Trust that what Scripture says is true…like when it tells me:  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) Does this verse apply when my children are fighting over stuff that they don’t even care about? Does this apply when everyone gets on my nerves, when my feelings are hurt, or I’m misunderstood? Does it apply when I’m just grumpy? The verse doesn’t say “Pray about the big stuff.” It says to present EVERY situation to God. So, tonight I did. I ordered my two precious bundles of joy to get their bottoms over to the couch “Before I count to three”, threatened to sell them to the circus if they so much as THOUGHT of touching each other, promised to tape the mouth of the next one that spoke a word, and, with both of them staring at me with that “yep, she’s finally lost it” look in their eyes….I prayed. For their benefit, of course. I prayed because they need to know how to ask for forgiveness.  I wanted God to...