Teaching Our Kids Not to Mask Their Pain

I answered the phone and on the other end was a dear friend sobbing. She was going through a debilitating depression and was making the decision whether to get on medication or not. She has teenagers like myself and I asked her if the kids knew. I could barely hear her whisper on the other end of the line: “No, and I don’t want them to know.” Oh, I knew the feeling all too well. I had just experienced the same thing and had to sit my kids down and explain I had depression and was taking medication. But I too had hidden it from them for quite a while out of shame. We chatted for a while and in the following days we both wrestled with these questions back and forth to each other: “How will we teach our kids the path to wellness if we don’t show them? “How do we explain to them that it’s okay to sometimes not be okay? “What if they someday go through depression like us. Are we teaching them to hide? To run? To be ashamed?” I was taught from an early age how to cope with my pain. My father was a severe alcoholic/addict and I learned early on how to numb it by stuffing it down with a substance or food, or to run from it altogether. My dad ended up getting sober when I was eighteen and was clean for twenty-two years before he passed away two years ago. Through watching him in active recovery all those years and watching him come out of hiding, God began leading me...

Cling Tight Dear One

When life seems to keep knocking you down and you start to wonder when will you see the sun again just remember to cling tight, dear one. This has been the four words that God keeps pressing on my heart these last few months. Oh how I wish that I could tell you that the Christian life was all sunshine and roses, but truth is that it’s not always easy. Yes, there are times when It’s full of sadness, disappointment, and hurt, but there are also times full of happiness, joy and love. Thank goodness for that, because can you image how hard it would be to even get out of bed each day if it was only the hard stuff? Here’s what I will tell you — I’ve grown more as a believer in the hard times than in the easy times. Sit there for a minute. It’s a hard truth, for sure, but it’s true. It’s when things are tough than we run (not even walk) to God. It’s not when things are going smoothly. So, what’s one supposed to do when you are buried deep in the middle of the hard times? Well, that’s where these four words come in handy…cling tight, dear one. These four words have been on my mind for months now. Every single time I cry out to God for help, relief or comfort I feel Him say to me, “cling tight, dear one”. Why those four words and why every single time I pray these days? I think I’m beginning to understand and it’s my hope that these four words will...

Unapologetically

My daughter has a paint spinner. It pushes and flings colors in streaks and droplets. They puddle and spill over the edges, sometimes bleeding through the paper. The thrill of her work is that no two images will ever be the same. By design, neither will we. Here in Georgia, it’s springtime. The things of winter have fallen, becoming one with the Earth. They’re giving way to fresh, new life. Yet, I am dormant in a bed of thorns. The unmistakable pounding in my chest, tightness in my throat has returned. Anxiety. Depression. Every single one of us can feel anxious: melancholy. Yet, to have it as a condition doesn’t require being shaken or stirred to wake it up. It comes from behind, squeezing the life out of precious moments, while you are strangely still physically present. You fidget and laugh, adrenaline rushing to your bones. You wipe your sweaty palms on your jeans as you change positions, hoping to relieve the dizziness and plaguing feeling to throw up. You wait out the moment, only to sink into a series of depressing afterthoughts about what happened. You wish you could control it…get rid of it. But, you can’t. I certainly couldn’t. That’s why I decided to get help. I began taking medication. Friend, if you’re suffering from anxiety and depression, I’m not offering advice on what to do. My message is simple. If you are struggling, you’re not alone. And, it’s going to be okay. “But you, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory, and the {lifter of my head}…[Psalm 3:3 AMP] When we are not of...

When Depression Knocks

“I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak his praises.” Psalm 34:1 (NLT) I tend toward the melancholy. A while back I was struggling more often than usual with the temptation toward depression, a lack of joy, and an oppression of the spirit. I know there are many others who struggle with this and I want to share what helps me most. (To clarify: I’m NOT talking about chemical imbalance and I’m not discussing clinical depression, that is a medical condition for which professional help needs to be sought.) I’m talking about a feeling of sadness that comes for no obvious reason. Feeling gloomy or unhappy sometimes in spite of having things go well in life. It might be unexplained or it might come because of sin and suffering in the world or because of my own failings and weaknesses. When I fall into this kind of depression, these choices help me the most: • Singing praise to God out loud. Spending time alone with God and singing praise songs to Him is powerful. There’s more power in singing out loud but listening to praise music is also healing. • Prayer. Our greatest resource. We can tell God exactly how we feel. It’s important also to confess our sins. We can tell Him what we desire Him to do in our lives. If I feel powerless to pray, I pray the Psalms. Some that have helped me are Psalms 37, 34, 32, 23, 27, 40 and 42, but any of the Psalms are helpful. • Reading and meditating on Scripture. Reading God’s Word is essential....

You Are Not Alone

Dear one, I see you there struggling to make ends meet. Trying to make things make sense and just clear your head from all the distractions pulling on you right this very minute. Your mind is racing and you begin to wonder how you even got to this place, but here’s one thing you need to know — you are not alone. I know it might feel like it at times. Believe me I know. That’s just not the truth though. Oh yeah, sure. the enemy is going to do his best to try to get you to give up hope. To feel lost. To isolate yourself. To just plain give up. But don’t because there’s a truth that you need to grab hold of — not just in your head, but also in your heart. Our Heavenly Father is madly, deeply in love with you and He wants to rescue you from the pain that has a grip on your heart. He wants you to know that…You are not alone. Yes, I know that it’s easy to believe the lies that you are alone. I also know that the stress, pressure and stuff weigh heavy on your heart. To the point that some days it is hard to even get out of bed. I get that, because I’ve been there too. I know what it’s like to; – feel like I’m the only one going through this difficult situation. – think that no one would love me or accept me if they knew me, I mean really knew me. – believe that people would abandon me if they...

His Capable Hands

It’s morning time. I drop off my sandals on the bench by the rusty seaside gate… ‘Beach Access,’ it says. The white sands are cooled from the night – the winds are sharp & quick, whipping at my back…arching over my shoulders. I’m still for a moment, and then I walk…my feet leaving a shifted print on the sandy incline, near the water’s edge. Today, there’s a hazy blanket over the shore…the sky leaden with overcast. Only a beam of light is ahead, on the surface of the ocean, as a spotlight. It sparkles into emerald, and I’m gazing. God – you are immanent. You are right here…magnified. Your ocean roars. Waves arch into crash after crash…they bubble & fizzle…and tug at my feet. Your power, boldness – your majesty…it’s demonstrated. Clouds swell from a blurred horizon…miles & miles in the distance. They stack & reach as open blooms. My toes grip the wet sand beneath, and my heels sink. I step aside. In seconds, the wet mold shaped by my feet collapses under an icy current, carrying it way out…into the deep. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea – Micah 7:19    Standing on the shore, I’m reminded of this picture taken one day earlier. The beauty of the morning quieted & called my heart to confession. Hard confession. I struggle to receive forgiveness. I wrestle in believing God. I cling tightly to control.   When I mess up, I fear that God will change His mind concerning me. And, sometimes,...

Go Away Depressing Day

Deep breaths. I kept trying to take them in, but only shallow ones came. The air felt thick, like I had to wade through it. Or maybe it was heavy limbs making every step a futile effort. My thoughts were foggy, and all I really wanted to do was close the blinds & fall back into bed.  Where did this come from? I wondered. It doesn't make sense. Yesterday was so productive. As a matter of fact, the past several weeks had been productive ones. Then out of nowhere, my dreaded enemy came not knocking on, but knocking down the door. Mean, relentless, aggressive Depression, unwelcome, but worming its way in with the intent to stay. Thank the Lord, I don't suffer with chronic depression like I used to, or not even frequent spouts of it. But it still intrudes now and then. Some might call them "blue days." Others, sad or cloudy ones. Many just feel like they're in a funk or chalk it up to PMS & hormones. Sometimes it comes as a result of circumstances or consequences or a crashing down after a major event. Whatever the case may be, it rarely invades at an ideal time. I'm not writing to offer the three steps to relief on these funky days. Or how to flee them. Or why they come. If a magic funky day formula existed, I'd bottle it up and sell it. (Not talking about seeking counsel or taking medication for clinical depression, just for "those days.") I'll leave the wise practicalities to the experts. I can't tell you "how to," but I can tell you "Who to." The Lord is just as approachable,...

What Do You Do When Sad Comes For You?

Some days I feel sad about stuff that makes me feel sad. Profound, I know. It's the day when I'm burdened over evil in the world and what's in the headline news. It's the day when my friends are sick or hurting. It's when those I love are attacked, or mocked or condemned. It's when those I love attack, mock or condemn me. It's the days when I see a sister in Christ envy another or have bitterness in her heart. Or when I'm made aware of my own shortcomings, strongholds and petty annoyances. Often it's a day like today, when everyone else is gone, the house is quiet, and I have a million things to do with no desire to do a one of them. It should all be fine like wine, but it's more like a fine whine aging in the cellar of my soul. Sadness sometimes sneaks up and slinkies its arm around me, as if wooing me to himself. Other times, he leaps out of the ground in front of me like a jack-in-the box, leaving me shaken and stunned. Who wound him up anyway? The reality is, sad moments come. The important question is, what am I going to do with what makes me sad? My Father gives me the best advice: "Come," He says. Come to Me with what makes you sad, Little One. "Come to Me," Jesus says in Matthew 11:28, "when you are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart,...

Do I Belong?

 WEEK 4 giveaway WINNERS are:  Jesus Calling Devotional Bible – Josie Lytle Jesus Calling Leathersoft Bible – Sue White Lotus Keepter – Amy Smith Rising Shadows – Kate email lori@internetcafedevotions.com with an address or email so we can get these giveaways out to you!! You’ve got to comment to win! Join us this Friday – Sunday for a BRAND NEW set of Giveaways!!   The winners of “She’s Got Issues” by Nicole Unice are: Leahmichele Winona Kris Gartley Lora Sabrina Contact lori@internetcafedevotions.com with your mailing address and we’ll get those FANTASTIC resources off to you!     She was in seventh grade and excited to finally be in one of the popular crowds. Then one day her best friend—a girl she idolized—handed her a note. As she read the scribbled words, tears burned her eyes: “I don’t want to be your friend anymore.” And just like that, it was so. The rest of her friends followed the note-writing leader because that’s what middle school girls do. With one swift kick they booted her out. Yesterday’s friends now ignored her and talked about her. She was rejected, alone and heartbroken. “What did I do? Why me? What’s wrong with ME?” Through the rest of middle school she chose isolation rather than facing the pain of possible rejection from new friends. Oh, middle school is a tough road for young girls to travel as they struggle to find their place in the world. Their transparent actions cry out, “Do you see me? Am I worthy? Do I fit in?” As adults we say, “Whew! I wouldn’t want to go through that...

When Darkness Falls

Raise your hand if you needed a night light when you were little. I did. We had closets that had lights that would turn on when you opened the door and shut off when you closed it. So, I would prop my closet door open and keep that sliver of light in the perfect spot for catching that ever-looming creepy thing that I was certain was going to grab my foot if it hung over the edge of my bed. Darkness. I’m not sure it’s anyone’s favorite. It plays tricks on you. That chair in the corner is the local ax murderer. That coat hanging on the door handle is some troll who snuck in behind you. The senses pick up. Our eyes widen but we really can’t see any farther than our nose. Our arms stretch out to makes sure we don’t run into the wall or that ax murderer. Our ears hear what must be a mouth-breather. We close our mouths and roll our bug-eyes while trying to talk to ourselves as the adults we are! Darkness. Once you find the light switch, however, everything returns to normal. Heart rate comes down. The running wild imagination has been put in the corner for a time out. Bad, bad imagination. Ax murderer. Pshhh. Trolls. Bah. Those things aren’t real. (Well, an ax murderer could be real, but go with me on this.) What about the darkness that isn’t related to the actual sun going down? What about the darkness that falls on your emotions, mind, heart, spirit? It can feel like walking into a dark room and closing...