Gifts from God · My Faith

Hope in the midst of depression and anxiety

Revelation21 4:2

I had no intention of taking a couple of weeks off in the gifts of God study but as it is February, winter is still here (though we have had some sunshine!) I want to keep going with this to encourage myself and anyone else who may struggle in the winter months.

Despite being very tired I am actually not feeling too bad. I have been spending more time in the Lords presence and He has guided me to make some changes which have helped my fellowship with Him so much. This really does help me in my difficult days.

I have thought about the next gift and prayed about it and want to talk about hope. Something that the Lord gives to all who have repented, follow and love Him.

Vines Expositor Dictionary says:

Hope (Noun and Verb), Hope (For):

in the NT, “favorable and confident expectation” (contrast the Sept. in Isa 28:19, “an evil hope”). It has to do with the unseen and the future, Rom 8:24, 25. “Hope” describes

(a) the happy anticipation of good (the most frequent significance), e.g., Tts 1:2; 1Pe 1:21;

(b) the ground upon which “hope” is based, Act 16:19; Col 1:27, “Christ in you the hope of glory;”

(c) the object upon which the “hope” is fixed, e.g., 1Ti 1:1.

In Rom 15:13 God is spoken of as “the God of hope,” i.e., He is the author, not the subject; of it. “Hope” is a factor in salvation, Rom 8:24; it finds its expression in endurance under trial, which is the effect of waiting for the coming of Christ, 1Th 1:3; it is “an anchor of the soul,” staying it amidst the storms of this life, Hbr 6:18, 19; it is a purifying power, “every one that hath this hope set on Him (Christ) purifieth himself, even as He is pure,” 1Jo 3:3, RV (the Apostle John’s one mention of “hope”).

I love the fact that the hope we have is a happy anticipation. It is going to happen! The Lord is coming back and we will be with Him!

It also says that in Romans 15:13 that God is the God of hope. He is the author of it. So this means that when we repent and turn to Him then He gives us hope. Hope in our salvation and hope in the Lord Jesus, that one day we will be with Him in glory.

I don’t know about anyone else but it’s this hope that keeps me going, it’s this hope that gives me joy as it means that I am saved! No more searching, no more looking for answers as Jesus is the answer!

This gift is the reason I get up in the mornings, the reason why I keep going through the tough times, because I know one day it will be over and I wont be dizzy, anxious or depressed anymore. It also means that I can live joyfully now in this wonderful anticipation of being with Jesus in glory. It means that I need not worry (though I still do sometimes), I can be grateful and see all the wonderful things in this life that Jesus has given me. It means that I can lift up my voice in praise to my God, the author of my Hope! I can look to Him with love and follow Him, knowing that He is leading me home. That everything I face in this life is ultimately so I can grow, become more like Him as He desires to spend eternity with me.

I have heard it said that we shouldn’t just focus on ‘this bus ticket to heaven’. And while we must remember that our life for Jesus starts now, for those of us who find life really hard, who struggle to face some days, this bus ticket is  what we hold onto tightly as we look to Jesus. Don’t ever let go of your ticket and don’t let anyone tell you that your hope is not important, we are there a lot longer than we are here. Gods word is what matters and this is what it says:

 

   For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (1Thessalonians 4:18)
Sweet brethren, are you depressed? Is your anxiety gripping you so tightly that you can’t breathe? Are you worried? Tired? Don’t want to be here anymore? Be comforted be these words as I am, just hold on, don’t let go for He is coming and then:
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

 

 

Gifts from God

The Gift of Praise – A testimony

This week as I’ve been thinking about the gifts Gods gives us praise kept coming to mind. I cannot find any scripture that calls praise a gift but as I mediate and read scriptures on it I think it is. A special one that we can share with The Lord as He gives us the ability to praise and we give Him our praise.

There are times when praise doesn’t come as easy as depression seeps in but I know The Lord understands. If we read the psalms there are many that start with lamenting but end in praise as the author reminds himself of who God is. I do not believe that David will have always felt like praising, some psalms where written in dark, cold and gloomy caves while on the run but he still reminds himself of Gods goodness by praising Him.

In my early walk with the Lord, I cried everyday for a year, I spent three years pouring myself out to him asking for a release of the anxiety, depression and agoraphobia that so gripped me. It was very hard but when I was able I would listen to some music and cry, and say to the Lord I choose to praise you, despite my feelings. I asked over and over to be able to stand in a congregation of my brothers and sisters in Christ to praise Him.

Last Sunday (4 years later) I stood in front of the congregation at Church and sang. I had never in my life done that before. We all sang together to The Lord Jesus and it was wonderful. I am in awe of how good God has been to me. He has answered my prayer above and beyond how I would ever have hoped. I don’t believe however that the praise I gave on Sunday was any less pleasing To Him than the praise I choose to do when I am unwell.

I hope this post is an encouragement to anyone reading, please know that Jesus understands your pain and calling out to Him in your pain is massive act of trust and faith (even though I know it doesn’t feel like it) and that can be done in many ways. This was one of the ways I do it. I still now, pour out my heart when I sing to Him and you will find me many times crying without shame as I give it all to Him and worship His name. Because, I love Him.

I thought I would share a couple of songs that I used to listen to (and still do) when things are bad.

In future posts I will share more of the things I do that help me in the difficult days. I hear too many times of Christians feeling shame with mental illness and that is not how the Lord wants us to live. I hope what I share is a blessing and a help to those who feel this way. You are not alone.

Gifts from God

Gift of salvation – Can mental illness take it away?

Romans 5:8

On Sunday I had the privilege of sharing my testimony at Church. It reminded me how far God has brought me which is good thing to meditate on when depression and anxiety seep in.

My pastor said to me that sometimes when we look back we can see how different things really have become. And he is so right. I find it very easy to think that because I haven’t been divinely healed that healing hasn’t happened at all, when it has. That nothing has changed, when, in fact, everything has.

All this is because of an awesome gift that God gave me in May 2013.

I was very ill, I was house/sofa bound and I was getting sicker. I couldn’t trust Drs, I had cut out my family and friends, I had no where to go, so I turned to God and He heard my cry.

And my life changed completely, even though I didn’t start to notice the physical changes until 3 years later. But I was saved and that gave me such Joy despite my feelings that I spent 3 years everyday reading His word and talking to Him. My anxiety and depression were still very difficult to live with but I received such comfort from the Holy Spirit, it was an amazing journey.

When anxiety and depression take over it is so hard to remember this gift, it is tempting to start thinking that salvation has been taken away but it does not depend on us or how we feel! If we have repented of our sins, and turned to Him He saves us!

Romans 6:23 says:

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Remember the definition of gift from my last study? No strings attached, there’s nothing we can do to be saved, Jesus did it on the cross 2000 years ago! He took our punishment for us, it’s done. No matter how deep the depression how gripping the anxiety, it cannot take our salvation away because we did nothing to receive it in the first place! Would you take a Christmas present from someone just because they were ill? This is so much more!

It means something else too, that one day (if we are not healed in this life) we will never feel this way again.

In revelation 21:4 it says:

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

The week before I shared my testimony I sat sobbing as we sang to Jesus, the toll of looking after 2 children and a poorly husband while feeling dizzy is so hard and I am battling a bout of depression as a result of that and other burdens I have. But when I shared my testimony and meditated on that day it reminded me that I am still saved, that over the years as my mental and physical health has gone up and down The Lord has never taken away that gift he gave me in May 2013. My salvation is secure.

Are you struggling? I recommend spending time thinking about your testimony as those of us who have repented and turned to Jesus all have one. Write it down, remind yourself of it and look at what the bible says about the gift of salvation. It really is worth it, I promise.

Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Gifts from God

The Gift of Faith – Can a depressed person have faith?

Ephesians 2:8

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to do a study on faith this week and this is what I have found. This is part of my gifts from God series that I am doing to help me through the winter as a suffer from mental health issues. Christmas gift giving may be over but Gods gifts can be received any time 🙂

I have heard many Christians who suffer from depression (myself included) say, how can I be a Christian with this? We wonder if we have any faith at all and how can we possibly be trusting God?

But lets look at what God says on this subject as He is our authority.

First lets not forget what we discovered last time about Gods word, how it is implanted in us so now matter how we feel its still there.

The first verse I want to look at (quoted above) says that saving faith is a gift of God and not of anything that we do, so all we have to do is repent and believe on Him and we are saved! We didn’t look at this last time so maybe now is a good time to look at the definition of the word gift:

  • Gift: a thing given willingly to someone without payment; a present. (source)

Willingly! God willingly gives us this saving faith!! With no strings attached! Or according to Merriam-Webster a gift is:

  • something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation (source)

How wonderful is that?

Here’s the next verse I want to look at:

 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews12:2

This verse has been so encouraging for me in my dark times, when I have been reminded of it it’s given me encouragement to keep going and seeking His face.  It says that He is the author and finisher of our faith! Isn’t that amazing? This means that our faith has nothing to do with how we feel as it is Jesus who began it, Jesus who sustains it and Jesus who finishes it when we come to glory! So, just like His word, He keeps giving this gift whenever we ask for it.

The word also says that:

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Philippians 1:6

That means if He has started it He will carry it to completion!

If you are having a dark day, a day were moving feels like an impossible task, a day where you have to live from moment to moment please be encouraged that this does NOT mean you have no faith, in fact as you move from moment to moment, despite your feelings whether depressed or anxious or whatever it looks like for you (I have had some very bad anxiety days where I know I wouldn’t have got through without the Lords care for my faith) He will take care of us and sustain our faith.

The last thing I want to share is this:

And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Matthew 17:20

If you look at this verse and others where the Lord tells someone they have little faith what does he do? He builds them up, helps them, encourages them. (Matthew 8:23-27) He says even with little faith, I can do great things. And what happens when He does that? Our faith grows! As I meditate on this I can see how it all works for my good as I step out in Faith (in Matthew 8:23-27 they called out to Him, that is stepping out in faith), He gives me the faith, then my faith grows. It’s always worth remembering that He created us for fellowship with Him and is working in us so we can be with Him, He loves us so much. And this is not based on how we feel.

Be encouraged! He has not given up on us! He will build up our faith He will care for it as it is His gift to us! Why not do a study for yourselves, pick one of the verses I’ve shared as a starting off point, see what awesome things you can discover about this gift from God. Then come and tell me. I’d love to know!

 

Testimony

Comfort one another (a testimony of Christs love to a depressed heart)

In October 2018 I fell and hurt my ankle, it was quite impressive as I fell off a step in soft play with little A and landed full weight on my ankle. One hospital trip later and I am hobbling about on crutches. I pulled the ligaments in my foot, my foot and ankle swelled up and was pretty painful to walk on.

So why am I sharing this today? Because something struck me that I really wanted to share here.

When some people saw my foot they looked very concerned and said things like ‘oh dear, that looks painful’. Which is lovely and I am so grateful for peoples concern and their help.  And they are right, it is was very painful (and still does hurt, 3 months later). However, it is not as painful as the anxiety and fear my dizzyness causes, not as painful as the depression that just keeps coming back and makes the smallest task almost impossible. Because you could see the bruise on my foot you could see the pain I was in. But you can’t see my anxiety, my dizziness, my depression. You can see me hobbling around with crutches trying to do things but you can’t see me fighting the internal things I am dealing with.

Being a Christian with mental illness can be hard, the difference between an illness and fear from not trusting Jesus is hard to understand for some people, even if they have experienced it themselves and are better. I’ve heard a lot of theory’s from many well meaning brothers and sisters in Christ.

But only Jesus knows. He made us, He knows what chemicals make up our bodies and what is wrong with them. He knows what happened to us that has made us like this. He sees all. He sees our pain, He sees our anguish. He sees our heart. Only He knows what is borne out of bitterness, envy, strife and what is not.

I need to say this to myself as well, but God does NOT punish our sins with illness. This is not a punishment for personal sin. It may be a consequence of the fall or even a consequence of sin (which is not a punishment and of which there is always forgiveness available) forgiveness is there for anyone who wants it and being ill does not take that forgiveness away. Our feelings are not an indicator of our salvation as It has nothing to do with us, if you have repented and trusted in Jesus as your Savior, then you ARE saved. And, it is totally possible to have joy and peace in Jesus and still suffer from this, I know because I do have that joy and that peace in me. Even if some days I need to remind myself of that fact.

I do not know why The Lord has not healed me, I don’t know why He let me fall so spectacularly so I pulled all the ligaments in my ankle. I do know that He loves me, that Jesus died and rose again so that I could be forgiven of my sins. I know that He takes no pleasure in anything bad that happens to me, that it hurts Him to see me in pain. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

And I know that He is coming back and when He does, there will be no more dizzyness, depression, migraines, anxiety or pain, I will be free in body as I am in spirit. 1 Corinthians 15:52

So if you are reading this, having a bad day and know The Lord please remember that this is temporary and He has a great plan that involves you:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians: 17-18

So tomorrow I will wake up and pray for help to get out of bed as I always do, I will face the day because He lives and He is with me. And if you want Him to be, He will be there with you too.

 

Lessons from Motherhood

10 quick bible studies and tips for busy Mums

For the first three years of my walk with the Lord I was still quite unwell. I spent most of my day with Jesus pouring my heart out to Him, studying His word, creating art journal pages. Each night I went to bed and listened to worship music. I cried a lot, giving Him my pain and anguish. As I look back now I know what a blessing this time was, still being so poorly was hard but I know now what a privilege it was to have so much time to spend with Him.

Now I am in a different season of life, I am a Mum to a 1 year old and a 3 year old, I am still unwell but it brings different challenges than before as The Lord is so gracious is how much He sustains me and strengthens me to take care of my children and I am beyond grateful for all I have and can do now. But I have less time. A lot less.

I know I am not alone in this and I know that I am not the only one struggling so I have tried to come up with some ideas to help me to keep walking closely with the Lord in this time when I need Him so much.

  • When my little one was around 5 months old I read a psalm a day on my phone as I couldn’t always sit with my bible but I always had my phone on me, so, when I was feeding or when a child fell asleep on me, I read that days psalm, picked a verse and shared it on Instagram. That way I quickly reminded myself of what I read that spoke to me that day. It was pretty successful so I might try to do it again now that summer is over and my 3 year old is back at preschool.

 

  • Praying while doing things, changing nappies, playing trains, picking up toys, it doesn’t matter, if we can’t find a quiet spot to pray the Lord understands in 1 Thessalonians the word says:

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

So if we don’t know what to say, we can just say thank you!

  • I sometimes like to listen to worship music and dance and sing with my children or just sing along which is a great way to fit in some worship time during a busy day, I find this really helps on those hard days when everything becomes overwhelming, just stop and do this.

There are loads of online resources as well, bible studies, devotionals, groups etc so I thought I’d share some that I’ve used.

 

 

  •  Our daily Bread have a 5 minute Bible study on most social media including facebook

 

 

  • Mummy Meditations Community is a great fellowship on facebook of other Mums who are also trying to find ways to fellowship with Jesus during busy times they run a weekly study of just one verse and have lots of ideas to keep meditating on that verse despite life getting hectic.

 

  • Meeting up with local Mums from church or local fellowship is also something that is worthwhile doing. Talking, praying studying the Bible with other christian Mums can be invaluable as a source of support.

 

  • I have an audio bible that I think I might start listening to more, especially when I am resting with little A at naptime.

 

It has been a really long and hard summer, having 2 children is a lot harder plus both my husband and I now both have health problems. I guess I just wanted to reach out to anyone else who is struggling with finding time to spend with Jesus as it during these times we need Him the most!

If like me you are a busy Mum trying to juggle everything while dealing with poor health if you don’t read anything today please read this:

 

He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

Isaiah 40:11

 

He understands and has no desire to burden us further.

 

Testimony

Dash Cam

Romans 5:8

My husband received a dash cam for Christmas and as he was setting it up I asked if it recorded sound. He replied yes, but I will switch it off. I was relived when he said that, then I realised something.

Why was I afraid to be recorded talking? What is it I say that I don’t want anyone to hear? This really challenged me so I went to the bible and this is what I discovered.

In Hebrews 4 it says:

 12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

Why was I so concerned about my words being recorded when The Lord knows my thoughts? Hears everything I say and He is the only one who has the right to judge.

It also says this in Psalm 139:

7Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

There is no where that I can go from His sight.

It doesn’t matter what I say, He has heard it, it doesn’t matter what I do, He has seen it, it doesn’t matter what I think, He knows it. And He still sent his son to die for me.

John 3:

 16For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.