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)

 

 

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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.

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.

 

Christian growth · Lessons from Motherhood

That flat

Recently my husband and I invited some friends over for dinner and the subject of our first flat came up. We loving refer to this flat as ‘that flat’. They were curious as to why so we told them about our first home.

To put it nicely it was a fixer upper, the landlord knew this and told us to do what we wanted with it. The walls were crumbling, the windows leaking, the doors falling off, it had a huge hole in the toilet wall looking out to the street. It was also very cold and damp so every morning there were trails all over the carpet from slugs and snails roaming around, we could hear rats in the basement but it was our first home and we think of it fondly.

As we talked about this my husband said that it was an opportunity to learn about DIY and I loved this because its true, he learned how to fix the windows, he rebuilt one of them, he learned how to seal in the bath, put up shelves, he rebuilt a door frame, we decorated and put in door fittings, plus other things I can’t remember now.

As life has gone on I had forgotten about this and how those first experiences have shaped our lives today, hubby is very good at DIY now and confident in learning how to fix things. Because our home is a lot nicer now I think it is easy to forget how those more difficult circumstances shaped us for good.

Gods word puts it a lot better than I ever can, in Romans 5 it says:

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

My husband could’ve just seen it all as bad and not used it as a way to learn but he didn’t, he chose to learn and grow and this is what the Lord wants from us, He knows that it isn’t easy and we can’t do it without Him so He has given us the Holy Spirit to help us. (John 14)

At the time living in that flat was very hard, and there was no way I would’ve seen it as a positive thing like I do now and I know one day I will lovingly look back on my children’s early years and when I do I hope I can see the growth in me from allowing the more difficult days to shape me and teach me about how to be more like Christ.

Meanwhile I find this promise helps me:

Philippians 1:6

Christian growth

New year, fresh start.

This is the time of year when there is a lot of talk about fresh starts. We look forward to a new beginning, to a better year, a better me. We make resolutions to change, we make goals to grow.

I used to do the exact same thing and even now I find myself thinking about changes I want to make but I put pressure on myself and I get to February and the diet is gone the goals forgotten as life takes over, surprises happen. I feel bad and like I have failed.

The bible says:

“There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭19:21‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Making plans is not a bad thing but we must remember it is God that is in control, we must pray and involve Him in all we want to do. His desire is that we have close fellowship with Him and He cares about everything we want to do, He wants to guide our paths. I find this so humbling as I don’t need to pressure myself I just need to seek my Lord first. His burden is light, anything heavy is of our own making. Matthew 11:28-30

I have no idea what is going to happen in 2018, all I want is for my fellowship with Jesus to be the forefront of my life. I ask for Him to change me to be more like Him, for His peace to reign in all aspects of my life. I pray that He gets the glory in everything I do.

The new year may be a fresh start for many but when we know the Lord every day gets to be a fresh start.

The word saysLamentations 3:22-23

No matter what happens God’s mercy and compassion is fresh every morning, how awesome is that? I don’t need to pressure or burden myself, I can start again anytime of the year. Everyday is brand new when we know Jesus!