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.

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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.

 

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!

christmas · Testimony

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift

1 Corinthians 2:15

When this time of year comes around I like to remind myself of all that the Lord has done for me in the past year. Around this time last year we decided to try for another baby and now not only are we celebrating Christmas with little S we have a 3 month old as well!

When I had my breakdown at the end of 2009 I had the worst Christmas of my life. I genuinely thought that things would never improve. If someone had said that I would be celebrating Christmas 7 years later with my husband and children, estranged family and wonderful friends I would not have believed it.

Christmas used to be for me a time of panic and pressure, a time when I was reminded of how lonely and isolated I was and how difficult my illness made it for my husband. He wanted so much for me to enjoy it and I felt like I just kept letting him down. I would go online and see my family enjoying Christmas and I would be bitter and angry that I was so unwell I struggled to even get out of bed.

Now I know Jesus Christmas is a time that I am reminded of my assurance of salvation in Christ. It’s a time where I feel incredibly grateful for all I have. I now feel excited when I think of my future instead of dread and fear.

I can do things, get out, go to parties. I can enjoy the company of those I love and go shopping for gifts on my own!

However that pales in comparison to how wonderful it is to be in the care of our almighty God, knowing He loves me and has forgiven me through His wonderful son and my saviour. So thanks be to God for this indescribable gift, the best, the first and the only gift that matters. This time next year most of us will have forgotten what gifts we received this Christmas but God’s gift to us is eternal and will never fade, break or rot. Have you accepted this awesome gift?

Happy Christmas!