Purposeful Faith

Tag - depression

How Does God Respond When His People Want to Die?

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

Sometimes it’s easier to be a spectator. When there’s an event or tragedy making headlines and getting lots of attention in the media, that’s often what I am. I sit back and read other writers’ words. I nod and silently say, “Amen.”

But over the last weeks following the suicide of two well-known celebrities, I knew I needed to contribute more than hushed acknowledgement. I watched others speak up about their own experiences with depression and bravely tell their stories, and God stirred my soul.

I know what it’s like to be in that space where you dread waking up.

To look out the window and try to feel anything other than the slow nothingness engulfing you. After having my first child, there were days I couldn’t wait to crawl into bed and slip into the abyss of sleep.

Last week I read words from a courageous one who voiced a truth most of us don’t hear very often: Someone can love Jesus but still want to die. And I applaud her for it. These are the types of conversations more of us need to have.

Days after I read her story, its points still circled my mind and I found myself wondering, “Why do we so often want to remain silent about our own darkness?” The autopilot part of me knows the answer. People who love Jesus aren’t supposed to want to take their own lives, right? They’re supposed to have faith that can heal and a spirit that finds peace in his presence, right?

Yes, these things are possible. God is able. But they aren’t always the rule. And the thought in my mind days after I read another sojourner’s words was, “Even some prophets dealt with this darkness.”

Want to see for yourself? Elijah and Jonah, who were both servants of the Lord and heard directly from him, stated they wanted to die. (See 1 Kings 19 and Jonah 4)

These were men who not only thought about dying, but openly told God they wanted to.

These were men who God chose specifically to speak to and use. He trusted them and set them apart in generations filled with people who worshiped idols, bowed to Baals and turned to everything but him to find fulfillment.

They were not far from God, but vessels of his message. They transformed lives and brought hope. At the point they stated their anguish, they had seen God perform the miraculous. Fire from heaven at Elijah’s word. For Jonah, the nation of Ninevah transformed from vile acts of brutality to repentance.

And yet, they wanted to die.

Now, I’m not going to go into the details surrounding each man’s journey. But if we read their stories, we see one was afraid of a crazy king’s wife and the other was angry. Their desire to die stemmed from very different emotions.

What I want to talk about today isn’t their reasons, but God’s response. Because there are many who think God turns away from these types of feelings and cries of despair. And I’m here to tell you he doesn’t.

So how did God respond? Did he chastise them? Turn away and cast them into hell? Hide his face and let them wander in darkness?

Not even close. Here are three ways God responds when his followers want to die:

  1. He comes to them in their need and allows them to rest.

God does not turn away from his children. He doesn’t yell, “How dare you say such a thing!” or act as though he can’t believe one of his own followers is making such a bold statement. In Elijah’s distress, he sends an angel to him with food and water. He lets him sleep and prepare for the long journey ahead. Once he’s had time to regain his strength, he follows him to Mount Horeb. To Jonah he provides shade and eases his discomfort. And although he later takes the plant away to illustrate a point to Jonah, he doesn’t leave him.

  1. He gets to the heart of the matter.

God doesn’t shy away from what’s really going on in these men’s hearts. He asks questions. He sees the things they’re not saying or asking. To Elijah he asks, “What are you doing here?” (1 Kings 19:9) and to Jonah he asks, “Is it right for you to be angry?” (Jonah 4:4) God already knows the answer to these questions. He wants the men whose hearts he’s after to see what he sees.

  1. He listens.

God doesn’t interrupt these prophets or cut them off as they’re explaining how they’ve arrived at this place. Once again, he knows the answer. In Elijah’s case, he knows he mistakenly believes he’s the only follower left. But he still lets him speak. He lets him say these words he’s been holding onto as he traveled through the wilderness thinking there was no one left to serve God.

Sometimes the journey through the wilderness is what prepares us to receive the truth.

Friend, I don’t know where you are today. I don’t know if you’re fighting through darkness or if you’re standing firm in a place of victory today. But can I tell you God sees you, no matter what? He doesn’t turn away from those places you keep buried.

God doesn’t stand in disbelief at statements like the ones from Elijah and Jonah. He comes close. He reaches through the gap. When we hurt, he hurts.

Talk to him today. Even if you don’t think he hears, talk to him anyway. He’s is right there and is waiting for you to reach for him.

 

Abby McDonald is the mom of three, a wife and writer whose hope is show readers their identity is found in Christ alone, not the noise of the world. When she’s not chasing their two boys or cuddling their newest sweet girl, you can find her drinking copious amounts of coffee while writing about her adventures on her blog. Abby would love to connect with you on her blog and her growing Facebook community.

 

 

 

 

If you need to talk or you know somebody struggling, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text with someone at the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

The Problem With Hiding Our Struggles

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

“Mama, the monsters are coming at me,” my son said.

He stood by the bed with his face inches from mine, hands animated. My mid-REM cycle brain lingered between sleep and reality.

“What?” I asked. I saw that my son was disturbed by something. After realizing I was going to have to get out of bed, I stumbled to his room. I gave the bunk a full examination before telling him to get back in.

Five minutes later, he reappeared. The monsters were still there.

For some reason, the miracle of a flashlight never occurred to me. Thank God for my husband who came to the rescue with not just a flashlight, but a headlamp. Under the pillow it went.

Sweet, uninterrupted sleep followed. The next morning, I realized this tool I took for granted revealed the truth: the “monsters” were in fact shadows. There were no creepy things waiting to grab him in the night. He was safe.

It’s amazing what a little light can do.

Even in the darkest place, a flicker of it can go a long way.

Recently, I needed some light of my own. But for months, I didn’t tell anyone. I went through a dark season where I listened to one lie after another. Lies telling me I wasn’t enough. Lies telling me I should do better as a mother, wife, writer and friend. Lies telling me I wasn’t going to make it.

I thought, “If I can just make it through today, things will get better.”

Good days came and went and when the darkness hit again, I thought, “I’m just having a bad day.”

Somehow, bringing my struggle out into the open seemed threatening. I convinced myself if I could carry it a little longer, it would go away. I thought telling someone would make it my reality.

But in truth, it already was.

One day I sat in church operating the media projector while the worship band played Healing Is Here by The Deluge. My eyes were wet with tears as I mouthed the words.

Sickness can’t stay any longer

Your perfect love is casting out fear

You are the God of all power

And it is your will that my life is healed

Did I believe that? Did I believe God wanted me to be whole, complete, and fully secure in his love?

As I sat there asking myself this question, a miracle took place. The pastor called a sister forward to pray over the offering, but the Spirit had something else for us that day. A rescue. A release.

“There’s someone here who’s suffering from depression,” she stated without hesitation. She said God wanted that person to know his healing power was for her.

The tears ran freely down my cheeks. But still, my butt remained glue to my seat. In the next half hour, our church literally became what Jesus referred to in Matthew as “A House of Prayer.” Service stopped. The sermon was postponed.

This woman’s husband stood up and extended a second invitation, and I knew I had to go forward. And as a stood there at the front of the sanctuary with my head bowed, her hand reached through the crowd and grabbed mine.

Music played in the background while this sister prayed over me, naming lie after lie that I’d listened to for months. It was a God-ordained moment.

And what I realized was this: Even when no one else saw my pain, God did.

“…for your Father knows what you need before you even ask him.” Matthew 6:8b NIV

I finally understood that hiding our struggles does not diminish their power. It increases it.

But when I gave my problem a name, I was able to take the first step toward healing. I said, “I’m not going to let this rule me anymore.”

When we bring our darkness into his Light, he shows us truth.

Like my son with his headlamp, we can see the shadows aren’t able to defeat us. Though they lurk, they can never stand a chance against his perfect love.

Friend, no matter what you’re going through today, know this: God sees. Bring your fears, your problems and your sickness into his Light today. Tell someone you trust. Take a step forward.

His healing power begins when we reach for his hand.

 

Abby McDonald is the mom of three, a wife and writer whose hope is show readers their identity is found in Christ alone, not the noise of the world. When she’s not chasing their two boys or cuddling their newest sweet girl, you can find her drinking copious amounts of coffee while writing about her adventures on her blog. Abby would love to connect with you on her blog and her growing Facebook community.

 

10 Verses to Comfort Sad Day Feelings

Verses to Comfort Sad Days

Sometimes I feel that I have a personal obligation to those around me.

A smile must go on, a fake cheer must resound and my words must say,
“I’m fine” and really mean it.

I can’t let others go south based on overly exposed emotions.

Ever feel that way?
Like you couldn’t feel the way you wanted to feel?

That you were the helper extraordinaire,
unable to step down from your lofty position to ask for help?

That you were a burden bringer not a blessing keeper
if you opened the floodgates?

That people would hustle you to the nearest cave,
verses rush to your rescue?

Usually when we hide our burdens away, we hide them away from God too.

We shove them into the attic of our mind, bundled, tied and bound so that we don’t have to acknowledge the burden of actually living too near to them.  They aren’t pretty.

We don’t want others to hate us for bringing them into this thing called – mess.

Sometimes, we would rather avoid the “feel” part in this thing called “heal.”

But, what we are so often quick to forget is that:
God hears the one who calls – and the one who calls – he is prone to take their call to answer it.

  • Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. Ps. 55:22
  • The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. Ps. 34:17
  • Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Pet. 5:7

God doesn’t tell us to take our feelings and run far, he takes us to take our feelings and cast them far. To see them for what they are, hold them and to throw them – up.

Feelings are not bad, they just need to be tended for by the master shepherd of care.

Let them live – but, let God live near them.

  • The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Ps. 34:18
  • The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refugemy shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Ps. 18:2
  • But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. Ps. 3:3

Even when those around us don’t respond well, when we cast what exists up to God, he keeps us behind the power of his shield.  God, every time, stands ready to deflect the bullets of advice, repair and condemnation by others.

Safety for our heart is found in the safe refuge of our God.

  • Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. Jo. 15:4

A product, a result, a fruit results when we keep the flow of our feelings attached the source of our life-flow. He gives us what we need to repair in a way that we can give to others what they really want – not just a fake version of our best self.

And he promises us:

  • “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Jo. 14:18
  • And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Pet. 5:10

In God’s arms, and maybe not today or tomorrow, but some day, we become untroubled as we remove our stuff from the attic and we bring it to the master carpenter who faithfully works to reshape what feels broken.

  • Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. John 14:1

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