This was me in the waiting area at an outpatient surgery center. I had minor surgery yesterday. Something made a huge difference for me. After I was taken back to the room to be prepped, I noticed Christian music was playing. They had a local Christian radio station on.
As I laid in the prep area listening to worship songs, it was a blessing to pray for people. It was the calmest I have felt in years in a medical facility. Being able to listen too worship songs before surgery was a special suprise.
This weekend will be blogger chat Saturday morning in Zoom, relaxing at home the rest of the day Saturday, church Sunday morning, and coffee shop Sunday afternoon. It will be a weekend to take it easy.
Trigger warning. This post deals with suicidal thoughts. If that makes you uncomfortable, please click away.
As an American I have never understood why the UK keeps a monarchy nor the fascination with the Royal Family.. As someone who is busy with ministry and teaching, I have never been a big fan of talk shows like Oprah. I have always felt I have better things to do with my time. But when I saw a promo clip of the interview with Harry and Meghan, I decided to watch it. My motivation was simply to listen to someone give voice to what so many people struggle with- Depression and what some people struggle with- Suicidal Thoughts.
In the interview she shared that she confided in her husband Harry about her suicidal thoughts and that she needed help. Sharing that so publicly will hopefully help others to share with and confide in loved ones or people they trust.
She also shared that though she asked for help other than from her husband, she was not given help. That is very concerning.
Living with four chronic illnesses all of which have depression and anxiety as possible symptoms, I understand depression. I talked with my doctor and he prescribed medication for me to treat depression and Fibromyalgia. When I confided in one of my pastors, and he said, “Matt it is medical. You do not need to resign your ministry.” it was a moment I will never forget.
My experience has reinforced for me that God does indeed care. Jesus cares and works through other people. God wants us to ask for help.
There is hope for depression and struggling with suicidal thoughts. It is not only okay but wonderful to seek help. If family is not a safe place to confide in, there are school counselors, pastors, mental health facilities. There are hotline numbers.
In the USA-800-273-8255
In the UK- Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90 (UK – local rate) Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 91 92 (UK minicom) Hotline: 1850 60 90 90 (ROI – local rate) Hotline: 1850 60 90 91 (ROI minicom)
In Canada- 1.833.456.4566
There is always hope and we can ask for help. If we have depression, we can seek help. Talk with a doctor, a pastor, a trusted teacher, talk with someone. If medication is needed, it is not only okay but important to do so. If suicidal thoughts, PLEASE SEEK HELP.
I love the message in these videos. Stay Another Day and Your Story Isn’t Over Yet.
Last week I had a conversation with a colleague I mentor. My colleague is a young person who grew up in a Christian home. My friend struggles with depression/anxiety but is hesitant about seeking help because of the stigma such issues can have in some churches such as the one my friend grew up in.
It saddens me to think that some churches place a stigma on mental health issues like depression and anxiety. If someone has diabetes, we would encourage them to take insulin and be careful about what they eat. The brain is part of our physical bodies. It is a physical organ just as the heart, lungs, and pancreas are.
That is why I share about how God helped me with depression and anxiety. I live with four chronic illnesses and each of them can cause depression/anxiety on their own. Put all four together, and no wonder depression and anxiety were issues for me. My hope is to lessen the stigma in churches.
My hope is to also share Jesus with others who struggle with depression/anxiety. When I think about things Jesus said such as in Matthew 11:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
and what is written about how Jesus felt when he saw the large crowd of people in Matthew 9:
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Such verse help me realize that Jesus has great compassion for us. Such verses also help us to understand how approachable Jesus is when we struggle. His desire is to help us, restore us, and heal us. Yes, he does these things through others such as doctors and counselors too.
Dear reader if you struggle with depression or anxiety, Jesus understands you, His arms are open saying, “Come to me and find rest” just as he said in Matthew 11. We can cast all of our concerns on him because he cares for us.
Behind the Poem: I’ve probably struggled a bit with depression since I was a teen. I’m convinced that I’m one of those people who is sensitive to fluctuating hormones. I’m also prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder, I have Hashimoto’s Disease and I’m in Perimenopause. Add a pandemic and isolation into the mix and it’s a […]
Have you ever walked down a dimly lit or a dark street at night? It can be a bit scary. In the night there are more crimes committed. It is also easy to stumble and hurt ones self walking in the dark. If we have a light, it makes it so much safer.
Jesus came into the world that he created. He came to be a light in the darkness of this world. This world is in spiritual darkness. There are various kinds of dangers in the darkness of this world, addiction, abuse, failed relationships, illness, etc.
Jesus came into the world he created to be a light for us, to show us God. In John 1:4 we read:
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
Jesus is the source of life since he is the creator. He came here out of love to reclaim his most precious creation-human beings. We are the most precious part of creation to him. He is the light for all humans.
In John 1:5 we read:
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Jesus still shines his light in this world for us. Interesting to me is the word for overcome in Greek- katalmbano using English letters for you- gives a meaning of acquire, grasp, lay hold of. It is a word full of meaning. The darkness has not overcome it, lay hold of it, so it has not and will not conquer the light of Jesus. The darkness has not grasped the light or understood.
Think about how startling it is when all of the sudden someone turns on a light. Our eyes close a bit as we adjust to the light. If we are sleeping and someone suddenly turns on a light to wake us up, we are confused for a bit.
Those in darkness are confused about Jesus. The darkness that has a hold of them cannot overcome the light of Jesus.
Jesus wants us to be children of the light and reach out to those in the darkness. He wants us to shine his light in this world.
If anyone feels trapped by addiction, relationship/family troubles, depression, or anything else, Jesus holds out his hand to you to help you.
Let us who follow Jesus take our light out to a troubled world. Seek out those in need of the hope only Jesus can give.
Today is World Mental Health Day. Unfortunately there is still stigma attached to mental health issues. Somehow it is forgotten that the brain is an organ that is part of our physical bodies.
We don’t say to a diabetic they are weak because they need insulin or to someone with asthma they don’t really need that inhaler.
As Christians, we are exhorted to bear one another’s burdens in Galatians 6. Depression and anxiety are burdens. Bi-Polar is a burden. God wants us to come alongside people who suffer to be supportive not judgemental.
As someone who has experienced depression/anxiety as symptoms of chronic illness, I understand how interconnected our bodies are. When one part of our bodies suffer, it can affect other parts of our bodies. Think about something as simple as lack of sleep for a few days and how it can affect one’s mood and it would only seem logical that physical ailments can contribute to mental health issues.
Jesus understands anguish. The night before he was crucified, he knew what was about to happen. He spent time praying and asked his disciples to be with him. We see in Matthew 26 Jesus saying:
“Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
In Luke 22 we see how much the anguish affected him:
“And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
So if you struggle with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, please know that Jesus understands anguish and he invites you to come to him. In Matthew 11 he said:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
The reason he gave is that he is gentle and humble of heart. Jesus has all power and yet he is gentle with those who seek him.
A few months ago, I felt the Lord impressing on me to share about chronic illness in my Instagram. Because of that I have been able to connect with other chronic illness spoonies from various countries. One of them is a woman in Sweden who goes by funniebunnie on Instagram. She does live interviews on her Instagram with people. She asked me to do one.
We did it today. It is a but long, but I wanted to share it with you. If you click on the link, you can view the interview.
It has been quite a while since I last wrote a short story. The one I wrote today is The Wanderer’s Encounter on a Path. It is about a person, who I never describe or identify. who is walking down a lonely path thinking of suicide but has an encounter that changes things.
I purposefully did not describe or identify the character so that anyone who reads the story can picture the character however they wish. If even one person is helped, it is all worth it.
This week is suicide prevention awareness week. This is an issue that has impacted my life through the deaths of three people who have completed suicide. The first was someone I knew when I was in high school. The second was a 19 year old girl who completed suicide a few weeks before she was supposed to start college because her boyfriend broke up with her. Depression was an issue for her for a while. The third was my friend who completed suicide this past Saturday at the age of 28.
There is a popular phrase that I wholly agree with.
It’s okay to not be okay.
There is truth in that saying, but I do not want to leave it there. Yes it is okay to not be okay. But I do not want people to stay stuck in not being okay. There are steps we can take to experience healing in our lives. I think the second saying that needs to tag with it’s okay to not be okay is:
It’s okay to need and ask for help.
We can ask for help from someone we trust. If we feel there is no one we trust in our personal lives, there are people we can turn to. If in high school, a counselor at school. A school counselor would want you to come ask for help.
If in college, colleges have resources to help.
If not in school, or as the saying goes-adulting, there are counseling services, churches, places to go for help. I know my pastor would definitely want someone who is struggling to come ask for help.
Did you know Jesus wants you to come to him for help? He said so himself in Matthew 11:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Notice he said- ALL. All means all. Jesus wants all to come to him. The reason he gives is that he is gentle of heart. He want to give us rest for our souls.
Remember it is okay to need and ask for help. Asking for help is much better than suffering in silence.
By asking for help, our stories can continue and in time take on new and better meaning. I am sharing a wonderful spoken word video- Your Story Isn’t Over Yet. I am also sharing a wonderful song- The Mention of Your Name.
Today is Suicide Prevention Awareness Day. It first became very real to me how important it is to watch for signs and to show compassion and love to people in September 2011 when a 19 year old girl I knew completed suicide. Being at her funeral was one of the saddest days in my life.
Only five days ago it became even more real to me when a young woman who was 28 years old completed suicide. I will go to her funeral tomorrow. She had a difficult life having been abused by her father growing up. I tried to help her for a few years but lost track of her when she got married to a man who ended up also abusing her.
Darkness whispers to those who are struggling that there is no hope seeking to lure them into a fatal decision. Despair, loss of hope, and feeling there is no way out harass the person.
In contrast Jesus said in John 10:
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Darkness seeks to destroy. Jesus gives life, hope, peace inside and love. Jesus heals wounded souls.
It is so important that we show the love and compassion of Jesus to those around us. We do not know what inner turmoil people are going through, but Jesus does.
If you are reading this and have thought of suicide, please know that God loves you and cares deeply about you. There is hope. Also please call for help.
In the USA you can call-800-273-8255
In Canada you can call-833 456-4566
In other countries please Google for the number.
I would like to share two videos with you. One is by a young woman who was suicidal but got help. The other is a song that will help you to feel God’s love.