When God Gives Confirmation

A little over a year go, I began to share in my blog about living with depression and anxiety which for me were symptoms of living with chronic illness. It felt a bit risky at the time, but I found that many people responded to my posts whether through comments, likes etc.

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Yesterday a woman I respect a great deal for her work with children who have been traumatized, responded to me sharing a few posts on her Facebook Wall. She had given me permission. I let her know that I share from a Christian perspective. She responded that we should seek to bring Christ into mental health issues. After I posted a few links on her Facebook wall:

Jesus Understands Trauma

World Mental Health Day-October 10

She responded with this message:

“Matt, Thank you for sharing these blogs. I pray others read it as you candidly shared your personal experience in a very relatable way. We are all searching to be heard & understood. Especially searching for our deepest desire: Jesus. Some might not believe or understand His healing power & gift of Salvation is waiting for them in the most deepest hurts, mental health, medical problems & any sin. He indeed experienced trauma. Stories like yours lead people to the Lord because you spoke biblical truth & love in despite how hurtful your trauma was you looked Him & found healing & peace.”

To receive such a message from a woman who is a Christian and also a Licensed Mental Health Counselor meant a lot to me. I felt it gave me confirmation to continue to share.

My desire is to share with others the comfort Jesus has given me whether it is regarding depression/anxiety or about living with chronic illness. I always think about the truth of 2 Corinthians 1:

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

Her message was confirmation for me to continue to share about how God has helped and is helping me to press on with my ministry and life living with chronic illness and also with depression/anxiety. After my day Friday with friends, and also with the extra support from my home church, seeing my colleagues message Saturday, I feel God is telling me to continue.

On another note, a few of my followers on this blog recently went to my short stories blog- Encounters with the Ancients. I am thinking about making one of my short stories into a book. I would like HONEST feedback from my followers on this blog. I would like to ask you to read a story I wrote a year and a half ago- Jessica’s Encounter at the Harbor Coffee Shop.. What I want HONEST feedback about is if a book version would be of interest.

Thank you for reading. God bless.

When Hopeless Meets Real Hope

So many times in my life the situation looked hopeless from a human perspective.

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There was growing up with an alcoholic father and a mother with an untreated mental illness who was highly manipulative.

There was the experience of getting sick and almost dying.

There was the process of having to rebuild my life after my 3 years of being sick and recovering.

So many other examples from my life that would cause others to think at many times in my life that things looked hopeless.

BUT

With Jesus there is always hope.

1 Peter 1 says:

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”

With Jesus, we can have a living hope because he defeated death. Think of it. He conquered death. If he can conquer death, he can help in any situation. There is always hope for us with Jesus.

Ali of mynotsopoeticstories.wordpress.com is a new blogger I follow. She shared in her first post about how Jesus came to her and brought her hope in a beautiful post- Amazing Grace. It is an excellent post to read and be encouraged by.

I know how it feels to feel there is no hope. I also know what it is like to meet Jesus and have him change my life. I know what it is like to have Jesus do the seemingly impossible in my life.

Whatever situation we are in, whatever problem we face, Jesus can and will work in our lives. He is hope because he defeated death for us and he invites us to come to him. n Matthew 11 he said:

“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.”

His invitation is for ALL. No one is excluded from his invitation. His arms are open wide.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

October- A Special Memory for Me

October has special meaning for me. I will never forget a day in October 1989 that changed my life and ministry.

One Saturday evening I went to see a film by Billy Graham Ministries-Caught. The story line of the film is about a drug addict from America on the streets of Amsterdam. An evangelist from India in town for the Billy Graham World Conference for Evangelism reaches out to and helps the young man come to Jesus and be freed from his addiction.

At the end of the film, it shows Billy Graham speaking to the conference. He did the finger point thing as he said, “And do the work of an Evangelist.”

At that moment, it felt like a arrow through my spirit. The moment I will never forget is what happened when I returned home from seeing that film at a local church.

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I walked in the door and as soon as I entered my home I felt the presence of God in a way I never had before. I fell to the floor in his presence. Images of people needing help and feeling hopeless kept going through my mind. I felt in my spirit a message-:”everywhere you go I will bring people across your path who feel hopeless for you to share me with them.”

A few days later I went to get my haircut. I had never met the woman who cut my hair before. While she was cutting my hair, she shared with me about a trauma in her life. That was the first in a continual series over the years of people opening up to me. It still happens often to this day.

Over the years, the Lord used that as a training ground to prepare me for the ministry I have today reaching out to refugees and immigrants. Refugees are by definition people who feel hopeless in this life. When I meet refugees, share the love of Jesus with them, and help them, I often remember how it all started that October day 30 years ago.

Do you have a special October memory?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- God’s Not Done With You by Tauren Wells

Standing in your ruins, feels a lot like the end
So used to losing, you’re afraid to try again
Right now all you see are ashes
Where there was a flame
The truth is that you’re not forgotten
‘Cause Grace knows your name God’s not done with you
Even with your broken heart and your wounds and your scars
God’s not done with you
Even when you’re lost and it’s hard and you’re falling apart
God’s not done with you
It’s not over, it’s only begun

I love the lyrics of the song God’s Not Done Yet. Thank you to my little sister Sherita of plantingseedsingodsgrowinggarden.wordpress.com for suggesting Tauren Wells. 🙂

Jesus is alive. Our God is a LIVING God not some dead statue. We may feel like we are forgotten or feel like there is no hope, BUT because of Jesus there is hope.

He knows our name. He knows our situation. He knows our struggles. He is not done with us. He will never be done with us. People might give up on us, but Jesus never does.

So many times in my life it seemed all was lost, BUT Jesus came through.

Dear readers there is hope in any situation because of Jesus.

Thank you for reading. God Bless. 🙂

Mountains

I was at the coffee shop yesterday and saw a young woman studying. I asked her what she was studying. She told me for her EMT license test. I told her if she ever comes to pick me up to go to the hospital to stop for ice cream for me on the way. I like to have my bases covered. 🙂

I don’t like going to doctors but living with chronic illness means I have to sometimes. I met an old man in Brazil who doesn’t like doctors either.

This picture is of me with a 92 year old man I met on a mountain in Brazil. I taught English in Brazil for five weeks in the summer of 2015. One of my students took me to see a small waterfall. As we were walking to it, we ran into the older gentleman. The first thing he said to us was, “I don’t want to go to any doctor.”

We talked with him a little and after reassuring him we wouldn’t take him to a doctor and that we only wanted to see the waterfall, he smiled. He told us last year his daughter picked him up and took him to the doctor. He didn’t like it.

At 92 years old and having lived on the mountain as a caretaker most of his life. I thought-“He doesn’t need a doctor. Just enjoy the rest of his life.”

What is it about mountains that make us feel close to God? Mountains represent various things in the bible. I love what Psalm 125 says:

“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore.”

Feeling overwhelmed? The Lord surrounds you 🙂

Feeling hopeless? The Lord surrounds you 🙂

Feeling anxious? The Lord surrounds you 🙂

Feeling alone? The Lord surrounds you 🙂

Sharing an oldie but goodie worship song- As the mountains surround Jerusalem.

Thank you for reading. God bless.