Posts Categorized: devotional

Recognizing Despair: Patty Mason Interview (Part 1)

Patty Mason is a living testimony that God is not distant from our anguish. Though other types of depression are clinical, Patty attributes her depression to attempts to fill the hole in her soul where God should reside with things that did not satisfy. God set her free through the quiet touch of a woman who had no idea of the impact she would have on Patty.

God set her free from depression and invited Patty to learn more about his love for her. For more than twenty years, she has developed her relationship with both God and others struggling with despair. She ministers and equips others to learn to discover, embrace, and live in freedom through Liberty in Christ Ministries.

I will post our interview in three installments. Patty’s answers speak life and hope into the darkness and oppressive grip of despair because she offers no less than what God offered her.

As we conversed about her book Finally Free: Breaking the Bonds of Depression Without Drugs, Patty focused her answers on what she has seen and heard of God’s work in her own life. She didn’t make broad and sweeping comparisons about the depression experience, but instead, she passionately described the consistent character of Christ no matter our history of despair.

Our stories of depression are individual, but God’s story of freedom for all mankind is the same. Patty declares with passion and compassion; God is restoring us as his bride, and despair loses its grip in the hands of a loving redeemer.


Turning the Page on Suicide: You open Chapter 1 by distinguishing depression as a constant battle bringing on overwhelming feelings of sadness, rage, and hopelessness. Describe why a depressed person can’t just snap out of it and choose to be happy?

I don’t know why we can’t snap out of it. I know I couldn’t. My husband loved me, I knew he cared about me, but he didn’t understand what I was going through. I think his attitude was,˜Oh, you’ll get over it.  A lot of people ask the same question. We all have sad days, or days we feel off, but that is not depression. Depression is a very deep and dark place, and it’s not someplace we can just snap our fingers and automatically get out of, no matter how much we want to be free.

TPOS: What are some ways people responded to your depression in the early days? Were friends and family aware of the shift in your behavior?

No, not at all, I tried to give the impression I was perfect. I wore the mask way too well and covered my emotions. I didn’t let people into my world. In fact, I didn’t let my husband in that world for a long time.

TPOS: You say in Finally Free, I never saw the depression coming, nor did I realize how much it would steal from me. Is it possible to be prepared for depression; to create an emergency kit for the pits of life?

Depression gives off warning signs. Before the symptoms of depression become visible, I exhibited frustration and anger, which indicated something was wrong. Our life experiences, even if they seem trivial at the time, do affect us either positively or negatively. If there is trauma in your past, then start looking at it, don’t sweep it under the rug, and think, I’ve moved on, and that’s the end of it.

TPOS: You credit your desire to find yourself, and later speak of success as representing “a notch on the belt of life that told the world I had worth. Young men and women often talk of self-worth or finding their identity as they are beginning their adulthood. What were some of the things you thought would give you self-worth?

Adventure was my first journey, I traveled quite a bit. Actually, travel became a drug. I was so addicted that I no sooner came home, I started to plan the next adventure. Next, I turned to men, then family to try and fill that void. I thought marriage and children would fill me as a woman.

TPOS: Relationships and marriage offer the opportunity to feel valued and special, but why can’t another person complete us? Why is it so easy to lose our identity in marriage?

If we look for someone else to complete us or tell us who we are in order to find our identity, we will come up disappointed every time. The only way to find our true identity is to connect to God through a personal relationship because he is the one who created you. He knows who he desires you to be, and when you tap into a relationship with Jesus, you will discover your true sense of worth and purpose.

TPOS: How does the world look at motherhood? Why do our children not fill the void in our soul?

The world today doesn’t look at motherhood the same way it did fifty years ago. Back then, motherhood was critical; it was a woman’s primary role. Today the world tells you that it’s not enough to be a mother. You have to be successful in all these different areas of life. This was a great struggle for me as a young mother. Prior to marriage, I had a career, but my husband and I made the decision that I was going to walk away from that career and become a full-time mom. I thought that was a wonderful decision until I went to different events, like my husband’s Christmas party or some other event with women who were in the workplace.  The minute I told them I was a wife and mother it was like my brain fell out of my head. Suddenly I wasn’t interesting, worth anything, or successful. This made me feel very disappointed and disillusioned about who I was as a young mother. I even started looking down on myself because other women looked down on me.

TPOS: You said, For all this time I allowed a world that didn’t have the faintest idea how to live tell me how to live. When piling up all the things the world says are of value and finding yourself still unfulfilled, what do many turn to at this moment?

It depends on the person, but sadly, many people turn to addiction. Drugs, alcohol, social media, video games, anything that will distract them from feeling the emptiness and the void that is in their soul. The place they couldn’t fill with success or money or career or power or whatever else they try to fill it with.

TPOS: Describe the moment you knew you were depressed. Because you weren’t ready to share, and frankly others might not have been willing to listen, understand, and offer encouragement, what choices did you have with the recognition of depression?

Depression has a root. Just because you are not feeling symptomatic, doesn’t mean there are no underlying roots. That is what happened to me. At the time, I didn’t realize I was depressed because I was still pursuing what I thought would fill me. It wasn’t until I had everything I thought was going to satisfy me and make me happy, and it didn’t. When nothing I pursued filled that void in my soul, that was when I began to realize I had fallen into depression.

TPOS: What are your recommendations for anyone who has experienced deep trauma in childhood, just starting into adulthood?

Don’t wait. If you have gone through something in your past, in childhood or your teen year, don’t sweep it under the rug and think it’s in the past. Whether you have been physically or sexually abused, or experienced verbal abuse, where someone spoke hurtful words to you, or you experienced bullying in school, take a look at it. Don’t wait. Ask yourself some tough questions. Take a deep look at what you went through. How does that trauma make you feel when you think about it? What emotions does it stir up in you? I highly recommend a counselor, or trusted friend, to help you sort through those emotions. Someone who can help you dig into your past so you can start to understand what you are feeling. These emotional wounds and feelings are embedded in your soul, and unless they are exposed they will continue to fester and grow over the years until finally face them. Maybe ten years from now you start to have emotional breakdowns, and you will have no idea where they are coming from. (Continued on 9/19/2019)

Finally Free

Patty Mason is an author, national speaker, and the founder of Liberty in Christ Ministries. For more than two decades, Patty has shared her story of God’s redeeming grace and deliverance from depression before numerous audiences, in several books, blogs, and magazines, such as Lifeway’s Living More as well as radio and television programs, including American Family

About Patty

Guest Blog:Pruning Produces Blooms

Amy, a friend from college days is a vibrant, creative, and thoughtful woman who encouraged me quietly in so many ways. It is my pleasure to introduce her today,, as she blooms where God planted her.

By Amy Malcomb

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” ( John 15:1-2).

I am a middle-aged wife and mother who loves to play in the dirt.   Whether it is building a sandcastle at the beach or planting bulbs in a flower bed; there is something about letting the soft gritty soil run through my fingers that soothes my Irish soul.   Maybe that is not a big confession, but guess who else loves to play in the dirt?  God.  

He formed Adam from the earth, and when Jesus died on the cross, he piled the dirt (sin) of the world onto his shoulders. God sits down in the middle of the craziness of our lives, the joys, the failures, the insecurities, the hopes and dreams, the disappointments (the metaphorical dirt) and be a part of it all.

Last week my friend asked me to meditate on John 15.  She also encouraged me to go outside and enjoy the sunshine more often.  Neither easy to accomplish with small kids.  For a few minutes a day though, I managed to go outside and sit on my front porch and enjoy the sunshine which brought my attention back to the potted plant I had bought a few months before.

 Though I love gardening, we haven’t lived anywhere that I could garden for the last few years.   My current residence has a backyard and a small flowerbed in the front.  So, of course, I started planting things right away.  Between my kids and the crazy Florida weather, my endeavors were not going well.

My petunia with beautiful pink and white blossoms and a blueberry bush survived for more than a few weeks.  Then Florida was hit by heavy rain.  Pretty soon my pretty pink flower looked sick and I worried that it might not make it.  Likewise, my blueberry bush was not doing well.  It started turning brown all over.  I thought the blueberry bush was not that bad though, so I left it alone. 

The petunia looked even worse after a few more days, so I made one last-ditch effort to save it. I plucked dead blossoms, and broke off the dead branches and stems.  I kept hoping that I wasn’t doing more harm than good. The flower was about 1/3 the size it started with.  Did I help or hurt my lovely flower?

 Fast forward to about a week later; the blueberry bush died, and I threw it away.  My pretty pink petunia lived and flourished. I am a lot like that flower. God is the Master Gardener.  He knows exactly what the unhealthy (sinful) parts are.  Thankfully he does not guess at what works.  He knows exactly what to do about them.  He sees a beautiful flower beneath what needs to be removed. He trims away laziness, selfishness, and pride.   He knows the circumstances and people that will prune the sinful parts. It can be very unpleasant, even painful at times.  I know He is doing it for my good.  I know if I submit to His gardening, I will bear more fruit for Him. 

Hebrews 12:11 says that “No discipline seems pleasant at the time but painful. Later, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” So, the next time you are feeling frustrated and questioning your circumstances, remember stay close to the Father.  He is the Master Gardener.  The pruning process may not be much fun, but rest assured He is creating something magnificent.  Happy Gardening!

Under The Influence of Resurrection

I stand amazed,
Your amp
Electrified my soul and
Testified boldly to the audience
That you are indeed the crucified All-Mighty.

Drunk? No.
Under the influence of
Your resurrection I
Cannot help but belt out
My gratefulness. Holy Holy
Is the Lord Almighty.

You became my passionate rift of joy,
a bridge that opens eyes to possibility
in the monotony
of daily trials. You are my
chorus to echo experience,
of resurrected life.

(Inspired by Pentecost Acts 1)

When God Hits the Pause Button in Our Faith

“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:9-12).

God stopped me in my tracks a few months ago. Absence may or may not cause the heart to grow fonder with you readers of Turning the Page on Suicide, but God will do what he sets out to do, with or without my help. I’d rather be a part of his plan, which became clearer, once I stopped banging my head against the wall I thought was writer’s block. God put a flaming sword in my path (see Balaam’s Donkey for more information), I found peace in the silencing of my very busy keys. God has been my muse this whole journey, but somewhere along the journey, I slipped into doing rather than being a witness to you.

In this time of stepping back, God is giving me rest, reminding me of where my help comes from and opening my eyes to new possibilities. “Dream bigger,” he tells me. Just even saying those words gives me delightful goosebumps. The Holy Spirit and I are in constant conversations and he is teaching me to rest in him.

The pause button isn’t the end, but a chance for the refreshment of our spirit, a course correction, or getting new marching orders so that we can fulfill God’s purpose For me it has been a little of all the above. I sat with God, meditating on scripture and studying his character in Ezekiel. He is showing me his justice on a deeper level. He has given me a childlike faith as I play in nature with my camera. And I grow closer to my husband and children through fuller presence and prayer.

Adventures have included speaking to a women’s retreat two weeks ago and a writer/speaker conference this past weekend. God is pouring into me and preparing me for some demanding things that will take a discipline of spirit I lack. These past few months (again, once I stopped beating my writing into submission) is such a sweet and refreshing time. I feel established and rooted in love.

God will always correct, train, and prepare those who stay within His will. Have you hit a perceived wall? Sit there, not in a pout, but in submission. God, what do you want to teach me? Who should I connect with? Run through your spiritual checklist:

  • Am I in the word?
  • Who am I allowing to speak life into me?
  • Do I listen to the Spirit’s counsel?
  • Am I witnessing for the gain of my audience or my own affirmation?

The last is crucial as a writer and follower of Jesus Christ. Knowing that God is well pleased in me matters far more than any other voice in my life. Where do you garner praise? Lean into God’s love for you and if he is hitting the pause button, realize he is preparing you for exceedingly great things.



When the Betrayer Approaches Will I Accept God’s Will?

“‘Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith will not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers’” (Luke 22:31=32).

All of us have a betrayer. A person who knows our inner workings and wounds us deeply. Jesus understands our wound of betrayal intimately.

He was surrounded by betrayers.

Pharisees held the prophecies of His coming in their hands but denied Jesus was the Son of God. Crowds of followers who witnessed miracle after miracle, raised their fists in hatred when it appeared Jesus lost favor. And his friends? There wasn’t a single disciple left in the garden to stand with Jesus as he was arrested.

I too am a betrayer of Jesus.

I knew as a little girl that he was real, walked the earth, was God in flesh, but I rejected Him because He did not meet my expectations. How could a good God allow me to be abused? How could a good God withhold solid friendships? How could a God who cared allow so much evil in the world?

Yet, knowing every last one of those who followed Jesus would betray him, Jesus chose them. Knowing his mother and brothers would laugh at him and reject the gospel he still chose to be born into a family. Jesus knew I would reject him, and yet he still called me, loved me, and never stopped being present in my life.

When I am lax in dying to self, which I have been over the past few months, I am tempted to turn away from God. Two weeks ago God placed a question squarely in my soul. My insomnia and pain were unbearable and I was tempted to throw in the towel on God. He asked, Will you betray me?

I confessed my bitterness, stopped playing the victim of humanity, and submitted to His will. In one desperate cry, my oppressive insomnia was shattered, my attitude was lighter, my whole household noted the transformation. Joy and peace entered our home.

Any person who supports us in ministry is susceptible to the same sinful nature that Peter, James, John and the rest of the disciples displayed. We are human, we are tempted to go our own way, fall asleep when others need us to keep watch and hurt each other with false beliefs. Are you prepared for your betrayer?

PREPARED, not paranoid. Looking for people to hurt us requires distance, fear, and overthinking every action of another person. Preparing for letdowns in relationships requires love, sacrifice, keeping no record of wrongs fasting, praying, surrendering to God’s will, and discernment. This dying to self is nothing short of physical death. Jesus almost died before the cross. He really needed the support of his friends.

There was no one willing to walk into the garden, stay awake, and die on a cross with him. In my 44 years of living, I have observed pastors, deacons, lay leaders and children all fall away from following Christ. There is not a single one of us that is not vulnerable to this temptation given the right environment. Cheat or lose your job. Commit adultery or stay in a loveless marriage. Harden my heart after losing my son, or stand firm, knowing Christ will use my sorrow to save others. We all have betrayal moments.

God made a way for us to turn like Simon, confess our betrayal and love each other as he loved us first. Stronger, more resilient because we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the forgiveness, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Thank you, Lord!

Summer Psalmist

I stretch out on a blanket, book in hand, bare
feet crisscrossed in meditation while soaking in
summer’s choir. Scripture’s sweet serenade rustles
remembrance of Creator and creation, beneath whispering

The sopranos and altos chirp from
tree and grass harmonizing as they
exert; while crooning frogs flirt with baritone
bellows, calling for their girl.

Summer’s song invites me into the steady
rhythm of tire swings and popsicle stained, childhood
giggles. Book abandoned, I dangle over river’s edge,
pumping legs in eager anticipation of touching
clouds and releasing cares as I plop into the
cool refreshment of your love.

The Dented Fender: Tenacious Love

“Awe, Mom and Dad are kissing again!” my daughter announced to her brother as she caught us in the kitchen. “Aren’t they cute?” She sounded truly delighted. When they were little, their big brother taught them to say, “Ooh, gross,” anytime they saw us kissing. My husband and I began requiring at least three positive remarks from them before their comments turned to disgust, and very quickly the delight in their parents’ affection became a habit. We don’t hear disgust any longer, and we’re trying to teach some important lessons to them, besides.

We weren’t always so cute.  (Read More at the Dented Fender Blog)

Redeem Today, Lord

“When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalm 118:5-6 NIV)

Last year I took July 7th, the day my son was buried, back. I entrusted God to bring life out of my son’s death from day one, but the 7th was one day of the year I was undone each year. My body, mind, and spirit melted into the sorrow.

I didn’t take the 7th back without forethought. I planned and prepared well in advance; surrounding myself with support, and purpose. Scripture became my rock and looking for God to do good things with the day became my focus. I didn’t try to anticipate Gods goodness, leaving the details of the day to Him, but I trusted and took joy in receiving His good gifts.

God Redeems the Hardest Days

What day does God want to reclaim in your life? Look at the debilitating moments you replay trauma and forget God brings life out of your impossibilities. Prepare to take back what the enemy stole.

God fights for us, and will not let the enemy have final say over us.

Lord, you make each day new. I acknowledge I’m tangled up in fear. Help me to give the gift of your love on the hardest days I have ever experienced. There is nothing in this life that is impossible for you. Amen

Provision At My Window

Jesus said to his disciples: â€œTherefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? –Luke 12:22-26 NIV

Dear Page Turners,

A little goldfinch visited today. I am quite sure she tapped on my window a year ago, her strange behavior still the same. She was more interested in what happens inside our home than anything outside. She sat, looking directly at me, tilting her head. Then she landed on the sill for closer inspection. Neither the barking dog nor the kids frighten her away.

My little friend is a love note from God. Love notes are moments when God does something that wows me. I’ve received many of them throughout the years, but this was extra special because it reached through the haze I walk through these days and stirred my heart. My problems are deep and multi-layered, but God’s is faithful.

She sat there looking at me and declaring with every little twitch of her head. “He loves you, he values you, and he is providing for you.” She spent about an hour with me her last visit, but I easily dismissed the visit as a passing “interesting” moment until she returned today.

How quickly I forgot He loves me when the mess of the year’s problems seemed insurmountable. The little finch’s appearance as I walked into the office caught my attention. God reminded me to hope. He knew I struggled in my exhaustion to look at his many provisions for my family, so he made his promise clear through my little feathered illustration.

Are you soured by circumstances? Cynical about the knowledge that God is good because all you see and feel is bad? Do you frantically scramble to fix whatever is wrong in your life? Come to the window with me. Look at a little bird whose only thought today was to serve her master in a big way.

May I be a little bird for you. Tapping on your heart to remind God sees and values you, and he is very much in the midst of your loneliness, your despair, and your prayers.

Love Always,


Teaching My Spirit to Dance

Suicide doesn’t water down faith with
flowery prose about God.
I take my doubts to the mat and wrestle
with who He is.

Depression is the resistance between
my will and Yours, God.
Sacrifice, daily dripping sweat,
as I work out belief on the gym floor of reality.
Muscles cry out through the strain of discipline.

But still, You coach me beyond what
I think I can accomplish. “Just one more breath!”
Shaping and toning my soul into Your image.
Turning heads with a foxy endurance
that is not of this world!

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