Love, the Remedy for Second Hand Depression

Job 30:15“Terrors are turned against me; They pursue my honor as the wind, And my prosperity has passed away like a cloud. 16“And now my soul is poured out within me; Days of affliction have seized me. 17“At night it pierces my bones within me, And my gnawing pains take no rest.…

What do we do when loved ones are giving up on life? Is there such a thing as secondhand depression? Yes, I believe that there is. Like Job’s wife, do we respond, “Curse God and die.”? I don’t think she said those things because she hated Job. I believe she had given into fear. Fear of the circumstances, fear of the onslaught, and fear of loss. She was like Ruth’s mother-in-law, telling her people to no longer call her Naomi, but to call her Marah (Bitter).  We are asking, what kind of God allows this kind of suffering?!

The last year with Jonathan was hard! His personality changed so completely that sometimes he said awful things to us. He refused medical care, and he fought mightily with a desire to give up. I was on my knees crying out to God so many times that I was often horse. At moments the fear of losing Jonathan was more tangible than God’s presence, and I struggled to love. Fear and love cannot occupy the same space; fear is a cancer, mimicking normal cells of concern so that we don’t fight its systematic takeover of our ability to love. But fight we must! I don’t mean strive and claw our way out of depression, I’m talking about LETTING GOD FIGHT FOR US. Only when I finally handed Jonathan’s wellbeing over to God could I finally love my son, come what may. Those last few months were the best they could be between the two of us.

Mother Theresa and the Sister’s of Charity ministered with love, to those often cursing back at them as they were dying. I have been studying her character for a while, and I am learning how much depression is based on control and conditions. I want to be in control and I am depressed when I am not. We want to be loved back! But oh the power to change the world, when we love from the vantage point of the cross. Are you in the midst of loving someone who may never love you back? Well God has been doing that since the creation of the world. For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son. That whosoever believes in him, shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16) That kind of love is the model for how we are to love those who are struggling with depression. Accepting His love which has no possible repayment is the cure for secondhand depression. Loving like Christ is productive suffering!

Hearing God in the Silence of Grief

Romans 8:31What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;

we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”j

37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

 

It’s the silence, after a house full of guests, that threatens to undo me. In grief, you brace yourself for the days of deepest memories, but the days that would have been routine, those are the days that crush bones. In these difficult days I grow best if I listen to what the new aspects of grief want to tell me.

I hear God calling me.

I am here, in this season of depression, to shout that God makes a way through. I am being stretched and prepared to love more deeply than I ever thought possible, so that you know, beyond a shadow of doubt that God loves you. He has chosen you since before the beginning of creation! There is not a single second of your existence that does not matter to him.

Lean in and listen to the silence of your circumstances. Allow God to teach you more about both loss and gain than you knew before. Grief can widen our hearts to love God and our neighbor more deeply or close us off. Perspective is the only difference. Do I fix my eyes on the evil of losing Jonathan, meant to harm me (which it was), or allow God to transform my loss into good, for the salvation of many? Even typing these words are hard. I grapple with the untamed nature of God most when ask this question.

But, then I look at the son God did not spare. Was the cross evil. Yes. Was Jesus innocent. Yes. Did God spare Jesus. No  What kind of God operates this way? I have heard again and again from people suffering the horrid torment of cancer that they felt God’s presence, and were able to love more deeply than before their cancer. What kind of God determines what is evil as being for the good of the world?

A God who is not limited by evil!  A God who sent his own son to the pits of hell to save us. A God who gave us over to ourselves, but made a way for us to be better since the beginning of time. My God isn’t tame, he is dangerous to follow, but he is good! How glad that I am that God has never fit into my box, or been limited by what evil men do!

Listen to God’s call on your life and walk through the flames if that is where he leads. He may take you out of the furnace, he may take you through the furnace, or he might take you by the furnace, but one thing is certain, others will see him standing with us as we walk in obedience to his will.

 

Would You Walk Through The Door?

Philippians1:29For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

 

You stand in a room filled with doors. Each one opens to a path you could take, but only one leads to the salvation of many people. If you walk through that door you will experience depression, betrayal, abuse, overwhelming loss, constant stress, persecution and die an early death. Would you walk through the door?

Let me know your thoughts.

 

I Am A Tomb Raider

Hope, lit in abstract is easily

Snuffed out by passionate loneliness.

Attempts to breathe, clotted by

veins scarred by sorrow.

Eyes, scaled by experience and

Belief,

Closed in sleep against the cruelties

Of the world.

 

I’m not afraid to climb into the ditch with you,

I’ve dug this grave before.

Grave digger turned grave robber.

Joined, a band of brothers and sisters, saturated

In the oil of faith,

searching tombs of darkness for a pulse, because you matter

To me.

The torch of our souls leaning close to

living corpses already making beds of graves.

Relentless in calling Lazarus from the

tomb. It is not your time yet.

I am hope, concrete with dirty fingers.

 

 

 

Too Much!

Psalm 34:…17The righteous cry, and the LORD hears And delivers them out of all their troubles. 18The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit. 19Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all.…

Some days you wake up and your world is already crumbling. Daniel woke up crying in pain, and it went down from there until everyone was being unpleasant to one another. The explosions inside me were oozing out in sharp words and I’m not sure I want to keep them at bay any more.

Now I sit here in the silence, the train whistling in the distance and I feel as if I am stuck on the tracks. Lord, they do not owe me a thing! Help me to glorify you. I don’t have to keep up appearances, I don’t have to hold it all together. Life on this earth sucks sometimes and I’ve had enough. I want my son to be well, or at the very least, to know what is wrong. Please father, give me the strength to keep pressing forward and not to be mean to my family because I can’t fix what is wrong. Open my heart and mind to your will, not mine! Only in the garden of trusting you completely can I be fully present and pleasant to my family. Amen.

Manger Alter

Ramen Noodles were a mothers desperate attempt at feeding her child who could not keep food down. It was a favorite food. I did not understand how much my heart was entangled in this simple pleasure until my husband asked if he could donate it to the food bank. He had no idea I had purchased the unopened package for Jonathan until I choked out the words.

It sat in my Lazy Susan for two years. How my heart aches! To give voice to my pain, to identify my sorrow, is an opportunity to let go of anything that hinders me from pressing forward. I have been deeply hindered this Christmas. The constant abscess of grief is wearing my spirit to rags.  So, after having Brian check the expiration date–do Ramen Noodles ever expire? –I offered it to my king (laughter is good medicine) and asked that it may bless the belly of the hungry soul who receives it.

What is sitting in your Lazy Susan this year? Can you let go?

 

Dear New Page Turners,

I cannot turn the page on suicide alone. None of us can. I value your experiences, your challenges, the depth of your own sorrows and your resilience! Please do not hesitate to contact me with your concerns, suggestions and experiences of hope in the midst of grief or depression.

Thank you for reading and turning the page on suicide with me!

 

Sincerely,

Karisa

Whom Do You Fear?

Luke 12:4-5 “I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. 5“But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him! 6“Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God.…

Whom do you fear this Halloween? There is a house on my street my kids avoid every year because things in the yard move and jump out at them. Is it the monsters under the bed, or the person that sucks the life out of you because they are harsh and abusive in words or deed?

Real or imagined we all have fears. I’m afraid of heights and being trapped in small spaces. I battle the fear of losing the rest of my family because of Jonathan’s death. All of these are earthly fears, and they will one day, literally, pass away. These fears often cause us to avoid God, hurt others, or hurt ourselves. Some of you live in the most painful of realities. But there is one fear that is life changing, one fear that should be more tangible than what torture life may put us through.

It is the fear of the Lord.

Unlike earthly fears, we are transformed by this relationship founded upon fear! “He is not a tame lion, but he is good.” (Mr. Beaver, The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe)

Take a look at these verses:

Proverbs 14:26 In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall …

Psalm 19:9 The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The

Revelation 14:7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the …

2 Chronicles 19:7 Fear the LORD and judge with integrity, for the LORD our God does not tolerate
perverted justice, partiality, or the taking of bribes.”

Job 28:28 He has commanded mankind: ‘To fear the Lord—that is wisdom; to move away from evil—that is understanding.'”

Amos 3:8 The lion has roared; who will not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken; who can but prophesy

Proverbs 14:27The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death.

What are the results of fearing God?

fear = strong confidence

fear = worship

fear = wisdom

fear = pure, enduring forever

fear = integrity

fear = prophesy

fear = life

Fear of God releases us from the fear of man or anything else that may intend us harm on this earth!