Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.
Matthew 10:29, KJV
Not even a sparrow falls without God’s knowledge and we are more precious than they. Oh, one day, I pray that I embrace this truth with the depth and security of one who trusts God no matter what I experience in this life. I’m not there yet. As the poem reflects this was a tear-streaked day. I have witnessed God’s care over and over, but I still don’t understand why he allowed Jonathan to die by suicide. The bottom line, is I just want Jonathan here.
Turning My Page
I wanted your heart to heal from
the world’s unrelenting fists of hatred.
I tried to shield you, but their blows penetrated
to marrow. Broke bone and spirit without pity. They
meant to crush you—rob identity.
Rearranged home until
you no longer recognized love or belonging.
I thought if I cradled your heart
enough with my love, that somehow, someway
you’d emerge from despair.
of your rhythm was never mine. Your
soul was formed and shaped by a God
who knit you together in my womb.
On my knees I plead that His will be
done in your life—from beginning to end.
“DO SOMETHING!” I screamed at a
God who was not deaf to my desperation.
He comforted. He still comforts,
but I will not pretend to understand
why He didn’t rescue you.
Your future—my future—was never
mine to determine. And I pray
one day I walk this path knowing
that not even a sparrow falls to the earth
without God’s knowledge.
Your life mattered, and heaven
mourned you even deeper than I.
Turning Your Page: When Sparrows Fall to Suicide
You may have sparrows who have fallen in your life. Your mourning may be deep and waves of emotions swamp you. Courage! May the promise of God’s care sustain you, even when the feelings simply are not there. You are precious to God. Your loved one was and is precious to a God who was willing to suffer with and for you. As you think about Easter consider the following:
“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners” (Romans 5:6, NLT).
“When He saw the crowds, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36, BSB).
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father” (Matthew 10:29, ESV).
Lord, this sorrow is too great. Carry it for me. Your tenderness and mercy towards my loved ones exceed my own and not one of them falls to the earth without your knowledge and mourning. Amen
Healing among the Tombs emerged from time studying the demon-possessed man described in Mark 5. I wrestled with and even hesitate to post anything in this arena. I have edited this intro repeatedly, but a wise friend suggested, “If you could tell your audience anything, without hindrance, what would it be?”
I would tell you:
There is hope, no matter the reasons for your mental health struggles.
We have an enemy called Satan who seeks to separate us from the love of God in any way he can.
As Mark 5 shows, nothing will ever hinder Jesus, not even a legion of (approximately 6,000) demons.
We need to be as equipped by the Holy Spirit with discernment of the needs of those around us.
We fight the spiritual battle with scripture, allies, prayer, fasting, and by knowing whose authority we speak.
Many are terrorized by despair right now and I can’t just advocate for the physical fight.
The people of the town had tried everything to subdue the man. Nothing in this world could save or relieve him of his torture.
He made his home among the tombs and was so violent that he broke through chains repeatedly. It seems that no one could possibly help this man. Had they given up? How did he come to be possessed? Did others bring him food? Did he have a family? Who chained him? What was the man’s family feeling? They may have even been the ones who chained him so that he would stop his self-harm.
The bottom line.
It took a divine encounter with Jesus to free him.
It took a divine encounter with Jesus to stop my self-harm and place me on a different path.
We have an enemy seeking to destroy us all and it is a spiritual battle as well as a physical one. I have witnessed spiritual attacks firsthand. I can’t pretend the problem will be only solved with physical solutions.
This man needed Jesus. I need Jesus to stand against a spirit of despair that has led to over 48,000 suicides in the US. He will turn the tide, and my prayer is that you and I can be a spark of hope.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Turning My Page: Among the Tombs
Forgotten, I greeted you from the remembrances. My home is hollowed from wealth, ready to entertain kings and demons. You crossed the unclean threshold of my grave, your royal robes billowing in the sea sworn breeze.
A crown, only seen by our eyes, testifies to us who you are. Naked, we claw with rocks at our putrid vulnerable flesh, mutilating your earthly jewel. We’ll make you unrecognizable too. Rip the flesh off God.
My God, why have you forsaken me?
I screamed for release from day and night horror. While they cried out to remain fast. I was a scarred lamb within, and a roaring lion without.
Mighty Samson would not tame we beating beasts.
But You, the Son of God, entered my tomb and knocked the breath out of me. What man chained you commanded freed. Clothed in righteousness, I now cling to you.
I am a demoniac commissioned to share the truth of your love for mankind.
Only God raises the dead.
Turning Your Page
You may have a loved one wrestling with mental illness. Whether demonic in nature, physical, or spiritual is not for us to determine. Only God can do so. Yet, God gives authority and discernment for man to cast out demons. Jesus used scripture to fight Satan; we can do the same.
Start with prayer. Ask God to equip you with His Holy Spirit’s guidance.
Begin listing out scriptures that speak about the spiritual battle we fight.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Lord, I acknowledge that I feel ill-equipped to catch glimpses of the heavenly battle, yet you have chosen to open my eyes to the unseen attacks of Satan. Father, train me from head to toe to trust your will and shut the mighty lion’s mouth that seeks to devour our world! Amen
Freedom starts with hope. Realizing the power of trust, belief, and faith, inherent in the word has kept me reaching out and allowing others to reach in no matter what crisis comes my way. I have been struggling lately. Sometimes I forget to keep my hope in Jesus and start looking to others or my own ways of self-medicating. These are moments. Despair has an end and knowing that I can turn from sin and embrace the truth of God’s promises, come what may.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
Romans 8:20-21 ESV
Turning My Page: Freedom Starts With Hope
I have struggled to write for months, and the excuses have piled up.
My house is a mess
I’m not sleeping
My physical health is deteriorating
Grieving my grandmother
I am a burden to others
This week, the Holy Spirit interrupted my unconscious mantra and reminded me that I have a vast vocabulary–start with one word. Moving beyond writer’s block, depression, or any other block in my life starts with HOPE.
I may not see the fruits of my hope right away, but the seeds exist. I write one word, and then another, and another and before long I am looking back at the obstacle rather than having it firmly planted in front of me.
My hope in all things is found in Jesus Christ, so yesterday and today, I confessed my depressed state and tuned my heart to my Savior’s voice through scripture.
Worked on memorizing Romans 8
Prayed for my family who is grieving the loss of our grandmother
Acknowledged I am substituting food and mindless activities for the comfort of Christ in my grief
Went to bed and trusted that God would give me the needed rest
Set healthy boundaries with my children
Chose a few small ways to attack the mess of my home
One of the first things the Spirit of Despair attacks is the healthy habits I form.
Notice my list above. I stopped having time in scripture. The house was a deep hole of undone chores, so why try. I avoided grief through food and TV. While these things give me temporary relief, they will never give me lasting help or draw me from the pit of hopelessness because I will always need more and more of those things and accomplish nothing by escaping through them. They do not feed me, mind, body, and spirit.
I know this because at age twenty I almost succeeded in taking my own life. That moment was the cumulation of all my attempts to deal with life’s hardships and pain by burying it and not pressing into hope. At that moment I recognized, rightly, that nothing in this world would make me feel better, but did not press into hope in Christ until the following year.
Only then did my life begin to look more hopeful. I started recognizing Christ died for all of the hardships I experienced and He would faithfully take all experiences and use them to lead others, and offer hope when others can’t yet see the potential. Placing hope in Jesus Christ meant my ultimate failure was not an option. No more throwing in the towel. I do not do this perfectly, but when my footing slips I gain it back more quickly and easily because hope has become the pattern of my life rather than the exception.
Turning Your Page
Freedom starts with hope.
That hope does not disappoint. You may not yet see the fruits of pushing back against the doubts or feel anything will change. Hope is powerful! It gives you space and opportunity to discover resources, mankind to reach in and help, and develops muscles of trust. We will get to the other side of our experiences because nothing separates us from the love of Jesus (Romans 8:28). Nothing and no one will ever be able to steal that freedom from you.
What are some of your favorite promises in scripture?
Look at the definition of the root word of depression and compare it to the definition for hope.
Journal about the difference and similarities between the two.
What are some antonyms of each?
Pick an antonym of “depress”, such as rejoice, and begin practicing daily.
Lord, I want to cease spiraling into despair. Help me to look up from the pit and see that all things are possible through you. I’ll hold on until they happen as you promised. Amen
No one plans on unwrapping depression during the holidays.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 KJV)
Depression is a gift not easily returned to a store. I say gift because, as I work through despair I also discover my capacity to fight it.
Twenty-two years ago depression became a training ground for my faith. I hoped for what I could not yet see. I stretched weak, underdeveloped spiritual muscles. And survived attacks from the enemy. Beauty emerged from the ashes of my life.
We don’t have to have it all together to survive Christmas. But, we do have to have certain habits in place that are not optional. I am conditioning to be fearless and embrace discipline, compassion, and determination. Like a drill sergeant encouraging failure, depression stirs instead, my will to live.
Grief doesn’t take a hiatus, and physical pain may have no relief. The strain is constant, but we also experience joy. We can hope, remain open to new possibilities, step outside of our own thoughts, and engage the world. Not based upon feeling, but upon the basic way, humans were created. We were built for relationship. Based on that understanding, isolation is not an option.
Below is a Depression Survival Kit that I use on a regular basis. These habits help me to get through and even gain new ground through holidays.
Feel free to comment on anything that helps you to get through the holidays.
1-2 scriptures to read on a regular basis, call to mind when thoughts spiral
List of safe people (of the same sex) that I can call in case of an emergency
1-2 old traditions I will do (not based on feeling)
1-2 new traditions I will create with family, friends, strangers
Go to Christmas events
Signal designated departure friend to aid in a smoother exit
I don’t have to do all events
Stay engaged with the community (not an option)
Volunteer to help others
Encourage someone else who is struggling
Allow 1 or 2 people to take you out of your comfort zone
Laughter is good medicine (welcome humor)
Set goals and take steps to be as healthy as you can
Extend grace to yourself and others
My prayers are with you as you find joy this Christmas.
We couldn’t open our windows and I might have squealed when the installer replaced the old useless windows. Today the temperature finally dropped and we spent the day with the windows open. Throughout the day I found myself smiling and breathing in more deeply.
Depression also shuts down all avenues for fresh thought and truth to enter our souls. When I am in a pattern of fear, anger, doubt, and worry, I stop what I am doing and get outside. The sights, sounds, and illustrations of the outside remind me that nothing is impossible for God.
For example, my daughter’s plant she grew from seed, is now a flourishing loaded with plump almost ripe tomatoes. I thought it wasn’t going to make it. It was such a scrawny little plant at the start. We neglected it, but my neighbor spent time caring for it while we left for vacation. Ten days later, we came home to a plant loaded with buds. Now we water it every day. The plant didn’t change, its DNA told it what to do. My neighbor’s attitude changed ours. it was worth saving.
These illustrations in nature, remind me that I too must feed, water, and care for myself. When I feel fears, doubts, and worries closing in on me, a short walk outside, sitting on the porch, and photography at my favorite park all help expand my world. Despair is no match for a fresh perspective of hope.
Turning Your Page
Depression breeds in stale air. Therefore, in what ways can you begin keeping a fresh supply of new thoughts, memories, and experiences flowing in your life? Do you have a person who makes you laugh, or encourages you to step out of what currently feels safe? Reach out to them and see if they’ll send you a daily text, or go out for coffee. You may not feel better after opening your life to something new immediately, just as our eyes have to adjust after being in a dark cave, our soul has to find security in a new positive pattern.
Write down some things you’d like to do if you felt better.
Ask someone to take a short walk with you.
Do a word search on depression (despair), downcast in the bible. What does it say about the cause of these things and the remedy for them?
My struggle isn’t the end of the story. Open my eyes, Lord, to your love, provision, and answers through nature. Amen
During the many shifts, changes, and difficult challenges caused by COVID-19, we can either choose to praise or curse God. As a result of your circumstances, what will you choose?
Relent, do not be unjust; reconsider, for my integrity is at stake.
Job 6:29 NIV
Turning My Page: My Response to Covid-19 is to Praise or Curse
I slammed my Bible shut. After spending a month with Job’s friends, I couldn’t take one more sentence of their arrogant presumptions about Job and God. “I can’t wait for you to speak,” I complained out loud to God.
God in his infinite wisdom answered back, “Oh really?” So, today, I listened to the first words God spoke to Job and his friends, and also heard him say to me, “How often do you lean on your own understanding, trying to explain why I allow suffering in your life? How often do you presume to know my ways and what I will or will not do in the lives of your children?”
God’s rebuke was not harsh,
but it cut through my self-righteous judgment of Job’s friends and placed me squarely in the storm of his answers to Job.
Reading through Job, you and I have the benefit of Chapter 1. This causes us to question God’s goodness because we know God calls Job, ” blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil”. God made it clear Job does not deserve what is happening to him. Take the first chapter out and we are just as blindsided as Job when his favored life turns hard.
Witnessing such great suffering I would have asked:
Is God punishing Job because he sinned?
Has God withdrawn his love?
Job was wealthy, therefore, is it a sin to accumulate possessions?
Is God allowing Job to suffer as an example of what happens when man thinks they are better than God?
Too often I presume to know why God allows suffering
in our lives rather than knowing and finding security that he is good and that I am part of God’s larger story for mankind. He does not answer to me, nor does he have to explain himself to me.
I pray that one day I can say, “Satan meant Jonathan, my oldest son’s, death for evil, but oh Lord you meant it for the salvation of many.” Suffering has a greater purpose, just as God had a divine purpose when he allowed Jesus’ death on the cross. I choose to praise you, Lord, just as Job chose to praise you even when he didn’t understand your full design.
Lord, you created the heavens, earth, and all that resides in it.
I don’t have the first clue of your purposes. But I do know you are good. I praise you for creating my life, giving me breath. You gifted my first child and transformed motherhood for me. As Jonathan was placed in my arms, I began to recognize your love for me as a parent. Therefore, I praise you in my suffering now after the loss of Jonathan. because I know you didn’t stop loving me. Again and again, you extend grace to me. You gave me a husband who not only committed his life to love me but knelt down and said vows to the seven-year-old son who looked up him with eager and nervous expectation. You blessed me with Brian, Jonathan, Daniel, and Natalie and even if the worst comes true in my life, you are still a good God.
Lord, you gave me your passion and creative spirit. I am in awe of scripture, you don’t leave me guessing. You tell me the beginning, middle, and end of your story. I know all I experience is temporary. Leave your mark on the world through me.
Turning Your Page
What are your current judgment of God during this pandemic, world suffering, and personal trials? Do you find yourself saying, I must have done something wrong, or what kind of god allows pain? Are his actions in your life measuring up to your beliefs and expectations of how a good God should act? God does not ever give Job a reason for his suffering, but he does establish authority in Job’s life, the lives of his friends, and over their circumstances. Is that a God you can live with? Job determined that yes, he could still worship a God that both took away and gave him good things. What do you say to the creator of the universe in your suffering?
What are your beliefs about God? How did they form? (example: I was raised in a Christian home, but also learned a lot about God through nature and reading on my own.)
How are your friends, family, and coworkers responding to God during COVID-19?
List the ways God is providing for and being active in your life. Spend time writing down praise for who God is.
How can you develop a COVID-19 praise over curse response?
Today I choose to say, “You give and take away, but still, I will praise your name.” Amen
Interview August 25th at 7pm EST
My guest, Kathy Collard Miller. She is a lay counselor, author, speaker, and a person who struggled with anger and depression. Next week, we will discuss how God transformed and shaped her brokenness. and therefore he can shape us as well. Just like Job, we don’t always know why we suffer. Kathy’s testimony is an opportunity to see that our emotions are not beyond redemption. Be encouraged by this sweet and Holy Spirit-led woman. She has a catalog of resources to help you on your journey. Check out her ministry at Heart Change: Thirsting for God’s Living Spring
She will be offering giveaways of her two most recent books:
And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 1:19-21 ESV
Turning My Page: Apply Prophetic Inspiration
In the last two years, I experienced prophetic inspirations spoken over me. Faithful men and women have spoken God’s truth which again and again was reinforced by scripture in various circumstances.”I see an image of a yellow rose, preparing to bloom.” “You are a mother who will lead children to wholeness.” “Mom, read Ephesians 4:8.” “You are Esther.” Some knew me, others were complete strangers. I feel uncomfortable with my futures actions being foretold. It feels like having a bright light shining into my soul after remaining in darkness.
What if I fail?
I have spoken words over myself for 42 (I’ll give my three-year-old self a break) years. You are ugly. You will fail. No one will love you. Stupid. You can’t do anything right. You will always be in pain. Why are you here? God couldn’t possibly use you for good. If a prophecy is simply an inspired utterance when you and I speak depression and darkness over ourselves, where is the inspiration coming from?
Losing Jonathan took a toll on what I thought about motherhood. The lie I accepted was, to invest in my child, love God, teach him to love God and everything turns out okay. When believers buy into the lie that accepting Christ leads to success and a trouble-free life Satan is setting us up for failure. Nowhere in scripture does it say this. Instead, Jesus says, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b NLT). Troubles do not negate the task God has given me to do. I am to “share the reason for the hope I have.” Read more on my Suicide Story.
Here are truths I now acknowledge since meeting Jesus twenty-four years ago:
While I recognize the above truths, I have struggled to embrace and apply them without wavering. I apologize that I have wasted a single second denying the words spoken over me and into me. God, you have been gently nudging me with these prophecies and revealing how uncomfortable I am with your truth and comfortable I am with my own brand of truth.
I embrace the inspiration God gives through the many experiences, scripture, and voices that encourage my spirit. Wholeheartedly I repent of the above lies I have consistently repeated. They do not align themselves with who Christ says I am. It is high time I with the full force of faith, hope, and love, accept what God keeps speaking over me.
Turning Your Page
This is your starting point. Will you embrace a new prophetic inspiration spoken over you? Depression no longer has the last word in your life. With God’s help, you will conquer the lie that this life is impossible to live and turn the page to find hope, faith, and love in each of your next days.
Choosing to embrace truth is bound to stir up resistance. As thoughts of darkness, hopelessness, and condemnation get loud, recognize that their inspiration is from Satan, the father of all lies (John 8:44). He won’t let up. To change this pattern God divinely removes the oppressive spirit or equips you to bear up under the attack. Don’t expect your feelings to always match the truth God is revealing in your life. If emotions matched truth, none of us would struggle with depression.
These truths take practice. As you read, understand the scriptures, and walk in obedience to the truth of God’s love for you, recognizing and applying prophetic inspiration will become easier. Be sure to note when God repeats his message of love from multiple sources. Despair will stop dominating your decision making and hope will help you turn the page on your darker days. God’s love will start prophesying over you and you will discern the truth of his purpose for you.
List out some of the things you hear yourself saying about yourself or others.
For You have delivered my soul from death, and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.
Turning My Page
Tomorrow is an anniversary no one in my family wants to relive. Yet, every year, July 1st still arrives and we have to decide what to do with it. The sadness swallowed me up today so my husband asked me to share special memories of Jonathan.
Remembering and laughing brought me out of my funk and made me realize that I would have to be intentional about tomorrow.
Lord, I acknowledge that you are redeeming the ruins of my yesterday.
I remember and invite others to remember and share with me their memories of Jonathan’s character, his love for God, family, and friends, and the adventures and laughter
Have lunch at Moes
Sing and record my video on Psalms at the beach
Photograph what brings me joy and peace
Raise our Jarritos in memory of Jonathan
Father, redeem July 1st, and may I honor you, your love for Jonathan, and the perfect peace you give to me. Suicide is not the whole story. Amen
Turning Your Page
Do you have a day you need redeemed? Notice what makes the day hard. It may be injustice, it may be loss, anger. Don’t shy away from what you feel, because those emotions are as much a part of revealing God’s redemption as the good ones. There are so many things in this life that hurt. Learn to feel, but continue to write your story through the pain.
What makes the day hard? Sum up why this day seems to unwind any progress or growth you have made since your first moment of trauma.
Are there others who can help you through this day? List out some activities that bring you joy and pick one to do on your hard day.
Pick a song, psalm, or passage as your focus to read out loud throughout the day or meditate on. Acknowledge your heartache while moving your thoughts towards God’s perspective on your suffering.
Lord on my hardest day, you were there. Though all I may be able to do is cling to you when I remember that day, I know that you care for my every wound and bring healing and wholeness to my broken soul. Amen