Posts Tagged: faith

Dark Side Lightened

I benefit from this anguish.
Your judgment that finds faith
lacking. You reveal secrets.
Pull truth from my heart like
a colorful magician’s scarf. I choke
on the hate. Vomit anger, and
bite down on the bitterness of repulsive
slavery. I weep.

And still,
you empty me.

Remember my image to me, the
heart you canvased in my mother’s womb.
Calmed,
Loved,
Purposed.
Brushstroke light, concealed in
despair. Display
a masterpiece through the shadows of my suffering.

Dedicated to the many children who experience abuse.

Patty Mason Interview Part 2: From Where Does My Help Come From

A Pilgrim Song

I look up to the mountains;
    does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,
    who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.

He won’t let you stumble,
    your Guardian God won’t fall asleep.
Not on your life! Israel’s
    Guardian will never doze or sleep.

God’s your Guardian,
    right at your side to protect you—
Shielding you from sunstroke,
    sheltering you from moon stroke.

God guards you from every evil,
    he guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return,
    he guards you now, he guards you always. (The Message, Psalm 121)

(Continued from Recognizing Despair: Patty Mason Interview (Part 1)
Patty needed help, she searched through many avenues, but only one brought freedom from depression.

TPOS: You took the risk to share your depression. What was the response?

It wasn’t what I thought. When I finally got the courage to start opening up to my family and friends, they didn’t criticize me, they didn’t condemn me. This is what I feared. The depression was coming out through fits of rage, and I was abusing my oldest daughter, so I was worried about their reaction. But, to my surprise and amazement, because I had worn the mask so well, they brushed it off. They didn’t believe me. They just didn’t understand the seriousness of the depression.

TPOS: Describe your experience of seeking professional help for depression. What was the response of counselors?

I remember the day, with a phone book in hand going down the list of all the professional doctors I thought could help me. I had this get fixed quick mentality. If I could just get some pills, I would be fine. I called one doctor after another, only to get responses like: I’m sorry, we don’t take your insurance or I’m sorry we don’t handle that kind of depression. I got to the very last doctor on the list, and a very kind woman answered the phone. She listened to my heartfelt plea, only to tell me at the end of our conversation, I’m sorry, but we can’t help you. When I hung up the phone that day, I thought I’m alone in this, no one can help me. When I realized, not even doctors could help me, that is when I began to contemplate suicide.

TPOS: You have given us insight into God’s reasoning for hardening hearts. You say your heart became harder towards God, and it caused you to cry out differently. Describe that moment. What happens when we cry out to God for help?

I became angry at God because he didn’t answer my prayer. I became suicidal, convinced the madness was never going to end and death was the only way out. I turned to God as a last resort. I knew he had the power to let me live or die. But at first I was coming to him with what I wanted, and when he wasn’t giving me what I wanted, I hardened my heart toward Him. We always make the choice first to harden our hearts toward God.

When I got to the point that I was crying out to him in a different way, it was a make-it-or-break-it day for me. I felt as if I had been ground into the ashes to which I came. At this point, I believed, that if God didn’t do something that day, if he didn’t intervene, I feared I would. I could not go on one more day. I cried out to God one last time, only this time it wasn’t ‘God, take my life.’ I opened my heart to the possibility that God would do something different. “Help me!” I cried. I confessed to God that no one could help me, only He could help me. I tried to fix myself before I sought family and friends. They couldn’t do anything, so I turned to doctors, and they couldn’t help, so that’s when I turned to God. This was pivotal because I’m now coming to God with this confession. That could have been what he was waiting for.

The same day I was crying out to God, I thought I heard a faint voice say, “Go to Mops.” I didn’t want to go to MOPS. At that point, I had been avoiding it, because when I became suicidal, I stopped going. I didn’t want to pretend anymore. But then I heard the voice a second time, “Go to MOPS.”

TPOS: How long were you involved in MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers)? Did someone invite you? What was the draw to this ministry for you, even in your depression? 

I had already been involved in MOPS for a couple of years. I heard about the organization, and it was a way to take another break. I could get out of the house and have a break from my kids. 

TPOS: The MOPS speaker probably didn’t come to speak with the idea of saving someone’s life, yet her words resonated in your desperate heart. What would you say to the person in ministry or connecting with coworkers in the workplace about being present in the lives of others? 

Are you trapped under the weight of depression? Where is help? Where are the answers? …

Never underestimate the power of your words. Even when we are in ministry or dealing with coworkers, we can talk to them and think we are not making a difference. You never know how God is taking your words of encouragement to touch and change someone else’s life.

So with my son in tow, I went to MOPS.  I put on the mask. I ate, conversed with the other moms, laughed and smiled. I even did a craft, which I hate. The speaker was delightful. She talked about lack of joy and lack of purpose, and how the only way to find real joy is in Jesus Christ. Now, she didn’t talk about depression, but she started tapping into an area I was hungry for, and that was joy.

When she was finished, she showed us a little brochure and said that if anyone would like this brochure to meet her in the back of the room. Well, I thought the answer was in that brochure. I watched her make her way to the back of the room, then I got up and followed her. Standing in front of her, and it was like a dam broke. All of this emotion came pouring out through sobs and run-on sentences.

I was causing a scene, but I didn’t care. Not even when I realized every woman in the room was staring at us. I didn’t even try to shut it off, I just let it all come out. I remember this woman didn’t say one word. A lot of people have asked me, “What did she say to you?” She didn’t pray. She just stood there, made eye-contact, and listened. Without saying a word, she reached out and touched my left arm, just above the elbow, and when she did, the crying and run-on sentences stopped. Nausea in the pit of my stomach was gone. The dark cloud that followed me around for so long lifted. All of a sudden, my soul felt light like it had taken on wings and could fly around the room. I was stunned. She stood there staring at me, and I at her. I felt something from her that I had never felt before. Even though she didn’t know me, there was a sense of compassion. I felt like she understood. There was like this liquid love oozing, poured from her. I realize now that was Jesus. I was feeling Jesus in her.

TPOS: Have you been able to keep in touch with this woman?

Yes, I have kept in touch with her for over twenty-two years. She prays for me, my family, and the ministry. (She did not know what happened at the time. It was at the MOPS appreciate the night, six months after my transformation, that I spoke about what happened. She was in the audience and learned what God had done for me through her.

TPOS: You said the freedom kept coming. How many people stop here? Okay, I’m free of depression, what must follow? (The ten healed lepers) 

Once we start having some relief, sometimes we just go on with our lives. But, for me, I felt such gratitude that I could not stop thinking about Jesus. Up until that point, I hadn’t given God much thought. I grew up in the church. I believed in Him, I even believed Jesus died on the cross, but I had no relationship with Him. I only prayed when I was desperate. I never read the Bible. Jesus was the last resort. But now there was this sudden flip or shift where I couldn’t stop thinking about Jesus, and it all stemmed from this sense of gratitude.

TPOS: I love that you point out many mighty warriors of faith who struggled with despair, another word for depression. What about Christians who are struggling with depression, how should they deal with their depression? 

I have a lot of believers who approach me after I’ve shared my testimony and say, “I can understand why you were depressed; you weren’t a believer. But I’m a Christian, so why am I depressed.” My first question to them is, “Are you in the word regularly?” And to my amazement, most of them say they are not. In the book, I give a lot of questions and things for Christians to ponder. For example, are you comparing yourself with others? What are you believing? Do you believe the lies of the enemy over the truth of God’s word? We have an adversary, and he can make us feel oppressed, which feels like depression because the symptoms are the same, but it is really a spirit of heaviness that the enemy has cast on us. How are you identifying God? What do you believe God is saying about you? Are you compromising in your walk with God?

TPOS: You state in your book that God doesn’t just want to set us free from depression; he wants to dig up the root. What resources did God use to address the root cause of your suffering?

He didn’t want me to just know the power of His healing, He wanted me to know Him. One week after He healed me, I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Then I got into God’s word and allowed that truth to feed my soul. Then God started to show me some of the root causes of the depression. This was not easy, but in order to remain free, I had cooperated with the process. This is where a lot of people can get stuck in the process because it is painful, so they stop cooperating with God. But the end result is worth it. 

TPOS: Explain the differences between Renovation and Restoration. Why is Restoration so much better?

When you renovate something, you fix it. When you restore something, you put it back in its original state. Jesus did not come to fix us; he has come to restore us. When we receive Jesus, by grace through faith, we are justified before God, or put back to the original state, just as if we had never sinned. If we go through this restoration process with him, we will stand before Him a radiant bride, pure, spotless, wrinkle-free, blemish-free. We will be restored back to our original state as God intended us to be. 

What role does forgiveness play in addressing depression? Are there other steps that need to occur before we attempt forgiveness?

Unforgiveness can cause depression. I had to forgive the people who hurt me. Forgiveness is a daily choice until we come to the place, we are set free. You may not feel like forgiving the person who harmed you, but you must make that choice first. Then ask God to help you to forgive as He forgave you in Christ. Resentment and bitterness will remain in our souls without forgiveness. The unmerciful servant in Matthew is an example of the emotional torment we will feel until we are willing to forgive:  

“Then, the master summoned him and declared, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave all your debt because you begged me. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had on you?’ In anger the master turned him over the to the jailers to be tortured, until has should pay back all he owed” (Matthew 18:32-34).

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

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,

Karisa

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!

Walking With God


Walking through nature is like climbing into the

lap of God for story time.

When I listen, I am reborn.

DSC01149

Provision! 

Sowing Seeds

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. -Ephesians 4:29

“Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” (Ruth 1:20 NIV)

Planting words of love and kindness takes constant weeding, daily awareness of what is coming out of our mouths, and commitment to developing a vocabulary of blessing rather than cursing.

Words and actions someone like Naomi struggling with despair needs to hear and experience:

  • Weep for what has been lost and experienced with them
  • Walk with them even if their despair does not immediately change
  • Speak the truth in love
  • Live your own life to the fullest
  • Serve
  • Bless
  • Be determined

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her. (Ruth 1:16-18 NIV)

Making Headlines

I proof courage before it makes headlines. Erase
errors and daily edit my existence
until acceptance. The looks, scholarships, the homecoming queen, the pageantry—You caption my life—A Success On and Off the Field.
But fear echoes
in my ears, after the bleachers stop pounding
with admiration. I don’t know who I am without the
helmet. I polished
life before my final submission. Made
sure remembrance is stamped
into who you think I am. Before
the Suicide
.

Suicide Didn't Diminish Worth

Resurrecting Motherhood

Motherhood began tomorrow.
Hopes and dreams swaddle in my soul, as I
repeat the ritual of laying you to rest. and cradle new
life as it shocks my heart from the grave
mistake you made.

(Every birthday is a chance to recommit to living motherhood wide open.)

Hands Cut for Me

My heart cries out for you if you are currently cutting. I understand the deep heartache, hatred, and pain that goes into this cycle. It took an act of God to stop mine, and I pray the same for you. Your life is so valuable to Him and to me.


This is how God’s love was revealed among us: God sent His one and only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. --1 John 4:9 BSB

Therefore, every second, even the abuse and hardest moments you experience matter to him. He died for them. Keep turning your page to find out what happens next. Live. Reach out and allow others to reach in. They won’t do it perfectly, but share your heart because you need to, and they too need to know they are not alone. We are created to connect with others. We need each other. I am encouraged by each breath you choose to take. And I thank God for each breath I take.

(Poetry response to a person contemplating suicide.)


When I can’t take anymore and decide to give up …
Hope seeped into my blood
A resurrecting transfusion of truth
Captivating the germ of thought
like a head-turning shape,
A glimpse of His hands, cut
for me. Stopped my cutting.
My self-destructing. God wore my hate,
my shame, like I’m worth
saving. I couldn’t fathom a fearless
night, but when Jesus held my broken
soul, I felt whole.

What is this life?
Life. Nothing more,
nothing less–PRECIOUS
Why am I here?
To encourage, to speak life,
testify to what I’ve seen and heard. I no longer
fear when I can’t take it anymore, I’ve given up
and decided to live, no matter what hell hurls at me.

Troubled

Taken for granted, the straight A’s

Riddled with stress. Popularity

Ostracized by the lack of interest. Neither in nor out. Depression always

Underestimated by the well meaning church choir. “Isn’t he such a nice

Boy?” they sang. “Doesn’t he show such

Leadership potential?” Until you teetered on the

Edge of the unknown and revealed your spirit was already

Dead.

Look around you, is someone struggling in secret? Notice the needs of others and be a light for someone battling despair.

Free Gift

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Suicide & Prevention Hotline

National Suicide Hotline

If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call the National Suicide Lifeline at 988 or go to the website at https://988lifeline.org/