Depressed and Thankful: 6 Ways to Find Joy

How can we possibly be thankful when we are depressed? And how can we be joyful when there is so much in our world to be depressed about these days? This kind of depression is different from clinical depression, which is a constant sense of hopelessness and despair, and it may be difficult to work, study, sleep, eat, and enjoy friends and activities. I don’t think it matters what type of depression we have, it still makes life difficult. Today’s post about how to hold on to our joy during times of depression is from Revive Our Hearts. I pray it blesses all of us.

Depressed and Thankful:
6 Ways to Find Joy

By Stacy Reaoch

It was only about a year into our marriage when I had my first bout with mild depression. And it didn’t make sense to me. I finally was married to the man of my dreams. I had landed my first teaching job. We had started a new life together and were making new friends. But for whatever reason, my heart was downcast. Life felt overwhelming, like I wanted to pull the covers up over my head and stay in bed for the day.

The constant sadness in my heart finally led me to go to a doctor to share how I’d been feeling. Instead of quickly writing a prescription, my physician wisely talked through the major life changes I had experienced in the last twelve months—college graduation, moving away from family, marriage, my first real job—and assured me that my roller-coaster emotions were normal in light of all I had experienced in one year.

Eventually, I came out of that gray fogginess, but over the years of my adult life there have been other times where I’ve started to slide into the pit of despair. A melancholy side to my personality makes me prone to see the glass as half empty. I realize that for many individuals, medication is truly necessary. But the weapon that has made the most difference in my life in fighting depression, and something we can all benefit from, is gratitude.

Worship Grows in Gratitude

In Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s excellent book Choosing Gratitude, she makes the point that we are either whining or worshiping. Our natural, sinful state makes us prone to see what we lack, what we don’t have, and what’s gone wrong in our lives.

Complaining is often my default response. Just the other day I noticed how even though I’d had a relatively good day, as soon as my husband walked in the door after work, I talked about the kids’ after-school squabble, our little guy’s potty-training accident, and “did I forget to mention the freezer isn’t working right?”

Often the things that pour off our tongues to others can be complaints of things not going our way or how we’ve been mistreated by others. We live in a rights-oriented culture, and if we don’t get what we think is rightfully ours, we storm off in anger or despair. Often, we slip on the sins of entitlement and discontentment down the slope to anxiety and depression. We can become surrounded by dark thoughts and unmet expectations that weigh down our hearts and put a cloud over our minds.

Read the rest here.

Saying Goodbye

I have written about my parents before here. Last year I shared a prayer request about my Dad here.

Earlier this week the Lord called Dad home. He had been struggling with dementia and other health problems for some time. Last fall his health began to go downhill fast.

I cannot travel by air these days because it causes severe migraines, so last year I faced a difficult decision. I wanted to see Dad again but knew what flying would do to me. Reality: should I see Dad while he was still alive or wait and go to his funeral?

I happen to have the greatest sisters in the world. I’ve written about them here before. They know what I go through each day, and all of them encouraged me to see Dad while he was still with us. So I flew to Florida in November to be with Dad and my sisters. It was the most special, yet bittersweet time, and I am ever thankful I got to see him one last time.

I can only imagine the joyful reunion Dad and Mom had in heaven and am looking forward to seeing them there someday.

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Beloved, family life is special but there are also times of anger and strife. We’re only human after all. If there is one thing I want to leave you with, it is to choose to forgive and love. Okay, that’s two things, but my point is that life is short. Don’t allow circumstances or disagreements to keep you at odds with or separated from your family.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have a faith that can move mountains,
but do not have love, I am nothing.

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body
to hardship that I may boast, 

but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

—1 Corinthians 13:1-8a

 

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Signs of Maturity (Repost)

This is taken from an old Ann Landers column. Maturity is defined as “the state of being mature; ripeness; full development; perfected condition.” Adults are thought of as being mature, meaning we have reached an age (whatever age that may be) where we have hopefully learned how to be responsible people, accountable for our actions. If we are physically mature, then it follows that we should also be emotionally mature. We have learned how to take control of our emotions and actions. Right?

Well, beloved, read on. What Ann Landers wrote is a great guide for us to live by, and I’ve added Scripture passages (in Italics) to support her suggestions.

SignsOFMaturity-sm--AMP

 SIGNS OF MATURITY

Maturity is the ability to control anger and settle differences without violence or destruction.

Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. —Ephesians 4:25-27

Maturity is patience.  It is the willingness to pass up immediate pleasure in favor of long-term gain.

For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply you.” And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise. —Hebrews 6:13-15

Maturity is perseverance, the ability to sweat out a project or a situation in spite of heavy opposition and discouraging setbacks.

We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as  is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater; therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering.
—2 Thessalonians 1:3-5

Maturity is the capacity to face unpleasantness and frustration, discomfort and defeat, without complaint or collapse.

We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor. To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.  —1 Corinthians 4:10-13

Maturity is humility.  It is being big enough to say, ’I was wrong.’ And, when right, the mature person need not experience the satisfaction of saying, ‘I told you so.’

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  —Philippians 2:3-11

Maturity is the ability to make a decision and follow through. The immature spend their lives exploring endless possibilities and then do nothing.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.  —James 1:5-7

Maturity means dependability, keeping one’s word and coming through in a crisis.  The immature are masters of the alibi.  They are conflicted and disorganized. Their lives are a maze of broken promises, former friends, unfinished business and good intentions that never materialize.

Undependability

The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”  —Genesis 6:5-7

Dependability

But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LordThe Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.” And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him. —Genesis 6:8 – 7:5

Maturity is the art of living in peace with what we cannot change, the courage to change what we know should be changed, and the wisdom to know the difference.

You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. —Isaiah 26:3

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. —Taken from the Serenity Prayer

 

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Signs of Maturity

This is taken from an old Ann Landers column. Maturity is defined as “the state of being mature; ripeness; full development; perfected condition.” Adults are thought of as being mature, meaning we have reached an age (whatever age that may be) where we have hopefully learned how to be responsible people, accountable for our actions. If we are physically mature, then it follows that we should also be emotionally mature. We have learned how to take control of our emotions and actions. Right?

Well, beloved, read on. What Ann Landers wrote is a great guide for us to live by, and I’ve added Scripture passages (in Italics) to support her suggestions.

SignsOFMaturity-sm--AMP

 SIGNS OF MATURITY

Maturity is the ability to control anger and settle differences without violence or destruction.

Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. —Ephesians 4:25-27

Maturity is patience.  It is the willingness to pass up immediate pleasure in favor of long-term gain.

For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply you.” And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise. —Hebrews 6:13-15

Maturity is perseverance, the ability to sweat out a project or a situation in spite of heavy opposition and discouraging setbacks.

We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as  is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater; therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering.
—2 Thessalonians 1:3-5

Maturity is the capacity to face unpleasantness and frustration, discomfort and defeat, without complaint or collapse.

We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor. To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.  —1 Corinthians 4:10-13

Maturity is humility.  It is being big enough to say, ’I was wrong.’ And, when right, the mature person need not experience the satisfaction of saying, ‘I told you so.’

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  —Philippians 2:3-11

Maturity is the ability to make a decision and follow through. The immature spend their lives exploring endless possibilities and then do nothing.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.  —James 1:5-7

Maturity means dependability, keeping one’s word and coming through in a crisis.  The immature are masters of the alibi.  They are conflicted and disorganized. Their lives are a maze of broken promises, former friends, unfinished business and good intentions that never materialize.

Undependability

The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”  —Genesis 6:5-7

Dependability

But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LordThe Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.” And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him. —Genesis 6:8 – 7:5

Maturity is the art of living in peace with what we cannot change, the courage to change what we know should be changed, and the wisdom to know the difference.

You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. —Isaiah 26:3

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. —Taken from the Serenity Prayer

 

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Joy and Laughter

Wonderful Wednesday

Joy and Laughter

Surely God does not reject a blameless man or strengthen the
hands of evildoers. He will yet fill your mouth with laughter
and your lips with shouts of joy. —Job 8:21

I’d like to talk today about chronic illness because it is my life these days. So why would I think of it in terms of joy and laughter? I mean, there is nothing about chronic illness to laugh about. Or is there?

The other day I got my vitamins mixed up. I tried to swallow my chewable Vitamin C tablet and chew my coated multiple
vitamin. Yuck! The Vitamin C refused to go down my throat, even with lots of water; the cracked multivitamin released its bitter taste. Double whammy! I had inadvertently confused the one for the other.

Even though the taste was nasty, I just had to laugh at how I mixed things up. The problem is that these kinds of mistakes occur almost everyday. If I’m not seasoning my food with pepper instead of salt, I’m confused by the huge variety of groceries at the store and end up buying something I don’t need or can’t eat. This has only gotten worse now that I have to read all labels to avoid the many ingredients that are allergens for me.

And what can I say about the time I wore different-colored shoes to church? different-color-shoesNo, this isn’t a photo of my feet but I did about the same thing: wore two shoes exactly alike except for the color. Well, it was an easy mistake because it was dark in the closet and the two pairs were right next to each other. My apparent choice of colors? Black and navy blue, so it’s obvious why I got confused. Right?

I can either lament these occurrences or laugh them away. I admit that it’s sometimes hard to laugh at yet another memory lapse, but in the long run it is a better response. I don’t believe God wants us to feel sorry for ourselves or bemoan our circumstances. He wants us to rejoice in Him and trust that He’s there to take care of us, no matter how much we hurt or forget things.

In this particular Scripture passage,one of Job’s friends is trying to remind him that God has not forgotten him. His words are meant to encourage and uplift Job in the midst of his circumstances. Job had the security of knowing that he could trust God, and so can we.

Snoopy-LOLI wish I could say I’ve gotten better at laughing these things off, but to keep it real for you I have to admit that I’m not as good at that as I believe God wants me to be. This morning I accidentally knocked a jar off the counter and rather than getting angry at myself over my clumsiness, I just stared at the mess on the floor and shrugged. Then I went to get the mop and dustpan to do damage control. Although I didn’t laugh at what I did, I didn’t stress or get angry and frustrated over it. That’s a big step for me, because about this particular part of my life, I am apparently still a work in progress.

So what’s the wonderful part of this? That God still loves this pathetic work-in-progress. And that He is always so close to me that anytime I need help with my attitude, all I need to do is ask Him.

How about you, Beloved? How do you handle frustrating situations?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, there are so many times when I’m tempted to complain and whine about what I can no longer do or how I mix things up. Help me to always remember that nothing happens that You and I can’t handle together. And remind me to grab on to my sense of humor during these times. Amen.

AnnaSmile…..

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