Thursday, August 30, 2007

Black Peppermint Tea

Diet is not the answer to depression. Diet however, makes sense.

Black Peppermint Tea

Take a teapot, and place in it two or three very heaping tablespoons of cut peppermint from The Bulk Herb Store. Pour over top 3 cups of boiling water. Allow to steep only one minute or so. If you let it steep longer, it will taste bitter, because of using so much peppermint! Strain out peppermint leaves as pouring into a very large mug (use a tea strainer). Add one heaping teaspoon of raw honey (this makes it more palatable), and drink after cooling slightly.

Peppermint is a great healing herb, and I like to drink it in concentration like this if I am tired, tempted to get a headache, or for any kind of stomach issue. Would be good for congestion as well.

Note: I see on their website that Bulk Herb Store also sells peppermint tea in bags. This would be an easier choice, just use 2 or three bags instead of the loose tea.

So: BE WELL, but take advantage of the healing herbs God has given us!

A Word of Comfort for the Afflicted

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Are you suffering today? The word of God (the bible) was given to us for our comfort, so we could know the One who suffered for us.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Romans 14 and Commentary

Romans 14:1-4 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. (Why doesn't he eat meat? His faith is weak.) Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. (Is God preventing him from eating, or condemning him when he doesn't? No, He is welcoming him.) Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. (If you can't eat it right now, don't worry about it- the Lord is able to make you stand.)

Romans 14:6b-7 The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.

Romans 14:14-17 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean (the solution-- change your thinking.) For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you regard as good (your faith) be spoken of as evil (because you wouldn't love). For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Romans 14:20-23 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats (we determine what we can eat by wether or not it lines up with LOVE). It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. The faith that you have, keep (preserve) between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. (What is causing the trouble in our eating? Our doubts.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Foundations for Healing of Depression

Some more foundation stones for healing:

1. Realizing that everybody needs a Savior.

Imagine that I am a young lady (a princess, let's say) in a fortress which is being attacked by an enemy horde. They have nearly broken down the gates, and things aren't looking good for me. I need a savior. A knight in shining armor who can whisk me away on a swift horse. That's what I needed to see in my own life. My situation; the depression was far too big, far too grave for me. It was bigger than anyone else who tried to help me. Maybe you've been in that situation. People have tried to help you; the doctors have tried to find the right medications, but nothing is really being set right in your heart. What you need is someone bigger than your situation! That's what Jesus was for me.

2. Moving from Death, into Life.

Depression is often characterized by suicidal thoughts. Let's lay it out in the open here. This is no fun to talk about, but not talking about it can steal a lot of fun from you! When I was depressed, I didn't want to die. I just wanted to feel better. But in my most hopeless times, my most painful times, I was tempted to die.

But did you know that all human beings are actually born dead? We are each born with a dead spirit. Now if that sounds ridiculous and offensive to you, hear me out.

We talked about the bible, and God's story: "In the beginning..." Well as the story goes, God created one man, and one woman in the very beginning. The man's name was Adam, (which means 'man'- he represents all of us) and the woman's name was Eve (because she was the mother of all living). In this story, Adam and Eve are perfect. They belong entirely to God, and they please Him! They live in a beautiful garden, called Eden. They have everything they need there, every beauty, every pleasure is at their disposal. They are instructed by God to take care of the garden, and to protect it. Protect it from whom? There is an enemy. A snake. Adam and Eve have free run of the garden, with only one rule. Don't eat any fruit from the tree called "the knowledge of good and evil". The fruit of that tree is brings death.

A temptation is presented to Adam and Eve, the rulers of this bright new world, to forsake God and follow the serpent. All they need to do is take one little bite of that fruit.

I'm sure you can see this one coming.

All of us since have been born outside of that garden, outside of perfection. We've all bowed our knees to that serpent. Maybe he didn't tell you to eat that fruit, but did he tell you to hate? Did he tell you to lie, to steal, to justify yourself?

I was born into bondage, born into sin. It took no practicing, I was good at it from the start. One stepping stone to my healing was to see that I was dead inside already, and I could only get life by coming to the God of Life.

3. Realizing that I am a spirit.
It sounds weird at first too, but if really I was born dead, and came to God to receive life through His son, then I am now perfect again, like Adam and Eve were in that garden. Let me explain.

That Adam, and that Eve, didn't die the moment they ate that fruit. They lived many more years on earth. Was God lying when He said that eating the "knowing of good and evil" would bring death? No, because it brought spiritual death. That's how I could be alive, yet be dead inside. I AM a spirit, I LIVE IN a body! You are a supernatural creation, just like Adam and Eve were. But when they turned their backs on God by eating the fruit, they chose to know good AND evil: they switched sides: they switched gods. They broke their agreement with God, and came into agreement with the serpent (big mistake). They lost their supernatural nature, they were just flesh now. No different than an animal. The bible says "they saw that they were naked". They had fallen.

God had loved Adam and Eve, He had made them to be His treasure, His family. But having switched sides, they were lost to Him, and all the earth was lost too. Adam and Eve realized immediately that they'd made a terrible mistake, but there was no reversing it. Now, if they had switched teams, obeyed the serpent, and died spiritually, then they had made that serpent their god. They shared the destiny (or destination) of that serpent. We all know the destiny of the serpent, right? Hell. God was not interested in punishing Adam, He was not interested in losing his man! He loved him with a forever love!

Can you imagine if you were a teen and made a horrendous mistake? Maybe you crashed a car, or did your first hit, or lost your virginity... A good parent would want to undo that moment for you. God wanted to undo that moment for Adam, but He couldn't. Spiritual law said, that there is no forgiving a sin, unless blood is shed. Did you watch the Narnia movie? Edmond could not be redeemed without Aslan dying in his place. Same deal. God would have to take Adam's place to buy back his soul from eternal hell. Right there in that garden, God said to the serpent: you may strike his heel, but He will crush your head. He was talking about the Christ. God who would come as a man, and make a way for mankind to be redeemed.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Key Elements to My Healing

So you understand by now that I was healed, that depression was truly no longer an issue by now, but how did it work? How exactly did that healing take place? Was it random? Kind of like pulling the lever on a slot machine, and winning, but not being able to say how, or to do it again? Is it something that could be repeated in your life?

What is the science behind healing? Is it something you can really see, touch, take ahold of? Could it really be a possibility for you?

I think we'd have to examine the key elements in my healing. What were the things that really played a major role?

1. Faith.

Remember I said I'd prayed with Jed at the beginning of the depression, and had asked God to heal me? How did I know to do that? Why did I believe that God cared enough to do anything?

I'd had a close friend in high school, Paul, who was diagnosed with an aggressive bone cancer. I was attending a youth group at the time, and we were all weighed on very heavily by this news. Paul was one of our dearest friends. We asked the youth group leader if we couldn't ask God to heal Paul: since he was so young and since it goes against all human nature for a strong young man to die at the very beginning of his living.

Our youth leader said yes, but hesitantly. He didn't want us to get our hopes up because he suspected that Paul would die of the cancer.

Now in the course of attending the youth group, my friends and I had heard our youth pastor share the gospel: that if we would ask Jesus to come into our hearts; believing that He had died on the cross for our sins, we would be saved. So we knew about heaven and hell. We knew that if you'd been saved, you would go to heaven when you died, and that if you refused to believe in Jesus as your Savior, you would go to hell. So we also knew that if Paul died without believing in Jesus, he wasn't headed for heaven. We prayed in earnest.

Paul had his arm removed, and had chemotherapy. He was an amazing man. I call him a man, even though he was only 16 because he lived manhood more in that year or two of battling cancer than I've seen many men do in perfect health. He lost his hair, and wore a hat. He got his driver's license, and drove with one hand. He did up his belt, tied his shoes, and attracted university girls. He was really amazing.

After his healing, he and I were discussing deep things, (like all teens do) and he told me that he'd had a talk with his mom about God, and he was a believer. He said he'd talked it over with God, and he felt like it was all good. (Those of you who knew him can probably imagine him saying it just like that. : ) He said if he died now, he knew that he'd go to heaven. I prayed with him again (just to make sure, ; ) and then we left it at that.

I started dating Jed sometime later, and didn't see Paul much. He was dating a wonderful girl, and had a promising future, but the cancer had come back. He knew what that meant, but I didn't. He said there was a tumor the size of a softball on his lung. He knew he would die, but somehow, I didn't. Not very long after my last visit with Paul, his girlfriend called me to tell me he'd passed on.

I really lost my senses for awhile. I had no way of processing it. My friends and I had prayed, and Paul had been healed... how could this happen? I was torn up inside- he was one of my best and most faithful friends.

I got in my car to go see Jed, and as I drove I felt very afraid, and like I could easily lose my nerve and crash. Then I felt a presence beside me in my car, in the passenger seat. I was not a very religious person at the time, and not prone to supernatural experiences of any type, but when I felt this presence, it was very real, and suddenly I felt peace.

I think an angel had come to strengthen me, and I drove the rest of the way to Jed's house safely.

Paul had been healed, been saved, and he went to heaven.

I grieved him for a long time, until God showed me that he wasn't really dead. He was in heaven, perfectly alive. That helped me to let go, and to know that I couldn't get him back, but it was OK. He was still alive, and I would see him again.

Have you lost someone like that? Can you trust God to keep them for you, and know that it will be OK?

Paul's life was what paved the way in mine to believe for healing. I had seen it with my own eyes. Why wouldn't I believe it?

2. The word of God.

I was never a very religious person as I said, but I'd always believed in God. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. So over the course of my life, I had inadvertently heard a lot of the word of God. My parents took me to Sunday School when I was young, I read my bible since I was a voracious reader, and I was "adopted" by a Christian girl, who really loved me, and cared about whether or not I believed and was saved. She took me to girl's club at her church, ate lunch with me everyday, and when I was old enough to drive, she asked me to come to her church with her every Sunday.

Side note: The church she was from, and her parents must be commended here, because at 12 she had been taught to care about the eternal destiny of her fellow 12 year old. Pretty amazing!

So even though we are talking about the role that the word of God played in my healing, you can see that it wouldn't have played any role without people.

I heard the bible preached a lot over the course of my life, the problem was: I wasn't really using it. But enough of it was getting in that when the lady at the prayer counselling session said to me: "Do you believe that God can heal you?" I knew in my heart that the answer was yes.

The word of God also really played in integral role in helping me KEEP my healing.

Every morning when Elijah would wake up, I would put in a Veggietales movie for him to watch, and I would read The Message. If you have been depressed for a long time, you may know what I'm talking about: my brain was not at top function then. I had actually lost intelligence during my depression, so I needed an easy, readable version of the bible in order to understand what it meant. The Message was really good for that. I read through the New Testament in 6 months, which for many people would be very slow, but for me it was life changing. I also began to devour books about the bible as well, and supernaturally, I was understanding them and really enjoying them! I called my neighbour many mornings to share with her how excited I was about what I was learning!

One of the first books I read was Living Free in Christ by Neil Anderson. I also went through his "Steps to Freedom in Christ". I needed to be strengthening my spirit with the word of God that way, so that each day I was empowered to live this new, healed life.

(Another side note: I don't think this book was out when I was first healed, but I noticed when doing these links that Neil Anderson has a book about overcoming depression. I bet it would be good. There was a DVD also, for those of us who are visual learners.)

My body had been healed, my mind, my emotions, but life on this earth is like being a salmon trying desperately to get back to the place of your birth, and having pressure against you all the way. If I had stopped swimming and fighting (reading my bible, and feeding my spirit so that I would grow) I would have been washed up again. I know it.

The word of God was also integral in my healing in that Lydia and the other ladies used the scriptures to counsel me. They told me what the bible said about my lifestyle, about God's forgiveness, about his healing, and about Jesus' cross. They counseled me to forgive people in my past (distant past, and recent), and I believed what they said. The word of God brought faith alive in my heart, and my faith brought healing to pass in my life! Faith, and the Word, working together!

So can you have that too? Of course. Can you get a bible? If so, read some everyday, even when it seems difficult, and when it seems like it's not making any difference. Have you ever seen someone plant a garden? They plant seeds. If nothing visible happens right away, do they get discouraged? Of course not! My dad always plants a huge garden- he plants the seeds early, and heavy. If his carrots really didn't come up after all, what would he do? He would plant more! Keep planting the word of God in your life, and it will come up! He will see to it that it will!

3. Forgiveness. Remember I said I forgave during the prayer counselling? I had been storing up bitterness, and hatred in my heart for years. That poison was affecting my whole body! When I forgave, I eliminated the place in my life that had been feeding the depression. The Holy Spirit came to live inside me, and began to produce things like love instead.

You may be bitter at someone too, just seething at what they did to ruin your life. Even more than I know and understand, Jesus does. He wants you to forgive that person, so He can forgive you, and get rid of all that poison you were storing up in your heart. You don't really like the bitterness. For awhile the anger makes you feel powerful, and it distracts you from your fears and hurts. But the bitterness is making you sick. You have power in Jesus Christ to let it go. Don't think that the person who hurt you will get off and there will be no justice if you forgive them. Vengeance belongs to the Lord, but He is more just than you are.

He wants you to forgive for your own sake. If you cast all your worries and cares of this on Him, He will take care of you. He will give you the power to forgive and let it go, and healing will be a result.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Food Allergies

Well, I think it must have taken me 6 hours of typing to do My Story so far, and I feel like I've got at least another 3 hours in me. I wanted to take a break though, and type out some healing scriptures. I learn best when I can see it, and talk about it, and think about it, and so I love to rewrite things, type them, and take notes!
Here it is!

1 Corinthians 10:23
All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful, but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. For the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof.

Yes, I do think it is a healing scripture, and that it has to do with depression, because... (drum roll) there is an argument here for eating whatever you want, without bondage. I think some of my depression was diet induced, because I was hypoglycemic, and wasn't eating any real nutrients. Fries here, a coke there. I didn't worry about my diet, because I wasn't overweight, but I really wasn't giving my body the building blocks it needed for health, and in a time of crisis my body failed me.
Could diet alone heal a person of depression? I think it would help immensely were the depression merely physical. However, mine was also emotional, and spiritual in nature, and diet wasn't the answer. At the time I was healed, I didn't change my diet at all, and the depression didn't come back. It wasn't until a few years later that I had my "sugar revelation".

1 Timothy 4:4
For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

Another diet scripture. Don't live in constant fear of food, or in reverence of it either. God came up with the idea for food, and He said it's all good if you're thankful for it! Yes, still depression related, because of the food allergies and migraines.
The migraines and depression sort of precipitated each other, because the pain would make me feel so depressed! And the low level of serotonin would enable the headaches. Youch.

Mark 7:14-23 (This one's a good one!)
And He called the people to Him again and said to them, "Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him." And when He had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked Him about the parable. And He said to them, "Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?" (Thus He declared all foods clean.) And He said, "What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person."

More food allergy stuff. Jesus is saying food is not to blame. If there is something in your life that is really giving you the works, don't look at your dinner plate, look at your heart. Yes, this is a hard one to learn, but I am learning it myself and it is very liberating.

More tomorrow I hope.

My Story: Part 4

So there was a great spiritual battle going on in my life.
I had committed my life to Christ when I was 14, but really I had lived my life for the devil, or at least, unwittingly under his influence.
So now, the veil was being lifted. I was seeing the two armies, the two opposing sides.
When I went to do evil, I knew it was wrong. And yet, that powerful presence of God that I had encountered at the church was there with me too, and was fighting for me.
I had never known how much God loved me. I had heard the story: that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, and that if I prayed, He would come into my heart. I knew that, but during these days I began to see God in a different way. More like a jealous lover, who was determined to win my heart back.
In the book of Hosea, the prophet after whom the book is named marries a prostitute. He loves her, and cleaves to her- accepting her regardless of her unfaithfulness. This is how I was seeing God now. That in all my filth, He had seen some inherent worth, and had rescued me from drowning in my own blood.
My neighbour gave me something of a confrontation, like families sometimes do to alcoholics and said "You can't live like this forever, Liberty." And somehow hearing those words, I knew she was right. And it was like that day when I was 14 and decided to leave my rebellious lifestyle: once again, I decided I COULD make the choice. I would CHOOSE not to live this way.
So I talked about all of this with my husband, and we decided that I should go spend some time at my mom's. Jed had suffered a great deal during those two years. His hopes had been slowly dying too.
Maybe you are not depressed, you are married to the person who is. If so, I counsel you to not give up hope. Those two years took everything my husband had to give, but now our marriage is BETTER by far than it was before the depression! I know that you hear those words and feel numb, but keep reading, and let your hope grow. I will endeavor to give you something to cling to.
I stayed at my mom's for a week, as we contemplated staying married or divorcing (I had totally destroyed my marriage by this point), and during this time, Jed sought advice from the nice lady we met at church.
He spent an evening with Lydia and her husband and she told Jed: "God will heal Liberty, and He will heal your marriage."
Looking back, I see so many things that were so out of character for us. God was sovereignly directing us, and having mercy on us. Jed believed what she said, and agreed: "If Liberty will have prayer counselling, she can come home."
What is prayer counselling? Well there were several people at the church we had discovered had been taking a course, or reading books on how people could receive physical healing, by the healing of their inner wounds. Sounds like psychobabble, but let me go on...
I wanted to go home by now, and was not really wanting a divorce, since I really wanted a change for the better in my life, and I was feeling more optimistic. I had said I knew I either needed to get better or die, and now (having been at the church, and having talked to my neighbour) I was feeling more like living than dying. So I agreed to do the prayer counselling, because at this point, it seemed God had ignited a spark of faith in my heart. This time, it really would work. This was really the answer.
The prayer counselling was about a two or three hour session with Lydia; the pastor's wife; and the wife of an elder from church. They asked me a lot of questions about my past, shared scriptures with me, and prayed in tongues.
Tongues?? Now, I was raised in a church where no one had mentioned ANYTHING like that, and I had gone to a youth group where a boy had told me that praying in tongues was from the devil. But somehow none of this concerned me at that moment. I had already tried everything else you know, so I just sat quietly as the lady beside me did some very loud, and very strange praying.
There a few things that really stick out to me about that day- one being that I forgave. I don't think I need to go into great detail here, since none of us can get through life without needing to forgive somebody. It is common to the human race: if you live on this planet, someone will sooner or later need your forgiveness. But that was one of the biggest things for me. That I truly, and completely forgave. That day, I received God as my Perfect Heavenly Father. It was great.
Another thing that stands out in my mind was a scripture given me: that if I would admit my sins to God, He would be faithful to forgive me, and to purge me of all unrighteousness. The lady who gave me the scripture asked: "Do you believe that God can heal you?" As I thought about this, a little light came on inside me, and I said "Yes"! I believed that God could do anything.
So I left the counselling feeling good, feeling lighter, but really nothing weird or noticeable had happened to me. I went home, and since I felt pretty happy, I put my son on my lap, and had Jed take a picture. I told Jed I felt happy, but he didn't put too much stock in it. He had lived with an emotional roller coaster for 2 years. My feeling happy wasn't enough to raise his eyebrows.
But the next day, I still felt good! And I didn't have a headache!
And the next day!
And the next day!
It scared me in a way, because it was so NEW! Like a wood duckling sitting on the edge of his tree home, contemplating the jump, I tried out my new found happiness, and found it to be quite secure. One week after the counselling, I told all the couples at our bible study: "I can't deny it anymore, God has healed me of my depression!"
I had a new lease on life now. The world had all been dark before, but now it seemed beautiful, and colored! Before, when I would drive Elijah to my mom's house, I would think about sending the car into the ditch, but now, I noticed how beautiful the sky was, and how BRIGHT it was outside!
When I was depressed, I had had devilish thoughts going through my mind, now I was having GOD thoughts!
How did this happen?? How could God of the Universe communicate with me?? Yet it seemed that He was!! He would "say" things like "The whole bible is true." And He would say things like "Stop listening to that music." And, "Read The Message for half and hour every morning."
I was doing other "weird" things. When I was depressed and Jed and I would argue, I would cry for hours; I would scream and throw things and threaten to leave him. Now, I would hold his hand, and ask him to pray with me. I prayed a lot now. And now, God was answering me! Before I felt like prayer was one sided, but now I could "hear" and I could "see".
When Jed and I saw what God was really capable of, we committed to never missing church again. Every Sunday I went, God would strip another layer of my bondage away, and I'm sure He was delivering me of demons as well.
Why demons? Do such things exist? I say, look at your own life. Are you totally convinced that every voice that has gone through your head is solely your own? As a healed woman, I became aware that those thoughts really weren't mine at all. I KNEW that I had been healed, but it wasn't very long before I noticed depressed or raging thoughts trying to come back into my mind. But now, I was strong! I had always been strong willed (especially before the depression) but now I was strong-God-willed too, and I was NOT going to lose the fight this time!! I asked Lydia what to do, and she said "Just reject those thoughts in the name of Jesus." I didn't really know what all that meant, but I trusted what she said, and I started doing that. When a memory of my old sinful lifestyle would pop up to condemn or torment me, I would say aloud "I reject that thought in Jesus' name!" When I was tempted to be angry at my son, or to feel sorry for myself I would say it again. Some days, I did it all day.
"Wow, that's a lot of work, I don't think I feel like doing that..." you say. But let me tell you, it was worth it! It gained me my life back!
Now, my body was CHANGING! It had been in severe depression and allergies for 2 years. Now, I was healing!! The very structure of my brain was changing! But in all of this, I would sometimes feel tired. I was doing a lot more now that I was well than I ever did depressed. For example, now I had to do filing for my husband's business. My mother in law had done it while I was depressed, but if I was well, then I ought to do it. Also, I was taking care of Elijah again, as well as being pregnant. Three months after my healing, Jed and I had decided to have another baby together. So I was busy, and those attacking thoughts kept becoming more frequent. One day I went out for a walk by myself (feeling very pressured by the constant onslaught of the tempting depressive thoughts) and I SCREAMED at nobody in particular "I am not crazy!!" And from that point on, the thoughts were gone. They didn't come back.
A baby you say? Isn't a baby how I got into this mess in the first place? Well no, I think the baby itself was unrelated, but Jed and I had decided after Elijah not to have anymore children. It would have been irresponsible, and ridiculous. But once I was healed, Jed and I had a new love for each other. It was totally supernatural, because before the prayer counselling I had no love for him at all. I didn't want to divorce (we had a child together) but I really had no feelings for him. After the prayer counselling (and I mean the very day), I LOVED Jed. No explaining it. It was a deep, and passionate, and committed love. Only God could have done it.
Now everywhere I went, I was seeing babies. I talked to Lydia about it, and asked her if she thought God might want me to have another baby. She said it might be so, and I really relied on Lydia's word. She was a trustworthy mentor, and so Jed and I discussed it. I got pregnant that very month.
This was a cause for concern for my extended family, as you can imagine. I had told them that God had healed me, but did they believe? Did they think those were just the words of a crazy woman? Would another birth send me spiraling into a black void of depression from which I would never emerge?
No. This pregnancy was different. Before I had tried to brush up on baby information, this time I went to my bible. I copied out pages of scriptures which I believed were God's promises to me to protect me, and to deliver me from evil and give me strength. I read those scriptures over and over again, and planned to take them to the hospital with me.
My delivery with Elijah had been scary, and hard. My delivery with Joshua was very different. This time I knew that there was a spiritual battle going on, and this time I was expecting God to win. There was a point in the delivery when I was in the shower, and I felt that the pain might be too much for me. I felt like saying "I can't do this!" But then something inside of me took over and said "YES I CAN!" And I prayed, got out of the shower, and made my way to the bed to deliver my son. After the birth, I held Joshua in my arms in awe. I could FEEL the presence of God wafting off of him, like I had felt it at the bible study that first time. Taking Elijah home from the hospital had been a time of terrible suffering and torment in my life (through no fault of Elijah), but where that first time had been full of defeat, this time was BEAUTIFUL. I had never felt so much love, so much happiness and pure joy as I did during that time. Giving birth to Joshua was one of the best experiences of my life.
Why? Because I had done it with God, and because I had won.

Friday, August 24, 2007

My Story: Part 3

I guess the story seems disjointed sometimes, because it's hard to recount 2 years of my life in a few pages.
Was I always a happy person before the depression? No, but I was generally a fun loving person. I was in average health, I enjoyed hiking in the mountains, and walking in the river bottom with my husband (then boyfriend). But I think I had several predispositions to depression which are worth discussing.
1. I had a terrible diet. I ate way too many oreos and drank way too many slurpees. I think I was always hypoglycemic but didn't know it. When you are young it seems you can abuse your body quite a bit, and it will just bounce back. After I had Elijah, I had no nutritional reserves, and my immune system was severely taxed during that time.
2. This is the emotional predisposition: I was not a contented person. I had had a very difficult relationship with my parents as a teen, I had really hated school because I wasn't popular, and I found it boring (I was quite bright). So even though I was a sharp young woman, I held a negative outlook on life. Too many selfish boyfriends etc., had left me feeling jilted. I entered my adult life wounded, as most of us do.

So this brings us back to the issue of my not knowing how to fix my broken self. Have you ever felt that way? Like life is stacked against you, and you're not sure how to get out from under it? I did. I reached a point, where I knew that either I would have to get better, or I would have to die.

Now I think that God knew all of this too. I had become a Christian when I was 14, but I didn't know much about what it meant, or how a person could really succeed at living the "Christian life", but I always had known that God existed. Even when I was very young, I KNEW this. God was REAL.
So I prayed. My husband prayed too, and asked God to heal me of the depression. I felt good about it. I was sure God would do it. But that was 2 or 3 months into the depression, and as it stretched on, I started to think that God wasn't answering.
More time went by, and I abandoned the idea, deciding that if God wasn't going to help me, I would do things my own way.
So spring and summer of 1997 ended up being a very interesting time in my life. There were two very distinct and opposite pulls.

1. Some friends invited us to church. We had gone to church before I got pregnant, but once our friends there found out that I was pregnant they seemed more aloof, and we ended up leaving.
But these were friends from outside of church, and just happened to be attending a church so that they could receive marriage counselling, and get married in a church. They invited us to come with them! So we went; and boy it was DIFFERENT.
I can't remember what the sermon was about, but at the end, the pastor gave an invitation to pray at the altar. I went down to the front to pray by myself. It was totally out of character for me at that time to do anything like that, but I did on that day! And a lady from the church met me there, looked into my eyes, and asked "Are you depressed?"
How could she know? I thought it must be written all over me, but of course now I know that someone can be VERY depressed, and still conceal it perfectly in public.
This lady and her husband were holding a bible study in their home for young couples, and asked if we would come. Again, out of character, I said YES.
Jed and I went to her house that first Wednesday night, and left there in amazement. We both got in the truck, and looked at each other in stunned silence. "There was something different there," we said. "God was REAL, and you could FEEL Him!"
It began a time in my life of learning about God and His love like I had never known before, but at the same time, I was still holding part of myself back from these people. There was a secret part of my life that I wasn't showing people.
2. I began seeking out pleasure in avenues that weren't healthy or safe. I was being strongly drawn away from this God I had begun to discover, and to some extent, I was willingly following this trail, because I had been depressed for so long, that I would have given anything to feel good. I was an unfortunate candidate for temptation, and at that time in my life, I wasn't resisting too much.
I should mention the third medication I was on now. The one I had taken before (which I had responded well to)I had now developed an allergy to. So my doctor gave my a different prescription, and this medication made me feel somewhat high. But in my compromised state, I didn't mind! I had energy to do things like clean the house again! I had my drive back! My mind was in a whirl, but I didn't care.

Is it fun to write this... not really. I am not proud of anything I did during those two years. But it's OK to stare the ugliness of depression straight in the face. That's how you begin to defeat that awful enemy-- to stand back and begin to see it for what it really is.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

My Story: Part 2

So what came next? Antidepressants of course. If you are depressed, you most likely know what I'm talking about. I don't remember all of what I took: I became very tired, and beleaguered during those months. I had a psychiatrist I saw at the hospital, who would always say "Maybe we should up the dose a little." But the first drug I tried made me feel so "drugged". I was not myself anymore.
I went onto a different antidepressant, which was much better, and at around the 1 year mark, I remember sitting in my kitchen and my husband saying to me "I think you're getting better now, don't you Liberty?" I agreed somewhat thoughtfully. I still didn't feel like I really had a handle on things, but it was true that I felt hopeful. I was attending a depression support group at the hospital around that time, and since I was really feeling much better, I tried to encourage the other people there. But it was only a couple weeks of this, before an unseen clutch wrapped around me, and I found myself crying. "I think I'm getting depressed again," I bewailed in astonishment. My life was entirely out of my control.
I really can't say why, but things got a lot worse after that. I guess I had started to recover physically, but had never dealt with the roots of my depression, so there was nothing to keep it from coming back.
I don't remember fine details about those 2 years, but I remember the events as though I am looking back at someone else's life. Maybe we do that when something is too painful. We just don't take it up.
I was very angry a lot of the time. I threw things, smashed things. I yelled at my husband a lot, but I didn't yell at Elijah. I really did love my baby, I just felt like I was trapped in a swirl pool, and I could not get out.
I began to develop food allergies, which would result in severe migraines. If you have ever had a migraine, I don't need to explain! But for someone who hasn't, I must explain: it was agony. Often I could only lay with ice on my head, being amazed at how painful it could get. Other times I would writhe in agony, and nothing would make the pain go away. I had taken so many Tylenol by now that they didn't work for me anymore. The doctors were talking about weird things like injecting my nerves with botulism to kill the nerves. My husband thought electroshock therapy sounded good by now. He wasn't vindictive, but he was desperate. "If it would save you, it would be worth it!" he reasoned. Toward the end of the 2 years I was having a migraine every second day, and when I didn't have one, I had a tension headache.
I was in a prison of pain and fear. Everything gave me a headache! If there was a chinook, or a change in air pressure, I would get a migraine. If I accidentally ate yellow dye or MSG at a restaurant, I would get a migraine. It was imprisoning my family too.
How did I care for Elijah? Well my mother watched him A LOT. I don't remember how often he was there, but I'm sure it was 2 or 3 days a week. My mother in law watched him one day a week. My husband (a dairy farmer) often took him to work with him, or lost sleep so that he could take care of Elijah for me. It never made a dent in what I was going through.
Nobody could help me. As I mentioned, I saw a psychologist, who tried to hypnotize me, but I don't think she could. I tried to be helpful, and meditated on my past a bit, but the psychologist didn't seem to know how to help, and it didn't. I saw a different hypnotherapist with the same lack of success.
I saw several massage therapists (because of the pain). One of them told me he had just healed me of a hiatal hernia! Hmm, I thought, I don't even have one. Another lady requested that I bring my spirit to the surface- to just below my skin. Hmm, I wondered. How in the world would I accomplish that?
The only thing I can think of that I didn't try was the chiropractor, because I had gone to the chiropractor A LOT as a teen, and developed a spinal curvature while under his care!

Now, why am I going on and on with this depressive story, and not getting to the heart of things, namely: how did I get well? Well, I want you to understand the bits and pieces. If you can see the puzzle before it was put together, you will be able to recognize just what a miracle it took to make this thing whole.

I did see the reflexologist, and she was nice, but let's face it: she just massaged my feet. It didn't get to my broken spirit.
Yes, I was broken. All my hopes had been dashed. I had so many visions and dreams for what my marriage would be, and now I was fast falling out of love with my husband. It wasn't anything he did, he was still wonderful- I was just full of bitterness, and poison at how my life had turned out. I hated everybody. I hated my life. Nobody understood me.
Actually, I don't think they could. How could anyone know my pain? They knew what it was doing to them, but couldn't see life inside the cell of my selfishness.
I went to the acupuncturist (who was also a medical doctor), and when I left the clinic, I felt something running down the back of my neck. I put my hand up, and it was blood! I felt betrayed somehow in that moment. I had trusted myself to this person, seeking healing, and walked out of the clinic with blood running down the back of my neck. It was more despair.
But I didn't give up.
Yes I had tried feverfew, yes I had tried St. John's wort. Yes, I had changed my diet (remember there was hardly anything by now that I wasn't allergic to), Yes I exercised. I joined a gym, and really enjoyed it, and it did make me feel good. But it seemed like I only enjoyed a limited success with these things, and then the black cloud of depression would close in on me again. It was like there was a little girl inside me, a shadow of the strong independent girl I had been. Every once in awhile this girl would stick her head out tentatively to make a go of it, and see if it was safe. She was always defeated. This enemy of depression was ugly, and vicious, and it wanted to kill me.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My Story: Part 1

Did I want to get well?

Yes, I can honestly say that I always did. I didn't always look for healing in the right places, but there was always a part deep inside me that WANTED to get well. Many depressed individuals give up hope, they seek a way to end it all, but I think there was something deep in my spirit that knew that depression was wrong, and I had to fight it.
I went about it all wrong of course, I tried to do it on my own: "I just need a different medication... I just need more medication. I ought to see the reflexologist, the hypnotherapist, the psychologist, the massage therapist (and some of those can be pretty strange), the acupuncturist, the support group..." You see what I'm saying. I was a willing candidate! I tried every avenue! None of them worked.
So how did I get well, in all my willingness? Well, let's go back to the beginning.

To see the end of a thing, it's full meaning, you must go back to the beginning. The first chapter of my favorite book begins: In the beginning...
How can I bring you back to the beginning to understand my situation, so you can see how deep of a pit I was in, and how did I get out? I can't. Just like I can't really know the pit that you are in right now, but He knows. When God wanted us to understand His story, He used words, and began: "In the beginning..." And in so doing, He transferred to us a piece of Himself, and we understood some of His story. Even some of our own. So as I share my words with you (just like God did), you will understand some of my story, and in it see some of your own.

I was three months pregnant when my husband and I married. We decided to marry because I was pregnant. There was a certain amount of stress involved in that. Not to mention the stress of not planning to be a parent, and really having no qualifications whatsoever for becoming one.
It's the unique thing about becoming a parent: You can get the job even when entirely unsuited for the work.
I was unsuited. I was selfish, for one! For two, I didn't know anything about babies! Over the course of those nine months, I tried to ready myself. I read "What to Expect When You're Expecting", I took prenatal classes, I "buffed up" on baby stuff. I had an image in my mind of what it would be like, and yet I knew NOTHING.
First of all, labour was not "uncomfortable" like I had expected. My baby was posterior, and I had terrible back pain. I really felt like I had been shot in the back. I did take a half dose of Demerol, but it just made me feel dopey between my agonizing contractions. Not nice. It was a 12 hour labour, which I'm told is fine for a first baby, but I was really in shock afterwards. I could not sleep (at all) for three whole nights. Now compounding this problem was that something was wrong with my nursing. Now remember, I know nothing about babies: therefore nothing about nursing. My milk didn't come in for the first three days. When it did, my breasts got so engorged and inflamed (infected later), that it compressed the ducts for the milk to escape. It was a bad situation, and the nursing consultants didn't really know what to advise. However, my son was very dehydrated, and was crying nonstop unless he was suckling. So my husband, savior that he is, went to London Drugs and bought formula. The baby stopped crying, and things were looking a bit better! Not so.
I started having very unusual thoughts, that really weren't my own. I said to my husband: "Maybe we made a mistake!" How could I think this newlywed life to the man I loved; raising our son was a mistake? I had waited for nine months for my son! I spent those months carefully wallpapering his room, and picking out outfits for him. The bible says "If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small." Let me tell you, my strength was very small at that moment. My thoughts then were not my own. They were more than out of character, they were crazy.
My husband never changes. He looked at me in horror, and at his baby, which was the pride and joy of his 25 years of life and said "No!" What was I saying? I didn't know. But I knew that something was wrong.

We bottle fed from then on, but my baby wouldn't sleep the way I expected. I was more than exhausted. I was spent. He would wake up every one and a half hours or so, and not knowing what to do, I gave him the bottle. I was really surrounded by advice, but none of it was working: Demand feeding is doesn't work for a bottle baby, and the pablum I was encouraged to try made no difference! This kid was not hungry, but he wouldn't sleep at night. He was becoming an expert at crying.
Was this Elijah's fault? No. He had been innocently born into a trying situation, and was just crying out for help. We just didn't know how to help him, or ourselves.
This really wore my nerve down. The crying was very stressful for me. We learned to live with it as normal, but I can see now that it was still affecting me. Every night I was up heating up bottles. We were told not to use the microwave, so I would stand over the hot water and the bottle waiting impatiently while my infant screamed in my ear.
One night I found myself on the floor. It seemed I had the sense to tell my husband that I felt funny, and gave him the baby. I headed for the bathroom and found myself on my face. What was wrong with me? I was hemorrhaging. The health nurse had said it was normal to bleed quite a bit, and remember: I knew nothing. I praise God for my obstetrician who didn't think I needed a d/c, but gave me some medication to make the uterus contract, and the bleeding stopped. I remember lying in bed, and feeling like I was falling/ dying, or the world was shutting down. It was a scary feeling.
I had just run out of gas. All of those stresses on my body in such a short period of time were more than I could take. I would go into my son's room in the morning, and try to smile at him, but there was nothing in me to do it. I faked it. I went to see the doctor, knowing it was probably postpartum depression, and asked him what to do. He said it would only last 3 months or so. Three months? It was like a death sentence to me. I cried. I had never felt so lost as at that time in my life.
I will end here for tonight, but come back. Remember: this is just the beginning.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Where does it begin?

Where does one begin in seeking healing from depression? I think the answer actually lies inside of the person. Do you want to get well? When Jesus went to the pool of Bethesda He met a man who had been ill for 38 years, and the first thing He said to him was: Do you WANT to get well?
So this is where it begins, and I ask you today: Do YOU want to get well?