Monday, December 31, 2007

Is Depression a Demon?

Wow, what a question! I know off batt, that many people would answer a resounding "No!" to that one, but I also know that there are at least as many who are wondering on the inside of them: "What if it is?"
So we must ask ourselves: what then constitutes a demon?
Of course, I am not an expert, and neither most likely are you, but we can look at three different sources to determine what most people assume a demon to be:
1. Current opinion. Now, in North America, it could be loudly touted that there is truly no such thing as demons, but look also at what is portrayed in the movies- this is the imagination of America. And they do believe in demons. Demons are something that want to take over your body, and speak through you. Take for example any horror flick. Demons want to hijack the human power of thought.
2. World history. Of course, every people group has believed in demons, gods, idols, and other "deities". And in these beliefs and stories, we see that the demon (idol, god, deity) is often cruel, desiring to be appeased with offerings and sacrifices, in order for the worshipper to avoid terrible punishment. Why would people have a spiritual sense that there is something else out there (other than us), if there isn't? Many people groups have also believed in aliens. Our "sixth sense" (our spirit) knows that we aren't alone or uninfluenced on this planet.
3. The Bible. The New Testament is a huge source on the topic of demons. The bible tells us basically what is stated above about demons: they are real, they are evil, and they desire to hijack the human being.
Of course, a good story along that line is the account of the mad man of Gadara. This was a man who lived in tombs, and cut himself with rocks. He wailed incessantly, and terrorized everyone in the region. Now the biblical account is clear that this man was demon possessed- he had many demons controlling him. But note also, that he is often referred to as the mad man of Gadara. In other words? This was a poor forsaken soul with a "mental illness".
These demons controlled the man, and (as we said) hijacked him. We see that the demons had driven this man away from society, they had obliterated and destroyed any family life he may have once had. We also see in this story that the demons could speak through the man. In other words: he heard voices. Nowadays, people who hear voices have a medical title. And this is fine: it helps us better understand what is going on with them, and it reveals some of where the trouble is occurring in the brain. But the way Jesus addressed this "mad man" was not at all medical.
Jesus spent the night in a boat on a stormy lake just to get to where this man was. Once Jesus arrived, the demons were no match for him, and the isolated, fearful, mad man of Gederra ran down to the shore, and fell at Jesus feet. Even the demons are subject to Him.
Jesus commanded the demons to come out of the man, and they had no choice. Once the mad man was under new ownership (Jesus), the demons had no legal right to stay, and were cast out! There was a large herd of pigs grazing nearby, and the demons requested permission of Jesus to enter the pigs. (Demons like a host.) Now the demons had no legal reason that they couldn't enter the pigs, so Jesus gave them leave. The pigs did not belong to Jesus, nor did the people in that region believe in Jesus (they were afraid of Him), so He had no right to go around interfering with their pigs. However, he did have right with the mad man. He was a son of Abraham- a child of God. And somewhere deep down, underneath all those demons, he wanted Jesus. I believe it was just as much Jesus summoning the man, as it was the man presenting all of himself to Jesus. The Father sent Jesus to set this man free.
So: I would say depression is a demon. Firstly, it does want to hijack you. It wants to think hopeless, despairing, violent, suicidal thoughts in your mind!! Secondly, depression wants to drive you away from society, just like the mad man of Gederra. It isolates you, because no one understands what you are going through, nor can they. Thirdly, because it wants to use your voice: your thoughts: your power of speech.
Only a few days after I gave birth to my first son, I began to have irrational thoughts. I voiced them to my husband, and he looked at me like I was crazy! Already, in just a few days, the depression was influencing my thoughts, changing my speech, and separating me from those closest to me. It's one aim was to destroy me.

The two years that followed were like falling into an abyss. Maybe you know, maybe you've been there. When I was healed, it was like seeing the sun again for the first time. Like the mad man of Gadara, I left the tombs behind. That story ends by saying that the man was "clothed, and in his right mind". That's what happened to me- I had my right mind.

But! After the healing, I found that there was a "voice" that followed me around, and "tried to get in". It was clear, and distinct (now that I was healed, and not depressed at all) that this voice was outside of me. It was not my own.
But it was like a fly, buzzing around my head, saying things to me like: I'm so tired, I'm so angry, I don't feel good, I can't do this, I can't take this anymore!
I got tired of that real fast, and I knew I couldn't yield to those thoughts. Every time one came into my mind, I stated clearly (and out loud) "I reject that thought, in Jesus' name!" Then the thought (the voice) would leave, and everything was fine! But later, the voice would come back and try again.
One day, after several months of this, I went for a walk by myself and addressed the voice. In no uncertain terms I told it "I am not crazy!!" And that was the end of it. The voice never came back. I think it finally realized that it was no use, I was not going to bite. I was under new ownership now.
Does being depressed mean that you have a demon? No, of course not, but it may mean that you need to be on guard against one! There is no reason that you can't do what the man we read about did, and turn the ownership of your life over to Jesus Christ. Jesus is our freedom from demons.
I want to post tomorrow on what to do about the demon. That of course, is important to know.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

I'm going to be happy anyway.

Yesterday my cousin and I read the chapter from Debi Pearl's book, Created to be His Help Meet, called A Merry Heart. We also read the next chapter A Thankful Spirit, since thanksgiving is a real precursor to joy.

I wanted to share some verses on joy with you, because if you are depressed, you simply cannot get too much joy! You need a constant influx of it! Think about it- you've had your mind bombarded daily, sometimes 24 hours a day with depressed, miserable, hopeless thinking. Well, now is the time to sow a seed of joy into your mind! The good thing is- you only need a seed to get started. Have you ever grown zuchini? If so, you know that it only takes one or two seeds to end up with more zuchini than you know what to do with! You have had your fair share of depressed seeds, I'm sure, but the depression, isn't truth. It has no real value, or any power over God (Who is Love). When you choose joy, you are choosing God's will for your life, and then all of God and His power can back you up. Seed for seed, joy is more powerful than depression. Again, think about gardening: If you plant an heirloom tomato seed, you will end up with a strong plant, bright read fruit, and a powerful taste (not to mention the antioxidants!) But if you plant a hybrid, you will get a nice fruit, for sure, but it has been denatured- when you take a seed from that tomato and plant it, it will not produce in kind. You will get a denatured product. The next generation after that will be more so. In the same way, depression is a denatured, perverted counterpart of joy. A corruption. Joy is the truth- the original condition of man.

Psalm 126:4-6
Restore our fortunes, Lord, as streams renew the desert. Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.

Those who plant in tears reap with joy. This is a spiritual principle! You can't reap any joy unless someone does something to sow it. But! You don't have to have ANY joy to sow some! You can be in grief, in severe mourning, in tears, just like the verse said, and yet: you will reap with shouts of joy if you will only plant. How to plant? Better start with the word of God. God who loves you has been gracious enough to give you a book full of seeds, and Jesus His Son has purchased true freedom and joy for you with His blood. Read your bible- find some verses on joy, and begin to store them up hopefully in your heart. It will make all the difference.

Psalm 5:11-12
But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Protect them, so all who love Your name may be filled with joy. For You bless the godly, O Lord, surrounding them with Your shield of love.

This makes me think of music. One easy way to begin renewing your heart to joy is to surround yourself day and night with right music. I must say, that just music is not going to do it. When I was depressed, I listened to terrible stuff- Sarah Machlachlan, Queensryche, Metallica, Depeche Mode, Alanis Morrissette, and others. This stuff will only feed your depression! Once I was healed, I threw all this stuff out, and began listening to worship music, and music with a scriptural base. I had it going in the house all the time, and pretty soon when a depressed thought would come at me: immediately (almost simultaneously) would come the lyric from one of the songs I'd been listening to. My spirit was being so fed, so saturated with the good music, that I didn't feel any need to get depressed!

I could write much longer, but for time constraints I've got to quit here! So consider joy today- I challenge you to find one thing- no matter how small- that is worthy of your smile! If there is nothing worthy, then let your smile be your seed, so that someday you will be reaping in joy.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Preventing Post Partum Depression

After the birth of my first child, I experienced severe post-partum depression for two years.

There were a number of things involved: I know not everyone's experience is the same, but here were some of my contributing factors:

-Emotional upheaval. My boyfriend and I were from a religeous community, and being pregnant before I was married, I felt somewhat ostracized , condemned, and misunderstood. I felt alone, and defensive, and scared that I had disappointed my parents. I think the emotional stress contributed to the depression, because I felt a need to "prove" myself, rather than to celebrate the pregnancy with joy the way I should have.

-Wrong expectations. I had been told by another lady that labour was going to be kind of like hard menstrual cramps. This was really not my experience! I really felt like I'd been shot in the back. It was longer than I'd thought, and I can see now (though I couldn't then) that I was in shock when the labour was over.

-Sickness. I got a terribly rediculous case of mastitis where both breasts were fully infected and I was quite sick. I also hemorhaged for the first month on and off, so I was anemic and weak.

-Diet. Yes, I know I always say that food is not your savior from depression, and this is so, but I really sort of ate my way into it, by being so nutrient deficient. Then when the infections and the bleeding and things began, I had no reserve strength at all. Plus, I'd been hypoglycemic for years, and still eating an extremely high sugar diet. (But that's another story!)

-Sleep deprivation. I couldn't sleep the first night because I was in labour (of course!) and the second I couldn't sleep because I was in the hospital with a tiny baby, and I felt scared. The third night I didn't sleep because by this time Elijah was becoming dehydrated (and was crying all the time!)- my milk hadn't come in.

I think there are really MANY more triggers to the depression that I'd experienced then, and I'm sure you can list many more from your own life, perhaps, but here we have enough to get started on a list of "things I wish I'd known"!

1. I wish I'd had someone I could talk to, I mean really talk to during the pregnancy. I didn't talk to my mom, I had lost several of my friends, and I was so unprepared for a baby. I kept all my feelings of failure, guilt, and insecurity bottled up during that time, and I needed someone. Or, SomeOne.
2. I wish I'd known that I couldn't possibly know what it would be like, but that I would get through it. If you are pregnant, or a young mother, I want to tell you that you will get through it! That first year of Elijah's life (while depressed) seemed like it would never end, and all my joy of that time had been stolen. But I must tell you, that you will not be where you are forever. No matter how you feel, please try to find one thing in each day that was beautiful: that was special. No matter how you feel, your baby is special. If you were not depressed, you would see this more clearly- but depression is like having a pair of greasy eyeglasses on. You can still see, but your vision is skewed. It will not always be!

3. I wish I would have eaten better during the pregnancy, and after, because even though that wouldn't have helped my emotional issues, it at least would have given my brain some relief, and I wouldn't have gotten so sick. I would have been better equipped physically at least. Perhaps that statement is reminding you of your smoking, or drinking: how you'd like to quit while you are pregnant; at least for the baby's sake. Or maybe you are already post-partum, and struggling with depression- and wondering if it would really help to quit smoking, etc.
...I know how hard it is to leave off a habit that your brain is addicted to- but I just want to encourage you that if you can quit, it would help.

Now there are all kinds of things that I would put as footnotes here, because I do believe these things would have helped prevent postpartum depression in me, but I put them as footnotes because these things weren't available to me, as far as I could see then. BUT! Perhaps you are in a different position than I was, and some of these things would work for you:

-Experience with babies and children. I would have been more at ease taking care of my own baby if I'd had any previous experience taking care of someone else's! What you watch is what you learn, and I didn't know anything about babies when I had one.

-Training in keeping a house. I had no idea how to get the laundry done, how to get the dishes done, or how to cook a decent meal! No idea. I don't know how to excuse myself here, I just didn't know, and at that time (12 years ago) you couldn't just type in "christian homemaking" on the internet and read what you needed. Besides, I was too totally wasted to start learning then. It would have helped to have known before.

-Faith in God. I read books like "what to expect when you're expecting" but I think it created in me an expectation to have troubles during my pregnancy, rather than encouraging me that pregnancy could be a positive experience. But I didn't know then to expect anything from God, and so I was at the whim of whatever came down the pipe!

-I must here repeat the above: Faith in God- Knowing Jesus Christ as my Savior. If I'd had any idea that God could be with me in my everyday, troubled life, it would have helped. I had an understanding of God, but I didn't know Him. I guess it's like when Jed and I went to the same church. I knew him, but I didn't know him then the way I do now after 12 years of marriage. I needed to know that God would be my friend, the way Jed has been my friend.
A lot of what I've come to know about God, I have learned from my loving husband!

So, I think I will need to post on this again, cuz I just don't feel done.

See you soon. : )

Monday, December 24, 2007

1000 Gifts

It's not always easy to be thankful. Especially in depression. But I've said before, that in depression is when it is most crucially important to give thanks. Because... a human being always retains his/her right to FREE CHOICE. Nothing, no one, can take away your power to choose. I remember reading in one of Dr. Don Colbert's books (I think it was Stress Less) about a Jewish man in a concentration camp. He had suffered inumerable griefs that you and I will most likely never know, and as he sat alone, he faced a choice. I can choose. I can die inside right now, loose all hope, and just live a walking skeleton until I finally drop... or I can choose joy. I can choose what I will feel. I can choose even here, even now, how I will react to this. They cannot control what is on the inside of me.
You can choose.

Lord I thank You for:
31. An afternoon with no wind! Rare enough for a Southern Alberta winter.

32. A grandmother who lives across the road, and loves to do crafts with my children.
33. Laundry folded and put away 34. Paperwork finished, and sqared away

35. 5 puppies sold, at least I think it was 5!

36. The days are getting longer!
37. Space to have a garden in the spring

38. Children who are bright, healthy, who have a unique makeup and destiny

39. Time to read with Elijah

40. Food to eat
You see, really there are so many things to be unthankful for, that it takes an effort to have a thankful heart: you will have to go against the grain to give thanks, to rejoice. You may find it very difficult, and stiff, and fake at first; but it will help if you voice your thanks outloud. Do it even when you don't want to, and especially when you don't feel thankful!! Even if it's when you are alone in bed at night, or in the shower in the morning: set aside a time every day to thank God for the gifts He has placed in your life.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Gratefulness, A Cure for Depression

I've been reading Ann Voskamp's blog, and her 1000 gifts list. I know I've mentioned it before, but today I know I need to start one of my own.
Part of the journey out of depression (and staying out of depression) is realizing that everyday contains value. Where you are right now has a value, no matter what you feel.
When we choose to turn our hearts (our focus) away from the horror in our lives and in the world around us (not forgetting, not ignoring, but not allowing it to own us), we find that there are still beautiful things here to be seen, and our recognition of their beauty and worth balances the pressures that come against us. It brings light, and life into a place which previously only knew death, and grief.
I remember driving down a country road near our place when I was depressed. At that time, I would drive down that lane in a fog of numbness. I often fantasized about just turning into the ditch. Later, after I had recieved my healing, I drove down the same road noticing how beautiful everything looked. I could see now how blue the sky was, how bright the sun, and how fresh, green, and alive everything was! It was as if everything had been dark before, and now I could see light!

Well, sometimes the darkness is thick, and we have to strain even to see the light in the world around us and in the close confines in our everyday life. It's those times that we need to CHOOSE to see it. To give God thanks on purpose, even if it hurts.

God, I give You thanks.

1. That I am not alone

2. That I am healthy, and can get healthier

3. That I can write: have someplace to pour out all the substance of what is within me

4. A family. Once there was only Jed and I, and now we have four children

5. Baking fresh, homemade bread

6. Swimming with the children in winter (exercise, bright light, and a trip out of the house)

. My husband is faithful

8. Apples for juicing

9. Our wood stove releasing energy in our home, and creating a contrast between the cold, dark, white outdoors, and the warm, bright, gentle glow inside.

10. Baby black bear hamsters (a surprise that the hamster we bought was pregnant!)

11. Parents who live nearby and are healthy- a family Christmas

12. Sisters- I see myself reflected in their faces

13. Church on Sunday

14. Homeschooling- having my children near me- imparting my heart, my faith to them

15. Christian biographies

18. The Miracle Channel (an encouraging message, right when I need it)

20. Hope-- a second chance: the second, third, and fourth time....

21. Tomorrow can always be better than today

22. When I go to bed, this day is over

23. A clean house, decluttered of toys before Christmas

25. A pot of chicken broth, bubbling on the stove, filling the house with the scent of sage

26. Camomile tea with honey

27. A bed

28. And island to roll out dough on, to correct math on, to share a coffee around (people to share the coffee with)

29. Change (It never fails)
30. Time (It never quits)

I hope that as I add to the list, this spirit of thanksgiving will be contagious, and your mind will be enlivened to the things around you that have worth- that are a gift to you from God-- even where you are right now! I guarantee you- there is something to give God thanks for.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Prayer

How can I take this bottle inside me and pour it out to You in a way that will mean something? How do I take all that is in my heart, and explain it to You when I don't know how to put it in words? I know the bible says You store up my tears in your bottle; what about the constant ache inside me, somewhere to deep for me to truly access? Can I come to You without words, and know that I've been heard?
There are too many things that have hurt me so deeply. And I know that You know. In that knowing, (knowing that You know how it hurts, how deep was the cut) can there be a taking away of the injury, a resurrection that comes from this death? Can Your life come, and fill me so completely that I don't even remember the pain?
I want to know You more than I do. I want to stop being so fake. I want to be free, I mean really and truly free, so that the old black cloud of testing thoughts can't come to hover over me when I'm alone.
Is it really all me? If I would let go of the hurt, and never allow my mind to wander there... would it really cease to hurt? Is there a way for this loss to be only gain? Father, must there be a loss?
I wish it wasn't so. I wish that I could leave this place of retreat, and live with all my might. That I wouldn't cower, and even worse, NOT CARE. I want to leave Lazy behind, and find a Spark in my soul that is so contrary to the world around me.
What are the desires that You have placed in me, and which ones are just mine? How can I see how you are leading me?
And yet, sometimes You surprise me, and the suffering is gone without my knowing how. The struggle is gone, as if it simply dissappeared without my knowing it, like a mist that was blown away, like a foam on the beach that nobody missed when the tide returned and whisked it away.
How long is my life? What do I have to do here? Lord, will I get it all done? I have wasted so much time, and been so disobedient to You.
Some days I see Your hand on my life so clearly, and I KNOW, I just KNOW. Other days, I am bogged down by the weight of my own emotions, pelted by the winds of my feelings.
I didn't know that this was what it would be like Lord. But now that I know, I want to live a life of praise. Lord, make of me a joyful woman, a woman who is beautiful and remembered because of her smile. Lord, redeem this time with my children, and help me to make every day count!
I know that at the end of this life, I will regret every squabble I had with my husband, every stubborn act of my will that drove us apart. Refresh our love, Lord, like a fire. Wash away the grit and dust of the years, and make of me a beautiful woman. A woman who gives up her very life.
But mostly, Jesus, I want You. I want to be near you, to be your partner. I want Your love so rich, and real in my family. I want Your joy. I want to spend this life, on this earth, in perpetual joy, and total abandon.
I've uncorked the bottle, I know You're listening....
Lord, I am listening.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Diet of the Depressed

The bible is spiritual food.
If we look at different faiths, across the span of time, each one has had some type of spiritual food. Wether it was a book, an oral tradition, a dance: each people since Adam has recognized that we are a spirit creation, and we need spirit food.
Why the bible? Why is it not enough to simply nourish the spirit man with spiritual food, and to increase: to grow in enlightenment?
Ahh...... No. Because then the focus is on the man. He could feed himself. He shouldn't need God.
But have you ever seen a baby that didn't need nourishment, much less one that fed itself? Have you ever met a toddler who recognized valuable food, and would choose steamed spinach over an icecream sandwich? I haven't.
Our flesh gets in the way. We may be a spirit creation, but let me assure you, we are not all spiritual. We live in a body. A flesh, blood, animal body. Much of what I've learned in 2007 about life in a flesh body, I've learned from our golden lab. She is 100% flesh.
Now a spirit creation with no life in the spirit is no better off than my lab. A spirit stuck inside a flesh body with no power to control it, is subject to its whims. Remember Frankenstein? A body, with a dead spirit. The body was operating without the permission of a man. Just so, our bodies would function without our permission, if we don't use our living spirits to rise up and take dominion.
When your depression began, did you request it? Did you try to get depressed? Of course not! Your body acted without your permission. Now you are in a pickle. You have tried all sorts of things to get your body back on track, you have exercised it, fed it chemicals, fasted, dieted, taken it to specialists. All to no avail. You are a divine, spirit being, trapped inside a frankenstein. (Or a golden lab, tee hee!)
What is the answer to this dilemma?! Spiritual food.
Why? Because your spirit is starving. Psychologists may talk about your inner child, but really you have an inner spirit. Yes, there is life in there, and it must be fed! If you feed and strengthen your spirit man, he/she will grow to a stature and authority where your body can no longer tell you what to do. You will speak to your body, and your body will obey.
So, the bible is spiritual food. It is what opens your eyes to God's way of seeing things, it is what renews your mind, and takes it from being a mind set on death, to being a mind set on life!!
You know that a depressed mind is a mind set on death! It is only your spirit within you that is crying out "NO! I want to LIVE!"
Maybe you've been reading your bible. I assure you, if you are not seeing results, you had better read more. Whatever you've been doing, it may just not be enough.
The children and I (in our homeschool) have been reading the biography of C.T. Studd. In the first years of the 20th century, he was a missionary to the Congo. At that time, Africa was called "the White Man's Grave". Most missionaries died within the first year; some made it up to five years. On top of this, the area C.T. was entering was entirely populated by cannibals. In the face of circumstances like these, C.T. knew that God's words (His promises) were the difference between life and death for him. He read his bible three hours every morning.
Maybe your are experiencing suicidal thoughts. Maybe God's word is a matter of life and death for you too! So we look at the example of another in a similar situation, and I ask you- could you do more? Could you plant more seed?
The bible is the seed for whatever you want to come to pass in your life. It is not a magic wish list, but a garden supply store. You will still have to do the planting, the cultivating, the weeding, and sometimes the watering, but the word of God is guaranteed to come up. If you go to his word and begin to study what it says about money, it will affect your finances. Just so, if you study what the bible has to say about joy, your opinions about your attitudes will change.
The most integral, and very central thing you need to know from the Word of God (the bible) is that you are to be a living spirit, because of what Jesus has done for you. Your days of death are over, if you are a believer in Jesus.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Depression and Thanksgiving

I wanted to talk today about the supernatural power of thankfulness.

Doesn't sound very impressive? Truly it's had a supernatural effect on my life.

I've been reading Ann Voskamp's blog lately, and her 1000 gifts list. We try to do something like that here, where once a week we name the things that we are truly thankful for.

I know that for a person who is severely depressed, this task may seem monumental: to even think of one thing to be thankful for. But the greater the difficulty, the greater the rewards. You can actually thank your way right out of a depression.

Last week Joshua (second son) and I went for a walk, around 4:30 or so. Here (Alberta, Canada), it is already getting dark at that time of day. He really didn't want to go, but I knew we needed to spend some time together, and that we both needed the excercise (and the last dregs of sunshine)! So off we went. It was miserable at first, I will admit. It was cold, and icy wind was tickling my face. Joshua was less than pleased.

But I was determined to have a good time! I was not going to let depression and self pity steal my time with my son, or my enjoyment of the evening ahead! I refuse to dislike winter!! So I started out by pretending that we were on a woozle hunt (A. A. Milne) and Joshua and I actually did find some animal tracks! We followed them around a bit, and tried to imagine if they were rabbit tracks, and coyote tracks, or if some were just dog tracks. We imagined that the coyote had been chasing the rabbit!

This was very entertaining for a few minutes, but soon we were aware of the cold, and the dim, so we kept walking.

As we walked, and Joshua murmered, I began declaring things that I was thankful for. I listed everything I could think of that I was even remotely thankful for. I thanked God for my two legs, that I even have the joy of going on a walk. I thanked God that when I got home there would be a toasty fire in the wood stove. I thanked God that after 12 years, I am still married to the same man, and that he is just as faithful! After about half a mile, Joshua got in on the action, and he started being thankful that he had brothers, and a sister. That he was going to have a hot supper; that he had a mom and a dad.

By the time we got home, we had walked up some real heat, and neither of us was cold anymore! I also felt so energized! I had a totally new outlook on my day, and felt like walking in the winter was one of the best things a person could do!!

I thanked my way right out of a depression. : )

Now, I recognize that your situation may be far more difficult. What this means, is that you may need to spend a lot more time being thankful. You may have to do it more purposefully.

Spend time each and every day, writing down your thanks to God. Vocalize it to Him when you are in the shower. The Word says I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart, I will enter His courts with praise. If you new that thanksgiving could translate you out of the prison and into the presence of the God who loves you, you would do it!! If you are alive, then it's not over yet! God still has something for you to do. Jesus has a destiny for you! Every moment more you live, is one more moment of hope. Don't give up. He will not let you down.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Faith that Works.

I tend to think best if I am talking, or writing. Even if I listen to someone else talk (school or church, etc.), my brain is at its best if I am writing.

So I have been enjoying this blog, because as I am writing here, I am teaching myself.

I wanted to look at some more verses on healing today.

John 6:27, 28

"But you shouldn't be concerned with perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that I, the Son of Man, can give you. For God the Father has sent me for that very purpose."

Good one, eh? (I'm Canadian. : ) I need this verse, every time I am tempted to forget that God is my Source, and to start worrying about wether or not I bought organice lettuce. Buy organic, by all means, but our food is not where our true life comes from.

Titus 1:15

"Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure..."

I was thinking about this in relation to food allergies. I had issues with food all my life, and when I was healed of my depression, I was also healed of my allergies. Lately however, I have to watch that the old fear of food doesn't creep back in. If all things are pure to me, then I can eat my food in peace.

James 2...

14"Dear brothers and sisters, what's the use of saying you have faith if you don't prove it by your actions? That kind of faith can't save anyone.

17"So you see, it isn't enough just to have faith. Faith that doesn't show itself by good deeds is no good at all- it is dead and useless.

24"So you see, we are made right with God by what we do, not faith alone.

26"Just as the body is dead without a spirit, so also faith is dead without good deeds."

Now, this is not saying that you are OK with God as long as you behave OK, it is saying that your deeds (the things you do everyday) are what give life to your faith! I may say "Oh yes, I believe I can eat anything without getting sick!" But then if I don't eat certain foods, I must ask myself: Do I really believe it, if I can't live it? Yes, there is an element of common sense in which foods we will eat or not eat, but I need to have the kind of faith that saves-- that actually does something (verse 14)! I can't just read it, believe that the bible says it, and then leave it at that... I need to believe it to the extent that I will step out on it. We will do whatever we truly believe in our hearts.

I guess this is like the other day when Jed and I took the kids swimming. When I was a child, I had a fear of heights. I also had a fear of water. So needless to say, I didn't like jumping off the diving board, because it seemed like both of them combined: heights and water! Now as an adult, I have to ask myself: If I am not afraid, then why don't I jump? You know it may be uncomfortable to jump, since I'm not used to it, and since I had developed a habit of fear. But if I believe, then I must jump.

Is there an issue you are struggling with: a fear, an illness? An issue that seems too great for your faith to surmount? Well, don't just go ahead with your actions unless your faith is there. I've tried that: lining up my actions, without first developing my faith. I failed that way, because He is not justifying us by our works, but by our faith. He only asks that we believe in the One that He sent. So if your faith is not up to snuff, you have to feed it. Develope it, nurture it, strengthen it. Lift some biblical barbells. The bible says that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. So if you don't sincerely believe it enough for it to come to pass in your life, then don't quit! Just stay in your bible, and your faith will grow. Soon it will be a faith that saves.

A faith that does what it is supposed to do. : )

Monday, December 3, 2007

Carrot Juice

Carrot Juice!

I mention it, not because I believe that you will find a dietary answer to your depression, but because it is wise to eat well while you are being healed of depression.

There are numerous supplements, herbs, and alternative foods that a person can take, but really what it comes down to is: if you could only be healed by eating special foods, then you have to live in the andes mountains where the substance is found, or you would have to be rich, and have it flown to you. Now there are plenty of supplements (like goji juice, etc.) which have a good reputation, but items such as goji juice costs $50 per liter in Canada, and they are cooked before they are bottled. That means the enzymes and vitamins are damaged, or killed in the processing.
However, there are probably very healthy, economic, and locally available foods that you could try. These would be a boost to your health. I believe the Lord has provided each people group (globally; geographically) with several "superfoods" which can be of use to us on our journey of healing. God did provide Canadians with access to a great deal of carrots, beets, wheatgrass, and other such, and with an inexpensive investment at London Drugs, you can have yourself some fresh carrot juice.

I bought a Breville juicer, which works quite well for hard items like carrots, and wasn't out of my price range. I bought 50 pounds of carrots at the Real Canadian Wholesale club for $10. That's a lot of fresh, raw, vitamin rich carrot juice, at a very reasonable price!

God wants you healthy. He provided you with healing through His Son, and He is willing to give you wisdom for you to take good care of your body.

Yum, vitamins!

Where is Your Faith?

When Jesus said "Where is your faith?" I don't think He was actually saying to them: WHERE have you placed it! I believe He was saying: WHAT have you placed your faith in, WHAT are you doing with your faith right now!

Where is your faith? What are you spending your days believing?

In Luke 8, Jesus is in a boat with his disciples, possibly travelling at night. He slept in the boat (I suspect He slept when He got the opportunity). But as his men were trying to manage things as best they could, there was a storm sweeping over the huge lake they were on. Amazingly enough, Jesus does not wake up, and the storm worsens until his friends are sure that they will all drown. It must have been bad- these were very experienced fishermen, but in this case they were terrified. They woke Jesus and said "Master, Master! We're going to drown!"

Jesus got up and (of all things) began to speak to the wild wind and the raging waters. Immediately they began to calm, and everything became smooth again. It is at this point that Jesus says to them: where is your faith.

I imagine that He said that because of the intense fear they had been experiencing. They were not only sure that they would all drown, they were convinced. Isn't that what faith is? When you are totally convinced that something will take place? After all, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the proof of things not seen.

Now what are the things that a depressed person is convinced will take place? Well, in this story, the disciples of Jesus probably had only suddenly come to believe that they were to drown, because of the intensity of the pressures all around them. Post partum depression can be like that, because before the baby is born, all is fairly normal. Afterward, however, there can be a sudden downhill spiral. A stepping off of the cliff of sanity. Then the intensity of the pressure convinces the mother that things will not be ok again. That she really just can't cope.

That's how I felt anyway. I didn't sleep for 3 nights at least after Elijah was born. I wasn't nursing properly, my baby was dehydrated and screaming... Even by the second day or so, I was having irrational thoughts. In some way I had become convinced. I had released my faith.

Sometimes depression doesn't come suddenly, it sneaks up. Slowly, over a period of years even, the depression begins to build a house of thoughts in the afflicted person's mind. One thought at a time, the person becomes convinced. He releases his faith.

Now in this story, Jesus doesn't tell the disciples where their faith ought to be. Just like in the garden of Eden story, when God says to Eve what have you done? He is a God of questions. Maybe He is telling us to examine our hearts for the answers.

What have you done...

Where is your faith?

What have you done with it? What aren't you doing with it?

If depression is something that you are doing with your faith- convincedly believing those depressed thoughts over, and over- then even when depressed you still have faith! You still have a choice as to what you will do with it. You can still choose believe or not believe. What will you do with your faith?

I began to believe (upon the counsel of friends) that God was my last and only hope. That He really would heal me, and that as He did, I would turn the rest of my life over to Him, and live in full obedience. And I began to think it. The thoughts played out in my mind every day, over and over, and I filled my mind with NEW things: worship cds, bible verses that I copied out, and pasted on our walls. It was my faith, and I believed those things. And I was well. I never again experienced post partum depression, even with 3 births after the healing.

You do have faith, God has given to every man the measure of faith. What will you do with it?

Where is your faith?