FIGHTING CLINICAL DEPRESSION

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LITTLE NANCY
Nancy (3 Years Old)

Because You are my Helper,
I sing for joy in the shadow of Your wings,
I cling to You, Your strong right hand holds me securely.
Psalms 63:7-8 NLT

I would like to address a subject that is often swept under the rug, not because it’s deviate or inappropriate, but simply because there is a stigma attached to it…a stigma brought on by ignorance. Yes, I said it! I’m talking about clinical depression. Oftentimes people who suffer from this malady try not to let it be known because the condition is associated with mental illness or instability…not so! Are people with other chronic illnesses that are caused by chemical imbalance (for instance diabetics) considered mentally ill? I don’t think so.

Now, I’m not talking about a down day here and there. We all have those. I’m talking about something these people have to deal with every day. Circumstance doesn’t cause it, although it can worsen it. You just wake up with it and you go to bed with it and you just have to deal with it.

And for those of you that would get on your “high horse” regarding divine healing…I am not excluding that possibility. God is certainly able! He has healed me more than once in my lifetime.

You may be thinking, “Well, what makes you an expert on the subject?” I’ll tell you what…the best schooling one can have…experience! I have suffered from depression for as long as I can remember, although I didn’t know what to call it. Even as a child I was never happy. All of my pictures from childhood depict a solemn, stoic-faced mini-person. At the same time, I was almost always angry. Only my family knew this side of me and they didn’t really understand.

Now, you may be thinking that I was a spoiled brat, but that really isn’t the case. Most of the time I was a good little girl and a perfectionist about everything…even my behavior. I have come to the conclusion that something in my childhood that I don’t even remember must have triggered this dysfunctional behavior. I’ll probably never know what. My mother used to kid me by singing this nursery rhyme, “Once there was a little girl who had a little curl right down in the middle of her forehead; When she was good, she was very, very good, but when she was bad…she was horrid!”

I grew up in a middle-class home with parents who provided for me and gave me the care and comfort I needed. They showed me love in the only way they, as survivors of the “great depression”, knew how. My father worked incessantly to provide for us a better life than he had experienced as a child. My mother was a homemaker who cooked, sewed and performed her motherly duties without complaint. One fond memory I do have when in grade school is coming home and opening the front door to the wafting aroma of fresh-baked tea cakes! Ummm! My mom could make the best!

Now you may be wondering why I am telling you this…am I just airing my dirty laundry so to speak? Absolutely not! What purpose would I have? I know that many people suffer from depression and many, like me, may not even know the reason. Many feel guilty about it, especially if they are a Christian. If that is true of you, I want you to know that I understand and empathize. You are not alone and it’s not your fault! But I do want to open for you a door of hope. I do want to tell you that there is something that you can do about it. Yes, I said something YOU can do!

I don’t want to write a book on this one blog entry, so if it’s okay with you, I would like to write a series on this subject. I would like to share my experiences and my lessons learned. I will share my pain and my progress, my defeats and my victories, my losses and my gains. If you don’t have a problem with this silent, sinister spawn of Satan called “Depression”, I’ll bet you know someone who does. And if I can share one nugget that will help them to overcome, I will not keep silent. I leave you with this thought, “Don’t judge another until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes!”

ANGELS WATCHING OVER YOU

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ANGEL, SHEPHERDS
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields,

keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord
stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid,
for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ
the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped
in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was
with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
       “ Glory to God in the highest,
      And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Luke 2:8-14

When most people think of angels, they imagine some nondescript being that has no form or feelings just floating around in the clouds. And in the background they picture God sitting on a golden throne holding a joystick and controlling their every move. (I know…I get a little carried away with my descriptions!) But can you relate?

However, angels are real beings (although created beings) who think and have emotions. If that were not so, Satan could not have talked one-third of them into rebelling against God. I Peter 1:12 says, “Even angels long to look into these things (salvation).” So apparently angels have desires and even curiosity, although their primary desire is to serve God. Angels can appear as men, as they did to Abraham on their way to Sodom and Gomorrah. He prepared a meal and they ate with him. And of course, we know that the Bible is full of instances where Angels defended and protected people. “For He will give His angels [especial] charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways [of obedience and service].” (Psalm 91:11 AMP)

But did you know that the Lord also assigned them to be servants to those who believe in Him? “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14) Many a time I have called upon Angels to help me with something or do something for me. Now let me make this clear, I do not pray to angels. Angels are not to be worshipped. And whenever I feel that angels have assisted me in a situation, I give thanks to God, not them. You make think I’m a little “flaky”, but I believe help from Angels is readily available to us according to the scripture.

And of course, in the passage in Luke above, we see that they rejoiced at the birth of Jesus. They displayed joy and gladness. So from biblical accounts, Angels are actual beings which were created by God with emotions and thinking capabilities. We can’t normally see them, although some people say they have. But we can be assured of their existence and their interaction with mankind…especially if you believe!

SONGS OF DELIVERANCE

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HOPES CAR

The Lord is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
so why should I tremble?
Psalm 27:1 NLT
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Psalm 32:7 NIV

My oldest granddaughter, Hope, was traveling home from work recently on a very rainy day. She works the night shift at a hospital about forty miles from her home. She had just finished her twelve hour shift and was traveling home on the interstate when her car hit a wet spot and she lost control. She said the car spun around a couple of times, facing oncoming traffic before sliding off the road into a shallow ditch. Miraculously Hope was not hurt and the car was not damaged. The angels had to be surrounding her as it says in Psalm 91…a psalm I pray over my family regularly. The picture at the top of this devotional is an actual picture of the car at its resting place beside the interstate. Please notice the cross in the background. How awesome is that! It’s as though the Lord is confirming His power to protect and deliver in every situation! Glory to His name!

Have you ever thought about how many times a year, a week or a day that the Lord protects us from danger? I travel to work on the interstate each morning and many a time the Lord has protected me from an accident. When He does so, I think to myself, “How many times does He protect me from situations of which I’m not even aware?”

The psalmist says in the above passages that as children of God, we have no reason to be afraid. Our Lord will protect us from danger and trouble. I love the next half of that verse… “He will surround us with songs of deliverance!” Doesn’t your heart just resound with joy when you know that the Lord has delivered you from trouble of any kind? And He does it joyfully…with songs of deliverance!

The Lord is not only able to deliver us from physical danger but from spiritual and emotional troubles as well. This is what the Lord Himself says, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27) And Jeremiah the prophet says this about it…“O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!” (Jeremaih 32:17)

In this generation more than any other, we have numerous opportunities to fear…terrorist attacks, unprecedented weather changes, gang violence, home invasions and unstable economy, to name a few. But as I heard someone put it very succcinctly, “When Fear knocks at the door, send Faith to answer!” This is something we need to settle in our minds before the circumstance arises, expected or unexpected…“I will not fear!” When your car (or circumstance) starts to spin out of control, you need to know that the Lord is your Deliverer in time of trouble! You need to know that He is surrounding you with songs of deliverance! Listen carefully. I’m sure you can hear the music.

Lord, You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Psalm 32:7 NIV