Jesus says, ‘… In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NKJV)
Jesus knew well in advance that this life would be full of trouble, He has not promised when you believe in Him your life will be trouble-free, He has promised though that no matter what you face He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Trust me, when I gave my heart to Jesus there were no bolts of lightning tracking through the sky, the devil didn’t send me a congratulations card and wipe me off his list, what did happen though was a deep peace moved into my spirit.
Peace like no other, to this day has been my anchor in the storms. I am almost certain, had I not been anchored in Him throughout the past few years, I quite possibly would have ended my life. In His Grace, Mercy and immeasurable love I have been made whole, complete in Him.
Whatever storms you may be going through stand fast, let the winds blow and when things settle you will look back and see His Sovereign hand has drawn a line of purpose through that which you thought you would never survive.
Often people will ask me what is the significance of my cover design (book yet to be finished). For me, the cover had to be intriguing and have meaning, it was important that the imagery would somehow speak to women young and old in an encouraging tone that says ‘ lift up your weary head, let hope arise and be strengthened by the true knowledge that you are beautiful and courageous’.
The crumpled note being pinned to the wall represents a return to believing the truth about yourself, and consequently a return to happiness. Crumpling of the note is symbolic of what we do with our self belief as life wears us down. As a toddler the words of beauty and courage are written on our hearts we believe we truly are the centre of the universe, our beauty is affirmed by doting adults and we are fearless (except the odd monster under the bed tends to be a bit scary). My little 3 year old little girl believes without doubt she is pretty and perfect in every way, no fear of being too fat or too thin, no fear of what other people think etc… she is free to be a beautiful, courageous little girl.
Sadly, over the years what we believe about ourselves, becomes distorted and fashioned by the influences around us, and this is when we ‘crumple the note’, so to speak, and throw it in the waste paper basket. We gradually lose our 3yo perspective of how amazing, “fearfully and wonderfully made” we truly are. From an early age seeds of doubt and fear take root in our minds as we become aware of judgement from others, cave into peer pressure, and aspire to be just like the false images of airbrushed models. Doubt and fear grow like relentless weeds suffocating all that is true about the beautiful, courageous you. May your journey through this blog (and the book) encourage you to go back to the crumpled note, a note that speaks of your true identity and worth, write out the TRUTH, stick it up on the wall and believe it.
May 2014 be the year that you pursue the real you, the amazing you, the ‘cannot be replaced’ you with reckless abandon. X
During my journey of recovery from depression, I would often reflect on the story of Elijah written in the book of 1 Kings. Here we read the how this great man of God was running away to hide from Jezebel:
“ But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” (see 19: 3-5)
It is clear from the context that Elijah was exhausted – mentally and physically. I believe he had not been eating or resting, that he was running on a spiritual high (sound familiar?)
Elijah had great victories, revived a widow’s son, called down fire from heaven and then finds himself running scared from a girl! This irrational response is not too dissimilar to the first signs of depression, as his body was exhausted so to his mind became irrational, ‘Lord take my life’ is suicidal thinking!. He had already stood against greater odds than one woman and yet he was fearful and perceived the threat irrationally.
How did God respond to Elijah? He cared for his natural needs: “Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again.And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.” (see 1 Kings 19:5-8)
The primary need that the Lord saw was the need for the body to recover strength: to sleep, to eat, to drink. Elijah had a nature – a human nature, just like our own. Therefore, if exhaustion and lack of nutrition can cause Elijah to have a flat day, then it can happen to us because we have the same nature, a human nature that requires adequate rest and nourishment.
When our body is depleted, our soul will follow with irrational thoughts, anger, irritability, insomnia etc., and of course depression which, by consequence, we will feel spiritually depleted. The same connection is true in a vice versa situation, for example what we allow our thought life to meditate on will determine our emotional condition and ultimately affect our physical bodies. Randy Clark writes; “When our will reflects His, our emotions receive the best medicine possible. An alignment takes place that gives permission for the body to experience health. A healthy spirit makes for a healthy soul. A healthy soul makes it much more likely that we will enjoy physical health too.” ”. (The Essential Guide to Healing pg, 179)
Often, we fail to recognise a ‘misalignment’ between our body, soul and spirit, as life gets busier we can fall into the trap of neglecting our physical needs, as Elijah did, we fall into an emotional demise and then find ourselves asking ‘how did I get here’? Today, take a moment to consider areas that are misaligned in your life… maybe it’s a check on your thoughts? What are you meditating on? How’s your nutrition? Do you have healthy boundaries in place with regards to negative influences? Self care is not selfish… it is essential, so, like Elijah, you may go ” in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights…” x
In my experience with healing from depression, I met many well-meaning Christians that were intent on spiritualising every aspect of my condition… everything was a stronghold or a soul tie, and yet most days I clearly heard the Lord say ‘rest is the most spiritual thing you can do today’.
It is true our battle is not against flesh and blood, there is a spiritual realm in which we must contend for healing (see Ephesians 6:12).
However if we are to contend for healing, I believe it is not to give the enemy so much ‘air time’ that we become paranoid and look for a demon under every rock. Rather I suggest we must embrace what needs to be addressed for spiritual health (prayer, deliverance, repentance etc.) alongside applying some practical steps towards healing our physical bodies.
Recently I read a daily devotion penned by L.B Cowman Streams In The Desert, she writes on the issue of confounding physical weariness with spiritual weakness:
And what did God do with His tired servant? Gave him something good to eat and put him to sleep. Elijah had done splendid work and had run alongside of the chariot in his excitement, and it had been too much for his physical strength, and the reaction had come on and he was depressed. The physical needed to be cared for. What many people want is sleep and the physical ailment attended to. There are grand men and women who get where Elijah was- under a juniper tree! And it comes very soothingly to such to hear the words of the Master: “The journey is too great for thee, and I am going to refresh you.”
Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is rest, along with spiritual laws we also must address the natural laws of ‘something good to eat and a good sleep’… today, give yourself permission to rest and have something good to eat 😉 X