Isolation, Depression, and Hope

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For years I’ve been fascinated with tiny houses and how the kitchen table lowers from the ceiling or how the staircase can hide against the wall like a bookshelf. I’ve seen the shows, even visited small structures and imagined trying to live in one.

One day I hope to have one, not necessarily to live in one unless I want to live alone since my husband gets claustrophobic and doesn’t like the idea of climbing a ladder to go to bed, and frankly, I can’t say I blame him. But I would love to own a tiny house or “she shed” as my own little writer’s nook.

I could decorate it in all things Christmas, leaving a tree in the corner all year long. I would string white lights in the rafters and have a tiny fireplace in the corner. It would be my escape, my Christmas wonderland, inspiring Christmas tales I’d tap out on my laptop while the coffeepot gurgled in the corner.

I’d play songs by Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole and tuck Christmas books on the shelves, leaving a special place for “The Greatest Gift” by Philip Van Doren Stern which became one of my all-time favorite movies, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I’d throw a furry rug on the floor and fill the space with the fragrance of freshly brewed coffee, of course, and the scent of spiced apple.

I get so excited daydreaming about it (as you can tell!). And I hope one day that daydream will become a tiny, lovely reality in our backyard.

Having hope is so important in the world we are living in today, especially when we’re all homebound for the duration of the coronavirus.

We may have to stay put in our houses or in our yards, but our minds are free to soar and fixate on whatever we choose.

Me? I choose God. I choose to have hope in Him when everything else is screaming at me that I need to be anxious and afraid. I’m choosing to believe the promise that Jesus is preparing a place for me in heaven, and He will come back for me. And I’m looking forward to it.

Having hope in the promises of God brings my mind peace at a time when depression, like a venomous spider hiding in a dark corner, threatens to bite.

Not many people know this about me, but when I was in college, I was treated by a counselor for clinical depression.

Depression was like that awful spider and its web covered my thoughts, keeping me from having hope. I felt alone. Isolated. I had no joy. I felt numb and yet deep pain all at the same time. I didn’t want to do anything but sleep. And when I was awake, all I wanted to do was cry.

It was an awful place.

Years later when I quit my job to stay at home with our daughter, depression tried to attack me again. I was more isolated than what I was used to and I would sob at the back corner of our yard where my husband and daughter couldn’t see me.

But God saw me.

And He sees you too. If you’re struggling during this period of isolation, with the “culture shock” of staying at home for days and weeks at a time, please call out to God, reach out to family and friends. Seriously, reach out! You do not have to suffer, and you do not need to go through it alone.

When you’re feeling alone, that’s when the enemy will lie and tell you all sorts of nonsense.

Here’s the truth: God will never leave you (Hebrews 13:5). You don’t need to be afraid or discouraged because God is with you (Joshua 1:9). You were created for a purpose and God has a plan for your life (Jeremiah 29:11).

You are not alone, my friend, and your mind is free to soar even if you feel stuck in your living room. So go ahead and let your mind visit Christmas songs and tiny houses, far away dream vacations, and future plans.

You can, and should, think about lovely things (Philippians 4:8).

And let your mind stay fixed on God and His promises. He has given you His Holy Spirit, so you are NEVER alone. You have eternal hope in Jesus Christ, and He is preparing a place for you. And your place is going to be so much better than anything this world has to offer.

It’s going to be even better than a Christmas tiny house. 😉

“Why are you so downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 43:5 NIV.)

“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:5 NIV.)

“‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:1-6 NIV.)

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you. (1 Peter 1:3-4 NIV.)

 

(Photo from pexels.com.)

 

 

 

 

To Encourage You

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Sometimes we just need to calm down, sit down, and pray. I’ve been doing a lot of that lately concerning this blog.

(Bear with me while I explain something. I promise encouragement is coming your way!)

I was beginning to lose focus with this blog, knowing I needed to build a platform for my writing career and that involves having a regular schedule and followers. But…

I didn’t start blogging in 2016 to have a large number of followers. I simply wanted to be obedient to God when He opened my heart to the idea while I was walking by the lake that summer.

I believe God has called me to be an encourager. And when it came to this blog, I felt like I could encourage you by helping you to see tiny snapshots of how much God loves you and to remind you through His Word that He is always with you.

And I knew I needed to pull back the curtains of my own life, so you could take a peek and see the times I fell flat on my face or skinned my knees in all my imperfect attempts of following our perfect Jesus. That way you would know you’re not alone in your imperfections either. (Do you see someone WAY ahead of you in the “Imperfect People” line? That’s me waving at you!)

But I want to get out of line and come back and talk to you for a minute. (My first grade teacher would shake her head and probably want to send another “talks too much” note home to my mom.)

If you’re struggling with something right now, I want to come along side of you and wrap my arm around you, give you a squeeze, and remind you that you’re going to make it because your Father in Heaven never leaves you and has great plans for you. Seriously. Those aren’t just words. Those are His promises. (Hebrews 13:5, Jeremiah 29:11.)

If you’re beating yourself up because you goofed, I’m going to nod and tell you I understand. Not only have I messed up (ahem, on a daily basis I might add), but I also beat myself up for a loooong time over some of the things I’ve done in the past. But I’d like to tell you that you and I don’t have to live that way. We can tell our Heavenly Father we’re sorry, ask Him to forgive us, and He will (1 John 1:9). We can lift our eyes to Him and take His hand as He holds us up (Isaiah 41:10). Then we can collapse into His arms, take a nice, deep breath, and enjoy what THAT feels like. That, my dear friend, is perfect love and freedom.

But maybe you’re standing in this line and you’re confused and all sorts of negative thoughts keep replaying in your mind and you feel like you’re being squeezed in a really bad way.  I want to pray with you in the powerful name of Jesus Christ and rebuke the enemy who wants nothing more than to fill your head with trash and keep you running in circles. And when the squeezing stops, the heaviness is gone, and the devil has fled (James 4:7), I want to remind you to think about all the lovely things God has given us (Philippians 4:8) and that Jesus wants you to have an abundant life. (John 10:10.)

If you feel alone, lost, frightened, or overwhelmed…well I’d like to take you in my arms and just hold you for awhile, allowing you to cry. (Just so you know, I’ll probably cry with you.) And I would pray that God Himself would take you in His arms, help you to understand how He delights in you, and that you would hear Him singing over you. (Zephaniah 3:17.)

In fact, I’m going to pray that for every one of you as I return to my place in line…that you will all know how much God delights in you!

Just try not to laugh too loud when I trip and wipeout before I get there. 🙂

 “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17 NIV.)

 “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” (Romans 12:6-8 NIV.)