April Scripture Reading: Depression & Grief

Overcome depression, sorrow, and grief with these powerful scriptures. Speak truth into your life with the Holy living word of God. Join me for April Scripture Reading: Depression and Grief

SCRIPTURE READING: depression and grief

A Season of Sadness

I live with depression. I know well the feeling of complete hopelessness. Depression and grief has a way of stopping time. The moment can feel endless. You may find it hard to believe that situations or feelings will ever change or improve. I promise you friend, it will. It’s a season – and seasons don’t last. Read what the book of Ecclesiastes (3:1-8) says:

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—

A time to give birth and a time to die;
            A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.

A time to kill and a time to heal;
            A time to tear down and a time to build up.

A time to weep and a time to laugh;
            A time to mourn and a time to dance.

A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
            A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.

A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
            A time to keep and a time to throw away.

A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
            A time to be silent and a time to speak.

A time to love and a time to hate;
            A time for war and a time for peace.

Depression, sorrow, grief is for an appointed time. We have seasons of abundance and seasons of loss. I love what the Psalmist says: “Weeping may endure the night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5) The good news is this: this season of your life is temporary. One day, it won’t hurt like this. One day this will be over. God will bring you out of the pit (Psalm 103:4).

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

A Time to Cry

When calamity strikes, it is our nature to wonder why. We want answers, no – we demand them. Our humanness wants explanations in order to process loss. But sometimes there are no answers. There are no reasons, at least not earthly ones.

In times like these, we must remember that all things that happen in our lives are designed to draw us closer to Him. And our trials? What about our hurt, pain and suffering? Yes, that too. He wants us to fervently seek Him. Secondly, our weakness, our tears, our hardships all exist to magnify His glory. In order to be our Savior, we must first need saving. See what Paul writes in 2 Corinthians:

That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10

Not convinced? Read what the Psalmist writes in 50:15:

“Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.”

Simply put, God uses our pain to show non-believers how He saves.

Death

Maybe you are struggling with a loved one who has passed on. I encourage you to comfort yourself with the living word of God. He has promised that we will be reunited with those we love. We will see them again. Therefore, death is not the end.

I have learned that grief comes in waves. Like the ebb and flow of an ocean, grief subsides allowing you to catch your breath for a moment, then it seems to overcome you again all at once. One minute you think you’re doing better. Then a reminder or a memory will surface and the thought of having to live the rest of your life without them seems unbearable.

Perhaps it is not the physical death of a person you are grieving, but the death of something else. Your dream, health, a job, a friendship, a marriage. Maybe you are so overcome by disappointment you can’t see a happy future. There is one. He has promised it.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

despair
Photo by Samuel Martins on Unsplash

Battling Feelings of Grief

Remember Who God Is

Compassionate

I count at least 20 times in scripture where God and Jesus are described as compassionate. Paul writes in Hebrews, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” Jesus understands our suffering. He empathizes with us. He is compassionate towards our troubles.

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.

Psalm 145:8-9

Unchanging

The character of God is unchanging. “I am the Lord. I change not.” (Malachi 3:6). Everything is subject to change except for God. Read that again. God does not change. Therefore neither do His promises. I love an easily overlooked verse in Psalm 11. “When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (v. 3). In other words, when the floor beneath you gives way, what should we do? The answer can be found in the next verse. “The Lord is in His holy temple. The Lord sits on his throne in Heaven.” This declaration reminds us: when all that is good falls apart, God is still in control. He is still on his throne. He is not shaken by our troubles. God does not change.

Put Your Hope In God

The Psalms are a wonderful comfort in times of trouble. The Psalms demonstrate the cry of someone in need of help and refuge. They echo our troubled hearts. They also model how we should pray (adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication). But Psalm 42 also describes what we should do when we are sorrowful and disturbed.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Psalm 42:5

The Psalmist tells us to put our hope in the Lord. Hope is the happy anticipation of good. It is the belief that God is a good God and He has good things in store for us (Jer 29:11) . We get hope by praising God in the midst of our sorrow and by comforting ourselves with His promises.

praying over him

Give Up Your Ashes

One of my favorite verses in the bible is Isaiah 61:3. It is the messianic prophesy of why Christ came and died for us. This lone scripture has brought me so much peace when I’ve been overcome with depression and grief. Here is the truth:

to provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, a mantle of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” “Then people will call them “Oaks of Righteousness”, “The Planting of the LORD”, in order to display his splendor.

Isaiah 61:3

Beauty instead of ashes. Ashes represent what is left over after something has burned away. The leftovers. The broken pieces. But here is the rub. An exchange has to take place. Note that scripture says, “instead of.” Some translations say “for.” You must give your ashes to God. Give Him the brokenness and remains. Give Him the ashes and He’ll give you restoration.

Remain Thankful

Another way to pull ourselves out of sadness is to try and get the focus off ourselves and on our creator. You can do this by praising God through thanksgiving. It is hard to be downtrodden when you are remembering all the good God has already done for you. This is why Paul says to “set your mind on the higher things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Scripture Reading: Depression & Grief

Thank you for joining me for April Scripture Reading: Depression & Grief. In the comments below, I’d love to hear how I can pray for you. In case you missed it, see also March Scripture Reading: Fear & Anxiety.

Surviving Miscarriage

The feelings after surviving miscarriage are complex, but you aren’t alone mama. Surviving miscarriage is hard and I want you to know there is hope.

Surviving Miscarriage

Our Story

I was late. You see, I spent most of my 20’s as a doormat for meat-heads, young doctors and yes, even professional athletes. I dated sorry excuses for men. I didn’t believe men like my husband existed. In fact, it took nearly three years for us to get together and I did the asking. Although we had a whirlwind romance, by the time we married I was in my early thirties. Like many couples, we wanted at least one year together as a newly married couple. So at age 34, we began trying to start our little family.

We didn’t have to try long! I had stopped taking my birth control pill and didn’t even have one cycle. My expected period came and went. I recall laying in bed with my husband gleefully wondering if we had indeed become pregnant. After waiting a few days, I took a pregnancy test and nervously waited for those lines to appear. And appear they did! We were pregnant! That Sunday morning, my husband was still asleep before church. I woke him up, with that gross little pee stick behind my back. I could barely contain myself. It took him a moment, but he jumped out of bed. We were so happy.

You see, I almost couldn’t have children. A tumor and a pre-cancer scare left me minus one ovary. I had no idea if it would affect my ability to conceive. So when we got pregnant almost immediately, we felt like prayers had been answered.

Sharing the Good News

We immediately told our families, who were equally thrilled. We were so excited to announce it to the world. A few weeks later, I had the pregnancy confirmed by a doctor. Initially, I felt the early pregnancy symptoms: breast tenderness, nausea, etc. We immediately began planning.

Then a few weeks later, we went to my OB/GYN. I was about at week 9. As the doctor completed the vaginal sonogram, her silence told me something was wrong. We had lost the heartbeat. I tried to listen to her as she spoke to me, but the overwhelming feeling of grief and disappointment washed over me like an ocean. She explained, I could let the miscarriage occur naturally or I could under go a D&C. Honestly, the D&C sounded too akin to an abortion. I opted to go naturally. I went home and sobbed into a pillow.

Experiencing Miscarriage

Over the following weeks, the pregnancy symptoms faded away one by one. It was incredibly painful to experience. I didn’t know how painful miscarriage is. Nor did I understand the range of emotions I would feel.

We had planned a trip to Arizona to visit family and friends. Once there, I sobbed to my husband’s aunt, who told me of her own miscarriage some 40 years before. She insisted that despite having 5 live children, her thoughts still go back to the one she lost. She also encouraged me to name our baby so we didn’t refer to him or her as “the one we lost.” So after prayer, we named our baby “Gabriel (after the angel messenger) “Emmanuel (God is with us).

miscarriage fact

When we returned from our trip, I was 12 weeks into my pregnancy and still had not begun to miscarry. That is until one weekday afternoon around 3 pm. I felt the pain first. Then the contractions started and they increased in frequency and pain much like childbirth. I began to pass blood and tissue. I laid there on the bed weeping, moaning, and screaming into a pillow. My husband eventually came home and held me as it continued. We wept bitterly.

Grieving Miscarriage

Surviving Miscarriage includes the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I absolutely went through all of them. The only way to get through denial is look at death square in the face. That’s why we have funerals. Funerals are for the living, not the dead. It allows us time to process grief. We need to see with our own eyes, they are no longer with us. That’s why I personally chose to go through miscarriage naturally. Even if you choose not to do that, you’ll find your way to “face it” because sadly, we can’t escape death.

Surprisingly, I felt angry at God. I was surprised to feel that way, but I did. I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me. Later, I had anger at myself, which immediately moved me into the bargaining stage. This stage includes thoughts like “if only” and might even include asking God to bring them back in exchange for a promise on your part. The bargaining stage includes lots of self-blame. I wondered if I had worked too many hours or exercised too hard. Was it that glass of wine I had before I knew I was pregnant? Did I contribute to the death of my child? I felt like it was my fault. I felt like I had let my husband and our families down. It’s these thoughts that lead you down a dark road.

Dark Thoughts

Depression hit me before I knew it. I no longer felt like a woman. What good was I if I couldn’t bear a child? Those thoughts seem extreme now, but my fatalistic thoughts seemed perfectly reasonable at the time. One time I broke down at bedtime. My husband asked why I was crying. “My child died alone in the dark. He didn’t even know his mommy was right there with him.” Now I know how silly that sounds. The fetus had no conscious thoughts yet, but that’s how badly grief terrorizes you. It’s confusing, overwhelming and it comes in waves. Like the ebb and flow of an ocean – one day you are good, the next day you aren’t.

miscarriage fact

We agreed to start trying again. We immediately got pregnant a second time. A few weeks into the pregnancy, I miscarried again. I was utterly devastated. It was hard to bounce back. Only after I started to share my story did I learn many women I knew had also miscarried. They’d dealt with it privately like a dirty little secret.

My husband and I agreed to take a break from trying and that’s when we conceived my oldest living son. I wish I could say, I enjoyed being pregnant, but honestly, I spent it terrified. I was always afraid of losing him. Miscarriage scars you by implanting deep fears. My pregnancies weren’t without complications. My placenta failed with both my sons. Both were born early – but both are amazingly awesome kids now.

Surviving Miscarriage & Restoration

Even though four years have passed, I still think of Gabriel and Daphne. I always will. I conceived them. I carried them. I was there when they died. Don’t let anyone tell you “it doesn’t count” because you lost him or her early in your pregnancy. Don’t let anyone tell you men don’t feel loss with a miscarriage. It is incredibly hurtful to them too. Let him know, he doesn’t need to “be strong” – it’s okay to mourn. Lastly, don’t let anyone tell you it wasn’t a baby. The sound of the heartbeat has always been used to determine who is alive and who is dead. If you’re a Christian, cling to Jesus. Seriously, He helped me out of the pit and restored me (Ps 40:2). Surviving miscarriage is hard, but survive it, you will.


The post, Surviving Miscarriage, first appeared on Forever and Evie

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50 Journal Prompts

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50 Journal Prompts

How Journaling Can Help

Journaling can be a wonderful way to discover yourself. Journaling is a record of your feelings and perceptions at a certain point and time. You can learn a lot about yourself when you pose questions that challenge you to be truthful about life events. Some people don’t know where to begin, so I’m providing 50 journal prompts.

Years ago, my psychologist encouraged me to write in a journal. I was surprised at my emotional arch while writing. It was awkward at first. It makes your feelings real and tangible. Putting it down on paper challenges you to face how you really feel about something. Subsequently, it brings hidden and undiscovered feelings to the surface. In short, writing helps you to process those emotions.

To clarify, you can start journaling by simply writing about your day. However, there may be times when you may have an uneventful day or simply don’t need to write about it. That is where journal prompts can be valuable. Here are 50 journal prompts to get started!

How to Get Started

You don’t need anything fancy. Ordinarily, some people like myself, love using a beautiful notebook in which to write. However, you certainly don’t need that. A simple spiral notebook is all you need! That said, maybe you don’t care for actual writing. No problem! These days, there are lot of digital options. For example, the iTunes app store has great digital journals like Momento, Daylio, and Day One Journal.

50 Journal Prompts

  1. Describe your earliest childhood memory
  2. What do you want your children to remember most about you?
  3. Who do you want to be in five years
  4. What are three things you would do if you weren’t afraid?
  5. Where would you live if money wasn’t an object?
  6. A moment you wish you could change
  7. What do you love most about your hometown?
  8. How do you picture retirement?
  9. Something that still hurts you.
  10. What were you doing ten years ago?
  11. When were you most proud of yourself?
  12. Write a list of 25 things that make you feel good.
  13. Describe a time you learned from a mistake
  14. What was your first impression of your significant?
  15. Who do you look up to right now?
  16. What scares you most about dying?
  17. Write about your first kiss.
  18. Describe your best memory of your maternal grandmother.
  19. Give your younger self advice.
  20. Recount a time you were falsely accused of something.
  21. What do you love most about your hometown?
  22. How do you picture retirement?
  23. Something you wish people knew about you.
  24. Write about your greatest childhood fear.
  25. What would be used against you if you ran for political office?
  26. Something that still hurts you.
  27. What were you doing ten years ago?
  28. Explain how you’ve changed in the last year.
  29. Recount at time you most proud of yourself.
  30. Describe a time you learned from a mistake
  31. Detail a nightmare that still disturbs you.
  32. If you were president of the United States, what would you change?
  33. Write about someone who is difficult to get a long with in your family.
  34. What was your first impression of your significant other?
  35. Who do you look up to right now?
  36. If you could speak to someone you’ve lost in death, what would you tell them?
  37. Express what scares you most about dying.
  38. Write about your worst habit.
  39. How do you feel about your marriage / relationship?
  40. What advice would you give your younger self
  41. Write a “letter” to someone with whom you are angry. What would you say?
  42. When was the last time you were angry?
  43. What needs forgiving in your heart?
  44. Recount the first time you defied your parents.
  45. Describe what it was like to be a child of your decade (60’s, 70’s, 80s, 90s)
  46. If you won the lottery, what would you do?
  47. How do you feel about the world today?
  48. Write about a book that changed your life.
  49. If the world was ending today, what would you do?
  50. How would you describe each of your children?

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The post, 50 Journal Prompts, first appeared on My Beautiful Mess.