Statement of faith

2 Timothy 3:16-17 "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (NIV)

"The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to make us like the Son of God. To become like Jesus, we must fill our lives with his Word.
- Warren

Monday, January 9, 2012

Quiet-Time Reflections

Week of: Jan. 9, 2012                                       
Sharing by: Pam Crawford

Philippians 1:23-24
“I’m torn between two desires: Sometimes I want to live, and sometimes I long to go and be with Christ. That would be better for me, but it is better for you that I live.” – NLT

One of my favorite lines from the Wizard of Oz is “there is no place like home.” I thoroughly agree! Not many people outside of my husband know this about me, but I don’t necessarily like to travel. In fact, before I leave I am already homesick. I know that this might sound strange to some of you; but if truth be told, I am rather content just looking at the beauty right outside my sliding glass door and sleeping in my own bed. If I didn’t have to travel on busy highways, or rush through airports, or stress over travel plans another day in my life, it would be A-ok with me. 

This morning as I am writing, the Lord is providing some amazing artwork right outside my window as I watch the sunrise. It’s absolutely stunning! The colors are so vibrant and the light is bright. The view makes me wonder about how beautiful it will be to one day reside in the presence of thee artist, Our Creator. The view also makes me yearn to see life more clearly.

Today it seems like a lifetime ago, but I can remember a very dark time in my life when I could not see the beauty of the artist or this world, and frankly I just wanted to go home. I was pretty naïve at that point because I was lost and had not yet experienced genuine salvation. So to go home, to make my own plan of exit from this world would have likely meant that I would not wake up in a place of beauty. Although I have worked through the shame of how I felt back then, I am grateful for that sense of darkness. Without working through my distorted view of this life, I may have missed the light.  

Pain and suffering are things we desire to avoid. In fact, we work really hard to avoid them. As I reflect back on that time when I was contemplating my exit strategy, I was desperate to avoid the pain. I was so tired of suffering through the torment of my thoughts. My world had become dark and I was terribly confused. Everything around me felt chaotic and out of control. It was getting increasingly difficult to cope, to put on my happy face and do life. I felt lonely in my world and there was nothing normal about my darkness. Eventually I came to a crossroad and a decision was necessary. I could either choose my plan that felt extremely uncomfortable to me, or I could cry out for help. Oh how I wish I could tell you that it was I that cried out for help. The truth is I struggled back then to get out a whimper.

At my crossroad (my place of desperation) I was met by a Savior and today I know Him as Jesus Christ. No, I didn’t see Him physically, but I did experience Him through the loving concern of my earthly husband. You see when we are in pain, we are not there alone. Our response to our pain affects others. We don’t suffer alone. When we’re hurting, others are suffering right along with us. It could be that we’re just too wrapped up in the self destruction that we can’t see it. At least this was my experience. I was at the end of my rope, but I was too stubborn to let anyone in to help me. To let them in would mean allowing them access to something that I thought I would just take to my grave. Thankfully light has the power to overshadow the darkness. Praise God that He has the power to knock down the walls of a stubborn heart in order to rescue the lost.

I will never forget that voice at the other end of the line, “Pam, are you ok?” It was my doctor. Why was he calling? How did he know I was not OK? Long story short, a loving man knew that I was in trouble and he moved into action. My husband was at a place of desperation. He knew something was terribly wrong with me and he felt helpless to do anything outside of calling out for help on my behalf. Although it made me extremely angry at the time, I realize today that it was my lifeline. God had empowered him to intervene on my behalf and that began my journey out of my darkness.

The label of “clinical depression” didn’t sit well with me, but nevertheless that is what they called it. I had been locked in that darkness for longer than I had imagined and I had a lot of work ahead of me. This was about the time when a friend began offering an invitation to attend Bible studies.
Unfortunately, I made a lot of excuses for why I couldn’t attend. I told myself it was not “my cup of tea.” However, the truth was I was just beginning to work at climbing out of my pit and I was vulnerable. I didn’t want anyone outside of my family to know that I was weak, so I just declined the invitations for about a period of five years. I had no idea that my answer was right there in those invitations. Thankfully, my friend never gave up on me either. I don’t think she realizes this, but she was a part of God’s rescue team. I owe a debt of gratitude to my Heavenly Father, my husband and my dear friend who along with many others played a vital role in helping me see the light. Because of them I can now celebrate life. I know that I made the better choice to draw close to God within my pain so that He could show me that suffering is a part of strength.  When He’s ready for me, He’ll do the calling. Until then I have work to do.

John 14:6 -“I am the way the truth and the life.”

Battling depression or extreme sadness takes time. You have to allow yourself the time to heal as you do the work necessary to climb out of your pit. You have to want freedom! Too many of us get comfortable in our pits because it’s easier.  No one can free you; freedom comes when we learn to overcome our fears, the shame, and discouragement of disappointment.  Most importantly I had to learn that no matter what happened in my past, it was my past. It did not have to define my future. There is help available! When we ask God for direction, or when others intercede on our behalf; hope is ushered in. This is the light I desire others to see through the transparency of this testimony.

My friend didn’t know it, but her invitations every fall were just the beginning of what would be the healing work God had planned in my life. When I finally surrendered to getting to know this God that people told me was my answer, I found Him. He had been there all along. He was in my husband, family and my friends who knew something was not right in me. He was there in the voice of my doctor and He was there in the Bible study facilitator’s voice as she read Matthew 6:14-15. That day she was teaching the importance of forgiveness. I fought it for a bit, but today “forgiveness” is light to me.

I certainly do not have all the answers, I can only tell you what worked for me. Drawing close to the One with the power to help me, saved my life. He is available to anyone that seeks Him. I have hope today and I know without a doubt that “with God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19: 26). It is better that we learn through our life's experiences so we can experience the beauty that God created. For His children, we have work to do. There are others out there who need to know that hope and miracles still exist. I hope you got a small glimpse of that today. Be blessed.  

Today’s prayer:  Sovereign Lord, may I ask You to bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom for those who are in the pit of darkness, and may Your light shine brightly on anyone who may be feeling despair today. May Your light shine bright in our hearts and may we never lose the gift of hope. Help us learn that times of adversity are the greatest opportunities for growth. In Jesus name, I lift this prayer. Amen. 

In Christ by grace,

“Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of wisdom.” - Evans

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