Category Archives: Journey Re-Blogs

HEALING CAN BEGIN

Journey Toward Wholeness Reblog #15    10/6/2020 (Originally published January 16, 2018)

This is a journal entry from January 2017:

            Dear Lord, I wish other people would deal with these fear thoughts for me, but I guess they can’t. Please forgive me for seeking other people instead of looking to You. Only You can help (Psalm 62:1, 5). I am Your child (1 John 3:1). You have chosen me for Your own (Colossians 3:12). I will praise and love You with all my heart.

            The feelings of panic aren’t so bad this morning, but fear thoughts tumble in. Today I slept an extra hour. I felt afraid to face the day. Now I’m afraid that I won’t get everything done that I need to do, and that would be awful.

            Today, many Christians face persecution, loss of loved ones, lack of basic necessities, etc., and here I am—afraid to do household chores, write some checks, and make phone calls because I might not get it all done. “Shame on me,” I think.

            When I think of Scriptures like Hebrews 12:2 (“Keeping our eyes on Jesus…”) and Colossians 3:1-2 (“Seek what is above where Christ is…. Set your mind on things above…”), all I can think about is that I haven’t been doing that, so shame on me again.

            Jesus, what are You saying to me when I get into these disturbed thinking patterns?

            Maybe you are saying, “Don’t be ashamed. Just repent and turn back to Me. Trust in Me. Let your body and mind rest so healing can begin.”

***

Trees in Snow

            It seems like I’ve come a long way since I wrote these things, and day by day I am learning to love and trust Jesus more.

            Oh Lord, You are so merciful and faithful and good! All praise belongs to You. Amen.

Psalm 62:1 “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.” Psalm 62:5-6 “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.”           1 John 3:1a “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” Colossians 3:12 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved….” (All NIV)

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In His Hands

(JOURNEY TOWARD WHOLENESS POST REBLOG #14)     8/19/20

One day as I traversed part of Anxiety Valley, I wrote in my journal:

           Jesus, You know me (Psalm 139) and You walk and talk with me—in reality, not just imagination. You are here. I will trust in You. Please help me believe and trust You more. You gave me a good night’s sleep last night in answer to my prayer. Thank You. I pray that I would always be grateful for all your good gifts.

In anxious times, doubts attack. Like I get afraid that God might expect me to do everything “right,” and I wouldn’t know what right was or how to do it. This line from a Carroll Roberson song might help me relax: “He did for me what I could not do for myself. He did the saving, and I did the crying for help.” Oh. Right. I’m not in charge. I don’t have to be in control.

Lord God Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, it comforts me to remember that I’m in Your hands. Nothing can pry me loose from Your hands. Not even my failures and poor choices can loosen Your grip on me. When fear or self-focus blocks my view of You, You are still here. You don’t quit loving me. You never give up on me.

Thank You, Lord, for your unfailing, everlasting, unbreakable love. Amen.

Psalm 73:22-23 “I was a fool and didn’t understand; I was an unthinking animal toward You. Yet I am always with You; You hold my right hand.”

John 10:27-30 [Jesus said,] “My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”

Psalm 139:5 “You have encircled me; You have placed Your hand on me.”

Psalm 139:7 “Where can I go to escape Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?”

Deuteronomy 33:3 “Indeed God loves His people; all His holy ones are in His hands. They follow in His steps and accept His teaching.”

(Scriptures are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible except for Ps. 139:7 which is from the New Living Translation)

 

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Value on the Journey–Journey to Wholeness Reblog 13

Can any good come from overwhelming panic feelings? Yes, but you couldn’t have convinced me of that when I struggled with them day after day for a few months. One day, I wrote this in my journal:

‘“In Your unfailing love, silence all my enemies and destroy all my foes, for I am Your servant.’ –Psalm 143:12 New Living Translation

“Lord, I wake up each night in panic after sleeping only a couple of hours. And when I get back to sleep, again I wake up in about 2 hours. Then I wake up each morning in panic. I try to hold onto Your unfailing love, to Your faithfulness, but the fears overwhelm. Please help me!”

Then 3 hours later I wrote, “The anxiety continues to overwhelm. I remember some lines from a Chris Christian song: ‘Don’t give up; don’t give in. Give it all to Him cause He cares so much more than you know….’*

“How do I give it all to You, Lord? I reached my hands up and said, ‘I give this anxiety to You.’ I still feel anxious. But maybe my feelings are lying to me again.”

Today on my journey, though, I can look back and see that in that time of misery, God worked in my heart. He prepared the soil. He planted seedlings like greater humility and deeper trust in Him. In the time since those months of difficulty, I have seen God’s seedlings grow. Patience flowers bloom. Fruits of faithfulness and joy develop.

So I can encourage those Christians who struggle today: God is holding you close. He is working. He will bring you through this wilderness, even as He has brought many others through their rough seasons.

To those who have never made Jesus their choice, could He be calling you with your current troubles? Jesus makes all of life, even problems, worthwhile.

*Chris Christian, “Look How Far You’ve Come” from the album Mirror of Your Heart. You Tube video of song at: https://youtu.be/M13Ex3_yeYE?t=8

(Post originally published October 6, 2018)

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Learning in the Struggle – Journey Reblog #12

At one time when my anxiety symptoms intensified, I reached out for help. Through a series of misunderstandings, I ended up spending a night in a “suicide watch” unit, even though suicide has never been an issue for me. But while I was there, I met a young mother who had tried to take her own life. I wished I knew how to help her.

Since then I’ve learned of others with similar struggles. I prayed privately for one young woman: “Father, she can’t seem to grasp how much You love her or how precious she is to You or how faithful and mighty You are or how You are for her and not against her. Please help her.”

2015 San Francisco, CA

 

I understand where she’s coming from. I remember when I went through my own storm of anxiety. My troubled mind latched onto doubts and let truth slip out of my hands. I wrote wonderful verses in my journal, like Romans 5:5, “…For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.” Also, Psalm 56:9, “…This I know: God is on my side.” (Both are New Living Translation) Still I felt unable to trust and believe the truth.

Doubt pointed at me (and my focus followed his pointing finger) and whined: These things are true for others, but maybe not for me. I don’t have as much faith as other people. I might not love God enough, or perhaps I’m not good enough. There could be conditions on these promises that I’m not meeting.”

Two things that helped me were getting proper medication and understanding that I could choose to believe God no matter how I felt. Now that storm has passed, and I’m learning to turn my gaze away from me and back to God. It occurred to me that whatever I’m lacking, He is great enough to make up for. He calls me to believe Him, trust Him, and rest in Him.

 

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Hope in God – Journey Reblog 11

As my journey continued through the distress of almost constant panic, I journaled about my feelings. In mid-January I wrote:

The hours and days pass moment by moment, and I feel faithless and fearful. But I choose to trust in You, Lord Jesus Christ.

            I need sleep! I got very little last night. Lord, You are the One who sustains my body. You know what I need, and You determine how soon the meds will take effect. You are the One who gives sleep.

            I seek You. I need You, Lord! You alone can help me. I don’t feel faithful or trusting, but You alone are Lord, and I’m determined to believe and trust You. Please heal my body and mind. Amen.

When a godly friend prayed for me, I thought that would fix everything. I was disappointed that I still woke up every couple of hours at night and first thing in the morning in panic. I also feared that I would be a disappointment to her—as though it were my responsibility to make the answers come instead of God’s!

Maybe I’m trusting in my ability to believe God instead of trusting in God Himself.

            Father, I don’t know how to change. Please help me focus on You and really trust You. Amen.

The medicine did finally start helping me sleep. I came to the place where I didn’t wake up in panic mode each morning.  By balancing brain chemicals, the medicine also enabled more reasonable ways of thinking. And God is helping me to change my thoughts to healthier patterns (Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”)*

So I want to encourage anyone who is still thrashing through the forest of anxiety/depression symptoms to hope or keep hoping in God. He will lead you out of your distress at just the right time because His faithful love endures forever.

Psalm 42:5 “Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God.”*

1 Chronicles 16:34 “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever.”*

 

*Scriptures are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.

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Encouragement for the Anxious – Journey Reblog 10

(Flowers on a Journey)

When did I begin this journey toward wholeness? I had thought I began in early November of 2016, but really, I’ve been on the journey all my Christian life. Likewise, I had thought it ended by the first of March 2017, but again, my walk toward wholeness won’t end until my life on earth is complete and I see Jesus face to face. (1 John 3:2–Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him as He is.”)

Nevertheless, during that 4-month period, I struggled with the brokenness of anxiety/ depression in a way that made that part of the journey particularly noticeable. So how can I encourage others who find themselves on the same road? There is one thing I could say to those who follow Christ yet feel overwhelmed with anxiety or depression symptoms: You can be sure that God is with you. I was so wrapped up in anxiety that I had trouble believing that. Frequent verbal reminders helped me. Many Scriptures tell us this truth, but because I couldn’t feel God’s presence, I wavered in unbelief. I hope you’ll do better at believing than I did, but even if you don’t, He’s still with you, loving and helping you through it all. And He will still be with you when you come out on the other side.

How do I know? First, because God has promised and He is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”) Second, because of what God did for me. How thankful I am for God’s faithfulness to me and His patience with me!

Psalm 139:5 “You have encircled me; You have placed Your hand on me.”      Psalm 23:4 “Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff—they comfort me.”

Hebrews 13:5-6 “…for [God] Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you. Therefore, we may boldly say: The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

 

(Scripture quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.)

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Too Late? (Journey Re-Blog 9)

 

2016 GNP falls A

Twisted thoughts and fears aggravated my anxiety in the journey toward wholeness. I suspected that so far, I hadn’t lived very well the life God gave me. I’d been tangled in self-focus and tripped up by mixed motives and other things displeasing to the Lord. I feared that now it was too late, and I was too old to be useful to God.

I argued with the anxiety. I said, “Moses was 80 years old when he started leading the people of Israel,” and, “Surely one is never too old or too young to serve Jesus.” But neither my trembling body with its sweaty palms nor my panicky mind seemed to be listening to my logic.

So I asked God what to say to the doubts and fears. I think He told me to call them what they are—lies. God’s promises in His Word contradict these mental messages. For example:

“They [the righteous] will still bear fruit in old age; they will stay fresh and green” (Psalm 92:14). [I am righteous in Christ.]

“…I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last…” (John 15:16). [Thank You, Jesus, for appointing me to go and bear lasting fruit. Let me fit into Your plans.]

“[For] it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13).

“Because of the Lord ‘s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

“…Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (from Hebrews 4:7, emphasis mine).

TODAY!  It’s not too late! It’s still today. I won’t let my heart get hard. I will choose to listen to God and believe and obey Him today.

Thank You, Lord, for another day—today—to serve You and seek to bring honor to Your name. Amen.

At that time I still didn’t feel better, but now that I’m out of the valley, I have some ammunition against those “too old, too late” fears that sometimes attack.

(All Bible quotes are New International Version.)

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Journey Re-blog 8 -Prayers in the Valley

In my sojourn through the Valley of Anxiety, I struggled through sleepless nights and shaky days, and regrets often surfaced. In late November, I wrote this prayer:

Dear Lord, You are God, the only God. You are the One who has ultimate control. I want to fit into Your plans, for they are good. You have always been faithful to me. Please forgive me for the times I’ve turned away and looked longingly at what I thought might have been or what used to be. Too often I’ve run after what looked good from a human perspective instead of trusting Your goodness. Please forgive and cleanse as you have promised (1 John 1:9).

2015 National Park in California

Lord Jesus, I remember Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His creation—created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.”* And I feel so ashamed of the many times I’ve missed opportunities to do the good works prepared ahead of time for me to do. Lord God, please work in me according to Your promise in Philippians 2:13—“For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to will and to act for His good purpose.”*  Then I can take advantage of the opportunities which You give me today instead of missing them and tomorrow wallowing in regret.      Amen.

*Holman Christian Standard Bible

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Journey Reblog 7 – Guilty or Not Guilty?

Photo in Glacier NP

 

My mind in depression-anxiety mode gravitates to guilt. Past wrongs I’ve done loom large in my life. Even good sermons sound like, “You ought to have been or done better; you should be or do better; shame on you.”

Now I’m not talking about real guilt for which there is a solution. It’s important to face the sin which the Holy Spirit points out. This we can repent of and confess to God. Then we can look to 1 John 1:9—“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (Holman Christian Standard Bible)” God keeps His promises, so that takes care of the real guilt.

False guilt wallows in regrets and manufactures “should-do’s” or “ought-to-be’s.” My mind gets busy with these thoughts, and my spiritual vision gets blurred. Then I don’t see the real and current sins I need to confess and repent of. And that kind of thinking gets my focus off of Jesus and onto me. Then I start expecting me to do what only He can do. So—more burden, more depression, more anxiety.

But there is hope at the end of this valley. And, much as I feared there wouldn’t be, there was an end. When one is down in the valley, though, a prayer from Psalm 86 ministers to the soul: “You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you. Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me. Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; no deeds can compare with yours. …You alone are God. …Give me an undivided heart…. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. For great is your love toward me…. (From Psalm 86:5-8, 10-13 New International Version.)”

Yes, Lord, an undivided heart, trusting You alone

And seeking Your kingdom, not my own.

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Journey Reblog 6 – More Stepping Stones

Reblogged 10/12/19

As I said in my August reblog, God offered spots of sure footing as I hiked through my valley of anxiety. In addition to those in that post, He gave me these:

 

  1. My enemies say, “There is no help for her in God.” If there is no help in You, then there is no hope. Only You can help. But surely there is hope and help in You, Lord. You are almighty, and Your Word is true. Your Word says You love me and will help me.  (Psalm 3:2-5)

I feel powerless, but I’m not. God has given me a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). I will walk by the Spirit and be victorious.

  1. I am in the hands of the Lord God Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. Nothing can pry me loose from His hands (John 10:28-29). Even my failures, sins, and poor choices cannot loosen God’s grip on me. When fears or insecurity block my view of God, He is still here (Ps. 139).

I need to believe God rather than fears and doubts and feelings. My anxiety feelings are lying to me. They don’t change the truth of God’s Word. The fears and doubts are lies. The “what-if’s” are lies. I will stand on the truth.

  1. Lord, Your delayed answer is better than the quick fix answer I want right now. Your ways are always better than ours. Help me please to trust You and Your love and mercy and to wait for the best answer. Help me believe You are holding me up even though it doesn’t feel like you are

Thank You most merciful Father and God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3).

 

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