Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Extravagant LOVE

After what seemed to be an extremely taxing day yesterday....some self inflicted.....I needed the day that was given to me today to revive my weary soul and bring light to what seemed like a dark tunnel.

Not only was I able to get quite a bit a work done today in between meetings; which is always rewarding on its own, I was encouraged it seemed in every other step I took, phone call received or made, in my hunt for the perfect 30th birthday nude shoe, and in line at the good ol' fabric store.

To give you a little glimpse into my heart and mind....I have struggled off and on in my adult life with depression. I have always had this sense of guilt that perhaps I wasn't close enough to God or perhaps I didn't pray long enough or spend enough time in the word. The thing is, I have never really even taken the time to search the Bible for answers to "fixing" this problem! So, what does the Bible really say about depression? Well, you won't find the term "depression" in the Bible, except in the New Living Translation. Instead, the Bible uses words such as downcast, sad, forlorn, discouraged, downhearted, mourning, troubled, miserable, despairing, and brokenhearted. Depression can become extremely paralyzing and hard to overcome.

There are many things in our lives that may trigger depression such as the changing of a season of life, or perhaps the death of a loved one, the mistreatment of people, and the list goes on. However, the Bible does not show God punishing his people for their sadness. Rather, He acts as a loving Father. One of the great truths of the Bible is that God is our hope when we are in trouble, including depression. The message is clear. When depression hits, fix your eyes on God, His power, and His love for you:

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (Deuteronomy 31:8, NIV)

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18, NIV)

So this leads me to the shoe department at Dillard's today.....I was browsing for the perfect pair of nude shoes to match my fun, "Hey, it's my birthday" dress, when I was approached by three girls probably not much older than me. At first I did not understand them when they spoke but later discovered that two of the girls were from Sweden...one from Texas. I know I am greying but I was hoping I wasn't losing my ability to hear too! Anyway, they asked if they could pray for me. I chuckled as all I could think about in the moment was: "oh dear, if only these girls knew why I was shopping for shoes, they'd really want to pray for me!". I told them absolutely! Why not, we all could use a lot more prayer in our lives. One of the girls asked if I had any specific pain...I have been in a lot of pain again in my back due to my dear husband finding it humorous to barrel over a hill in the Flint Hills that sent me flying through the air and come flying back down into the seat. Not good.

They laid their hands on me and prayed. Now, the moment that really got me was as they were about to walk away, one of the girls stops and asked if I have been struggling with depression. I couldn't contain myself any more and cried like a baby. She said to me, "God wants for you so much to have complete joy in your life. Give up what you can not control and trust in Him for the rest." All, in her gorgeous, angelic, Swedish accent.

Standing a little sheepishly in the gorgeous shoe section; somewhat dazed by what had just happened, I was reminded of the way in which our Father in Heaven speaks to us. Sometimes it is in very subtle ways, and sometimes it is WHAMO, in our faces in a way we can't ignore. God LOVES me extravagantly, God LOVES you extravagantly and He wants nothing more than for us to find joy and contentment, peace and happiness in our lives and through Him.

While I am still processing the what's and why's of todays experience, I can not stop thinking of this verse:

2 comments :

  1. Thanks for sharing this. Depression is a battle and I've been there several times. Psalm 18 is what carried me through this last time and God always brings his children through.

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  2. LOVE it Ashley. So many scriptures and my own walks through deserts come to mind. I am reading the book "One Thousand Gifts" a dare to Live Fully Right Where you are by Ann Voskamp I think you will love it as much as I do. Check it out!!
    What a miracle for the Lord to ordain your "shopping trip" and send his prayer warriors directly to you that day! He is so good. We are so blessed!

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