Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans. In all your ways acknowledge HIM and He will make your paths straight.
— Proverbs 5:3
— Proverbs 5:3
I will present some reflections of the areas Dr. Stephen Ilardi lifts up in his book called Depression Cure Sunday, April 7, to the Christian Caregiver Support Group at Christ Lutheran Church. This research culminating in his book focuses on brain food, rumination, exercise, light therapy, sleep and social engagement. Scripture talks about those subjects in some ways. While Dr. Ilardi sugests behaviors to change destructive habits in our daily lives, scripture addresses more than habits. It is more than a mood, feeling and depression change that scripture offers. Scripture is concerned with who we are and who we are called to be.
Jesus talks about being the bread of life and the water that totally satisfies our thirst. It is Jesus body and blood given for us as a redemptive gift of forgiveness, a demonstration of God's love and the uniting act that binds us all together, so we are not alone. Jesus is the light of the world that dispells the darkness, provides the warmth of His presence, gathers us to His rest and shows the light that is the glory of God.
Depression Cure calls for us to change our habits, scripture calls us to renew our minds, be drawn to see life through the mind of Christ and grow into an attitude of dependence and thankfulness as we fix our eyes on Jesus. Prayer is a great Christian resource to share our worries and concerns with Jesus and therein find our rest. Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Jesus.
The social support Chritians have is found in the Body of Christ. Jesus was a great healer and his disciples even healed people after Jesus ascension. Jesus says he is with us even when 2 or 3 are gathered together. The Body of Christ is Jesus arms, eyes, ears and mouth. The best picture I know of for the Church is a hospital for those who are sick and looking to more whole. It is those who are sick of soul and body that Jesus came. Matt. 9:12. Together, through Jesus, we journey on the path of growing towards being more like Jesus as He is the author and perfector of our faith. Giving thanks, counting blessings, sharing burdens and coming together to praise a God that calls us to "COME" provides it own depression cure as we add those scriptural insights to the suggestions of Dr. Ilardi.
Wanted all you you to be aware of this event. Please let then know if you are going to attend.
Saturday, April 20, 2013 8:30-11:00
Starting with a continental breakfast from 8:30-9:00
Topics covered include:
Advanced Directive - Durable Power of Attorney - Charlie Hughes
Hospice Care - Alan Murray
Dementia and Alzheiner's - Kelly Jones
Care for the Adult Child that has Become the Parent
3625 Blue Ridge Blvd.
Independence, MO 64052
Starts April 8th weekly on
Mondays at 1:00
Overland Park Christian Church
7600 W. 75th St
Overland Park, KS 66204
Peggy Moore is starting this group and I will participate for the first two month as this groups gets off the ground. I think many of my old friends will be coming and I look forward to being with them. This group is open to the community and there is not cost. I know the stresses and worries involved in caregiving should not be carried alone. Come and take care of yourself. Learn how to find the way our faith and church can support our calling as a caregiver. When we receive good support, we are also a better caregiver for the one we love. Don't isolate yourself, it is bad for you and can lead you into "the PIT". God has promises and direction as we let our faith and scripture become a guide.
Please register on the Registration & Contact Tab!
Today I want to share from one of the devotional books Karen and I read daily. It is the devotion for March 26th from the book, A Daybook of Grace published by Fall River Press 2010.
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Col 3:2
The act of hope is so much more enjoyable than the act of worrying. And yet it’s often so much easier to mull over our worries than to think about the hope God offers us.
An anonymous quote declares: “Blessed is the person who is too busy to worry in the daytime, and too sleepy to worry at night.”
Maybe if we busy our minds with meditating on the goodness of God and how we can serve Him (caregivers serve Him by serving their loved one), we’ll have less mental energy to worry.
Reading the Psalms, making a list of God’s works in our own lives, singing along to a favorite worship song, serving others as a volunteer -- there are all kinds of ways to spend our time that cultivate faith in God’s promises and keep us from brooding over what may or may not happen.
God, thank you for your faithfulness. Help me set my mind on You today. Amen.
Alexander MacLaren wrote, “It is of no use to say to men, Let not your heart be troubled, unless your finish the verse and say, Believe in God, believe in Christ.”
We will not meet on Easter at Christ Lutheran Church.
Next meetings are:
April 7th at 4:00 at Christ Lutheran Church
April 8th at 1:00 at Overland Park Christian Church
It seemed to happen suddenly for me. Boom! I was a caregiver but I was not ready and certainly had a lot of questions about what was really happening. My mom was sharp mentally, but then there were the growing moments where her mind seemed so forgetfull or confused. Maybe it was just her grief from losing my dad after almost 70 years of marriage. I wondered if she could still live alone like she insisted. We lived hundreds of miles away and had a very uncomfortable feeling for her. She had great neighbors and a supportive church. I was uneasy. Little did I know what would happen over the next six months. I was heading into what I call the dark fog.
Looking back some two years later I see the hand of God making provisions, the presence of God carrying us through dark times, the promises of God coming true and the light of God shining brighter than ever.
There were times of depression, darkness, hopelessness, pain and deep frustration. Those times passed. I kept looking and praying to God with eyes of faith even in the darkest times. Maybe those were the times I prayed "the hardest".
I come out of those times of darkness thinking about the light. God created light. I have read some books about near death or death experiences and pay close attention to what is said about the light. I read in Revelation 22:16b, "I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star." In John 8:12 Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
It was on the road to Emmaus in the darkest of times for two of Jesus disciples that Jesus quietly joined them. Jesus talked to them about scripture and their eyes were open to see scripture in a new way. Then when Jesus left them they said in Luke 24:32, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the scripture to us?" I see that 'burning within' to be like God's light within. The burning is a warmth and a comfort. It is also the opening of their hearts that Jesus was pouring so many wonderful understandings.
I went to seminary. Preaching and teaching others about God was what I was called to do. But it was in my own personal darkness that I really saw the light. I thank God for the darkness. Scripture now is a warm bright light for my heart. I understand the darkness, but I understand the love of God even more. I saw God speaking to my mother's heart even when in her dementia it was hard for me to have conversations with her. Now like Paul I own what Paul wrote in Romans 8:38, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us form the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
If you are in darkness right now, know that it is only for a time. Maybe you can't do too much, only struggle to control what small pieces of life you can muster the energy to handle. At my bottom I could only say, "God I trust You." I believe that just calling to God and saying "Jesus help me" is enough. It is in the darkness that the light of Jesus will shine. My prayer for you, "Jesus, show your light to those in darkness." My suggestion for you is to fix your eyes on Jesus and trust Him.
Clinical depression is a very serious issue that is growing rapidly in the United States. It is even more of an issue for caregivers and their loved ones. Recent studies at the University of Kansas addresses the physical issues related to depression and suggests modification of lifestyle in six areas: diet, rumination, exercise, light therapy, socialization, and sleep patterns. The research was conducted by Dr. Stephen S. Ilardi and is documented in his book called The Depression Cure published in 2009. I will write a review of this book soon and post it on our website.
Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas sponsors a free support group twice a year for those suffering from depression and their family members. Karen and I are attending the sessions this spring.
This Sunday, March 17th, I will present a summary of those findings at our Christian Caregiver Support Group. The following week I will review those findings again from a Biblical perspective and add additional Biblical guidance for the groups consideration.
You may not be depressed. I hope that the material we present will give guidance on how to avoid being caught in the depression “Pit”.
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
It is Jesus who says he has come that we might have life in abundance. John 10:10
In the midst of our trials and struggles God teaches those who are willing to look to Him and learn the wisdom of God whose thoughts are higher than ours. In all circumstances we can search together for the blessings God is providing, even when we feel God has forsaken us. God has not forsaken us.
I worked with a wonderful pastor, Dr. Forrest Haggard, who taught it is not our circumstances that define us, but our stance. As Christian we stand together and there is healing in the Body of Christ. The Spirit is at work when we gather in Christ’s name. See you Sunday.
Express your anger directly to God.
Psalm 22 puts God on trial, sort of. Jesus even quotes this Psalm from the cross. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” How could God have let this happen to me, my family, my loved one? I am really angry at you God! “Why are you so far from me, so far from the words of my groaning? I cry out by day, but you do not answer me, by night and am not silent.” You are God, aren’t you? You made promises didn’t you? Why do I feel so alone? I thought I knew you, but now I wonder if you are there?
David was angry with God.
“In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed. Hey God, what about me. Do you see, do you notice? You helped our spiritual ‘Fathers’. They thought you were real. They told me about how you delivered them. Maybe you don’t understand my situation. God, I am really on the ropes here. My life is going down the tubes. I can’t get the help I need and I am getting worn out. I have been dealt a hard blow in this life and have a bad hand dealt to me. Am I being punished for some great sin? Have I fallen out of your favor? Others see my situation, and even they wonder how my God could let this happen to me.
I believe you are the creator of the world. You gave me life, a heritage of faith and Christian parents. So where are you, God? It seems like my circumstances are pressing on me constantly. I get angry at the ones I love. And they tear right back at me. I feel helpless and afraid. My heart for life is melting away like melting wax. I am running out of energy and strength. I do not feel like the person I want to be. And I am angry. Why have you forsaken me? I all have great WHY questions to bring to God and I want to see you, God, face to face.
David continues. God, I need you. I need strength and help. I am at my end. Please come quickly and help me. I need a deliverance and rescue for myself and for those I love. What can I do, God. Why have you forsaken me?
David comes to the same God who he accuses of forsaking him and writes in verse 22 of Psalm 22. “I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation, I will praise you.”
Tell God your anger. Go out in the woods and yell at God. God gave you your feelings. Let them out. God is a great God and can take all your anger and frustration. Don’t hold back. Ephesians 4:26 Paul acknowledges we get angry. He reminds us in our anger not to sin. Telling God how you feel is not a sin. Not talking to God at all is a sin. As you tell God what you are angry about let your feelings turn into an open, honest heart that needs healing. Let your spewing of words turn into a humble, exhausted prayer asking for God to come again closer to you. God has not forsaken you. He came to David when David was really down. David closes the Psalm by saying, "All who have gone down to the dust will kneel before Him....for He has done it." David joins the throng of witnesses who have held on to their faith and received again the presence of God. God promises to listen to our cries for help and we wait to see what God will do.
That same down and out David wrote Psalm 23. You might have heard it before. David had experienced the depths and pain of life. He discovered that God was there with him even when he felt that God had forsaken David. You might be in the valley of the shadow of death. But God has not forsaken you. Call out His name, even in anger and then trust him. God will help you see life differently.
So how does God respond when we are very angry with Him. God listens with a loving, understanding heart. Jesus cried on the cross "my God, why have you forsaken me," also said, "into your hands I comment my spirit."
Recognizing God’s Best When Facing Life’s Worst
Discovery House 2013
This newly published book is full of scriptural truths about the character of God in our suffering. In the introductions she says “Times of suffering can be times of tremendous darkness of soul. It is my prayer that these pages will help poke holes in the darkness and bring God’s light and encouragement to those who are in the midst of the dark night of suffering.” She uses example in her life of various difficulties she has experienced showing us how God’s love has brought light into those times through ways such as His voice, His care, His comfort, His shared suffering, His grace and hope.
Her examples may differ from your experience but the words that she shares help bring out a response that can only come by the help of God. She pulls together stories from throughout the Bible for us to see the way God speaks and can be present in the rough days that come with caregiving. Some days you may not look at your caregiving as suffering but other days may feel like misery. Drawing on the writing of Lovejoy may help you to lean on your heavenly Father in dark times to sweeten the bitterness of life’s struggles.
Guest Review by Sue Brettmann
Last Sunday the group expressed an interest in hearing about the topic of depression. Caregiving can be very stressful and caregivers are at risk of depression. Karen and I have been attending a depression event and learning about ways to manage (avoid) depression. Sue Brettmann at the same time has been reading a book on depression. So lets address the subject.
What is depression? A clinical definition of Depression is: An illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and that affects the way a person eats, sleeps, feels about himself or herself, and thinks about things.
I usually go to scripture first to begin with a Biblical perspective. The word itself is not used but there are many examples of biblical characters who seemed to have the symptoms. The biblical word I will focus on is “The Pit”. People understand what it means to say I am in the pits and that is the term the Bible uses.
The bible uses “pit” in three ways. First, there is a literal pit. Something physical an animal can fall in or in Joseph’s case, a well he was thrown into until the brothers sold him into slavery. It can be a well that holds water or a deep crevasse.
Second, there is the pit like hell and the grave. It is a place of evil and separation from God. This is a forever pit.
Third, the pit is a lonely place people can find themselves with feelings of despair, hopelessness, and constant rumination. It is this third pit that we might call depression. This pit can be a result of physical, emotional, social and/or spiritual disease. It is reversible and there is hope. David says in Psalm 30:8-10, “To you, O Lord, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy: What gain is there in my destruction, if I go down into the Pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness? Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me; O Lord, be my help.”
There is hope. David says in Psalm 40:2, “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.”
This Sunday we will begin exploring the “pit” both in our loved ones and in ourself. We will identify our pit, ways to keep from falling into the pit and ways to help family members caught in the pit.
This is a big area and I see us spending several sessions on this topic. I hope you can be present with us.
Meeting weekly at 4:00
Christ Lutheran Church
11720 Nieman Road
Overland Park, KS 66210
Sue Brettmann RN has been devoted to Caregiving both in her career as an RN, Parish Nurse and caring for her aging parents through the last 40 plus years. She has experience in trauma, home care and hospice. Her strong faith walk and relationship with Christ has always been a part of her care and she is committed to helping others see the gift of Christ in their personal journey's.