Tag Archives: depression

Pouring Out My Soul to God, and Psalm 42

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, July 23, 2017

Psa 42-3 tears, my food

Pouring Out My Soul to God, and Psalm 42

What do you do when you are all alone? Alone, and heartsick, lonely and soulsick. As Bonhoeffer said when thinking about this psalm, he was all alone. Feeling alone can turn a person inside out with sadness. So, Bonhoeffer poured out his soul to the Lord. And, the Lord came to his aid.

Since he was feeling to lonely and alone, he said “the greater will be my longing for the fellowship of other Christians, for common worship, common prayer and song, praise, thanksgiving and celebration.” [1]

While I appreciate Bonhoeffer’s next suggestion, I don’t go along with it…totally. He stresses that his readers ought not to allow heaviness and disquiet to overwhelm the soul. But, sometimes depression overwhelms a person. People sometimes juggle things like anxiety, loneliness, worry and concern.

I know Jesus tells us some things about how to deal with many negative emotional feelings and psychological tendencies. However—sometimes, life gets too heavy, too overwhelming. We might need a little help from our community. We can use some common understanding and caring. God, not only from our families, our friends, and our communities of faith, but from You. I know I depend on You, dear Lord.

Still, from time to time, I do feel all alone. God, please ground me on You and Your help, Your word, and Your promises. Thank You for listening, dear God.

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000), 57.

Adolfo Quezada, Confession and Compassion

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, April 18, 2017

compassion heart

Adolfo Quezada, Confession and Compassion

Adolfo Quezada is a licensed professional counselor in California. He has published several books, and is a loving, caring, supportive counselor. He specializes particularly in depression, anxiety, grief and trauma. He also leads prayer retreats.

As I alluded to in the title of this post, Quezada is all for letting go of what happened in people’s individual lives. There is the negative side: things people have said, done or thought. Quezada recommends: “Make restitution as best you can in ways that bring healing and restore harmony to your life and lives of those you have hurt.” [1]

I read Quezada’s profound statement, “When you accept God’s love, you also accept God’s forgiveness.” [2] This is truly life-changing, for some people. People who feel that whatever they might have done was so terribly awful that God would never forgive them, and—guess what? God really will forgive us. Even more so than flawed parents who sometimes interfere with their children and even reject them, God will never, ever reject us.

Then, I noticed this gut-wrenching statement: “Reconsider your expectations. Examine the demands you make on yourself. Are they realistic? What do you base them on?” [3] Ah, so painful. So much pain in these few words. God will help us all with those faulty, unrealistic expectations. We all can gain access to God’s immeasurable, bountiful love and mercy.

I can—we all can—experience God’s love. Generous and unconditional. Do you feel unworthy? Or, perhaps, disgruntled at someone, so you have something blocking you from God’s love? Nevertheless, God loves you. Abundantly, immeasurably, marvelously, God’s love lasts forever. Amazing love and grace and mercy.  Alleluia.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 246.

[2] Ibid, 247.

[3] Ibid.

Excuse Me, Fr. Nouwen. I Am Praying For Myself.

A special #BestOf #matterofprayer for February 28, 2016.

I am reposting this blog post from the third Sunday in Lent, last year. It touched a chord as I read it. I hope it touches hearts, now.

Third Sunday in Lent – Excuse Me, Fr. Nouwen. I Am Praying For Myself.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, March 8, 2015

pray pray pray

Third Sunday in Lent – Excuse Me, Fr. Nouwen. I Am Praying For Myself.

I love Fr. Nouwen’s writings. Really, I do. I read something from Fr. Nouwen’s book A Cry of the Heart in the devotional book I have. Yet, my thoughts kept going back to one of the scripture readings for today.

Yes, Fr. Nouwen wanted to alert his readers to prayer. Being led to pray to God, and even taught to pray by God. Yes, dear God. Teach me to pray.

A very good brief reading, but my mind kept wandering away. Wandering toward Psalm 42.

I connected with verses 3 and 4a. “My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’  These things I remember as I pour out my soul.”

Suddenly, vividly, as I read these verses I remembered several times in my life when I was so very sad. So disappointed. Submerged in anguish. Including, one fairly recent time when I was in the ocean depths of despair. Lord, where were You? It’s so dark. I felt all alone. Almost . . . worse than all alone. Such despair and hopelessness.

I knew, intellectually, that You were with me. True, I could not feel it. Not for some time. I still am not sure quite how, but I got through that horrid time of depression and dire despair.

A key feature to continuing through the Slough of Despond? One day at a time. One hour at a time. Even, ten minutes at a time. If I can just make it through the next little while, then I’ll be okay. I hope I can. I think I can. I pray I can.

I guess Fr. Nouwen was right after all. Teach me to pray, dear Lord. Reach out to me. Teach me to pray.

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

 

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

The Joy of the Lord

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, December 28, 2015

refiner's fire

The Joy of the Lord

One of the so-called mortal sins is acedia—sadness of heart or resignation. Close cousin to depression. I know depression. I have friends and acquaintances who are quite familiar with almost constant sadness of heart, depression, even despair at times.

How is it that we here in the United States can live in such a materially rich time, yet feel so empty? So desperately sad? Boredom doesn’t even touch it. The deep feeling goes much further to the soul’s interior than just that.

Yes, it seems like an insidious disease, almost an unseen plague. And those who are not afflicted do not, and cannot, possibly understand the deep pain. The desperate fear and anxiety. It is truly an inside job. On the interior.

Monastic literature had more than a nodding acquaintance with acedia, though. I feel deeply for those so afflicted, in the centuries past. I pray they had some relief.

Relief can come from God, to some extent. (Not to the exclusion of everything else, though! Please, listen to your doctor or therapist. Please, please.)

As I was saying, joy—deep and abiding joy—can come from God. God delights in giving joy to God’s children. One of the compilers of this book of December meditations writes, “The joy of the Lord has gone through the poverty of the manger and the distress of the cross.” [1]

No easy joy, here, however. A biblical illustration, from several places in Scripture. It is through difficulty and distress that deep emotion goes through fiery trial, as if through a refiner’s fire. We can understand that, to a greater or lesser extent. Let us praise God for God’s presence with us. We celebrate Emmanuel—God with us, indeed, through the poverty of the manger and the distress of the cross.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, trans. O.C. Dean, Jr., compiled and edited, Jana Riess (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster/John Knox Press, 2010), 72.

Spiritual People, Spiritual Choices

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, November 20, 2015

believe that good things will happen

Spiritual People, Spiritual Choices

Ah. Teaching myself to make better choices.

The daily meditation book, Keep It Simple, has a provocative reading today. “Life is about choice. To be spiritual people, we must make spiritual choices. Honesty is a spiritual choice. And working the Steps is a spiritual choice.” [1]

Living one day at a time, I am breaking life down into manageable bite-sized pieces, it’s true. But teaching myself to make better choices? A day at a time? That’s taking one-day-at-a-time living to the next level.

I have the option to make good choices today. Healthy choices? Yes. Safe choices? Yes. Beneficial and loving choices? Yes, yes. All of these are possible to me, now that I am working a Twelve Step program. I no longer am a slave to the unmanageability of life, to the madness and maelstrom of a life full of fear, anxiety, frustration and depression.

As I walk with my loving Higher Power, I have the ability to choose spiritual choices. To choose serenity and peace, as much as I am able. I have the option to keep my side of the spiritual street clean, too. And, as I continue to walk with God as I understand God, I’ll have better and more loving relationships: with God, and with others around me.

All in all, that sounds like a pretty good choice to me. A spiritual choice. So help me, God.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Keep It Simple: Daily Meditations for Twelve-Step Beginnings and Renewal. (Hazelden Meditation Series) (San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1989), November 20 reading.

Gentle Whisper? Or Something Stronger?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, September 9, 2015

whispers of God

Gentle Whisper? Or Something Stronger?

Sometimes God is a Gentle Whisper. And, sometimes God is much stronger; much more powerful.

My word of the day for Centering Prayer? My word—Name of God for today is Gentle Whisper. This Name of God comes from 1 Kings. But, I’m getting ahead of myself here.

As I prayed and meditated and centered using this soft and gentle Name, I had the sudden impression that sometimes I can’t even hear the Gentle Whisper of God. Sometimes, I need a two by four to the head to even get my attention. (Metaphorical two by four, of course.)

Currently, I am considering and talking to people about depression, anxiety, and suicide. I have a friend who is affiliated with NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness), and yesterday I attended a luncheon where she was the featured speaker. Her brief presentation was a great beginning step for some faith-based organizations to get involved.

But, because of this focus and because of my earnest support and encouragement, I am feeling a bit fragile myself. As I prayed with this Name, I could feel the Gentle-part of this Name penetrate my being. Yes. I needed that, Lord.

I looked at 1 Kings 19:12 after I prayed, and I was reminded that Elijah probably had difficulties with mental issues. (A former colleague of mine, a psychologist known for his work with suicide and mental illness, has published articles and book chapters on this very subject.) I suspect that God knew exactly what Elijah needed at this fragile time in his life, too.

I have problems hearing Your Whisper. Sometimes. And, I still willingly say that I do react more quickly to a two by four to the head, sometimes. Even though it isn’t at all pleasant, sometimes I do require that kind of wake-up call. However You communicate with me, Lord, You know the best way to reach me. Thank You especially for Your Gentle Whisper.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

A Larger Community of Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, August 11, 2015

my heart saying a prayer

my heart saying a prayer

A Larger Community of Prayer

Sometimes, I feel disconnected. Not “friends with” anyone. All alone.

I know I’m not actually alone. (Don’t get worried.) I did think of Robin Williams today, on the first anniversary of his death. I feel so badly about him dying by suicide. I have only a partial idea of the thoughts that can go through a person’s mind in the depths of depression. I have no clue how difficult things were for Mr. Williams, but I feel for his family: left behind.

Mr. Williams’ life was special, just like each person’s life in the whole wide world. Each individual is someone special, one of a kind. Each life is infinitely valuable. I have that blessed fact confirmed to me from external witness and observation as well as from the writings of Scripture and holy books from around the world.

I realize many people suffer from depression, anxiety, low self esteem, and other mental, emotional and psychological afflictions. I’ve suffered, myself.

I know the Christian community is not a cure-all, but it can offer some assistance. I’ve heard a number of people swear their church or bible study group or other religious group was what made the difference in their lives. And, I realize prayer can also be a great help. Assistance. Answer in their lives.

That’s one reason why I am devoted to prayer. Each night this month, as I read through the Evening Prayer from the dailyoffice.org website, I strive to pray these prayers in the company of countless others. I know many, many individuals use the website each day. Some twice a day.

But, don’t these rote prayers get boring? Or long? Or tiresome?

I went to the Church of England website again, since I wanted to get more information about the Prayers. I found this wonderful commentary concerning prayer in the Book of Common Prayer:

“. . . they will also, through common structures, texts and patterns of Scripture reading, unite those using them into one larger community of prayer. This community extends to all of those who, through the ages and across the nations, have sought to do as Jesus taught us and pray together for the hallowing of God’s name and the coming of God’s kingdom.” [1]

So, Lord. It’s not just _me_ praying. I’m not all isolated and alone. Even when I feel alone, and get afraid (or depressed, or anxious), I know You are right by my side. I know—in both my head and my heart—that I am also a part of a community. Yes, a community of prayer. Each of us joins into this same prayer, as each of us gathers around a computer or tablet or smart phone. Or, the old-fashioned way, through picking up a book.

And, thank You for the opportunity to join together with sisters and brothers in a local assembly. I appreciate You. And Your church. And, joining together with others in prayer. Thanks so much, Lord!

[1] https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-worship/worship/texts/daily2/generalintro.aspx

Note: in case anyone needs this toll-free number, here is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number. 1-800-273-8255

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Visit the website http://dailyoffice.org/ to find out more about Morning and Evening Prayer!

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .