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A Word to the Wounded

17 Feb

 

I didn’t expect this to happen. I didn’t want this to happen.
But now it has come, and its weight slowly settles onto my shoulders and back.
Like a storm moving in, removing light, removing warmth, removing hope.
The earth beneath my feet has turned to mud. I sink, I slip, I fall.
I am now dirty, wet, tired, and broken.
My burdens once bearable, now seem impossible.
I try to rise, but a misplaced foot leaves me where I began – face first in the mud.
Lying still on the ground, a sickening solace fills me – driven to a point of exhaustion and hopelessness.
I contemplate a choice to let wind and water reign.

 

Storm from Flickr via Wylio

© 2015 Jussi Ollila, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

 

But then I feel a presence – a familiar warmth, a stirring memory.
I lack the strength to look up, but I know who has come to me.
Fearing not the mud would stain his garments of white, he bends the knee.
Strong hands gently lift the weight from my back.
Part of me is not ready to release it, but I let go.

He lowers his hand – scarred and calloused.
Moments ago, there was not the strength to reach, but with no burden, a desperate lunge found me in his grip. The warmth of his hand, seeped down into my cold spaces, awakening life within.
I stood to my feet waiting for the storm to end, and all to be made right.
The moments passed, yet the wind and rain only grew in its thirst to overthrow me.
I clung to the One beside me, who alone made each step possible.

Searching to find a way out, my eyes stray.
I stumble and almost fall – steadied by Him who walks beside me.
I dare a look up into his eyes wanting to apologize for the mess I am in.
Expecting judgment and disappointment, his eyes are wholly other – filled with confidence and love.

At that moment, I know everything will be okay.

 

This poem was written in memory of Eric Harms.

Drew Dyck on Depression and Anxiety

18 Apr

Drew Dyck is an acquisitions editor at Moody Publishers and a senior editor at CTPastors.com.  Drew Dyck is the author of Generation Ex-Christian (of which I am a fan).  In this article, Drew writes about his journey through anxiety and depression.

I have had my own struggle with depression – due to PTCD (Post-Traumatic Church Disorder).  So I know the destruction it can bring.  I hope this article will be an encouragement to you.

Three months ago I took my last antidepressant.

Well, it was more like a sliver of an antidepressant, a pink little tab cracked off from a larger one. I had been weaning off Paroxetine (the generic form of Paxil) for a month, taking increasingly small doses—25mg, 20mg, 15mg, 10mg …

Here is the rest of the article.

21 Sentences NOT to Say to a Sexual Abuse Survivor

12 Jul

men-887501_1280Author, blogger, and speaker Mary DeMuth recently released a helpful, practical guide for ministering to individuals affected by sexual abuse. The title: 21 sentences not to say to a sexual abuse survivor.

Many of us have friends who have experienced sexual abuse to one extent or another. It’s talked about in the news media. It’s carried around in the hearts of women and men at our churches, schools, and workplaces. Yet, when it comes up? We don’t know what to say. So, all too often, we say things that — while well-intentioned — might be hurtful.

“My intention in writing these,” writes DeMuth, “is not to shame those who want to help, or make them walk on eggshells. Instead it’s to help friends and family members of victims best love and understand the sexual abuse recovery journey.”

In order to better help and not hurt others, we hope you’ll check out the article.

Click HERE to read the 21 Sentences compiled by Mary DeMuth

What do you think? Is there anything you would add? How could you use this awareness (and NOT use these sentences!) in your day-to-day life?

“A Shrink and a Pastor Walk Into a Bar”: A Church’s Conversation on Mental Health

5 Jul

13442682_10206164233134420_6170693830157814465_oThroughout the month of June, one Dallas church was spending each Monday evening having important conversations in a local bar. The annual event, Theology Live, featured a challenging topic this year: God and our bodies, including discussions on infertility and adoption, the meaning of life, mental health, and death.

While each of those topics need to be talked about more, including in the church, let’s take a particular look at this church’s discussion of mental health — a topic that men, perhaps even more so than women, struggle to talk about openly.

Click HERE to listen to full audio of the talk “A Shrink and a Pastor Walk Into a Bar” or full audio of the Q&A session.

A few practical takeaways from the Q&A session:

Q: How do I support a family member who struggles with an addiction or other behavioral health issue?

Dr. Lee Spencer, psychiatrist: “To make meaningful change, they have to want to change a little bit. They’ve gotta at least see some consequences that are outweighing the benefits of [their behavior].” “With family members, pointing them in ways, in directions of people that can help is often the most important piece. But to get there, you gotta have them at least willing to accept the fact that what they’re doing is not in their best interest.”

Q: “What’s the difference between empathy, sympathy, and compassion?”

Ryan Waller, pastor: Sympathy says, “I’m sorry you’re experiencing that.” Empathy says “I’m gonna put myself in your shoes and try to see the world as you see it.” Compassion says “I’m gonna feel sympathetic, feel empathetic, and do something about it. And compassion is what I feel like Christianity calls us to do.”

Closing remarks: “The reason we wanted to talk about this is to remind everyone that there’s deep, deep hope. If  you are anxious or you are depressed I can say to you, as an individual, that I’m a person who has experienced some of that and has also experienced an incredible growth and healing. I think through the power of Jesus Christ there’s nothing that can’t be redeemed. So, I hope you feel hopeful. I hope you feel filled with life. And I thank you for being here.”   

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