Am I Depressed Or Having A Bad Day?

am I depressed

All of us have bad days from time to time. All of us experience the grief that comes from losing a loved one or going through a traumatic event. We may even have seasons where we just don’t seem as chipper and happy as we once were.

So, how do we know that we are truly suffering from depression and not just having a bad day? How do we know when we should seek help or begin looking for ways to help with our struggles? How do we know when to speak up? When to ask for help?

I’m sharing 5 Ways to Know the Difference over at Crosswalk…

I also share some HOPE at the end of that post. If you’re struggling today, I pray this article helps. Please know you are not alone.

5 Psalms for People Who Struggle with Anxiety

5 Psalms for People Who Struggle with Anxiety

Anxiety and depression are two words that I desperately wish were not in my personal vocabulary and experience. But, they are. God allowed me to walk through several years in the valley of the shadow of death and now that I’m on the other side of it, I believe He had my good in mind. I believe He taught me things in the valley that I could never have learned on the mountaintop. I believe that He wanted to prove to me that I truly am never alone, though I felt it many times. I believe He wanted to teach me that my feelings do not equate truth. God wanted to show me parts of Himself that I might never have known otherwise.

My season of depression is over for now; however, the anxiety can creep in, often unannounced, and leave me reeling. Sometimes the fear is so thick that I just know if I reach out my hands I can touch it. Sometimes the fear and anxiety keep me awake at night.

I know I’m not the only one that struggles. God has taught me much on this journey and I hope that these verses and these words will remind you that you also aren’t alone, you aren’t forsaken, and the God of the universe loves you. He longs for you to trust Him even through seasons where we don’t understand what is happening around us or in us.

For me, praying God’s Word in particular has been one thing that has helped me my heart so much. Sometimes in the depth of despair we don’t feel like we have the words to pray. So, instead, God gives us His own word and we pray it back to Him. We want to be close to God but don’t know how. His Word provides that closeness and nearness of Himself. He gives us Himself through the gift of His Word. His Word can be your lifeline, friend, don’t take it for granted!

Here are some of my favorite verses to pray when I’m struggling. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

Read the 5 Psalms For Those with Anxiety at Crosswalk…

More Resources for Anxiety & Depression

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And then, I laughed…

And then, I laughed

Recently I found myself laughing with my children. It was a beautiful thing. What makes this so extraordinary? I realized that I could not remember the last time I laughed with them. It makes me want to cry to admit that to you, but it’s true.

When my babies were little, the Lord took me through the valley of the shadow of death, He allowed me to spend some time in the wilderness. I wasn’t alone. He was there with me in the darkness the whole time. I do not look back on those years with anger or frustration at God.

But, when I look back, I am sad…

The anti-depressants I started began working after a few months. I wasn’t depressed. I could get out of bed. I could prepare meals for my children. I could accomplish my daily to-do lists. I homeschooled my children. I served in my church.

But, I rarely laughed.

It’s been right at two years since I have been off my anti-depressants. Praise the Lord!! Coming off was one of the hardest seasons I faced. I don’t discount the good months I’ve had. In fact, I count it as a miracle that God performed.

I also recently went off another medication that was altering a lot of things about my personality and my hormones. It was helpful, but there were also negatives to it. I’ve been more weepy since going off this particular med. But you know what? I have, at times, missed my sensitive self! It’s ok to cry, life is hard! Why shouldn’t we feel it?

That’s the thing, these medications are GREAT for a time being…but I hope and pray I never have to go back on them again.

I want to laugh with my children. 

Crabtrees-110

 

When your children look at you like you’re strange, because you’re laughing? Something is wrong with that picture. My goodness, I feel as though years of my children’s lives have been ruined.

But, God. He can take ashes and create beauty. He can work things out for their good, my good and His glory. He is faithful God.

Why do I tell you all this?

I tell you all this because I know there are some of you hurting and struggling with depression. I know many of you are on anti-depressants. I know many of you are weaning off of them and going through the hardest thing you’ve ever done. I know some of you are praying about starting an anti-depressant…or how to wean off of it…or whether it’s right/wrong to take it to begin with. I know there are desperate mamas out there. I’ve read your emails, your comments, you’ve given me glimpses into your hearts. I know there are so many hurting people in our world today.

You are not alone. I have to share my story so that even one of you can find hope again. I have to remind you (because I needed reminding as well) that God is at work. He isn’t finished with you yet. He is making you into something so beautiful. Everything He makes He says is good, that includes you.

It is my earnest prayer that one day, someday soon, you will laugh again. 

But until then, if you find yourself in the valley, take heart. Cling to Jesus. Practice hope. Don’t lose heart. Pray the Scriptures. Write the Word. Know you are loved and God is for you. Take a deep breath and ask for help.

You are loved, dear one.

7 Ways to Encourage a Friend Struggling With Depression

How to Encourage a Friend Struggling with Depression

I shared a long while ago 5 different things NOT to say to those that are struggling with depression. Today, I want to share some suggestions for giving encouragement to those that are struggling!

So many times when our friends are hurting, we feel at a loss, we don’t know what to say or what to do. This goes for grieving friends, struggling friends, chronically sick friends…anyone who is hurting.

These are things that have encouraged me over the years, but just know that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all way to encourage someone in the midst of trials. The important thing is the you love them and you try and you keep on being there for her. Don’t have expectations that your encouragement is going to heal this person or miraculously turn their lives around. Just do something to show you care and let that be the reason you do it.

How to Encourage a Friend Struggling with Depression

1. Remember that there is no one way to deal with depression {or grief, or sickness, or loss.} If you have a hurting friend, and you reach out without much response, don’t give up. Don’t quit calling. Don’t quit texting. Keep trying. Know that often the hurting friend doesn’t know how to respond either.

2. When you don’t know what to say, don’t be silent. I totally get this one, as an introvert, I often feel like I don’t have the words to say or have no idea how to be an encouragement to someone that is hurting. Send a notecard in the mail with a favorite Bible verses or quote on it. Handwritten notes mean a lot to people. Let’s bring back the handwritten notes! Or send a text saying you’re thinking of them, praying for them, etc.

3. Offer to do mundane/everyday things for your friend. Show up at your friend’s house with dinner. Offer to go over to her house, sit and have coffee at the kitchen table and fold laundry while you chat. Household things completely overwhelmed me when I was in my darkest moments. Not only did they overwhelm me, but then I felt like a failure because I couldn’t keep up with my housework. Text your friend, tell her you’re going to the grocery store and could pick up something if needed. She may turn you down, but eventually she may let you in and tell you what she needs from walmart.

4. Offer to take her children to the park or to your house or to a movie. Another thing I really struggled with and then felt a lot of guilt over was the fact that I couldn’t always pull myself together to do fun things with my kids. It made me feel so much better when Nana or a sister-in-law would take the kids for the afternoon. I knew my kids were having a good time and being well taken care of. This brought me peace of mind.

5. Stick a few meals in your friend’s freezer. Cooking a meal felt like a huge task to me many days. Having something I could pull out and just stick in the oven was SUCH a huge blessing!

6. When you say you will pray for her, pray. You can pray WITH her, but please keep praying FOR her as well. Prayer is not a last resort, it should be what we do all the time regardless. Pray some of these verses for her and with her.

7. Send a note and small gift in the mail. While gifts certainly aren’t everyone’s love language, they do go a long way to show someone you care! This devotional with 40 verses about waiting on the Lord is written just for these kind of times. Send a pretty mug to go with it. Print and frame a lovely Bible verse for her.

What would you add to this list? How have your friends blessed you in times of trial? OR how have you ministered to hurting friends in the past? 

More Encouragement

God Is My Help

Verses for when you need God's help

Dear weary mama, I have a message straight from one weary mama to another today…

Since becoming a mom, it doesn’t take much to overwhelm me.  Sometimes the combination of anxiety, negativity, all the “stuff” I need to do, the guilt over not doing what I need to do leaves me crying out to God for help. I’m so thankful that He hears my cry.

“God is our refuge and strength, and ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea…” Psalm 46:1-2.

Pray those words back to God, “Oh Lord, YOU are my refuge and strength, you are my ever-present help in times of trouble. Therefore, I will not fear!!”

According to dictionary.com, help is defined as such:

“…to give or provide what is necessary to accomplish a task or satisfy a need; to contribute strength to; to save; to rescue…”

Aren’t you thankful that God (and God alone) can really and truly do all of that for us? He can help us like no other! He can provide what is necessary…

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:19.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16.

He provides all our needs. He provides all the grace we need, too.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'”2 Cor. 12:9.

He hears our cries. Sometimes, that alone is the encouragement I need to keep on going. He does hear me. He even hears the cries of my heart that I can’t even vocalize or put into words. He hears me. He hears you.

“In my distress, I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.” Psalm 18:6.

But, our God is more than we can fathom. Not only does He hear us, He reaches down from heaven to comfort and to give us what we need. Not always what I think I need, or what I want.

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy…the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” Psalm 18:16-19

I’m not sure if you caught that last part, but it said that He rescued me because He delighted in me. He delights in me? HE delights in me. He delights in ME. And guess what? He delights in you, too, weary mama!

“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zeph. 3:17.

Yes, friends…He hears my cry, He is my help…but there is more. He delights in me. He quiets me with his love – and oh, how often I need to be quieted! And He rejoices over me. He will do all those things for you, too.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” Prov. 3:5-6.

For more encouragement found in God’s Word, click over to see all my posts on Praying the Scriptures. Find encouragement for depression and anxiety here

Verses for When You Need God’s Help

God always supplies our needs. Sometimes we need comfort, sometimes we need conviction, sometimes we need forgiveness, sometimes we need to be rescued…and sometimes we need Him to BE our HELP. God is faithful!! His help and His healing and His answers don’t always look like what we WANT Him to do, but you can be assured that He always gives what is BEST and RIGHT for you.

  1. “God is our refuge and strength, and ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea…” Psalm 46:1-2.
  2. “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:19.
  3. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16.
  4. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'”2 Cor. 12:9.
  5. “In my distress, I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.” Psalm 18:6.
  6. “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy…the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” Psalm 18:16-19
  7. “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zeph. 3:17.
  8. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” Prov. 3:5-6.

Sometimes in our desperate times, God is teaching us to wait on Him and Him alone. If you would like to spend 40 days focusing on how to wait on God alone — not on your circumstances to change, not on someone else to change, but to wait and hope in God alone, I hope you will join me in this 40 day devotional! Find it in my shop for $7.99.

40 Day Devotional on Waiting on God

Verses for When You Need God's Help

What IS Amazing About Grace?

 what's so amazing about grace  MercyIsNew.com

What exactly is so amazing about grace anyway? I have been wanting to share about this book for awhile now…but for some reason kept forgetting! So…I’ve been reading this book for awhile now. It is very meaty and I have only read a chapter here and there to try and take it all in. I have to go back and read portions again, and again, because the Lord is really ministering to my heart through this book.

Here is what Amazon has to say about the book What’s So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey:

Mention the word “grace” and what immediately comes to mind for most of us is a bagpipe wailing the solemn notes of “Amazing Grace.”

The grace of which Philip Yancey writes is the freely given and unmerited favor and love of God. This grace seems a remote, almost sentimental concept, without a place in our lives or our society. It is a vague, slippery thing to us, probably because we seem to experience grace so rarely and have managed to leech the word of meaning. But Philip Yancey has set about to rescue grace in his book What’s So Amazing About Grace?

This grace is the true message of Jesus. All faiths have virtues and creeds and justice and truth, but Jesus speaks merely of receiving the love that God has for us. Accepting it, not earning it or making ourselves worthy of it. And frankly, accepting something we have not earned or are not worthy of is not an easy thing for most of us.

In truth, grace is both utterly simple and utterly confounding. Little by little, Yancey guides us into a clearer understanding of grace by using stories, in much the same way Jesus did. We read stories of both grace and ungrace at work in people’s lives. Sadly, it is stories of ungrace that are more prevalent today, the current culture wars painful acknowledgments of ungrace in our lives as Christians in this country. Yancey helps us understand that ungrace is that state of being in which self-righteousness and pride are a result of thinking that we have somehow earned God’s approval and may now stand in judgment in his behalf.

I, personally feel that the word grace has been so talked about that we have lost the importance of the word. The world has cheapened grace, if you will. I think this book will open your eyes to all that grace IS and all that grace SHOULD BE in our lives. This book has changed my view of grace in many areas as well.

I think that alot of us who grew up in the church, who grew up in Christian families sometimes lose sight of the depths from which we come. A lot of us don’t have the movie-line testimonies that some do. Many of us that didn’t live a life of sinfulness for years and years before coming to Christ are *almost* at a disadvantage sometimes. (Of course it is also a blessing at the same time!) However, I sense a lack of grace in so many of us who haven’t had that huge transformation in our lives…we’ve known of Jesus and have been reading the Bible for years. We became Christians as children. All of that can be good…but.

Sometimes I think for me, it took God taking me into the valley of depression…into the depths of a place that I never thought *Christians* would go for me to see the full extent of grace…not only in my own life but in the lives of others. Having been in a place where I felt so far from God has allowed me to see how far truly all of us have come! Some of us just don’t see it as easily as others. I am learning that often it takes heartache for our eyes to be opened. I have come to be so thankful for the valley that I have been through (and the ones I know will come) because they have given me glimpes of life when you can’t see Jesus. Walking through the valley is making me more like Jesus in so many ways. Being in the valley has given me a glimpse of what it looks and feels like to be judged unfairly. And well, isn’t that what Jesus faced? If only I could handle it with the grace that He did.

Not only have I learned what it feels like to be judged…but God has shown me how I used to be that judge as well. Ouch. He has shown me how far He has brought me…He has shown me how a lack of grace in my own life has distorted my view. It doesn’t feel good…and I know a part of that lesson is learning that everyone has a battle to fight.

We truly never know what someone is going through…we never know when we might be talking to someone who is truly dying on the inside. We don’t know that the person who is at the check-out counter at the grocery store has just lost her husband. We don’t know if the person we are sitting next to in church just had his wife walk out on him. We don’t know if the mom in the park just received a phone call that her sister is dying of cancer. You can’t look at someone and know they struggle with depression or anxiety or bipolar. We just don’t know.

But grace. Oh, grace. Extend grace. Compassion. Mercy. Show grace. Love. How God has shown me that we need to love unconditionally those around us. Have I figured all this out? No. Do I have it down perfectly? No. But these are just a few things that God has been showing me. I am so quick to get offended sometimes because of how someone treats me…but have I stopped to think about the battle they are facing? Have I stopped to consider their hurts and what made them just snap at me? It’s hard…but God is showing me how much He wants me to become like Him in this way…to love freely. To show grace uncondtionally.

Grace has changed my life. Grace has a way of changing everything. All is grace.

What IS so amazing about grace? What do you think? How has grace changed your life?

{repost from 2009 when I first read this book}

Need a constant reminder of God’s amazing grace? Find this necklace in my shop for just $15. 

Amazing Grace Hymn Art Necklace 1

 

Praying Scriptures For Healing

Praying Scriptures For Healing

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve in Zion, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Isaiah 61:1-3

This passage in Isaiah is one of my favorite passages about Jesus. It is a foreshadowing or a prophecy about Him which He came to fulfill. I love knowing that Jesus came for those such as the poor, the brokenhearted, the captives, the prisoners, the mourners, the grieving. I love it because those words describe me and I bet if you were honest they would describe you, too.

Jesus came because this world was in desperate need of a Savior. You and I may not be poor by the world’s standards, but we may be poor in spirit. We may not be imprisoned behind actual bars, but we may be imprisoned by our own insecurities and fears. We may not be mourning today, but at some point we will be. Jesus came for you and me. 

When we are in need of healing, I think we should remember that Jesus came for us, too. So much of Jesus’ ministry while He walked here on earth was healing those He came into contact with.

“Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.” Matthew 4:23

I hope you’ll read the rest of this post and 5 Verses to Pray When You Need Healing over at my friend, Debbie’s, blog!

 

Grace for the Anxious Mama

Grace for the Anxious Mama  TheBusyMom.com

The anxious mama. Yep, that has been me more times than I’d like to admit. Worrying over silly things, worrying over big things. I didn’t use to think of myself as a worrier, but I realize I was just calling it something else, I think. My “worries” were usually fears over my kids’ futures, fears that I had ruined them, fears that I was messing up. Worry. Fear. They both go hand in hand, don’t they?

When I’m feeling anxious, the very best thing for me to do is spend some time with the Lord and in prayer.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

God tells us right here in His Word that when we are anxious and come to Him in prayer, with thanksgiving, the peace of God will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. What a gift!! Dig in to God’s Word and your heart will fill up with His peace.

I’m sharing 10 Verses for the Anxious Mama over at The Busy Mom along with a FREE Scripture printable! Join me there…

Free Printable Gratitude Journal

Free Printable Gratitude Journal

The art of deep seeing makes gratitude possible. And it is the art of gratitude that makes joy possible. Isn’t joy the art of God? Ann Voskamp

In my struggle with depression, one of the powerful things the Lord has taught me is to count my blessings. It started when I read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.

It continued as I learned to Pray the Scriptures. The combination of gratitude and God’s Word is just about unstoppable, y’all. There is just no way for God not to transform your heart with those 2 things.

Gratitude + Praying God’s Word = Heart Transformation

Am I saying that life just magically becomes awesome? No. What I am saying is that God transforms your heart, He helps you to begin to see things from a different perspective, He gives you joy in the middle of brokenness. Beauty for ashes. When I begin naming my gifts, counting my blessings, the Lord reminds me that “God is always good and I am always loved.” Ann Voskamp

Because I’m learning how important gratitude is in my own life, I decided to create a pretty, free gratitude journal for each of you! Kind of like my gift to you.

Print as many pages as you like if you want yours to be longer! There are 17 pages to name your blessings on, but you can print as many as you like! 

Frugal gift idea: Print off this journal, 3-hole punch, place in lovely binder and gift to a friend!

Free Printable Gratitude Journal

Grateful Journal PDF (click here or on cover graphic to download your PDF) 

Here is a look at some of the pages:

Grateful Journal Cover

 

give thanks with grateful heart page 1

 

shout for joy page 1

 

thankful page 2

Sweet readers, this is just a little gift from me to you! I hope you enjoy! If you end up printing it and using it in your home, I would love to see a picture!

More Free Printables from His Mercy Is New

Subscribe to Receive 30 Days of Praying the Psalms Free!

Click here to subscribe or click on graphic!

30-Days-of-Praying-the-Psalms-@mercyisnew.com-54662c9493655.jpg

 

Linking up with Thrifty Thursday!

Homeschooling with Depression

Homeschooling with Depression

If you’ve read my blog for long, you know that I struggle with depression. I feel very passionate about learning to be real with one another so that we can encourage each other on this journey. That is why I share. Can moms homeschool with depression? I’m not here to tell you it’s easy, I’m here to tell you that with God, all things are possible.

I have shared with you a lot of my ups and downs. One of the hardest things for me has been homeschooling my children during periods of depression. So, I’m bringing you this 5 day series in August! I’m very excited about this series, though, I will admit, writing about my struggles has been one of the hardest things I’ve done! But, it is so worth it, so I continue.

Now, before you think I’m going to give you 5 easy steps to homeschooling with depression, I’m not. I can’t. There is no formula. There is no easy answer when someone you know and love struggles with depression. So, I will be sharing with you some truths that God has taught me in the dark times as well as a few practical ideas that might help you brainstorm for your particular situation.

I hope you’ll join me for this discussion because I would love to pray for you, encourage you and hear your ideas as well!

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…” 1 Thess. 5:11

5 Days of Homeschooling with Depression

Day 1 ~ There is hope

Day 2 ~ I am not alone.

Day 3 ~ There is good in the valley.

Day 4 ~ I am broken. And that is a good thing.

Day 5 ~ God is bigger{AND a give away!}

**Resources & Links for moms struggling with depression found here. 

{Would you like more encouragement coming to your inbox? Please consider subscribing to my blog to receive 31 Days of Encouragement for the Homeschool Mom ebook FREE!}