DEPTHS OF DESPAIR

“Anne Shirley: Can’t you even imagine you’re in the depths of despair?
Marilla Cuthbert: No I cannot. To despair is to turn your back on God.”
Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables, movie 1985
FALLING

I’m falling.
Falling.
Falling.
Falling.
Falling.
Someone catch me.
Please.
Anyone.
Is there an end?
Falling.
I.Can’t.Breathe.
If I try
I will cry.
And if I cry –
there are too many people –
here
around me.
If I cry
then there is pain.
Pain.
Deep.
Dark.
Way. Down.
There.
Flailing.
Sinking.
Despair.
Desire.
Where.Are.You.God?
I’ve hit bottom.

~Marcell Warner Bridges
©28 August 2014

© Karen Murphy Photography, 2014   (Maui, Hawaii)
I’ve been thinking about the quote above from Anne of Green Gables and I wondered what it really means to be in despair. Is it the same as just depression? Or is it something deeper? So I did a little research. According to Merriam-Webster the definition for despair is this: “to no longer have any hope or belief that a situation will improve or change”.

Have you ever felt that way? That no matter what you do, where you go, who you are with, etc… your situation is never going to get better?  

Let’s read the words of the Psalmist as he laments his despair:

Psalm 42
For the director of music. A maskil of the Sons of Korah.

1 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long,
 “Where is your God?”4 These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?

The anguish King David feels is so palpable here. Can you feel it? Does it resonate within you? Oh it sure does me! King David didn’t have anti-depressants to take though, did he? So what DID he do to overcome his despair?

Keep reading (beginning at the second half of verse 5):

Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, 
my Savior and my God.


8 By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me — a prayer to the God of my life.
9 I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning,
    oppressed by the enemy?”
10 My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long,“Where is your God?”
11 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God,  for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (taken from the NIV)

© Karen Murphy Photography, 2014
(Kauai, Hawaii)
King David went to the only source He knew would and could help Him. GOD! He went to God to find his hope and His strength.

Don’t be afraid to go to God and to ask Him what it is that is troubling you. To make it clear to you and to give you a way out of it. You may need to confess sin that you have been living in and turn away from it before He can make a way for you to come up out of this pit of depression. In Psalm 32 (a Psalm of forgiveness) King David talks about how his bones grew old because he groaned so much through the agony of the sin he had been in. If you are in despair, consider first your position with God and make sure your heart is right with God before asking Him to show you what is putting you in your current state of despair.

Earlier we saw that despair says we no longer have hope that our situation will improve or can be changed. I think Marilla Cuthbert is right. When we don’t allow God to help us see how to get out of our situation that is causing the despair, then we are turning our backs to Him telling Him our problems are bigger than He is.

Whatever your struggle is today, would you go to the Truest Friend you can ever have and let Him take care of it? He understands. He forgives. He forgets. He changes lives and He cares more than anyone else! 1 Peter 5:7, “casting all your care on Him, for He cares for you.”

©Heart Thoughts, Marcie Bridges, 2014

THE TRUEST FRIEND

© Karen Murphy Photography, 2014
HOLDING HANDS ACROSS THE MILES

Hands clasped across the table
Tears falling through smiles and pain
Food forgotten in the moment
Whispers of love displayed.
Two hearts equally broken
By circumstances not of our own
Mended by the sweetest Spirit
His presence filling the space around.
Hugs fiercely, tightly given
Good-bye a solemn spoken phrase
Yet the hands that had clasped together
Would always stay that way.
Because miles driven between
Will never severe that grace
Hands clasped across the table
Whispers of love will forever remain.

~Marcell Warner Bridges
©24 August 2014
 

© Karen Murphy Photography, 2014

I drove up the mountain with an ache in my heart as wide as the Grand Canyon. I couldn’t wait to see my dear friend. I stood by the car waiting for her arrival with anticipation as massive as Texas. The hug we shared was the best I’ve ever had. We found a table and I’ll never forget holding hands and praying with her. A little later the tears we knew would come, came, while we held hands once again trying to say things we couldn’t say. It was one of the sweetest moments.  As we shared stories (can you believe we talked about snakes?!) my heart felt lighter and I knew that going back down the mountain I’d feel better than I had in a long while.

Did you know this is what it is like with God? He never leaves us nor forsakes us but sometimes the miles between earth and Heaven seem so far away we can’t feel His presence. But then one day, we open His Word, He fills the space around us with His presence and it is the sweetest time we’ve ever had. He engulfs us with His peace and we come away feeling better than we have in forever. Jesus is the best friend you can have. He loves us with an unconditional love that NO ONE can love us with. He is there for us anytime, anywhere, every time and everywhere.  Proverbs 18:24, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”  Here on earth even those dearest, sweetest, best-est friends cannot compare to the friend we have in Jesus. 

We hugged one last time (I can still feel her arms around me now) tears once again brimming in our eyes, not sure when we’d see each other face to face again but we left each other knowing that the 2 ½ hour trip between our houses is only a whisper away.  



Michael W. Smith’s song “I Will Be Here For You” reminds me that God will always be here for me no matter what. 


© Heart Thoughts, Marcie Bridges, 2014

COMFORTING THE COMFORTLESS

© AlyssaBridges, 2014
 
 
I don’t have a clue how she feels. I don’t have any idea what my friend is going through. In fact, I have several friends that are going through such strenuous times this year that my heart is just breaking for them.

The following poem was written 24 years ago but it still applies today. My dad was in the Air Force and he was to be sent to Kuwait to help with the war.  I remember vividly as I looked for comfort from someone I thought was a close friend and would at least pray with me but instead as I tried to hug her she pushed me away and said, “I cannot help you. I don’t know how to help you with this.” I was devastated. I was crushed. And I went home, cried, then later wrote this poem.

So, how do we comfort someone when we have no idea what they are going through? We’ve never been in their shoes and never gone through that particular pain?


How do we comfort one
When we’ve never known
Never felt, never shown
A love, or care, or feeling?

Do we dare say a word
When there are no words to say
Nothing to send one’s way
Who is hurting today?

How do we comfort one
Who needs comfort and love
When all around us
Is hate and bitterness?

Do we dare say we understand
When we’ve never understood?
How do we give of ourselves
When we have never felt?

How?

~Marcell Warner Bridges
20, March 1994, All right reserved

Today I encourage you to pray for your friends who are hurting, alone, and in the deepest, darkest days of their lives. I encourage you to send someone a card to just say “Hi” and let them know someone is thinking of them today. Send a friend a Bible Verse on their Facebook wall and say, “Hey, thought this might be of help to you today!” Give someone a hug. Do you see someone in a store or a foodcourt that looks like they are having a bad day? Smile at them. Find something about them to compliment on. Thank someone for a job they are doing whether it is done well or not. Perhaps saying thank you will give that person an incentive to do a better job. And even if they don’t say a word back to you, or smile at you, or maybe they say something negative back to you, don’t despair. Know that whatever you did – that hug, smile, card, prayer, verse – will stay with them the rest of that day. 


DEAR FRIEND WHO IS HURTING:


God cares so much for you. He loves you. Cast those cares on Him and He’ll give you the peace you are seeking. He’s right there with you. Holding you tightly and walking with you. 


“But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
 For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, *YOUR SAVIOR;” 
Isaiah 43:1-3a (NKJV)*emphasis mine
 
 
THANK YOU TO MY DAUGHTER, ALYSSA, FOR DRAWING THE PICTURE ABOVE FOR THIS POST! 
 
© Heart Thoughts, Marcie Bridges, 2014