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
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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

NEW EVERY MORNING

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness
 Lamentations 3:22-23 (NKJV)
© Karen Murphy Photography, 2014
 
NEW EVERY MORNING

Though mountains around me shake
the earth beneath me quakes
my foundations crack and crumble,
You, O LORD, keep me from stumbling
directing my paths unfailingly
You keep me from troubles consuming
even when emotions are overwhelming.
In the night You hold me tight
In the morning Your mercies unfold
Never forsaking, never moving
Your faithfulness is new every morning.
When the rain pours and the winds blow
I don’t know which fork to take in the road
You, O LORD, bring healing to my parched soul
Mercies tears unceasingly overflow
As Your faithfulness immerses steadfastly
Thoroughly, completely making me whole.

~Marcell Warner Bridges
©10 August 2014

 
© Karen Murphy Photography, 2014
 
Dear Father God, Thank You for Your faithfulness to us. When we are not faithful You continue to draw us toward You. And in our times of need, You stay right beside us, holding us, comforting us, cradling us to keep us from drowning. Thank You for the mercies with which You steadfastly keep us and give us a new way each and every day to walk with You. Father, forgive us when we stray. May we seek to honor You with our lives in every word and deed.  Thank You Lord, for being our safe place. Our hiding place. May we rest in You and praise You even in our times of trouble. Father, thank You that with and through You we will never be consumed by anything but that You are faithful to bring new mercies upon us each morning. Lord, we glorify You. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen. 
 
WILL YOU SING ALONG AND WORSHIP WITH ME TODAY? LET’S GATHER TOGETHER AND PRAISE GOD FOR HIS STEADFAST LOVE, UNENDING MERCY AND HIS GREAT FAITHFULNESS TO US! I LOVE THIS SONG!
 
  
© Heart Thoughts, Marcie Bridges, 2014

IT IS WELL

A PARAPHRASE OF THE CLASSIC HYMN: IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL
By Marcie Bridges

© Tee-Tee Barnes Photography, 2014
And he said:“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there.

The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21 (NKJV)

**When peace, like a river, attendeth my way – – When everything is going well and right

When sorrows like sea billows roll; – – When life has taken its heaviest toll

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say – –
                   No matter what is going on in my life You have taught me this one thing

It is well, it is well, with my soul! – – All is alright, With You by my side, 
                                                                                                    My soul is at peace.

©Tee-Tee Barnes Photography, 2014

It is well – – Thank You Lord!
With my soul – – With my whole being
It is well, It is well – – I rest in You, I trust in You,
With my soul! – – With my whole heart, soul and mind
                             With all I am, all I have
                              My inmost being.

© Karen Murphy Photography, 2014  

Thank You LORD that no matter what has come into our lives, whether because of something we have done, or someone else has thrown us into a pit, we can rest in You and we can find peace in our inmost being. I praise You LORD that one day the clouds will part, and You will call us home and we will have no more sorrow, no more pain, no more sin. Until then LORD, may we find within us the words to say, BLESSED BE YOUR NAME IT – IS WELL WITH MY SOUL.  
The Gaither’s Sing It is Well With My Soul with David Phelps soloing:
** Lyrics “It is Well With My Soul” by Horatio G. Spafford, Circa 1873, Public Domain

© Heart Thoughts, Marcie Bridges, 2014

SEASONED WORDS

Are your words inviting or repulsive?
SEASONED WORDS

Lord
let my words be seasoned
with grace
mercy
love
not of hate
bitterness
strife

Lord
let my words be Yours
of truth
joy
peace
not of envy
jealousy
gossip

Lord
let my words be slow
full o f wisdom
guidance
understanding
not of quickness
judgement
defilement

Lord
let my words be swift
to forgiveness
kindness
blessing
not full of rebuke
cruelty
curses

Lord
let my words be seasoned
with the fruits
of Your Spirit
in all
love, joy, peace
patience, kindness, goodness
faithfulness, gentleness,
self-control
that others will not see me
but only
You.

~Marcell Warner Bridges
 ©1 July 2014, All Rights Reserved

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Proverbs 15:1 tells us, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh words stirs up anger.”  

Oh what a mess our tongues and words can do when we don’t use caution! Over the past few weeks this idea of our words being acceptable to God has been brought up from several different people and things I’ve read on the Internet and definitely through God’s own Word. A friend of mine pointed out the verse in Psalms 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O LORD, my strength and my redeemer” and I got to thinking about what that verse really says. It does NOT say to just let what we think and feel be acceptable to God, but also our words. This concept is reiterated in Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”

Did you catch that? Seasoned with grace, seasoned with salt! James 1:19 warns us to be “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath”. Take a moment before you say something to think about what you are saying and ask yourself, “How will what I’m about to say affect this person and our relationship?” Be slow to speak words of discouragement, cursing, gossip, bitterness or strife.

The Psalms and Proverbs also give us the wisdom of keeping a guard over our tongues because by guarding what we say, or thinking before speaking, we keep ourselves from evil!

Proverbs 21:23 “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue Keeps his soul from troubles.”

Psalm 34:13-14 “Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.”

And finally, use the fruit of the Spirit to help you with your attitudes, actions and words: Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

O LORD! LET THE WORDS OF OUR MOUTHS AND THE MEDITATION OF OUR HEARTS BE ACCEPTABLE TO YOU!
 

*All Scripture from the NKJV
© 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