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

JOY THROUGH TRIALS

© Tee-Tee Barnes Photography, 2014
 
JOY THROUGH PAIN
(James 1)

There is joy in the making
and joy in the taking
when trials come and go,
There is joy in the burden
and joy in the uncertain
when faith sits at its lowest.
There is joy in the heart ache
and joy in the heart break
when there’s no where else to turn,
There is joy in the loss
and joy in the cost
when we lay it all at His feet.

Because faith brings patience when we endure the trials
when we suffer the depth of the pit,
God will be our Provider, Sustainer and Helper
when in wisdom we ask of Him.
Don’t lose heart-though you may at the start-
let your faith be renewed in the Lord,
You will receive the joy only He can provide
and strength when at your weakest to stand firm.

~Marcell Warner Bridges
©23 July 2014
Revised ©27 July 2014
All Rights Reserved

© Tee-Tee Barnes Photography, 2014
 
James 1:2-8 (NKJV):  My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,  knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to himBut let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Romans 5:3-5 (NKJV):   And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseveranceand perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

 

 
 
© 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

WHAT ARE YOU HOLDING ON TO?

    WORDS OF WRATH

Lightning lashed and thunder clashed
Branches trembled, trees toppled.
Wind swirled in unceasing torment
Rain pounding a tantrum on window panes.
Night sky dark, foreboding in its eerie emptiness
As words tumbled from lips of anger.
Unbidden, without premeditation
Heart pounding in rapid succession of fury
Leaving debris in the wake of the tornado
Only ruins of a relationship that might have been.

~Marcell Warner Bridges
©5 February 2014
Revised 12 February 2014

I’ve been thinking about this for awhile. But before I get to what I really want to say, I need to add some back story.

A couple of years ago I was in a situation that tore me from limb to limb. It stripped me of every emotion I could have. I couldn’t eat and I barely slept. It was that bad. I prayed and I prayed and I prayed. It was one of those situations that leaves a person feeling as if their prayers are bouncing off the ceiling and He’s not listening.

It was suggested to me to write down what I was feeling. To write a letter to this person I was struggling with but not send it to them. Just to get the emotions and the words out. I did. I remember that night of sitting up until 2 AM crying my eyes out and typing. Six pages later I still didn’t feel finished with it, but I was spent. I lay down and slept the night away for the first time in at least two months.

That wasn’t the only “letter” I wrote. I had about 4 of them before it was all over with. I never did send any of them to anyone. But they’ve been sitting here on my computer ever since then, staring me in the face every time I open my word program. I’ve not read any of them in over a year until tonight.

Why tonight? As I said, I’ve been thinking about this for awhile now and the whole idea of forgiveness. I’m a big believer in it. Not just because the Bible tells us to forgive. Not just for the one we ask forgiveness from, but for ourselves. Forgiveness gives us peace. Forgiveness gives us a new breath in life. Forgiveness gives us freedom. Forgiveness makes things new again.

But by keeping those letters on my computer, had I really forgiven my friend? Had I really given it to God to set it right in my own heart? Or was I just holding on to it all to keep reminding myself of why this person doesn’t deserve my friendship or my trust? I said I forgive them. I said I’d never stop being their friend. Yet, I realized one day that by holding onto these letters, perhaps I really didn’t mean it after all.

Tonight I re-read the letters. Then, I deleted them. Not just once, but for good out of my computer. I never printed them off so that’s it. I don’t have them anymore.

You know what? Not only did I not cry, I didn’t feel any of the pain anymore. I didn’t feel mad or even angry. I didn’t feel any of those feelings I used to feel. As a matter of fact, it feels like  heaven.

 Photo by Karen Culley
SOUL RESTORATION

Restored, rejuvenated, refreshed
the heart that once trembled with anger
the eyes that once cried torrents of tears
the mind that once screamed insults
and the feet that walked in fear
no longer flinch at the thunder
 or cower from bolts of lightning
as the wind sweeps softly anew
and the bondage of darkness
is given over to the brightest day
a rainbow promise God’s forgiving grace.

~Marcell Warner Bridges
©22 May 2014

 
All other pictures by: © Tee-Tee Barnes Photography, 2014
© Heart Thoughts, Marcie Bridges 2014