Tag Archives: Mental Health

Waiting on the Lord with Hope

Recently, I received some disappointing news about a medicine I was prescribed – I’ve heard great stories of it helping others’ physical and mental health – but it wasn’t covered under my insurance. I was so excited and hopeful when my doctor and I initially discussed it – that it would not only help me physically, but also emotionally as well.

Waiting. We often are waiting for many things. But how will we wait? That is what will determine our ability to enjoy the journey and grow through the waiting process.

I realized I placed my hope in an outcome or circumstance, not in the goodness of God no matter what would happen. I am discovering how often I put my hope in circumstances without first placing my anchor of hope in God Himself. I want God to heal me now and answer my prayers now. Honestly, it has been hard to wait on the Lord for the full manifestation of healing in my life.

So where is your hope? How do you wait on the Lord with hope for healing and answers to your prayers?

A verse in the The Passion Translation explains how to wait on the Lord so clearly: Psalms 27:14 states, “Here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Don’t give up; don’t be impatient, be entwined as one with the Lord. Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope. Yes, keep on waiting-for he will never disappoint you!”

Let’s break this down into 6 steps on how to wait on the Lord:

  1.  “Don’t give up” -If we don’t give up, we eventually will experience breakthrough. Satan wants us to feel defeated and discouraged, but we are called to rise up!
  2.  “Don’t be impatient” -God’s promises are always true, but sometimes the process takes longer than we think it should. However, impatience only causes frustration and steals our peace.
  3.  “Be entwined as one with the Lord” – We are to stay in close communion with the Lord, seeking intimacy with Him above all else. He’s more concerned with us knowing Him then giving us an immediate breakthrough. Again, the process is what is beautiful in drawing us closer to Him through it all
  4.  “Be brave and courageous” – This is a call to trust in the Lord and not to fear. Set your sights on Him, not on the things around you that may be going wrong.
  5.  “Never lose hope” – We are to hold onto the hope that is found in Jesus, no matter what our circumstances look like.
  6.  “Keep on waiting-for he will never disappoint you” – God reinforces our need to keep on waiting, to be persistent, for He truly does not disappoint.

Isaiah 60:22 says: “When the time is right, I, the Lord will make it happen.” Oh how this verse cuts to the deep sovereignty of God in our lives! In HIS timing, He will make it happen. In his timing AND His way, He will help me get healthier and heal. But how badly I want it NOW. How I’ve wept in bitter frustration over the length of the process, especially in healing for mental illness. I could tell you why it’s not fair, how hard I’ve tried, how much I’ve sought the Lord and His healing, yet here I am, still walking out this journey. In the middle of this frustration and anger, I believe I’ve missed some of the joyful moments and breakthroughs along the road. I’ve missed the joy of my salvation in knowing God through this process, of hearing His gentle, kind words through the pain. I’ve turned away when I should have ran to Him. Yet through it all, He loves us and gently woos us back to relationship with Him.

Let’s take a step of faith today and wait on the Lord with hope.

Copyright 2020 Marie Lorah

Grief During Covid-19

My heart has been grieving a lot during the pandemic lately. The first month, I really coped well and tapped into my creativity. I probably felt the best I felt in quite a while and was honestly shocked with how well I was thriving. The last few weeks however, I have become less motivated (see less blog posts?!) and hit some depths of depression I haven’t felt in a while. It seems strange to grieve my mental health, but I think that is what is happening. Grieving the loss of motivation, of creativity, of excitement and passion for life. Grieving the loss of connection and energy I get from being around friends and family – the “normalcy” of it all.

I’ve realized how much I crave structure and connection, and those aren’t bad things. I’ve seen some of my priorities shift as I’ve done some reflecting through this crisis, but I think it’s also a very valid feeling and desire to want “normal” back. The reality is, from what I undertand, it won’t be the same “normal” we are used to. People will be wearing masks and social distancing. Not everything is going to open up at once. The risk for illness will remain. Uncertainties still lie ahead. Life won’t be the same.

I wish I could say this will all get easier. And it may and will over time. But there’s also a need to accept where we are at, surrender to this process, and put our trust in the One who always stays the same. Let go of the timeline of how this will all play out and take it one day at a time. Be angry, be sad, allow yourself to feel, but do not give up. Sometimes, that’s all we can do.

May you embrace your grief during this time and find creative outlets to express it. God, I pray for your comfort, relief, and perspective over each person reading this blog today. Thank You that You are still on the throne and love your children very deeply. In Jesus name. Amen.

Copyright 2020 Marie Lorah

Having Compassion for Yourself During COVID-19

Having a hard time coping with the quarantine right now? If so, I get it. Yesterday, I ended up being hard on myself for struggling, and that spilled over into today a bit. I was beating myself up for areas of struggle I still have, in spite of the fact that I have made a lot of progress recently. Our tendency seems to always go to the negative, doesn’t it?

In fact, research shows that we are hard wired to go toward the negative. Kristen Neff, in her book “Self Compassion” discusses this tendency and for our need to be kind to ourselves when we are suffering. She explains the importance of supporting and loving yourself in difficult times as you would support and love a friend. Sound selfish? Actually, Scripture discusses that we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. And how can we love our neighbor if we don’t love ourselves? It first starts in receiving God’s love for ourselves, then we can love Him and others.

Are you feeling less productive during this time? Are you dealing with depression or anxiety right now? Be encouraged that’s it’s okay to feel this way. We are facing many new challenges in different ways right now. Personally, I am used to getting out of the house regularly to help ward off depression and anxiety. So, I have had to adapt and find new ways to cope. But, not every day is perfect – and that is okay. I am making myself a note to put in my office, “I give myself permission to be where I am.” I usually get myself into trouble when I start ruminating on thoughts about how I should be further along than I am. If you’re struggling right now with those feelings of “not enough” or “failure,” try to show yourself some grace and kindness. God is patient with you; so you can be patient with yourself too. I know, easier said then done. Here’s another way to look at it: how would you treat a friend that was struggling with something? Would you say sternly to try harder and suck it up, or would you show compassion and listen with kindness? I’m sure you would listen and love with compassion. We are all on a journey of learning to show this same kindness to ourselves.

We all have a relationship with one person we can’t get away from, and that is ourselves! So work on your self-talk today. Try to think of a bigger perspective of what’s going on right now. Tell yourself that you are doing the best you can and that you accept yourself just the way you are. After all, God accepts you just the way you are. But take heart, that He is not done with you and is going to complete the work He began in you! Good things are coming, friend. Reach out to God and ask Him for His help right now. He is with you, and He will help you! Receive His love and compassion for you, because you are DEEPLY LOVED.

Copyright 2020 Marie Lorah

Praise or Plummet

Are you praising or complaining through this time of crisis? Now, I totally understand if you’re struggling – this is an unprecedented time, and God is oh so gracious and gentle with us. Might I then gently encourage you though to press into praise right now?

In a previous difficult season, the Lord told me that I needed to “praise or plummet.” It wasn’t meant to be a discouraging thing, but rather an invitation of obedience to Him. He always gives us a choice. And in this case, He was showing me the cost of not praising Him. If I didn’t take time to worship and praise Him, I knew He was telling me that my mental health would deteriorate over time. I have held on to this word and have felt it extremely purposeful in this current crisis. Praise is the antidote to worry, fear, depression, stress, etc. Worship changes your focus and mindset. It has had to be, at times, a radical choice I make in spite of my feelings. What would it take to make that radical choice today?

Philippians 4:4 says: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Paul reminds us to always rejoice in the Lord. Not when we feel like it, but always. I’m not saying every day you’ll feel goosebumps as you worship, but this obedient act glorifies God and helps you shift perspective, even if for a little bit. So give it a try today, and see if it doesn’t change things!

Copyright 2020 Marie Lorah

How to Take Care of Yourself During COVID-19

Here we are in the Philadelphia suburbs, ordered to stay in our homes for an unnamed amount of time. Well, this change has inspired me to write more. Today I want to encourage you in different ways you may want to care for yourself during this time, especially if you are stuck at home. Let me cover 5 areas:

Physically: We can still go outside during this time. I strongly encourage you to go outside at least once a day for a walk or at least for a little fresh air. If you can’t go outside, try some YouTube workouts to get you moving – or you could always have a dance/worship party!

Mentally: Try to do things that keep your mind busy and sharp. I recently bought a word search puzzle to do to pass the time. You can also find Sudoko, dot to dot puzzles, and crossword puzzles as well, whether in paper or on your phone apps (try your local dollar store or Amazon). You may be able to find free courses or Bible studies online during this time as well.

For example, check out this link for a free online Bible study with Max Lucado about anxiety: https://www.faithgateway.com/anxious-for-nothing-obs-registration/.

Also, a more involved course related to happiness and mental health through Yale University is also offered for free right now:https://www.coursera.org/learn/the-science-of-well-being?action=enroll&utm_campaign=opencourse.welcome.the-science-of-well-being.~opencourse.welcome.rUHfSakHEeeQ3gpuC4Fs_g.&utm_medium=email&utm_source=other

Emotionally: Try a meditation app. There are so many, including Calm, Headspace, Simple Habit, and Soultime. I specifically like Soultime because it is Christian-based and includes scripture readings as well. It might be helpful if you’re having a bout of anxiety or if you need help falling asleep. Also, creativity is proven to help your mental health. Try coloring (I just got an adult coloring book at the Dollar Tree – and as far as I know, they are still open!), painting, drawing, or simply doodling.

Socially: Keep in touch with friends and family over the Internet or phone. Make sure to check in with the most isolated family members. Perhaps give them a word of encouragement you found recently in a book, or offer to pray for them. Also, be sure to reach out for help and connection if you need support. Try to be proactive and plan to make at least one contact a day. You can use free programs like Skype, Face Time, Google Hangouts, and also Free Conference Calls for groups.

Spiritually: Probably most importantly, use this time to draw closer to the Lord. It’s a good time to listen to podcasts and sermons on YouTube to stay encouraged and focused on God. Personally, I enjoy journaling a lot. I write my prayers to God, and I listen for and record His response. I recently heard a great way to spend quiet time with God – pick a short passage from Scripture and read it. Ask God what He wants you to know about it, and then write a response back to Him. The next day, you can go back to that Scripture and ask God if He has anything else to tell you. Then, go on to the next part of that Scripture or pick a new one.

Things to Avoid:

Numbing out on social media and TV: I know it’s so easy to distract yourself and pass time these ways, but in longer amounts of times, they wear on your mental health and you end up numbing yourself instead of being in the present. Instead, use social media and TV in moderation and stay present with other people and things around you (physically or virtually).

Staying in bed all day: This is a sure fire way to get depressed. If you’re still tired when you wake up, try at least to move yourself to your couch to read or listen to music.

Catastrophizing about the future: This one is hard, I know, with all the uncertainty about how long you may be staying home or perhaps your finances. Remember, each day has enough worry of it’s own (Matthew 6:34), and it’s best to take it one day at time.

How To Grow and Heal From Sufferring

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When we have negative experiences, they are opportunities to grow and heal, if we will allow ourselves to step back and find new perspective. Personally, my mental illness and accompanying difficult experiences have really helped me grow – but it was choice. Was I going to accept where I’m at and learn from it? Or would I let myself get bitter and shut down? I had (and still do have) moments where I’m all in to grow from the pain of it all, and other days where I’d rather do nothing but hide and escape from my problems. I’ve learned to let myself have both days, while slowly moving toward growing and learning instead of avoiding and hiding.

Walking through my own mental illness has made me strong in the midst of chaotic and painful emotions. Also, my struggles have given me compassion for people who go through similar difficult things. I have learned the art of being aware of my emotions, paying attention to what they might be telling me, and responding appropriately. This awareness has allowed me to notice the individuals who hurt the most, sit with them in their pain, and encourage them that, they too, will grow from their pain. We can allow mental illness (or other struggles) to define us in a negative, victimizing way (like “I will always be this way” or “nothing will ever change”), or we can allow it to grow us and change us to become stronger, more compassionate people.

I also have found my faith in Jesus through my battle with mental illness. So, in reality, mental illness is a gift that has kept giving – giving me opportunities to wrestle with God and my beliefs, to find answers (or to accept I won’t have answers!), to feel deeply, and to accept myself more fully. I have discovered my gifts and who I am – my struggles do not define me as weak, but they have allowed me to find God and my purpose in the midst of it. I would not be the kind, caring, compassionate person I am without all that I have gone through.

I share these beautiful things, but they have come from the depths of my pain, anger, shame, disillusionment, severe instability, and fears. They have come from the breaking of me – of life falling to pieces and God and I somehow slowly putting those pieces back together. I have found meaning and purpose through my breakdowns, which has created a deep well of hope and wisdom that I pray shines to others.

Mental illness has been a shaping factor in my life that has brought chaos, disaster, and healing. This cycle of pain and healing will, in some ways, always continue on this side of heaven. Jesus promises us both hope and pain on Earth. We must carry our crosses, learning to fellowship with Him in the power of His resurrection AND in His suffering (Philippians 3:10).

He cares. He understands. He’s been there. Let your pain move in you in a way that heals you instead of holds you back. Take courage that this struggle you are going through is not wasted.

Bring Your Pain Into His Presence

Pain sometimes feels like a scary monster waiting to devour me. I often run from my pain, when in actuality, if I just started to tell God about my pain, relief would come.

Pain doesn’t have to be as scary as we make it out to be. I’m in no way discounting the deep pain we go through. I certainly know through experiencing times of deep depression and despair myself. If you are in that place today, I pray God breathes new hope, life, and comfort over you.

Today, I want to bring a fresh perspective to dealing with our pain and the purpose of our pain.

In Laura Story’s book, “When God Doesn’t Fix it” she shares how pain and trials are actually an opportunity – and not a curse. Trials are opportunities for us to turn to God and find God in the midst of it.

I know when I face trials, I have a tendency to shut down, numb out, and distract myself with Facebook, Netflix, or even cleaning my apartment. It feels as if the trial is greater than God. It feels like nothing will change. It feels like God may have left me alone. Thus, it feels safer to run to these other things. And while these things may bring temporarily relief, we know the Lord is our ultimate source of comfort and strength (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).

We must remember our feelings are not facts, but that God’s truth is real. So ask Him to come into your pain. Bring your pain into His presence. Something that helps me is to turn on gentle worship music. I breathe in His love, and I exhale fear. I receive His love in that moment and surrender my pain to Him. It doesn’t mean I still won’t feel pain, but God wants to take off that heavy weight over us. I also write in my journal or go over comforting scriptures. In addition, I must remember to reach out for support and encouragement to others, who can bring God’s comfort and truth into my situation.

I invite you to bring your pain into God’s presence today and find practical ways to surrender it to Him. Trust me, it will bring a load off. And if you feel stuck, reach out to a friend to help recenter you back into Truth. May God bless you today to bring your hurt into His presence that you may find comfort, hope, and peace.

Copyright 2018 Marie Lorah

 

Copyright 2018 Marie Lorah