Depression: You are Not Alone

by Monica Schmelter

For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin. Hebrews 4:15 AMP

For 25 years I’ve had the honor of hosting the Bridges television program. My guests have ranged from the famous to the girl next door. No topic is off limits – and the Bible is our guide. I’ve been intentional about discussing mental health on a regular basis.

Why then was I surprised to find myself struggling with depression? I tried to shake it off. I stepped up my daily Bible reading and prayer. I followed the experts’ suggestions like frequent exercise, proper rest, and nutrition. I visited a Christian counselor. I counted my blessings. None of my efforts seemed to make a lasting difference.

When I spoke with a friend she mentioned talking to my doctor about an anti-depressant. Since nothing else seemed to be working, I followed up on her suggestion. Thankfully, my Dr. recognized that I needed help and wrote a prescription.

As I journeyed forward, Hebrews 4:15 AMP spoke volumes to me. I am not alone, and neither are you. I am grateful that our High Priest, Jesus Christ, is well acquainted with what it’s like to be human. Whether it’s the pain of betrayal or false accusations or any other human trial, He’s been there, and He understands. My depression didn’t catch Him by surprise or disqualify me from being His daughter. He saw the trauma I experienced, the betrayal I encountered, and He heard my every single prayer for relief.

As I committed this Scripture to memory, I began to appreciate more fully how His sinless life gives us endless hope. He is our High priest, our Advocate, and our example. This means whether it’s a sunny day, or a dark season, He is there with compassion and the power to rise above it all.

The power to rise above it all didn’t make my bout with depression dissipate immediately. What it does provide me is the comfort of knowing I am never alone and never without hope. The same is true for all who put their trust in Jesus Christ.

In our culture we celebrate instant results and quick fixes. If given the choice, I’ll take a suddenly over a slowly any day of the week. I would love to tell you my season of depression is over – but it’s not. I still have hard days, and sometimes I cry at the most awkward moments.

What I can share with you is that I am growing closer to our Savior. You can too. As we see Him as our compassionate Savior, we can open our hearts to Him with complete honesty and zero shame.

As I have opened my heart to Him more fully, He has  blessed me with a deeper sense of His presence. He is healing my hurting heart over time. He has been so patient, and He has graced me with the ability to continue to love and serve my family and work in Christian Television.

Since He is no respecter of persons, He will do the same for you. Whether it’s depression or some other malady, He stands ready as our Compassionate High Priest to receive you. You don’t have to justify or explain your humanity. He understands. Will you call on Him today?

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Monica Schmelter is the General Manager of WHTN, Christian Television Network and host of daily television show Bridges. When people ask her why she smiles and nods so much while she’s interviewing guests she replies, “Oh that’s simple I am trying to think of what to say next”. You can watch Bridges on demand at monicaschmelter.com

Join the conversation: Have you struggled with depression? What has God taught you in that hard place?

You Are Never Truly Alone

by Cindi McMenamin

I leaned my head against the window as the plane began to ascend.

How long will I fly alone?  I thought to myself, as I pushed my head harder against the window and felt that familiar tinge of loneliness. Another long flight by myself. Another lonely night in a hotel room. Another weekend alone.

As the plane ascended higher and a layer of clouds covered my view of the high-rise buildings on the ground, I remembered the One who said He’d never let me out of His sight.

David the Psalmist, who must have felt alone at times, comforted himself with a song he wrote about God’s “staying power” and His amazing ability to track us everywhere we go:

If I go up to heaven (if I’m on top of the world and in a place where I think I don’t need You) You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol (if I sink to a place where I am helpless), You are there.
 If I live at the eastern horizon (if I move to a place where no one knows me), or settle at                            the western limits (or crawl into a cave where no one can bother me again),
even there Your hand will lead me;
Your right hand will hold on to me.
 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me, (if I say “I’m in too deep or too dark of a place                        for You to follow”)
Even the darkness is not dark to You.
The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to You.”                                                                                                                        Psalm 139:8-12 CSB, emphasized words added

I’m comforted knowing that there’s no place I can go where my God will not follow. No place I can seek out where His presence is not already there. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide (as if I’d want to).  He follows me like a shadow. Not only will He never leave, He’ll never let me out of His sight.

What are you facing today that you think you’re going into alone? What are you dealing with that no one else knows about or understands?

The Bible tells us “there is a friend who stays closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24 CSB).  And He stands ready to go into that situation not just with you, but before you…leading the way.

Lord, the next time I begin to feel alone, calm my heart with the reminder that there’s nowhere I can go where Your love will not follow, and no place I can venture where You have not already been.

“…for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5 CSB

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 16 books including When Women Walk Alone (more than 120,000 copies sold), God’s Whispers to a Woman’s Heart, and When God Sees Your Tears. For more on her books and ministry, and free resources to strengthen your soul, marwhen God sees your tearsriage, and parenting, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

 

Join the Conversation: Where do you feel alone?

Photo by Alex Holyoake on Unsplash.

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To a New Year Filled with God’s Presence

by Linda Evans Shepherd

 “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19

It’s a first.  The first day of the New Year and the first issue of Arise Daily, a devotional written just for you by a bunch of crazy, writing women. We’re actually a collection of loving sisters, authors all, from the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.

Most all of us have collided with life, then put pen to paper to transcribe how God healed our bruises, and turned our heartaches into victories and joys.

So, I guess you could say, we’re a lot like you; sometimes messy, often complicated, and very real.  To add to this mix, we have an open Bible and a heart to share.

As for me, I’m the leader of this wonderful writing gang and also the publisher of Arise Daily.  I’ve got thirty-three books under my belt and a messy life filled with life-changing encounters with God’s grace and loving-kindness.

Through the years, I’ve become a sort of prayer doctor, helping people recover from their difficulties by teaching them how to truly connect to God’s presence.  If I hadn’t learned the art of prayer, I would never have survived my own uncharted waters often filled with sharks, pirates and violent storms.

This New Year is a first for me too.  After a season of deep grief over the pre-mature death of my beautiful daughter, I’m beginning to feel the bloom of God’s joy bursting in my heart.  And despite my recent sorrow, I feel God’s peace.

And that’s why I’m here.  My friends and I want to show you that despite your loneliness, lack, difficulties or even the grind-of-life, you can experience the supernatural miracle of God’s joy and peace daily.

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Sure, life can be messy, but our God knows how to take our mess and transform it into a way through the wilderness and a stream in the desert.

Let’s stop and pray for one another. Let’s pray into this New Year in a way that will make streams of refreshing next to a new path we can travel these next 365 days–together.

Dear Lord,

You are the Almighty One, the One we love!  You are without limits and stand outside of linear time.  That’s why You are always available to answer our prayers and to go into every situation with us. We praise Your Holy Name and invite You to into this New Year.

 Based on the year behind us, we know there will be storms, troubles and opposition.  But You are greater than all of these things.  You can make a way in the wilderness and steams in the desert, so that we can continue our journeys safe, protected and blessed.

Be our traveling companion and give us joy despite our circumstances. Be our strength in every trial so that when we look back, we can say, “Thank You Lord! You did a new thing.  You made a way. You turned it all into joy!” 

 Lord, please be with us in our daily devotional time together.  Help this new sisterhood to grow and to become a strong body of love, encouragement and inspiration.

 For it is You whom we trust. You are with us, working everything out for the good. 

 In Jesus’ name.

Amen

Linda ShepherdAbout the author: Linda Evans Shepherd is the author of 33 books including When You Don’t Know What to Pray and Winning Your Daily Spiritual Battles.  She is the CEO of Right to the Heart Ministries, and the founder of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.  She’s the publisher of Leading Hearts Magazine and Arise Daily.

Linda has been married over thirty years and has two grown kids.  She loves to travel and bring the word to groups and events across North America.  You can read more about Linda at Arise Speakers.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Linda’s book, The God You Need to Know -Discover his StoryExperience His Love please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: What is a goal the Lord has laid on your heart for the coming year?