Stories that have impacted me: The empty medical cabinet.

I wanted to take a few blogs and share some of the stories I’ve either read or been part of that have impacted me over the last few years. As a pastor you get a unique perspective into life and I wanted to share some of the things I’ve seen, heard and experienced. As always, my objective is to both encourage and cause you to think. 

The first story that impacted me caused me to think about the end of my life and what I wanted to leave behind for my precious family. The account was written by a son whose dad had just died. One of the responsibilities that fell to this son was sorting through his dad’s things, both at home and at work. This man’s father was a doctor that had treated thousands of people in his lifetime. This father was no ordinary dad. This son loved and respected his father so very much. He had watched his dad care for patients, his family and his wife for his whole life. He loved his dad’s selfless and sacrificial love. He often thought how blessed he was to have a father like this. He was the reason the son had followed in his father’s footsteps and become a doctor. His dad wasn’t perfect but he was a great dad, husband and doctor. 

He saw many times how his dad put others ahead of himself. How his dad was called out to care for the sick and broken in all hours of the day and night. How his dad served his mum and family so selflessly. 

As this son started to sort through his dad’s office at home and get together all the paperwork needed to care for his mum the son thought to himself how much he admired his dad. He recalls many times stopping the process and just pausing to read a letter from a grateful patient. He found cards they wrote as kids that his dad kept all these years in a bottom drawer. Although the process was hard the son finally finished his dad’s home office and moved to his work office. 

This work office had been used for decades. The son thought about the times he had come to visit his dad and sat in his office chair as a little boy and how now he was taking over his dad’s practice. He once again paused to thank God for his father and how much he had taught him about God. Faith had always been part of this son’s life. His father had invested many hours encouraging his son’s own faith. But by far the biggest faith legacy the father had left was the model he lived. The son worked his way through his dad’s office much quicker than the home office. Most of the papers were medical forms that could either be filled or shredded. He finished most of the sorting in a few hours. He looked at the clock and saw that it was time for him to leave. He then remembered his dad’s locked cabinet. But he thought to himself that he would have to wait for another day. 

During the evening, the son recalled thinking a lot about that cabinet. He started to fear that he would find something in there that would shatter his perception of his dad. Was it possible for a man to be as faithful and selfless as his dad? Would he find some letters from an old lover, some unpaid bills, some addiction revealed? The son tossed and turned all night wondering about the contents of that medical cabinet. So early in the next morning he got up and drove to his dad’s office. 

He found the cabinet key in his dad’s top office drawer and slowly walked over to the cabinet. He prayed as he opened the door, “please God don’t let there be anything in here”. As the son opened the last place he needed to sort, he peered inside. There on the shelf were piles of medical journals and pictures the kids had made for him over the years. That was it and nothing more. 

As I read this story I thought about my own life and what I am leaving behind for my precious children and grandchildren (God-willing). What would my kids find in my effects? Would there be a consistency in what they thought they knew and what he found? 

Then I thought to myself that the decision starts now. Christ died to not only save me but to call me to a life and becoming like him a small step at a time. I thought to myself, “what I need to ditch in my mind and in my life that might hinder or discourage my family”? What can I do today to live a life that encourages and challenges my own family? What can I do to make them want to follow in my steps and serve the King of Kings who is more than worthy of living our lives for. 

When it comes for our stuff to be sorted after we are long gone what will our family find? 

Church misunderstood

Let me start by saying that I have two specific objectives in writing this blog series. The first is to encourage those who don’t go to church but once did. The second objective is to encourage those of us in the church to look up and look around. I’m sure like me you want to be part of the solution and not part of the challenge. 

I had the amazing opportunity to help start a brand new church recently. It was so great to meet so many different people from all over the country. Some had gone to church their whole lives, while others had never been to church. Some people I met used to go to church and had just gotten busy and church attendance sort of drifted. 

As I talked to hundreds of people I heard similar stories over and over. Here’s a quick summary:

  1. The church is not relevant – 

Lots of people said they left going to church as they got older. I heard many stories of people who had just drifted from going to church.  As I heard people talk about their own drift, I often thought “Was it that they didn’t see the need anymore, or that they just got busy with life”. But I wondered to myself if they had really encountered God and community in a meaningful and personal way. 

  1. Hurt / abuse – 

I also heard a lot of people talk about tough experiences they had, some even experiencing abuse.. Power and money are a dangerous combination. Some of the stories were simply the result of imperfect people being in community with imperfect people. Misunderstandings and hurt are always going to happen because none of us is perfect. 

  1. The only place to get to God – 

Some think that in order to get to God you have to go through the church. Many of the people I spoke to in this group spoke with shame and guilt in sharing their stories. They felt they needed to get their lives sorted before they could come because only perfect people go to church. 

  1. Building – the church is an institution – 

A few others thought of the church in a way that sounded very similar to my perception of the mafia. The church was a place that was controlling and cold. This perspective often conveyed a person’s view of God. They saw God as distant and impersonal. 

  1. Church is for me – 

Of the folks I met that had attended church in the recent past they often had a very personal and powerful perception of church. They saw the church centered on preferences and personalities. 

  • Preferences – the way some people described church it sounded a little like Burger King, remember their slogan “Have it your way”? The church existed to meet their individual preferences. I have seen churches who exist simply to maintain and protect what they have.
  • Personalities – Others I met felt that the pastor was a kind of CEO. I really struggled with this model. As I read the Bible, the word I see over and over to describe a pastor is the word “shepherd”.

Please don’t get me wrong. I can put my hand on my heart as I write this and say I love the church. I love God’s heart for the church as shown in His Word. But too often, not always, but often, we’ve taken God’s design and put our stuff over it. You see I think all of the perspectives about church listed above are not God’s heart for His church. 
The purpose of the coming blogs is to simply encourage you to think about your perceptions of church. I hope this series is challenging and encouraging. As always please feel free to comment or email me directly: . caringpastorglyn@gmail.com.

Church: A pastors experience

I have often thought the church as I have experienced it is a bit like life. When it’s good it’s great but when it’s rough it’s really rough. 

When I started serving the church I started as a youth pastor. I served in that role in 2 different churches for a total of just over 10 years. When I look back I can say, as Charles Dickens says in A tale of two cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….”. I remember seeing teens come to Christ and see their lives turn around. I also saw much hurt and pain. I saw families come together and I saw families torn apart. 

I then served in several churches as a senior pastor, again for over 10 years in total. It was in this role I saw that awesome potential of the church to help change lives. But I also saw people in the church hurt each other in such developed ways. I could write a month of blogs telling stories from first hand experience. But for time sake I land on 2 polar opposite accounts. 

The first was one of the hardest times I have ever experienced. I received a call from someone in the church that I was serving saying that a young couple in our church had been involved in a shooting. It was only later that I found out that the wife had actually shot her husband during a mental breakdown. I saw the power of God move in amazing ways as the church prayed and prayed for this couple. I met with the husband and prayed with him. God did a redeeming work in this couple’s lives. She got help and he stood with her. What an amazing thing to see. 

Author Dwight L. Carlson once wrote a book entitled Why do Christians shoot their own wounded? What a title but what an important book to write. I have been hurt and, if I’m honest, I have hurt others. I have been gossiped about, slandered, misunderstood and hurt so very deeply by those who I sought to save. It was during a particularly tough season that I faced a decision many others have faced: Should I just walk away or should I try and just ride the hurt hoping for a better day? 

I am not writing this blog to whine or to seek pity. I am writing this blog to try to be a caring pastor who both understands what it means to be failed and to fail others. I understand first hand what it means to say the church is full of fallen human beings. 

The church is a product of God’s plan and part of that plan is made up of church people who still sin. Christians are saved but they are not perfect. Romans 3:23 says we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s Glory, God’s perfect standard. So there lies a tension. 

God is perfect, man is not! 

So what do we do when we are hurt or we hurt others? What do we do when a church fails to be a place where God is honored and obey and becomes a place when people act as if they are God’s sole spokesperson? In the coming blogs I hope to encourage and challenge your thinking. This is a work in progress and I want you to know from the start that pastors still sin, myself very much included. 

But God has many things to help us. First on that list is His Word, let’s submit to that. Secondly, we have His Spirit, let’s allow Him to lead us.
Please feel free to email to respond or just post a comment. But just one parameter, I don’t want to slander God’s church by sharing story after story that simply extends what I’ve already said. The church isn’t perfect but God is. So let’s see what He says and how that applies. caringpastorglyn@gmail.com.

When depressed, please don’t do this

One last word in this series of depression. Please don’t withdraw or isolate yourself. Even though it will feel like the most natural thing to do. 

Have you ever gone through a really hard time and felt like you are alone and no one really understands? In times of suffering and pain the sense of isolation can be so real. You may walk down the street carrying this pain in your heart and think you are the only one going through that pain. You can feel very much alone. No-one understands. Have you ever been in a crowd and felt so isolated and alone? 

In my experience with depression I have found that there have been some very real times of isolation. It seems like everyone else is doing better than I am and everyone else seems to be stronger than I am. This perception can reinforce that sense of isolation. Here’s what I have found – It’s so easy to keep your head down looking at others and looking inside. These are some of the tools the enemy has used to keep me down. 

I have always been an ocean kind of guy. Vacations have often been times at the beach. I grew up in England and went to a place called Sennen Cove most years. I mean, check this place out: 

Then I lived in Colorado for a couple of years. The mountains are amazing. We live on the front range, about an hour from Estes Park. I would regularly see something that shouts ‘There is more to this life than what I feel’. I regularly see in creation the shadow of the evidence for the existence of God. Check out this picture: 

Evolution doesn’t make any sense to me. When I look at pictures like this one all I hear is ‘Somebody designed that and they designed it to make a statement’. That statement is clearly this ‘There is a God and He is all powerful’. If God can create such an amazing world then surely He is all powerful and all knowing. 

This thought and conclusion is not unique to me. Think about this verse:  Psalm 19:1 – ‘The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork‘. God Word makes that clear statement – there is a God! 

My perspective is changed when I look to Him and away from my own challenges and emotions. My faith encouraged as I remember God is all powerful. If God can create the world He can handle everything that comes my way.  My worship is fired up as I think about the awe and wonder of all that God has made and how that reveals only a part of His power and creativity. 

I hope and pray this though encourages you.

What I learned about depression: 

  1. Be courageous and let someone in. 
  2. Depression is often anger turned inward.
  3. Depression often grows by looking to others to do what only God can do. 
  4. Consider speaking to a medical doctor.
  5. Faith calls us to trust and worship even in depression. 

Depression and Faith:

One of the hardest pieces of journeying through depression as a Christian is the stigma that comes with depression. I felt my faith was weak as I believed Christians don’t get depressed. I felt shame and guilt and that led to me withdrawing and isolating myself. I had concluded that my depression was clear that I was both weak in mind and faith. 

It was at this point in my own journey that I started to understand a little more that I had a massive problem with the fear of man. I believed and trusted in God but had fallen into the fear of man. At some point I started looking to people to do what only God can do. I prayed, read and journaled and here’s what I came up with: 

  1. I needed to set emotional goals for myself and pray! I had to understand not everyone will be fair or understand me. I need to allow disappointments and hurts to cause me to turn to Jesus. I needed to understand that apart from Jesus I can’t do anything
  2. If I was going to see lifelong changes they would start with daily adjustments. 
  3. I learned that if I was going to grow I would need to stop isolating myself and make myself accountable to at least one person. 
  4. I needed to see the emotional healing that was happening as part of my spiritual awakening. I needed to focus on God and worship Him and spend less time looking to others to do what only God could do. 

God helps in the daily ups and downs. He helps in the life changing disasters in our lives. He helps as I trust that I can’t know myself as well as God knows me. That’s a point of faith. I can’t understand my situation and circumstances as well as God knows them. God helped me a little at a time to understand what was going on in me. It began with this point of faith: He knows me better than I know myself. Psalm 139 was like medicine for my soul. 

I have recently bought a house with my family. One of the projects I’m working on is the kitchen and bathrooms. Have you ever taken a sink apart? There is some stuff in there that has no proper name so we call it slime or dirt. It’s gross but it needs to go! Going to God with an open heart often results in His confronting in me what needs to go. The slime in my life was my faith rooted in others and not in my loving, merciful God.  He continues to pull that slime out a piece at a time 

A summary so far: 

  1. Be courageous and let someone in. 
  2. Depression is often anger turned inward.
  3. Depression often grows by looking to others to do what only God can do. 
  4. Consider speaking to a medical doctor.
  5. Faith calls us to trust and worship even in depression.

Depression, taking one step at a time out of the darkness.

It was in my understanding of the relationship between depression and anger that I started to learn how to identify what was happening in my mind. The third massive step came from my understanding of the relationship between depression and expectations. It was in understanding my expectations that I could start to make allowances for painful truths I had pushed deep down.

Here’s how that understanding grew in my mind:
I had an over-idealized view of what my reality could and should be like.
When I look back it is clear now that when my expectations didn’t become a reality I would start to drift into depression.
I considered my value to be driven by my performance.
My depression had come from my expectations or hopes as a child that didn’t become a reality.
To avoid depression’s trap I had to understand and accept that life isn’t perfect. I had to identify the myths about my family life.
I learned that I had looked for contentment from external sources. I thought contentment came from my world being what I want it to be and looking to others to do what only God can do. If others can’t do for me what I want them to do, it doesn’t mean that I am worthless or useless.
I can’t get rid of depression forever. I may be more susceptible to depression from the impact of rejections and misunderstandings.
I need to learn about the patterns of my depression.
I found I rose and fell based on how others responded to me. If I felt encouraged, supported, understood, and cared for I felt good. But when those things didn’t come I would drift into depression. I learned that only God was perfect and everyone else would fail me, as I would fail them in some way and some point in our lives.

  • A summary so far:
  • Be courageous and let someone in.
  • Depression is often anger turned inward.
  • Depression often grows by looking to others to do what only God can do.

Do you resonate with any of those 3 statements? If so, it might be important to take the next step. This step was as hard for me as the first step. My counselor friend suggested considering medication. My face must have revealed my heart as he recommended medication. I thought to myself “Am I that bad in this battle and so weak in my efforts to break free that I need medicine?”. I wrestled for a long time with this step. I thought it wasn’t medicine I needed but more faith. Eventually I shared this perception with my friend. He then asked me a hard question. If I have strep throat, is that a sign of weakness and a sign that my faith is weak? Is having strep a test of my faith, and if I had stronger faith would the strep disappear? I had never thought about that before. So here’s what I learned about medical help for depression:

Be open minded as you consider the medical aspects of depression. If your car’s engine warning light comes on you don’t think twice about bothering a mechanic you get it fixed. Do the same with your chemical levels. Sometimes we all just need a little help.
Depression can happen for a number of reasons and all avenues need to be considered for treatment, help and support.
Medication can help with emotional management.
Here are some physiological signs that medication should be considered: erratic sleep; excessive pessimism; easily led to crying; moodiness; significant change in weight; decreased sex drive; decreased motivation; poor concentration and thoughts of self harm. At various times I had experienced all of these symptoms.
Depression is sometimes caused because emotional health is depleted.

Can I encourage you with these first steps. Pray that God would help you manage your depression. Depression is deep and doesn’t usually just disappear. As I said in my previous blog I want to write these blogs to be a caring pastor and if I can pray for you please email me at: caringpastorglyn@gmail.com.

Depression, taking one step at a time out of the darkness.

I have been sharing my own journey with depression in hopes someone is helped and encouraged.

It was in my understanding of the relationship between depression and anger that I started to learn how to identify what was happening in my mind. The third massive step came from my understanding of the relationship between depression and expectations. It was in the understanding of the expectations in my mind that I could start to make allowances for painful truths I had pushed deep down. 

Here’s how that understanding grew in my mind: 

  • I had an over-idealized view of what my reality could and should be like.  
  • When I look back now it is clear now that when my expectations didn’t become a reality I would start to drift into depression. 
  • I considered my value to be driven by my performance. 
  • My depression had come from my expectations or hopes as a child that didn’t become a reality. 
  • To avoid depressions trap I had to understand and accept that life isn’t perfect. I had to identify the myths about my life. 
  • I learned that I had looked for contentment from external sources. Thinking contentment comes from my world being what I want it to be and looking to others to do what only God can do. If others can’t do for me what I want them to do doesn’t mean that I am worthless or useless. 
  • I can’t get rid of depression forever. I may be more susceptible to depression, from the impact of rejections and misunderstandings. 
  • I need to learn about the patterns of my depression. 
  • I found I rose and fell based on how others responded to me. If I was encouraged, supported, understood, and cared for I felt good. But when those things didn’t come I would drift into depression. I learned that only God was perfect and everyone else would fail me, as I would fail them in some way and some point in our lives. 

A summary so far: 

  1. Be courageous and let someone in. 
  2. Depression is often anger turned inward.
  3. Depression often grows by looking to others to do what only God can do. 

Depression often grows by looking to others to do what only God can do. 

Do you resonate with any of those 3 statements? If so, it might be important to take the next step. This step was as hard for me as the first step. My counselor friend suggested considering medication. My face must have revealed my heart as he recommended medication. I thought to myself “Am I that bad in this battle and so weak in my efforts to break free that I need medicine?”. I wrestled for a long time with this step. I thought it wasn’t medicine I needed but more faith. Eventually I shared this perception with my friend. He then asked me a hard question. If I have strep throat, is that a sign of weakness and a sign that my faith is weak? Is having strep a test of my faith, and if I had stronger faith would the strep disappear? Sometimes taking medicine for depression is just the same as taking medicines for other medical needs. I had never thought about that before. So here’s what I learned about medical help for depression: 

  1. Be open minded as you consider the medical aspects of depression. If your car’s engine warning light comes on you don’t think twice about bothering a mechanic you get it fixed. Do the same with your chemical levels. Sometimes we all just need a little help.  
  2. Depression can happen for a number of reasons and all avenues need to be considered for treatment, help and support. 
  3. Medication can help with emotional management.  
  4. Here are some physiological signs that medication should be considered: erratic sleep; excessive pessimism; easily led to crying; moodiness; significant change in weight; decreased sex drive; decreased motivation; poor concentration and thoughts of self harm. At various times I had experienced all of these symptoms. 
  5. Depression is sometimes caused because emotional health is depleted. 

Sometimes we all just need a little help

Can I encourage you with these first steps. Pray that God would help you manage your depression. Depression is deep and doesn’t usually just disappear. As I said in my previous blog I want to write these blogs to be a caring pastor and if I can pray for you please email me at:  caringpastorglyn@gmail.com.

Depression, the ugly reality.

My journey with depression has been an on and off again battle. Some days I was fully functioning and felt “normal”. Other days it seemed as though I was carrying a large weight around. When it became clear that something more than a simple “down day” was happening I started to read and read and read. What I didn’t do was tell anyone. I mean, who would I tell? What would they think of me if I told them? I was supposed to be the strong one. 

Depression does that, it locks you into isolation. It’s the isolation that is natural but it is so dangerous. I have found in the 20+ years of pastoral counseling as I tried to help people it was the isolation that I saw to be so dangerous. That isolation kept everything in the dark where only shame and guilt grew. In my experience it wasn’t the vocal people that were most at risk it was the silent ones who didn’t let anyone in. I didn’t want to be that person who impacted his family and his church with his silent struggle. So I tried to power through. That didn’t work at all. 

So I made the big step of letting someone in. I was so apprehensive about telling someone. I felt so weak, defeated, and dumb. But when I reached out to a person I trusted who was both a counselor and a friend, I found him to be so understanding, supportive, and helpful. I didn’t feel as though I was weak or broken. My friend listened and encouraged me and from the beginning of that first step God started a great work in my soul. 

In my mind depression is like grief, you don’t so much get over it as much as though you learn to live with it. 

As I shared with my friend what was happening he suggested a number of things to read. As I read I learned so much.

For the next few blogs I’m going to share some of the most helpful mind-changing things I learned. Number one was being courageous and let one person in with what’s going on. If you don’t know who to turn to, pray and ask God to guide you. 

Number two on that list was the life-changing paradigm shift that depression is often anger turned inward. I never connected those dots before. I thought something was wrong with me. I thought maybe I was just weak. I thought maybe just a change in job and zip code would lift the darkness I felt. What I learned was such a huge growth point for me. I moved from looking at circumstances and relationships to looking inward. I prayed more specifically as I sought to understand. 

Here is what I learned: To grow I need to be able to identify my anger. When I can more clearly identify my anger I can learn how to manage it better. 

  1. I needed to understand my personality. To learn how to not subject my soul to unnecessary stressors that perpetuate my depression. Someone once said to me “Don’t sweat the small stuff”. That was so important for me. 
  2. I learned that I hated being taken for granted, misunderstood, and manipulated by strong willed people. 
  3. I found that I felt anger that was shown in my sense of not being understood or accepted. I often responded with a tendency to withdraw .
  4. I feared that if I expressed my anger people would misunderstand or reject me. 
  5. I learned that my anger is typically mismanaged by suppression. That sense of suppression leads me to being critical or withdrawing.  
  6. I also learned that when I didn’t withdraw I responded with being passive-aggressive.

This tied in so much with what I read about Elijah in I Kings chapter 18 & 19 . Here again is a summary of what I shared in my last blog: 

  1. Elijah was physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted.
  2. Elijah had unmet expectations . He thought that this hasn’t gone like he thought it should have gone. 
  3. He responded with isolation.  
  4. This led Elijah to experience suicidal thoughts . He thought there was no way of escape.  
  5. Finally, Elijah lost perspective:  “I am the only one left….”

Can I encourage you with those first two steps. Pray that God would help you manage your depression. Depression is deep and doesn’t usually just disappear. As I said in my previous blog I want to write these blogs to be a caring pastor and if I can pray for you please email me at:  caringpastorglyn@gmail.com. 

The downward spiral of depression

One of the most surprising lessons I learned about depression as a Christian is that there are examples of depression in the Bible. I was pretty shocked to study this as I always thought depression was a sign of weakness or worse yet, defeat. 

In his book about depression, author Phil Tuttle calls depression “The silent killer of God’s servants”. I can certainly resonate with that. I have spent much time especially on Sundays wrestling with a deep sense of darkness in my soul. I remember struggling with the energy needed to get in front of people, and struggling with caring for others when I feel so low myself. I remember wrestling with seasons when I have no idea why I feel such darkness in my heart. I searched for deep sins and logical reasons for the depression that was so real. I sought help, prayed and prayed and prayed! 

Then God led me to His Word and hope started to come back a little at a time. 

In I Kings chapters 18 & 19 we read Elijah’s five steps in his downward spiral into depression. I won’t go on and on but simply outline for you what happened and I’m sure you will see parts of his pattern in your own life.  

  1. He is physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted – depression so often starts here 
  2. Unmet expectations – This hasn’t gone like I think it should have 
  3. Isolation 
  4. Suicidal thoughts – Thinking there is no escape 
  5. Lost perspective – “I am the only one left….”

If we are going to learn to live with depression it’s important to start with understanding how we spiral down. If we can start to see patterns we can be better equipped to respond to the soul darkness we feel. 

For me at least, these 5 stages Elijah went through resonate with me so much. I don’t like resting, that’s what sleep is for. I struggle with just being still. Anyone who knows me would say I’m active. So periods of physical and emotional exhaustion come pretty regularly. Serving as a pastor as an imperfect person serving imperfect people there will be a steady stream of unmet expectations. I am definitely that guy that responds to the first two stages with a response of withdrawal. I look back and see how this part of the spiral takes me down. It’s hard to ask for help. I have a million reasons why I shouldn’t share this struggle with anyone. I have never wrestled with serious thoughts of suicide but I have known times when I feel paralyzed. It’s in that place that all reality and perspective is lost. I feel very much alone and I feel very hopeless.Can you resonate with these stages in your own life? I would love to help as I am able. I can pray for you at least. You are not alone in so many ways. My email address is caringpastorglyn@gmail.com.

Darkness

There are many unspoken lessons we learn by going to church or by being in relationship with Christians. We learn at an early age what words we should and should not use. We learn what we should and should not do. 

Some of those lessons are life-changing. We learn that Jesus died to save us and that we can be in a relationship with Him. 

Some of those lessons can be life-sucking. We learn that there are some people who will always be there with their clipboards keeping track of our mistakes. We learn that there are always rules and if we aren’t careful we think that rule keepers is what God primarily wants. 

I have always been that guy that rides the ups and downs of life. I am the one who jokes around and laughs out loud and loves to make others laugh. I am that guy who drifts into seeking solitude. I am that guy who wrestles with seasons of depression. 

The trouble is, I claim to be a Christian. To make matters worse I have served as a pastor for over 25 years. One of the lessons I learned was that Christians and especially pastors don’t and shouldn’t wrestle with depression. So I pushed down the darkness I felt and powered through the tough days. That works for a while but soon depression is like squeezing a balloon. If you squeeze in the middle, the air is pushed to the outside. Depression will impact us if we don’t acknowledge it and allow God to do His work in our lives. 

Recently my very good friend, Tom Bennardo, wrote a book about church planting. It’s called “The honest guide to church planting”. I loved the book but I especially enjoyed the first chapter, “The truth about you”. In this chapter Tom talks about “The Great Weakening”. He shares how church planting will reveal in you what you didn’t know existed. He writes that there are four areas that we feel with our own great weakening.

  • Physical / emotional health – For me, that was depression. 
  • Marriage / family 
  • Finances 
  • Ministry – work 

At the conclusion of this life-changing chapter he writes: “We’re struck with the haunting prospect that we’re enduring an affliction we did not seek, for a purpose we can not understand, before a God who will not intervene”. That has been me so many times in my life. 

So as I start this series I want to make the following commitments to those of you willing to journey with me:

  • I am writing the blogs not to indulge our feelings as if they are the most powerful force in our lives but to seek to help and encourage you in your own season. 
  • I commit not to lecture or try to solve deep issues with simple “Facebook” type single sentence answers. 
  • I commit to be honest in my own struggles but also share the life-changing Word of God and how God has met with me. 

To close, let me encourage you with this quote: (Desiring God) – “Keep listening for God’s voice, even when you feel dead to his word. Keep crying out to him, even when he feels deaf to you. Keep gathering with his people, even when they don’t understand what you’re going through. Soon enough, God will wipe away every tear”.