mental health

  • Tackling The Topic of Suicide

    suicide

    Blue Monday is a serious issue. Researchers have said that the third Monday of January is noted for being the saddest day of the year.  The consensus is that there are a combination of factors affecting our mood at that time, bringing us down.

    The Reason’s Why

    The researchers blame:

    • Bad Weather
    • Post-Christmas Debt
    • Work Stress
    • Long Wait For Summer

    Getting Worn Down

    I don’t know if your family and friend group is anything like mine but I have many in both groups who struggle with mental health issues that in turn, can often create relationship health issues. I’ve had to be the part of suicide watch for too many people.  Each time taking a toll on my mental health. 

    The Effects of Woodney’s Show

    To be honest, I believe this has left me with a form of PTSD that was triggered last summer by an event and again while writing and recording this week’s Soul H2O Radio & Podcast show when Woodney Pierre shares the story of her brother’s suicide and how she’s finding hope to heal.  

    As I talk about in her show, Woodney is comforted in knowing that Jesus understands.  

    How We Know… Jesus Understands

    Hebrews 4:15 says:

    For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

    Matthew 26:36-38 says:

    Then Jesus went with them to a garden called Gethsemane and told his disciples, “Stay here while I go over there and pray.” Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he plunged into an agonizing sorrow. Then he said, “This sorrow is crushing my life out. Stay here and keep vigil with me.”

    Beyond Jesus just understanding, we KNOW that he came to fulfill the prophecies in Isaiah 42:3 and Isaiah 61:1 to bind up the brokenhearted.

    Jesus Came To Heal

    Matthew 12:20 says:

    He won’t brush aside the bruised and broken.
    He will be gentle with the weak and feeble,
    until his victory releases justice.

    Jesus understands feelings of wanting to die and He overcame them so you can too! 

    Jesus came, so you could overcome!

    Christ came to bring you hope and healing, so don’t let your feelings make you feel like a failure and that God is rejecting you.  Those are lies from the enemy and not the truth. God loves you and wants to be close to you.

    Psalm 34:18 says:

    The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

    Thankfully, those who I’ve had to help through times of serious suicidal ideations have made it through to the other side and I’m so very proud of them.  They’re all living their best life now and learning how to shut down negative or depressive thoughts so they aren’t tempted to self-harm, bad life choices or suicide. 

    Through all of these struggles, I’ve learned healthier coping skills that enable me to rise above my times of sadness.  Whenever events or emotions are triggered, I go to things that will leave me stronger… not with more problems after I placate the feelings.  

    Here are some of my GO-TO Coping Skills:

    • Deep Breathing Exercises
    • Move: Go for a walk, change your position (sitting… then stand)
    • Pray
    • Read God’s Word
    • Read a Christian book that encourages me
    • Listen to and inspiring Christian Radio Show or Podcast
    • Watch some Great Christian Television or Videos
    • Dance
    • Put on a funny movie
    • Listen to comedy
    • Call my counselor (she’s on speed dial 😂)
    • Call a friend that will pray with me

    You NEED to do something.  Don’t just sit in it.  Learn from David in Psalms 42:5, 11 and 43:5

    Why, my soul, are you so dejected? Why are you in such turmoil? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise him, my Savior and my God.

    Psalm 42:5 CSB

    If you choose to just sit in it, you’re going to have a hard time to get up and as my friend Cheryl Nembhard often encourages, “Get up Sis. You’re a Warrior.” 

    So, if you’re facing Blue Monday and #BellLetsTalk Day with depression, and anxiety and worry in your way… Here’s some content I’ve created to help you find hope and healing in the One who came to bind up the brokenhearted.

    Much love,

    Sherry
    xoxo

    #BellLetsTalk Day is usually the third Thursday of the month (January 28th in 2021).  This day was created to help breakdown the negative stigma of mental health issues and donate funds to help.
    https://letstalk.bell.ca/en/bell-lets-talk-day

    MY MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES FOR YOU


    CRISIS MENTAL HEALTH HELP & SUICIDE HOTLINES

    If you or a loved one is struggling with suicidal thoughts and tendencies, please ask for help, there’s no need to face this on your own. You can find hope and healing. 

    CLICK TO FIND HELP
    https://www.sherrystahl.com/crisis-help-suicide-hotlines/

    Help & Encouragement From The Soul H2O Blog, Radio & Podcast Show along with Sherry’s Website

    Mental Health Related Soul H2O Blog Posts List:  
    https://www.sherrystahl.com/mental-health-related-posts/
    Soul H2O Radio & Podcast Show Episodes Related to Mental Health
    https://soulh2o.com/mental-health-encouragement-in-soul-h2o-radio-podcast-shows/
    mental health resources page featured image
    Mental Health Resources to help you find hope: 
    https://www.sherrystahl.com/resources/mental-health-resources/
    Episode #53
    Hope For The Bruised & Broken
    with Woodney Pierre
    https://soulh2o.com/53/

    Read More

  • Crisis Mental Health Help, Suicide Hotlines, and Prayer Support

    If you or a loved one is struggling with suicidal thoughts and tendencies, please ask for help, there’s no need to face this on your own. You can find hope and healing. 

    If you are in crisis, please go to your local hospital or call 911 immediately.

    Suicide Prevention Service Hotlines  

    Call in English: It’s available 24/7/365 days of the year. Call 1-833-456-4566   
    Call in French: It’s available 24/7/365 days of the year. Call 1-866-APPELLE (1-866-277-3553) 
    Text: Available from 4pm to 12am Eastern Time. Text 45645 
    KidsHelpPhone Ages 20 Years and Under in Canada.  Call 1-800-668-6868 
    Celebrate Recovery at http://www.celebraterecovery.ca 
    Celebrate Recovery at http://www.celebraterecovery.com 

    US National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) at any time day or night 24/7, to talk to someone who understands. You can go online at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org for more information and help. 

    PRAYER SUPPORT

    If you want someone to pray with you: 
    In Canada: 100 Huntley Street 1-866-273-4444 
    In USA: Focus On The Family1-800-A-FAMILY (1-800-232-6459) 
    Email: prayer@sherrystahl.com  

    Help & Encouragement From The Soul H2O Blog, Radio & Podcast Show along with Sherry’s Website

    Mental Health Related Soul H2O Blog Posts List:  
    https://www.sherrystahl.com/mental-health-related-posts/
    Soul H2O Radio & Podcast Show Episodes Related to Mental Health
    https://soulh2o.com/mental-health-encouragement-in-soul-h2o-radio-podcast-shows/
    mental health resources page featured image
    Mental Health Resources to help you find hope: 
    https://www.sherrystahl.com/resources/mental-health-resources/
    Episode #53
    Hope For The Bruised & Broken
    with Woodney Pierre
    https://soulh2o.com/53/


    Read More

  • Do You Ever Go To Sleep Worried?

    “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
    Matthew 11:28-30

    A couple years ago, I went out for dinner at a Spanish restaurant in Tampa with my daughter Shelby, her roomie Boquet, and Bo’s mom, Mel. We had such a great night with lots of talking… ‘cause that’s what us girls do!

    Guatemalan Worry DollsAt the end of our meal, the waitress gave each of us Guatemalan worry dolls.  She told us how it was customary for parents to help children who worried at night by making the dolls. Worrisome Guatemalan children are encouraged to tell the doll all their fears.

    Legend teaches them that the doll will take the child’s worry upon themselves, so they can sleep.  When the child wakes up in the morning, the doll is supposed to have fixed their problems.  It’s a whimsical way to help quell the anxiety of children, but I can’t imagine it being sufficient to silence the stress of adults who go to sleep worried.

    DO YOU EVER GO TO SLEEP WORRIED?

    I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all had times when we go to sleep worriedor maybe I’m the only one {Insert wink here}. Life can be stressful and full of situations that seek to make you worry. At times I’ve found myself so wound up that my mind can’t settle. 

    When I let them, worries of this life can keep my eyes wide open, while Todd’s already dreaming beside me in bed. But it doesn’t have to be like this, in fact, it shouldn’t be like this. It’s challenging to read how the NLT translates Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:32. When talking about worry, He said, “These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows your needs.”

    It makes sense that unbelievers should worry because they don’t have a God to help them. Christians minds shouldn’t be dominated by worry. 

    MATTHEW 11:28-30In today’s key verse, Jesus gives you an offer that should help you fall asleep, as soon as your head hits the pillow… even without a Guatemalan worry doll.

    It’s amazing to me how people can let a man-made doll, only 1-2 inches tall take their worry away; yet we struggle to trust our troubles with God… the same God who formed you in your mother’s womb, holds the universe in place, sets the timing of the tides, and feeds the birds of the air.

    Jesus actually invites you to give all your burdens to Him, and unlike the little dolls, He actually has the power to do something about your problems.

    Jesus promises that when you give your weary, burdened thoughts to Him, He’ll, in turn, give you rest for your soul… you know, that physical part of you that needs sleep. Your worry, for His rest… Now that’s a deal you shouldn’t turn down!     

    So, today, why not give your worry to Jesus, let Him take care of it, so you can get a great night’s sleep tonight!

    Prayer

    Father… Forgive me for holding onto my worry. Help me to release all my anxious thoughts to You and receive Your rest.  I place my stress, my worry, my doubt and my fear into Your all-powerful hands and I won’t pick it back up again.  I choose to release and trust, because You are trustworthy. In Jesus Name…Amen

    DOES YOUR STRUGGLE GO BEYOND WORRY, COULD IT BE ANXIETY OR DEPRESSION?  I’VE COMPILED RESOURCES TO HELP YOUR MENTAL HEALTH : 
    https://sherrystahl.com/mental-health-resources/

    Soul H2O
    If you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.

    #Dare2Share Post in the Comment Section below and bolster the faith of someone else!

    DRAWING FROM THE WELL

    Drawing from the well1. Matthew 11:28-30
    2. Philippians 4:6
    3. Jeremiah 31:25
    4. Matthew 6:25-34

    Saturday’s Soul H2O Radio/Podcast Episode starts off discussing this devotion and leads into a deep discussion on Can You Believe In God & Be Depressed.  Sarah E. Ball is my interview Guest and I know you’ll be encouraged by her story. 

    Read More

  • Can I Believe in God And Be Depressed?

    Can I Believe in GodToday’s post is for #BellLetsTalk day.  If you’re a reader from outside of Canada let me explain.  Bell Let’s Talk Day is an initiative that Bell Media took on to help de-stigmatize mental health issues.

    It is radically changing the climate within our country to help see people with mental health issues like people with any other physical sickness. Not to be pitied, insulted or looked-down on, but to be loved, cared-for and helped.  I pray this post helps to initiate conversation, provide resources but most of all set some people free in the body of believers!


    Why am I so depressed?
    Why this turmoil within me?
    Put your hope in God,
    for I will still praise Him,
    my Savior and my God.
    ~Psalm 42:5, 11 & 43:5 HCSB



    When I was a teenager, I was such a happy-go-lucky kind of girl, always seeing the glass half-full. I remember reading through the book of Psalms and thinking

    What’s wrong with David?  This guy really needs to get himself together. One minute he’s singing God’s praises and the next he wants to die. Doesn’t he believe in God?  I mean, his whining is recorded in the Bible? How did this part get in there?

    It wasn’t until I experienced a deeply wounding marriage, ending in a bitter divorce with many legal issues that I understood the depths of despair, depression, and anxiety that David faced. I’ve been decimated emotionally, relationally, financially and spiritually countless times.

    It sometimes feels like when I finally climb out of one pit there’s a crater waiting around the corner, trying to pull me back down.  Add menopause to the mix and you’re walking on thin-ice emotionally! If it weren’t for God’s presence and His Word I really don’t know what I’d do… and I don’t want to find out.  I know it wouldn’t be a pretty picture.

    Psalm 42 and 43 are taken from the pages of David’s journal but after the last decade or so of my life you could’ve sworn they were stolen from my diary. I feel comforted to know that David is someone God himself describes not once, but twice in His Word as “a man after his own heart”; even with all the whining! This portion of Scripture starts off with a song we often sing in church:

    As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul longs after You, O God.
    My soul thirsts for God, the living God.
    Psalm 42:1-2 NIV

    My heart has been crying out this song since it released in the late 1980’s1 but it wasn’t until the latter part of my life (not that I’m near the end yet J ) when I understood David’s back and forth struggle with staying positive. The balance of trusting God as my refuge, redeemer and rescuer when the rough times keep cycling through.

    Why are you downcast, O my soul?
    Why the unease within me?
    Put your hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him
    for the salvation of His presence.
    ~Psalm 42:5 Berean Study Bible

    So, if you’re asking the question…

     Can I Believe in God And Be Depressed?

    Let me answer a resounding, YES!

    The phrase ‘depressed believer’ isn’t just a paradox but often a reality

    [tweetthis]The phrase ‘depressed believer’ isn’t just a paradox but often a reality. #depression #bellletstalk[/tweetthis]

    In case you think maybe just you, me and David were the only people who have ever believed in God and experienced times of being down, discouraged or depressed, let me help you see reality.  With just a quick study I found over a dozen people in the Bible alone who struggled with the same feelings we have. Who makes the list a baker’s dozen should really make you feel like you’re in good company.

    A Baker’s Dozen of Down, Discouraged or Depressed People In The Bible

    1. Leah Genesis 29:31-35
    2. Rachel Genesis 30:1-3, 22-24
    3. Jonah Jonah 4
    4. Job Job 1-3; 10:1, 30:15-17
    5. Naomi Ruth 1-4
    6. David Psalm 42-43
    7. Writer of Ecclesiastes Ecclesiastes 1-3, 12
    8. Hannah 1 Samuel 1
    9. Jeremiah Jeremiah 20:14-18
    10. Elijah 1 Kings 19
    11. Moses Ex 18; Ex 32:32
    12. Paul 2 Corinthians 4:8-16
    13. Jesus Isaiah 53:3; Mark 14:34-36; Luke 22:44

    All of these people believed in God yet struggled with emotions of being down, discouraged or depressed.  Think, even Mother Teresa’s diary revealed times of deep despair.2 I’m NOT saying that God wants you to be depressed or that it’s a good thing.  My point is… the enemy wants you to feel like you’re the only one who struggles like this, like you’re weird, have no faith or that maybe you don’t really believe in God.  You have to let truth remind you that he’s a liar!

    YOU’RE NOT ALONE!

    [tweetthis]YOU’RE NOT ALONE! #BellLetsTalk #mentalhealth #depression [/tweetthis]

    Let me also tell you that the same God who allowed those people to experience hardship and heartbreak, is the same God who carried them into victory.  God has done the same for me and He wants to do the same for you! God doesn’t want to leave you where you are.  He has so much more for you! David wrote of his emotional struggles yes, but he also wrote about the joy of the Lord.

    weeping may stay for the night,
    but rejoicing comes in the morning.
    ~Psalm 30:5  NIV

    God desires to bring us all THROUGH our difficult times and replace them with seasons of happiness.  Until then, we have His Word, His presence, and His joy to be our strength!

    RESOURCES TO HELP YOU RISE ABOVE

    To help you not get stuck in the desert but travel through the feelings of being down, discouraged or depressed I’ve created some resources for you.

    Subscribe to receive a printout of Scriptures to soak in your spirit and refresh your soul.  These are all verses that God has used to lift me above my circumstances and trust Him for greater days ahead…I mean we are promised heaven, aren’t we folks? 🙂

    Since I am often asked for resources to help with depression or other mental health issues, I created a whole page on my site to help you and your loved ones.

    https://sherrystahl.com/mental-health-resources/

    Praying 2019 is a Golden Year of new joy and many blessings for you!

    -Sherry


    #BellLetsTalk 


    #Dare2
    Share
    Post in the Comment Section below and bolster the faith of someone else!


    #musicpics
    Here Again (Extended Version) | Live

    Makes Me Feel: PEACE, Comforted knowing God is with me
    Sung By: Elevation Worship
    Website: http://martynystrom.com/

    CD:  Live Recording at a Gathering
    Written By: Marty Nystrom
    © 2018
    Youtube Video – Live Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfLcdBuB7NY

    #musicpics #retrosong
    As The Deer

    Makes Me Feel: Worshipful, Wanting to get closer to God
    Sung By: Marty Nystrom
    Website: http://martynystrom.com/

    CD:  We Draw Near
    Written By: Marty Nystrom
    © 1984
    Youtube Video With Lyrics: https://youtu.be/a5pZkLWZv-E

    Youtube Video by Marty Nystrom:  https://youtu.be/tdY4Nx0EprI
    Songfacts: https://www.songfacts.com/lyrics/martin-nystrom/as-the-deer



    ENDNOTES

    1. https://youtu.be/a5pZkLWZv-E Youtube Website Accessed: 2019-01-27
    2. http://www.mentalhealthjustice.net/blog/2016/3/14/53sdjv7bzb4g3cdwqw2b97mwi2ppls website accessed: 2019-01-30

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  • What Are You Thinking About?

    “May the words of my mouth
    and
    the meditations of my heart
    be pleasing to you”
    ~Psalm 19:14 NLT

    What Are You Thinking AboutTodd loves to watch Funny videos online.  He’s always coming up with the most hilarious ones and sends them to people, it’s kind of his ministry J lol.  A couple years ago, Todd sent me this YouTube link called, ‘German Coast Guard Trainee’.  It’s a German commercial for a program to help improve your English. You can watch the video below, or here’s the run-down of the clip. There is a senior Coast Guard officer showing a young trainee the equipment in German.  With little instruction, the trainer slaps him on the back and leaves the room.  Suddenly a harried call comes in from an English vessel and you hear, “Mayday, mayday… we are sinking”. The young trainee bewildered responds in broken German/English saying, “Allo, zis is ze German Coast Guard…”  Another frantic plea breaks through his speaking, “we’re sinking, we’re sinking”.  With a puzzled look, the trainee says, “Vat are you… Sinking About?”

    This play on words gets you thinking about your thinking.

    WHAT ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT?

    In today’s Bible verse, the psalmist challenges you to make sure the words of our mouth AND the meditations of your heart are pleasing to God.  Sounds simple enough, but this is where the hard work of faith kicks in.  It’s easier to keep what comes out of your mouth in check but keeping the meditations of your heart pleasing to God is ‘fish-swimming-upstream’ kind of tough.

    Proverbs 4:23 warns you to,

    “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

    What you think, fills your heart.  What’s in your heart will eventually come out of your mouth. So, you need to get intentional about what you allow to stay in between those ears of yours! Paul taught about the issue of controlling our thoughts in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 when he said,

    “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

    This verse isn’t just talking about arguments that other people are making or lofty opinions that others are sharing contrary to the truth of God.  You can’t take captive the thoughts in someone else’s head, you can only take captive your own… and if you’re directed to do something in Scripture, then you can do it!

    So… Vat are you sinking about?

    Prayer

    Father…I thank you that You’ve given me the power to control my thoughts. I’m not powerless in the battle to control my thought patterns. I have the mind of Christ, so I am able to take captive every thought and make them obedient to you Jesus! Help me to exercise the authority I’ve been given.  In Jesus Name…Amen


    To give you some ‘rubber hits the road’ help for when those negative thoughts are tough to manage, I’ve posted another article called,
    11 PRACTICAL STEPS TO HELP YOU CONTROL YOUR THOUGHTS
    Check it out to go in a little deeper on this subject.


    #Dare2Share
    Post in the Comment Section below and bolster the faith of someone else!

    Drawing from the well

    1. Isaiah 28:5-6
    2. Romans 12:2 (NLT is worded in a clear way)
    3. 1 Corinthians 2:16
    4. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

    Soul H2O bookIf you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.

    Read More

  • 11 Practical Steps to Help You Control Your Thoughts

    I published a devotion called, What Are You Thinking About? and felt it needed some practical suggestions to make it complete.  So, here are just a few tips you could implement to help keep your thoughts in check.

    11 Practical Steps to Help You Control Your Thoughts11 PRACTICAL STEPS TO HELP YOU CONTROL YOUR THOUGHTS

    1. Practice Breathing Exercises
    2. Decrease Stress In Your Life
    3. Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet of Nutritious Food
    4. Decrease Intake of processed, chemically created foods and drinks
    5. Read Your Bible to help bring peace and renew your thinking
    6. Spend time meditating on God’s Word
    7. Put encouraging Scripture verses on cue-cards and strategically place them for easy access and frequent visibility
    8. Spend time in prayer, brining your anxious thoughts to Him for help
    9. Read Books That can help heal your soul wounds
    10. Get Counseling to help heal your soul wounds
    11. Talk to your doctor if you’ve done all these things and can’t get control of your thoughts

    This list was not meant to condemn you, but to help you.

    If controlling your thought life is an issue for you, then begin to work towards getting your soul healthy, so your mind can think right. There are great books to help you heal wounds you’ve experienced to your mind, will, and emotions.  I recommend getting counseling because too often you can’t see the hidden things of your hearts and counselors are trained professionals to help you unearth what’s been buried, so it doesn’t keep popping up in your life {usually at the worst times}. If you’ve been working on getting your soul healthy, reading your Bible and praying on a regular basis but you can’t seem to get a handle on your thoughts (the meditations of your heart), then you might be struggling with depression or anxiety, or both.

    An inability to control your thoughts is a clinical marker for depression.  

    I have created a page on my website to help discuss many of these issues.  I’m not a health-care professional by any means but have experienced these struggles myself and so do close family members. As a result, I’ve done a lot of research and it’s helping so many people. Click here to explore my mental health page and find resources that might help you, especially the videos at the bottom of the page.

    “May the words of my mouth
    and
    the meditations of my heart
    be pleasing to you”
    ~Psalm 19:14 NLT 

    Soul H2OIf you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.

    Read More

  • Defeating Anxiety By Counting Your Blessings

    Ruth ThorogoodThis #soulh2o devo is coming as a result of my recording with my adventerous friend Ruth Thorogood!

    I’m so thankful for this girl!  

    Recording the Thanksgiving episode with her got me thinking about my need to get back into the habit of Counting My Blessings in an effort to defeating anxiety in my life.

    I vaguely remembered writing a devo about that  and saw that I sent it out exactly 2 years ago today!  How crazy is that! As I read it, I felt so strongly that I needed to resend out this devotion instead of the one I had written for this week. I thought if I had a hard time remembering it and I wrote it, that it would be pretty-much new to you too!  I’m late getting it out again but hoping I have things regulated with all the new on my plate since starting the Soul H2O Radio show real soon 🙂  Girls, I’m loving it and hope you are too.

    Praying you have a blessed Thanksgiving weekend!


    Defeating Anxiety By Counting My Blessings

    This post was featured on Crystal Twaddell’s FRESH MARKET FRIDAY Linkup. Crystal Twaddell

    This weekend, we Canadians will celebrate Thanksgiving.  Our houses will be filled with the delicious aromas of turkey, stuffing, gravy, sweet potato mash and pumpkin pie.  I’m responsible for bringing the Green Bean Casserole and my Thankfulness Journal.

    COLLECTING THANKFULNESS

    Years before I tried to get people to share what they were thankful for around the table and that never worked, so I bought the book and began collecting the gratitude of my family and friends at Thanksgiving dinner.  This year I’ve stepped it up a notch and again began Counting My Blessings each morning.  This practice always helps change my outlook on life.

    Philippians 4: 6-8In Philippians chapter four, Paul is writing to help people struggling with anxiety.  He says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  He then teaches how to keep this kind of peace in verse 8 by keeping our thoughts fixed on things worthy of praise.

    Science & Scripture

    I love when science backs up Scripture.  Recent studies have given fact to Paul’s theory on defeating anxiety with thanksgiving.

    In a Psychology Today magazine article called The Grateful Brain; The neuroscience of giving thanks”, Alex Korb, PhD tells how practicing thankfulness

    “has the power to reshape your  neural pathways….
    help you exercise more, sleep better and be happier…
    So gratitude had a direct effect on depression symptoms
    (the more gratitude, the less depression)
    and an indirect effect on anxiety
    (increased gratitude led to improved sleep, which led to lower anxiety).
    Either way, with gratitude you’re better off, and you get a good night’s sleep.”1

    In a scientific study of 293 adults with mental health issues, people were put into three groups. The first group received counselling. The second group went to counselling, but also had to journal about

    “their deepest thoughts and feelings about stressful experiences”.

    The third group

    “wrote letters expressing gratitude to others”

    along with counselling sessions. This last group incorporated gratitude writing in their health regimen

    “reported significantly better mental health“ by four weeks and still at twelve weeks.2

    God’s ways make sense.  He knows what works.
    So, start defeating anxiety in your life by daily Counting Your Blessings.

    Prayer

    Father…I’m thankful for Your Word.  It speaks right into my life with the same relevance to me as the people in Paul’s day. Defeat anxiety in my life as I express Thanksgiving to You and those around me. Let me experience Your peace when I focus my thoughts on Counting My Blessings and not my losses. In Jesus Name…Amen

    Start defeating anxiety in your life by daily Counting Your Blessings Click To Tweet

    If you think you may be struggling with clinical depression or anxiety, check out my MENTAL HEALTH page for some guidance and links to great resources.

    Soul H2O bookIf you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women. 

    1.  

    Drawing from the well

    1. 1. Philippians 4:6-8
    2. 2. Psalm 103:2
    3. 3. Ephesians 5:20
    4. 4. Psalm 118:1
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  • Why Experiencing Weakness After a Mountaintop Moment is Normal

    Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.  All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water.  He ate and drank and then lay down again.”                                                                                                                                                                            1 Kings 19;5-6

    “Sherry, is something wrong with me?” Pinged the inbox message on my phone as we travelled home on the last leg of our Guatemala mission trip.

    Possibilities International Guatemala March Break Trip 2017 http://www.iam1ru.com

    It was a heartfelt message from one of the young women on the team.  She expressed how her emotions were up and down ever since the moment we left that beautiful country.  She was asking if what she was feeling was ‘normal’.

    I let her know that I was feeling the same as her.  Todd and I had just visited with my son and his girlfriend on the way home from the airport and the first thing out of Brandon’s mouth was, “Mom you look so tired!” and boy, was he right!  There truly are legitimate reasons why experiencing weakness after a mountaintop moment is normal.

    ELIJAH COMING DOWN FORM THE MOUNTAINTOP MOMENT

    This portion of scripture comes from the recounting of Elijah after his triumph over the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel where God used Elijah in a most profound way.  Elijah showed the people God’s power when he called down fire on the altar built for God. As the fire burnt up the offering the prophets of Baal were defeated, but right after that Elijah crashes in fear and succumbs to depression.  He was taken out by the after-effects of a mountaintop moment.

    Everest Beyond The LimitYears ago I was intrigued by the Discovery TV series Everest:  Beyond The Limit.1  I learned that more people die coming down from Mount Everest than do reaching the peak.

    [tweetthis]More people die coming down from Mount Everest than do reaching the peak.[/tweetthis]

    There are physical, emotional and spiritual reasons why our bodies respond this way because, God made us body, soul and spirit.

    Physically, your body has been releasing adrenaline.  When ‘climbing the mountain’ you need it to keep you going, especially when you’re not getting enough sleep.  By the time you stop, your body is physically drained from the adrenaline rush.  It takes time to recover.  Emotionally, mountaintop experiences cause such rise and falls in serotonin, dopamine and endorphins that your body can be depleted of these resources too.  Add to that when we step out to do something great for God the enemy doesn’t like it and wants to add to the natural effects.

    REST, EAT AND DRINK

    Elijah needed to refresh his body before his soul and spirit could be restored.  So do you!  Don’t neglect the practical.  Understand why experiencing weakness after a mountaintop moment is normal and follow God’s directions for recuperation: Rest, eat healthy food and drink water to refresh both your body and soul.

    PRAYER

    Father…I thank You for calling me to do great and exciting things!  Help me to grow in understanding of how You created me to function as body, soul and spirit.  You don’t want me to feed one and neglect another.  Give me wisdom to know when to rest and refresh so I will stay strong in You!  In Jesus Name…Amen

    If you think you may be struggling with clinical depression or anxiety, check out my MENTAL HEALTH page for some guidance and links to great resources.

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    1                Accessed 2017-03-19
    https://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/everest/videos/everest-beyond-the-limit-summit-gridlock/

    2                Accessed 2017-03-19
    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/news-blog/death-on-mount-everest-the-perils-o-2008-12-10/
    https://www.livestrong.com/article/203790-what-happens-during-an-adrenaline-rush/
    https://www.drlam.com/articles/adrenal_crash_and_recovery_cycle.asp

    blogger prayer

    YOU CAN OFTEN FIND ME LINKING UP WITH:
    MONDAY Monday MeditationsLaura J. Davis,
    TUESDAY
    Cheerleaders of Faith #RARaLinkup – Kelly Balarie,
    WEDNESDAY
    Coffee For Your HeartHolley Gerth, Word Nerd Wednesdays — Liz Giertz
    THURSDAY
    Heart Encouragement ThursdayCrystal Storms, Chasing Community  Barbara Bradford Ottinger
    FRIDAY
    Dance With Jesus LinkupSusan B. Mead, Grace and Truth LinkupArabah Joy, Counting My Blessings – Deb Wolf, Fresh Market FridayCrystal Twaddell

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  • Faith & Lace With Shelby

    On Sunday Night my daughter, Shelby created a blog for young women called “Faith & Lace“.  

    Faith & Lace

    Shelby releasing faith and laceIt’s all about faith, fashion, music or whatever she’s feeling at the time!   Shelby’s one of those strange kids that watched Fashion Television from when she was about 4 years old, and has great fashion sense now.  

    I think she loved music since the day she was born!  Shelby would kind of sing herself to sleep in her little basssonette.  Somehow she’s been blessed with a beautiful singing voice and the ability to play multiple instruments.  She didn’t get that from her momma!  

    Shelby’s faith was strong from a young age, but was almost destroyed in her early teen years.  Thankfully, things have changed so much!  

    Writing Devotions

    cross Shelbys faith and lace siteShelby started her blog with a devotional called “What Is Your Cross“. I wonder where she ever got the idea to write a devotional 😉  (Twinkle in her momma’s eye!)

    In the post, Shelby talks about her inspiration for writing the blog when she quotes Luke 9:23, “Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must… take up your cross daily, and follow me.”  Shelby goes on to say:

    I choose today to carry my cross of depression and anxiety high and follow God, no matter how painful and hard it may seem.

    So I ask you this, what is YOUR cross?

    Will you choose to let that cross bring you down and keep you in pain and discomfort, or are you going carry it with pride? Soon the cross will be dragged so long that it will slowly grind down to nothing, and you will truly feel free.

    Shelby has gone through so much in her short 18 years and has had to fight to get free.  It has come from accepting the cross she has to bear!  

    I couldn’t be more proud of her!  Interestingly, as she has accepted her cross and allowed God to use it, He has seen fit to lift the depression from her.  Steadily over the past year there has been a growing vibrancy and hope for the future in Shelby.   Her desire for God to use her and all she’s gone through make this momma’s heart sing!  

    Looks like we have another author in the house!  

    Since this post released, years have past… Her overcoming nature inspired a devotion and then Shelby shared her story in more detail on my Soul H2O Radio &Podcast Show. 

    Check out Shelby’s Blog:

    http://www.faithandlace.weebly.com
        

    Instagram:     @shelbysparkman

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  • Happy Holiday!

    Happy Presidents Day to all my American friends!

     Happy Family Day to all my Canadian friends!

    “There remains, then a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.”
                                                                     Hebrews 4:10-11 NIV
    Today is a holiday for Canadians and Americans alike.  A day to kick back, relax and for most, take a day off of work!  Could there be a better time in the calendar to have a holiday than in the dead of winter?  I know you southerners can’t understand, but this year has been one of the harshest winter’s North America has ever experienced!  It leaves you tired and worn out.  Like bears in winter, we need a little extra time to rest.

    Genesis 2:2 says “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.” (NIV)

    We live in such a fast-paced society that the work never seems to be done.  It’s hard to let ourselves take the time to rest.  The problem with not following God’s example and later His law to rest is that we go beyond the limitations God set in the human body.  Without adequate rest our bodies get run-down and burn out.

    Wikipedia gives a review of a report from the Journal of Health Psychology,8. It says that Burnout decreases your job performance, causes physical and mental health issues, along with cognitive impairments.  The study found that “burned out workers reported as many depressive symptoms as clinically depressed patients”2

    The writer of Hebrews encourages us that “anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work”.  Allow yourself the blessing to enter into His rest and Have a Happy Holiday!

    Prayer

    Father… I thank-you that you have provided rest for my.  Please help me to enter into your rest and allow you to renew my spirit today!  In Jesus name, Amen

    If you think you may be struggling with clinical depression or anxiety, check out my MENTAL HEALTH page for some guidance and links to great resources.

    1Bianchi, R., Boffy, C., Hingray, C., Truchot, D., & Laurent, E. (2013). Comparative symptomatology of burnout and depression. Journal of Health Psychology, 18 (6), 782–787.
    2https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burnout_(psychology)

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