Less Psychiatric Illness
Devotions for Those in Recovery from Mental Illness
[In Press: Eagle Book Bindery Publishing Co., Cedar Rapids, IA]
Written by Marcia A. Murphy
“Whereof One Can Speak,
Thereof One Must Not Be Silent”
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*John Warwick Montgomery
All Bible verses are from the New International Version [NIV] unless otherwise indicated with [NRSV] New Revised Standard Version
Special thanks to Myrna Farraj for her editorial contributions and the St. Andrew Prayer Ministry
God is close to the brokenhearted
Life is full of suffering. That is a truth no one can deny, whatever one’s background. As a Christian I’ve learned that I can find meaning in suffering and in carrying my cross. But sometimes the sadness in my heart is so overpowering that my faith is challenged. I may question whether God really does love me. I may feel abandoned by family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers—utterly alone in the world. People with good intentions will recite verses to me about being still and knowing that God is there. Yet, they are often the ones with people around them, with spouses and children and grandchildren who comfort them. Most likely they, too, have experienced isolation during some point of their lives.
During the times I have felt lonely I have turned to history; to those who’ve gone before. I am led by an inner voice or compass that directs and guides me. These historical people are my friends and as I study their lives, mentors appear in my mind, touching my heart: feed the poor; liberate the oppressed; stand up for justice. I find this comforting God through books, films, photos, and I follow where God is leading me. My life unfolds by the inner workings of the Holy Spirit motivating and inspiring me to go forward—building on the foundations of those brave souls of the past who often spoke of a deep loneliness, but still doing what they could to further God’s Kingdom.
God, who comforts the downcast…. 2Corinthians 7:6a
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged. 1Chronicles 22:13b
“Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout or cry out,
or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
In his teaching the [people] will put their hope.” Isaiah 42:1-6
God loves the outcasts
Someone said that people with a mental illness are the lepers of modern day society. If this is true one may have felt rejected by those who appear socially successful. They have all the right college degrees, beautiful houses, fashionable clothes, and say all the right things. On the surface it looks like God has blessed them exclusively with abundance, wealth, health, and an easy life. But looking below the surface we may see signs of a deceptive self-sufficiency, self-perceived independence, and over-confidence—things that stand in the way of acknowledging God as their maker and sustainer, the one whom they need to depend on. To suffer from mental illness in all of its emotional trauma and very real challenges of not only physical deprivations, but also, social exclusion, can often bring one to one’s knees. It is there that we find that Jesus Christ is all we have. It is our God who provides us with all that we need to live. It is God that sustains us. By joining with a religious community we can find acceptance in a concrete visible form of brothers and sisters in Christ who offer a helping hand. And like the leper that Christ reached out to and touched with compassion, we will be healed, finding a new life full of meaning and purpose. Under God’s wings we will find shelter.
A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. Mark 1:40-42
“How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” Luke 13:34b
I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy. Psalm 140:12
For the needy shall not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the poor perish forever. Psalm 9:18 [NRSV]
When my enemies turned back,
they stumbled and perished before you.
For you have maintained my just cause;
you have sat on the throne giving righteous judgment. Psalm 9:3-4 [NRSV]
The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.
Sing praises to the LORD, who dwells in Zion.
Declare his deeds among the peoples.
For he who avenges blood is mindful of them;
he does not forget the cry of the afflicted. Psalm 9:9-12
God is slow to anger and has deep compassion
“For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with deep compassion I will bring you back.
In a surge of anger
I hid my face from you for a moment,
but with everlasting kindness
I will have compassion on you,”
says the LORD your Redeemer.
“To me this is like the days of Noah,
when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth.
So now I have sworn not to be angry with you,
never to rebuke you again.
Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
says the LORD, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:7-10
I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Jonah 4:2b
For [God’s] anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5
Our Own Anger
What we do with our own rage
I don’t know about you, but over the years I’ve had trouble with anger—and what to do with it. People have treated me badly, some because they don’t like those with a mental illness. They may think we are all dumb, uneducated, lazy good for nothings. Our medications may cause weight gain so people think we overeat and lack self-discipline. When I’ve been abused I’ve asked God: “Why this curse?! Why do you hate me?! Did you give me my mental illness?! What have I done to deserve this punishment?! Answer me!!” Then I remember the story of the blind man in the Bible, who was born blind and Jesus said: “It is not because he sinned or his parents sinned that he was born blind. But he is blind so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” These words can soothe my soul and I can understand that all things work together for good if we love God. God can take the most painful, awful things and turn them into a positive force for the good. In the end, justice will prevail because God loves us.
Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Psalm 37:1-2
In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. Ephesians 4:26
Possible strategies to help us deal with our anger
Whenever possible, try to process or talk through situations that come up with the people involved. Use cool down strategies to become level headed: counting to ten, biting the tongue or removing yourself from the situation. Realize the specific situation may not be within your control. It is best not to harbor ill feelings, to not dwell on them and let them get the best of you.
Like a city breached, without walls, is one who lacks self-control. Proverbs 25:28 [NRSV]
Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable one. 1Corinthians 9:25 [NRSV]
How we deal with our anger
Anger, as an emotion, may not always be a problem. Anger, like all emotions, is a signal. It means that we believe we were harmed in some way, or denied something important to us. What matters is what we do next. We can try to stop and ask ourselves: “Is my anger justified? Does my anger fit the facts?” Next, if my anger fits the facts, we can ask ourselves, “What do I want to do now? How do I need to handle this situation? What do I want or need out of this?” We can try to avoid acting quickly and impulsively when we are angry since painful outcomes can happen.
Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end. Proverbs 29:11
You must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance. 2Peter 1:5-6a
A woman of faith answers the question: How do you deal with your anger?
When I feel anger I try to stop and figure out why or what has made me angry. Usually, it’s something trivial and I’m not really angry but am impatient or frustrated. I can then put everything in perspective. If it’s something serious I ask God to help me resolve the issue and to change my attitude about the situation if I cannot do anything to change the situation myself. Then I have to step back and let God take care of it and my attitude. Sometimes it helps to count my blessings and to look back at where God has helped me in the past.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23a [NRSV]
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37
Dealing with anger in a productive way
Over the years when anger comes I have learned to take a few slow deep breaths. I try to rethink the situation, to not dwell on it but to put it in perspective. I do what I can to calm down. I ask myself, “What’s the big deal? Is this put-down really changing me? Am I still who I was? The one God unconditionally loves? Am I letting the person or the situation control me? Or am I the captain of my ship?”
It is important to think logically and not let the moment overtake my reasoning. Is there anything I can do to change the situation? Is there anything positive I can pull out of what’s going on? Can I be assertive in dealing with it? Can I let the person or persons involved, know how it makes me feel, rather than attacking?
There are many injustices in this world that need a few good angry people to see that changes are made. Anger can be a positive force if one learns how to handle it. Being active, getting exercise goes a long way in helping me face situations that push my buttons. Learning good breathing techniques, meditating, listening to music and focusing on the positive help me handle the angry moments in my life. I will still meet situations that produce anger, but that anger won’t stay long. Instead I will work at making something good come out of it. Anger is normal. It can be healthy if I learn how to deal with it in a productive way.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. James 1:19-20
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy. Proverbs 31:8-9
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Isaiah 1:17
A man of faith answers the question: How do you deal with your anger?
I sometimes ask where is the anger coming from? What is the source? If I can identify the source the anger usually leaves. Many times it is caused by poor decisions that I have made. Therefore, I can blame myself. Then I try to modify or change my behavior so that anger cannot attack. Also, there is righteous anger. I need to ask the Lord for direction—the anger could be from Him. There is also spiritual warfare where Satan is feeding my anger. If that’s the case, the Lord will take care of it if I ask Him.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:10-17
Advice from Mary About Anger
When you get mad be careful of what you say and do. Don’t get so angry that you lose control of yourself. Ask God to forgive you for your anger. God sometimes gets angry too but he gets over it soon. “Cease from anger; forsake wrath.” Forgive people who are unkind to you. No one is perfect. We only have a few years in this life. Knowing Jesus Christ as your personal Savior is the most important thing. Material things will be gone some day. God has a place for us in His Heaven and we want to go to be with Him. Eternity is forever.
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22 [NRSV]
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
What Gives Us Hope
Understanding and feeling God’s grace
Setting my eyes on Jesus to focus my day
Walking together and building one another up
Dropping my own self made limitations and
Accepting God’s seeds of happiness and abundant life
Understanding and feeling God’s grace
Choosing to act by faith rather than react from fear
Being brave and strong to step out to enjoy the blessings of life
Letting yesterday become a memory and
Tomorrow a shining promise from God
Understanding and feeling God’s grace
The assurance that I can start afresh each morning
Knowing God can equip me for whatever I encounter
Believing I am made unique and wonderful
And nothing I do, nor nothing done to me, can separate me from God’s love
But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. Micah 7:7
“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.’” Isaiah 41:13
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. Psalm 62:5-6
Reflections by Annie
God’s words give me hope. Mental illness makes me feel invisible sometimes. Lost in a sea of self-doubt and at times even self-loathing, I find myself distant from others. I dislike the negativity in which I live, I distrust that I am worth loving, and I back away from relationships and even simple conversation with others. I believe that no one can possibly understand, and in my isolation I peer into the interactions of others as an unobserved bystander. Companions are unsure how to deal with my depression and keep their distance as well, and I feel invisible. I know that even when I am feeling dejected and perhaps rejected, the God of the universe does not take His eyes off of me. To God I am not invisible. He is the God who sees. And this truth gives me hope.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8: 28
What gives another friend hope
There are moments in my life when it seems everything has gone wrong. When I feel hopeless, I am discouraged and ready to give up at working to make everything better. I don’t want to do anything, see people, or even read a book. When this happens I must do something to get myself out of the dumps.
It is time to examine what is giving me the feeling of hopelessness. Am I setting my sights on unreasonable goals? Do I need to do a better job of living one day at a time and stop worrying about what may or may not happen tomorrow? Is the problem something I can change, or must I face the big black bear and deal with the situation?
To have hope is to have the belief that my life is worthwhile. God has put me on this earth and expects something out of me. There is a purpose in my being here and it is my job to figure it out. When I find a reason for my life I will gain hope.
I will focus on what contributions I can make. I can smile at the grocery clerk. I’ll offer a hand to the mother with the crying baby. I can go for a walk, eat some nutritious food, or take a long hot bath. I’ll seek out a friend or someone who I know can help me see the worth of my life. I will confirm my knowledge that God loves me just the way I am. I will find meaning by caring for myself and for others. That is how I will regain hope in my life.
No one who hopes in you
will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
who are treacherous without cause. Psalm 25:3
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:5
Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him. Psalm 62:5
I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope. Psalm 130:5
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD their God. Psalm 146:5
…the LORD delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love. Psalm 147:11
There is surely a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 23:18
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23 [NRSV]
We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1Thessalonians 1:3
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
How do we become inspired?
When I feel loved, I am inspired. I can “climb mountains,” and “scale a wall.” However, love in the imagination is a dream while love in reality can be difficult: “Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams.” [Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov]
I’ve heard that giving new life by physically giving birth to a child is no picnic. A parent working most days, all day long, to put food on the table for the family requires great emotional and physical sacrifice. When we look at our Lord God we see someone who cares for the poor, the outcasts, lame, and handicapped—those who our society deems unworthy of respect. We see around us the love of doctors caring for their patients; pastors watching over their flocks and teachers guiding their students. Though friends may desert us, there is someone who sticks closer than a brother. He died on a cross, suffering the humiliation of nakedness, with nails through his hands and feet. He experienced death so you and I would not have to. He took on God’s wrath for the sinfulness of all humanity, suffering separation from God the Father so you and I could be united with God both here on earth and in Heaven through all eternity. Now, that’s real love. No doubt about it.
One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
What Gives Us Strength
When I feel weak and tired about what’s going on in my life and it seems like folks are against me, I need to make a decision. Should I crawl back in bed and ignore my responsibilities? Or shall I face the day? I know myself very well. If I crawl back in bed, I won’t feel good about it and will end up spending the time in worry. But how do I gain the strength I need to forge ahead?
We can’t avoid misery and hard times. They will come into each of our lives. We may ask, “Why did this happen to me?” There may be no answer to that question. Instead we need to ask, “How can I best respond to the hardship in front of me that is causing me to lose my energy for living.”
God has put us on this earth for a purpose and God will give us the spirit to face what comes. Strength comes by acknowledging that within us we have the spirit to handle life’s challenges. Knowing that God made us loveable and capable gives us the ability to believe in ourselves. Have faith that you can get through the hardships that come along in your life. Find friends that are positive and fun to be with. The strength is within you if you accept and believe it is there.
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “today.” Heb 3:13a
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.
Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame. Luke 14:21b
For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest. Luke 9:48b
Our God does not blame us for being ill
The disciples ask if a man was born blind because of his own sin. Jesus says, “No.”
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” John 9:3
Problems with family relationships: Jesus, who knows rejection from family
Jesus’s relatives make fun of him, accusing him of wanting to make a name for himself as a Messiah.
For even his own brothers did not believe in him. John7:5
“Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” Psalm 27:10
God says: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5b
What do we live for?
The alternative of living for God is focusing on ourselves. If we love ourselves more than anything else, there is no room left to love others. People live in relation to others while on earth. It is impossible to avoid people. How we choose to live determines the quality of our spiritual life. To ignore the spiritual side is to live in a materialistic mindset. Then we seek fulfillment in fancy cars, but they do not satisfy; in sexual promiscuity, but find it destructive; in food and drink, but we never are satiated; in entertainment and self-gratification, but we end up feeling empty. If we as Christians believe that God is our sustainer and provider, then only through our connection to Him will we find all that we need: then relationships fall into place; our work is fulfilling; we find meaning in suffering and strength to endure. Without God, we sink into the depths of despair and find no way out. But with the light of Christ, we find the path of peace, comfort and hope for the future.
One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’
The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31 [NRSV]
“No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and wealth.”
Matthew 6:24 [NRSV]
What does it mean to “Love God”?
We love God when we obey God. Emotions come and go. They are fleeting. How we conduct our lives says more. God gives His commands in the Bible, His word. In Exodus 20:1-17 we find the Ten Commandments. The New Testament lessons teach us how to obey. Through the parables and words of Christ and His followers, clear directions are given. They center around loving God and our neighbor. Who is our neighbor? All the people around us; no more, no less.
“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:9-11 [NRSV]
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you…. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.”
John 15:12-14, 17 [NRSV]
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” John 6:28-29
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
Our actions speak louder than words
We live by what our values dictate. Our values are displayed to the world by what we do. We choose our values by what we love. How we spend our time says what we love and therefore, value. We also become what we value because we worship what we value and become what we worship. We were created to worship God, the Holy Trinity: God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We can learn what God is like and who He is by reading the Bible and seeing who Jesus Christ was in the New Testament. Asking God in prayer, “Who are you?” and “How can I know and understand my relationship with you?” is the beginning to knowing God and becoming like Him.
Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he [Jesus Christ] is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. 1John 3:2 [NRSV]
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. Ephesians 5:1 [NRSV]
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21
Good goes in; good comes out
We live by what is in our heads or, you could say—our minds. If we fill our minds with junk: violence, profanity, judgments, hatred, jealousy, greed, immorality, deceit, then these things are creating our personalities to reflect what the world will see in us. However, if we fill our minds with loving, healthy and pure thoughts like peace, loyalty, compassion, generosity, kindness, altruism, virtue, honesty, then this will become our personalities—what the world sees when it looks at us. The more we fill our minds with God’s holy Word, the more we will be transformed to reflect God’s nature.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2 [NRSV]
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as Christ has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
Colossians 3:12-14 [NRSV]
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1-2
The entire law is summed up in a single command: Love your neighbor as yourself.
Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31
We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. 1John 3:16 [NRSV]
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15
The Value of Work
The plans of the diligent lead to profit…. Proverbs 21:5a
Be diligent in [your work]; give yourself wholly to [it], so that everyone may see your progress.
We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. Heb 6:11
Comments: When I am feeling stressed, depressed, discouraged, angry, distraught, or any other negative unproductive emotion, I have learned that there are a few things I can do to help turn that around:
a) Talk through my issues with someone I can trust. This is frequently with my wife but has also been with friends. Speaking my feelings out loud and knowing someone cares enough to listen is probably the most therapeutic, but I also receive valuable feedback as well.
b) Praying to God. For me, I’ve had the most success remembering one verse, Philippians 4:6 – “Don’t worry about anything. Pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all He has done.” Remembering this verse and asking God to help me put my troubles into perspective (remembering not to worry) helps me get out of my personal pity party and realize that all in all, things could be a whole lot worse.
c) The Bible. God speaks to me through his Word. When I seek answers, guidance, comfort, in His Word, I usually find it.
So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Luke 11:9-10
One person answers 4 questions this way
#1 What gives hope and strength: I find hope from counting my blessings (gratitude). Also, I have a daily reading book that seems to know what I need each day and encourages me to stay close to God and Jesus. Saying the word, “Jesus,” out loud and looking up gives me strength.
#2 How to deal with anger. I hold it in too long and then burst—but try not to attack. I also use the same things as above to help me sort out why I am angry and what I can do about it. But sometimes anger clears my head and is better than silent resentment.
#3 What does forgiving others mean? It is easy to forgive people I don’t know. Harder to forgive those closest to me. (I feel they should respect how hard I try to please them and take them into consideration.) I forgive but I am not a good, “forgetter” and I work on that with prayer.
#4 How to find encouragement: I find encouragement through reading articles and talking to friends and family. The Bible is hard for me and I find there is much there that doesn’t really help because there is so much history and it seems impersonal in long parts of the Old Testament. The New Testament brings hope. I would not have the same faith if it weren’t for Jesus and His teachings. The Old Testament has so much anger that I become discouraged. I particularly like reading about people’s experiences where God and Jesus have helped them.
Marcia A. Murphy
Marcia A. Murphy
Marcia A. Murphy
M.R., Mary is a person with an intellectual disability, what was called, “mentally retarded,” back in the mid-1900’s. The world may consider Mary unimportant with nothing valuable to say; however, in God’s eyes she speaks of things universally true, with great insight and with profound wisdom.
Marcia A. Murphy
Marcia A. Murphy
Marcia A. Murphy
Marcia A. Murphy
Marcia A. Murphy