5 Things NOT To Tell Your Depressed Friend

5 Things Not To Tell

I’m guessing we all have someone in our life that needs encouragement. I’m guessing most of us know someone that struggles with anxiety or depression or any combination of things. As one who struggles myself, I wanted to share a few things with you that I feel are important NOT to say.

If you’re looking for ways to help, here are 5 verses you can share with a struggling friend and practical ideas for struggling moms.

Top 5 Things You Should Never Say To A Friend Struggling With Depression

1. Christians are supposed to find their joy in Christ! You shouldn’t be sad/depressed/angry if you are a true Christian. This statement hurts. YES there is JOY in Christ. But, having deep seated joy doesn’t take pain away. Joy in Christ, for me, looks like peace and contentment DESPITE our circumstances. And let’s face it, none of us have perfect circumstances all the time. I fully believe our circumstances, the ones we view as negative, draw us to Christ. He uses those times in our lives to show us Himself. He gives us Himself, which is joy, of course, but He doesn’t always take the pain away. He meets us in our pain. 

2. It is sinful to take anti-depressants. Can I just gently suggest that possibly God gave doctors wisdom to CREATE the anti-depressants in the first place? Can I offer the reminder that you would never, ever ask a cancer patient to stop chemo because it’s a sin. You wouldn’t tell your diabetic friends to stop using insulin or taking metformin. Even if you really, really believe that taking anti-depressants is wrong, let’s just keep those thoughts to ourselves, because truthfully, they aren’t helpful.

3. You must be depressed because of sin in your life. Do you remember the passage in John 9 where Jesus is asked WHY a man is born blind? Jesus does not say it is because of sin. Jesus tells them that their affliction was given them so that glory could be brought to God’s name. I believe there are many reasons for the pain and suffering in a Christian’s life, not the least of which is that we can give glory to God in the midst of our trials.

“As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.  His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned,this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” John 9:1-3 

4. Everybody has bad days. Everybody is sad now and then. So, this is true…everyone does have bad days. Bad days are not the same thing as depression. Being sad about a circumstance in your life is not the same as depression. Even grieving, as awful as it is, isn’t the same as depression. Grieving and life circumstance CAN certainly LEAD to depression. But, those aren’t always one in the same.

5. Get over it. Just get over it. Ouch. If you broke your leg tomorrow, I would probably not tell you to “get over it.” I also would never, ever consider saying that to any friend struggling with ANYTHING at all, no matter how big or small YOU feel it is. That is the thing, we never have the whole picture of what someone is going through. We just don’t. Our limited experience isn’t enough to see into the hearts of those around us. Only Jesus can really see into the depths of our suffering. So, instead of attempting to see just how bad someone has it, how about encourage regardless of the size of the issue. For me, things that may seem small to you, sometimes greatly weigh me down. It’s just the nature of who I am. For others, they may deal with things that I have never faced…this doesn’t mean I can’t still be a blessing and encouragement to them.

Lastly, I don’t want to leave you hanging…I want you to know that it is possible to be a blessing to a friend that is struggling. Be a listening ear without telling them what to do, write an encouraging note in the mail with a Bible verse in it. Tell your friend you are praying for them, and then pray! Pray WITH your friend. Text your friend (if she is like me and doesn’t always answer the phone) and tell her you are praying for her or just “hope you have a great day.” Send flowers. Order pizza for your friend’s family for dinner. Drop off her favorite drink on her front porch. Tell her that you love her no matter how she is feeling that day. Point your friend to this list of resources for blog posts and books she can read for encouragement.

Sometimes, when one is depressed, it’s really hard to accept help. If you are the friend that is struggling, I encourage you to humble yourself and accept whatever a friend is offering to do for you — laundry, bring a meal, keep your kids for an afternoon, let your friend into your heart.

Friends, encouragement is so vital to our well being. I hope and pray that this post blesses you and helps you know how to encourage your friends that are struggling right now. And I pray that the next time you are struggling, the Lord will provide encouragement for you as well!

Do you have anymore suggestions for me? What have you been told that really hurt? Or what could your friends do that would really help?? I want to hear from you!

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5 Books for Praying Moms

8 Books for Praying Moms MercyIsNew.com

“As parents, we give careful thought and attention to providing for our children. Would a mother send her young child out into the cold without a coat and hat? Would a father forget to feed his children? Knowing their dependence on us for protection and provision, our hearts are attuned to our children’s physical and emotional needs. In many cases we know their needs even before they do, and fulfill their needs before they ask…if we would give such careful attention to our children’s physical safety and emotional well-being, why would we ever send them away without a spiritual covering?” Jennifer Kennedy Dean, from the introduction of Legacy of Prayer.

My prayer life has ups and downs, just like yours does, I’m sure. I have days, weeks even, where I question God’s sovereignty ~ not that He is sovereign ~  but asking the WHY question. I have days where I question and doubt my “ability” to pray. I have times where the quiet of my heart are the only prayers offered up. I have times when doubt creeps in.

But, God has put such a burden on my heart to earnestly and continually be praying for my children.

I’m not faithful, but He is. 

These are 5 {now 8 since I have updated this list!}  books that have encouraged, inspired and motivated me to get on my knees and fervently be in prayer for my children. I hope they will encourage you in the same way.

8 Books for Praying Moms

Praying the Scriptures for Your Children ~ this book I have mentioned on my blog several times, it is probably my favorite book to use when I need some specific, Scriptural prayers to pray over my children. This book is broken up into chapters, each chapter describing a different thing to be praying over our children: faith, salvation, character, relationships, future, etc. And with each chapter there are several pages of Scriptures that you can pray by just inserting your child’s name! I love this part of the book. I can open to any of those pages and just pray those verses over my children at anytime.

Upside-Down Prayers for Parents: Thirty-One Daring Devotions for Entrusting Your Child–and Yourself–to God ~ this is a newer book in my collection, I purchased it after reading about it at Oh Amanda’s blog, where she went on to do a book club with it. These prayers are not your typical prayers, thus the title: Upside Down Prayers. But I LOVE this about the book, these prayers are digging in and getting to the heart of God for our children. Prayers like, “I pray you’ll get caught doing wrong,” and “I pray you’ll get weary and give up and learn that with submission comes strength.” Wow. These are prayers that question our ability to truly want and pray God’s will for our children’s lives.

Prayer Warrior Mom: Covering Your Kids with God’s Blessings and Protection ~ I received this book for review and knew I would love it. This book is more of the motivation and sweet encouragement we all need to pray for our kids. There are a few Scriptures and questions at the end of each chapter, also, that will help you to get more out of the book and apply it to your own life.

Legacy of Prayer: A Spiritual Trust Fund for the Generations ~ I’ve had this book on my shelf for years, ever since Jennifer Kennedy Dean spoke at my church many moons ago. This book will truly light a fire in you for leaving a legacy for your children ~ and not just any legacy ~ a legacy of prayer. The author talks about how we are building up a “trust fund” with our prayers for future generations. This book will help you to see how your prayers can affect generations to come.

Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds ~ This book isn’t just for parents, but I love Beth Moore and I love taking this book, finding a specific need of a child (or a friend) and praying those verses over them. Praying God’s Word has become my favorite way to pray and this book is such an aid in that. The topics in this book are things like idolatry, pride, strongholds, overcoming the enemy, etc.

Praying Circles Around the Lives of Your Children ~ this book took the booklet below (the 2.99 shorter book) and expounded on it. I have loved it so much. Very practical, which I need! I ended up creating this Scripture Gift for Children after reading this book! Have you chosen verses from Scripture to pray for your children?

Praying Circles around Your Children ~ {this is a shorter, condensed version of the book above}  I read this kindle book when it was free a few months ago and feel that it is worth every penny of the $2.99. It’s a short read, but VERY motivating and reminding us how important it is to pray for our children. I love the specific ways this book includes to pray because they are things I had never thought of before. If you need some fresh motivation and ideas for praying, this is a great place to start.

The Warrior ~  it was written by Joyce Swann. This book is actually a fictional story but it is SO encouraging and challenging and convicting in the area of praying for our children!! I hope you will take a look at this book. I loved it.

 

What books are your favorite books to encourage you to pray for your kids?

 

in which we wait…

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It doesn’t sound exciting does it? To begin waiting? We hate waiting. Waiting in lines. Waiting on children. Waiting on spouses. Waiting on money to come in. Waiting on God with an endless list of desires. Waiting. Usually we think of waiting as a drudgery.

But this year, I’m excited about the waiting. I’m eager for this period of waiting to begin. Eager to wait…almost seems like an oxymoron. I’m eager for the joyful expectancy of the birth of my Savior. I’m eager for a period of reflection, worship and prayer. I’m eager to wait.This year I have purposefully said “no” to a myriad of events that usually crowd our December calendar. Yes, we still have many exciting times coming in December, but several things I’ve said no to for good reason. And that good reason…to wait. To slow down. To remember the reason for the season.

When my calendar becomes too full, I don’t have time to worship. When my calendar becomes to full, I don’t take the time to pray that I so desperately need. When my calendar is too full I have to say “no” to serving others when I really wish I could do it. But, how is that being a servant or helping anyone else if I only “want” to help but am so busy that I cannot do so?

When my calendar is too full, I don’t have time to enjoy the many gifts and blessings that God has given me…the beautiful colors…the laughter of my children…the sweet whispers through His Word…the smile of a stranger.

I believe this is what it means to “wait on the Lord.” Waiting with Him. Waiting for Him. The beauty of waiting is that when I am focusing on Him, my heart becomes transformed…in the waiting, He is making me more like Him. A true miracle.

The miracle of Advent…Emmanuel, God with us.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in His word I put my hope.
Psalm 130:6

Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14

Yet the Lord long to be gracious to you;
He rises to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for Him!
Isaiah 30:18

But those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31

…we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing
of our great God and Savior,
Jesus Christ.
Titus 2:13

Practical Ways to Wait on God this Advent Season

Pray the Scriptures through Advent  – it’s not too late to join us! If you’re on Instagram follow our daily scriptures and prayers with the hashtag #prayingthescriptures

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(repost from 2009)

 

Tis so sweet…

Tis so sweet  MercyIsNew.com

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His WORD.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

“I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth – praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:1-3

“Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” Psalm 37:5

“I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4

“In You, O Lord, I put my trust…deliver me…be my rock of refuge, a fortress of defense to save me.” Psalm 31:1-2

Friends, it has been a rough few days for me. Many of you know I had a really difficult struggle with depression about 3-4 years ago. Well, this time around it appears to be a bit different, but possibly headed in that same direction. Maybe anxiety? I don’t know…but the past few weeks and especially 3 days have been very hard for me. When you struggle with something like depression or anxiety, one bad *hour* feels like a bad *year.* A long morning feels like a long decade.

I am not writing this post to share with you how I have overcome depression or anxiety, because quite honestly, I’m in the middle of it right now. I haven’t found a “secret” cure. I have changed my diet, I have been exercising more regularly than ever before in my life…2 things I was hoping and praying would help me. But, they aren’t. I have started a new medication, and so far it is not helping either.

The reason I write this post is because, though it is hard to see past this moment or past my struggles, I trust in Him. Very simple. I trust Him. I’m not sure I could have said this with the same convinction a few years ago. But, it truly IS sweet to trust in Jesus, to take Him at His word. You see, those verses I listed above are my Rock. At times, when there is nothing else I can do, I go hide in the bathroom and cry. And, I hear the Lord speaking gently to me…”I am your Rock. I am your Refuge.” And I trust Him.

I don’t understand why I struggle. Earlier today in the midst of my tears, I cursed the personality God gave me. I worried for my kids, feeling I am ruining by the moment. I don’t understand why. But, I trust Him. I trust His word. And, Jeremiah 29:11 tells me that He has a plan for me. The anxiety, the depression, they don’t take Him by surprise. He doesn’t sit up in heaven and say, “oops, that was not a part of the plan!” He has already written the pages of my life story and prayerfully, every last minute of every long day will be used for His glory.

The times I have spent in the valley have been the times I have most readily clung to Him and His word. The times I have spent in the pit of depression have been the times I have seen just how intense my need for Him is. And ya know, just because I’m clinging to Him doesn’t mean He is going to take it all away. But, I do know that I may never have seen the DEPTH of my NEED for Him had I not fallen into those pits and spent that time in the valley.

So, tonight, as I try my hardest not to keep asking why, I praise Him. I praise Him and I trust Him. I don’t understand, but I don’t have to. He is God, He has a plan and I trust Him. And that is enough.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

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Struggling mamas, find more encouragement here!

Learning to pray God’s Word has been one of the best tools on the battlefield of depression I have found. Read more about this spiritual discipline here.

Resources for Women Struggling With Depression