Archive for April, 2011

Depression part 3- Words of Encouragement

“I will give them a crown to replace their ashes, and the oil of gladness to replace their sorrow, and clothes of praise to replace their spirit of sadness. Then they will be called Trees of Goodness, trees planted by the Lord to show his greatness.” Isaiah 61:3

This verse says that the Lord ultimately will take all of our sadness and suffering away. We will go through difficult times, but the Lord knows how to take care of the people he loves. I always try to remember that god is a good father, and that we are his precious children. That helps me realize that he doesn’t like to see us hurting or frustrated. He wants to take care of us, but we have to learn to trust him so he can share that love with us.

“But the people who trust the Lord will become strong again. They will rise up as an eagle in the sky; they will run and not need rest; they will walk and not become tired.” Isaiah 40:31

Again, trusting that the Lord will lead you and take care of you is crucial. When I trust him, it makes the hard times more bearable. Because then, I am not resting in my strength, but in the strength of God. We can accomplish more, endure more, love more, and be more when we trust in his strength.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is the Father who is full of mercy and all comfort. He comforts us every time we have trouble, so when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

God is a loving God, full of mercy. Now, it certainly doesn’t always seem that way, whenever we ask for his help and he doesn’t seem to help, and we pray certain prayers and they don’t ever get answered. But God is a father who knows what is best for his children. Sometimes we want things that we think are best for us, but they are not necessarily what is best for us. The same is true in regular life: children want things they think are good, but the parent knows it’s not necessarily best for the child. They want to eat candy for dinner, and even though it would taste good for awhile, the parent knows that is really a dumb idea.

We only see the current road we are on in life, while God sees all the roads in the map of our life. We have to allow him to lead us and guide us to the right places, and let him bless us how he wishes to bless us. At the end of it, we will see that God knew what we needed far better than we knew what we needed. Trust him when life is easy, and definitely when it gets very hard.

This verse also talks about how God comforts us so that we can comfort others with that same kind of love. That is how we spread Christ’s love through the world. We take the love he gives us and spread it to others, and then those who are not saved will look at Christianity and see the compassion in us, and know us by our love. God invests time and energy in us so that we become more like Christ, and we need to invest time and energy in others in the same manner.

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Depression part 2- But Sometimes it is our Fault

Sometimes, we get depressed because of events and circumstances that are out of our control. But sometimes, we get depressed because of the destruction sin has caused in our lives. I know this very well from experience.

I was falling in love with a guy who was with someone else, and I got really upset with him and the person he was with. But regardless of what happened, I was still in the wrong, living in jealousy and dealing with adultery. This caused me a boatload of pain that lasted for a long time. I woke up in distress, feeling depressed. Our sins can cause so much destruction in our lives.

So we have to be careful with our actions, be careful that we are living for the Lord. I eventually did stop feeling depressed because of that guy I liked, but it was only after I had started turning away from those feelings and started tuning down my desire for him, and all the bitterness slowly followed in leaving. I forgave myself and forgave him and anyone else I felt like was to blame. My depression left when I focused on something else, and started trying to live like Jesus would want me to again.

As Christians, we have to focus on what is eternal as opposed to what is temporary. Being Christian, I still have problems at home, at school, and at work. My family still suffers, we take notice of the effects of this failing economy. I still cry, I still hurt, I still get confused and feel lost at different points. I still get angry. But how am I different from the rest of the world? I realize that there is hope beyond what I see today. Living the Christian life doesn’t mean the absence of suffering. But it means that you find strength in the love of God, and you realize that your problems are only temporary. You are with the Lord, and as long as you are trying to live for him, he will not leave you behind.

“The ways of God are without fault. The Lord’s words are pure. He is a shield to those who trust him. Who is God? Only the Lord. Who is the Rock? Only our God. God is my protection. He makes my way free from fault. You give me a better way to live, so I live as you want me to.” Psalm 18:30-32, 36

So we have to turn away from whatever bad things we are doing. Stop desiring to have what others have, stop gossiping and saying bad about others. One thing I learned from loving that guy and then letting it go: when I let go of the desire and anger, the pain and bitterness let go of me!

When I stopped caring so much about being with him and I started focusing on my own life, I realized that I was less and less bitter as the days went by. I was less angry and annoyed. so let go of your sins and the consequences of that sin will eventually let go of you.

I also realized that God forgives me when I forgive others. So when I let go of that guy and forgave him and his partner and all those who made that experience horrible, I realized that God would forgive me for trying to impose on that relationship. God will treat us how we treat others, he is just in this way.

“But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done.” 1 John 1:9

“Don’t judge others, and you will not be judged. Don’t accuse others of being guilty, and you will not be accused of being guilty. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37

“I will forgive them for the wicked things they did, and I will not remember their sins anymore.” Hebrews 8:12

Forgive ourselves, forgive others, and seek forgiveness from God. Doing this helped to lessen my depression, and it can lessen yours, too.

Depression part 1- Difficulties in Life are Not Always our Fault

I struggle with depression a lot. I become really withdrawn and closed off from the world. But still, I find hope in God. When the world is grey through my eyes, he is a ray of sunshine that comes through; when there are clouds, he is my silver lining.

I have to admit that even with Jesus, life beats me down and breaks me. I am thrown in all kinds of situations where I am pushed to give up hope. But even with the sadness, I try to carry myself in a spirit of hope and joy.

Jesus lived this way. I can imagine that it was incredibly difficult to face a world of persecution and hate, by those who are closest to you. Hard to deal with having your life threatened over and over, for what you believe in. But he had a hope about him; a strength and love in him that helped him persevere when times got difficult. Where does one gain such internal strength to face each and every day, despite opposition? That strength comes from the love of God.

“But, Lord, you are my shield, my wonderful God who gives me courage.” Psalm 3:3

“He protects those who are loyal to him, but evil people will be silenced in darkness. Power is not the key to success.” 1 Samuel 2:9

“The Lord your God is with you; the mighty One will save you. He will rejoice over you. You will rest in his love; he will sing and be joyful about you.” Zephaniah 3:17

When we trust in God and hold tight to our faith, he is our protection and strength. That doesn’t mean life won’t get difficult, it doesn’t meant that we won’t get confused or not understand some of the odd things he does, or doesn’t do. But in trusting in him, we begin to stop trusting in the world. This means that when there is chaos in the world, we still have a sense of purpose and mission and hope in life.

I struggle with loneliness, with severe OCD, with lust, with anger and bitterness, and all of these things cause me depression. When I feel ignored and empty, I get severely depressed. At extreme points, I will think about suicide a little. But a hope for something better never fails to push such horrible thoughts away. The love in my heart reminds me that I am living for something bigger and far more wonderful than myself, and I realize that I truly have no right to take my own life away.

I am teaching myself to deal with this as I am trying to teach you to deal with it. I have to remind myself that sometimes, there are circumstances in this life that I cannot control, that are out of my hands, and I have to tell myself not to blame myself.

When something bad happens to my family, I may beat myself up about it, and I shouldn’t. When someone makes life really difficult for me or I feel like I never get anything I want, I am tempted to say that it’s because I’m not good enough, I must have did something bad and God is punishing me for it, he hates me, and so forth. But bad things don’t always happen and make us depressed necessarily because we did anything wrong.

Take Job in the bible, for example. He was a faithful man of God, and he walked with God. His life reflected his faith, and it pleased God. But Satan went to God and said that the only reason Job was faithful was because God had blessed him. If God took away these blessings, Job wouldn’t be faithful to him anymore. So the Lord let Satan take control of him, he let him do anything he wanted with him. He just said that he could not kill Job himself. So Satan destroyed his family, his children, his animals, basically his whole life. And Job and his friends tried to figure out why he was going through such hell. His friends had decided that Job must have done something wrong, and so he was being punished for it.

But that was not the case at all! Job had actually been faithful to God, so this brings me to this point: suffering = God is mad at you is not always true. Sometimes, we do suffer because we sin, but not always. The story of Job also brings me to another point: Job had not done anything wrong, it was some circumstance completely out of his control that brought him such suffering. Again, it’s not always our fault. We should never beat ourselves up for things that are not even our fault.

Sometimes God puts us through trials and difficulties to test us and see how faithful we are; sometimes he does it to get our attention and allow us to come to the conclusion that life is much too difficult to handle by ourselves. He may give us a hard time so that we give up on trusting ourselves and instead, put our trust fully in Christ, who knows how to take complete care of us.

The weight of depression on my shoulders is lifted a little when I realize that it does not always mean that I am guilty of anything. It’s important to realize this so that we can realize that God still loves us and that we are his children. He does want what is best for us, despite what he might put us through. If you always think you get depressed because you are guilty, you fall into a hopeless situation where you may give up on God because you think he does not love you anymore. He always, always, always loves us. Always.

New Song- “Released”, Updates!

Yay! I keep wondering how my love for Jesus will reflect in my actions, reflect in my music. I have written and recorded another song, called ‘Released’. It’s almost of good enough quality to post on YouTube! Lol just kidding.

Download & Listen

These are the lyrics:

High school memories
Remembering the times past
Always went unseen
An outcast to outcasts
They looked right by me
As I stood in back
My movie
Fades to black

Something is released
Deep within me
For all the world to see
It’s overcoming
All the bitter feelings
Of being left alone here
What sets me free?
Separating from the fear?
What helps me start healing?
His presence is so near

Oh yeah!

Eat or be eaten
Find your own way home
But he is leading
Me to where I belong
Heart bruised and bent
All full of holes
But his fingerprints
Are on my soul
Warmth melts cold resent
As love takes its toll

Something is released
Deep within me
For all the world to see
It’s overcoming
All the bitter feelings
Of being left alone here
What sets me free?
Separating from the fear?
What helps me start healing?
His presence is so near

He stood by me
When the world turned its back
His light shines bright
While the world goes black

Something is released
Deep within me
For all the world to see
It’s overcoming
All the bitter feelings
Of being left alone here
What sets me free?
Separating from the fear?
What helps me start healing?
His presence is so near

Oh yeah!
Oh yeah!
Oh yeah!

copyright Jennifer Clayton

Another thing! I am looking for a band to sing and play guitar in. I found this website where I can put up my information and my music and look for a band and bands can look for me. I am going to start talking to people, and get this dream on the road.

My book of poetry for Jesus, named ‘Atypical Jesus’, is well under way. I have been writing and editing and moving and changing and adding and reading and everything. I really am writing this book. I can’t wait to post some of the book on this blog. I can’t wait to get it published. I’M HYPER EXCITED!! 😀

Remember, living for God means dedicating your life to him, making him your priority, and making sure that what you are doing is for him. I am incorporating my love of music and poetry and blessing him, the way he has blessed me. Utilise your talents for him, and see what a difference you can make. Share your love of God with others! 🙂