Sunday, October 30, 2016

Facing Obstacles

I've been known to complicate the most simple thing.


I recognize that tendency in myself.

(.....I'm working on it.)

As my life goes on.

I am appreciating simplicity.

More and more.

It's hard for simplicity to exist.

When I'm complicating things.

Especially true.

When that comes to facing obstacles.

I read recently.

"sometimes the way before you seems blocked."

      "if you focus on the obstacle or search for a way around it, 
you will probably go off course."

"Instead....focus on Me."

"....who is leading you along your life journey."

"before you know it,
the obstacle is behind you."

"and you will hardly know you passed through it."  *

I thought about the obstacles I've faced.

Even in the last year.

Doubt that something I was praying for would actually happen.

A hard conversation I wasn't sure would go well.

My own lack of discipline in a area of my life.

Forgiving somebody that hurt me.

Even climbing a mountain out in Wyoming I hadn't climbed in five years.

In all of those things.

My tendency is to complicate.

Make excuses.


See if I can get around it an easier way.




Or overlook.


All that is needed.

Is one thing.

"...focus on Me.."

"...focus on Me..."

"...focus on Me..."

"...before you know it....the obstacle will be behind you.

..........and you will hardly know you passed through it..."

I have to tell you.

When I've been able to do that.

Focus on Him.

While facing an obstacle in my life.

It's true.

I've seen it myself.

I'm on the other side of it.

Before I realize that it's happened.

Not by obsessing or focusing on the obstacle.

But by focusing on Him.

Try it next time.

I'll do the same.

* Sarah Young "Jesus Calling"

Saturday, October 15, 2016

In the Boat With Depression

Some of you will have no idea how to relate to what I'm about to share.

I'm glad for you.

But, I also know.


Many of you.

Will not only understand.

But totally relate to this post.

I heard someone describe once.

That when you're married to someone.

You're in the same boat.

What happens in the boat.

Impacts the both of you.

The boat gets rocked.

You both get rocked.

That's true with love and marriage and partnership.

It's especially true when your spouse battles depression.

I'm writing this post.

With Scott's blessing.

He's battled depression on and off for over twenty years.

For us.

Depression is in our boat.

Every few years or so.

And thankfully, not more frequently.

It comes creeping back into our lives.

We're getting good at recognizing the signs.

Scott has triggers for his depression.

If he goes through a tough season of stress.

Without the benefit of exercise or working it off in healthy ways.

He's vulnerable to depression.

If he stays physically worn out over an extended period of time.

He's at risk.

We watch for the signs like we do most things in our marriage.


I learned in the last year.

That the very hard things in my life.

Can serve a purpose.

And can have meaning.

If I allow God to use them.

This has been an open topic for us.

And because we've shared it with others.

God's put countless people in our path.


That struggle with depression too.

Just last week.

I came face to face with a reminder.

Of my own experience.

As I saw this unfolding in someone else.

That God put in my path.

What it's like.

When someone you love has depression.

How do you walk through it yourself?

When you're in the boat with depression.

1.   I've learned to watch for it.

I know the triggers for Scott.
I pay attention.
And stay alert.
 For the signs.

If he grows quiet.
Loses interest in doing the things he normally enjoys.
If his outlook grows dark.
I know it's close by.
We're rarely blindsided by it anyway.
Being watchful.
Helps us react more quickly.

2.   Don't hide it.

We learned a long time ago.
That depression grows bigger when it's hidden.
And the best way to prevent that from happening.
Is to throw light on it.
There's no benefit to hiding it.
And pretending it's not there.
It only looms more ferocious.
Number one:  is see a doctor for the proper care.
Get the help you need.
Depression is a serious foe.
You can't fight it alone.

Don't hide it.

3.  Be Pro-active

I'm a fixer.
When something is broken around me.
I try to fix it.
Depression is no different.
When it hits.
I'm pro-active.
I become Scott's biggest advocate.
His protector.
For him, that means.
More rest.
More balance.
Maybe time off from work.
Eliminating as much stress from his life as I can.
I make sure.
 He's eating well.
Getting vigorous exercise.
Getting outside.
And taking his medicine.
Be as opinionated as you like about anti-depressants.
They are essential for many people who fight depression.
This would be a battle we'd likely lose.
Without them.

3.   Circle the Wagons.

It's been about two years.
Since Scott's last serious bout of depression.
And when the going got tough.
We circled the wagons.
We called on our friends.
And asked for prayer.

Not for an unspoken prayer request.

We told about thirty people.
Exactly where we were.
And exactly what we were facing.
People we know we could count on.
On a very dark day,
It made a huge difference.
We felt immediate relief.
Not from a change in our immediate circumstances.
But in carrying the weight of it
We felt lighter.
Knowing that people were praying specifically for us.
Made a tremendous difference in those coming days.

4.    Depend on your faith.

How crazy.
That some people reading this post.
Have a hard time time accepting.
That people who follow Jesus.
Might also struggle with depression.
I know that's not true.
Everybody struggles in this life.
What makes a difference for us.
And thankfully gives meaning to the hard times we experience.
Is that He can use.
What happens to us for good.
And does.
Scott & I have both seen it happen.
Time and time again.
I can't image being in the boat with depression.
Or being in this life.
Without my faith.
It's only through my own relationship with Him.
That my life has meaning and purpose.
And I know.
That whatever comes my way.
Or otherwise.
He'll be with me in it.

5.   Hold on to balance.

The older I get.
The more important.
Is to my well being.
Healthy Relationships.
The better the balance.
The less vulnerable we are to depression.

6.    Protect yourself

Being in the boat with depression can be brutal.
Some of the hardest seasons of our marriage.
Took place during Scott's bouts of depression.

During those very tough days.
I've had to be the voice and the reminder.
It's going to get better.
Hang on.
It won't stay like this forever.
Don't give up.
We've got better days ahead.
I promise.

I've learned that during those times.
While I'm being his advocate and protector.
I also have to protect myself.
It's easy to get discouraged.
Because the person who always pours into me.
Is in a place where he can't.
My expectations.
Have to change in his depression.
It's during these times.
His reserves are dry.
He may be doing everything he can.
Just to keep his head above water.
There's a shifting that has to happen for me during those days.
less dependence on Scott.
And more dependence on my faith.
Keeping greater balance in my own life.
Taking care of myself physically and emotionally.
It's never for long.
But for as long as necessary.

If this is also your path and your journey.
I pray that sharing our experience.
Serves a purpose.
Because of what you take from it.
Be encouraged.
Good is coming from our walk through depression.
Good can also come from yours.