Girlfriends in God - Jan. 7, 2010

January 7, 2010 

Climbing Out of the Pit 

Part 2 

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth 
"I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry."  Psalm 40:1 (NIV)

Friend To Friend 
At some point in life, we all will find ourselves in some kind of pit, the darkness settling around us like a paralyzing blanket of hopelessness.  That deep, dark pit may have many names, but easily becomes a prison from which escape seems impossible.  The journey out of that pit is a process of steps uniquely planned by your Father.     

Step One:  Wait for God.   

Step Two:  Cry out for help.

Many times, those who are imprisoned by darkness and depression look for help in the wrong places.  Let me share with you some of the right places to find help.

Turn to God

In Psalm 40:1 "cry" literally means "to summon."  What an amazing thought!  The God of the universe, the One who created the world and flung the stars into space, waits and listens for the voice of His children.  When they cry out, He comes to them just like a mother runs to her sick child, calling through the darkness of night.  God comes to us in many ways. 

·         Reading His Word Psalm 119:105 "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." 

I lived in the book of Psalms during the two darkest years of my depression.  A friend had given me an instrumental tape of hymns.  Every day, I would plug in that tape, take the phone off of the hook and read psalm after psalm.  I found myself in the words that I read and took great comfort in the fact that God was totally aware of everything that I was feeling.

·         Talking with Him Peter 3:12 "For the Lord is watching his children, listening to their prayers."

The darkness called forth the most childlike prayer of my life.  Day after day, night after night, I poured out the questions I had always been afraid to ask, my deepest fears and greatest pain.  It was the most honest and powerful prayer of my life.  I began to fall in love with the One who created me in my mother's womb and set me apart for Himself.  When you spend time with Him, you will love Him and learn to know the sound of His voice above all others.

Turn to doctors and counselors

Proverbs 15: 22 "Plans go wrong with too few counselors; many counselors bring success."

Many people say that depression is only a spiritual problem and that there are only spiritual solutions.  I disagree.

There was a terrible storm.  The little girl was so frightened that she cried out in fear.  Her daddy came running, gathered her up in his arms and held her tightly.  He quietly explained that she had nothing to fear because God would take care of her.  The little girl thought for a moment and then replied, "I know God will take care of me and love me, but right now, Daddy, I want someone with skin on!"

We often need "someone with skin on" to help us climb out of that pit. One of those persons may be a physician.  I encourage anyone experiencing depression to get a physical as soon as possible. Depression is often a physical problem and may respond to medication.  In my case, the doctor prescribed medication that corrected a chemical imbalance he found.  The medication did not eliminate the depression.  It simply enabled me to have the strength and energy to deal with the issues that had led me to the pit. 

Good nutrition and regular exercise are also powerful tools in dealing with the darkness.  God has wonderfully created the human body to respond to healthy life habits. 

Christian counseling is another valuable weapon in the battle against depression.  God gave counselors their gifts to use for Him in ministry. He must have known that we would need them and the gift of healing they bring when balancing the psychological world with the healing power of a living God.  Somewhere in your world, God has stationed servants who are equipped and ready to help you.

Turn to your support team

Isaiah 42:3 "He will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the dimly burning flame. He will encourage the fainthearted, those tempted to despair."

A support team is essential for anyone in the pit of depression.  My team carried me when I couldn't take another step and loved me when I was unlovable, encouraging me when I felt like giving up. I would still be in the darkness today if it weren't for my family, my church and my friends.  God worked through them in my life.   They could see the dangers I was too weak to see and loaned me their energy when mine was gone.  They became a life line that kept me from drifting toward the brink of disaster.  Has it affected their opinion of me?  Absolutely!  It has shown them that I am just like them - not a Superwoman - and has given them permission to face their own weaknesses.  I know that some of you are thinking that there is absolutely no one who will sign up to be a member of your support team.  If you will cry out to God and honestly seek help, He will bring your helpers. 

Let's Pray 
Father, I need Your help!  I turn to You first.  My heart cries out to You, asking for Your hand of deliverance and restoration to touch my life.  Please lead me to those You have equipped and chosen to help me during this dark time.  I don't see them, Lord, but I trust You to bring them.  Thank You for what You are already doing in the midst of this pit! 

In Jesus' Name, 

Now It's Your Turn 

·         Read one psalm every day.  

·         Pray, crying out for help from His hand, waiting on God and listening for His voice. 

·         Where do you usually go for help? 

·         What do the words "cry out to God" mean to you?  

·         What do you have to surrender, in order to cry out to Him?

More From the Girlfriends 
For a long time, I let my pride keep me from asking for help.  Fortunately, those who loved me didn't wait for me to ask.  They simply jumped in when they saw a need - and found a way to meet that need.  If you are struggling with depression or the darkness of a pit, share your pain with someone who loves you.  Ask for help.  In doing so, you are inviting God to work through those people to bring you out of the darkness, into the light.  My story is much like yours and can be read in my book, Hope in the Midst of Depression.  Would you like to work through a bible study that will help?  Try Strength for the Storm, an E-Book bible study you can download and work through on your own, with a friend or in a small group. 

For more help, visit Mary's website to find free resources on how to deal with depression as well as the MP3 download or CD, Coming Out of the Dark.

The Word of God is your most powerful weapon against the darkness.  Get it into your life.  Read, study and memorize Scripture and allow God's powerful truths to be a mental, emotional and spiritual hedge of protection.  Need help?  Check out Mary's weekly online Bible Study, Light for the Journey, as she begins 2010 with the series, "Aim at Nothing ... And You Will Hit It!"  Learn how to set meaningful and powerful life goals. 

You can also connect with Mary on FaceBook

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Originally published Thursday, 07 January 2010.