A 30 Day Plan for Conquering Depression.
I love my mother-in-law. She has my kind of sense of humor — bizarre. But, since April of this year, she has been in hospice care at Oaks of Louisiana nursing home. She suffers from dementia. A week ago today, her nephew and his wife visited from Texas. They were stunned at how much weight “Shine” had lost. Her nephew, Glenn, is a pastor and we gathered at her bedside so he and his wife could spend some time with Shine. She was mostly awake and recognized everyone. But, Shine would slip in and out of slumber. After an hour or so, Glenn asked us all to hold hands and pray for Shine.
God comes to us in our most despairing moments. God delights in surprising us. Why? Many times I think it is because our faith in God is far too human. We want God to take care of our needs, to answer our prayers, to make this world more like Paradise in the image of our expectations. But, our expectations are often tempered by our doubts. Can He really do it? Will He really do it? Maybe I should lower my expectations. After all, God is great but we are hardly wandering in the wilderness begging for manna. Sometimes, I wonder if we lessen God’s ability to meet our needs by our own lower expectations. God is far greater and more powerful than our most articulate prayers.
Taking care of aging parents, as my wife and I have discovered, is not for sissies. There are no manuals or books to prepare you for this task. And, in this day when our parents are living longer and surviving with chronic illnesses for longer periods of time, the stress can be unrelenting. Her mother fell and broke her hip in 2008 about the same time we had to put my 90 something father in assisted living. Since then, Sherry and I feel like we are in survival mode, just praying to make it through another day. When you are in survival mode, the moments of joy and happiness are few and far between but much brighter and deeper because of their scarcity.
And so it was as Glenn prayed for Shine, her face soft and empty in sleep that God gave us one of those incredible moments. Glenn said, “Lord we thank You that You know Aunt Shine and that You are taking care of her and we pray that she knows You, too.” At that moment, Shine opened her eyes looked around and said, “I do.” Then, went back to sleep. Needless to say, tears poured from our eyes. An ecstatic moment of God given joy and affirmation that even in her deepest, darkest moments, Shine knew God was with her and she knew Him! She was already comforted by the presence of God. Sherry has commented many times how much at ease and at peace her Mom seems now that she is in this facility compared to the memory care unit from which she came. Could it be that God has given her a measure of that peace that surpasses all human understanding? I think He has and I think He wanted us to know that. And, in knowing that, we once again had one of those moments of unsurpassed joy and peace.
Look for those moments in your depression and in the stress of your day to day living. Pause and reach to God and be quiet and listen for His still, small voice. He is still in the job of surprising us with his Peace!
If you are interested in attending one of our upcoming Conquering Depression Seminars, check out the Seminar tab for more information and register for one of these seminars. If you are interested in having Mark Sutton and Bruce Hennigan come to your area and present a seminar, send us a request through the contact form.