21 Days to Beat Depression - Day 12

Free Scripture booklet cover web

21 Days To Beat Depression Podcast - Day 12

 
 

21 Days To Beat Depression Blog - Day 12

"But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You.” - Psalm 5:11

“No soul that seriously and consistently seeks joy will ever miss it.  Those who seek find.  Those who knock, the door shall be opened.” - C. S. Lewis

Some of us are too busy to ever experience joy while others among us are too bored to ever draw close enough to touch the vitality that joy has eternally delivered.

Which category do you find yourself living in?  Those who are bored?  Or those who are too busy?

We must take time for joy!  Joy is not unattainable nor is it a state of mind only found while visiting the Magic Kingdom.  Joy is a daily reality and a constant source of strength for those who live in the Kingdom of God.

Joy always starts with time spent in His presence.  What does that mean, you may ask?  “Time spent in His presence”?!

I am so glad that you asked ... because I couldn’t wait to tell you!

"Time in His presence” can simply be described as the very best minutes of your day!

  • It is the time that you spend in reading the Word of God.
  • It is the time that you spend in prayer for others.
  • It is the time when you lift your hands in worship.
  • It is the time when you find yourself on your face in worship and awe.
  • It is the time that you spend hearing the Word of God taught.
  • It is the time when you allow the great hymns of the faith to wash over your weary soul.
  • It is the time that you spend asking God to forgive you.
  • It is the moments of serving God while you are serving others.
  • It is being kind knowing that we serve a God Who is Himself kind.

Time spent in His presence are moments when we give more than we can afford to give.

  • It is when we partake in communion with the Body of Christ.
  • It is that moment when you forgive someone who has hurt you, abused you or ignored you.

You will find yourself in His presence when surrounded by His people.

You will find yourself in His presence when you delight in the glory of creation!

It is when you settle down for the night with a cup of tea and a well-loved devotional book.

It is the instant that your feet hit the cold floor in the morning and you find yourself declaring, “This is the day that the Lord has made!  I will rejoice and be glad in it!”

Time spent in His presence is time spent at His feet.

Will you find time for Him today?  That is when you will find the joy that you have been sorely lacking!

Joy is the atmosphere of heaven but it is also the reality of His presence on earth.

When you spend time loving Him ... serving Him ... knowing Him ... talking to Him ... you will breathe in the joy that He has breathed out on your life!

  • MAKING IT PRACTICAL -
  1. Take a few minute today to recognize and enjoy the glory of God in creation.  You might want to take a walk and thank God for His majesty. Stand by one of your windows and look at the open sky or gaze at the sunset.  See His fingerprint in the clouds or His attention to details in a star-lit sky.  Look at the faces of those who sit around your dinner table at night and thank God for their freckles, their wrinkles or their idiosyncrasies.  Observe the creative genius of God in your pets or in gently falling snow.  The glory of God is always revealed through His creation!
  2. I know you can do it!  What 3 things are you thankful for today?  Write them in your “Thanksgiving in January and February” journal and share them with others.  #beatdepression!
  • DECLARATION -

I declare today that I will make time to delight in the joy of Your presence!  I declare that I will look for opportunities, large and small, to notice the fingerprint of God upon my day.  I will spend time with my Creator and my Savior ... my Father and my Friend!

  • PRAYER FOR TODAY -

“Lord Jesus, I truly love You so much today!  Father, help me to find time for You every day.  I want to spend time with you ... it is one of the greatest priorities of my life.  Forgive me for not making time with You a priority.  I know that when I spend time with you that I will discover an eternal reservoir of joy!  In Jesus Name I pray!  Amen!” 

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Today's Special Offer!

Defiant Joy! - 4 CD Teaching Set

Enter Code:  21DefiantJoy for 21% off!

Special discount expires on June 30, 2014

Subscribe to Carol's Blog by Email

21 Days to Beat Depression - Day 11

Free Scripture booklet cover web
Free Scripture booklet cover web

21 Days To Beat Depression Podcast - Day 11

 
 

21 Days To Beat Depression Blog - Day 11

"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love, give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer.” - Romans 12:10-12

The story of Esther Ahn Kim continues.  If you missed the first part of her story, please read the blog post for Day 10 in “21 Days to Beat Depression!”

Esther was imprisoned with 34 other Christians including a pastor whose faith was unshakable.  On the day that Esther was taken to prison, she held her dear mother’s hands and looked into her mother’s calm yet radiant face, “Now I’m going to enter the advanced course in the college of faith.  Christ Himself is the Principal, so I am sure He will teach me about true faith.  Isn’t that wonderful?”

“You must follow Him completely,” Esther’s mother responded while knowing that she would never see her daughter this side of heaven again.  “If you are to learn from Him, you must lose your life so that Jesus may live within you.  That will mean death to yourself every day, every hour, and every minute.”

Esther and her fellow prisoners discovered the joy of the Lord while physically imprisoned in the cesspool of human bitterness and rebellion.  Esther’s journal recounts the great joy and peace that was found among the Christian prisoners:

“We were all filled with the Holy Spirit and were convinced it was more than an honor to die for the Lord.  We constantly lived in fear of our guards but we were happy and satisfied, envying no one.  Having prayed all night, Pastor would often stand up in joy, dancing and singing, while tears ran down his cheeks.”

Let’s read on in Esther Ahn Kim’s prison journal:

“It was a joyous blessing to have been born in such a place and for such a time.  I realized that it was because of this persecution that I was able to truly experience God’s presence where there is fullness of joy!”

Esther shared a prison cell with seven other Christian women and they spent their waking hours praying, singing and quoting the Word of God to one another.  A deranged woman who had lost her mind to mental illness lived in solitary confinement in a cell just down the hallway from the cell shared by the Christian women.  This woman had killed her abusive husband and had chopped his body into little pieces before being found.  She screamed and yelled shrill profanities all day and all night while the Christians prayed and sang.

One day, Esther Ahn Kim, humbly asked the prison guards if they would bring the mad and demented woman to live in her cell with the 7 Christian woman.  The guards were only too happy to do it because they felt that it would be a mocking test for the Christian women.

Esther Ahn held this woman’s excrement-caked legs for 72 hours straight so that she would not kill anyone in the tiny prison cell.  The women gently ministered to her, wiped her face lovingly and spoke words of endearment and comfort over her tortured soul.  At last, when the fog of mental illness lifted, Esther Ahn led this woman to Jesus who then encountered a clarity of mind and will that was nothing short of miraculous.

When this formerly insane woman, who was now a vision of peace and joy, was led to her persecution, she turned to Esther Ahn Kim and said, “I’ll see you at home!”

How are you treating the difficult people in your life?  Do you invite them into your home and minister to them?  Most of us ignore the difficult people in our lives and when faced with a moment in their presence, we choose to belittle them and un-friend them.  The life of Esther Ahn Kim propels me into taking a long, hard look at how I treat the challenging people along life’s way.  If I am to be a radiant example of God’s love for me, I must gently minister to these fractious pieces of humanity and show them unconditional love.  This is why I am still alive: to reach out in genuine kindness to someone made in the image of God.

Esther Ahn Kim lost most of her sight while in prison and was tortured and beaten too many times to count.  Her teeth fell out during her imprisonment and her toes and fingers suffered severe frost-bite, but she walked out of prison in 1945 singing,

“All hail the power of Jesus’ Name, let angels prostrate fall!

Bring forth the royal diadem and crown Him Lord of All!”

Will you be remembered for the song of your heart or the screech of your life?  We all will leave a legacy that is determined by our daily emotional choices.  The emotional and spiritual legacy with which you choose to endow the following generations, is more important than the finances, houses or lands that you leave.  As you gaze upon the emotional smorgasbord that your culture, your family heritage and your circumstances offer for the substance of your life, always remember that difficult people may be your greatest gift in attaining the character and the heart of Christ.

  • MAKING IT PRACTICAL -
  1. Who is your difficult person?  Are you allowing this person to rob you of the joy that comes from the presence of the Lord?  Pray for this difficult person today.  And then, ask the Lord to show you how you can be a blessing to this difficult person in a practical way.  Perhaps you could send them an encouraging e-mail or take this person out for coffee.  Do it!  Do it today!
  2. I will give you a break today ... you only need to come up with 3 things for which you are deeply grateful ... not 5!  Write them in your “Thanksgiving in January and February” journal and share them with others on social media. #beatdepression!
  • DECLARATION -

I declare that I will not lose my joy due to difficult people who are in my life.  I will be a demonstration of the love and compassion of the Lord in these relationships!  I can do it because I am fully loved by the Father!

  • PRAYER FOR TODAY -

“Lord Jesus, I love You so much.  Thank You for the people whom you have strategically placed in my life.  I pray today that these people will not bring out the worst in me but that they will bring out the Jesus in me!  And, as always, Lord, I thank You for the joy that only comes from Your presence!  In Jesus’ Name I pray.  Amen.”

Today's Special Offer!

Defiant Joy! - 4 CD Teaching Set

Enter Code:  21DefiantJoyCD for 21% off!

Special discount expires on June 30, 2014

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Subscribe to Carol's Blog by Email

21 Days to Beat Depression - Day 10

Free Scripture booklet cover web
Free Scripture booklet cover web

21 Days To Beat Depression Podcast - Day 10

 
 

21 Days To Beat Depression Blog - Day 10

"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” - James 1:2-4

Esther Ahn Kim was born in Korea in the early 20th Century when there was a radical political struggle occurring between Korea, China, Japan and Russia.

The day that Esther was born was a day of great disappointment for her family because she was a girl and not a boy.  As Esther’s bitter and displeased father held her thin and sickly body in the palm of his hand, somehow he found it within himself to declare, “Poor baby, don’t die.  But be a great person.”

Esther’s mother had been introduced to the Jesus of the Bible by American missionaries when she was a young girl; Esther’s father worshipped the Shinto idols.  As Esther grew into a young woman, she observed in her mother great joy and peace.  However, in her father’s side of the family there was a legacy of anger, bitterness and hatred.  The dichotomy in which Esther was raised had the power to wound her for life but Esther chose to nestle into the faith of her mother and so found protection from the rejection and hatred expressed by her father.

Esther Ahn Kim’s mother had no Bible but remembered 4 principles taught to her by the American missionaries:

1 - Jesus is the only Son of God and is the only Savior.

2 - Jesus will never forsake His believers.

3 - Jesus is able to take all of our misfortunes and turn them into good.

4 - Jesus hears the prayers of His children.

In 1939, when Esther was a young music teacher, although she taught in a Christian school, shrine worship was forced upon her.  The authorities forced everyone in Korea, and especially the Christians, to worship at the feet of their gods.  As Esther made her way up the mountain with her class of girls, Esther purposed in her heart that she would never bow before the idols but only at the feet of Jesus, her Savior.

When Esther made that decision, peace filled her heart and she could barely keep from singing!  She was thrilled not to live her youthful life for herself but as a fragrant offering to the Lord.  Esther was even joyful that she had been born in such an age of bitterness and conflict.

Esther had to go to the mountain or her principal and perhaps her students would be tortured.  She marched toward her fiery furnace while a civil war raged in her young soul.

“Attention!”  The shrill voice on the public address system drilled into Esther’s heart.  Hundreds of thousands of people straightened line by line, accustomed to enforced subservience.  “Our profoundest bow to the sun-goddess!”

As if one uninterrupted person, the massive crowd of humanity obeyed the shouted order and bowed solemnly and deeply to the caricature of the divine.  Only one remained erect with her face looking toward heaven and her hands reaching toward the sky in worship.  Esther Ahn Kim refused to cave into a diabolical and angry culture.  She worshipped the God of all creation while others bowed in fear to fiction.

Because Esther was a teacher, she was considered a leader in her community and was constantly watched by the officials.  The military was waiting for her when she returned to her classroom and four burley men led this tiny young lady toward prison.  By a miracle of God, she was able to escape from jail and returned to her mother’s home.

Esther Ahn Kim
Esther Ahn Kim

“The Japanese were crushing untold numbers of believers under their cruel, iron heel in Korea, but actually they had to stand powerless before the Lord.  Just as the stars in the sky would not change, God’s laws would not change.  I wished to shine in the black night sky of my beloved country like a changeless star.”

Her mother prepared her for the torturous rigors of prison and during these days of preparation, Esther memorized hundreds of chapters in the well-worn family Bible.  She slept without a quilt to prepare herself for the cold and discomfort of prison and ate rotten fruit in order to adjust her digestive system for the substandard food that would be fed to her while in confinement.  Esther fasted for days at a time to strengthen her resolve that she would live through her time in prison.

Esther was not afraid of dying but was afraid of being tortured and not dying.  When Esther Ahn talked with her mother about her fears of prison and the weakness of her soul, her mother responded with this wisdom that is still applicable today, “It might even be a truer picture of the believer to agonize, to suffer, to be hated and tortured, and even to be killed in obeying God’s words rather than to live an ordinary, uneventful life.”

As Esther and her mother hid in the cold, Korean mountains while preparing Esther for what was ahead of her, Esther would often roam the uninhabited rugged wilderness around their borrowed cabin.  It was during this time of preparation that Esther Ahn found the strength and joy of singing to the Lord.  She sang the great hymns of the faith that thousands had sung before her:

“Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;

Were not the right man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing.

Dost ask who that may be?  Christ Jesus it is He, Lord Sabaoth His Name,

from age to age the same, and He must win the battle.”

I have discovered as did Esther Ahn Kim, that the ability to worship during the worst days of my life is an unconquerable strategy for both spiritual and emotional victory.  My friend, when you can’t do anything else ... you can sing!  When you are weakened by the onslaught of people and events ... you can sing!  When the bills are not paid and the doctor only has bad news ... you can still sing!  When you are deep in the throes of grief and the mental anxious is toxic ... you can still sing!

Esther Ahn’s story will be continued tomorrow in Day 11 of “21 Days to Beat Depression!”

  • MAKING IT PRACTICAL -
  1. As you have read the first part of the story of Esther Ahn Kim, did you realize that you have brought the pain of yesterday into your present life?  It is time to leave the pain and dysfunction of your past behind and enjoy the gift of today.  Write down 3 happy childhood memories that you have.  Think about those things today.
  2. “Thanksgiving in January and February!” is calling your name!  You thought it was difficult coming up with 3 things to be thankful for daily?!  Today ... just for one day ... let’s come up with 5 new things for which we are grateful!  And, as always, share some of them with your friends and family on Facebook or on Twitter.  #beatdepression!
  • DECLARATION -

I declare today that I will not be in bondage to the pain of my past!  I declare that today is a new day that the Lord has made and I WILL rejoice and be glad in it!

  • PRAYER FOR TODAY -

“Lord Jesus, I love You so much and I want to tell You today that You are the reason that I live.  You are the reason that I sing!  Thank You for the song and for the life that You have so graciously given to me.  I purpose to serve You, and only You, all of the days of my life!  In Jesus’ Name I pray.  Amen.”

Today's Special Offer!

Defiant Joy! - 4 CD Teaching Set

Enter Code:  21DefiantJoyCD for 21% off!

Special discount expires on June 30, 2014

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Hello, World!

Subscribe to Carol's Blog by Email

Six Attributes of Really Great Friendships

One of the greatest gifts that I have been given, this side of heaven, is the gift of good friends. Faithful friends. Loving friends. Encouraging friends. Honest friends.

2 of my dearest friends have had birthdays within the past month ... Monica turned the big 4-0 and Susie is just one year short of the big 6-0. How I love being friends with these women!

Let me tell you about Monica ...

Monica family pic.jpg

Monica is young and filled with passion and enthusiasm. She is participating in a Triathlon this week-end and let me just say ... her body makes me groan with envy.   All size 2 of her!  Monica has stood tough through great physical challenges and her body’s inability to produce another baby. Through tears, Monica has prayed in faith. 

She is also the most creative genius that I know!  She takes my words and makes them look vibrant and glorious!  And, Monica has latched onto the joy of being thankful for what she has been given ... an amazing husband and an active, world-changing 7 year old boy!

And then there is Susie ...

Sue Hilchey.jpg

Susie and I have been friends since the 5th grade. And since she is just one year short of 60, you know where that leaves me! Knocking on the door of 60 as well!

Susie has the heart of a cheerleader – she cheers me on to greater victories. She is in the delightful habit of holding up my arms and speaking words of encouragement and joy over my life. Susie was raised in the home of an alcoholic but holds no residual pain or bitterness. Susie has raised 3 incredible kids and now is experiencing the pure enchantment of being a grandmother to 4 little people. Susie is organized, cheerful and loves Jesus with her whole heart. And may I just say ... she is not much bigger than Monica?!  I believe that she could still fit in her cheerleading uniform from 40+ years ago.   Arg-g-g-g-g-g!!

Do you have a Susie or a Monica in your life? I pray that you do because healthy,  hopeful women like these two are able to give sparkle to dreary days. The “Susie’s” and “Monica’s” of life lend stability to roller coaster events. They are gifts ... but then ... I believe that I already told you that.

In honor of Susie and Monica, as a very small written token of what they mean to me, I decided to share with you some attributes that create truly great friendships. Look for people who have embraced these healthy characteristics and choose them as your closest friends. Also, may I humbly say, endeavor to develop these traits in your own life because if you do, you will have a bevy of friends too numerous to count!

1.  Close your mouth. Be a friend who refuses to gossip about others. When the conversation turns to gossip or judgment, be the first to insert a word of kindness.  When others are slicing and dicing the reputation of someone, or are participating in an assassination attempt on a friend’s life and then throw verbal garbage on a person made in the image of Christ, close your mouth. Disapprove of and cast a dissenting vote on this type of behavior.  

2.  Open your mouth. Look for opportunities to be sincere and liberal in offering words of encouragement and fortitude. A true friend, a faithful friend, not only refuses to gossip but determines to regularly give gifts of the verbal kind.

  •  “You mean the world to me ...”
  • “I see Jesus in you ...”
  • “You are one of my dearest friends ...”
  • “What would I do without you?”

3.  When push comes to shove, choose to carry instead. There will be times in every relationship when there is tension or opposing points of view. During those strained moments of relationship, choose to be the bigger person and carry the weight of the friendship. Take your friend out to lunch, give the friend a heartfelt gift, even suggest that you pray together. The first one to forgive always wins. Always.

4.  Don’t overreact. True friends have the ability to keep things in their proper perspective and then to believe the best in spite of disappointment. If your friend cancels a coffee date ... don’t overreact. If your friend forgets your birthday ... don’t overreact. If your friend does all the talking when you need someone to listen to you ... don’t overreact. Always remember that love covers a multitude of sins so rather than overreact ... over love! It works every time!

5.  Don’t underreact. True friends respond with compassion and actions of kindness when life is falling apart for a friend. Don’t ignore the pain or disappointment of your kindred spirit, but respond with words of concern and deeds of tender care when they need it the most. Believe me, these seeds of love will be returned to you one hundred fold!

6.  Pray. The greatest gift you can give to another human being is the commitment to pray for them. Pray for them on their birthdays and anniversaries. Pray for their children and grandchildren. Pray for their spouses. Pray for their bosses. Pray for their finances and for their health. And most of all, be thankful for them. Friends are a gift. A heavenly gift. 

“I gave thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, Susie and Monica, since I heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints because of the hope laid up for you in heaven ... 

For this reason, also, Susie and Monica, since the day I heard of it, I have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you, Susie and Monica, may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 

That you, Susie and Monica, would walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;  strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience.” – Colossians 1:3&4, 9-11

Friends Attributes.jpg
Subscribe to Carol's Blog by Email

21 Days to Beat Depression - Day 9

Free Scripture booklet cover web
Free Scripture booklet cover web

21 Days To Beat Depression Podcast - Day 9

 
 

21 Days To Beat Depression Blog - Day 9

“You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the Word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit.” - I Thessalonians 1:6 You know ... there is just something about the Bible that is able to deliver joy in the very worst of times.  There is something miraculously indescribable about the work that the Word of God can do in the most wounded of hearts.

Do you want to know what I believe?  I believe that when the Holy Spirit wrote I Thessalonians through Paul ... He didn’t just have the church in Thessalonica in mind ... but the Holy Spirit had YOU in mind!!

While you are going through a time of tribulation and thus discouragement and perhaps depression ... you need the joy that only the Word of God and the Holy Spirit can deliver!

May I share some of my favorite Scriptures with you today?  I pray that these verses taken from the greatest Book of all time will do more to heal your soul than the most powerful anti-depressant, the best earthly psychologist or even an IV of chocolate!!

"Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart.” - Jeremiah 15:16

“My soul weeps because of grief; strengthen me according to Your Word.” - Psalm 119:28

“I shall delight in Your commandments, which I love.  And I shall lift up my hands to Your commandments, which I love; and I will meditate on Your statutes.” - Psalm 119:47 & 48

Day 9 web pic
Day 9 web pic

The Word of God will strengthen you in ways that nothing else has the power to  because the Bible is a rich power source like no other!  It is better than an excellent counselor, a best friend, a good book or even a loving husband.  Never underestimate the healthy emotional life that can be attained simply by reading the Bible!  When you are weeping or when you are grieving ... the very first place that you should turn is to the Word!

And then ... hunker down and stay in that place until you are filled with the supernatural, incomparable, miraculous power of heaven!  And then ... stay there longer!

So many Christians, when they are going through a challenging time emotionally, lay their Bibles aside with these sorry excuses:

“I am too weary too read ... I am too shell-shocked to read ... I am too depressed to read the Bible.”

The very time that you need what only the Word can offer is precisely when you are weary ... shell-shocked ... and depressed!

The Word of God is your comfort when you are going through a fire so please don’t set it aside but wring the truth and joy out of it every single day of your life.

And now ... if you will excuse me ... I need to go and read my Bible!

  • MAKING IT PRACTICAL -
  1. What is your favorite Bible verse?  Take the time today to share it with someone in your life.  You might want to share it on Facebook or through Twitter with #beatdepression.  Or, simply share it with a family member or a friend.  Their life will be enriched and encouraged by your gift of hope!  
  2. Three more things!  You can do it!  List three more things for which you are thankful today!  Don’t forget: #beatdepression!
  • DECLARATION -

I declare today that the Word of God is doing a miracle inside of me!  I declare that as I read God’s Word that it is healing me and setting me free from depression!  I declare that the Bible is bringing me the gift of joy!

  • PRAYER FOR TODAY -

Jesus, I love You so much and today, I thank You for the Bible.  Thank You when the Holy Spirit was writing the Bible through the men whom you chose, that You were thinking about me.  Thank You that the Bible has the power to heal me and to enable me to walk in Your joy!  In Jesus’ Name I pray.  Amen.”

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

http://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/manage/optin?v=001dRCypZS7HoVRlX52QYFbvvCrp0Fg9bHthtpc-qHs5WFdwM97HnYnMGwhnH7gXlsRcNjYNqMkOZY73O2EwCkwi12Nxz4_kzn0iKnKBxGBjqEBwfXtZf9zkIGqgNKP_WiBoNtCFxoNo1hu0xe1ZdKU3bClHbKwvhD41sAnnTQ190qSuIn0ZpxcVOD762aveVynYkBIkXn0ucCz6ER8KAXJyzB8Bkh5e7v2FiXUbYknBIL08PceUw_4cg%3D%3D
Subscribe to Carol's Blog by Email

21 Days to Beat Depression - Day 8

Free Scripture booklet cover web
Free Scripture booklet cover web

21 Days To Beat Depression Podcast - Day 8

 
 

21 Days To Beat Depression Blog - Day 8

"But the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;  against such things there is no law.” - Galatians 5:22 & 23

Joy is not a natural response to life but it is a supernatural, Christ-like response to life.  That is why the Bible calls “joy” a “fruit of the Spirit” and not of your personality.  Joy is not a knee-jerk reaction to your circumstances but it is a miraculous moment in a dark and dying world when His presence is revealed through your life.  The joy that you experience and demonstrate is birthed from a relationship with Him.

You were not made for depression or to demonstrate a critical spirit; you were not made for gossip or for bitterness.  You were not made to give your husband the silent treatment, to create friction in the church or to yell in anger at your children.  You were made for joy!

God made your human body to be a perfect carrier for the joy of heaven’s reality while living in the soil of humanity.  You are a perfect fit for His joy!  He made you so that He could fill your life with all of the joy that was missing on earth during your tenure here.  Don’t waste one more day filled with discouragement, depression or sadness!  Plant yourself in His presence until you know that you know that you know that you are filled to overflowing with one of the greatest miracles that humankind has ever experienced:  the miracle of joy!

What would happen if rather than putting gas in the tank of my car that I decided to save a little bit of money and fill the gas tank with sand instead?  Not only would I never reach my destination but I would also ruin the car!  This is also a very sad picture of what happens when Christians try to run their lives by filling up on depression, anger or bitterness.  You will never reach your destination in life and you just might ruin your opportunity to live a life of meaning and purpose while on earth.

You were designed to be a fruit-bearing Christian!  You will never bear the fruit that you were designed to bear unless you hang out with Jesus.  Every day ... all day long just marinate in Who He is and all that He has for you.  Fertilize your life with the Word of God, with worship and with prayer.  To the extent that Jesus occupies your whole being is the extent to which you will produce joy!

  • MAKING IT PRACTICAL -
  1. Today, go back through the first 7 days of “21 Days to Beat Depression!” and re-read the Scripture verse from each day.  After you have done that, turn on a favorite worship CD and spend some time just thanking God for Who He is and for what He has done for you.
  2. Guess what?!  It’s time to be thankful again!  Get out your “Thanksgiving in January and February” journal and record 3 more things for which you are grateful.  Maybe there were no bills in the mail today ... that’s something for which you can thank God!  Maybe you had tomato soup for lunch and it is your very favorite!  Maybe God spoke to you while you were reading this devotional plan.  And ... don’t forget ... publicize your gratitude with #beatdepression!
  • DECLARATION -

I declare today that I am a carrier of heaven’s joy!  My life, from this day forward, will bring joy to a lost and dying world.  I declare that depression and discouragement will not fill the empty spaces in my life but that joy will be my chief commodity!  When people take a bite of my life ... they will taste joy!

  • PRAYER FOR TODAY -

Father, I love You!  I love everything about You!  I am honored that You would trust me to carry the joy of heaven!  I know that I have made mistakes in the past and allowed the darkness of my pain to fill my heart, but I thank You that today is a new day of joy.  Fill me today with the joy of Your presence.  In the matchless Name of Jesus I pray.  Amen.”

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Subscribe to Carol's Blog by Email

21 Days to Beat Depression - Day 7

Free Scripture booklet cover web
Free Scripture booklet cover web

21 Days To Beat Depression Podcast - Day 7

 
 

21 Days To Beat Depression Blog - Day 7

Please enjoy this instrumental version of "I Choose Joy!", by Kerri Guerin as you read today's blog post.

“For the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” - Romans 14:17

One day, during college, I had a very intimidating appointment with the provost of the Christian university that I attended.  I had requested to change my major rather late in my college career, and this great man wanted to make sure that I knew the impact it might have on my ability to graduate on time.  His secretary called the phone in my dorm room and notified me of the day and time that I was to arrive.

As I walked up to the sixth floor of the academic building, my mouth was dry, I was sick to my stomach and my knees were loudly knocking.  What was I thinking?!  How could I presume to make a decision so foolish that the provost was calling me to his personal office?!

When I reached the sequestered area of the building where this great man worked, his secretary escorted me into his prestigious office.  She informed me that he would be in shortly and I could have a seat.

As I looked around his office that day, I saw certificates and diplomas from some of the most celebrated institutions of higher learning of the day.  He had earned more academic degrees in his singular life time than my entire family, including aunts, uncles and cousins, had ever even thought of earning!

But the framed picture that captivated me was not a diploma nor was it a certificate.  It was not a picture of the provost shaking hands with a statesmen or a scholar.  The picture that sent a thrill to the deepest part of my heart was a picture of Jesus ... with His head thrown back in laughter and a contagious smile spread from ear to ear.  Underneath this picture was the scripture, “Your God rejoices over you!”

Did you realize that joy is one of the grand attributes of God Himself?  Joy is an integral part of the character of God.  There is a deep delight in all that He does and a genuine enthusiasm in everything that He undertakes.

What is it that causes God to be filled with joy?  The answer will humble you ... you are what fills the God of the universe with joy!  God rejoices over you just as a young bridegroom rejoices over his precious bride.

God is so glad to have a relationship with you that He is found singing over you!

We serve a God whose very Kingdom is identified with the exclamatory word, “Joy!”  Will you enter into His Kingdom today?  Will you join in the celebration with thousands of saints who have passed before you?  Will you live and dwell in the Kingdom of Joy while you are yet on planet earth?

While your feet 

are on earthly soil and you breath the atmosphere of a fallen world, it is time for your heart and your emotions to understand that you are living in the most joyful Kingdom of all ... the Kingdom of the One Who rejoices over you!

  • MAKING IT PRACTICAL -
  1. Every day is Thanksgiving in the Kingdom of joy!  In your “Thanksgiving in January and February” journal, make a daily entry of the three things for which you are thankful.  Don’t forget that part of the joy of being thankful is sharing those things with others so share it on Facebook or on Twitter with the hashtag “beatdepression!”
  2. Pray for a person in your life who has wounded you or hurt you.  Pray that God will bless this person and heal their soul.  Pray that God will put men and women of God in his or her life in order to draw this person nearer to the heart of the Father.
  • DECLARATION-

I declare today that I live in the Kingdom of joy!  I declare that I will bask in the promise that my Father rejoices over me.  I declare that I will join in the celebratory atmosphere of the Kingdom in which I live!

  • PRAYER FOR TODAY -

“Jesus, I love You so much today.  I pray that the joy of Your Kingdom will wash over my life in extraordinary ways.  I pray that I will hear the song of the Father as He sings over my life today.  You are a good God and it is my delight and joy to serve You today!  In the Name of Jesus I pray.  Amen.”

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Subscribe to Carol's Blog by Email

21 Days to Beat Depression - Day 6

Free Scripture booklet cover web
Free Scripture booklet cover web

21 Days To Beat Depression Podcast - Day 6

 
 

21 Days To Beat Depression Blog - Day 6

“And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” - Acts 13:52

I’d like to tell you a story today about two men who were in the throes of desperate and tragic circumstances.  They were even in the ministry ... telling others about Jesus Christ ... and yet they were not immune to trauma and disappointment.  If you would like to, you can read their story in Acts 16:22-30.

Paul and Silas, two of the New Testament disciples, had been beaten by an unruly and angry mob until they were bruised and bleeding.  Their clothes had been violently torn from their bodies and they were sorely in need of medical attention. Paul and Silas, these two great men of God who were traveling the ancient world proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, were thrown into a Roman prison and their feet were locked into stocks.

A Roman prison was a place of nearly instant mental illness; it only took a few nights in this fetid, black place to lose one’s mind.  Set down in the belly of the earth, an ancient prison was a place that reeked of urine and vomit.  Prisoners received only one meal per day that consisted of moldy bread accompanied by tepid, dirty water that had already been used for other, unmentionable things.

Every time that a guard would bring food, he would make sure to kick the prisoner in a place that it would do the most damage and bring the most pain.  Roman prisoners would sit in their own excrement day after endless day.  And then there were the varmints and insects that continually crawled over the body of a prisoner.  Spiders would crawl in and out of the prisoner’s nostrils while rats roamed freely across other private areas of the prisoner’s unprotected body.

“But about midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God ...” - Acts 16:25

At about midnight, in this Roman prison, when most people would choose to give up in despair and sink into depression, Paul and Silas found joy!  They discovered it in the putrid smell of prison and in the dank and damp of hopelessness.  They discovered joy with their feet bound in purposeless and in the sewage of their own existence.

Day 6 youversion pic
Day 6 youversion pic

Paul and Silas chose to worship Jesus at the very worst moment of their life.  Paul and Silas found joy!  Now ... what’s your excuse?!

As Christians, we have a responsibility ... yes ... a divine duty even ... to meet the very worst that life offers with a joy that is defiant!

When you choose to break out into unrestrained worship at the midnight hour of your life, watch out!  Heaven may begin to rock the foundations of your life in order to set you free from the circumstances that bind you.

  • MAKING IT PRACTICAL -
  1. Make an entry in your “Thanksgiving in January and February!” list with 3 blessings that you recognize as being from the hand of the Father.  Don’t forget - others want to hear what you are thankful for as well so mention them on Twitter or on Facebook with a #beatdepression!  
  2. What is your favorite worship song?  If you don’t have a copy of it, find it on “YouTube”, on “Pandora Radio” or on Spotify and listen to it at least one time.  Let the word of the music roll over your soul and encourage you in the Lord.  Now ... listen to it again and sing along and lift your hands in worship.  There ... didn’t that feel good?!
  • DECLARATION -

I declare that today, no matter how black my circumstances seem, that like Paul and Silas I will sing!  I rejoice in You, today, Father and give You my highest praise!

  • PRAYER FOR TODAY -

Father God, I love You so very much today.  Thank You that I can lift my voice and my hands in worship to You.  I thank You that as I worship, the chains of depression and despondency are being broken in my life.  I thank You that You are ushering me into a new day of joy and gladness and rejoicing!  In Jesus’ Name I pray.  Amen.”

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Subscribe to Carol's Blog by Email

21 Days to Beat Depression - Day 5

Free Scripture booklet cover web
Free Scripture booklet cover web

21 Days To Beat Depression Podcast - Day 5

 
 

21 Days To Beat Depression Blog - Day 5

"Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.  He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” - Psalm 126: 5 & 6

Everything I know about farming I learned from my Dad who was raised on his family’s farm in the days preceding WWII.  Dad had a love for the land and for the produce that it yielded.  His happiest moments were spent digging in the dirt, planting seeds in the tender ground of spring, pulling relentless weeds under the hot summer sunshine and then harvesting the bounty that he and God had grown together!

This is what I learned from my wise father who had dirt under his fingernails and a love for the land in his soul:  If you plant cucumber seeds then you will harvest  shiny, green cucumbers.  Cucumber seeds never produce onions ... or celery ... or corn on the cob.  If you plant tulip bulbs then you will reap a beautiful display of tulips.  Tulip bulbs never reproduce zinnias ... or evergreen trees ... or forget-me-nots.  You will always reap what you have sown.  Seeds are only able to reproduce what their genetic code determines.

This is also true in the animal kingdom because cats only spawn kittens and never give birth to elephants, to humpbacked whales or even to piglets.  Animals, human beings and insects only reproduce what their genetic code determines.

However, in the Kingdom of God, there is an exception to this irrefutable code of genetics.  In God’s garden, when you sow in tears, you will always reap in joy!  If you have cried yourself to sleep too many times to count and have experienced the sorrow of depression, disappointment and sadness ... do not give up!  Joy is on the way!  Your tears have fertilized the seeds of joy that God has planted in the garden of your life.

Those who have sown the tears of tragedy, sorrow and disappointment have the greatest capacity to reap a harvest of heaven’s joy!

Joy is not an impossibility when you have experienced deep emotional trauma and pain but it is a certainty in the Kingdom of God.  God has not forgotten you but is delighted to partner with you in a bountiful explosion of joy!  The very worst moment of your life has the capacity to produce the very best harvest of all:  the harvest of joy!

  • MAKING IT PRACTICAL-
  1. Add to your “Thanksgiving in January and February!” list by adding 3 more blessings for which you are grateful.  Don’t forget “#beatdepression!”  
  2. Be kind to someone today.  Anyone at all!  Smile at the woman beside you in traffic ... encourage the young mother in the grocery store line ... pay for someone else’s coffee in the drive-through ... tell someone in your family that you are thankful for them.  Kindness is always a pre-requisite to joy!
  • DECLARATION -

I declare today, in agreement with the Word of God, that every tear I have ever shed will reap an extreme and abundant harvest of joy in my life.  I declare that my days of depression are done and a growing season of joy in my life has begun!

  • PRAYER FOR TODAY-

Dear Jesus, I really do love You so much.  Thank You that every tear that I have cried, every ache of my heart and every seed of sorrow, is going to reap a harvest of joy in my life.  I don’t know how you do that, Lord, but if the Bible says that it is true ... then I believe it!  Father, I pray that joy will begin to spring up in my life today.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.”

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Subscribe to Carol's Blog by Email

Duggars, Proposals & Our Crazy Culture

Photo from the Facebook Page - Duggar Family Blog

Photo from the Facebook Page - Duggar Family Blog

All right … I am going to admit it. I am thoroughly enjoying watching the Duggar daughters and their courtships.

It is purity in its highest form … an innocent love that is astonishingly magnetic … and perhaps a glimpse at what God meant the dating years to look like.

Now … I know that some of the Duggar standards might seem extreme to some. Who other than the Duggars only give side hugs until the wedding day? Did your first kiss take place at the altar? Do you know anyone who restricted the holding of hands until after the engagement?

But in this world of the Kardashians, the disturbing sexual antics of Miley Cyrus and the fascination with “Sister Wives”, I’ll take the virtue of the Duggars any day.

How wonderful that a family has determined to live with conviction and principle in a world where anything … literally anything … goes! And … even more wonderful … they are living in this lovely and immaculate manner in the spotlight of the convoluted media!

“Your adornment must not be merely external – braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” – I Peter 3: 3& 4

We live in a world where sex is glorified and where commitment is mocked. Our culture promotes the cheap thrill of sexual innuendo and scoffs at brides who actually deserve to wear white on their wedding day. But the world’s way has never been God’s way. I have a strong suspicion that the marriages of the Duggar girls will go the distance and defy statistics.

Did you know that only 5% of marriages make it to their Golden Anniversary? What has happened to “until death do us part”? Perhaps it got lost in a world of wife-swapping, bachelorettes and internet hook-ups.

The truth is this … our culture does not have the answer. We do. We have the answer and it is found in the principles and promises of the Bible.

“How can a young person keep their way pure? By keeping it according to Your Word.”  – Psalm 119:9

Those Duggar daughters have discovered the way to live a beautiful life and to build a healthy marriage. They honor their parents and their future husbands by holding fast to purity.

Photo from the Facebook Page - Duggar Family Blog

Photo from the Facebook Page - Duggar Family Blog

One of the obvious aspects of “19 Kids and Counting” that I especially treasure is the way that these young women respect their parents in word and in deed. 20-somethings often consider parental input as archaic and unnecessary. Young people generally feel that they know more than their antique parents and don’t need parental advisement, guidance and wisdom. I know I often felt that way when I was a young woman during the dating years. And … I couldn’t have been more wrong!

How I wish during those dating years that I had the perspective of Michelle Duggar! 

How I wish that I had allowed my parents to be involved in my dating choices!

“Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be long upon the earth and that it may go well with you on the land which the Lord your God gives you.” – Deuteronomy 5:16

Thank you, Jim-Bob and Michelle, for training your children in a Godly and wise way. Thank you for building a life upon principle and not upon the trends of the culture.

Thank you, Duggar daughters, for honoring your parents and the Lord. Thank you for being willing to live with conviction and for choosing purity.

My prayer is that parents and young adults will simply reconsider the way that we “do” dating. I don’t believe that dating should be like trying to find a new car when you go to one dealership and drive 2 or 3 options … then go to another dealership and drive some others. I don’t believe that dating should be a “game” or be done “just for fun”.

People’s feelings are important … a physical relationship should be reserved for marriage … flirting with the opposite sex is not the Godly way to find a spouse. After asking Jesus into one’s heart, who a person marries is the single most important decision of one’s life. 

If you are single, pray and ask God to bring a Godly man or woman into your life. 

And then, wait well. 

If you are a parent of a teen-ager or young adult, pray with them and gently give wisdom and guidance during this tenuous season of life. Stay lovingly connected with encouragement.

If you are the parent of younger children, begin to talk to them now, before they begin to date, about the principles and convictions that your family will embrace during the dating years.

God’s ways really are higher than our ways. God was the Author of romance and planned for a man and a woman to enjoy companionship, a physical relationship and the shared commitment to Godliness. It has been my experience that God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him.

Subscribe to Carol's Blog by Email

21 Days to Beat Depression - Day 4

Free Scripture booklet cover web
Free Scripture booklet cover web

21 Days To Beat Depression Podcast - Day 4

 
 

21 Days To Beat Depression Blog - Day 4

 "A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” - Proverbs 17:22

There is something miraculously healing about smiling ... and laughter ... and giggling ... and a contented chuckle or two.  Not only does a merry heart have the capacity to heal you but it is also contagious.  The joy that you express often is “caught” in the very best sense by others.

This word “joyful” in the ancient Hebrew is actually translated as “expressing joy, or rejoicing”.  You must express the joy for it to heal you!  You must rejoice out loud in the presence of others for the miracle to begin!

When a person deals with a lengthy and dark depression, often it becomes impossible to smile, or grin or giggle infectiously.  Allow me to challenge you today to smile even if you don’t feel like it.  Break out in a grin not because you feel like it but in spite of how you feel.

When I was a melancholy teen-ager, my father used to kindly say to me, “Smile, Carol!  Your face won’t break!  Neither will your heart!”

That was good advice to a morose adolescent and it is GREAT advice to all of us today who deal with emotional grayness.  Find something to smile about and find someone to smile at - you will find that it is the beginning of your own healing.

Now, please ... do not discount this advice.  Do not be so wrapped up in your own emotional pain,  that you begin to justify yourself by saying, “This won’t work for me.”  It will work ... it may take some practice ... but eventually it will work.  You can try to argue with the Bible and minimize its power  - men and women from every generation have tried to make the exact same argument.  It didn’t work for them and it won’t work for you!

So ... take some advice from an old pro and put on a happy face!

  • MAKING IT PRACTICAL-
  1. You know the routine by now but don’t underestimate its importance!  Add to your “Thanksgiving in January and February!” list by adding 3 more things for which you are incredibly grateful!  #beatdepression!  
  2. Every time you make eye contact with someone today - smile.  Look up some humorous stories or jokes on the internet and share them with the people with whom you work or at the family dinner table.  Send out an e-mail to some of your closest friends with a cute story or a joke in it.  Recall a happy childhood memory and share it with a friend or a family member.  Today, your assignment is to “be happy out loud!
  • DECLARATION -

I declare today that I will express joy regardless of my circumstances.  I will not allow the pain of my past or my disappointment with today dictate my level of joy.  I will rejoice in the Lord today because He has made this day for me!

  • PRAYER FOR TODAY -

Dear Jesus, I do love you very much and I believe that Your Word is true.  Father God, I pray today that You would restore to me the joy of Your salvation.  I pray that I would be an encouragement to everyone that I meet.  Give me divine appointments with people who need to see a cheerful countenance or a friendly face.  I am Yours and I pray that You would use me today and every day!  In Jesus’ Name I pray.  Amen.”

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Subscribe to Carol's Blog by Email

21 Days to Beat Depression - Day 3

Free Scripture booklet cover web
Free Scripture booklet cover web

21 Days To Beat Depression Podcast - Day 3

 
 

21 Days To Beat Depression Blog - Day 3

 Listen to this uplifting song while you are enjoying the blog post!

"Be not grieved or depressed for the joy of the Lord is your strength."  - Nehemiah 8:10

So many things, products and disciplines in life boast that they have the power to strengthen you.  Truly, truly, there is only one commodity that will strengthen you in your innermost being and that is the joy of the Lord.

The joy of the Lord strengthens you and empowers you to be the person that God thought of when He first thought of you.  Joy is not a weak, insipid, rapidly changing emotion but it is at its best when life is at its worst.

If you plod through life without the strength that only His joy can deliver, it will turn you into a weak, whining and ineffective Christian.

We really do have an enemy, his name is Satan, and he has a strategic life plan for you just like God does.  Satan’s plan is to steal your joy and to weaken your resolve.  Satan’s plan is to infect you with disappointment and vaccinate you with discouragement.  How does he do that, you may ask?  Well ... I am so glad that you asked because I do have an answer for you!

The devil is not after your health and he could care less about your marriage or your finances.   Your children don’t mean a thing to the devil but what the devil is after is your joy and the way that he tries to steal your joy is by going after your health, your marriage, your finances and your children.

The devil knows that he cannot deny you of your salvation or of the forgiveness that Jesus has given to you.  So, what he tries to steal is the most valuable commodity that he is able to get his greedy little hands on.  Satan is relentless and he will do everything that he can to lie to you and eventually deceive you out of your joy.

Today, let me challenge you to stand toe to toe ... nose to nose with the accuser of the brethren and declare in his ugly little face, “Satan ... you can not!!  You will not!!  You will never be able to take my joy from me!”

When you choose to defy the enemy with the joy that Jesus died to give you, you will become a powerful force in the world today.  God can use joyful Christians who are bold enough to hang onto their joy no matter what is going on in their circumstances.

  • MAKING IT PRACTICAL -

Today, there are 2 assignments in the “Practical Application” segment of “21 Days to Beat Depression!”

  1. Write someone a thank you note who has been a blessing and an encouragement to you.  Tell them how much you appreciate them and the role that they have played in your life.  Write it and mail it today!  Don’t wait until tomorrow!
  2. List three more things for which you are grateful in your “Thanksgiving in January and February” list!  Don’t forget to share your morsels of gratitude on Twitter or on Facebook with #beatdepression!
  • DECLARATION -

I declare today that Satan will no longer steal my joy!  I will be a strong and powerful Christian because God’s presence has given to me the gift of joy!

  • PRAYER FOR TODAY -

Dear Jesus, I love You so much and I am so thankful for Your joy.  Thank You that it is Your joy that strengthens me and propels me into all that You have for me this year.  Father, even on the days when I do not humanly “feel” joy, I know that I have it because you promised it to me.  I stand on Your promises not on my feelings.  In the powerful Name of Jesus I pray.  Amen."

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Subscribe to Carol's Blog by Email

21 Days to Beat Depression - Day 2

21 Days To Beat Depression Podcast - Day 2

 
 
 

21 Days To Beat Depression Blog - Day 2

“These things I have spoken to you that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be made full.” - John 15:11

I am not a doctor, but I have a prescription for you!

If you are battling depression or sadness, every day turn on praise and worship music.  You might want to lift your hands in worship or just quietly sit and bask in the peace that flows from His presence.  For the very brave of heart, let me encourage you to join with David and even dance before the Lord!  Simply take about 5-10 minutes every day and spend it listening to and participating in the hymns and songs of men and women of faith.

Some sicknesses of the soul, require more than one healing medication, and so in addition to spending time daily in worship, try this:  open your Bible and read a passage of Scripture.  If you are in the throes of sadness, just start at the beginning of the Book of Psalms and read 3-5 verses in a sitting.  Let the Words of the Psalmist roll over your soul and demonstrate their healing power in your life.

Let me talk to you about the Bible for a minute and help you to understand the power that the Word of God has in helping you deal with your emotional pain.

Did you realize that making a simple decision to read the Bible every day is one of the most strategic choices toward joy that you will ever make?  The Bible is infinitely more powerful than any other human answer for emotional ailments.

The Bible is not a flat book but it is a dynamic source of heaven’s power.  So many people tell me that they don’t understand the Bible ... and I tell them that’s o.k.!  Just keep reading it!  We don’t always read the Word of God for information but we always read it for transformation!  I guarantee that what your mind is not able to understand, your spirit will absorb!

Because you really do have an enemy ... and he really does understand the power that a Christian extracts from reading the Bible ... the devil will do anything and everything that he is capable of doing to convince you not to read the Word of God!

Discipline is never easy but always requires great focus and intent.  Don’t make excuses of why you couldn’t read the Bible yesterday or are not able to read the Bible today ... just do it!

My prayer for you today is that you will declare with the prophet, Jeremiah, “Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart!”

The third healing balm for a depressed soul is to spend a few minutes in prayer, praying for someone else.  Keep a prayer journal and write down other people’s needs and requests.  When you give to someone else by praying for them, the blessings and the strength will come rebounding back upon your life.

  • MAKING IT PRACTICAL -

Guess what?!  You get to do it again!  List three more things for which you are grateful!  Don’t forget to share them through Twitter or on Facebook followed by the words, “#beatdepression!”

  • DECLARATION -

I declare today that when I read the Bible that it heals all of the broken places in me.  I declare that as I read the powerful Word of God that depression will flee in Jesus’ Name and that joy will come into my life!

  • PRAYER FOR TODAY -

"Lord Jesus, I love You so much.  I thank You, today, for the Bible.  Thank You that the Bible does a miracle in me each time I read it.  Thank You for the abundant life that is strategically laid out for me in the Bible.  Thank You that Your Words always bring joy to my life.  In Jesus’ Name I pray.  Amen.”

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Subscribe to Carol's Blog by Email

21 Days to Beat Depression - Day 1

21 Days To Beat Depression Podcast - Day 1

 
 
 

21 Days To Beat Depression Blog - Day 1

 

"You will make known to me the path of life; In your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” - Psalm 16:11

TODAY'S FREEBIE - 21 Daily Bible Verses Booklet

Have you ever wondered why you have not been able to tap into the miraculous, fulfilling and ultimate joy that the Bible talks about?  For many of us, life has become a torturous prison and we find ourselves paralyzed by unfulfilled dreams, discouraging circumstances and difficult people.  Each day, rather than being abundant or a delightful gift, becomes an unending dirge of retching emotions with only a black horizon in sight.

I have been there.  I know where you are.  I also know what it takes to be set free from the pain and prison of depression.  For the next 21 days, you will be introduced to a new lifestyle ... a new way of thinking ... a challenge to embrace life with resilience and gusto.  I know that you can do it because I did it.  The question is this ... will you do it?!

Often our frustration stems from the fact that we look for joy in all the wrong places.  If you believe that an impressive college education, a spotless home or 5 well-behaved children are your password into the Kingdom of Joy ... you have it all wrong.  If you somehow think that losing 27.5 pounds or marrying the person of your dreams or being the owner of a passport filled with impressive stamps from exotic and far-away places will give you a money-back guarantee to perfect and perpetual joy ... then once again my friend ... you have it all wrong.

Joy is found in one place and one place only ... “In His presence is fullness of joy!”

If you desire a joy so pervasive that it will trump every other circumstance in life then you must spend time in the presence of the Lord.  If you are desperate for a joy that will literally defy all of your life’s depressing situations then you must choose to marinate in His presence.

How do you do that?  Well, it’s really not that difficult.  You can choose whether or not to make it a priority to spend time reading your Bible every day ... you might turn on a worship CD and even sing along with it!  If you are very bold and extremely desperate ... you will choose to lift your hands in the air as an act of surrender while you worship.  Another exciting option is to spend time alone in prayer every day.  Just you and Jesus.  Simply close the door to your bedroom and kneel beside your bed as you have a heart to heart conversation with the one who knows you the best and loves you the most.

  • MAKING IT PRACTICAL -

For people who have a difficult time understanding what joy actually is, I always tell them, “Just be thankful!  Thankfulness and joy are not so very far apart!”

Today, begin to record a list of the things for which you are grateful.  Entitle this list, “Thanksgiving in January and February!”  Today, write down three things for which you are thankful.  I dare you to make your list public through Twitter or on Facebook accompanied by “#beat depression!”

  • DECLARATION -

I declare today that when I spend time in God’s presence that I am given the extraordinary gift of Joy!

  • PRAYER FOR TODAY -

“Lord Jesus, I do love You so much. I ask today that I would have an awareness of Your presence and of Who You are.  I ask that Your joy would fill the dark, empty places in me.  I pray that my discouragement, disappointment and frustration with life would be washed away as I spend more time in Your presence.  Thank You, Father God, for the gift of joy.   Amen."

Subscribe to Carol's Blog by Email

Sweet Addiction

When I was living during the very darkest days of my life, I developed an addiction.

I was in the throes of depression due to years of infertility and repeated miscarriages. I sent 5 babies to heaven when they had grown to between 12 and 20 weeks in utero. It was a time of non-stop grief, dashed hopes and raging emotions.

The addiction that I developed was not to over the counter drugs … it was not to alcohol … it was not to shopping or chocolate or binge-eating.

The addiction that I developed was to the Word of God. During those days, when the black hole of depression was calling my name, the Bible also was in hot pursuit of my soul. Before my circumstances ever changed, the healing power found only in the Word of God healed my profound and relentless depression.

What the Bible did for me … it can do for you.

How the Bible healed me … it can heal you.

The power in the Bible isn’t only for me … it is also for you.

And so, today, 26 years removed from those days of ragged hormones and infertility, I want to share with you five ways that the Bible can change your life. 

I know … because it changed mine.

  1. First of all, the Bible will help you stay focused on what is good. It reminds you that our God is well able to take every situation and circumstance in our lives and use it for our highest good and for His greatest glory.

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

2.  Secondly, the Bible will help you deal with temptations and your sin issues. I can tell you this … all of us are tempted to give in to sin. There is not a man or a woman alive who does not face temptation on a daily basis. When the Bible is your guidebook through life, you are able to develop a strength that will enable you to overcome. 

“How does a young man (woman) keep his (or her) way pure? By keeping it according to Your Word.” – Psalm 119:9

3.  The third way that the Bible can change you is to help you love the difficult people in your life!! If you are in constant frustration due to the irregular people in your life, know that God is not surprised by their presence. He may have strategically placed them in your life because He wants them to see Jesus in you!

“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, love does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered.” – I Corinthians 13: 4 & 5

If you are wondering why you were born and what your purpose in life is, let me assure you that the Bible will definitely help you find your purpose in life! If you have found yourself wallowing in various choices, in lack of direction and in a purposelessness existence, ask God to give you His direction from the Word!

“For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

5.  And finally, the fifth reason why you should be addicted to the Word of God is because it will help you focus on the important issues of life. As human beings, we often magnify the wrong things and minimize the important stuff. And so, when we are committed to the wisdom in the Word of God, our priorities are changed and we are able to focus on the eternal things of life this side of heaven.

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him and the son of man that you care for him?” – Psalm 8:3 & 4

And so today … for these 5 reasons and for thousands of other reasons … read your Bible. Develop and addiction to the Word of God. I can guarantee you that you will become the person you were made to be when you delight in His Word!

Listen as Carol shares her story of overcoming depression and becoming addicted to her Bible...


Subscribe to Carol's Blog by Email

The Good Stuff

It’s the little things that make life grand, isn’t it?!

A glass of iced tea on the back deck …

The sweet giggle of a delicious child …

a kind text message from a friend who lives far away …

The smell of fresh-cut grass …

A good book and a cup of coffee …

Dinner at a friend’s house …

So often, in my life, I have made the mistake of living for the big moments … for the red-letter days of promotions, bonuses and celebrations. When, in reality, those giant occasions are not what life is made of at all.

Life, at its finest, is built upon heartfelt smiles …

Long walks on a country road …

An unexpected phone call from a loved one …

If graduations, publishing contracts, and standing ovations were the building blocks of a rich and meaningful life … my life would be tenuous and without much foundational support. 

But because the real stuff of life is as close and as dear as the morning song of the bird out my kitchen window … the companionship of my daughter on my daily run …and the treasure of reading a well-loved devotional book ... I find my life to be a rich repository of all that is good and substantive.

The glory of applause is momentary … the accolades of achievement are fleeting … the once in a lifetime events are rare … but it is the simple pleasures that give life sparkle and joy.

If high-power business meetings and hall of fame moments are what you have built a life upon … perhaps you need a new architectural plan. If you live for the adrenaline rush that only championship games and trips to Hawaii bring … perhaps your adrenaline is bought at too high a price.

“Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5

Paul reminds all of us … in every generation … to learn the contentment that is found not in achieving but in belonging. Contentment is a learned behavior and not a knee-jerk reaction to life. Contentment requires choosing … listening … processing … and submitting oneself to the miracle of an ordinary day.

“ … For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” – Philippians 4:11

When I look back at the substance of living that created a healthy childhood for my children, I realize that it was popsicles on a hot summer day … laughing at a shared family joke … and praying every night before bed that brought security and happiness into our home.

Oh … we cheered like fanatics at the championship ball games … I cried at 5 high school graduations … and we celebrated every birthday like royalty … but those moments did not define the life we had been given.

What made life worthwhile at 8120 Stillbreeze Drive was reading a book together in the evenings … and catching fireflies in the backyard … and singing around the piano. Those simple yet valuable choices gave us a strong foundation of life at its finest and its richest.

Perhaps living inside a regular day in which nothing of earth-moving significance happens is at the heart of all that is truly meaningful and extraordinary.

The glory of life is found quite simply in the ordinary moments. The treasure of a life well lived is acquired not in getting but in giving. The substance of all that is good and rich and meaningful is found in a thousand minute gifts that are easily overlooked if one is not careful.

Rather than looking for gold at the end of the rainbow … enjoy the rainbow.

Rather than aching for your baby’s first step … enjoy his or her little arms around your neck for one more day.

Rather than emphasizing the importance of performance-based living … be content with the company of those you love the most and know the best.

Do you want to know what I am doing right now? I am on a plane traveling to a distant city to appear on a television show in order to promote my new book. Big stuff. A grandeous moment for sure …

But sitting in front of me on this flight there is a 2 year old named Cameron with brown eyes who wants to play peek-a-boo with me … and so if you will excuse me … peek-a-boo and giggles await.

The truly important stuff of life …

Subscribe to Carol's Blog by Email

Moms' Night Out

Moms. Kids. Babies. Choices. Needs. Culture. Time. Priorities. Preferences. Finances.  Expectations. Heart issues. 

There is a new movie, “Moms Night Out” playing in theaters. This movie was made for moms … it’s about moms … it honors moms.

The critics are bashing this movie; their platform of disgust is not the acting, the scripting, the camera angles, or the lighting. The media and critics are vehement in their comments concerning this movie simply because the main character is a stay at home mom.

Some of the comments that you can read in reviews of the movie are these:

“Depressingly regressive and borderline dangerous”     

 “Unabashedly anti-feminist comedy”     

“Ugly sexism”     

“Peddles archaic notions of gender roles”   

 “Insulting”

“Allison's lack of a profession consigns the character into Eisenhower-esque irrelevance.”

I was a stay at home mom for all of the 31 years that I was raising children. I am not a dangerous woman, nor am I insulted by the notion that some moms still choose to stay at home during the baby years, the toddler years and beyond. These critics do not speak for me.

I know that times are changing … I know that life is expensive and that women are capable and that we all have dreams to fulfill. I know that single moms must work … they must. I know that we live in a society where most families are only scraping by even with 2 incomes. I know all of those things.

But I also know the heart of a child. I know that to a child “love” is spelled “t-i-m-e.” I have always believed that saying “quality” time fills the needs of a child was a deceptive defensive mechanism. After raising 5 children, I have found that quantity of time is perhaps the most valuable investment I have made in my children’s lives.

I am smart … I am a college graduate … I write books … I have dreams … but I also realized that the window of opportunity for influence that I had with each one of my miraculous children was small. Way too small.  And so I was one of the women in my generation who chose to say “no” to prestigious jobs, better cash flow and societal importance. I chose to stay at home and I do not have one ounce of regret.

I knew that the years would fly by. I knew that what I, the mom, was gloriously able to give to my children no day care could give … no fabulous babysitter was able to impart … and no caring neighbor could offer.

I was their only mom.

I wore the same dress every Christmas and Easter for 11 years. We were a one car family until our oldest child was 13 years old. My furniture was hand-me-downs, we shopped at yard sales, and cable TV was an impossibility.

But I was there. And that should not be considered dangerous or disgusting for any woman at any time in history.

Listen, we all have choices. And if you have chosen to work or have found yourself in a position where you must work during your children’s formative years, then trim other things out of your schedule. You might not get to go to the gym 7 days a week, or enjoy a leisurely lunch out with friends, or go to the mall by yourself. If you are working by choice or by necessity, spend every extra minute that you are able to spend with these delicious little lives that you have been given.

I am now an empty nest mom and I don’t regret one minute of one hour of one day that I spent in their company. As a matter of fact, if you ask any mom in my season of life what their one regret is, they would say that they wish they had spent more time with their children … not less.

We live in a society that does not value children. We value prestige, platform, success, travel, sports, entertainment, and money … but not children. Our culture says that it is a waste for a woman to give productive years of her life to raising the next generation. Our culture has it wrong.

The producers of “Moms Night Out” have it right.

Subscribe to Carol's Blog by Email

She Is...A Cartographer

Do you know what a cartographer is?!  It is a person who makes maps … in other words … a mom is excellent and experienced at setting boundaries for her children.

If you don’t set boundaries for your children, no one else will!  It’s as simple as that!  Setting boundaries may initially seem difficult, but in the long haul of mothering, it will make your life so much easier, indeed!

You must set boundaries about the way your children dress and they way that they talk; you must set boundaries concerning who they are allowed to hang out with, what they watch on TV, what sites they are allowed to visit on the computer and what kind of music they listen to.

You must not only be an excellent cartographer – but you must be a vigilant cartographer!  It is the job that never ends!!

You must set boundaries not only with your words but also with your life.  Do not use words or phrases that are off limits for your children.  Do not watch movies or listen to music that is out of bounds for your children.

As a vigilant and excellent cartographer, you must also watch for enemy forces that may be attacking certain boundaries that you have set for your family.  As the one in charge of those boundaries, you must be quick to usher in peace to those areas of their lives.

“I think that you are struggling with your sister.  What can I do to help your relationship with her?  You know, the bottom line is, you must be kind all the time.”

“I have heard you speak disrespectfully about that teacher.  I know that biology is not your favorite subject but we still must respect those in authority so let’s figure out a way that you can bless this teacher.”

Heart boundaries are just as important as boundaries that impact daily choices concerning how your children are allowed to speak, dress, be entertained and who their friends are.  You must be watching attentively for weeds that are growing in their young hearts and then remove them before they have a chance to take root and grow out of control.

Someday your children will set their own boundaries for their own lives.  If you have trained them well, their personal boundaries will not be very different from the ones that you have set.

She is … an expert cartographer!

Have you ever wondered what kids think about their Moms?  Watch this cute clip of "Kids Say the Darndest Things! - Mom Edition"!

Subscribe to Carol's Blog by Email

She Is...The Head of Homeland Security

You, as a mother, are called and empowered by the King of all Kings to protect your home front from evil and sinister enemies.  There is a war going on for the peace of your home and for the destinies of your children and you have been chosen to keep the enemy out of your domain.

God has given to every mother the resources of His supernatural intelligence to discern what is going on in the heavenlies over your home and over the lives of your children.  You must identify the enemy as the liar who comes into your family and endeavors to steal all that you hold dear and virtuous.  As mothers, we must be willing to fight with adversity not to flirt with it.

Your children, your husband and your home should legitimately expect that the home in which they live gets safer every day because of your powerful influence.  You are the Director of Homeland Security and you are MOM!

Be a quick and definitive responder to the approach of the enemy’s influence.  Do not tolerate anything less than godliness and wisdom in your home.  Make every decision in your home not based upon popularity or emotion but based upon the principles in the Word of God.

The Director of Homeland Security must also protect the citizens of the nation against bioterrorism.  Bioterrorism is not an outward threat but an inward disease-causing agent.  You must be continuously wakeful as you are on the watch for dangerous heart attitudes, paralyzing emotions and crippling habits.  When a child becomes negative or critical it is like venom in a family’s home and will do quick and serious damage if you do not decisively respond.

As the Director of Homeland Security, you are privy to information that others may not have.  Be on the offensive with your children and investigate the video games they enjoy, the music groups they listen to, the programs they regularly watch and the lifestyles of their sports heroes.  Ask God to give you discernment concerning each child and concerning the battles that rage around their individual hearts.

You won’t always have this particular job in the lives of your children but someday you will stand on the porch and watch them take up the wisdom and armor of God as they go into the battlefield of our culture.  But, for today, it is your job and your domain.  Be relentless!

She is … the wise and intuitive Head of Homeland Security!

TEAM MOM!!  Whether you're a homeschool mom, public school mom, mom of teens or newborns, nursing mom or bottlefeeding mom;  we're all in this together!!  Let's link arms and help each other on this mothering journey!  Here are a few ideas to bless the moms in your world today -

1.  Stay at Home Mom - Bless a Working Mom!

  • Make her a home cooked meal for the family...or a fresh baked pie!  Give her something that would bless her as she comes home after a long day at work!

2.  Working Mom - Bless a Stay at Home Mom!

  • Bless her with a gift card for take-out from the family's favorite restaurant....or a pedicure at a nearby salon!

3.  Bless a Special Needs Mom!

  • Caring for a special needs child is a gift, isn't it?  Send her a handwritten note or card, letting her know what a gift she is to her children.  Send her flowers or a small gift to let her know that you see her and that what she is doing has value!

4.  Bless a Single Mom!

  • Offer to watch her children so that she can run errands...grab a coffee...or just re-charge!  Or, maybe you could send her a gift card to a family friendly restaurant like Chuck E Cheese or Dave & Busters...a place where the kids can have fun and she can relax a bit.

5.  Bless a Caretaker who isn't necessarliy Mom...but is walking in the Mom shoes!

  • Send her flowers and an encouraging note....send her a great book filled with hope and encouragement....ask how you could pray for her and the situation

These are just a few ideas to get your creative blessing juices flowing!  Now go ahead...go out this weekend and BLESS A MOM!  We're in it together...let's go TEAM MOM!!

Subscribe to Carol's Blog by Email

To Moms, Aunts, Sisters, & Teachers Everywhere

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to women everywhere … to moms whose tempers are short and whose blood pressure is high.

Happy Mother’s Day to women who have never given birth to a bloody little mass of humanity but who have loved unconditionally and passionately little lives who came from other women’s bodies.

Happy Mother’s Day to women whose nests are empty and whose hearts are filled with regrets.

Happy Mother’s Day to women who are in the thick of it … diapers, pacifiers, piles of laundry, unpaid bills and sticky kitchen floors.

Happy Mother’s Day to aunts who would rather be with their nieces and nephews than with anyone else on the face of the planet.

Happy Mother’s Day to grandmothers who live for little arms around their necks and for giggles, sleep-overs and Eskimo kisses.

Happy Mother’s Day to teachers who triumphantly love and believe in 25 new students every year.

Happy Mother’s Day to single moms who never get a break from science projects, baseball practice, bicycle tires that need patching and hearts that need mending.

Happy Mother’s Day to women whose arms and hearts have ached to hold a baby but whose prayers and deepest desires remain unanswered and unfulfilled.

Happy Mother’s Day to women who send their children to another woman’s house every other Saturday.

Happy Mother’s Day to women whose children have slipped into eternity and into the arms of the always good, infinitely loving Heavenly Father.

The lives of the next generation are nurtured by women who are known as mothers, teachers, aunts, grandmothers, stepmoms, adoptive moms, single moms and even big sisters.

I have learned that the title attached to the woman who is doing the mothering has very little to do with the love that the child deserves or with the love that this extraordinary woman has the capacity to bestow.

I am a woman with 5 incredible children on earth and 5 children in heaven.

I am a woman with 3 too-good-to-be true daughters-in-love.

I am a woman with 5 brilliant, extraordinary grandchildren and one on the way.

I am a woman who loves children so much that it makes my heart ache and sing at the same time.

Is there anything as precious as smelling the breath of a baby so fresh from heaven?

Is there anything more exciting than watching a toddler take his or her first exciting steps into a world of new found independence?

Is there anything more bittersweet than sending your firstborn to kindergarten? Or to summer camp? Or to college?

Is there anything more challenging and frustrating than guiding a child through the tumultuous middle school years?

Is there anything more heartbreaking than watching your child suffer his or her first heartbreak?

Is there anything more fulfilling than tucking a weary child into bed at night and hearing him or her say, “I love you, mama”?

Is there anything more anything than being a mom?!!

My advice to those of you who have found yourself in the kaleidoscope world of mothering is three-fold –

1 – Pray as if your life depended on it. It does.

2 – Love in spite of and not because of. 

Love with your whole heart holding nothing back. 

 Love with your words and with your actions. 

Love until the tears roll down your cheeks and your heart aches with joy. 

 Love your children when they deserve it and when they don’t. 

Love the little ones under your care because more than they need Disneyworld, new tennis shoes or a roof over their heads … they need you and your love.

3 – Never stop believing, cheering and encouraging.

Never stop believing in their potential and in the men and women that they will become some day. 

Keep believing when all others have given up. 

Keep cheering when all others have thrown in the towel. 

Keep encouraging when discouragement surrounds their hearts like an impenetrable shield. 

Your encouragement and non-negotiable belief will penetrate the fears and lies that have become their reality. 

Your nurturing, wisdom, love and prayers will create future adults who will believe that there is no such thing as an impossible dream simply because you were their mom … or their aunt … or stepmom … or grandmother … or teacher … or sister.

Happy Mother’s Day to mothers everywhere … today is your day and I applaud you … salute you … and celebrate you!

“That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children. That they should put their confidence in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.” – Psalm 78:6-8

Subscribe to Carol's Blog by Email