New Month/New Theme

It took me a while to come up with a new theme for this month — a lot has been covered in the past four years!  However, we’ve started a new study in our adult Sunday School class, and the topic is:  Growing Through Life’s Challenges.  Here are some of the things we’ll be talking about.  They’re experiences we all face:

  • Rejection
  • Overwhelming responsibilities
  • Loss and Grief
  • Being in the middle
  • Sin
  • Depression and Anger
  • Pressure to compromise
  • Perplexing situations
  • Failure
  • Weakness

This month I’ll be reading, discussing and praying about these kinds of difficulties.  I hope you’ll come along for the ride, and maybe add some of your own insights!

God loves you and so do I!

Shades of Light by Sharon Garlough Brown–Book Review

If you enjoyed Garlough’s Sensible Shoes series, you’ll love this book also.  It centers around Wren Crawford, a young woman suffering from anxiety, depression and panic attacks.  She lives in Kingsbury, about ten years after the events of Sensible Shoes.  You will once again meet Hannah, Mara, and Charissa and get some updates on their lives.  You will also learn the back story of their spiritual director, Katherine, who turns out to be Wren’s Aunt Kit.

If you or a loved one has suffered from mental illness, you will be able to emphasize with Wren and her family.  This is another story about surrendering to God — surrendering when life spirals out of control, or when we feel helpless to change the suffering and anguish experienced by someone else’s pain. How do we come alongside, yet still establish boundaries?  It’s also about unanswered questions and how to go forward in our lives when difficult circumstances lack closure.

Wren’s story is interwoven with excerpts from the letters, art and life of the artist, Vincent Van Gogh, as well as the biblical concept of Jesus as “the man of sorrows.”  It introduces the spiritual practice of visio divina –inviting God to speak to our heart as we contemplate an image.

I was disappointed that this book did not include any specific spiritual exercises or a study guide at the end.  There is a list of recommended resources with organizations that can help with mental illness as well as books on suicide, grief, the art of Vincent van Gogh and spiritual formation.

VERDICT:  5 STARS.  This book spoke to me on so may levels.  I highly recommend it.

If you haven’t read the other books by Sharon Garlough Brown see these reviews:

Sensible Shoes by Sharon Garlough Brown — Book Review

Two Steps Forward by Sharon Garlough Brown — Book Review

A Book about Surrender

An Extra Mile by Sharon Garlough Brown–Book Review

 

 

 

Do You Think God Can’t Use You?

I’ve had this list up next to my desk as a reminder that God can use anybody to do his work.  When I feel depressed or insignificant all I have to do is read over this list and I feel better.  So now I’m going to share it with you.

If you ever feel that you can’t be used by God just think of these persons from the Bible:

Noah was a drunk,
Abraham was old,
Isaac was a daydreamer,
Jacob was a liar,result-3236280_640
Leah was ugly,
Joseph was abused,
Moses couldn’t talk,
Rahab was a prostitute,
Gideon was afraid,
Samson was a womanizer,
Naomi was a widow,
Job went bankrupt,
David was an adulterer,
Elijah was suicidal,
Isaiah preached naked,
Jeremiah was too young,
Jonah ran from God,
John the Baptist ate bugs,
Mary Magdalene had demons,
Martha worried too much,
Zaccheus was too small,
James and John were self-promoting,
Peter denied Christ,
Thomas had doubts,
Paul was too religious,
Timothy had an ulcer,

And Lazarus was Dead!!

Regrets

I have times when I think about all the things that I’ve been through and I wonder if I made different choices how my life would be.  Doing this actually just deepens my depression because I think that if I’d done things differently I would have a better life now.

This kind of thinking is not productive.  We can’t go back and change our life.  We can only start today and move in a different direction.  However, to look back at your life can do some good in your life.  When I look back now I can see how the Lord has sustained me over the years, even when I wasn’t praising Him or giving Him credit for that time.  He has brought me through some really difficult situations that definitely could have been much worse.

Go back and change things?  I know I wish I could.  But I wouldn’t be the person I am now without those experiences.  I think this is why when MercyMe released this song that it so, so spoke to me.  Don’t we all wish that we could just speak to that younger me and tell them what we’ve learned today?  But as this song points out, we are one of the redeemed.  From this time on we are are to put our pain and hurt at the base of the Cross.