She drew me in and embraced me in a hug—the kind that conveyed understanding. Somehow she knew my pain and our experience. In my ear, she shared, “I’m praying for you and your family!”
What she didn’t know was that if she held me in that hug much longer, I’d dissolve into a cascade of tears. And this was not the time or the place for my well-guarded tears—we were ready to praise, worship, and listen to some teaching from some of the best female Bible teachers of our time at a sold out women’s conference. As she released me, she shared the origin of her understanding: she had lost her husband six years ago.
Just a week later, now, she posted on social media about how today she would have celebrated her 24th wedding anniversary. Sadly, she celebrates solo while her husband waits for her in heaven. Tears stained my cheeks as I read her post. Next month, should God allow, I will celebrate my 29th wedding anniversary. But between now and then, we battle a third bout with cancer.
Physically, I am exhausted and in pain. Mentally, I am numb. Emotionally, I am weary. It’s been a hard chemotherapy week. I have relied on friends to pray us through the week and at times, through the night.
But honestly, I am incredibly grateful that we’ve had this chemotherapy week together. I am grateful now when I hear him snore. I am grateful now that I can still ask him how he’s feeling. I am grateful every morning when I wake and realize God has given me, and my sons, one more day with my husband, their father, when the doctors gave us a very grim report.
I just taped a radio interview about handling the blues or depression over the holiday season, especially for those going through a time of loss–not just necessarily death. It could be loss through divorce, or physical health, or moving away, or family members incarcerated, or dealing with addiction. I shared that it’s a matter of our perspective. What is so crucial is to first remember the reason for the holiday: It’s not about us. It comes back to God and who He is and what He has done for us, and then what He wants us to do for others. The holidays may not look like we thought or even hoped they would, but we can always find something to be thankful to God for.
This morning I am remembering my friend and her anniversary in prayer. I pray that the God of all comfort will comfort her heart today and this week.
But I’m also remembering some of the not so little things I have to be thankful for that sometimes I take for granted:
- The nausea, vomiting, and fatigue? Means the chemotherapy is killing the cancer.
- That snoring? Means he’s breathing.
- The socks on the floor? Means we have clothes to wear.
- The dishes in the sink? Means we had food to eat.
- The children making loud noise? Means my children are home with me.
These are the important things that matter.
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:11-13).
I hope this week finds you recognizing all you have in your life to be thankful for. I am thankful for each one of you who take the time to read, comment, and/or share my posts. Thank you for being part of my family. May you have a blessed Thanksgiving.
Because of Him, #HopePrevails
(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)
A short brief about Hope Prevails.
Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression
Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Speaking from personal and professional experience, a neuropsychologist unpacks what depression is, shows how it affects us spiritually, and offers hope for living the abundant life.
Neuropsychologist Offers Hope to Those Struggling with Depression
-By 2020, depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide
- An estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression
- Helpful features include personal stories, biblical truths, prayers, and music recommendations
In Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson writes with deep compassion and empathy, blending her extensive training and faith, to offer readers a hope that is grounded in God’s love and grace. She helps readers understand what depression is, how it affects them spiritually, and what, by God’s grace, it cannot do. The result is a treatment plan that addresses the whole person—not just chemical imbalances in the brain.
For those who struggle with depression and those that want to help them, Hope Prevails offers real hope for the future.
Hope Prevails is available wherever books are sold. To find out more, see: https://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/.