A migraine headache had done me in the night before. I hadn’t crossed everything off my list that needed to get done, and I just couldn’t. Company was coming to help us get through the first round of chemo and I wanted to be prepared…and yet I wasn’t.
I’m not sure if the pain from the migraine, my husband’s snoring, or my angst about the impact of my husband’s recent cancer diagnosis on our children was the reason for my fitful night. Regardless, I hadn’t gone to bed until after midnight then sleep eluded me from just before 2 am until the alarm sounded at 4:30 am and pierced my already pounding head.
I shook my husband to ask if he wanted the first shower before hitting the snooze button, knowing I wouldn’t really sleep anyway, but desperately coveting a few minutes of much-needed slumber. Ten minutes later when I had no choice but to get up, he bounded out of bed also, cheerful as usual. I hurried to strip the bed sheets and try to get them through the wash and into the dryer before walking out the door and head to the office.
I returned to the bathroom just as my husband was getting out of the shower and dressing for work. As I showered I heard him shout over the spray, “I’m leaving, I’ll see you there!”
“You’re leaving already?” I bit back with irritation in my voice, wondering why he was leaving so early.
“I thought I’d save the clean-up of the coffee pot and just grab a coffee on the way to Bible study.” He always went to 6 am Bible study at the office on Tuesday mornings.
I could see it playing out before me, yet I felt almost powerless to do anything about it. I knew we were marching into a war zone. My frustration bubbled to the surface like lava from a volcano ready to erupt. My heart was frayed, and my words were razor sharp.
Almost as quickly as I felt it, tears seared the back of my eyes, and I sensed the Holy Spirit whisper, “He’s not the enemy.”
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
The words rang true and because they did, my tears flowed even freer, as I regretted letting the enemy get a foothold in my household that morning. We needed peace and unity now more than ever. Not discord and strife. Yet, that’s all he knows, and he seeks to leave it in his wake.
I came out to the kitchen to fix myself a cup of much-needed caffeine when I was greeted by my oldest. I pulled a few items out of the pantry to make meal prep later that day easier, when I heard, “I can’t believe you’re fixing meatloaf! None of us really likes meatloaf!” I quickly explained I was trying to find relatively easy foods that would be tolerated by his father who was undergoing chemotherapy and couldn’t tolerate his usual favorites. I wanted to offer that he was invited to cook any time he had a better suggestion… A lump caught in the back of my throat as I walked back to my bedroom and again heard, “He’s not the enemy.”
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
(1 Peter 5:8)
I finished getting ready, then roused my youngest. With my husband at early morning Bible Study, it was my turn to drive him to school on my way to the office. Noticing his hands empty of the requisite cross country attire, I lunged into a lecture about hygiene, cleanliness, and adolescence that lasted the entire drive to school. Not one of my finer parenting moments. I missed out on an opportunity to show love, and instead started both of our days filled with negative words. Again, I heard, “He’s not the enemy.” And again, the tears flowed the rest of the drive to work.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
We were going through a difficult time in our family; that was for sure. But what was also sure was that neither my husband nor my children were the enemy.
The real enemy is alive and wants to tear down the unity in our family at a time when we need to hold on to each other and to the hope that prevails because of Christ and the finished work on the cross. The enemy’s mission is to steal, kill, and destroy, and we must remain alert and sober to his schemes, and we must remain resolute in our determination to hold on to each other and to the God of our salvation.
God has declared that, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
That is a promise we can hold on to.
Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
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 now wherever books are sold. To find out more, see: https://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/.