The past six months have been a blur on the windshield of our life. We went from the excited anticipation of the release of my new book, “Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression” to a crashing halt when my husband was diagnosed with cancer the same day my book released.
Since then it has been a whirlwind of doctor’s appointments, hospital stays, chemotherapy, prescription fills, staff turnover, college applications, and let’s not forget the typical hormones and teenage angst in the midst.
When crisis hits, all of a sudden your world shrinks and becomes very microscopic. Your attention becomes very narrowly focused, and often the things you used to think were important become inconsequential. Priorities shift. Everything becomes more difficult: eating, sleeping, thinking, socializing, and on some days, breathing. Many times over the past several months I found myself literally holding my breath—sometimes in anticipation of news, sometimes in reflex just to try to get our bearings, and sometimes to steady the emotion of the moment.
When the storm ends, you often have no idea how you survived. Sometimes, it’s hard to know for sure whether the storm really has ended, or when the next wave will hit. Some like to suggest that “time heals all wounds,” but I respectfully disagree. God does.
During a time when little is certain, you can be assured that when the storm ends, you won’t be the same person that you were at the beginning of the journey. In many ways your perspective will have shifted. The trivial no longer takes a place of importance. Empathy and compassion flourishes for others going through similar trials and you can “spot them” a mile away. You become more protective of relationships, time, even energy. You love harder, breathe deeper, and cling to those things or relationships that helped you survive. You remember those who were there for you, and sadly, those who weren’t.
When crisis hits, first, don’t be surprised, and second, maintain your hope. Jesus warned us ahead of time that we would suffer and experience trials, but with that warning also came the comfort that we can maintain our hope because He has already overcome whatever situation assaults us. And He explained that He shared that piece of warning and encouragement so that we could keep our peace despite our circumstances.
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Many of our trials are a direct attack from our spiritual enemy who makes it his mission to steal, kill, and destroy whatever gets in the way of his kingdom. Yet once more, Jesus explained that we neither have any reason to be surprised by the trials we face, nor do we need to fear them, because he has already assured our victory so that we can appreciate an abundant life.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
We will all face trials at some point in our lives, but we have a choice to make: we can either live in defeat or we can remember that we have a Savior who has already won our victory. When we focus on our circumstances, we forget to focus on the enormity of our God. He is big enough. We need only to “Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart.” (Psalm 27:14).
Are you going through a difficult time? Don’t pull away, don’t withdraw. Press in. Seek Him more now than ever. Jesus modeled perfectly how to handle our darkest hours. “And being in agony He prayed more earnestly.” (Luke 22:44) Press in. Seek Him more now than ever.
“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed. God’s Decree.” (Jeremiah 29:11-14 The Message)
What will your focus be during your crisis? The enormity of your problem or the enormity of your God to care for you through it?
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 now wherever books are sold. To find out more, see: https://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/.
So encouraging Michelle! Thank you for your transparent reminders to love God and to choose to see the enormity of who HE is rather than the crisis we may be facing!
I love this post!
Hmmmm… A time of crisis is indeed challenging. But like you said, we must take our eyes of the challenge and put them on God who is even bigger and stronger that the challenge, who is capable and willing to take us through.
Thanks for this encouragement, do have a super blessed day!
I love your respectful diagreement. God heals. Amen. Thanks for this Michelle : )
Well said, Michelle!
As you know, my own fight with cancer has been going during you and your husbands. Priorities certainly do change! I have found that what has been most helpful is what you said here about going through suffering… “Don’t pull away, don’t withdraw. Press in. Seek Him more now than ever.” Amen! Jesus is able to turn the curse of cancer that the enemy intends to destroy us into a blessing that takes us deeper into our Father’s arms.
Blessings, dear sister!
Yes! A couple of situations have hit our family over the last couple of years. Turning to God’s Word for answers has grown my awe, love, and understanding of Him more and more and has left me with peace that is difficult explain to others who do not understand it.
Thanks for putting the power of God on display here!
Michelle – such powerful truths not just in the words you wrote, but also because I know you have lived it! Your testimony is a powerful one. I love your heart and I love your message.
Also, I would love if you would consider linking up to my NEW Thursday Party #TuneInThursday it stays open until Sunday. You can find it here: http://debbiekitterman.com/new-linkup-tune-in-thursday-1-who-is-your-god/
(Please feel free to delete the link if you feel it is inappropriate to post here).
This post is filled with so much truth and love. Thanks for linking up with us at the #LMMLinkup this week.
So much encouragement here, and love the perspective of how to stay grounded and expect God’s goodness through the crisis.