What do you do when you go through deep waters, the difficult times, the storms of life? Do you get angry? Cry? Scream? Lament with trusted friends? Pray?
I’ve had my share of those storms in life—those times when I couldn’t see dry land, or even the way back to shore. At different times, depending on the circumstance, I’ve coped by doing all those things.
How to effectively cope during the storms of life
I have found, though, that there are two keys to effectively coping with the storms of life:
- Do as Peter did when he was in the storm, and call upon the name of Jesus.
- Stand on the truth and promises of God and declare them over myself and my situation.
Ever since I was a young adult and going through one of the most tumultuous times in my life, I have learned the strength and resolve it brings to claim God’s promises in the midst of our storms.
God has a plan for your life
It was then that I came across my life verse, Jeremiah 29:11 that has encouraged me in every difficult circumstance, even when I couldn’t see any earthly way out:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Another verse that I clung to was Isaiah 43:2. It says, “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. And, when you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up. The flames will not consume you.”
Have you ever been through a flood?
I don’t know if you’ve ever been through a fire or a flood. Some years into our marriage, we bought a house. Soon thereafter, we painted the whole thing and we put down new carpet and bought new furniture.
Then, we went away on vacation. We came back a week later, about midnight. We had two little boys at that time.
We got in about midnight. We opened the garage door and walked into the house into six inches of water throughout the entire house. We didn’t know if it, but right before we left on vacation, one of the kids flushed the toilet and it didn’t stop.
I didn’t know that a toilet could not stop. It didn’t stop for a week. It ran and it ran. And it ran and it ran… And it ran out the front door. And it ran out the back door. And it ran out the garage. The neighbors couldn’t see it because the front door was hidden from the street. It just ran all week.
It ruined every wall, every cabinet, every door, all the furniture. You know, we had a flood like none other. I think it almost emptied all of Lake Granbury. That might be why there was a drought in Lake Granbury soon thereafter.
I was so naive. I thought, “Oh, give it six weeks, it’ll be fine. Our house will be back to normal.” A year later, the house was still not back to normal. We had to tear up all the carpet, pull out all the cabinets, and tear rip out all the walls. We could stand at one end of the house and look all the way through to the other end of the house—through where the walls used to be.
I will never forget thinking, “Oh my gosh. This is what a flood is like – it totally destroys.” Then, God showed me that verse. It says, “When you go through the rivers of difficulty, you will not drown…”
I thought, “Wow. That was rough. But, He promises to be there. He promises to take us by the hand.”
There have been difficult times in my life, like when my husband was going through cancer and my mom was going through cancer at the same time. When my husband went through cancer before, he had to go through a surgery that lasted almost twenty-four hours.
Trust God, not your feelings
I just remember clinging to God thinking, “I don’t know what you’re going to do, but I trust You. I have no idea how this is going to turn out, but I trust You. I don’t have anything else to trust. I don’t have anything else to hold on to. But, You have been faithful before and You will be faithful again because the world doesn’t have anything else I can hold on to.”
That’s what He’s talking about: “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you…”
You know, people will let you down but God will not. And, when you’re going through depression, what’s so important is that you trust God and not your feelings. Because your feelings will let you down. Your feelings will lie to you. People will lie to you. People will let you down. But, God won’t.
When you go through deep waters, keep your eyes on Jesus
Depression has a way, though, of making us focus on our feelings rather than on truth. Feelings are capricious and they can’t be trusted. They’re strong and they’re compelling. But, the enemy uses our feelings against us. The enemy is the master deceiver and he makes his career out of lying. And when we listen to him, or to our feelings, we focus internally rather than focusing upward where we need to keep our eyes set.
Focus on God’s truth. Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
What strategies will you use to cope with the difficult times of life?
For related posts to help you cope during the storms of life:
When God gave me more than I could handle
How to not give up in difficult times
Depression doesn’t have to become a permanent part of life.
There is hope.
Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression and the companion Hope Prevails Bible Study help the reader understand how depression comes to be, recover their joy, reclaim their peace, and re-establish their true identity, while knowing their worth, remembering their secure destiny, and being confident that nothing separates them from God’s love.
Hope Prevails and the Hope Prevails Bible Study are must-reads for anyone suffering from depression or knows someone suffering from depression.
“If you or a loved one are walking through the valley of depression, be encouraged that you are not alone. Dr. Michelle Bengtson has provided a powerful resource to help you on your journey toward hope. It is a personal and positive book, as you learn from Dr. Bengtson’s own story as well as her practical knowledge in the field. I love how she shares a prescription, a prayer and a playlist at the end of each chapter to give you an extra boost of strength. Hope Prevails is a must read for every person who struggles with depression.” ~ Karol Ladd, Author of Thrive, Don’t Simply Survive
This is powerful – “Depression has a way, though, of making us focus on our feelings rather than on truth. Feelings are capricious and they can’t be trusted. They’re strong and they’re compelling.”
Thank you for reminding us to surrender our most difficult times to the truth of God’s Word.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Leigh Ellen, we have an enemy who would like us to forget truth in moments of crisis when our feelings are so overwhelming. But we have a God who loved us so much that He had His truths written down for us in black and white so we could read them and remember them, and stand on them to get us through! Praise Him! Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
This is powerful. This struck me the most: “Depression has a way, though, of making us focus on our feelings rather than on truth” Speaking from someone who’s suffered from depression a few years back, this is such an honest statement. Thank you for sharing this with us on #shinebloghop this week!
I’m so glad you visited! I’m sorry to hear that you suffered from depression, but glad to hear it was “a few years back”–it sounds like you’ve found victory. And if we will all stand on God’s truth, rather than our feelings or the enemy’s lies, victory is possible for all of us. Praise Him! Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
Found you through the Friday Blog Hop and WOW is all I can say about this post. You have hit it right on the head. I am not a church goer but I do believe in GOD. I haven’t read the entire Bible but I have read some. My inlaws are all teachers at Church and we have alot of discussion about GOD.
I lost my mother in April and my Daughter in October 8 yrs ago and I know that GOD was with me every step of the way. I begged and pleaded with him to protect them and keep them safe and with us because we still needed them but I knew that he was going to do his will and he has a bigger plan than any of us know. Depression is so upfront in my life and I struggle with it everyday from their loss and the after affects from their loss.
Thank you for sharing. I do believe it is just what I needed to read today because next Thursday is my daughters angelversary.
God will always be there no matter what and no matter if we understand at the moment or not everything is by his design.
Trina, I know you don’t know me, and my words are just words on a page. But I am so very sorry for your losses. I am no stranger to pain or to loss–I’ve talked openly about much of it in my book “Hope Prevails.” What I do know is that you’re right: God has a bigger plan than any of us know. And He is always with us, and as painful as it may be, He will see us through the difficult times. He is faithful. Hold on to hope. Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
Michelle. Wow. Thank you. That God is with us through the UPS and DOWNS is just absolutely humbling and comforting; He never changes. He is our refuge and strength, and that is what keeps me going too. <3
Emily, isn’t a comfort to know that even when circumstances in life aren’t stable, God is? I’m so grateful we can call on the name of the Lord! Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
Michelle, I’m so in agreement with your post. When trouble comes, cry out to God and stand on His Word. And don’t trust your feelings! We walk by faith not feelings!
Thanks for sharing!
Jerralea, I’m thrilled you visited today. I’ve trusted and relied on my feelings way too many times. Depending on God and standing on the truth of His word is a much safer foundation with surer results! Blessings to you!
Standing on God’s truth has got me through many tough times. I love how dynamic His Word is where something new can stand out from passages I’ve read before. Thank you for bringing the Christian voice to this immense problem.
We rarely get to choose our area of ministry 🙂 But our greatest joy comes from obedience to His call. So I delight in being about my Father’s business and bringing light to an area of darkness to offer hope by sharing His truth! In myself, I have little to offer, but through Him, He has all the answers! Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
Yep. Those are two of the most effective tips for tough times. I, of course, have to go through the whole, “I think I can fix this” routine for an undetermined amount of time before I finally realize that, “Nope, not going to work.” I’m getting better at turning to God FIRST!
Oh Anita, you and me both! God frequently has to remind me that I can do it the hard way or the easy way…why not just choose HIS way first? I’m learning, but He still has to give me a refresher course now and then! So thankful He is a patient God.
As God has been moving me through the healing process after coming out of Mormonism, then atheism and then into Christ one aspect of my brokenness He has healed has been my depression. Before Jesus, I wanted to commit suicide. Almost 7 years later, I do not want to die but do deal with occaisonal bouts of depression a few times a year. For anyone who is reading this know that here is hope! When I feel a depression coming, I try to remember to take evrey thought captive to Christ. I speak the truth of God’s word to myself. The darkness cannot comprehend the Light and it runs from it.
I found this post through the #RaRaLinkup over at Fearfully Made Mom and enjoyed it. Feel free to stop by my place anytime, where we are learning to love God with our minds and be fierce defenders of the faith. Have a blessed day!
“The world doesn’t have anything else I can hold on to.” Amen! Praise God that we can hold on to Him and when we lose our grip, He holds on to us!
My life’s verse is “He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.'”
In all my times overseas away from family and friends, in all my times of heartbreak and emotional and physical weakness that seemed they would never end, He has never left me nor forsaken me, and He never will! 🙂
This was so encouraging to read. I hang on to bible verses tightly when things get rough. They stabilize my heart and mind and soul.
Andplusalsotoo, what a small world I saw the phrase Think Differently in one of your pics and thought, sounds familiar and then I see you’re in North Texas too. What a small world. Glad to have found a fellow Texan!!
Thank you, Michelle. I am featuring your post on Grace and Truth this week. If you have time, pop on over to get the “I was featured button”. My prayers continue to be with you.
Dear Michelle, As always this post spoke to me today, I loved the verses. I lived through a flood and so the imagery is so true of depression. We have to keep our eyes on Jesus in the midst of the flood waters and even in calm waters. Love you my friend. Blessings Diana
This article encouraged me as I have been thru loss due to the Camp Fire in Paradise, CA. My 2 sons lost their homes, cars and household items, escaping with only a few treasures. I know if I had been there, I would have been traumatized. In a sense most families experienced PTSD. The Lord sustained me as I felt overwhelming grief. I had vacationed there for most of the summer and planned to come during the holidays. The Lord is a stronghold and a Rock when we are under the stress of a fire or flood. He is the only One to hold on to and my faith has been strengthened as I trust totally in His grace and mercy.
My greatest hope in loss and disappointment is that Jesus went through it all first and invites me to share my sadness with Him.