I still have HOPE and a PROMISE

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Last week I made the very hard decision to go back on medication for depression. This was not an easy thing for me to do, because I so detest the side-effects of antidepressants. But, the time had come to either do something or to go to bed and never get back out of it.

Since we cannot afford for me to have a stint in the hospital or for me just to go to bed (we can’t afford for my husband to stay home from work to take the kids to/from school, or to come home from work every single time I have a breakdown and am crying hysterically down the phone), it was necessary to do something.

So, yesterday, I bit the bullet and went to the doctor. I was officially diagnosed with severe depresion (scoring a 24 out of a possible 27 – the higher the score the more severely depressed you are) and was given the prescription.

My attitude to it is this: I know how I am supposed to think, I know what and how I am supposed to think, but my brain will not work that way; it needs some serious help. This is the first step to getting better; this will open the door for me to be able to make myself think the way I should think. This is the first step – on  a journey – to better days.

Yesterday morning, in my quiet time before getting out of bed, I felt God give me this verse of scripture:

Come back to the place of safety, all you prisoners who still have hope! I promise this very day that I will repay two blessings for each of your troubles.Zechariah 9:12 NLT

I am a prisoner of depression. But, I still have hope, and I have God’s Word; His promise of blessing.

No, I’m not happy that I’m on an antidepressant that I know, while it’s helping, will affect me in ways I do NOT want to be affected.  But, I have hope of deliverance, from both the depression and, eventually, the crappy side-effects of the medication I have to take in order for me to cope with my every day life.

Hope is not synonymous with wishing. Real hope is not the same thing as wishful thinking. The difference between hope and wishing is as much as the difference between a dream and a fantasy: the former is inherant with power and possiblility while the latter is just smoke and sandcastles.

I still have hope. And, I have a promise which keeps that hope breathing.

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There really was something about this particular Mary…

Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named  Martha welcomed Him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary,  who also  sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.  But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her,  “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But  one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”  – Luke 10:38-42

Be still, and know that I am God. – Psalm 46:10

During a recent time of worship, I wrote a song based on this account of Martha and her sister Mary from the Gospel of Luke. It is also based on the first part of Psalm 46:10.

My desire has always been to be like Mary but, I have to admit, I have spent more of my life being rather Martha-like: anxious, stressed out, overwhelmed, frayed and frazzled. And, then there are my really bad days.

This song was birthed equally out of my desire to more like Mary and my Martha-like desperation. It’s a heart-cry and, since writing it, I can’t get it out of my head.

The problems are being fixed. Please wait…

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Wow, 921 problems corrected, immediately – with the click of a finger, in the blink of an eye. This morning, after clicking the notice given by my anti-virus for maintenance, my computer screen began speaking to me. I thought about how I wish I could fix my 921 (at least) problems by clicking a button; I wish human maintenance and mental and emotional health was that simple; I want to hit a button and have my mind defragmented!

However, when the day went on and the defrag continued into the afternoon and the evening, this is what hit me:

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While the 921 problems were rectified almost instantly at my click, this defragging biz takes time and is a longer process (especially when there is “severe fragmentation”). A sermon was forming…

Please wait…

Isaiah 30:18:

So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help.

At the cross, 921 problems (and more) were – instantly and forever – taken care of when Jesus said, “It is finished.” There is no power in religion, only in relationship, and the way was made, then and there, for all time, for that relationship to happen. So, what now?

So now, people like me (with issues and “severe fragmentation”) have hope. But, the defragging (restoring of the soul) is something that doesn’t just – poof – happen. It’s a process that takes time. Just as the computer files have to be carefully worked through, so my “internal system”, my “hard drive” aka my soul (in other words: my mind, will and emotions) take some major sorting out. Or what? I will run sluggishly and I will, more times than not, crash.

Because of the finished work of Jesus, spiritually, I am peachy keen (that’s a theological term, don’tcha know). And, ultimately, I know, one day, I’m going to see this:

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BECAUSE OF THIS HERE:

Philippians 1:6:

…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

But, right now I am here:

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And, I am promised that “the problems are being fixed” and am advised (over and over again): please wait…

Psalm 27: 13-14:

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the  Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

Isaiah 40:31:

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

And, there are many, many more places where waiting upon the Lord is encouraged and instructed. So, here’s my little paraphrase, in light of my ‘puter’s defrag lesson:

St. Autumn 1:1-2:

Wait upon the Lord and you shall be defragmented. The problems are being fixed; please wait.

What is waiting? Well, the original Hebrew in these places where it says “to wait” more literally means to be expectant. So, it isn’t just a resigned sitting around. It is an expectant trust.

This is GOING TO HAPPEN (He’s promised it):

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But, it doesn’t just happen with the click (it only STARTS with the click). It’s a journey that He is committed to, that so must I be if I want an optimized operating system minus interference. I must…

Please wait…

And so, my response shall continue (with expectation) to be:

Psalm 130:5-6:

I wait for the Lord , my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.

Wholeness That Swallows Up My Brokenness

“In Him I meet wholeness that swallows up my brokenness.” – Autumn Dawn Leader

I call out to God from my depths. The depths of despair. The depths of depression. The depths of depravity. The depths of myself. The depths of my humanity. And, in Him I find mercy, forgiveness, help, hope and healing; I find full redemption.

In Him I meet wholeness that swallows up my brokenness.

 

It’s me…but in Hebrew!

Everyone knows singing is what I do… well, and if you don’t you must have been living under some Rock of Total Ignorance. However, what some people might not know is that I also love singing in Hebrew.

I was inspired by one of the #SheReadsTruth devotionals based all around the series of Psalms known as “The Songs of Ascents” to set some of these Psalms (I originally wanted to do all of them, but that was a wee bit ambitious with such short notice as I had) to music. Afterall, they are meant to be sung! So far I have recorded four of these, and have done videos for three (they can be found on my YouTube Channel…as well as other stuff of mine that I strongly encourage you to watch/listen to…well, go on, already! What ARE you waiting for?). For this one, even though I did, at first, endeavour to set the whole Psalm to music, I found it impossible at this time to do so. Even with feeling as close as I do to the Psalmist David, and interpreting his unheard music just from his words, I had to limit myself, in this particular song-prayer, to verse 6 and praying for the peace of Jerusalem… but, I wanted to sing it in the original Hebrew…which I have done. So, I have read the Psalm, recording it as spoken word, with the song-prayer (sung in Hebrew) in the background. It’s me…but in Hebrew.

Please watch, listen and join with me in praying for the peace of Jerusalem.

SEARCH ME (a song-prayer from Psalm 139:23-24) by Autumn Dawn Leader

The Psalms are the song-book of Israel. They were written as prayers to be sung. Praying isn’t complicated, it’s communication. But, that being said, how often do we all stumble in communicating well? I often find my heart’s words in the words of the Psalms – and I sing them out, praying the ancient words as if they were just as appropriate, applicable and relevant today…because they are! This is a prayer of devotion, of consecration… a help me, cleanse me, lead me, guide me prayer. Sing/pray along with me today.

A Great Promise to Begin a New Year On

Today, when I should have been listening to what the pastor was saying in his message, God re-showed me a beautiful promise for those – like I – who suffer with depression (so, you decide if I really, technically, should’ve been listening or not…after all, I heard what God wanted me to hear, what I needed to hear).

2 Corinthians 7:6 AMP says:

But God, Who comforts and encourages and refreshes and cheers the depressed and the sinking, comforted and encouraged and refreshed and cheered us by the arrival of Titus.

 

In the KJV it says that He ‘comforteth those that are cast down’. Being ‘cast down’ is an accurate (short) definition of severe depression. But, I love the way the Amplified Bible amplifies this verse; it tells us that God comforts, encourages, refreshes and cheers the depressed and sinking.This tells us God’s nature and desire. This is such a brilliant promise.

I’m on Twitter and I noticed that Spotify (internet radio, MP3 service, etc) are asking people what song best represents their 2012. Well, there’s been a lot of music that touched and help define my 2012 – my own music and other peoples’, as well. I answered their question with one of my songs – my first single release, ‘Hope Breathing (A Lullaby)’, because, one, it was my first single release (a pretty big deal, to me…well, and to a few others who count themselves among my fanbase – it was a defining moment which took me from struggling/starving singer/songwriter to recording artist proper) and because there is a lot about the song that speaks of 2012 for me (and, because, I’ll admit it, I was trying to plug my own music…shameless plugging, yep)…but the more I thought about it, the more I realised that there are two more songs that, together, sum up 2012 even more than ‘Hope Breathing’ does. Read on…

I recently wrote and recorded a song that highlights a lot of what it’s like to suffer with severe depression: the sinking, the sorrow, the overwhelming nature of it. That song is ‘Waterfall’ (if you follow my blog at all, you might have read about this seriously morose song here). I experience and struggle with this on a regular basis. But, in these times, if I stop and ask God to help me, He is always faithful to ‘help the sinking’. Some days are better than others. But, I can honestly say that God’s comfort is real, and I couldn’t make it without the comfort God gives.

In this verse in 2 Corinthians, Paul talks about how God used another person – Titus – to comfort and cheer him. And, indeed, there are times when I’ve had a message or a phone call or a visit from a friend that has made all the difference to my darker days. The difference between total despair and coping. Sometimes the comfort comes from taking a moment to quiet myself before the Lord and allow Him to minister grace to my aching heart and troubled mind…

Yes, I ended up this year writing a song that accutely describes the depths of depression and the agony thereof,  but earlier in the year I wrote and recorded another song – ‘My Salvation (Ageless One)’– that is all about how God can help the depressed – indeed, how He often helps me personally. It was based greatly on Psalm 27. Today, using 2 Corinthians 7:6, God reminded me (He is so good) that it is always His desire to comfort the hurting and broken, the overwhelmed, the SINKING!  With this verse, God is ending my year with hope for the new year ahead…and, well, that was definitely worth blogging about (as well, I think, ‘interrupting’ the pastor’s message).

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

(AMEN!)