Darkness

Do you know someone who lives “in the dark”?

There seem to be so many more people struggling with anxiety and depression these days. Sometimes it is the person you least expect. The challenges of loving someone who find themselves frequently “in the dark” are heartbreaking. Please pray for not only those who struggle but also their friends and family members.

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I don’t have particularly dark days but I know people who do. I can’t imagine living in a shroud of darkness, struggling to find light in a day. I know it is disorienting, intimidating, and overwhelming. If you have been in a dark space, you know what I am saying. Even though I can use my imagination, sometimes I am at a loss at how to assist someone struggling through a dark time. I can always pray, and I do, but there are times something more tangible is needed.

It is true that a dark time can be the result of sin and confession and absolution is an amazing gift to someone struggling in that way. It is amazing how guilt, shame, and unconfessed sin can create darkness in our lives. Healthy Biblical counseling can be a great blessing. But that isn’t the only reason for depression. Depending on the circumstance, a psychiatrist and a psychologist can help. Medicine can be useful. Supportive friends and family, healthy eating, regular sleep patterns, and exercise can all be components that benefit someone stuck “in the dark”.

Pay close attention to those you know who struggle in this way. A little extra time from you, a listening ear, and encouraging words may be a way to help them (or their loved one) navigate through a dark space.

On the Road,

Liz

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Seasons….of Vulnerability

The very young, the elderly, and the infirm are the ones I think of first when I think of vulnerability. They each are dependent for someone else looking out for their needs and protecting them from dangerous situations. Or when people are battling illness–they are susceptible to other infections and their resistance is down. For some, it is the difference between life and death if they are exposed to the wrong germ.

But there are many other ways to be vulnerable and it seems for every vulnerability there is a predator looking for someone in a tender spot, accessible and with lowered defenses:

a lonely child
those struggling with depression
a widow or widower making sense of their new life
parents who have a child with a disability
anyone walking through a season of grieving
a motherless or fatherless child seeing a role model
anyone walking through a season of extended illness
a recent immigrant with limited language skills
those recently released from prison
a single parent looking for parenting help
those recently returning from active duty in our military

Looking back on your life you may be able to clearly see your moments (years?) of vulnerability. Maybe you were vulnerable due to life situations that were out of your control. Maybe you made some choices that left you open to some ugly stuff. Do you see any vulnerable people around you that could use your prayers for protection? An offer of friendship? A cup of coffee and a brainstorming session? Sometimes the vulnerable just need help knowing where to go for resources and sometimes they need a discerning ear to help them navigate through a difficult season. Surely there is someone you know who is struggling and vulnerable who at least needs your prayers!

The devil is a schemer. And we are often too arrogant to think we can fall prey to his antics. Oh, he is clever — using us against ourselves. How can we resist him? By being on our knees and with our nose in The Book. If we are standing on His solid ground then we are in a good position to help someone else get connected with what they need to navigate through this difficult life.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. [Ephesians 6:10-18]