Support, Encouragement, Affirmation

women

 

About 7 months ago I created a private Facebook group for women who are taking a stand against anxiety and depression.  I love this group of women!  These are believers who are fighting battles and believing to experience freedom.  I see them pour their hearts out, fill up, and pour out encouragement onto others.  It’s a beautiful picture of real people walking through real life and just keepin’ it real.  Beautiful.

The other day my friend, whom I’ve connected with through Facebook and through a shared journey of anxiety and depression, reached out to our group for encouragement.  I asked her could I post our conversation here and she said, “Totally fine with me as long as it’s helpful for others”.  I wanted you to be able to get a glimpse of hope.  I wanted you to see an overcomer in action!  I wanted you to see her perspective shift in a matter of minutes.  I hope this encourages you by letting you know you’re not alone, you’re not isolated in your mental battles, and other people do understand … but even more so –  I want you to know that Jesus is our mighty healer.  We can experience true freedom through a relationship with him.

If you’d like to join our facebook group – please message me on FB and ask me to add you.  We’d love to have you join.   https://www.facebook.com/aprildextrous

Hello ladies, if I may ask for a prayer request from you all. just not doing too well again. been barely making it through each day. my anxiety is causing me so much distress, and I am taking medication too! Every day I have this tension in my body. This tightness in my chest that makes it feel like I am breathing so shallow. I know it’s the anxiety because it only happens when I start to feel overwhelmed or stressed and lately it’s been very stressful again. Work is becoming too overwhelming again, with people out left and right they are forcing me to do the work of 3 people. And even if I do only what I am able, the atmosphere alone stresses me out. On top of that I’ve had to move back in with my family ever since I lost my apartment 3 months ago, and let me say, my family and I don’t get along well. It’s not that we fight. I know they love me very much. But they are extremely critical of me. Impatient with my anxiety. They want me to just “be normal” and “turn it off” as they would say. So I feel like a complete outcast constantly. And I hide in my room because the minute I come out, I hear the never ending commenting about this or that or how I’m doing this wrong or how I should be trying harder to get well. It’s do discouraging. It makes me feel like any progress I’ve made is discounted and now I feel as though I am relapsing because of this. I’m getting the panic attacks again and I’m crying a lot more every night because I’m so frustrated with myself. I want to be normal so that they would just get off my back. I feel like I have no place to rest. I go to work and it’s crazy and I come home and it’s crazy. I so badly wish I had the means to move out again but as of right now I don’t. and I probably won’t for at least 6 months. I feel incredibly depressed that I can’t just be myself around everyone. That they can’t just be patient instead of pushing me constantly. A little pushing out of my comfort zone is good but when it turns to serious discomfort I think it is doing more harm than good. And I’ve explained everything to them, asking for their understanding but my family is very stubborn. They seem ashamed of me. Ashamed that they have a daughter with a mental illness. so they want to fix me right away. I don’t mean to whine or complain. I am grateful that God has brought me this far in my recovery. I have been making progress, at least I’ve been recognizing the progress I’ve made! I went from being home bound to working again and functioning well enough to get by in less than 3 months! To me that seems fantastic and I’m seriously blessed. But I’ve hit a huge bump in the road. I feel so discouraged now. So hopeless. I’m not sure how to bounce back from this. It not only hurts that my family treats me this way, but it makes me also doubt my own progress. That maybe I’m not doing as well as I think. any words of encouragement would be appreciate. Btw my family are non-believers. My boyfriend and I are the only followers of Christ. And luckily at that.. Because he is truly a blessing from God. Patient, kind, loving, I couldn’t ask for more. Love to you all xxxx happy holidays.

 

April Poynter 2 Corinthians 12:9-11New Living Translation (NLT)
9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take ple
asure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. Christina Ciro, I am so sorry you’re having such a tough time. First of all – it’ s completely okay to feel the way you do. You don’t have to make excuses, push yourself harder, or feel defeated. It’s fine to feel the way you are feeling. We all know we’re supposed to be strong and keep our head up and move forward. This is true, however, it doesn’t always work this way 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, right? We fall short and that’s to be expected. When I read the above note from you, I don’t doubt your heart for the Lord but I see YOU trying to carry YOUR burden. It’s heavy girl, and you’re not meant to carry it. When we try to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off, we seem to slip again and then feel so discouraged because we can’t slap ourselves straight. We’re going to fail when we try to battle this in and of ourselves.
Matthew 11:28-30Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
28 “Come to me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest. 29 Accept my teaching.[a] Learn from me. I am gentle and humble in spirit. And you will be able to get some rest. 30 Yes, the teaching that I ask you to accept is easy. The load I give you to carry is light.” Are you spending time in the Word and in prayer? Sometimes we get so exhausted with anxiety that it’s hard to find the energy to surrender to The Lord in prayer. God hears our on-the-go prayers but I think the deep quiet moments with God heal our hearts and give us strength. God doesn’t need hours of prayer time from us in order to hear us or help us – but it does something to our own souls. I know it’s hard to give a solution or an answer because you have to live this out each and every day and no matter how good we make you feel – it will fade away. You are loved, Christina! You are valuable! This is not forever! You will not suffer like this forever!
1 Peter 5:10New International Version (NIV)
10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. There is a call on your life. You were made for such a time as this! The enemy is trying to destroy you and blind you from the beautiful present and future ahead because he knows that you’re a powerful being on this earth. The devil’s goal is to render you useless so your impact is minimal. He has no control over you. He can’t read your thoughts. he doesn’t know your future. He just sees you as a mighty power house and he wants to shut you down. He knows a trigger is fear and so he’ll keep you in this loop so you’re distracted and fearful of the life that God has planted in front of you to live! This goes for all of you ladies in this group! Once I journeyed further into my anxiety I realized how special I was because I was suffering from anxiety and depression. I know it sounds crazy but if you’re suffering – that means you’re doing something right because the devil wants to destroy you! But guess what? Greater is HE that is in US than he that is in the world. The devil is powerless. The only power he has is that which we give to him. Fear is something else… it can smother you. It catches you off guard and can flip your world upside down. But fear is a lie. Our feelings are a lie. Yes, we TRULY feel emotions but what we do with those emotions/feelings is where the power is… We are given power to take our thoughts captive.
2 Corinthians 10:5 New International Version (NIV)
5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Philippians 4:4-84 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
April Poynter I used to think if I repeated a scripture or called out to Jesus this darkness would disappear right away… and although I think darkness does have to flee at the name of Jesus, but if deception and fear has a hold on us – it doesn’t seem so instantly removed. It doesn’t mean it’s not being destroyed. I used to have to repeat a scripture over and over and over and over again. I used to take my thoughts captive and 30 seconds later take my thoughts captive again, and 15 seconds later take them captive again. I would have a day where I felt free from anxiety and the next morning wake up sick to my stomach because I felt anxious again. God’s healing power doesn’t always take away the circumstances – financial problems, sick children or spouses, health concerns, etc… but His healing power helps us to walk through trying times with His Truth embedded into our hearts so that we can stand firm on the foundation of Christ NO MATTER WHAT this world throws at us.
John 16:33New International Version (NIV)
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” I think we often feel defeated because we can get confused by following Christ…. it doesn’t mean we walk around as super humans all the time, it means we have the hope of glory with us at all times. We have the presence of the Holy Spirit with us at all time – the SAME POWER that raised Jesus from the grave lives in us AT ALL TIMES.
April Poynter Look at how easy this is for the devil if he knows that shaking our world up a little can cause us to crumble. Again, it doesn’t mean we don’t experience the pain of this life… but if he can throw us off course with overwhelming jobs, crazy families, and all this other fun stuff in life.. it makes his job easy to take us into captivity. I think mental illness is growing so rapidly and especially among Believers because we live in a day where we have so much ‘control’ … or at least we think we do. We can control everything around us but once you’re struck with anxiety and depression, you can’t turn it off. I’ve heard multiple times from people who take medication that they’re not even sure the meds are working … it just numbs every emotion. Mental battles are the devil’s specialty. When I was battling I doubted God to the FULLEST because I felt that His Word and Truth did not apply to my situation. I felt forsaken and forgotten. I was buried under guilt and shame because I felt like I hadn’t repented enough or prayed enough or acted good enough for God to rescue me. MORE LIES from the devil. This is why I hate anxiety and depression SO MUCH because it’s the devil’s trickery used to steal the lives of believers. I know because he took my life from me for one year and almost talked me in to taking my own life physically. He’s such a liar! He has no power. He’s a coward.
April Poynter One last thing from my own experience. When I was struck with this journey to suffer through anxiety and depression. The path was before me and I stood still for the longest. I didn’t want to journey down the path because it was dark, lonely, and scary. I couldn’t see what was on the other end and so I’d rather be in my anxious stand-still because I was afraid and the path didn’t look safe. There was no other place to go. I could stand still, locked up in fear and anxiety or move forward down the scary path. I honestly feel like I stood in that stagnant place for a long time. Finally I stopped resisting God. I told him I was surrendering to Him and yet I kept standing where I felt safe. Finally I started walking down the path. It was extremely terrifying. I wanted to turn back so many times but I kept moving forward. The devil attacked me so hard! I saw demonic presence. I was tortured in my sleep (mentally … they can’t do anything to you!), I would wake up and feel held down as if someone was trying to smother me in the night. I would wake up and a demon would be standing at the foot of my bed staring at me. One night I was praying, face down on the floor, and felt snakes slithering next to me. I woke up so many nights surrounded by spiders or spiders lowering themselves from their web from the ceiling onto my face. I would hear voices telling me to kill myself or that my daughter was going to die that day… It was TERRIFYING! Then I started to get pissed off… a HOLY, righteous pissed off! I would hear those demons speak and I would say, with no fear what-so-ever, “In the name of Jesus, SHUT UP, you’re an idiot. Get out of my way.” and I would walk right past it and carry on with my business. I saw heavenly hosts of angels surrounding me, I entered into the throne room of God one night in prayer. I couldn’t lift my head, I saw the colors that you can’t describe, I felt the peace of God surrounding me, and I saw his feet. I didn’t need to lift my head because His presence was enough. I saw some amazing things on that path. I started to gain a renewed strength. I cut off every bad friendship I had … and I didn’t care anymore what anyone thought. If you don’t act right – you’re out of here! Sometimes at AWFUL hours of the morning, Jesus would wake me up and ask me to meet Him in the living room. I wouldn’t hesitate. I got up and met Him there. He’d bring an old offense to my heart and I would repent and He gently consoled me. I found so much healing on that path. There was light all along the way even when I couldn’t see it. The journey was tough but it was so rewarding. God is faithful to His word and He never leaves our side. If God is for us who can EVER be against us? It reminds me of the quote from C.S. Lewis “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe We may not understand… but just like the quote I posted last week from Bill Johnson – in order to experience the peace that passes all understanding, we have to first give up our right to understand. We have to stop trying to make spiritual sense out of these worldy things. They don’t make sense. We have to dig deep into the word and cry out to God with high expectation that He is who He says He is. We have to resolve to believe this no matter the circumstances. No matter.
April Poynter Ladies- I pray for you to experience your freedom constantly. The freedom is yours. Our faith tells us that we have freedom because Jesus said so … and what is faith:
Hebrews 11:1New International Version (NIV)
Faith in Action

11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.- …… Confidence and assurance of what we do not see! Doesn’t that go against everything in our culture???? Jesus is real. He is still into healing and miracles. My heart explodes for you ladies. I believe by the blood of Jesus, you’re going to each start experiencing freedom and we’re going to celebrate you one by one as you walk down the paths of anxiety/depression and enter into complete freedom and victory!
Luke 4:18New International Version (NIV)
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
Galatians 5:1New International Version (NIV)
Freedom in Christ
5 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Christina Ciro Wow April Poynter all that you have said rings so much truth and so much encouragement. I am so thankful that you have shared so much wisdom from your own journey. It definitely helps a ton! And You’re very right that I am still trying to carry this burden myself and yes it is because I am giving into the lies of the enemy that demand that “I have to get better ASAP!” Or I have to be perfect. Or im not allowed to feel weak or struggle or any of that. So I create all of this internal pressure and anxiety upon myself and also listen to all the external pressure around me, and of course I stay held captive in this small prison of fear. I need to start becoming bold again and yes realize that he is who in me is much, much greater than that of this world. That He is able. That He is faithful. And I must also admit that this whole experience has been quite a journey for me as well. Yes it has been torturous and at times very trying, but I am also rejoicing in the suffering. I am learning so much from where he is bringing me. I am learning about His strength that is shining through my weakness. I am learning about His faithfulness, that even on my worst day He is still near and will never leave me. I am learning that He cares so much for me that He is bringing me through the fire and burning away all that holds me captive, as painful as it may be. Yes there are parts I don’t understand and moments when I wish I knew why he was doing what he was doing, but I know his plans are for good. They are not to harm me, but rather to bring me a joyful life. To bring me to a place a healing. And to bring me forward so that I may accomplish his good and perfect will that he has for my life on this earth. I think it’s just difficult going through this journey, but I am changing my perspective and seeing myself as the lucky one. That yes there will be many days of suffering, but there will be many more days of joy. I feel that I am choosing that path towards healing, that while yes I am a little hesitant at times and sometimes turn back, I always seem to end up moving forward again very soon, because I believe that He will give me the strength to do so. I feel that maybe I just became side tracked again. Got caught up in my circumstances and distracted by lies that I took my eyes off jesus for a moment and I guess that should be my clue that the enemy is at work. So I need to just dive back into his word. Find rest in his presence. because yes lately it has been quick prayers of “please help me” but I really need to take time to spend some true quality time with my Father. I do notice that whenever I do I always seem to feel renewed, strengthened, and at peace. I do want to comment on the mental torture from the enemy and demons, I am very familiar with this, and was actually not aware that it was the enemy, but rather thought it was just me, just my mind going “crazy”. It scared me so much when it would happen and I would tell my boyfriend that I was seriously ill. That someone was really wrong with me. But most nights when it happened I would just sit and pray. Even if it was simple cries out to God for Him to please take away whatever evil presence is in this room. But now I know better what it is, and that I have authority to make the enemy flee when/if it happens. So thank you for sharing that.
April Poynter Christina Ciro, I was smiling SO BIG reading this! You are absolutely allowed to have moments where you feel defeated – but when I see you post this TRUTH from your own thoughts! It’s declaring God’s truth over your life! You’re making yourself push past the fear and post what you know is REAL and TRUE …even if you don’t feel it at the moment. This is carrying your cross and pressing forward. This is victory!!!! God knows the length of your journey and whether your battle with anxiety ends right here, right now or a year from now – His timing is perfect in your story. He wouldn’t give you any less time in this journey than He knows is fitting for you and for your good. Lean in and watch for His mighty miracles. In the STRANGEST way… I miss my battle with anxiety/depression at times… because I was so desperate and so sensitive to His Spirit that I saw some of the coolest stuff in the heavenly realms. Trust me – Light triumphs over darkness, EVERY TIME. When you see warrior angels surrounding you, equipped with the power of Christ … compared to the devil’s minions sent to torture you … NOTHING in comparison! Nothing. Petty. You’re a warrior, girl! A mighty warrior! Stand firm!
Christina Ciro Thank you so much April Poynter Glory to God for building such awesome fellowship in this group and encouraging sisterhood.

 

 

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