Despairing of Life?

365: 62 - 03.03.09

The holidays are a difficult time for many who’ve lost loved ones at this time of year—whether recently and in years past. It’s hard for some who face the prospect of spending the holidays alone, or who simply feel sadness in contrast to what the holidays represent.

The holidays can be a very sad time of year.

This is especially true in messy marriages and sometimes it leads to feelings of depression or even thoughts of suicide.

I’ve struggled in my distant past with suicidal thoughts. There was a time when my life and/or marriage seemed so out-of-control that ending my life seemed like a calming reprieve from the pain. As I look back on those times now, I’m so thankful that God gave me the ability to persevere—to cling to Him when all seemed lost.

What about you? Are you struggling with these kinds of feelings or thoughts? Did you know that perhaps even the apostle Paul and his co-laborers in the spreading of the gospel struggled in this way? Consider 1 Corinthians 1:8-9a …

“We do not want you to be uniformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death …”

Paul experienced the seductive slide into despair that like quicksand threatened to consume his desire to go on living. 

What kept him from sliding completely down into the depths?

Perhaps it was the mission he knew he still must fulfill. Perhaps it was the loved ones he knew he’d be abandoning here on earth. Perhaps it was God grabbing hold of Paul’s tear-soaked prayers and lifting him “out of the slimy pit.”

Whatever the reason, Paul looked back on that time with newfound insight into God’s ways as we read on in verses 9 – 11…

“… But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, 

and he will deliver us

On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers.”

I don’t know what painful situations you are facing, but I do know that God cares and wants to encourage you, strengthen you, and deliver you … if you will simply reach out to Him.

He’s there … waiting … as close as a whispered prayer.

Speaking of prayers, I am lifting you up right now in my prayers, my friend. I don’t have to know who you are, because God does. And if you want to let me know how I can specifically pray for you, please don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments* or by emailing me at messymarriage at gmail dot com.

*If you leave a comment, please be aware that it will not show up if you enter it with your cell phone. Disqus prevents this, for some reason. 

Photo credit by – Foxtongue

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Linking up with NOBH, Imperfect Prose, Too Darn Happy and To Love Honor and Vacuum

  • Wonderful encouragement Beth. Thank you for the words and prayers.

    Disqus – is that something unique to Blogger? I think I experienced something similar when i was on Blogger platform. Right now am on wordpress and disqus works well, even from a cell phone.

  • messymarriage

    Hmmm, I didn’t know that it worked for other platforms. Maybe it is a Blogger problem and not a Disqus problem. I hope to switch to WordPress soon, but have much to get together before I make the leap. 🙂

    Thanks for coming by and encouraging, as always, Ngina! Blessings to you!

  • Samantha McDonald

    It’s relieving to find another pastor’s wife who has also suffered and is now victorious. I blog about my battle with depression and how it affected my marriage and my children. Also how as a Christian I hid it for so many years. Thank you for sharing your story too! Feel free to read my story at http://www.livingwithrealjoy.com.

  • thanks for visiting my site today beth…and here i find you; and your honest voice. enjoying your words today.

    ~ zena

  • “as close as a whispered prayer.”
    beautiful hope. thanks for shining it, Beth.

  • messymarriage

    You’re welcome, Zena. And right back at ya for coming to my place. I appreciate your encouragement so much!

  • messymarriage

    Thanks, Kelli. I appreciate your kind words to me, my friend. I hope all is going well with your new home and settling in. I’ll keep you and your family in my prayers!

  • mmm … and I’m thinking of adding Disqus to my Blogger site after the new year … holding my breath in doing so, hoping it won’t be too difficult and mess everything up …
    but as to these words you’ve written today, they are important and lifegiving … and offer hope that yes, you will go through really tough times, but yes, you will come out the other end, so much stronger and wiser. the holidays can be a bummer …

  • Dawn Paoletta

    I struggle on and off with depression so I do understand and relate to this post. Some seasons I just take it one moment at a time…thanks for stopping by today and thanks for tackling the not so perfect side of the Holidays.

  • soulstops

    Dear Beth, I am so grateful you persevered, and now you are able to encourage others, who may be in the same boat…So grateful He is there for us as I have struggled with depression in the past…Merry Christmas to you and yours 🙂

  • I, too, am so glad you chose life and hope. When my brother and his wife had only been married for a few years and had a one year old baby girl, my brother’s father-in-law committed suicide. That suicide was so hard on the entire family.

    I have relatives who have depression, so I have a glimpse of understanding. I’m glad you wrote about this, Beth. It’s so important folks feel they are not alone and that there is hope!

  • messymarriage

    Well, then you’re one of the ones I will be praying for, Dawn. I hope you feel God encouraging you and energizing you throughout this holiday season. And thanks for your kind words. They mean a lot, my friend!

  • messymarriage

    Yep, perseverance seems to be the theme of my life, Dolly! 🙂 Thanks so much for your kind words and for the shared faith we have in the One who helps us to persevere and find hope. Merry Christmas to you and your family as well, my friend!

  • messymarriage

    Yes, suicide can have such a damaging impact on the lives of those around us. But like you’ve said, I wanted to extend the hope that I’ve found to those who may feel hopeless this Christmas season. Sometimes all it takes is a little “Word hug” from the Holy Spirit via the scriptures to lift someone out of that “slimy pit.” Praying that’s the case!

    Thanks so much for your blogging friendship, Kim and you have a very Merry Christmas!

  • messymarriage

    Thanks so much, Linda. I always appreciate your encouragement.

    As far as Disqus is concerned, I’m not sure if it’s Disqus or Blogger. But either way, it’s mostly been a good thing. I’m going to check on my Disqus settings too to see if that might hold the secret to the mystery.

  • Josanne

    I’ve been looking over some of your blog-you have some wonderful, heartfelt content. I’ve looked over my life and have felt so blessed, but life is life, and we all face disappointments and feelings of despair at times-not always in our own lives, but also in the hurting world around us. And so often, the song “I Look To You” comes to mind. He IS my hope everyday. I don’t ever want to face life without Him. I want others to know that they don’t have to face the hardships alone either.

  • Thanks so much, Josanne. I can sense from what I read on your blog that you have a similar heartbeat to what we are about here too. I’m glad we’ve met and I will try to stay aware of what you’re writing about on your blog from now on. We, pastor’s wives, need to stick together! 🙂