Tag Archives: Hopelessness

Drain The Swamp

Have you ever found yourself in a hopeless situation? A dark and lonely place? Where everything around you lacks color and is grey.

Haunted by memories, hounding you like a hungry wolf. Lost in a swamp, walking aimlessly, looking for a way out.

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No matter what you do, or how much you walk, you are trapped with no escape. Lost and desperate, you look up and all you see are dead branches.

You look down at the murky water, with the hopes of finding life, only to be met with a distorted reflection of someone you once knew, looking back at you.

* * * * * * * * *

Our hearts are preoccupied with self, and our minds are polluted with the cares of this world.

The swamp is our souls.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Matthew 5:8

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2

How do we drain the swamp?

It’s simple, but requires a commitment. That is, reading the Bible every day without fail. Not only reading it, but praying, studying, journaling and meditating on it.

This is how the excavation begins. The draining, digging, cleaning out of the old and replacing it with the new.

When negative thoughts flood your mind, like a tsunami, and you feel hopeless, think of Jesus.

When the pain suffocates you, and you feel like giving up, cry out to Jesus.

When nothing makes sense, and there are no answers, pray to Jesus.

When you feel lost, alone, and no help can be found, call on the name of Jesus.

Only Jesus can save us from ourselves. He is our only hope in the midst of whatever we are going through.

“Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.” John 14:6

“But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Luke 12:31

We must seek Him like hidden treasure.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.” Matthew 13:44

Jesus is the answer. He possesses the keys to any problem or situation we face. He alone can drain our swamps and set us free.

***May this song encourage you today: https://youtu.be/ADuWzd7x25c***

 

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This Quiet Madness

Have you ever wanted to give up? You look around you and everything looks grey? A sense of hopelessness envelopes you, that you can’t seem to shake it off?

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Well, you are not alone. Throughout my life, I have struggled with the torment composed of invisible scars. I’ve danced to the same tune more times than I care to admit.

It’s a combination of hopelessness, worthlessness and despair rolled into one. Unless someone goes through it, they won’t understand. So it’s like you are walking through life, on the outside looking in. Disconnected, disoriented, and in a bubble.

I get it, I do. You wonder when you will ever feel “normal”? Whatever normal is. You try hard to mask the gnawing pain with a smile. Sometimes someone will *see* and a wave of shame will come over you. Pushing you to hide, avoid and isolate even more.

This quiet madness is as real as real can be. No one knows how you truly feel or what you are going through. These invisible whips and chains torture you daily.

The incessant voices inside your head telling you, you don’t matter. You are worthless, you have no value, and you are failure.

Yes, yes… I know all too well what this is about. I’m living it right now.

Are you surprised? Don’t be. Most people don’t know the road I’ve been on, or the suffering and pain I’ve endured.

These invisible scars are hidden from the naked eye, but this silent disability is alive and well. It frames my life, and experiences.

I long for the day where I can truly be free. I envision the day where I can fly. Where I won’t be subjected to people’s opinions, or criticisms. Where I can be me and accepted and loved unconditionally for who I am without judgment. Or perhaps reach the point, where it won’t matter anymore.

This journey of mine has been a long and hard one. There have been times I have wanted to give up. But as hard as it is, by the grace of God, I continue on. I am grateful for the praying friends God has graciously placed in my life who know of my internal struggle.

I am writing this post today for those of you who may be struggling too. Depression and anxiety are real. It’s considered a disability. Please join me in trying not to beat yourself up. Know that you are not alone, that God is with you and somehow, someway, you will heal and overcome. Be encouraged even in the midst of the storm. God promised to never leave or forsake you. I’m gripping on to that word for dear life. I hope you will too.

If you are struggling, please let me know in the comment section below. You are not alone. Let’s pray for one another. There is power in prayer and community.

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A Forgotten Ministry

Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them;and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.
Hebrews 13:3

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A couple of weeks ago, I came across an article about a new book that was released, Black is the Day, Black is the Night by Amy Elkins.

This article fascinated me. Amy Elkins corresponded with five male inmates on death row, which lead to her book of remarkable photographs. She expresses their story in an artistic way.

I have been studying about solitary confinement and prison life for awhile now.

Our entire prison and justice system baffles and troubles me. I have a burden for those who are incarcerated.

Those who have been locked up, forgotten about by family and so-called friends as if they no longer exist.

Let me share an excerpt by Amy Elkins:

“A system that uses long-term solitary confinement and capital punishment is broken. Housing someone in infinite isolation has been proven to be hugely damaging to one’s psychological and physical state. This type of isolation breeds behavioral and emotional imbalances that are bound to cause most to remain in a perpetual state of anxiety, depression and anger. Which means they are set up for failure. There is absolutely no way to rehabilitate in such conditions.  But clearly rehabilitation isn’t what they have in mind.

I have written with one man in particular who has served 20 years in solitary confinement as part of a Life Without Parole (LWOP) sentence for a non-murder related crime he committed aged 16. He has written about going years talking through concrete walls without ever seeing the men he holds daily conversations with. He spends nearly 23 hours a day in a small cell by himself and when he is let out, he is shackled and permitted to exercise in a slightly larger room by himself for an hour. How he’s gone 20 years in these conditions and not gone completely mad is mind blowing.”

I have been writing to inmates off and on now for years. You have no idea how happy it makes them to receive letters.

While sitting in their 6 x 9 to 8 x 10 feet cell, day in and day out, for 22 or 23 hours a day, with no hope of physical contact with anyone other than a correctional officer.

They describe solitary confinement or death row as hell on earth.

You may be thinking, these prisoners are criminals, they deserve what they get. They took a life or whatever, so they need to pay for what they did.

But think about it, how will they ever rehabilitate in a barbaric system like solitary confinement or capital punishment?

The system is flawed.

The Bible admonishes us not to forget about those who are in prison.

Perhaps you don’t want to visit a prison. That is understandable. It’s not for everyone.

But, if you have a burden, you could write to an inmate or two.

Some churches even have a prison ministry. If you a part of or member of a church, you may be able to get involved in their pen pal ministry.

If not, you can do it on your own; just Google inmate pen pal sites and choose an inmate to write to.

It’s best to write to the same sex, however, you may discover you identify and have a burden for someone of the opposite sex.

It is important to be clear about your position and intention in your first letter to them, so they know where you stand. Setting boundaries from the beginning is vital.

They will respect your wishes because all they desire is to be able to communicate with someone, anyone.

Believe it or not, the majority do not receive letters from anyone.

If you are concerned about your safety or of your family, you can always use an alias and rent a P.O. Box.

I highly suggest only using a P.O. Box.

If you are going to begin writing to an inmate, the most important thing to remember is consistency is key.

If you believe you won’t be able to be consistent for whatever reason, it is best not to start.

The reason why I say this, is because it will only result in another let down and disappointment for them.

They are already at a loss and suffer from hopelessness.

The only thing they look forward to is receiving letters.

If you decide to start, please make sure you can stick with it.

Writing to those in prison is a forgotten ministry, but is one of the best ways to demonstrate God’s love in action.

Is this something you would be interested in doing? Do you have any questions or concerns? If so, please comment below.

 

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