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31.3.14

King's Daughters in Business, Ministry and Politics

Hello and Happy Monday!

I am so excited about our brand new event, King's Daughters in Business, Ministry and Politics, which is being launched next Monday evening.  The aim of the event is to support, encourage and challenge women who are currently leading in these areas or who want to get involved in these areas.  As Christians, we need to rise up and position ourselves in places of influence in our communities and country.  

Please join us for a light supper, networking, worship, guest speaker and prayer.  Together we can encourage each other and do so much more than we can do on our own.  Our April guest speaker is Jennie Dallimore, a Gloucester City Councillor.

See you next Monday, 7pm at the Fairview upper room in Cheltenham.  Book your place at www.kingsdaughtersleaders.eventbrite.co.uk

Have a great week!
Angela
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24.3.14

Depression is Not An Excuse

Continuing on from my previous post, I wanted to look into the other side of depression.  The side where people use it to be lazy or to do nothing for the kingdom.  Yes there is a time when you need to slow down or stop in order to recover and get well but there is no reason to throw your whole life away and write off your future.  Depression is not a lifestyle it is a season. It can be cured and it can be managed.  If you are newly depressed or burnt out you may need to stop what you are doing and have a season of rest.

What did God tell Elijah to do when he was newly depressed? Let's read about it in 1 King's 19:4-8

"Elijah  went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God."

Elijah was not only depressed but he plain and simply wanted to die! It's seems from this passage that he was sleeping most of the time, a common thing in depression.  But the angel told him to "arise and eat" and then he went back to sleep again. The second time he was told to arise and eat he was also told that he should do so because the journey ahead was too great for him.  So what does that mean.  I understand it to mean that he was to get better so that he could continue what God called him to do.  Elijah had endured a great battle and won it for the Lord.  If that were most of us we would have simply been satisfied with the fact that we had done something great and then settled down to everyday life.  God did not plan for Elijah to be comfortable, His plans were for him to continue walking in his destiny, a destiny which was a difficult path.  Yes Elijah had to rest when he became depressed but he also had to take care of himself and get better so that he could continue!

Jesus said in John 16:33, "In this world you will have trouble."

He also said in Matthew 16:24-26 "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"

As Christians there are some givens, apart from all the wonderful promises of peace and joy and love we also have the truth that we will encounter trouble in this world.  It is also a given that if you want to follow Jesus then there is a cross to bear.  We ALL have a cross to bear. Mine might be depression but yours could be something else. Please understand I am not trying to make anyone feel guilty, there IS a definite time when we do need to stop and rest.  The problem only comes when we stay in that place of rest and never move on from it. When we recognise our cross we should not use it as an excuse to stop but we should take the wise necessary steps to deal with it and find a way to move FORWARD!

As Christians we are not meant to be using the promises in the Bible to create a comfortable life for ourselves.  We are at war, our time here on earth is short and we have a clear mandate. "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." - Mark 16:15  That's it!  No matter what we DO in our life our mission remains the same.  If you are in business then your mandate is to preach the gospel, if you are at university then your mission is to preach the gospel if you are in politics, your mandate is to preach the gospel, if you are a stay at home mum your mandate is to preach the gospel.  If you are suffering with depression your mandate is to preach the gospel, if you are going through a divorce your mandate is to preach the gospel, if you are struggling with cancer your mandate is to preach the gospel.  Preaching the gospel can be done in many different ways, but the bottom line it is the good news of Jesus.  Preaching doesn't necessarily mean that you have to stand behind a pulpit.  The most important thing is that you are sharing the good news of Jesus in some way. It is completely different for everyone but it is the basic requirement for every Christian.  Are you sharing the good news of Jesus with your life?  We have all of eternity to be comfortable but only one life here on earth that needs to be spent wisely.

If you are seeking a comfortable Christian life you will never be truly satisfied - EVER.  However, if you are seeking to preach the gospel no matter what the cost, despite your struggles or burdens, you will find true satisfaction. The promises of God are not to make our life comfortable they are to help those who are suffering for the sake of the gospel.  Are you using your struggles as an excuse to stop and do nothing or are you building a comfortable life for yourself and your family with the promises of God?

For those of you that want to move FORWARD, even if you are struggling or in a bad place, please join us at our brand new event where we will be exploring our role in the kingdom. If you are in or want to be in business, politics or ministry, please come along on the first Monday of every month for a meal, a time of worship, guest speaker and prayer.  Time is short, let's stand together despite our struggles and take the message of the good news into our world.

All welcome - more info at www.kingsdaughtersleaders.eventbrite.co.uk

Read the next post: 

Depression - How to be Happy

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21.3.14

Life Happens - Christians and Depression

Continuing on from my previous post, I wanted to talk about the Christian view of depression.  You see, very recently I faced complete burnout and ended up going to the doctor only to discover that I was on the high end of the depression scale.  It never occurred to me that I was depressed or burnt out because I have lived a balanced life and followed all of the steps I wrote about in my book Hope's Journey. It did not even cross my mind that the series of difficult situations that I have faced over the past two year had actually worn me down!  I am a survivor - I just get on with things.

Thank goodness for a good Christian friend who had the boldness to confront me and encourage me to see my doctor. She recognised the symptoms as she too suffers with depression but she also understood that as Christians, admitting to depression is the hardest thing.

So why do I keep mentioning Christians, what makes it different for a Christian?  Well, first of all we are always told how the 'joy of the Lord is our strength' and how we can 'do all things through Christ who strengthens us', etc.  We are taught that 'nothing is impossible with God' and that we don't have to suffer with sickness and disease because we have a God that heals us.  I believe all these things to be true, I really do.  But because of all these wonderful promises that we have as Christians, those of us who suffer with illness are often looked down upon. Not always, but often.  In some circles even a common cold would indicate a lack of faith or sin!  That is only in extreme cases though. When it comes to mental illnesses and depression it is often assumed to be something even worse or demonic.  Again, there are cases when this is true but mostly it's not the case.  With all this pressure and assumption in the church it makes it worse for a Christian at times.  Too many Christians suffer in silence at church with things such as depression.  There is a great deal of shame for us and even a feeling of failure.  We feel like we did something wrong or didn't have enough faith. I want to put an end to this as it's difficult enough coping with depression or illness of any sort without having shame and judgement to deal with too.

Does God heal physical and mental illness?  Yes.  In fact Jesus died on the cross to release this healing power to us.  Do some people not get healed?  Yes.  I have no idea why or how it works but there can be many reasons.  Do I still trust God for healing?  Absolutely.  However let me tell you my story. When the doctor recommended antidepressants I felt a great sense of relief. Firstly I was labeled and that actually made things better.  It made it better  because what I was dealing with became clear and also it made me feel less bad as a person.  Before I was labeled I thought all my crying and shouting at the kids and general grumpiness was simply me being a really terrible person. When he told me I was depressed I realised that it wasn't me, it was an external problem, which did not affect my identity.

Secondly, I felt relieved at the thought of going on antidepressants, even though I had spoken so harshly against them in times past.  I was relieved because I finally felt like I was getting some help, that I could take a break from the constant struggle and just relax and let the little pills do the work for me.  Sounds ridiculous I know!  But that is how I felt and that is exactly what has happened.  At first the pills made me a little nauseas and headachy, but after a week I started to feel lighter and cried much less. It seems that what I hoped for actually happened - the pills did do the work not me!  After about 20 years of working hard at managing depression I finally gave in a took a break.

I am not suggesting everyone run out and get antidepressants if they are a little sad.  I recommend reading Hope's Journey and finding the balance in your life. Hope's Journey is a great little book for prevention and cure as well as for supporting others through depression.  My case was beyond Hope's Journey.  I have had about two years of intense struggles of different sorts, one after the other.  I have had to grieve, deal with loss, cope with my son's diabetes diagnosis and various other struggles that I have not spoken about publicly.  As soon as I felt I was coping with one issue another major things would come up.  I coped as best I could and moved on. During the struggles I started a business which took off instantly and also continued to lead our church through some very rough waters with my husband.  The result was that I coped and continued to cope and never got to come up for air.  This resulted in depression.

Is it my fault?  No.  Did I do something wrong? No.  Life just happened.  Will God heal me?  Yes.  He will either stretch out his mighty hand and touch me or he will use the antidepressants.  Right now I don't mind which was as long as I feel better.

What I did to encourage myself and stop feeling guilty about my situation was that I reminded myself that some of the great Christian leaders of our time have also suffered with depression.  Steven Furtick and Perry Noble have openly shared their journey - and for that I am so grateful as they have made it less of a taboo subject in the church today.  Even Elijah - the great prophet of the Bible had to deal with depression as well as many others.  My motivation for sharing my struggle with you is to continue the fight against the mindset that people have about depression, especially in churches.  Please share to encourage others and to stop the condemning lies from spreading.  Let's increase our faith and be a church or power where we see regular healing but at the same time let's not make people feel small on our journey to see God move in divine power.  Life happens.  We can't understand it all but let's do a good job with what we can understand.

Read the next post:

Depression is Not An Excuse

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14.3.14

I Am Depressed Not Sad

In September 2010 I released my very first book called Hope's Journey where I opened shared my struggle and victory over depression, suicide and self harming.  Since that day I have had a couple of mild relapses into my old ways but can honestly say that today I am completely free of any temptation or desire to self harm in any way.  Perhaps the darkness became deeper after the book was released because I felt exposed or perhaps it was 'someone' trying to rob me of my testimony.  Times were especially difficult in the weeks before I was scheduled to publicly speak on this subject or share my testimony.  At times the struggle was intense but I knew that many would be encouraged by my story so I knew I had to stay strong and remain in victory or else too much would be lost.

It had been a battle before Hope's Journey was released and continued to be a different sort of battle afterwards too.  At times I wondered if complete freedom would ever be possible but I continue to believe that it is possible.  Sadly, many people confided in me about their struggle with depression and it seemed that it is a bit of a taboo subject in churches.  This must stop - we must start to open up about this subject and to learn to understand those who suffer with this horrible illness.  Part of my struggle has been shame.  I felt ashamed that I have this struggled and felt guilty at times too.  Questions such as , "Did I cause this?" or  "Was I irresponsible by being too busy?" plagued my mind adding even more pressure to my already heavy load.

Let's make an effort to grow in understanding of the things that people face in the world around us. In times when we don't understand, the best thing to do is say little and listen as much as possible.  Words spouted in ignorance can be really damaging to someone struggling.  So to kick start the conversation let me mention some things that you might not know about depression.

Depression is not sadness so don't tell someone who is depressed to cheer up.  If they could cheer themselves up they would.  Try be patient with them and if they are very close to you - make an effort to learn about what they are going through so you can better support them.

Depression is not a sign of weakness so don't expect it to go away by itself.  It is a medical condition that requires treatment just like any other medical condition. Yes God can heal any medical condition and is bigger than illness but at the same time there is nothing wrong with receiving treatment when you are ill. Hope's Journey contains a lot of non-medical tips that can help manage depression but it is advisable to see a doctor too as there are times when antidepressants will do wonders. 

If you have struggled or are struggling with depression, please feel free to share your struggle with us in the comment box below. My aim in writing this post is to encourage others who are suffering alone to speak freely about how they feel. You are not alone and there is nothing to be ashamed of. Find our more about Hope's Journey  here   

Read the next post:

Life Happens - Christians and Depression

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13.3.14

Doing less to do more!

Hello ladies!

As you can tell from the subject, we are doing less in order to do more!  Now we have one clear focus - to bring Jesus into the centre of all that we do whether we are in ministry, business or politics. 

Practically what this means is that the women in ministry event and the women in business event will be merging into one event and we will be adding politics to the mix too.  If you fall into any of these three categories please join us for our monthly event.   The event is focused on women who are leading in some way, who are intentionally focused on using their platform to shine for Jesus.  Find out more here.

I can't wait to see you all there - it is going to be fantastic!  Be prepared to be inspired and refreshed.  Keep an eye out on the website as we update it over the next few weeks with lots more info.  www.kingsdaughters.co.uk

Love
Angela
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