At a healing retreat a few years ago, I was introduced to “personalizing scripture", which helped me learn what God had to say in scripture and appreciate His word in a more personal way. The exercise inspired me to write three devotionals in that format to provide comfort, assurance and hope: Behind the Smile (Depression), Steps of Faith (Addiction), Solace in Scripture (Grief).
I am not a psychologist or a theologian. The descriptions come from my soul. It's how I felt, and it's where I never want to go again. It is my goal to provide reassurance that challenges of depression can be met head on … Through treatment, scripture and prayer.
The following is an excerpt from "Behind the Smile". The scriptures in italics are from the New American Bible, revised edition, the ones in the text boxes are personalized for reflection.
Sadness is a fact of life. It takes time to recover; however, it eventually dissipates. Not so with those of us suffering from depression. We are enveloped in unexplained heart-wrenching pain, and it hits us like a speeding train, with no bells or whistles to warn of the approaching darkness. No matter where we are or what we are doing, the dam breaks.
It is difficult to describe the depth of sadness we reach. It's like being at the bottom of a deep, dark well filling rapidly with our tears. Inch by inch, the water rises … We are confronted with the paralyzing fear of drowning.
For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd meand lead me to springs of life-giving water,and God will wipe away every tear from my eyes.
Return, my soul, to your rest; the LORD has been very good to you.
For my soul has been freed from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
My soul will return to rest; the LORD hasbeen very good to me. For my soul has been freed from death,my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
For his anger lasts but a moment; His favor a lifetime.
At dusk weeping comes for the night; but at dawn there is rejoicing.
I know His anger lasts but a moment; His favor a lifetime.At dusk my weeping comes for the night; but at dawn there is rejoicing.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted,
saves those whose spirit is crushed.
The LORD is close to me when brokenhearted andsaves me when my spirit is crushed.
Dear Heavenly Father, reach into that well of darkness and lift me up. With your loving hand, wipe the tears from my eyes, so I can see the light of your love and the path to healing.