Saturday, December 27, 2008


Regrets and shame have brought me down lately. I'm good one day, and then something triggers me to turn to those negative emotions and thoughts and I go deeply dark.

But, if I were able to get things into better perspective, the way I should and the way it's healthy, I would see that those negative things are really very small when you place them next to all the good things in my life. I have so much to be thankful for. And the Bible does remind us to think of the good and not to be anxious. And God knows what is good for us and we need to listen.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)

In between the dark times, I have felt this peace, only to return to the dark again days later. A very troubling thing. Can I hang onto this peace, can I hang onto the good, those things for which I am thankful? With God's help and with supportive friends beside me, I know I can. But I have to make the decision to strive for this and cling to feelings of thankfulness.

It's not hard to think of things I'm thankful for. I'm really a very fortunate person (except for this darn bipolar disorder). I thank God for:
  • a husband who loves me and has endless patience with me
  • friends who love me and are supportive. I love them so very much.
  • plenty to eat, a warm comfortable home, all the clothes I need.
  • a cruise planned for January 7th. I know, you're all saying "How can she possibly not be jubilant about that?"
  • a talent for photographing children, work which gives me great joy, work which I will soon resume after a long hiatus.
  • the work God has given me to do. It's wonderful to have a purpose so worthwhile - a purpose I feel God designed me for. Thank you, God, for leading me to that.
  • a healthy body
  • an enjoyment of books and learning.
  • Sudoku puzzles that keep my mind occupied and off the negative.
  • playing Ticket to Ride with my husband. Thank you, God, for the challenge. I seldom win anymore, but it's so much fun trying.
  • a smart husband who enjoys the work he does. Thank you, God, that he's able to do it at home, close to me.
  • a pastor who is down to earth and wants to understand mental disorders. Thank you, God, for how he supports me and my work.
  • a God who loves me, no matter what - even when I get more negative than he wants me to.


Nancie said...

Dear Marja,

Negative thoughts are part of the symptoms of depression. When we are clinically depressed, our thoughts turned negative and against us. We seemed to lost the ability to enjoy anything. We also are so slowed down that we cannot do as much as we can when we were better. But once we are better, all these things will change. Yes, it is helpful to focus on things that we can be thankful for and not let the negative thoughts overwhelmed us. A lot of time, the negative thoughts are not true.

Philippians 4:6-7 are very comforting. Thank God that we can commit all things into His hands. May He continue to uphold you and give you His peace that passeth all understanding. When darkness comes, cast them upon our Lord as we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. He will deliver us in His time. On our own, we will fall but by grace, He will sustain and restore us. Our experiences hard as they were, are used by Him to work for His glory, our good and that of the church. As He draws us closer to Himself, He enables us to sympathize and minister to others who are suffering thus. So may you take heart and continue to cling unto our Lord for He has promised that He will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).

Thank God for giving you a thankful heart even at this time. It is encouraging to read your thankful list and the many ways God is blessing you. May God continue to shower His love, mercies and faithfulness to you daily.

How time flies! A year is coming to an end soon. May God continue to restore you and give you much joy to walk with Him and serve Him in the coming year. Take care.

Praying for you,

Merelyme said...

Oh I love this list...I should make one too. I do think that this particular season is just hard on those of us who suffer from mood disorders...there is all the stress...the shorter days...the lack of sunshine...and all the memories of christmas pasts.

you do have such purpose and have such meaning for your life. perhaps more important than happiness is peace of mind. i hope the dark times diminish. but sometimes it is those very dark times which help us to find our center of gravity. we do suffer so...but the suffering has meaning. we are always led back to our path and...are able to appreciate it more because of what we go through to get there.

Thank you friend...for always being such an inspiration to me.

marja said...

Hi Nancie,

Thank you again, dear friend. It is people like you who encourage me and help me keep going.

You said, "Our experiences hard as they were, are used by Him to work for His glory, our good and that of the church." My pastor said the same thing. How comforting it is to realize that what I'm going through right now is not for nothing. Somehow God will help me bring good out of it.

- marja

marja said...

Hey Merelyme!

So good to hear from you! You're absolutely right. How much we appreciate our wellness when we have it - and especially BECAUSE we go through these hard times!

I'm feeling good this morning and I am VERY thankful.

Thank you for being such a good friend. I hope to stay in closer touch with blogging pals like you - to write more - to read more.

You inspire me too - in a huge way.


Julie H. Ferguson said...

I am so happy to hear that you plan to start photographing children again. This is a wonderful gift you have and it gives many so much pleasure and enduring memories.

I am praying that this down patch will ease for you soon...

My best wishes for a healthier 2009!

marja said...

Happy New Year to you as well, Julie. Yes, I'm excited to think about photographing children again. How I long to make beautiful, heartfelt pictures! All I need now is some clients. If you know of anyone - I'm currently charging only half the price listed on my website.

Bonnie said...

I list....therefore I am. Marja a list of the good in our lives is so affirming of the value of our lives and those in it. To think God gives us peace, love and understands even if we think no one else does to me is a comfort. I am happy you and living room are one of the good things in my life. Hope you have a great cruise ......see you when you get back.

marja said...

Bonnie: You don't have to wait till I get back to see me. We have a Living Room meeting this Friday, don't forget. (different than out usual meeting time)
Hope to see you Friday.