A Psalm for Battle

I read this Psalm and immediately it related to me with my mental health issues…

Psalm 144 (NLT): A psalm of David

Praise the Lord, who is my rock.
He trains my hands for war
and gives my fingers skill for battle.
He is my loving ally and my fortress,
my tower of safety, my rescuer.
He is my shield, and I take refuge in him.
He makes the nations submit to me.
O Lord, what are human beings that you should notice them,
mere mortals that you should think about them?
For they are like a breath of air;
their days are like a passing shadow.
Open the heavens, Lord, and come down.
Touch the mountains so they billow smoke.
Hurl your lightning bolts and scatter your enemies!
Shoot your arrows and confuse them!
Reach down from heaven and rescue me;
rescue me from deep waters,
from the power of my enemies.
Their mouths are full of lies;
they swear to tell the truth, but they lie instead.
I will sing a new song to you, O God!
I will sing your praises with a ten-stringed harp.
For you grant victory to kings!
You rescued your servant David from the fatal sword.
Save me!
Rescue me from the power of my enemies.
Their mouths are full of lies;
they swear to tell the truth, but they lie instead.
May our sons flourish in their youth
like well-nurtured plants.
May our daughters be like graceful pillars,
carved to beautify a palace.
May our barns be filled
with crops of every kind.
May the flocks in our fields multiply by the thousands,
even tens of thousands,
and may our oxen be loaded down with produce.
May there be no enemy breaking through our walls,
no going into captivity,
no cries of alarm in our town squares.
Yes, joyful are those who live like this!
Joyful indeed are those whose God is the Lord

Let’s break it down and show how I relate my mental health battle to this Psalm

1. Praise the Lord, who is my rock. He trains my hands for war
and gives my fingers skill for battle.

God is ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS where ever I am… If I’m not sensing him, feeling him – that’s on me… And honestly sometimes I still end up flat on my back… The battle will continue to the day I die… And that day will be dictated by God – not Satan….

The training… Not TRAINING not as a Kung-Foo champion… And how do I get this training? In the trenches… Keeping in communication with God… And the fingers? I visual fingers turning the pages of a Bible… Knowing Scripture is better than any black belt…

2. He is my loving ally and my fortress,
my tower of safety, my rescuer.
He is my shield, and I take refuge in him.

I don’t think that this passage needs a lot of explaining BUT it is critical… It’s so easy to become complacent when life seems “easy”… and I start a slow slide away until I’m in near a whopping situation and I grab onto Him again and He tucks me under the shadow of His wing… ¹

3. He makes the nations submit to me.
O Lord, what are human beings that you should notice them,
mere mortals that you should think about them?
For they are like a breath of air;
their days are like a passing shadow.

The nation to David was the physical and tangible enemy… My enemy isn’t, but Satan I know has already lost the final battle… It’s like a sinking ship and he plans to take as many people as possible and make their lives utterly miserable… He will fight with all his strength and use every trick…

And he’s good at it… Like the suicide pilots in WWII… He’s been working his trade long before I was born… The final war battle is won but I need to pay attention to all the smaller battles and scrimmages… This is where I so readily trip up… And don’t notice until I’m face down in the muck, mostly of my own doing… Cue the rollover and once again I’m on my back looking up…

4. Open the heavens, Lord, and come down.

God is always just a prayer away..

I just need to look up and ask… If I’m not looking at Him then I’m looking the wrong way and once again I’ll find that I’ve been sliding downward and away…

5. Touch the mountains so they billow smoke.
Hurl your lightning bolts and scatter your enemies!
Shoot your arrows and confuse them!

God is in the house! He’s right with me as I battle my issues… His shots are always dead aim!

So what might these arrows and lightning bolts be?

  • God’s word
  • Prayers
  • Support network of family and friends
  • Physian’s
  • Medication
  • Therapy
  • Hospital or community based stays

Wait….
Hospital stays? Where is my faith?

While in community or hospital stays or group therapy I have been able to show God to people… Show His love… Reach people I directly relate to…

You see, when I’m in recovery I can be an example of how God lead me out… They’ve seen me when I have been a mess…

6. Reach down from heaven and rescue me;
rescue me from deep waters,
from the power of my enemies.
Their mouths are full of lies;
they swear to tell the truth, but they lie instead.

Here is where the real work begins… I realize that I’m in a situation where I definitely need God to help me… Satan definitely loves to lie… Think back to the Garden of Eden… He will take and use Scripture out of context… He wanted me in hell, which won’t happen because I believe Jesus died in the cross…

But I also know he will try EVERYTHING in his power to make my life not focused on God…

7. I will sing a new song to you, O God!
I will sing your praises with a ten-stringed harp.
For you grant victory to kings!

David started with praise… Not sure? Go back and read verse 1 again… He’s told God about his situation… So what does he do? He starts a Biblical party! Read Phil 4:4-7

8. You rescued your servant David from the fatal sword. (Mental Health – Suicide)

He isn’t bragging but he is stating his faith in God… You did it once before, please do it again!

Without a through and through healing, my mental health seems to be a life long fight…

Does this mean I lack faith?

No, I think the opposite is actually true for Christians who are knowingly dealing with mental health issues…

Do you think I want mental health illness?

There are so many things I simply can no longer do! I SOOOO loved my job! I mean really loved it! I was involved in my profession at both a provincial and national level… I had to step down… That alone should prove it…

There is an old saying of don’t put the cart in front of the horse… Meaning it’s easier to pull than push…

Christians who battle mental health illness actually push… It’s way harder to live life and trust God… The daily thought wars are endless…

10. Rescue me from the power of my enemies.
Their mouths are full of lies;

Part of the”power” is stigma… I was at a friend’s BBQ and met up with someone from my past… An old acquaintance… Divulging my mental health issues was really hard (pride)… I was caught up in my own created stigma bubble… But after I did break through, it opened up other channels of discussion…

11. May our sons flourish in their youth
like well-nurtured plants.
May our daughters be like graceful pillars,
carved to beautify a palace.
May our barns be filled
with crops of every kind.
May the flocks in our fields multiply by the thousands,
even tens of thousands,
and may our oxen be loaded down with produce.
May there be no enemy breaking through our walls,
no going into captivity,
no cries of alarm in our town squares.

I debated keeping the verses just above but then I pictured how beautiful it could be for mental health issues to be embraced with love. Providing hope²…

12. Yes, joyful are those who live like this!
Joyful indeed are those whose God is the Lord

Amen

¹ Psalm 145:14 (NLT): The Lord helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads

² Psalm 145:15 (NLT): The eyes of all look to you in hope;
you give them their food as they need it.

A King, Depression and Silence

David as in David the sheperd boy, you know the one with the sling who killed Goliath; the last son who was finally called when Samuel came to anoint the next King of Jessie clan; the David who was hunted down by the current King…

Guess what?

He had mental health issues!

Take a look at the verses below…

David fought depression… DEEP Depression

Towards the end of the Psalm… Look at the connection between love and silence…

Silence… From all the negative, self destructive thoughts that can race around in my head…

Read the Psalm over and over again… Find how you can turn to God… Everyone may feel something or learn something different, but know that God, your Father in heaven wants to talk to you… He’s waiting…

Psalm 143:7–12 (NLT): Come quickly, Lord, and answer me,
for my depression deepens.
Don’t turn away from me,
or I will die.
Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning,
for I am trusting you.
Show me where to walk,
for I give myself to you.
Rescue me from my enemies, Lord;
I run to you to hide me.
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit lead me forward
on a firm footing.
For the glory of your name, O Lord, preserve my life.
Because of your faithfulness, bring me out of this distress.
In your unfailing love, silence all my enemies
and destroy all my foes,
for I am your servant.

Poker Chips and Help

So many people shake their fist, raise their voice &/or blame God when life’s events have pulled the rug from under their feet…

Others believe that God is punishing them…

Add in a mental health factor and away we go!

This verse in 2 Samuel says otherwise…

2 Samuel 14:14 (NLT): All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again.

But God does not just sweep life away;

instead, He devises ways to bring us back WHEN WE have been separated from Him.

Yes, we all will eventually waiver in our Christian walk… Mental health issues or not…

With mental health issues many, most, are well on their way path of separation…

With our free will, we can easily walk this way… and with deadly consequences…

BUT you can’t blame God! Look at the second part of the verse… Life isn’t like a poker chip in a game that He gambles with!

INSTEAD!

He tries and offers ways back to being in His comfort… There is ALWAYS a place to exit when life has caught us up in a tornado… ALWAYS!

This is the God who fed 5,000 with a few fish and bread, the God who split the Red Sea for the Israelites to cross through, the Jesus who raised Lazarus from the dead, The Christ who died on a cross…

It wasn’t at a poker game with Satan that has saved us…

It is His incredible, redeeming, all encompassing, forgiving and endless love…

He’s always around us… He’s only a thought, as simple as saying “help” ready to comfort us…

With my mental health issues, I didn’t even really look towards God for a long time…

It was only when I was totally broken that I sought God… And He was right there… He gave me hope when my faith was lost… He gave me unconditional love when all seemed black…

Simply He devises ways to bring ME back WHEN I had been separated from Him

The same help is there for everyone…

Psalm 142:5 (NLT): Then I pray to you, O Lord. I say, “You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life.

Just remember, God brings peace, love, hope…

It’s Satan who brings ANYTHING negative…

God has a way of getting immediately to Him… Just say help!

Mortal Danger & Even Though

1 Samuel 30:6 (NLT): David was now in great danger because all his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters, and they began to talk of stoning him. But David found strength in the Lord his God.

David’s life was in mortal danger… To me mortal danger is mortal danger whether it comes from people or suicidal or oppressive thoughts…

What is notable to me is how David dealt with his situation…

A few weeks ago I was struggling… My anxiety was building to serious levels… I had been dealing with some issues and those were past… So I wasn’t in adrenaline mode anymore… Reality hit… And it wasn’t going well…

This ending adrenaline mode to mental health crisis is OLD… As recorded in 1Kings 1-14… Elijah must be running on adrenaline and performs a huge miracle… Then when it’s over he crashes…

1 Kings 19:4 (NLT): Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.”

On a Saturday I and a few friends were getting together but in dealing with my anxiety where it was at… There was no way I could handle being in a crowd… So I sent a “I’m not coming” message…

So what did I do? How did I survive my mini crisis? I sent out help texts to my support team knowing they would pray for me…

I turned to God… I did my daily devotionals and God delivered… As I was reading I saw attributes of God… Who He is… What he has already done for others… And seeing as God is the same yesterday… today and forever… I cried out to God…

“Father your word says You did this… Your word shows You are… You have proven You have…”

AND IT WORKED!

As I was praying and claiming I suddenly realized that horrible oppression filling me inside was GONE… I mean GONE…

It was a really strange feeling actually… I couldn’t remember the last time I had felt so light inside…

And I rejoiced! I send a THANK YOU message explaining how I was feeling, looked at my watch… Got dressed to go and met up with my friends…

Does this mean I am completely healed? As much as I would love to say yes… It still isn’t the case…

Hanukkah 3:17-18 states:

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,

and

there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,

and the

fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,

and the

cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!

So EVEN THOUGH my mental health issues are not gone; and I battle with them…

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord!