Cloudy Days

In recent months I have had more cloudy days than I would like to admit, but I have began to realize how important it is for us Christians to actually talk about them instead of projecting this image of a struggle-free, happy-go-lucky life. Social media doesn’t help either, as more often than not, it’s a reel of good times – which I actually don’t think is all bad, until comparison rears it’s ugly head.

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. – John 16:33 (NLT)

The past 4 years of my life have been incredibly challenging. God sure knows how to prepare us! I have grieved several unmet expectations of perfection, despite knowing the word above. And to be honest, I’ve lost a lot of hope for tomorrow in the process.

I used to sing the same optimistic song: “The best is yet to come!” But, new year after new year, I have waited, and the road to the best has been flooded with tears and more growing pains. My heart has gotten pretty sick of the deferred hope (Proverbs 13:12) for the long-awaited responses to my ancient prayers. My new song belts, “Great is thy faithfulness!” unto the Lord, and in my state of reality or doubt (yikes!), it also faintly whispers, “Even if You don’t, I will be okay…and I will praise You”.

“I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” – Mark 9:24 (NLT)

Do not be ashamed if you have felt or are feeling this way. The healing process begins with honesty. You are not alone! Let me say that again. You are not alone! Myself, many other believers, and our Savior feels your pain! I don’t know about you, but I find it so comforting to know that Yeshua has endured everything that we have or ever will. And we have a book full of reference points to help us with our challenges too.

Quick Story.

At the end of December 2018, as the new year approached, I began reflecting over the year. To be honest, I ruled it as overall horrible, and was feeling quite depressed about it. Before I could swim in the deep end of that lie, my Godmother who loves to take photos and document memories randomly sent me a slideshow full of captured fun times we’ve shared in 2018. Talk about God’s perfect timing.

I literally laughed out loud at how ridiculous I looked sulking, when right there in my face was proof that it wasn’t all so bad. I’m tellin’ y’all…THE DEVIL IS A LIAR! And you want to know what was even more ridiculous?! Some of the moments she shared were recennt! I’m talking within the last month, recent. Geez Louise.

See how depression warps our perceptions regarding our current circumstances; causing us to believe lies and throw a pity party of one? Things just aren’t clear through the lens of depression, my friends. In its selfish nature, it causes us to look for justifications to remain downcast. Instead of mentally going down a slide of injustices, we should be recounting the goodness of The Lord and thinking on virtuous things (Isaiah 63:7; Phil. 4:8). For some of us depression is a short season, and for others, a long one with evidence of being a stronghold. In both, God is the answer.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. – Psalm 43:5 (NIV)

Now, I am not ignorant to the fact that there are a select few who remain depressed because they flat out refuse gratefulness. Maybe they fear freedom (a real thing), and having been bound for so long, those demons have become family. Maybe they don’t want to relinquish the sympathetic attention that they may gain from wallowing. Only when we genuinely decide that we want to be victors instead of victims is there hope for us through Christ.

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. – Proverbs 17:22 (NLT)

We also can’t forget that certain foods and beverages trigger mood changes as well. They can cause dips in emotions and/or increases in anxiety. Examine yourself and any habits that may be contributing. We worship God in our eating as well. Give us this day our daily bread, Lord… spiritually and physically! Ask God what you need for today. He knows and has gone before you.

Bottom line: It is impossible to be depressed within the presence of God. The fruits of His spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). So I encourage you to fight to praise Him for who He is and not just what He has/hasn’t done. Worship is key in the slump of depression.

One of my favorite ways to worship the Lord is in song. In no special order below, I have listed 20 songs that have helped me (and others) during dark times when it seems the enemy’s lies are just so dang loud. Maybe some of these can help you jump start a healthy playlist of your own. In my opinion, there’s nothing like reading the lyrics as you listen to really penetrate and motivate the heart to fight.

I pray that each time you get up, you get up stronger.

  1. Draw Nigh (Psalm 42:1) – Fred Hammond
  2. You Say – Lauren Daigle
  3. Fear Is A Liar – Zach Williams
  4. It Ain’t Over – Maurette Brown Clark
  5. Power to Redeem – Lauren Daigle
  6. You Are – Javen
  7. Get Up – Mary Mary
  8. I’ll Find You – Lecrae
  9. I Smile – Kirk Franklin
  10. King of the World – Natalie Grant
  11. Tell Me Wear It Hurts – Fred Hammond
  12. I Ain’t Done – Andy Mineo
  13. Still I Rise – Yolanda Adams
  14. Even If – MercyMe
  15. Yesterday – Mary Mary
  16. Let Your Power Fall – James Fortune & FIYA (feat. Zacardi Cortez)
  17. The Breakup Song – Francesca Battistelli
  18. Please Don’t Pass Me By – Fred Hammond
  19. You Can’t Stop Me – Andy Mineo
  20. Speak The Name – Koryn Hawthorne (feat. Natalie Grant)

Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. – Jude 1:24 (NLT)


©2019 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

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Whoever you are, wherever you are, HOLD ON. #Encouragement

A couple of months ago I had a short interview with a close family friend who was writing a book on healing after painful experiences. He wanted to know how long it took for me to be healed and how I went about reaching that place of healing.  My response was something like this:

I can’t really put a number on it.  I’d love to think that I am 100% healed from x, y, and z, but the truth of the matter is, maybe just x and y…or honestly, maybe 80% of all three ha.  I don’t know.  Once you think you’re good, you undergo spontaneous triggers by something big or small…a month later…a year later…maybe even 3 years later (to each it’s own).

These triggers remind you, and may leave you disappointed or annoyed by the realization that dang, there’s still residue.  Dang.  There is still some healing, maybe even lots of healing left to be done.  In my experience, from one trigger to the next, disappointment came when I misunderstood what not being completely healed really meant.  I thought it was bad, but now I know that when you are willing to heal, the fact that you are not completely healed of something simply means that God isn’t done, not that we aren’t ready for ____________.  So, if you’re triggered by something that reminds you that you still need grace and humility, and reminds you that you’re still a human who needs God, then good!  We were created to need Him.  You are not delayed in meeting, reaching, or receiving what God has for you.  That my friend, is a lie from the enemy!

rootsOne must get uncomfortable enough to deal with the roots.  One must  get uncomfortable enough to allow God to dig beneath the messy surface where the beginning of your issues and pain lie.

In order to heal properly, you have to deal (with the pain) properly.” – Nu 

If you’re on the path to healing, then you know that you get those full circle, déjà vu, divine do-over moments when _____________________ happens again.  Except this time it doesn’t make you angry, it doesn’t make you cry, and it shockingly doesn’t affect you the way it has in the past.  You figuratively (or literally if you’re like me) leap in joy at the felt sense of accomplishment that you have finally, at last have been stamped by the Lord as “Healed!”.  Not!

I believe us earthlings (ha!) are never completely healed of any worldly ailments until we leave this world and enter into our true destination…Heaven.  Ahhh…The beautiful place of no pain, sorrow, or frustration…just love and fruits – my fave! 😉  We should know though, that while here on earth…

godlovesyou

“…neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

I am convinced that healing is ongoing and not to be consistently associated with readiness for something new.  God is not a God that withholds good things from people who love and obey Him.

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” – Psalm 84:11 (ESV)

Whoever you are, wherever you are, HOLD ON.  You may not be 100% healed from x, y, and z, I don’t know, but we should certainly celebrate the fact that we’re making progress.  My heart personally smiles when I understand me better than I did yesterday.  It gives me a better shot at understanding you.  By faith I am healed, today, tomorrow, and forever.  I am pleased with me and He, from whom my help comes…as should you.  So stay blessed, be encouraged, and HOLD ON!  Love you.

xo,
Nu