by Sandy Kirby Quandt
In her book, In the Middle of the Mess, Sheila Walsh shows how to overcome the feelings of fear and shame that come from hiding our trials and pain from others. And trying to hide them from God as well.
Sheila knows the struggle of facing debilitating depression and suicidal thoughts. She does not hide the fact she had a mental breakdown while interviewing a guest on the 700 Club she hosted. She does not hide the fact she was in a mental institution as a result of that breakdown. She does not hide the fact depression is a daily struggle she lives with.
She also does not quote “good Christian slogans” as solutions to the struggle. She does not pretend the battle isn’t real. What Sheila Walsh does is show how connecting with God in a deep, personal way, confessing the darkness we are in, and drawing on his strength, reminds us God loves us, heals us, and carries us through to the end.
Much wisdom is found in the pages of In the Middle of the Mess. Much too much to record in this blog post. There are gems scattered throughout the book. Some of those gems I’d like to share with you, along with the suggestion that if you’ve ever been depressed to the point of giving up, or know someone who has, pick up a copy of In the Middle of the Mess and read it for yourself. Then, pass it on to someone you know who could benefit from it as well.
Honest, simple statements speak more than all the platitudes in the world. Honest words are more of a sweet fragrance to God than pretend wholeness would ever be.
God knows our thoughts. We can be honest with him. He’s more than big enough to handle them, don’t you think?
Burying grief in good Christian slogans is only an avoidance tactic, and avoiding the truth is still a lie. Lies can cripple even the strongest legs.
When speaking of Jesus’ suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane before his arrest and crucifixion, Sheila said:
Jesus didn’t pretend that he gladly embraced the agony of crucifixion. He told the truth. First to his friends, then in the stillness of his father’s presence. If Jesus didn’t think being honest showed a lack of faith, why should we?
Near the end of her book, she reminds us God can take away whatever darkness we are in. That’s not the question. The question is; will we worship God in our darkness? She also tells us depression is not a sin, but believing depression’s lies is wrong. No matter what’s been taken away from us, no one can take away our identity in Christ.
There is soooo much more I could say, but this is all for now.
Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?
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I wish you well.
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