Thursday, September 24, 2015

Tips for Christian Women to Overcome Depression or Melancholy (Part 1)

I came to a conclusion in the last few years about how best to handle feelings of melancholy and hopelessness and how to prevent them from taking us into a deeper downward spiral of despair and depression. (I haven’t seen this thought written on by any other Christian writer, it’s something God pressed upon my mind.)  The conclusion is that downward emotional spirals start with temptation. 

Yes, in many cases we are more vulnerable to emotional spirals due to hormonal changes, during periods of grief, or when dealing with pain or illness.  Some people do have chemical imbalances in their brains that sometimes need boosting with supplements or even doctor prescribed medications.  Therefore, being vigilant against temptation into despair is even more crucial in those situations. 

The Battle Plan

If we are willing to embrace this idea that anxiety and despair starts with temptation from the evil one, we can more readily be on guard and fight it.  Each time he takes up his arrow and points it toward us, we can take up our shield of protection.

A Look at this Type of Temptation into Despair

We all know we are to pray, “Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil.” What temptation do you think of when you say that prayer? 

I have sometimes thought of it as being tempted to get angry, to hurt someone, to cheat or steal something, sexual sin, or to take some other wrong action.  Defining temptation this way I tend to put a lot of the onus on myself and my actions. If I do these things, it makes sense I’d blame myself.  Then a cycle of self-loathing would begin.  But I urge us to put the blame where it needs to be—on the one who put the idea in our head and convinced us to act on it.

Satan’s Modus Operandi

I might picture temptation as walking into a bakeshop, seeing a chocolate brownie with inch-high frosting, and following an unbelievable force (temptation) to buy it and devour it.  When I pray for God to not lead me into temptation, in that scenario I suppose I’d be praying that he would keep me from walking into the bakery in the first place. 

But the Bible explains Satan’s modus operandi is to use tools that are primarily mental, as outlined in 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV) “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

We are warned many times to take our thoughts captive.  We are warned to test the spirits.  We are warned to obey God. We are told to weigh our thoughts to ensure they are from God. 

Satan’s modus operandi is to confuse people and get them to live in fear and believe lies. He threatens to steal our trust in God by getting us to doubt God’s involvement in our life.  He makes us believe God’s not listening.  He causes us to believe things won’t work out for us. 

Satan loves us to trust in man or our own thinking to get us out of situations instead of patiently relying on God.  Satan would love nothing better than for us to rush ahead with poor decisions or to turn our back on God. 

The Bible explains the devil comes to steal and kill and destroy (John 10:10). He seeks those he may devour, and in the case of my brownie eating, Satan could actually get me to devour that which is unhealthy for me due to its effect on my already temperamental blood sugar and weight issues.  I may have taken the steps toward the brownie, but the idea started in my thoughts. 

Lies of Satan

It makes sense that those who choose to end their lives have become entrapped in an endless circle of negative and depressed thinking.  It makes sense those caught in depression or a rut, are stuck in the quagmire of Satan’s well-laid mud trap. 

Satan loves for people to blame themselves.  They might say, “I brought this on myself,” or “I’m useless” or “there’s nothing for me to live for.”  Yada yada.  But they would be more accurate to say, “Satan brought this upon me by causing me to…”  Or, “Satan is making me believe I’m useless because that is what he wants me to think so that I won’t live out God’s plan.”  “Satan is making me believe there is nothing to live for.  He is short-circuiting my ability to dream and hope.”

Ladies, I urge you to put the blame where it belongs.  But I urge you even more to not just live defensively, but offensively.

Protect Yourself

Live Defensively

In order to live defensively, when you begin to feel overwhelmingly lost, sad, melancholic, depressed or in despair and doubt, pray, “Lord, I’m being tempted to into…” (fill in the blank). Then trust God to stop the enemy for you—to fight for you.

Exodus 14:14 (NIV) says, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Live Offensively

In Matthew 6, Jesus instructed his disciples to ask God, “Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil.” He told them to pray, “Give us today our daily bread,” or that which they would need to get through the day in his will.  He suggested they ask him to deliver them from temptation and any evil that may threaten to arrive that day.

In order to live offensively, pray as demonstrated in the Lord’s Prayer.  Start each day asking God to keep the temptations of negativity, doubt, and so forth from you.

I plan to write a follow-up post on this topic.  In the meantime, put these tools into practice and let me know how they work for you. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Child off to College?

Many of my online friends have expressed they are sending children off to college and are a little caught up in the emotions.  I've been there and want to write heart-to-heart about it.

Some of us are fortunate enough that our children's college is driving distance within a couple of hours.  For others, it is a flight away which makes it a little harder.

Mine were on the closer end but nevertheless, maybe something I share will comfort and guide you.

Caught up in a Myriad of Emotions

For most of us, mixed emotions just happen.  No matter how brave-faced we intend to be, there's bound to be something that triggers us.  It may be sadness realizing a stage of life is over.  It may be fear of not being able to protect our child.  It may be jealousy that we aren't getting to live the experience they're about to.  It may be self-pity worrying about how alone we will feel. It may be regret that we didn't do this or that with our child before now or simple regret we didn't think to bring a cleaning bucket and tools to clean our child's dorm after seeing other parents carrying theirs around.

We are suddenly insecure, unprepared for some things, and in error of others (like the parent that has to bring large items back home because they don't fit in the dorm).

We might be caught off guard because we don't know the way, what to say, how much to control, where to park, where to eat, how the unloading process goes, etc.  (Being prepared by reading online rules is very important!)

If you're experiencing any of the above, congratulations, you're normal. Just take it as it comes and try to relax as you deal with it all.


Then there are a few emotions you can put in check.  For instance, becoming sad due to projecting a future that may not exist.  If you find yourself suddenly picturing the rest of life alone without your child(ren), stop! That's just not fair because things will likely be fine and even enjoyable.

The controlling part of you needs to also be put into check for your sake and your child's sake. Don't be tempted to text and phone every hour. Limit setup of your child's dorm to the amount that feeds your soul but doesn't overstep your child's participation in setting up and decorating their own space.

This is one of the first chances you child gets to make their home away from home personalized. If you feel yourself tensed up and worried, ask if a spirit of control is at play.  Let it go by trusting God with them.


Walking through this stage with your child as their cheerleader brings you into a brand new world you may never have predicted.

I'd never imagined at age 50 carrying baskets of goods up and down 5 flights of stairs to move my daughter in and out.  She was a resident advisor and on resident student council for 5 years which meant she was require to live in a different dorm every year, and being on staff 3 summers.  We moved her into 7 different dorm rooms.  Usually she couldn't move directly from one to the other, so it meant bringing the stuff home or putting it in storage.  So if we count moving home too we moved her about 10 times in and then out again.  (She had apartment style dorms so had full kitchen equipment, but had minimal furniture except for once when she took our loveseat, her own matress, and fish tank.)

We didn't go to many activities at the school but once were invited to see a dance routine put on by a club she was in and once my husband joined her for a football game.  You may go to more or less.

You can nurture your mom-instinct by taking your child grocery shopping, making frozen dinners for them, or sending care packages.  It's a way to feel connected.

One Step at a Time

Don't be surprised if some days you get caught up in heart-rendering grief.  It's a necessary part of letting go.  When or if that hits you, it will be a watershed moment. You won't want to return to it.  So you will develop coping skills that might include taking up a new hobby, creating new routines for yourself or for you and your spouse.  You’ll avoid triggers.  (If you can’t seem to get over the grief, reach out for help. What you focus on intensifies so if you focus on sad thoughts, they will increase.  Just don’t to it to yourself!)

You can work on your relationship with your husband, work on your health, work on finding a new job, taking new courses, or just enjoy a new sense of freedom.

The wonderful news is in most cases they will be back.  Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays come quickly.  If they are closer, they may be back every couple of weekends. Then you'll see you can survive!

Now’s the time to put all the memories in the “cherish” file and to offer yourself a graduation certificate.  Raising children is hard.  You’ve done it!  So be proud of yourself and be proud of how far your child has come!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Dealing with Life's Stresses as a Christ Follower

As a freelance writer and life coach, my calling seems to be to pour out ideas on virtual paper.  I do it for the same reason I read blogs and articles online--because one word, one sentence, one conveyed idea can change a person's thoughts.

More than once I've sat in front of my computer seeking clarity, solace, answers, new direction for myself. Do you do that too?  As Christ followers, we serve a mighty God, but an invisible one. So we tend to look for him in all kinds of places, even on the Internet.

Searching for God 

Today a devotional I read pointed out how God revealed himself in a pillar of cloud to the Israelites to reassure them of his presence. I wish he'd do that for us too. The devotional said he is invisible so he can be many places at once. He does reveal himself in nature and through his word, but another way he reveals himself is through the ideas of other believers.

As a life coach, I'm as guilty as the next person of thinking all problems need a solution. We don't like problems and discomfort. We seek peace. And that's not a bad thing.  The Bible says in Psalm 34:14 to seek peace and pursue it.  But when afflictions come, we should always seek God over seeking a solution.

Wait for God's Help

There are times that we are called to walk through a trial whether it be a circumstance, emotion, or physical ailment.  At those times, we are tempted to look for a solution, but waiting for God to work things out is the better answer.

"I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, 
and in his word I put my hope" Psalm 130:5 NIV.

The Pulpit Commentary says this of Psalm 130:5, " "Waiting for the Lord" is patiently bearing our affliction, whatever it may be, and confidently looking forward to deliverance from it in God's good time. The expression, "my soul doth wait," is stronger than "I wait;" it implies heartfelt trust and confidence."

If you've arrived at this blog today in search of an answer to your dilemma, or in search of God's peace, look to God with your soul.  Trust him to lead you where you need to go.   

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Books for the Midlife Christian Woman in Midlife Crisis

Rose Garde, Life Purpose Coach®

This blog has been running for many years now as a response to midlife queries I received on my original blog.  Wanting to offer readers a tool that combines a lot of info from the posts, I wrote my first book and its companion pictured below:

They address the myriad of issues we face as midlife Christian women. I point to my own crisis and lessons learned.  There are highlighted tips—16 Essential Steps—offered to guide and encourage readers. 

These books are different than generic midlife crisis books because I speak from the viewpoint of a Christian woman living within the challenges of her own humanness while looking to God for direction.  

Sometimes Christians feel they should have it all together--that Jesus is enough.  Well he is, but while on this earth we face normal human challenges that can keep us from living our best life. We do ourselves a disservice not to give the idea of a midlife crisis the respect it needs.  

Women need help.  Their husbands need help in understanding what's going on with their wives.  The church needs help in understanding this age bracket's challenges.    

Third Book

The third book is for the woman who, after many attempts, is still striving to find the answer to how to spend her days.  Since having my own epiphany about how to make my time meaningful, I have felt more directed.  I’ve seen God’s hand in what I do.  I am learning to trust the process of living out my results. 

The book includes several exercises for a woman to discover her inner self, and who she is in midlife. The goal of the book is that the reader will arrive at her 5 top essential passions--things she must do to feel alive, whole and centered.  

If you are still looking for answers to your midlife crisis, these books might be helpful in helping you gain some perspective. 

Only currently available on KINDLE.  Kindle books can be read on any digital device. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Is an Era Ending?

As I check the analytics of my blogs I've noticed this one is starting to lag. I could get discouraged, or I could take it as a sign an era is ending.

I began this blog after becoming a certified Life Purpose Coach back in 2006.  That's almost 10 years ago.  Over time, I've moved away from offering telephone coaching in favour of writing self-coaching ebooks for purchase.  It's just a more efficient use of my time.

Nevertheless, what keeps me going is seeing the analytics and getting feedback by way of comments, emails and seeing what's been typed into the search engine that has brought women here.

I know that now, 10 years later, we are inundated with life coaches.  Not only that, there are fitness coaches, creativity coaches, health coaches, you name it.  It's a very populated area.  A lot of us with the same interest use each other's services.  A lot of us refer each other.  And a lot of us preach to the choir.

Now that my analytics are down, I'm going to ask God if it's time to pack this blog up.  If not, I'm going to need new inspiration.  There is a time and season for everything under the sun, but somethings are meant for a lifetime.  Let me know what you think.