World Mental Health Day serves as an opportunity to educate and encourage, to spread awareness and show compassion. The day helps remind us that we are not alone, that while we are hurting, we are seen and loved. And most of all, we have a universal, shared longing for hope, healing and peace, highlighting our need for a Savior, Healer, Protector and Friend.
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.” (Psalm 40:1-3)
Throughout the Psalms, David often writes openly of his emotions, sorrows and fears. For the millions and millions of us who struggle with mental health, we can resonate with the words and cries of David, understanding the turmoil and despair in his mind all too well. But, we have a living hope – the same hope David turned to in times of trouble. Our God is the God of hope! Our minds and our souls can find both rest and hope in Him (Psalm 62:5-6).
For those struggling, I urge you to lean on the Lord, to fix your gaze on Jesus. He hears your cries and knows your pain. He can lift you out of the pit and set your feet on solid ground. He can renew your joy and give you peace. Seek His presence, and keep heart, for you are loved by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
For those who know someone battling mental health issues, I ask you to be a source of encouragement. Love them as Jesus does, and pray earnestly for them. Be kind and empathetic. Educate yourselves, ask questions, listen lovingly and show them Jesus.
For all of us, this world keeps changing. Every day brings news that is overwhelming. With the many challenges that come our way and the many thoughts that occupy our minds, struggling is understandable. There is no shame in that. It is okay to need help. Please do not be afraid to talk to a family member, friend, mentor or counselor. We can turn to one another for support and direction. We also have a God who is present in our struggles, who loves us dearly, who wants to help and restore! Let us stay focused on Him and intentionally fill our minds with what is true, good and uplifting. We can do this by talking with God, thinking about Him, reading His Word, singing His praise, spending time with His people, stepping outside in His creation.
My prayer, our prayer is this:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
~Guest Blog written by Grace Parker-Ferguson.
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