Showing posts with label Trust during rough times. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trust during rough times. Show all posts

Monday, September 1, 2008

Mission 4 Monday : Trust during rough times - A Firm Place to Stand by Marja Bergen

My friend, Peggy, has just started a new meme on Monday called "Mission 4 Monday".

The purpose of MISSION 4 MONDAY is to share YOUR MISSION each week.

I am so thankful that I can participate in Mission 4 Monday.

It is helping me to reflect anew on the mission of this blog.

When I first started this blog, my purpose was to share with others God's goodness and mercies to me in managing clinical depression and bipolar disorder. I also wanted to share with others coping resources that I have found useful. I am thankful to God for bringing me into contact with many of you, my wonderful friends, and we can mutually encourage one another in our management of clinical depression, bipolar disorder and other illness.

As times go by, God brought me into contact with many of you who are very encouraging friends at Word-Filled Wednesday and Thankful Thursday. I got to know Word-Filled Wednesday through Michelle of Ozarks sew n' sew. Thanks Michelle! And from there on I read about Thankful Thursday. Word-Filled Wednesday and Thankful Thursday. has helped me to grow spiritually.

As I reflect on the Mission the Lord has given me in my life and through this blog, I thought of the following:

1) To glorify God through the testimony of His love, goodness and mercies to me.
2) To share with others resources I have found useful in managing clinical depression, bipolar disorder and other illness.
3) To share my passion in photography and God's Words with others through Word-Filled Wednesday.
4) To share God's goodness and mercies to me through all the changing scenes in life through Thankful Thursday. May God help me to cultivate a thankful heart and find reasons to rejoice in the Lord daily and to praise Him for His unchanging and everlasting love, unfailing mercies and sufficient grace.

We face many challenges in our life, whether it be in terms of illness, family, relationships, work, etc etc. It is a great comfort to remember that God is with us and He will see us safely through. No matter what God allows us to go through in this life, He is able to work something good out of it for our benefit, for His glory and the good of His people (Romans 8:28). And we are more than conquerors through Christ Who loved us (Romans 8:37)!

For this reason, I found much joy and comfort in the Lord, in my daily walk. My struggles to manage clinical depression and bipolar disorder, has drawn me closer to God as I experience His love and goodness in many wonderful ways daily. God's Words comfort and strengthen me. I know God loves me and He is with me. I saw Him working very wonderfully in my life and in others life.

I am thankful to God that I can serve Him through this blog. It is my prayers that God may use this blog to glorify Himself, help other Christians to grow in Him and lead others to seek and know His saving grace and love.

For this first Mission 4 Monday post, I like to share with you a very encouraging article from a book my friend, Marja, just published. This article is very helpful in encouraging us how we can trust in God in very rough times, whether it be a time of illness or other afflictions and trials.

My friend, Marja Bergen, has just launched a new book entitled "A Firm Place to Stand" on how God has enabled her to find meaning in her life with bipolar disorder.

Marja is from British Columbia, Canada. She is a person with bipolar disorder and a faith in Jesus Christ. Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a mood disorder with extreme mood swings ie. mania and clinical depression.

Marja is interested in writing about mental health issues, especially encouraging a more understanding view by the church. In an effort to help her church give support to people with mood disorders, Marja has started a support group called "Living Room". Now she is encouraging groups to start up elsewhere. Marja has been a great blessing, encouragement and help to those who attend Living Room and those of us who read about her experiences there.

This new book "A Firm Place to Stand" is a very encouraging book as Marja shared about how God gives her grace and strength to live a meaningful and fruitful life as she seek to manage bipolar disorder. Her suffering has drawn her closer to God as she learn to look to Him and find comfort and help from Him. Her suffering also taught her compassion and it has helped her to help others coping with their pain.

In this book, Marja shared many of her own struggles and victory over the various issues associated with bipolar disorder. She shared her faith in God as well as her coping strategies.

I was reading this portion today and found much comfort and encouragement from it. I can identify with much of the sentiment expressed in this article. Like Marja, I am learning to trust in God especially in very rough times and I have experienced His love, mercies and faithfulness sustaining me time and again. This has strengthened my faith in God and given me courage to press on daily, living as meaningfully and as productively as God enables me.

The following excerpt entitled "Trust during rough times" has been published by recently and Marja has kindly allowed me to reproduced it here to share with you.

Hope this excerpt will bring encouragement and hope to you too in your struggles, knowing that God loves you, He is with you and will see you through.

Trust during rough times
Excerpt taken from "A Firm Place to Stand" by Marja Bergen published by
Republished here with kind permission of Marja Bergen

Depression can be a debilitating, torturous experience. During such times, I have to work hard to maintain my trust in God. I try not to be anxious but to relax and let God do his work in me and care for me. But it's difficult not to be afraid; it's natural to be afraid.

As my negative thinking takes over, I begin to doubt my ability to complete the projects I'm working on. I fear that friends no longer care about me and won't be there for me. I fear my depression will deepen and I might stop functioning altogether. I can't see how I could ever be cheerful again.

Fear is the universal response to suffering

Philip Yancey, in his book, Where is God When it Hurts? explains how fear is the universal response to suffering. And yet beyond a doubt it is also the single greatest enemy of recovery.' Fear is part of the extreme moods I go through, especially psychosis. The more I give in to fear, the worse my illness becomes. It is important to do all I can to escape it. The best way is to turn to God and trust in God. But it's hard.

David, the psalmist, fought similar battles. I need to pray along with him, "When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God, I trust; I will not be afraid." (Psalm 56:3-4)

Since the dramatic change in my life when I began to follow Christ, my faith in God has remained steadfast. No matter how bad things become, I know God is there. But belief in God and trusting God are two different things. Trusting means relying on someone, having confidence in God's power to help me. I cannot always do this. I have to work at it, over and over again. I have to remind myself to turn to God when things are bad. Even when it seems useless to do so, I need to read my Bible and pray.

A habit I developed a few years ago has stood me in good stead taking at least an hour of quiet time each morning. I start each day with Bible reading, prayer and journaling. These times do much to comfort and strengthen me, whether I'm excessively up or excessively down. Though my prayers are often awkward, though the words come slowly and with great effort, they help keep my focus on God. They help me stay close to God.

One of the symptoms of depression is a sense of hopelessness, the opposite of confidence. At times my trust has faded so severely I thought of giving up altogether. Yet my belief in God does not die, even when God feels distant. In my heart, I cry out, but I don't feel I'm reaching God. I struggle to find the patience I need. "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." (Psalm 27:14)

And yet, there are times when I struggle emotionally and the reverse happens. God's Word becomes more powerful than it could possibly be during stable times. Bible verses help me find great peace and hope. At such times, I read "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest," (Matthew 11:28) and my entire being finds relief. I feel comforted. I know these words come from a loving God. These deep spiritual experiences sustain me during rough times; they provide memories I can go back to.

I will never forget the day my friend Helen came to me at a time I felt I couldn't go on. She impressed on me how much I had to live for. She told me she loved me. Whenever I need to remember how great God's love is, I think back to that occasion. Speaking to me through this caring friend, God became powerfully real to me. When I am waiting for depression to lift, I focus on how great God's love has proven to be, time after time.

I feel a kinship with King David who, in Psalm 40, wrote: "I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry." Waiting patiently is the only thing I can do as I recover from extreme moods. Remembering that God loves me. Trusting.

Marja Bergen lives with bipolar disorder and is the author of Riding the Roller Coaster (Northstone, 1999). The above is an excerpt from her new released book, A Firm Place to Stand: Finding Meaning in a Life with Bipolar Disorder. She is a facilitator and founder of the Christian mood disorders support group, Living Room ( She can be contacted at

Marja's blog is at and she can be reached at for more information or to speak to your group.

A Firm Place to Stand by Marja Bergen : Finding meaning in a life with Bipolar Disorder

"A Firm Place to Stand is a must-read for Christians who struggle with mental health challenges and the faith communities who minister to them.

For too long, society has misunderstood and feared individuals who live with mood disorders. This book dispels the lingering stigma attached to mental health conditions and encourages people to lovingly welcome the sufferers into congregations by understanding them better and supporting them in practical ways.

Most importantly, for the sufferers themselves, A Firm Place to Stand shows that it is possible to have a mental disorder yet be close to God and derive strong support from a growing relationship with Christ.

In her sincere and candid style, Marja Bergen reflects on her forty-two years with bipolar disorder, showing how faith in God can help a person with a serious illness turn weakness into strength. She describes how God transformed her from an insecure, withdrawn person into a leader, an activist, and the founder of Living Room, the growing Christian support group for people with mood disorders."

Find out more on how you can purchase this excellent book from Marja's new website.

Hope the above article has encouraged you. Do visit Marja's blog, if you can, and get to know her. You will be greatly encouraged by her. Drop her a note, if you can, to let her know how this article has encouraged or helped you. She will be encouraged to know that :)

Thanks again for stopping by! Thanks for all your prayers and encouragements!

Take care and God bless :)

For more Mission 4 Monday posts, visit Peggy at MAZES, MESSES, MIRACLES...aMAZING GRACE. It will be a very encouraging experience for you!

And we know that all things work together
for good to them that love God,
to them who are the called according to His purpose
... in all these things we are more than conquerors
through Him that loved us.
(Romans 8:28, 37)


1. A Firm Place to Stand by Marja Bergen

2. A practical workbook for the depressed Christian by Dr John Lockley

3. An unquiet mind by Dr Kay Redfield Jamison

4. Broken Mind by
Steve and Robyn Bloem

5. I'm Not Supposed to Feel Like This by Chris Williams, Paul Richards and Ingrid Whitton

Excerpts from Books

1. Trust during rough times (Excerpt from "A Firm Place to Stand" by Marja Bergen)

2. Finding meaning in a life with bipolar disorder (Excerpt from Marja Bergen's article on

3. An illness like any other (Excerpt from "Roller Coaster" by Marja Bergen)