17.4.14

Depression - How to be Happy

Continuing on from my previous post on depression, let's take a look at happiness.  Not that depression is the absence of happiness but it is difficult to be happy while suffering with depression.  Some people can just be happy - I envy them. Other people, like myself, have to make an effort to be happy. Don't get me wrong, I have happy days that just come and it's wonderful.  It's those other days, the days when I have to work at it that are a bit more difficult. You see, I believe happiness is a choice. We can choose to be happy but it does require some effort on our part.

I have days when even getting out of bed is difficult.  Being self employed makes it even more difficult as I have no one to answer to but myself. Sometimes I just stay in bed and work on my laptop - that way I still get some work done without having to find the strength to get up.  Other days I have to force myself to get up and have to find a reason to get up.  I am not lazy I just struggle sometimes with the will to get through a day.  This is not an everyday occurrence, most days I get up between 5-6am, spend time with God and get on with things, but some days are just plain difficult.  These are the days when I have to work at being happy. Then there are occasional days, maybe one in a month, when I just clear my diary and cry all day. These days are a write off but if I allow myself time to just get it out of my system then I am ok for another month or more. However, if I try soldier on through I will start leaking tears at the most inconvenient of times and often in public, so I have learned just to allow myself a day of crying all my tears out.

Here are a few keys that I have found helpful when doing my best to find happiness:

Perspective
There is always more than one perspective of the same situation. If you are having difficulty with a particular situation it is always helpful to try to see if from different angles.  Many times a change in perspective can really lift the weight.

Attitude
Work on your thoughts as they carry power. Whatever you think you become and if you are constantly thinking negative or unhappy thoughts then you will remain stuck in unhappiness. Force yourself to think about positive things even if you don't feel positive at the time.

Choice
Finding things to be happy about by choice is a great way to lift the weight.  Again it is a battle in the mind but if you force yourself to think about happy things by choice then you will feel better.  Usually when I feel particularly depressed I find myself thinking about depressing things.  However, if I have the strength I can choose to find things that make me happy and force my mind to meditate on these things.

Hope's Journey has quite a few more powerful keys such as eating spicy food and chocolate, sunshine, exercise, eating and so much more tips for finding happiness, so I do recommend reading it and seeing what works for you.
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13.4.14

David Cameron’s Easter Speech



I have never seen our nation's leaders stand up for Christianity as I have seen in the recent years.  David Cameron is putting his career on the line when he mixes his faith with his politics but yet he continues to be open about it.  Being a Christian is not easy, it comes with many challenges, preconceived ideas from others and opposition.  Being a politician is no easy either, again it comes with so much hardship and little reward. It seems that everyone has an opinion and Christians and politicians can do little right - if they make one mistake the are branded forever by it. People quickly forget all that they did right and hang on to their one mistake. Personally, I think being open and honest about Christianity is risky and being a politician is dangerous.  So, combining the two means multiplying the challenges, the risks and the dangers. For what? What is in it for the Christian or the politician?  There is little or no personal gain, they are merely public servants and could probably earn more with a lot less trouble in a secular career.

I for one am more determined than ever to be slow to judge and quick to encourage any Christian whether in business, politics or ministry who is taking a brave stand for that they believe to be truth.  Yes, some Christians who have attempted to take a stand have fallen.  None of us are infallible and are tempted.  If a brother falls, we are to do as the Bible clearly says:

"If your brother wrongs you, go and show him his fault, between you and him privately. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother."  
- Matthew 18:15 Amplified Bible

Let's start with dealing with things privately and only if we cannot win the person back then we can apply the rest of Matthew 18 accordingly.

Let's put our pointing fingers away and start encouraging what they do right, love should cover the rest.

"Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others]"    
- Peter 4:8 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Love doesn't mean that you condone or support their actions. You don't have to agree with what they do but you do have to love them through it as they work things out.  When it comes to leaders who are taking such a huge risk to fight for Christianity I would suggest that you pray for them, love them and support them as best you can.  Only criticise if you have the guts to actually do what they are doing.  I can assure you that it is too easy to judge if you have never walked the path that they have had to walk.

"Never criticize a man until you've walked a mile in his moccasins."
- American Indian Proverb

I already have a much deeper admiration for politicians as I started my campaign for the upcoming local elections last Friday and had to go door to door to introduce myself.  It was not easy and some people can be quite rude and hurtful, others were very supportive and lovely.  I quickly realised that all those who are currently in the position that I am applying for have gone through the same thing many times over.

RESPECT to them.  I don't think many could go door to door and still serve the people that they are called to lead. My journey is just beginning and I have much to learn but I will keep you updated and take you along with me as much as possible.

Here are some recent articles about the stand David Cameron is taking.  Let's support him in this and show him that the church and business community indeed do want to work alongside the government to make this nation an even better one.

David Cameron’s Easter Speech
David Cameron Big Society

The Queen's Christmas Speech 2012

And on that note, our Queen did a superb job of sharing the gospel in her 2012 Christmas address, one of my favourite speeches ever.  Read the Queen's 2012 Christmas speech here or watch the video below.

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9.4.14

Proudly British

One of the many things that the Americans get right is their patriotism!  I often see American homes with their flags proudly hanging outside their door or hear them speak highly of their country.  It is a wonderful thing. Here in the UK I often see Brazilian flags, Polish flags and other flags from foreigners living here who are proud of the country they have come from.  NEVER have I seen a British flag displayed in front of a British person's home and all I EVER hear from locals is their complaints about this country.  COME ON PEOPLE!  The country is made up of you and I. Let's start off with being proud to be British.  Let's support local businesses.  Let's find good things to say about our country. Let's back up and support our leaders who are doing their best to do what they think is right for this nation. It is usually those that do the least that say the most.  Judge your own mouth and your own actions please. Until you are willing to step in 'their' shoes please say a lot less.

Yes I know, I have a South African accent!!!  I am grateful to South Africa for raising me but I was born right here in the UK and now the UK is my home.  I implore you, let us become proudly British.  To kick start the process please join me in displaying this logo on your website, blog, Facebook page, etc.



Now let's start sharing and support local businesses and our government.  In the posts to come we will be discussing what is good about our country and I would like to feature some of YOU.  Please email me your Proudly British story with a good quality photo and I will feature you.

See you at our next Business, Ministry and Politics event!

*** NOTE:  Being proudly British does not mean that we bash or bad mouth other nations.  That defeats the purpose entirely.  Being proudly British simply means that we point out the great things about our country - FULL STOP - not by comparison to other countries. As Christians we are called to love all no matter what their nationality.  It's sad that I even have to say this but please keep the balance to all this, if we don't have anything good to say rather say nothing at all :)
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5.4.14

What is Politics?

THIS MONDAY 7th April 2014 we launch our brand new event called Business, Ministry and Politics. King's Daughters has taken a very definite direction change into these three areas with an emphasis on how we use these areas to share the gospel.  We are called to be salt and light and it is our mission and obsession to get the salt and light into the places where it is needed.  As Christians we need to seek and desire places of influence within our communities so that we can be salt and light.  What good is salt if it remains in it's container and what good is light if it isn't in darkness?  We must position ourselves in places of darkness in order to be light but don't go alone.  If you are in business (either self employed or employed) then are you using your position to lead and shine?  If you are in politics are you using your influence in your town, city and nation?  If you are in ministry are you teaching and equipping those around you to be light and are you serving the need in your community?  If all we do with our faith is feel good and build our lives then what good are we to the world around us?  We need to be 'out there' paying the price so that those who are far away from God can come closer.

King's Daughters has focused on the area of ministry since 2009 and more recently on the business world since 2013.  This year we will delve into the world of politics too.  So before we even go there let's break it down with the very first question - What is Politics?

I ask this question because it is one that I has to answer for myself.  After exploring politics I came to the conclusion that it is simply the 'management' of a town, city and nation.  Since I am comfortable with management and community work I decided that politics is a lot less 'scary' that I first thought.

My next step was to choose a party so I prayerfully chose the Conservative Party.  This doesn't mean that I agree with everything that they stand for.  When we chose to shine our light in darkness this doesn't mean that we agree with the darkness that we are shining in, it simply means that we are positioning ourselves to shine and influence those around us.  To be honest, I don't think the party that you choose matters as much as your willingness to serve in the party and to be an influence to it.  We need Christians in ALL the parties who influence this nation.

Don't  be one of those people that complain about the government but refuse to be involved!  Read Isaiah 9:6 then pray for and support the government.  Don't be one of those people that say that you don't do politics either.  As a Christian you should be involved in your community one way or another and if you are not involved in ministry or business then may I suggest contributing to your political party.    

We will continue to explore this theme in the months ahead.  In the meantime, if you really and truly want to do what Jesus called us to do in  Mark 16:15 then book your place at Business, Ministry and Politics at www.kingsdaughtersleaders.eventbrite.co.uk and let's get on with it!
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31.3.14

King's Daughters in Business, Ministry and Politics

Hello and Happy Monday!

I am so excited about our brand new event, King's Daughters in Business, Ministry and Politics, which is being launched next Monday evening.  The aim of the event is to support, encourage and challenge women who are currently leading in these areas or who want to get involved in these areas.  As Christians, we need to rise up and position ourselves in places of influence in our communities and country.  

Please join us for a light supper, networking, worship, guest speaker and prayer.  Together we can encourage each other and do so much more than we can do on our own.  Our April guest speaker is Jennie Dallimore, a Gloucester City Councillor.

See you next Monday, 7pm at the Fairview upper room in Cheltenham.  Book your place at www.kingsdaughtersleaders.eventbrite.co.uk

Have a great week!
Angela
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24.3.14

Depression is Not An Excuse

Continuing on from my previous post, I wanted to look into the other side of depression.  The side where people use it to be lazy or to do nothing for the kingdom.  Yes there is a time when you need to slow down or stop in order to recover and get well but there is no reason to throw your whole life away and write off your future.  Depression is not a lifestyle it is a season. It can be cured and it can be managed.  If you are newly depressed or burnt out you may need to stop what you are doing and have a season of rest.

What did God tell Elijah to do when he was newly depressed? Let's read about it in 1 King's 19:4-8

"Elijah  went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God."

Elijah was not only depressed but he plain and simply wanted to die! It's seems from this passage that he was sleeping most of the time, a common thing in depression.  But the angel told him to "arise and eat" and then he went back to sleep again. The second time he was told to arise and eat he was also told that he should do so because the journey ahead was too great for him.  So what does that mean.  I understand it to mean that he was to get better so that he could continue what God called him to do.  Elijah had endured a great battle and won it for the Lord.  If that were most of us we would have simply been satisfied with the fact that we had done something great and then settled down to everyday life.  God did not plan for Elijah to be comfortable, His plans were for him to continue walking in his destiny, a destiny which was a difficult path.  Yes Elijah had to rest when he became depressed but he also had to take care of himself and get better so that he could continue!

Jesus said in John 16:33, "In this world you will have trouble."

He also said in Matthew 16:24-26 "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"

As Christians there are some givens, apart from all the wonderful promises of peace and joy and love we also have the truth that we will encounter trouble in this world.  It is also a given that if you want to follow Jesus then there is a cross to bear.  We ALL have a cross to bear. Mine might be depression but yours could be something else. Please understand I am not trying to make anyone feel guilty, there IS a definite time when we do need to stop and rest.  The problem only comes when we stay in that place of rest and never move on from it. When we recognise our cross we should not use it as an excuse to stop but we should take the wise necessary steps to deal with it and find a way to move FORWARD!

As Christians we are not meant to be using the promises in the Bible to create a comfortable life for ourselves.  We are at war, our time here on earth is short and we have a clear mandate. "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." - Mark 16:15  That's it!  No matter what we DO in our life our mission remains the same.  If you are in business then your mandate is to preach the gospel, if you are at university then your mission is to preach the gospel if you are in politics, your mandate is to preach the gospel, if you are a stay at home mum your mandate is to preach the gospel.  If you are suffering with depression your mandate is to preach the gospel, if you are going through a divorce your mandate is to preach the gospel, if you are struggling with cancer your mandate is to preach the gospel.  Preaching the gospel can be done in many different ways, but the bottom line it is the good news of Jesus.  Preaching doesn't necessarily mean that you have to stand behind a pulpit.  The most important thing is that you are sharing the good news of Jesus in some way. It is completely different for everyone but it is the basic requirement for every Christian.  Are you sharing the good news of Jesus with your life?  We have all of eternity to be comfortable but only one life here on earth that needs to be spent wisely.

If you are seeking a comfortable Christian life you will never be truly satisfied - EVER.  However, if you are seeking to preach the gospel no matter what the cost, despite your struggles or burdens, you will find true satisfaction. The promises of God are not to make our life comfortable they are to help those who are suffering for the sake of the gospel.  Are you using your struggles as an excuse to stop and do nothing or are you building a comfortable life for yourself and your family with the promises of God?

For those of you that want to move FORWARD, even if you are struggling or in a bad place, please join us at our brand new event where we will be exploring our role in the kingdom. If you are in or want to be in business, politics or ministry, please come along on the first Monday of every month for a meal, a time of worship, guest speaker and prayer.  Time is short, let's stand together despite our struggles and take the message of the good news into our world.

All welcome - more info at www.kingsdaughtersleaders.eventbrite.co.uk

Read the next post: 

Depression - How to be Happy

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21.3.14

Life Happens - Christians and Depression

Continuing on from my previous post, I wanted to talk about the Christian view of depression.  You see, very recently I faced complete burnout and ended up going to the doctor only to discover that I was on the high end of the depression scale.  It never occurred to me that I was depressed or burnt out because I have lived a balanced life and followed all of the steps I wrote about in my book Hope's Journey. It did not even cross my mind that the series of difficult situations that I have faced over the past two year had actually worn me down!  I am a survivor - I just get on with things.

Thank goodness for a good Christian friend who had the boldness to confront me and encourage me to see my doctor. She recognised the symptoms as she too suffers with depression but she also understood that as Christians, admitting to depression is the hardest thing.

So why do I keep mentioning Christians, what makes it different for a Christian?  Well, first of all we are always told how the 'joy of the Lord is our strength' and how we can 'do all things through Christ who strengthens us', etc.  We are taught that 'nothing is impossible with God' and that we don't have to suffer with sickness and disease because we have a God that heals us.  I believe all these things to be true, I really do.  But because of all these wonderful promises that we have as Christians, those of us who suffer with illness are often looked down upon. Not always, but often.  In some circles even a common cold would indicate a lack of faith or sin!  That is only in extreme cases though. When it comes to mental illnesses and depression it is often assumed to be something even worse or demonic.  Again, there are cases when this is true but mostly it's not the case.  With all this pressure and assumption in the church it makes it worse for a Christian at times.  Too many Christians suffer in silence at church with things such as depression.  There is a great deal of shame for us and even a feeling of failure.  We feel like we did something wrong or didn't have enough faith. I want to put an end to this as it's difficult enough coping with depression or illness of any sort without having shame and judgement to deal with too.

Does God heal physical and mental illness?  Yes.  In fact Jesus died on the cross to release this healing power to us.  Do some people not get healed?  Yes.  I have no idea why or how it works but there can be many reasons.  Do I still trust God for healing?  Absolutely.  However let me tell you my story. When the doctor recommended antidepressants I felt a great sense of relief. Firstly I was labeled and that actually made things better.  It made it better  because what I was dealing with became clear and also it made me feel less bad as a person.  Before I was labeled I thought all my crying and shouting at the kids and general grumpiness was simply me being a really terrible person. When he told me I was depressed I realised that it wasn't me, it was an external problem, which did not affect my identity.

Secondly, I felt relieved at the thought of going on antidepressants, even though I had spoken so harshly against them in times past.  I was relieved because I finally felt like I was getting some help, that I could take a break from the constant struggle and just relax and let the little pills do the work for me.  Sounds ridiculous I know!  But that is how I felt and that is exactly what has happened.  At first the pills made me a little nauseas and headachy, but after a week I started to feel lighter and cried much less. It seems that what I hoped for actually happened - the pills did do the work not me!  After about 20 years of working hard at managing depression I finally gave in a took a break.

I am not suggesting everyone run out and get antidepressants if they are a little sad.  I recommend reading Hope's Journey and finding the balance in your life. Hope's Journey is a great little book for prevention and cure as well as for supporting others through depression.  My case was beyond Hope's Journey.  I have had about two years of intense struggles of different sorts, one after the other.  I have had to grieve, deal with loss, cope with my son's diabetes diagnosis and various other struggles that I have not spoken about publicly.  As soon as I felt I was coping with one issue another major things would come up.  I coped as best I could and moved on. During the struggles I started a business which took off instantly and also continued to lead our church through some very rough waters with my husband.  The result was that I coped and continued to cope and never got to come up for air.  This resulted in depression.

Is it my fault?  No.  Did I do something wrong? No.  Life just happened.  Will God heal me?  Yes.  He will either stretch out his mighty hand and touch me or he will use the antidepressants.  Right now I don't mind which was as long as I feel better.

What I did to encourage myself and stop feeling guilty about my situation was that I reminded myself that some of the great Christian leaders of our time have also suffered with depression.  Steven Furtick and Perry Noble have openly shared their journey - and for that I am so grateful as they have made it less of a taboo subject in the church today.  Even Elijah - the great prophet of the Bible had to deal with depression as well as many others.  My motivation for sharing my struggle with you is to continue the fight against the mindset that people have about depression, especially in churches.  Please share to encourage others and to stop the condemning lies from spreading.  Let's increase our faith and be a church or power where we see regular healing but at the same time let's not make people feel small on our journey to see God move in divine power.  Life happens.  We can't understand it all but let's do a good job with what we can understand.

Read the next post:

Depression is Not An Excuse

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