Today I want to tell you about a great 'tool' I found online to help with your devotions and walk with our Lord. I've used it off and on for about a month now and am hoping to become more intentional and diligent in my daily walk.
The site is called www.examen.me and it's free! Just sign up and you are ready to begin. There is a journal section to record your thoughts and prayers... to make notes and more. This is where I began. I was feeling very low and in a dark place, so I typed in the journal a simple prayer. Sometimes it helps to write out what is in your heart, when so many thoughts are racing through your head! So I began. I also have saved a couple prayers and notes that I have sent other people, primarily to look back with reflection and remind myself that when you feel hopeless to or for someone else, you can always lift them up to God. No matter what. You may not have the words, but He does!
Here's a sample of my profile:
There is a reading plan section as well. So many to pick from! Currently, I am on the "7 Days Focusing on Marriage." (It's been over 7 days, but at least I'm getting there!) These begin with prompting you to write out a prayer before you begin. This is very helpful, because sometimes you need to ask that His word be revealed to you and to still your heart and mind. A scripture is then provided followed by three or four sections of "examen" (study portion.) What is this scripture revealing to you? How can you apply it? Etc... you finish again, with your own prayer.
The reading plans range from reading the Bible in a year, to specific individuals, to marriage, to stress, to finance, to different books... overall, just a great tool for your journey. You can take as much or as little time as you like and your items will be there when you return!
Did I mention it's secure? This is YOUR personal profile. You can spill your heart out and it's just for your eyes. How awesome would it be to look back after a years time and see where God has moved in you and how you have grown? Bookmark it and make it a priority! Perfect for anyone, no matter where you are in your faith walk.
Honesty time: For me, it's been very helpful with my bouts of depression. You see, I've known (or thought) that I struggled with depression since I was at least 16. Until now, I was assuming that's what it was. Two weeks ago, I finally made that first step. A local counseling center was offering depression screenings, so I made an appointment. Over 10 years later, struggling, progressively getting worse... I finally made that
step leap. (And boy, was it hard!) Assuming I'd simply be filling out some type of questionnaire, I was shocked and nervous to learn I'd be meeting with a psychologist AND counselor. If I wasn't so worried about what people think about me, I would have hightailed it out of there! An hour later though... I felt good. Drained. Exhausted... but renewed. I was diagnosed with severe depression (and as he put it, "probably some anxiety disorders mixed in there") and given some recommendations for medications and counseling. A handful of paperwork later, I found myself so tired from the slight stress of the situation, but mostly the digging I had to do on myself and then TELL strangers!
My most recent "waves" of depression have been new experiences. They come on so fast and so very hard. One day last week I began crying, out of nowhere... and genuinely sobbed for over an hour. Thoughts raced through my head and I had to isolate myself in my bedroom until it passed. Sometimes I stay sad for days, weeks... with sprinklings of feeling okay. I'm pretty good by now of "faking it until I make it"-- so at present, for the most part anyways, I'm able to function for work.
Out of all of this (and through and some friends/acquaintances experiences)- I do encourage you, if you are feeling worthless, hopeless, and alone to please seek help. Please call someone, anyone! Pray, if you can. (I know sometimes you feel even more alone, but trust me, you are not!) And keep this number with you: 1-800-273-TALK. That's the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. PLEASE call. I do promise things can get better. There will be a brighter day.
I'll continue to update off and on about my progress. It's primarily an outlet for myself... but I know others can relate. It is real. It is painful. It does get better.
Did you know?
Depression can be a major "symptom" in women who are afflicted with PCOS?
Until next time, I encourage you to check out the link above. You'll love it! Best wishes in YOUR journey of faith... let me know if you sign up and I'll be keeping you in my prayers as you discern, learn, and move with the Holy Spirit! Remember, you don't need to be a scholar... just willing.