Michael Newnham: We Are All Naaman

Taken from the Phoenix Preacher  which is found   HERE.

“Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper.Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” So Naaman went in and told his lord, “Thus and so spoke the girl from the land of Israel.” And the king of Syria said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.”

 

So he went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you Naaman my servant, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” And when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Only consider, and see how he is seeking a quarrel with me.”

But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.” So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house. And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.” But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.”
(2 Kings 5:1–14 ESV)

Naaman had a problem.

Leprosy is and was a real big problem.

Fortunately, he also knew someone who knew God and believed that God can deal with problems of any size.

Unfortunately, he had a preconceived notion of how God would fix his problem.

He thought his gifts would buy him favor, and he knew the right people.

When his solution and God’s looked nothing alike, he almost rejected what would make him well.

We won’t even comment on his petty complaint that he didn’t even get a visit from the “senior” prophet and had to be ministered to by an assistant…

We are all Naaman.

When afflictions come, we want help.

We want out of the affliction.

We almost always tell God exactly how He should solve our problem and heal our affliction.

This amuses God who knows that if you could have solved the problem on your own, you wouldn’t have prayed about it in the first place…

We think he should give us favor because of what we’ve given to Him…when He gave us everything in the first place.

His ways are not our ways and His solutions rarely come about as we have dictated to Him.

His ways are often an affront to our pride and His answers often demand humility.

Thus, we often would rather live with the affliction then submit to the Lord.

Thus, we miss the true power of God.

I can hear the rest of Naamans thoughts…

“Nobody else had to dance in and out of this stupid river seven times.”

“Why is He making a fool out of me when He could just wave his hand and be done with it?”

I have had some of the same thoughts…

“Why can’t He just heal me?”

“Why can’t I just win the lottery?”

“Why can’t He just maim my enemies?”

“If you would only do this, Lord, all would be well”.

This dialog goes on until I’m exhausted and ready to dip in the river seven times wearing a snazzy fedora and a “Make This Nation Great Again” bumper sticker if need be.

You may be holier and less obstinate than I am…or maybe not.

I’m learning that Gods delays are not necessarily Gods denials.

Sometimes He’s just waiting for you to get in the river.

Make your own application…

When Silence Isn’t Golden

Taken from  Esperanza  which is located   HERE.

My Grandma always seemed so strong and spunky, it never dawned on me that she lived with depression. There were brief hints of crisis now and then—whispered conversations between my parents, hurried visits to check on Grandma’s welfare—but no one ever discussed the details openly.

If there were other signs, I didn’t know enough then to recognize them—and I probably was too consumed with life as a teenager to pay much attention.

Now I would give anything for the opportunity to talk with Grandma about the depression and anxiety that made me feel for so long that I was the odd person out, the black sheep of the family.

If Grandma had shared the truth about her depression, maybe I would have understood my own symptoms more quickly. Maybe I would have accepted treatment earlier and developed a stronger support system, instead of spending so much time and energy hiding my true feelings.

I was fortunate to grow up in a happy, loving, middle-class family, one of the few in our neighborhood that actually shared daily breakfast and supper together at the table. My sister and I were as close as twins, my optimistic mother posted a list of positive thoughts on our bedroom door, and my quiet father conveyed his caring without words. My strong foundation also included Grandma and my wonderful, witty aunts.

All in all, there seemed to be no justification for the depression that hit me when I entered college.

That’s when I began living a lie. At celebrations, graduations, weddings, baby showers, I felt guilty that I wasn’t as happy as everyone else seemed to be. So I kept my feelings to myself.

Ironically, I was a theater major in college, and a good actress. I made sure no one knew how isolated and different I felt.

It wasn’t until Grandma passed away at 92 that I began to see and understand I wasn’t so different after all. As a family, we began sharing stories about this special person in our lives as we sorted through her belongings and our memories.

I was surprised to learn my Grandma made weekly trips to a psychiatrist until she was physically unable to leave home. I was even more surprised to learn she felt the two people who knew her best were my Granddaddy and her psychiatrist.

The more I heard, the more I saw clues to the depression I grew up knowing nothing about. I learned that Grandma grieved for my grandfather as deeply as she had loved him, and that her grief lasted many years into her widowhood.

I remembered how she believed I didn’t want to talk to her when my new phone blocked her calls before I’d programmed her number into my caller ID list. I wasn’t calling her because I was in a dark place and couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to talk with me. In retrospect, I can see we were each dealing with depression, with similar feelings of worthlessness.

I discovered she saved inspirational poems and newspaper clippings, just as I do. I imagine her reading words of encouragement to remind herself, as I do, that negative thoughts and attitudes are just the depression talking.

In a stack of letters she wrote to me, I found a little book about overcoming depression and the power of prayer and love. It was as if she were still supporting and encouraging me.

With that love and strength—my Grandma’s ultimate gift—I find the courage to open up to family and friends with the truth about my past 20 years of depression. Over the coming months, I began telling my story, although I still felt somehow “wrong” for having depression and I was uncertain what reactions I would get.

The positive response was overwhelming. And once the secret was out, other relatives began sharing instead of hiding their emotions. The shuttered silence in our family is now an open door of communication, admitting others among us who had been living silently with depression.

Now that the stigma is removed, I no longer feel so alone, so apart. I can enjoy events with my family more freely without the burden of covering up who I really am. They support me with a deeper understanding, knowing I need them even when I can’t say so.

It turns out I was never alone after all.

Shannon Woodward: Mother’s Day From An Infertile Mother’s Perspective

This article is being repeated for the sixth year in a row.  Shannon Woodward addresses a topic that I believe we should all try and be sensitive to.  If you are a pastor or have input to your pastor this article can be very beneficial.  Shannon’s bio is found at the end of the article.  Allan

Editor’s Note: Pastor, as you prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day with your congregation very soon, it’s important that you remember several groups within your church family who will have a particularly difficult time during this special holiday: people who have lost their mothers, those who have lost a child, or those who can never have children. This article focuses on what it’s like when an infertile woman experiences Mother’s Day at church for the first time with her adopted child.

Mother’s Day from an infertile woman’s perspective

Shannon Woodward

“I’d like to have all the mothers stand for prayer,” the pastor said.

The sanctuary rustled with movement. On my right and my left, in front of me and behind, a sea of women stood to their feet. For the first time ever, I was allowed to join them.

Rising, I clutched Zachary close. He was 4 days old.

From his seat next to me, Dave reached up and laid his hand against my back. At his touch, I turned my head and we caught each other’s eyes. No one else but he understood exactly what this moment meant to me.

One year I had fought tears all the way to church – dreading what I knew was to come – and cried all the way back home again, reliving the long, awful moments when I’d stayed glued to my seat while seemingly every other woman in the church rose to the honored position.

Another Mother’s Day, though I’d tried hard to keep my eyes locked on the hymnal in the pew rack before me, compulsion made me look. Scanning the crowd, peeping between the rows of standing women, I’d spotted only girls sitting down, only girls too young to bear children. When I realized I was the only adult woman not standing, I had to drop my head to hide my tears.

One year I almost couldn’t sit through the prayer. I almost left.

I wanted to be happy for the other women, and I’d try to agree with the words the pastor prayed, but all the while I’d be missing my mother – and all the children I couldn’t have. During those unbearable prayers, sitting in a seat of shame, I’d pray too. I’d pray it would all end quickly, and we’d be equalized again in the pews.

Dave knew every part of that. He knew how long I had waited for this invitation.

The pastor began. “Lord, we ask that you equip these women for the task you’ve laid before them. Fill them with your wisdom.”

I need your wisdom, Father.

“Bless the children you’ve entrusted to their care.”

Yes, Lord – guard him and bless him.

“And bless these mothers for the sacrifices they’ve made.”

I hadn’t sacrificed a thing. All the sacrifices had been made for me, by a mother who was undoubtedly, at that moment, grieving deeply.

While the pastor continued praying, I snuck a peek at the people on risers at the back of the stage – who were all sneaking peeks at me. Those members of the choir, those friends, returned my look with congratulatory smiles. They’d prayed Zachary into my arms.

The pastor began to wind down. Zachary made a small noise and popped one arm out of his blanket. When I turned to my left and tilted my head to tuck his covering closer, my gaze landed eye-level with a woman in a pew across the aisle, a woman I knew, a woman who was sitting.

It was Lynn, a woman I had met only a few months back at our church’s worship retreat. When Dave had told the crowd clustered around the bonfire that I was infertile and we needed their prayers, Lynn had put her arms around me and shared that she, too, was infertile.

She felt my gaze, looked up, and tried to smile with the same forced movement my own lips had attempted in years past, every time my own eyes had caught the glance of a mother proudly standing.

My heart leapt across the aisle. I’m you, I wanted to shout. I’m still you.

She turned away.

I took my place next to Dave and together we stared at our blue-blanketed gift. Zachary yawned, his lips a perfect oval, his tongue a curled sliver. When he closed his mouth again, his chin quivered and he pursed his tiny lips.

Though my heart was full, grief lingered in a corner. There was room enough still for the pain of those past Mother’s Days. I remembered. I would always remember.

I knew the hollow ache inside Lynn. I wanted to tell her that little had changed. I’d thought that the coming of an eight-pound gift would erase the ache, but it didn’t. Instead, the love that sprang inside me forged a new place. It didn’t fill the emptiness. I was an infertile woman entrusted with a child, allowed to mother that child and love him and watch him grow. But I knew already – just four days into my new life – that the pain of the old life had followed me.

I was Lynn. I’d just been allowed to stand for a brief prayer.

I thought I might tell her all that as soon as the service ended. I looked across the aisle for courage.

But she was gone.

Shannon Woodward is the wife of a Calvary Chapel pastor and the mother of two adopted children. She’s currently an editor with The Word For Today and the author of Inconceivable: Finding Peace in the Midst of Infertility (Cook Communications, August 2006) and A Whisper in Winter: Stories of Hearing God’s Voice in Every Season of Life. She is also a regular columnist for Christian Women Online

.

You can keep up with Shannon on her blog and web site.

http://www.windscraps.blogspot.com http://www.shannonwoodward.com/

Shannon Woodward: Mother’s Day From An Infertile Mother’s Perspective

 

 

This article is being repeated for the fifth year in a row.  Shannon Woodward addresses a topic that I believe we should all try and be sensitive to.  If you are a pastor or have input to your pastor this article can be very beneficial.  Shannon’s bio is found at the end of the article.  Allan

 

Editor’s Note: Pastor, as you prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day with your congregation very soon, it’s important that you remember several groups within your church family who will have a particularly difficult time during this special holiday: people who have lost their mothers, those who have lost a child, or those who can never have children. This article focuses on what it’s like when an infertile woman experiences Mother’s Day at church for the first time with her adopted child.

Mother’s Day from an infertile woman’s perspective

Shannon Woodward

“I’d like to have all the mothers stand for prayer,” the pastor said.

The sanctuary rustled with movement. On my right and my left, in front of me and behind, a sea of women stood to their feet. For the first time ever, I was allowed to join them.

Rising, I clutched Zachary close. He was 4 days old.

From his seat next to me, Dave reached up and laid his hand against my back. At his touch, I turned my head and we caught each other’s eyes. No one else but he understood exactly what this moment meant to me.

One year I had fought tears all the way to church – dreading what I knew was to come – and cried all the way back home again, reliving the long, awful moments when I’d stayed glued to my seat while seemingly every other woman in the church rose to the honored position.

Another Mother’s Day, though I’d tried hard to keep my eyes locked on the hymnal in the pew rack before me, compulsion made me look. Scanning the crowd, peeping between the rows of standing women, I’d spotted only girls sitting down, only girls too young to bear children. When I realized I was the only adult woman not standing, I had to drop my head to hide my tears.

One year I almost couldn’t sit through the prayer. I almost left.

I wanted to be happy for the other women, and I’d try to agree with the words the pastor prayed, but all the while I’d be missing my mother – and all the children I couldn’t have. During those unbearable prayers, sitting in a seat of shame, I’d pray too. I’d pray it would all end quickly, and we’d be equalized again in the pews.

Dave knew every part of that. He knew how long I had waited for this invitation.

The pastor began. “Lord, we ask that you equip these women for the task you’ve laid before them. Fill them with your wisdom.”

I need your wisdom, Father.

“Bless the children you’ve entrusted to their care.”

Yes, Lord – guard him and bless him.

“And bless these mothers for the sacrifices they’ve made.”

I hadn’t sacrificed a thing. All the sacrifices had been made for me, by a mother who was undoubtedly, at that moment, grieving deeply.

While the pastor continued praying, I snuck a peek at the people on risers at the back of the stage – who were all sneaking peeks at me. Those members of the choir, those friends, returned my look with congratulatory smiles. They’d prayed Zachary into my arms.

The pastor began to wind down. Zachary made a small noise and popped one arm out of his blanket. When I turned to my left and tilted my head to tuck his covering closer, my gaze landed eye-level with a woman in a pew across the aisle, a woman I knew, a woman who was sitting.

It was Lynn, a woman I had met only a few months back at our church’s worship retreat. When Dave had told the crowd clustered around the bonfire that I was infertile and we needed their prayers, Lynn had put her arms around me and shared that she, too, was infertile.

She felt my gaze, looked up, and tried to smile with the same forced movement my own lips had attempted in years past, every time my own eyes had caught the glance of a mother proudly standing.

My heart leapt across the aisle. I’m you, I wanted to shout. I’m still you.

She turned away.

I took my place next to Dave and together we stared at our blue-blanketed gift. Zachary yawned, his lips a perfect oval, his tongue a curled sliver. When he closed his mouth again, his chin quivered and he pursed his tiny lips.

Though my heart was full, grief lingered in a corner. There was room enough still for the pain of those past Mother’s Days. I remembered. I would always remember.

I knew the hollow ache inside Lynn. I wanted to tell her that little had changed. I’d thought that the coming of an eight-pound gift would erase the ache, but it didn’t. Instead, the love that sprang inside me forged a new place. It didn’t fill the emptiness. I was an infertile woman entrusted with a child, allowed to mother that child and love him and watch him grow. But I knew already – just four days into my new life – that the pain of the old life had followed me.

I was Lynn. I’d just been allowed to stand for a brief prayer.

I thought I might tell her all that as soon as the service ended. I looked across the aisle for courage.

But she was gone.

Shannon Woodward is the wife of a Calvary Chapel pastor and the mother of two adopted children. She’s currently an editor with The Word For Today and the author of Inconceivable: Finding Peace in the Midst of Infertility (Cook Communications, August 2006) and A Whisper in Winter: Stories of Hearing God’s Voice in Every Season of Life. She is also a regular columnist for Christian Women Online

.

You can keep up with Shannon on her blog and web site.

http://www.windscraps.blogspot.com http://www.shannonwoodward.com/

Shannon Woodward: Mother’s Day From An Infertile Woman’s Perspective

This article is being repeated for the fourth year in a row.  Shannon Woodward addresses a topic that I believe we should all try and be sensitive to.  If you are a pastor or have input to your pastor this article can be very beneficial.  Shannon’s bio is found at the end of the article.  Allan

Editor’s Note: Pastor, as you prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day with your congregation very soon, it’s important that you remember several groups within your church family who will have a particularly difficult time during this special holiday: people who have lost their mothers, those who have lost a child, or those who can never have children. This article focuses on what it’s like when an infertile woman experiences Mother’s Day at church for the first time with her adopted child.

Mother’s Day from an infertile woman’s perspective

Shannon Woodward

“I’d like to have all the mothers stand for prayer,” the pastor said.

The sanctuary rustled with movement. On my right and my left, in front of me and behind, a sea of women stood to their feet. For the first time ever, I was allowed to join them.

Rising, I clutched Zachary close. He was 4 days old.

From his seat next to me, Dave reached up and laid his hand against my back. At his touch, I turned my head and we caught each other’s eyes. No one else but he understood exactly what this moment meant to me.

One year I had fought tears all the way to church – dreading what I knew was to come – and cried all the way back home again, reliving the long, awful moments when I’d stayed glued to my seat while seemingly every other woman in the church rose to the honored position.

Another Mother’s Day, though I’d tried hard to keep my eyes locked on the hymnal in the pew rack before me, compulsion made me look. Scanning the crowd, peeping between the rows of standing women, I’d spotted only girls sitting down, only girls too young to bear children. When I realized I was the only adult woman not standing, I had to drop my head to hide my tears.

One year I almost couldn’t sit through the prayer. I almost left.

I wanted to be happy for the other women, and I’d try to agree with the words the pastor prayed, but all the while I’d be missing my mother – and all the children I couldn’t have. During those unbearable prayers, sitting in a seat of shame, I’d pray too. I’d pray it would all end quickly, and we’d be equalized again in the pews.

Dave knew every part of that. He knew how long I had waited for this invitation.

The pastor began. “Lord, we ask that you equip these women for the task you’ve laid before them. Fill them with your wisdom.”

I need your wisdom, Father.

“Bless the children you’ve entrusted to their care.”

Yes, Lord – guard him and bless him.

“And bless these mothers for the sacrifices they’ve made.”

I hadn’t sacrificed a thing. All the sacrifices had been made for me, by a mother who was undoubtedly, at that moment, grieving deeply.

While the pastor continued praying, I snuck a peek at the people on risers at the back of the stage – who were all sneaking peeks at me. Those members of the choir, those friends, returned my look with congratulatory smiles. They’d prayed Zachary into my arms.

The pastor began to wind down. Zachary made a small noise and popped one arm out of his blanket. When I turned to my left and tilted my head to tuck his covering closer, my gaze landed eye-level with a woman in a pew across the aisle, a woman I knew, a woman who was sitting.

It was Lynn, a woman I had met only a few months back at our church’s worship retreat. When Dave had told the crowd clustered around the bonfire that I was infertile and we needed their prayers, Lynn had put her arms around me and shared that she, too, was infertile.

She felt my gaze, looked up, and tried to smile with the same forced movement my own lips had attempted in years past, every time my own eyes had caught the glance of a mother proudly standing.

My heart leapt across the aisle. I’m you, I wanted to shout. I’m still you.

She turned away.

I took my place next to Dave and together we stared at our blue-blanketed gift. Zachary yawned, his lips a perfect oval, his tongue a curled sliver. When he closed his mouth again, his chin quivered and he pursed his tiny lips.

Though my heart was full, grief lingered in a corner. There was room enough still for the pain of those past Mother’s Days. I remembered. I would always remember.

I knew the hollow ache inside Lynn. I wanted to tell her that little had changed. I’d thought that the coming of an eight-pound gift would erase the ache, but it didn’t. Instead, the love that sprang inside me forged a new place. It didn’t fill the emptiness. I was an infertile woman entrusted with a child, allowed to mother that child and love him and watch him grow. But I knew already – just four days into my new life – that the pain of the old life had followed me.

I was Lynn. I’d just been allowed to stand for a brief prayer.

I thought I might tell her all that as soon as the service ended. I looked across the aisle for courage.

But she was gone.

Shannon Woodward is the wife of a Calvary Chapel pastor and the mother of two adopted children. She’s currently an editor with The Word For Today and the author of Inconceivable: Finding Peace in the Midst of Infertility (Cook Communications, August 2006) and A Whisper in Winter: Stories of Hearing God’s Voice in Every Season of Life. She is also a regular columnist for Christian Women Online

.

You can keep up with Shannon on her blog and web site.

http://www.windscraps.blogspot.com http://www.shannonwoodward.com/

What Celebrity Miscarriages Teach Us

Taken from Her. menutics which is located    HERE.

If famous folk can open up to the world about their pregnancy loss, why can’t we in the church?

Elise Erikson Barrett, guest blogger

Suddenly, it seems as if miscarriage is everywhere. Famous folks from Barbara Bush to Mariah Carey have recently disclosed previous pregnancy losses. Lily Allen suffered her second miscarriage in November, and Lisa Ling shared her own grief following a miscarriage on a recent episode of The View. Kelsey Grammer and his fiancée, Kayte Walsh, released a statement in October confirming the loss of their unborn child six weeks earlier. Giuliana Rancic and husband Bill opened up about their miscarriage this fall. A topic that historically has seemed taboo has somehow become hot tabloid fodder. OMG.

Lack of privacy is a given for the celebs among us, for we live in a culture that is breathlessly absorbed by the minutiae of famous lives. And whether you’re a hard-core subscriber to US Weekly and People or someone like me, slyly dawdling in the grocery checkout line so I can catch the tabloid headlines out of the corner of my eye, you can’t miss the obsession with celebrity baby-bump-watching. As gossip mag Life & Style‘s editor in chief Dan Wakeford has observed, “They’ve always been popular with readers, stories on babies . . . It used to be celebrity weddings, but not anymore. It’s all about babies.” Celebrity pregnancies are confirmed on Twitter and talk shows, and reporters try to outdo one another in cutesy cleverness, using tired witticisms about “buns in the oven” and coyly talking about “baby daddies.” Celebs are inevitably “thrilled” and “so happy” to announce that they are “preggo.” And really, what else are they going to say?

What’s been interesting is to see the ways in which these bereft celebrities and their suddenly, awkwardly serious biographers narrate their experiences of pregnancy loss. The language in which they are expected to be fluent, the perky, provocative vocabulary of fashion and premieres and love affairs, is not weighty enough to carry their grief. So they use quiet words. They release carefully worded statements using short, plain sentences. In the event that they are able to protect their loss as a secret, many of them wait, sometimes years, sometimes until they are securely pregnant again, to mention the miscarriage. They wait, as so many do, until what Ling so accurately described as the sense of “failure” can be overshadowed by news of a more recent “triumph.”

One dubious benefit of the celebrity fishbowl: You are always assured an audience. We Christians, however, have typically failed to make space in our worshiping communities for women and men to give voice to their anguish at losing wanted pregnancies. Our liturgies offer patterning for many kinds of losses funeral services (and their attendant traditions of providing food or wakes or visitations) lead us through the mystery of death; illnesses are lifted up during prayer-concern time or listed in the bulletin or passed along an informal but highly effective prayer line. But there are few well-worn paths to follow as we walk through the complicated pain of losing pregnancies. And mercy, but the words we often have to use to describe our loss are ugly. I was abruptly reminded of this while giving a short talk at our own church, describing the experience of my first miscarriage. I could feel the blush creeping up my neck as I said words like spotting, cramping, and clots to my audience of familiar and friendly church folk. I almost ran from the lectern like a miserable, terrified rabbit when I caught the eye of a gentleman in his 70s as I described going into a bathroom and seeing blood on my underwear.

How ironic. We claim to be saved by Christ’s blood, but are embarrassed to talk about our own blood, at least when connected to female reproductive parts. We claim, especially in this season, that God miraculously impregnated a teenaged girl, yet are ashamed to reflect on the terrifying, precarious, messy realities of pregnancy. We claim that our redemption entered history through the waters of a womb, but are unable to find words to talk about the mysterious losses that take place in those same waters. For a bunch of people who are perfectly happy to carol about wallowing in fountains of blood, we are remarkably squeamish.

body%20of%20christ.jpg

Celebs like Ling and Rancic have said that they are choosing to publicize their experiences of pregnancy loss for a purpose: to help combat the secrecy and shame surrounding miscarriage. They are not the first to do so (think Courteney Cox or Tori Amos), but they are the most recent in a movement toward open acknowledgment of both the widespread nature (as many as one in four pregnancies miscarries) and the intensity of the loss. Ling has started her own website called the Secret Society of Women, hoping to create a community online where women can find both support and an avenue for sharing painful or difficult experiences, miscarriage among them. Perhaps the courage of these women who are living through loss in the limelight can remind us Christians that we, too, can be courageous. Perhaps it can remind us that we, of all people, should be able to share loss with one another even loss that presents as a bloody, shameful failure. Perhaps our communities of faith can remember that it is our privilege to become, not secret societies of women, but places where women and men alike become part of a Body the Body of Christ, out of whose bloody shame was born redemption for this world.

Elise Erikson Barrett, a United Methodist pastor, is the author of What Was Lost: A Christian Journey through Miscarriage, which Her.meneutics reviewed last year. Shauna Niequist wrote about her miscarriage in an excerpted Her.meneutics post last year.


Stress, Genetics Can Cause Depression

 

 

Taken from Mayo Clinic which is located     HERE.

It seems to be common sense that hard times are associated with developing depressive symptoms. When a personal crisis occurs, many people who had been coping pretty well become clinically depressed.

Need more help?
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Go to the nearest hospital or emergency room
  • Call your physician, health provider or clergy
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness
    http://www.nami.org
    1-800-950-NAMI (6264)

The two classic examples are losing a relationship or losing a job. However, if a company terminates 100 employees, most of them don’t develop a depressive illness. An important question is why one employee manages to cope while another develops a mood disorder.

Seven years ago, an important paper published in one of our most respected scientific journals reported that people with a genetic variant of the serotonin transporter gene were more likely to become depressed when they had experienced stressful situations.

If a person had this genetic variant and wasn’t exposed to very stressful situations, they weren’t any more vulnerable to depression than if they had the more protective form of the gene. It was only when they had experienced severe personal distress that their depressive symptoms occurred. People without this genetic variant were often able to tolerate quite severe stress and not develop symptoms.

There has been much discussion of this finding. Many studies were done that measured stressful experiences in a variety of different ways. About a year ago, a paper reviewed only 14 of these studies and concluded that people with this genetic variant weren’t very much more vulnerable to stress. There were problems with this analysis, but it was published in a good journal and it made some doctors a bit skeptical about the finding.

This week, a new analysis of 56 studies concluded that there was a strong relationship. They demonstrated that people with the less active form of the serotonin transporter gene were more vulnerable to developing depression when they experienced severe stress.

The analysis found:

  • The strongest relationship was between severe stresses during childhood that then seemed to haunt the person for the rest of their life. This finding supports the view that young children are particularly vulnerable and that early abusive experiences can have a long lasting impact.
  • The next most difficult type of stress was serious medical problems. This also makes sense as we have known for many years that some people become very depressed when faced with the prospect of having to deal with a serious medical illness.
  • The least dangerous kind of stress was the hassles of everyday living that we’re all familiar with and that sometimes get out of hand. However, even this kind of stress was associated with an increased risk of depression if a person had this genetic variant.

The bottom line is that this new analysis provides strong evidence that stress can trigger depression and that the onset of depression is far more likely in people who are genetically vulnerable to developing a mood disorder.

Does this mean that if you have the variant, you are doomed to become depressed? Absolutely not. It just means that you’re more vulnerable to developing symptoms.

Does the study prove that if you don’t have the variant, you won’t develop a depression if you’re exposed to intense stress? Again, absolutely not. It just means that the risk is lower.

Perhaps the most important point that this analysis makes is that there is a biological vulnerability to depression just like there is a biological vulnerability to diabetes, asthma, or cancer.

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