Postpartum depression

May 28, 2017

It has long been believed that women who experience postpartum depression after giving birth to a child, do so because of the hormonal changes that occur in their bodies during and after pregnancy.  It makes intuitive sense that hormones could cause depression of pregnant women because we all know that hormones account for significant changes in their behavior and emotions.  Everyone knows, for example, that during pregnancy a woman is likely to experience unprovoked emotional reactions and it is not hard to believe that one of these hormonal reactions could be depression after childbirth.  It is clear that there are a significant number of women who become depressed after childbirth.  However, these depressive episodes are usually stimulated by significant social, psychological, marital, and economic factors affecting women after they give birth to children, and when these factors are identified they can be addressed so that the depression is resolved.

I saw a young Christian woman who became pregnant out of wedlock.  She discussed her pregnancy with a Set Free minister who helped her resolve her feelings of guilt about her immoral behavior.  The young woman decided to give her child up for adoption to a relative because she was not financially or emotionally capable of raising her own child, and she felt peaceful about this prior to the birth of her first child.  However, after giving birth to her child and seeing the child for an entire day she began to feel guilty and shameful, and she became depressed and had suicidal thoughts.  I visited with her in her hospital room and she informed me that she became depressed after giving birth to the child because her father did not come to visit her, and because she felt she was worthless and irresponsible to have a child that she could not raise.  When I asked her what specific thoughts she had she became very tearful and said about the child, "He'd be better off without me.  I'm a screw up and my mother always said I was worthless."

This young woman was instructed to think about her mother's comments to her while she was growing up, then I prayed and asked the Lord what He wanted her to know about those comments.  She said that the thoughts that came to her mind were, "I'm not worthless.  I am worthwhile and I'm doing the right thing."  She then said that she felt "Okay."  I prayed again and asked the Lord if there was anything else that He wanted her to know about her belief that she was worthless.  She said, "He needs me and needs to know why I gave him up.  He's going to love me anyway."  I asked her how she felt now about her child and she became tearful and said, "Happy; these are happy tears.  I am being responsible.  I feel fine."  She previously rated her depression as a 10, but now rated her depression as a 5 on a 10-point scale.

I asked the young lady why she still felt some depression and she said it was because her father had not come to visit her.  She said that he cares more about his new wife and her children and she believed that she was not important to him or loved by him.  She stated that he was always like this and that on her birthdays her father was always watching TV or on his cell phone.  I prayed and asked the Lord what He wanted her to know about her belief that her father did not love her and that she was unlovable.    She stated that the following thoughts came to her: "I'm lovable; dad has a weird way of showing his love but he loves me.  God loves me, too."

After having these thoughts come to her mind she said that she felt good about everything and she felt no more depression.  Her depression was completely gone now.  She read a letter that she had written to her child, explaining why she could not raise him and telling him how much she loved him.  It was a beautiful letter and she was able to read it without any negative feelings.  Even though she was losing her child she was at peace and was no longer felt any grief, sadness, shame, or depression because the Lord set her free.  Pills would not have helped her significantly and could have led to much worse feelings and other side effects, but the Lord set her free without any pills or side effects.

Depression over loss of legs

May 16, 2017

I was visiting a group of men in the local jail.  Many of the men in this pod were already reading their Bibles and praying with one another but one of them caught my attention because he was in a wheelchair and had no legs.  I gave a booklet to one inmate on "How to Overcome Depression" and the man in the wheelchair looked interested so I asked him if he had dealt with depression.  He indicated that he had so I gave him a booklet and explained that 87% of all depression was rooted in a loss, and I asked him if he had any significant losses.  He said that he lost his grandfather recently and he lost his legs five years ago.   I asked him which loss bothered him the most and he said it was the loss of his legs.  He admitted that he was taking antidepressants for his depression but it wasn't helping.

I asked him if he would like to get rid of his depression and he said he would, so I sat down at a table with him and explained that it was certainly sad that he lost his legs but the Lord did not want him to stay depressed.  I quoted Matthew 11:28 to him, "Come unto Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest."  He said that he would like to get rid of his depression but that it was a "disease," but he admitted that the pills had not helped him.  I challenged his belief that depression is a disease and explained how it is caused by grief and loss and how the Lord could take his grief and carry it for him if he was willing.  He stated that he wanted to get rid of his depression.  He said that he was sure of his salvation because he had confessed his sin to the Lord and asked forgiveness and asked the Lord to come into his life, and he agreed that he would like to be set free from his depression.

I explained that there were two steps for releasing his grief: first, make a list of what he missed about his legs, and second pray and ask the Lord to take his sadness and grief from him.  I asked him what he missed the most about having legs.  He stated that he missed being about to work, and he had lost his fiancee and his home and everything he owned.  He also said he missed his independence, being able to play with his daughter in the park, playing basketball, going for walks, and driving himself places.  He added that he misses being able to reach things up high.  I asked him if he would be willing to give his grief to the Lord and he said he was, so I led him in a prayer and he told the Lord these things he missed.  Then he asked the Lord to take his grief and replace it with His peace.  I asked the Lord if there was anything that He wanted this man to know.  The inmate said, "I keep thinking of a verse that says He will not give me more than I can bear," which he said made him feel better.

I asked this man how he felt now as he thought about the loss of his legs.  He said "I will never be whole or complete again.  I am worthless."  I asked if I could pray with him about this thought and he agreed.  I prayed, "Lord, what do you want this man to know about his belief that he is worthless because he lost his legs?"  I told him to just be quiet and tell me if any thoughts came into his mind.   He said, "It reminds me of the 'footprints in the sand' story and I believe God is carrying me now.  He wants me to keep my eyes on Him."  I asked him if he still believed that he was worthless and he said, "No, I am not worthless.  He has something great for me planned."  I asked him how he felt now when he thought about the loss of his legs.  He said, "Joy, happiness, and peace."  He said that he felt no more depression or sadness.  I encouraged him to continue praying about his other losses, such as the loss of his grandfather, and when his depression is completely gone he can slowly discontinue his antidepressant.  When I saw him a week later he was still smiling and said that he was no longer depressed.

It is amazing that doctors will tell someone like this man who lost his legs that his depression is a disease and is caused by a chemical imbalance when he had such a significant loss such as this.  God does have a plan for this man.  He has a clear testimony of salvation but he needs to be set free from his depression so that the Lord can use him to help others.  As I left the jail I was full of joy and peace at the opportunity to help this man.  I felt like Peter must have felt when he told the lame man in Acts 5 "Silver and gold have I none, but what I have I give to you now.  Rise up and walk."  This man did not rise up and walk but he did have a smile on his face and peace in his heart which was a testimony to the other men in this jail pod who witnessed this miraculous healing of his heart through prayer.  

  • Grief over Health Loss


                I met a man at our hotel in Denver.  He had seen my van that says, “Set Free from anger, grief, shame and addiction.”  While I was in the hotel kitchen he asked me if I was an addiction counselor and I told him that I used to be but now I am retired.  I shared with him that I now am teaching people how to effectively overcome grief and anger through prayer.

                I asked this man about himself and he disclosed to me that he is a recovering alcoholic and he has COPD and his breathing is down to 34% capacity.  He also admitted that he has had a lot of losses and anger that led him to become an alcoholic, but his strongest grief is over his loss of his health.  I shared with him how to overcome grief and sadness by making a list of what he misses about his former good health, and then to pray and ask the Lord to take his sadness from him.  I asked him if he would like to get rid of that grief and sadness and he said that he would.

                I asked him what he missed the most about his good health and he said that he misses being able to work and to learn new things all the time.  He remodeled homes and he had to quit completely because he did a job that should have taken 3 days but instead took him 3 weeks to complete.  He also said that he missed going for walks, going out in the evenings with his friends, and being able to travel.  He can no longer drive through the mountains in high altitudes due to his poor breathing.  He identified ten things he missed about his good health and then I led him in a prayer to give his grief and sadness to the Lord.

                After our prayer I asked the Lord if there was anything that he wanted this man to know.  He heard nothing afterwards but said that he felt more calm and peaceful.  He was so stirred up previously that he said he could not even watch a movie because he was so sad and preoccupied.  I asked him if he was 100% sure that he was going to heaven.  He was not sure so I shared the gospel with him using the Doubts booklet and he stated that he asked the Lord to forgive him and was saved several years ago.  He thanked me for talking with him and said I had helped him.  I encouraged him to pray about some more grief or anger each day so that he can experience God’s peace each day, in spite of his health condition.

                It is such a blessing and joy to help people like this man who are struggling emotionally.  People all around us are agitated and need God’s comfort and it is our privilege to share with them ow to experience Gods peace.  God is so good and He loves to comfort people and bear their burdens and replace them with His peace.