Pastor Brad Hoefs

Pastor | Author | Speaker | Hope Coach | Mental Health Advocate

Advice from a King in Managing Depression by Rick Qualls

Advice from a King in Managing Depression by Rick Qualls

You are not alone in your struggle with depression.

Even David, the shepherd boy who became the great king of Israel, struggled with depression.

In Psalm 37 David teaches us ways of managing depression.

David practices dealing with his enemies with the spiritual tool of meekness. Meekness is not weakness. Meekness is strength under control. Here are some ways we can use meekness to manage depression.

What was  David’s enemy? We are not sure, but our enemy is depression. You will encounter those who say unkind things. Meekness is not concerned about people who make hurtful remarks or who just don’t understand the path you travel through depression. Psalms 37:1 says, “Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong.” Don’t be overly concerned with those who say cutting remarks. Many do so out of ignorance.

There is power in letting hurtful remarks go. Many don’t understand depression but think they do and give advice that is not helpful.

Meekness places trust in God. The season of depression will end. Meekness practices day by day the things we can do to manage our symptoms and trust God with the things we cannot. ”For like the grass they [your enemy depression] will soon wither, like green plants they will die away.” (Ps 37:2.)  There will be a time when this episode of depression will ease. Imagine what it will be like when it lifts.

Meekness fills the mind with positive words from God. God’s promises combat negative self-talk. The tapes of our mind have phrases we use over and over. Phrases like, ”I’m broken.” “There is no hope.” I don’t have anything to give.” infect our mind with hopelessness.

Instead, follow David’s advice in Psalms 37:5-6, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.” Replay God’s promises in your mind to counter negative rumination.

Meekness seeks a quiet heart. It learns how to be still before the Lord, how to keep silence in his presence. “Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him.” (Ps 37:7)

For me, the practice of contemplative prayer was a life-saver during a deep depressive episode. Learning to quiet my heart, I could feel God’s grace overwhelming me and relieving the dark moment. Being still before the Lord takes time to learn but it may be helpful for you.

With meekness don’t let your anger take control. Sometimes anger is a coping method, a natural result of depression. Some have defined depression as “anger turned inward.” Psalm 37:8 says, “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it only leads to evil.”

And don’t miss the promise, “But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.”

May practicing meekness bring peace to you, my friend.

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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Managing Your Fears With The Help Of God by Stan Popovich

Managing Your Fears With The Help Of God by Stan Popovich

 

By

Dealing with fear and anxiety can be very difficult. As a result, using the help of God can be very effective in managing your fears. With this in mind, here are some suggestions on how a person can use the help of God in his or her own struggles.

The first step a person should do is to start talking and praying to God. A person can go to church or to a quiet place during the day to tell God that they are having a problem. They should tell God how they feel and ask God for some of his help. A person could also review the Bible and read some articles on trusting in God and then apply these concepts in their life. Each and every day, a person should make it up a habit to talk to God and ask for His help.

Remember that the one source that a person should use as a basis in managing their fears and anxieties is using God as a basis in dealing with their fears. Why? The power of God is the one power that is stronger than your fears and anxieties. Also, God loves each one of us and he is the one person who has the power to solve all of our problems. He will help you if you ask him to.

When using the help of God to manage your fears, a person needs to be aware of how God is working in their life. Most of the time God works in mysterious ways and the answers he provides might not be that obvious. A person must be aware of God being in their life even when they are dealing with their fears and anxieties.

A person must also be sensitive to the answers God gives them. Some people think that the answers that God provides must be religious in nature. That is not always the case. God may provide the answers in a way that might not be religious in nature. These answers could involve basic psychology and cognitive techniques that deals with how to manage fear and anxiety. The point to remember is that although a person may use these psychology methods, its important to use God as the center of everything in your life and in your struggle.

If you have trouble, talk to a member of the clergy or a professional counselor to help deal with your fears and anxieties. They will be able to provide you with additional advice and insights on how to deal with your current problem. By talking to a professional a person will be helping themselves in the long run because they will become better able to deal with their problems in the future. Remember that it never hurts to ask for help.

Finally, the most important thing is to continue praying and talking to God. Talk to God as if you were talking to a friend. Read the Bible and pray hard. Be persistent and be open in the avenues that God may provide to you in solving your problem. It is not always easy, however God is in control and he will help you if you ask Him.

 

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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How I Went From Surviving to Thriving: 3 Simple Steps By: Samantha Karraa

How I Went From Surviving to Thriving: 3 Simple Steps By: Samantha Karraa

By: Samantha Karraa

The long journey towards finding a diagnosis was over. The battle had rendered us
exhausted. I wished the symptoms, the relationship problems, the suicidal impulses, the
emotional pain, the appointments with so many doctors had all been a nightmare but I woke up to find it was my reality. I had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

The year before getting diagnosed had been like a hurricane that had gone by and not only had it destroyed almost everything that was already in my life but had also destroyed any hopes about the future. Led by my doctors, I started the trial and error process with meds until we found a combination that seemed to work for me. However, I was still under the weight of having to carry a mental health diagnosis. The secondary effects and the stigma around the topic were additional pains. My identity started getting attached to the illness’s  symptoms. I was merely surviving.

Nowadays my symptoms are in remission. I am living a full and rich life in spite of my
disorder. My relationships are better than they have ever been. A new love has covered my marriage. I’m being able to take care of and enjoy my parents and my children. I have new friends. New goals and dreams. I have taken on new projects. I am serving the Lord with gladness in my job and ministries at church. I am playing tennis, socializing, staying active and eating healthy.

Don’t get me wrong- I still have bad days. There are still days when it is hard to get up
and get moving. But even on bad days my hope tank is full. I manage my illness and it does not define me. I am thriving.

How did I get from surviving to thriving? To me, it happened in 3 simple but powerful steps.

1. I started attending a Fresh Hope group.

I live in El Salvador but, by an act of God’s providence, I ran into Fresh Hope’s online group. I started attending every Tuesday night. The topics were great, but more importantly the fact it was the face that I was accepted and understood. I was also exposed to stories of how the Lord had helped others in their recovery process and that filled me with hope. Right from the first meeting, I remember the impact it had on me to be able to be in a virtual room with 10 other people, all with different mental health issues, carrying on with hope in life..! They were graduating from a master’s degree, taking care of their families, getting married, helping others, serving at their churches. Hope is catchy.
If you haven’t yet attended a Fresh Hope group look for one in your area or connect to the online group. Here’s a useful link https://freshhope.us/find-a-group/

2. I read the Fresh Hope Workbook.

Written in a simple but powerful format, reading the workbook was easy in spite of my difficulties concentrating. It felt as though I was having a conversation with its author, Pastor Brad Hoefs.
I came to know the 6 tenets of recovery and each of them was a breakthrough for me.
These are not steps but rather blocks that compose the recovery process and, more
importantly, the solid ground where my recovery would stand.

3. I became a Fresh Hope group facilitator.

This is when I started really thriving. One night the facilitator in my group asked me if I
would like to become a facilitator myself. Eventually I signed up for the facilitator’s training program which turned out not only to be filled with really useful information but also very inspiring.
Simultaneously, the facilitator of my group started delegating small bits of the meeting to
me. One day I would lead the check-in process. The other one I would lead prayer. And
another day I would lead the topic! Eventually I completed the training program and I was ready to lead a group. My hope level was overflowing.

I thought about all the people in the world who speak Spanish but don’t speak English and their great need for a program like Fresh Hope. Eventually I translated the tenets and some topic cards and started an online group in Spanish on Wednesday nights. Being a facilitator has definitely been key to my recovery. They say that in spiritual matters the more you give something out, the more you receive. The more I share hope in every meeting, the more I am filled by it. In addition, I stay in touch with recovery material which propels me in the recovery direction. Seeing how the Lord gave purpose to all the pain I went through as I lead the group is a powerful healing component!… He is redeeming my past as I serve him every week and for this I am so grateful. If you want to up your level in your recovery I strongly urge you to consider stepping up and becoming a Fresh Hope facilitator..!

Check out this link https://freshhope.us/start-a-group/ to find out more about how to do this. I guarantee it will be a blessing, not only for your own recovery but for the people around you.

So how about you- where are you in your journey from surviving to thriving? I encourage you, if you still haven’t, to take one of these simple steps today.

 

Fresh Hope needs your help! At the core of Fresh Hope is the belief that it is possible to live well in spite of having a mental health challenge; that no matter how one feels, it is possible to still have hope and live a good life.

The need for all of the Fresh Hope materials to be translated into Spanish is a necessary next step. We are asking for your financial contribution to help us make this happen! Check out how you can make a difference HERE!

Bipolar & Creating Mini Habits For Positive Change

Bipolar & Creating Mini Habits For Positive Change

To change our default setting it must be done one mini habit at a time.

If you are like me, there have been numerous times you were highly motivated to make BIG changes in your mental health journey. One of those times for me was deciding that I needed to exercise at least three times a week. That was a big change to make since I wasn’t even exercising once a week. So I exercised three times that first week, but by the next week I had given it up. I just couldn’t do it. It was too big of a change.

I’ve done this over and over throughout the years since being diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1995. I would be highly motivated to make a healthy change regarding my sleep, eating, exercising, thinking, or working. It seemed that the motivation to make the change would last a short time before I would revert to my “default settings.” And each time I would feel like a bigger failure. I began to believe that my inability to stay motivated to make a healthy change had to be connected in some way to having bipolar disorder. After all, I could easily become “laser-beamed-focused” on something I wanted or liked to do, so I became convinced that my repeated failures had to have something to do with having bipolar.

It was as though any unhealthy “default settings” I had or any changes that I wasn’t allyousef-al-nasser-261164 that interested in – even though they would be good for me – could only be made little by little because I just didn’t have enough self-motivation to do them all at once. I figured I just didn’t have the self-discipline necessary, or somehow there was a flaw in my character. Those beliefs changed recently when someone introduced me to a book that they had found very helpful in making changes in their life. The title of the book is Mini Habits by Stephen Guise. I discovered that if I began making small changes for extended periods of time, the changes would stick.

In the book, Guise clarifies the difference between motivation and self-will. He says that motivation is short-lived, and to make real change you have to begin doing small things that can be done via pure self-will, and not depend on motivation to do it.

He started to change his health by doing one push-up daily. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But think about it. Had he decided to do 50 per day, that would have required ongoing motivation, and he would have given up when the motivation to do the 50 push-ups had passed. (Which would have been on the first day for me! lol) So his first mini habit was to do a single push-up. Doing just the one push-up, he could make himself do it via self-will power. What he found was that once he would do one push-up, he always did a few more, but no matter what, he always did at least one. He changed his brain’s default setting slowly, over time, and it stuck.

I’ve got to tell you that this little book on mini habits is changing my life!

I’ve stopped beating up on myself for not being able to make sweeping changes in my life. It makes total sense to me. There are small things I can choose to do whether I feel motivated to do them or not. For example, I know I need to drink more water, especially with the meds that I take. But, the thought of drinking eight full glasses of water overwhelms me, and I end up drinking nothing. So, I started with the mini habit of drinking one large full glass of water with my meds first thing in the morning, and I’ve found myself drinking more water throughout the day and enjoying it! I know, it’s not an earth-shattering change, but earth-shattering changes won’t work. Most of us do not have that kind of motivation with or without bipolar disorder.

It only makes sense that our brains have default settings. Those are the settings that our brains default to when we are stressed or things we can do with little to no thought. For example, my default setting for when to eat is when I’m sad, happy, tired, stressed, or when I’m awake! This eating default setting has been a well-worn patterned default in my brain for many years. Unfortunately, unlike being able to go into your computer default settings, make a change and click “save,” we cannot do that with our brains. Instead, if we want to make changes to our default settings, we must make them bit by bit, by starting a mini habit that we can do without one ounce of motivation on our part; a simple thing that can be done by sheer self-willpower.

Discovering these things have become the single greatest key to making change happen in my life.

Your inability to not make sweeping health changes in your life is not a character flaw. It’s called being human!

So, what mini habit can you do by sheer self-willpower that will bring about a simple, healthy change in your life?

 

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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25 Inspirational and Insightful Quotes for Living Well in Spite of a Mental Health Diagnosis

25 Inspirational and Insightful Quotes for Living Well in Spite of a Mental Health Diagnosis

One of my favorite things to do is to collect inspirational sayings that resonate with me. I find short inspirational quotes to be simple ways to remember important truths in learning and remembering how to live well in spite of having a mental health diagnosis.

So, I thought I would share with you some new quotes that I have found to be helpful:

  • “To get somewhere new, you must first decide that you are tired of being where you are.” Unknown
  • “You can’t change someone who doesn’t see an issue with his or her actions.” Unknown
  • “A moment of patience in a moment of anger saves you a hundred moments of regret.” Unknown
  • Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys. Rita Schiano
  • “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” J.K. Rowling
  • “Busy is a drug that a lot of people are addicted to in their lives.” Unknown
  • “Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.” Unknown
  • “What defines is not our past. Rather, how well we rise after falling.” Unknown
  • “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change: I am changing the things I cannot accept.” Unknown
  • “Two things prevent us from happiness; living in the past and observing others.” Unknown
  • “Your past does not determine who you are. Your past prepares you for who you are to become.” Unknown
  • “I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” Unknown
  • “Never trust your tongue when your heart is bitter.” Unknown
  • “Failure isn’t final unless you quit.” Unknown
  • “Just because the past didn’t turn out like you wanted it to or expected it to, doesn’t mean your future can’t be better than you ever imagined.” Unknown
  • “Let’s stop believing that our differences make us superior or inferior to one another.” Unknown
  • “Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us.” Unknown
  • “I refuse to please others at the expense of my emotional well-being. Even if it means saying no to people who are used to hearing yes.”
  • “Faith is the art of holding on to things in spite of your changing moods and circumstances.” C.S. Lewis
  • “You don’t protect your heart by acting like you don’t have one.” Unknown
  • “You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.” Winston Churchill
  • “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill
  • “Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill
  • “Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out.” Unknown
  • “No one can go back and make a brand new start. However, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” Unknown

Do any of these quotes speak to you? If so, why? Do you have any favorite inspirational quotes that have been helpful to you in learning how to live well in spite of a mental health diagnosis?

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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Managing The Fear Of Loneliness: By Stanley Popovich

Managing The Fear Of Loneliness: By Stanley Popovich

By: Stanley Popovich

Many people deal with the fear of living alone. Loneliness can make someone feel depressed and unhappy so its important to not let being alone be a factor in your life.

Here is a list of techniques that a person can use so that the fear of being alone doesn’t become a major issue in their lives.

 

  1. The first step is to find an activity that you enjoy and where you can meet a lot of people.For instance, joining a group activity such as a volleyball group, women’s club, or making crafts can be a great way to meet people. Doing something that you like to do will make you happy and will increase your chances of making friends.

 

  1. Spending time with animals can be a great source of companionship.Whether you have a dog or you go to your local shelter, spending time with an animal or pet can help us to feel better. Animals can be of good company to all of us whether we are alone or not.

 

  1. Helping others through community service can be of some help.There are many people out there who could benefit from your time and talents. Helping others can give you a source of pride and accomplishment and also can lead to friendships.

 

  1. It isn’t fun being alone, but sometimes there are worse things.For instance, imagine that you are married or stuck in a relationship that you can’t get out of and also makes you miserable. Not only do you have to live with this person, it would be difficult to get out of the relationship because of various financial or personal reasons. As a result, you are stuck living with someone that you can’t stand and makes you depressed every single day of your life. With this viewpoint, being alone doesn’t sound that bad.

 

  1. Spending time with God can help.Spending time with God and asking God for help in your time of loneliness can be of great comfort. You never know how God will work in your life. Including God in your every day living can help reduce your loneliness. Talk to a priest or minister if you are unsure on what to do.

 

  1. The important thing is to do something constructive.Sitting around and doing nothing will not make things any better whether it is dealing with the fear of being alone or something else. Take it one day at a time and stay committed in trying to solve your problem.

 

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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When Choosing Joy Is Not That Easy By: Katie Dale

When Choosing Joy Is Not That Easy By: Katie Dale

By: Katie Dale

Understanding the Phrase, “Choose Joy”

Let’s be real for a second. When I hear “choose joy” I think of denying my current emotions.

I also think it’s a blanket statement that could confuse people, especially Christians with mental illness. We could easily start thinking we must feel happy and choose to think positively all the time, despite our chemical imbalances and episodes of severe depression.

I don’t want to get rid of the phrase, but I’d like to provide what I feel is some much-needed context, much like when we consider the Lord’s command that “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48, ESV) The Lord knows we can’t simply be perfect, otherwise we wouldn’t have needed Jesus’ sacrifice; but He does command us to strive for perfection, and just as we are commanded to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4, ESV), the Lord want us to consistently rely on and choose His joy as our strength, especially during tough times, when we don’t have joy inside ourselves.

What Is Joy?

So let’s define “joy”:

(According to Merriam Webster Dictionary)

“a : the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires : DELIGHT
b : the expression or exhibition of such emotion : GAIETY
c : a state of happiness or felicity : BLISS
d: a source or cause of delight”

In the context of the Christian life, joy is when our saved souls rejoice and take comfort in knowing we’re given the promises of God. It’s also a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), a quality of contentment, preceded by love, followed by peace. It’s liberating. It gives us strength when we come to the tough times in life.

You’re probably thinking, “Yeah, joy is great, and I want the joy of the Lord. But, come on, it’s not that easy!”  And you’d be right. But while it may seem incredibly difficult during our darkest moments, joy is always there for the taking.

However, it’s not a light switch we can just turn on and off.

When Feeling Joyful Isn’t An Option

In clinical depression, our joy can be stolen. We can lose our confidence. We can forget the contented feelings and state of peace. As our brains become more chemically imbalanced, and we’re drowning in an almost debilitating excess of sadness, “choosing joy” can become what feels impossible. I’m not saying that there is a point of no return, or that once you lose your joy it’s gone forever…on the contrary, it is up to us to seek out help for our condition that impairs our livelihood and wellbeing.

Feeling the emotion of joy may be all that a clinically depressed person wants. When we focus instead on the source of joy – namely, Jesus – things are put into perspective.

We can, we should, look to Jesus for healing and rejoice in the sense of “I’m standing on His promises to redeem my mind and restore my joy.” Though, there is a distinct difference between “choosing” to believe God’s promises, and recognizing our feelings when they are influenced by an illness of the mind. In mental illness, the feeling of joy can be stolen and its presence forgotten. It’s at these times we have to focus less on the feeling we can’t attain, and re-focus on the source of true Joy.

Sometimes, the feeling of joy is not an option because severe depression has beaten our minds to a pulp.

Often we simply resign ourselves to letting depression take its course, i.e. believing the enemy’s lies about ourselves (“you’re worthless”), choosing to live unwisely and making foolish choices in life (reaping behaviors and feelings sown by negative thoughts). In these cases, we forfeit joy.

How To Tap Into The Source Of Joy

It can be impossible to choose the feeling of joy in severe depression, but that’s when we need to focus less on the feeling aspect of joy, and focus on the source aspect of joy.

Philippians 4:4-7 ESV, tells us to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” 

How Paul continues this passage hints at how to rejoice, and find that peace:

 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8, ESV) 

The key to rejoicing is to think on those virtues.

Notice how in John 16:24 (ESV), Jesus said, “Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” Again, God is encouraging an inquiring, a petitioning stance from His children.

A Process, Not A Light Switch

In the darkest times we need to focus not on feeling joy, but on the Lord. Through focusing on the promises of God, the blessings of God, the victory of God, that peace and joy will be sown back into your heart.  But it will still be striving, as the verses above say, “by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving” and “ask”…it’s not a light switch, it’s a process in the hard times, but the Lord promises He’ll bring you through it and restore your joy.

So instead of telling yourself or others to “choose joy,” consider the implications of this message, and reconsider. As with any feelings of happiness or contentment, these don’t originate from the pursuit of them in and of themselves. Rather, feelings of joy and happiness follow a thought life that dwells on the richness of the goodness of God. Feelings follow thoughts, so redirect “choose joy” to, may I suggest, “think Jesus.” May that be your path to finding joy. That’s certainly our choice to make: we do or don’t dwell on Jesus.

 

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

-Helen Howarth Lemmel

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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Why Loved Ones Need Support Too by Renae Blum

Why Loved Ones Need Support Too by Renae Blum

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It wasn’t until Nebraska parents Rob and Sharon* attended their first Fresh Hope group that they realized how desperately they needed to be there. Their oldest daughter, a college-age adult, had struggled with anxiety and depression since childhood, and been hospitalized several times.

“It rocks your world, when your child is sick like that,” Sharon said. “You’re just floundering around, not knowing how you’re supposed to feel, what you’re supposed to do. You go to work, and it’s like an escape, because it’s something normal.”

Attending that first Fresh Hope meeting, Rob and Sharon were stunned to read the loved ones’ section of the tenets.

“I went through and realized I could relate to every sentence,” Rob said. “I’ve felt like a victim. I’ve pushed too hard. I’ve bailed out at times – like, ‘She’s going to have to deal with this herself; I’m too tired.’”

After attending Fresh Hope for several months, and interacting with the facilitators and other members, he says he gained insight and knowledge about one of the darkest and most confusing times of his life.

“I realized that I’d been doing some things that were pretty damaging for the relationship, meaning well. I just didn’t know,” Rob said.

He gained something else as well – hope.

“You go there and realize you’re not alone. That as helpless and hopeless as it may seem, someone else has been through it too. The ‘hope’ component is pretty big,” Rob said.

Sharon said she didn’t know at first that loved ones were welcomed and encouraged to attend. At her first Fresh Hope meeting, she watched as parents and spouses around the table shared personal stories.

“Listening to them, it was like, ‘YES! I’m not weird!’” she laughed. “You go through this feeling like you can’t talk about it with anyone besides your spouse. And then you come to Fresh Hope, and suddenly there’s a room full of people who want to listen and who understand every word you say. It’s an awesome thing, and totally unique.”

Rob added that one unexpected benefit he’s gained from Fresh Hope is the ability to reach out to other struggling parents.

“It becomes clear pretty quickly that I know what they’re going through, and am a safe person to tell bad things to,” Rob said. “They can shock me with the things they say, but I’m not going to assume they’re a bad parent. Because I’ve been there. The circumstances are different, but I can sympathize, and I can listen.”

Sharon turns to him. “Maybe that’s why you’ve gone through the things you have,” she said. “It’s like that verse: ‘He comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort…’”

“‘…those who are in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God,’” Rob said, smiling as he helped her finish the verse.**

“It’s been such a blessing to our family,” Sharon said. “I hope that wherever our daughter lives, she’ll have a Fresh Hope group to go to. I’m so glad she connected with one.”

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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Music for Your Soul When You Are Going Through Difficulties

Music for Your Soul When You Are Going Through Difficulties

This edition of Fresh Hope for Mental Health is for anyone who is going through a difficult time in their life whether they have a mental health issue or not.  So, this is one podcast that you are going to want to share with any of your friends or family who are in a valley of challenges right now.

In this edition of Fresh Hope for Mental Health Pastor Brad shares four songs that have been extremely helpful to him as he has faced some of his darkest difficulties.

After listening to this podcast, we encourage you to email us at info@FreshHope.us with a comment or question that we will share on our next podcast.

To listen to this podcast just click on the icon below or click here

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If you are listening to this podcast on iTunes, we encourage you to leave a comment regarding the podcast. Or you can leave a voice message for us on the site:  www.FreshHope4MentalHealth.com

Pastor Brad Hoefs, the host of Fresh Hope for Mental Health, is the founder of Fresh Hope Ministries, a network of Christian mental health support groups for those who have a diagnosis and their loved ones. In other words, Fresh Hope is a Christian mental health support group.

Brad was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1995. He is a weekly blogger for www.bphope.com (Bipolar Magazine). He is also a certified peer specialist and has been doing pastoral counseling since 1985. Brad is also the author of Fresh Hope: Living Well in Spite of a Mental Health Diagnosis, which is available on Amazon or at http://www.FreshHopeBook.com

If you are interested in more information about Fresh Hope go to http://www.FreshHope.us or email info@FreshHope.us or call 402.932.3089.

To donate to Fresh Hope go to http://freshhope.us/donate/

For a complete list of where Fresh Hope groups are presently meeting, go to www.FreshHope.us and click on “find a group.”  Or you may attain an online group of meetings of Fresh Hope by going to www.FreshHopeMeeting.com

If you are interested in starting a Fresh Hope group within your faith community, contact Julie at Julie@FreshHope.us 

Fresh Hope for Mental Health is a production of Fresh Hope Ministries. 

Fresh Hope Ministries is a non-profit ministry.  

The copyrights of this program belong to Fresh Hope Ministries and may not be duplicated without written permission. 

All of the podcasts of Fresh Hope Today, as well as numerous other videos, are all available on our YouTube channel: Fresh Hope Network

 Fresh Hope for Mental Health is on Facebook at  www.Facebook.com/FreshHopeforMentalHealth

“Why We Offer a Christian Mental Health Group at Our Church” By Dale Rose

“Why We Offer a Christian Mental Health Group at Our Church” By Dale Rose

By: Pastor Dale Rose

Mental health issues and how to deal with them came ‘out of the blue’ when our son was diagnosed as schizo-affected.  It was “upfront and personal” and very hard to deal with, but we had no choice.  The problem was ever growing as the experiment with different prescriptions did little to alleviate the paranoia, delusions and other symptoms Steve was enduring.   

As a family, where faith is paramount, we found that there wasn’t really any help within the church.  We traveled from church to church because our son believed that surely we would find the right place where this ‘problem’ could be dealt with once and for all.  Our search in the Christian community was met with one pastor who told us the problem was solved, “we cast out all the demons.”  Steve was excited, “finally someone found the problem and I’m going to be ok.”

He wasn’t ok and it was a great trial of his faith and of ours.   Steve was a Ministerial Studies graduate at one of the finest universities and found his place in ministry soon after graduation in Hawaii.    He was doing fine in a Calvary Chapel Church. It was there that he first began to exhibit signs that something was wrong. Things didn’t work out and he returned to the mainland.

For years we dealt with Steve’s mental illness as best we could.   At one time we even found a Christian therapist who was of the same denomination as us and was within our insurance program.  Unfortunately, the therapist was transferred to another distant hospital, too far for us to travel. We were met with frustration after frustration in our quest to find something besides meds and therapists who didn’t understand the spiritual aspects that were part of Steve’s particular illness.

We have found that the enemy of our soul delights in beating up those with mood disorders.  We often heard Steve say….. “God told me he was through with me, I’ve committed the unpardonable sin.”   It would require sessions of prayer and reasoning to convince him that it was a lie from hell.   We continued to support him and take him to counseling sessions and some peer support groups, some of which only made things worse.   We couldn’t find the right therapist! The support groups were not supportive at all, sometimes all the negativity only made things worse.   There didn’t seem to be any hope anywhere.

In March of 2014 I went to a symposium called Mental Health and The Church.  It was held at Saddleback Church where Rick Warren is Pastor. Before hearing any presenters, I was browsing the many books that were available for sale in the different booths.  

One of the books caught my eye, it had a simple title, FRESH HOPE.    That’s what we needed, fresh hope. Oh how we longed for something that would help us out of the pit we were in.  Speaker after speaker presented their stories and helps in regards to mental health and mood disorders. One speaker stood out,  Brad Hoefs, the author of the book I had bought before the sessions began.

Brad had his break with reality just like Steve.   It too was traumatic and life changing. Both Steve and Brad lost their ministries because of their mental health diagnosis.  When I returned to our church after the conference, I consulted with the lead pastors and told them about FRESH HOPE and that the three of us, Steve, my wife and I would like to see this ministry at our church.  At that time, one person had to have a mental health diagnosis in order to charter with FRESH HOPE. Steve was so excited when the leadership said yes to our proposal; he would once again have a place of ministry, helping facilitate a faith based mental health support group.

We began the training through the manuals and videos provided and set a date a couple of months ahead for our launch.  Sadly, we lost Steve to a massive heart attack two weeks before our launch. But having walked beside him in his journey for seventeen years, we decided that we could use our experience and knowledge gained to help others.

Four and a half years have elapsed since that symposium and we continue to minister to those who suffer from the stigma associated with mental illness.   We are doing our part to end the stigma and break the silence, we see FRESH HOPE at our church as Steve’s legacy.

I visited a mental health ward at one of our hospitals five times last week.  This week we will have our regular meeting with people looking for help and hope; they won’t leave disappointed.   Fresh Hope fills the bill! Last week twenty seven people left feel better than when they came. We recently had to change our meeting location because we outgrew the old one!  Steve would be so glad to see that his years of suffering helped us to better reach out and touch someone. Fresh Hope is an expression of God’s hand extended. Now our quest and challenge is to develop new leaders.  Our belief is that every church needs Fresh Hope! The statistics demand a response from the Christian community. I have found that Fresh Hope is the best response a church can offer!

Thank God for all of the different groups making an effort to alleviate the pain and suffering of those with mood disorders.   However, some of them are stuck in molds that aren’t the best. One church uses a program that goes for twenty-four weeks, but if you miss the first two weeks, you have to wait till they start over!   You are welcome at Fresh Hope anytime!
Picture1Pastor Dale Rose is Minister of Pastoral Care at Canyon Hills Assembly of God in Bakersfield, California.   He and his wife, Martha, facilitate the weekly Fresh Hope peer support program for the church and are ambassador-advocates for mental health issues.   Martha does the “heavy lifting” (teaching) each week.  Contact info: freshhope4u2@gmail.com

 

 

 

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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