I have not posted in awhile. Self doubt and fear had convinced me that I did not have anything of worth to offer anyway, and so with that state of mind, it became easier and easier to justify letting go of my blog.
That being said, there was a constant inner voice that begged me to keep going. I shut that voice out. I had come up with thousands of reasons as to why I shouldn’t continue with my blog…yet the quiet voice persisted. Despite all of the many reasons I had come up with, not one of them was stronger than my desire to help another individual who too was struggling. The hope of helping even just one person was enough to give me the strength and courage to look past my fear and self doubt. That hope motivated me to press forward. And so, if you are reading this post, I want you to know that it is you who gives me reason to write. I am writing because you matter. You are of worth.
An idea to help others struggling with depression came to me awhile ago. Thanks to the help of my very talented friend Maryn Sommerfeldt, we were able to work together to create a video to help launch my new initiative “Letters of Hope.” The idea behind this project is that I will be interviewing other individuals who struggle with depression. I want to hear and share their story. I firmly believe that providing a safe and loving opportunity for others to have their voices heard will be an empowering experience for all involved.
Each month, I will feature a new interview on my blog along with a hand drawn portrait of that individual. Those being interviewed will be given the opportunity to write a letter of love, hope and encouragement to another person who too is struggling. I will pass that letter on to the next person that I interview, and the process will then be repeated. At the end of the year, it is my hope to exhibit the portraits along with the compilation of letters.
In addition to this, I would like to create an opportunity for those who would like to help by writing a letter of hope and encouragement to someone in need to do so. At the same time, I would like to create the opportunity for anyone in need of receiving a letter hope and encouragement, to ask for one and have it sent to them.
This is a project that I would like to invite anyone to participate in. I know that there are so many out there who suffer silently. It takes courage to ask for help, and it is my hope that anyone in need of a letter will feel comfortable enough to ask for one. At the same time, I know that there are so many individuals out there who want to offer help and support. I invite anyone who wants to help with this project to write a letter…a hand written letter, as I feel that it is more intimate and personal. You may remain anonymous or include your name according to your comfort level.
If you are interested in being interviewed, please contact me by sending me a private email on my blog. If you would like to write a letter of hope and encouragement to someone who is struggling, please send me a letter and I will see that it is given to someone in need. Please send your hand written letter addressed “Reciprocal Joy” to the Post Office Box: RR 2 Site 3 Box 4 Millet, AB Canada T0C 1Z0. If you are struggling and would like to receive a letter, please send me a private message along with your address and I will make sure that a letter is sent to you. It is my most sincere desire that receiving a letter will bring you hope and encouragement. However, if you are in a state of medical emergency, please seek the proper help immediately. You are loved, and you are of worth. Your life matters.
I look forward to your help and participation in this project! I truly believe that as we unite our efforts to open up dialogue about mental illness, little by little the social stigma surrounding it will begin to break down. This in turn will make it easier for those in need to ask for and receive help.
I would like to share with you some insight that I have gained from my experience with depression. I have often viewed my depression as a weakness for which I was ashamed, but there is a scripture I would like to share with you that has brought me strength and encouragement:
Ether 12:27 – “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”
I love the last line, “I will make weak things become strong unto them.” What a marvellous promise! With all of my heart, I truly believe that with the help of the Lord, my experience with depression can be made to be one of my greatest strengths. The same holds true for you as well. You see, weakness and trial provide us with the most intimate and personal life experience possible. These experiences are the most effective means of teaching us empathy and understanding, ultimately enabling us to provide strength and support to those who struggle in a similar way.
Often when we are faced with the pain and sorrow of trials in our lives, we ask why God would allow us to suffer in such a way. Surely that doesn’t sound like something a merciful and loving God would permit us to endure? At times, we may even feel like God is not there at all for us in our time of need. This is a natural human response to intense pain and suffering. Even our Saviour himself as he hung on the cross cried out: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) Yet, do any of us doubt the unconditional love that our Father in Heaven had for his only begotten son? Certainly not! Please…do not doubt the unconditional love that our Father in Heaven has for you as you experience pain and sorrow in your life. I promise you that you are loved beyond measure. I promise you that God is aware of you. He longs for you to reach out to Him so he can extend his love, mercy and healing.
But why then would God allow us to suffer? The answer is because he knows and trusts you more deeply and intimately than you know yourself. He sees your great potential, and knows what experiences are necessary for you to endure in this life in order to reach that potential. For a moment, think of the most signifiant trial that you have experienced or are currently experiencing in your life. That trial, as painful as it now may be, is one in which God trusts you enough to experience and grow as a result from. God sees the magnificent power in you that you might not see in yourself at this point. He trusts that as you seek his help, you will not only overcome your trial, but it will become one of your greatest strengths. This in turn will provide you with the ability to help and serve others in a more effective way. Our trials have the potential to become our greatest strengths and blessings.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog! I appreciate your support more than you can know. I always welcome your comments and feedback. Have a wonderful day!