Today, I have the honor of welcoming a guest, Dr. Michelle Bengtson, to share a few words about hope.
“I don’t know if I can do this anymore. What if it never changes? What if things stay this bad forever?” She pulled her sweatshirt sleeve down over her hand and dabbed at the streak marks left on her cheeks from the cascade of tears that had been flowing for several minutes before she added, “What if I don’t have enough faith to get through this?”
I reached over, took her spare hand in mine, and held it quietly for just a moment before responding, “I know. I understand. I’ve been there before. Now that I’m on the other side, you can borrow some of my hope while yours is weak. We’ll get through this together.”
I could offer to share my hope with this dear one because my well was full. I could look back and see the faithfulness of God in my own valley of depression and despair years before. Yet I remember feeling the same way, asking the same questions.
I remember the attacks of the enemy causing me to question and doubt what I knew to be true, and wondering how I would ever make it not just another day, but sometimes another five minutes.
The Lord sent a friend across my path in His perfect way and in His perfect timing. I remember thinking, “I’ve believed all my life, but what if my faith isn’t enough to get me through this this time?”
God used this friend to speak life and truth into the dry and discouraged places of my heart. She reminded me of God’s promises:
v “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
v “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people” (Genesis 50:20).
v “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28).
v “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5).
What I know is that “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12). In my despair, I had lost my hope, and my emotional health had become sick, but as I began to see God’s plan for me, it was like He breathed fresh air into me. Yet in the valley of depression, we often feel like we are dying a very slow death.
Sometimes in the valley of our despair, we have to borrow on others’ faith and hope while He restores our own. That restoration comes when we identify the lies we have believed about ourselves and our situations and replace them with God’s truth.
In my despair, I began to believe that my situation would never change and that I was destined to remain in the valley forever. Once I identified that lie and replaced it with God’s truth, my hope was renewed. God promises, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). Whenever I became frightened or unsure of my future, I recited that verse aloud, reminding myself of His promise, and restoring my hope.
Once my hope was restored, I was then able to comfort others with the comfort He had given me (2 Corinthians 1:4), and let them borrow my hope while theirs was lacking. And in time, they will be able to do the same for others.
Who can you lend hope to today?
Dr. Michelle Bengtson (PhD, Nova Southeastern University) has been a board certified neuropsychologist for over twenty years. She interned at the University of Oklahoma with “The Father of Neuropsychology,” Dr. Oscar “Oz” Parsons, and completed postdoctoral training at both the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, and the University of Alabama Health Sciences Center in Birmingham, Alabama.
Author and speaker, Dr. Michelle Bengtson is also a wife, mother and friend. She knows pain and despair firsthand and combines her professional expertise and personal experience with her faith to address issues surrounding medical and mental disorders, both for those who suffer and for those who care for them. She offers sound practical tools, affirms worth, and encourages faith. Dr. Michelle Bengtson offers hope as a key to unlock joy and relief—even in the middle of the storm. She lives in Dallas/Fort Worth with her husband, their two sons, and two dogs. Among her favorite things are beaches, boating, and sea salt caramel.
She blogs regularly on her own site: http://www.DrMichelleBengtson.com. Her book “Hope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression” (Revell publishers, August 16, 2016) is available for purchase now: http://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/
For more hope, stay connected with her at:
To order Hope Prevails: http://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/
Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/DrMBengtson (@DrMBengtson)
Neuropsychologist Offers Hope to Those Struggling with Depression
-By 2020, depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide
- An estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression
- As with the bestselling My Stroke of Insight, the author experienced the same condition she treats
- Helpful features include personal stories, biblical truths, prayers, and music recommendations
As a board-certified neuropsychologist, Dr. Michelle Bengtson has seen the devastation that people experience when depression sweeps into their lives. She knew what research advocated in terms of the most effective treatments and prescribed them to her clients. But when she personally experienced to the ravages of depression, she found that the treatments she had been using with her patients didn’t help her. As a result, her personal experience became the catalyst for a more holistic approach to treating depression in others.
In Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson writes with deep compassion and empathy, blending her extensive training and faith, to offer readers a hope that is grounded in God’s love and grace. She helps readers understand what depression is, how it affects them spiritually, and what, by God’s grace, it cannot do. The result is a treatment plan that addresses the whole person—not just chemical imbalances in the brain.
For those who struggle with depression and those that want to help them, Hope Prevails offers real hope for the future.
“Catching Hope Word” image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.