Tears to Joy

Tears to Joy: September 2015

Monday, September 28, 2015

What I Learned from Maggots

Last month, Jeff and I went to put the leash on the dog so that we could go for a walk. As we bent to attach the leash to her collar, we saw maggots – thousands of maggots (OK, it was probably hundreds but it was A LOT) – coming out of a knot on her back. I ran inside for rubber gloves and shampoo. Donning the gloves, I turned on the water and fought the nausea as I watched Jeff squeeze the knot and clean out the maggots from Sandy’s back (Note, I wore the gloves holding the leash, while Jeff did the dirty work barehanded).

OK, now that you are thoroughly disgusted I’ll tell you what I learned from this. If a fly lays an egg on an open wound, within an hour, hundreds of maggots hatch and attack. All of this started with one stinkin’ fly!

As I have tried to forget the nasty image burned into my memory that night, God spoke to my spirit. The scripture teaches that out of the mouth the heart speaks. How many times have I let a root of bitterness, jealousy, or anger – one thought – consume me? In time, I began to ruminate on my perceived injustice and before long, I lash out. The words that come out of mouth in that instant are like maggots. They are nasty and hurtful.

As we bathed Sandy, we noticed sticky black grime all over her. We later learned that this was “maggot poop.” In the same way, my stinging words leave behind a stink that lingers long after the words are spoken.

Our dog had to have surgery to clean the wound and medicine to kill any remaining critters. The Bible pierces our hearts as a two edged sword and in doing so, it purifies us from unrighteousness. If I want to rid my heart of “maggot-likeness,” I need to stay in the Word and do regular heart checks where I confess my sins to God. I need others to hold me accountable and to help me deal with the ugliness.

God, create in me a pure heart and renew a right spirit within me!

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Monday, September 7, 2015

Depression and Suicide Risk

Barbara was relieved when her son, John, told her he was going out to grab some pizza with the guys. John had been struggling with depression off and on for the past several years. His most recent episode had lasted about three months. Barbara had been worried about John. He had no motivation to do his school work and often called in sick to work. He had been spending more time in his room, and did not even want to talk on his phone with friends.

Six weeks ago, Barbara convinced John to see his family doctor about the depression. He was prescribed an antidepressant and encouraged to exercise daily. Yesterday, John surprised his mom by giving her flowers and thanking her for her support over the past several months. She was ecstatic when he told her he wanted to go out for the night with friends. Things were finally looking up.

Just as Barbara prepared for bed, there was a knock on the door. Opening it, she was confused – why was there a police officer at her door? 

“Oh no! No! No! No!”

Barbara’s son John had driven his car off a cliff killing himself.

Unfortunately, while the details may differ, the suicides do not. Individuals with depression are at greater risk for suicide attempts immediately following a depressive episode. When a person is depressed, he may ruminate on all the reasons and ways to die, but he has no energy to do anything. As the depression lifts, these self-deprecating thoughts often remain and now the person has the energy to put into action the plan he has been construing for some time.

Don’t think because the depression is starting to lift that the risk for suicide has passed. Continue to watch for warning signs and don’t be afraid to ask the difficult questions --- Are you planning to hurt yourself? Have you thought about killing yourself? Have you thought about how you would do it? Do you have a plan?

If the answer is yes, seek help immediately. Call 911.  If you are suicidal, consider calling the crisis hotline number below.
1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)

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