Dear praying friends,

Thank you for praying for me over these weeks and months of silence. I have been busy, obviously, adjusting to a new baby and life on the road, but I’ve also had what I think is probably a fairly significant struggle with postpartum depression. I’ve battled with some of the blackest, most selfish and wicked thoughts imaginable, and I’m so glad that I finally seem to be past that awful stage. But I’m also unspeakably thankful for the many things God has taught me and want to share some of them with you in hopes of perhaps being used of the Lord to help someone else. “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) This is just one of the many benefits of hard times that really does make them so precious.

I have always been leery of women’s ministry classes, Bible studies, etc because they usually turn out seeming frilly and even harmful to me because I sense that there’s something wrong in the unspoken thinking behind them. As I’ve thought about it I think the issue is that we women generally want a sort of teddy bear God who will feel sorry for us, kiss away our problems and tell us how much He loves us and that we’re wonderful, beautiful, etc etc etc ad nauseum! (Kind of like we sometimes expect our husbands to always be doing-not that they never should, but that it would be terribly unloving and unhelpful to do only that!) So we like to pick out verses along those lines and develop entire classes that make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside, which actually caters to our problem rather than confronting it. I think it’s a perfect illustration of what God really tells us: our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked, and our problems are not usually external or unique but come mostly from that seething wickedness within us. Instead of ignoring that evil and making us feel good about ourselves, He gives us a sword, His Word, to hack through our deceitful, incredibly selfish thinking and instead think on things that are true, honest, pure, clean, and lovely. And it’s incredibly loving of Him, because “to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Rom. 8:6). Victory of this sort over wrong thinking is so much sweeter because it doesn’t carry with it that awful creeping guilt that has to be continually shoved back into a corner.

So what God has taught me to do is, when a wicked thought or reaction pops into my head, think, What a wicked, selfish/mean/jealous/absolutely ridiculous/whatever-it-is thing to think! (Call it what it is and agree with what God has to say about it.) I am God’s child, and I don’t have to think like that– and I won’t! “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is FAITHFUL, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13). “And God is able to make ALL GRACE ABOUND toward you, that ye, ALWAYS having ALL SUFFICIENCY in ALL things, may ABOUND to EVERY good work” (2 Cor. 9:8). And then pray to the Lord and confess my sin and ask His forgiveness, and then leave it and purposefully turn my thoughts to something else – – a good choice is to rehearse whatever Scripture passage I’m currently memorizing, because after all, it’s God’s Word that is my sword and the key to victory in this fight!

God has comforted me with many Psalms, like 40 and 51. Over and over I have prayed the prayer in Ps. 51:10: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” I know this is His will, and I really believe He is answering!

Please pray for me and all your missionaries, that we will never give up the fight for godly thinking.

Elizabeth Owens