The Best Way to Combat Discouragement

It’s been a tough week.

(I wonder how many blog posts start this way. Such an original opening line.)

Micah was at the doctor on Tuesday for one thing, and on Thursday, he was sick with another. He wanted to be held every waking minute. So I rocked him and tried not to think about the messy house and the company coming for the weekend and the food I needed to make and the packing and sewing I need to get done before February and when the next seizure would happen…and…and…and….

I felt like I was drowning.

A child’s illness, even a brief one, eats at my composure and my well-being. It is, I told a friend recently, the worst part of parenting. And it’s not just that I hate cleaning up puke; it’s that I’m not allowed to bow out of the cleanup simply because I hate it. It’s not just that worry weighs me down; it’s the fact that all my worry isn’t going to do a lick of good.

It’s the helplessness I hate the most. I am this child’s mother, the one who can fix everything—but I can’t fix this.

Perhaps I could manage better if life would stop while I tended the suffering, but no, people still get hungry, clothes still get dirty, and the house still disintegrates around me. Life stops for no one but death. When we are caught in the gray wilderness between life and death, we feel the tug and weight of both worlds—the tug of life’s responsibilities and the weight of death’s suffering. We pay homage to both, and we pay the price of divided loyalties.

Or rather, I do. Perhaps others can traverse this wilderness better than I.

Yesterday, I slogged through the Dismal swamp, crawled through the crags of Discouragement, and got lost somewhere on the south-east slopes of Self-pity. By the time I went to bed, I was completely unreasonable and totally overwhelmed.

To be honest, I don’t feel much better this morning.

But I am now fully aware that this discouragement is the result of the deceiver’s lies: You can’t do this. It is too much. God doesn’t really love you. You are going under—where is your Jesus now?

Lies, lies, lies, every one of them, and yet I listened while I rocked and rocked and rocked.

I have no tidy rebuttal to those lies. I am powerless to confront the wicked one alone.

But I still have a voice, and I lift it: Lord, save me, lest I perish.

I will not close with a neat summary of the lessons I’m learning in this, because I’m still stumbling over the lines. I will let His Words speak, to me, to you, to all those wandering among the crags of Discouragement. We may have miles to go in this wilderness, but we have Someone Who will never abandon us.

I pledge, today, to think on these words:

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. (Joshua 1:9)

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? (Psalm 27:1a)

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrew 4:16)

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)

Please do not offer me pity; I’ve offered far too much to myself already. What I would love—and need—to hear is your favorite Bible verse to combat discouragement. Even if it’s already been shared, I still want to hear it.

Let’s speak encouragement to each other. There’s little enough of it in this broken world.

44 thoughts on “The Best Way to Combat Discouragement

  1. 2 Timothy 1:7 — For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

    Psalm 37 : 1-8.

    These are the verses that popped to mind. I hope they help

    • Thank you, Kim. God’s Word always helps, no matter what’s wrong. I especially like the verses from Psalms, which command us to trust, delight, and rest in the Lord. That doesn’t leave much room for discouragement or fear. 🙂

  2. My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9 When we feel our weakest and are undone, Christ’s grace covers for us! Prayers for you for a better day today.

  3. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him. For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust. Psalm 103:13,14

    For the Lord will not cast off forever: but though He cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies. For He doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men. Lamentations 3:32,33

    I pray your today goes better!

    • The God portrayed in these verses is such a loving, compassionate Father. I know I read the ones from Lamentations already, but they have new meaning today. Thank you, Fonda.

  4. Ps 40:1-4 I waited patiently for the Lord;
    and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
    He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay,
    and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
    And he hath put a new song in my mouth,
    even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.
    Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust,

    • Danita, I almost included these verses in my post. This passage was a favorite back during my first miscarriage. I always found such hope in being given a new song by God. I certainly need a different song to sing when I’m discouraged.

  5. I have many WAD (Weapons Against Discouragement) verses, but here is one of my very favorite: Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.

    • WAD. I never heard of that acronym, but I like it. I think I need to equip myself with more WAD verses, including this one. Thanks, Danette.

  6. Isa. 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

    We don’t know each other, put Praise the Lord, that doesn’t hinder our my prayers for you and your little ones!
    We moved out of country 14 mo ago, and yesterday was just “one of those days” when the discouragements of the adjustments to the culture threatened to drown us. I have been so encouraged by your blogs, Stephanie (I love your name, my 15 mo old daughter has the same name!:) Thank you for sharing your heart with us. Keep looking up, sister! Lots of us are praying for your little girlie’s healing. And for strength for her parents.

    • What a strengthening verse, Abbie. It’s amazing how many verses can minister to a discouraged heart–and terrible how frequently I focus on the cause of my discouragement rather than the Cure. I have an all-powerful God, but I’m muddling around in self-pity and tears. Shame on me.

      May God strengthen you for the responsibilities He has given you. I’ve never been in your shoes, but it looks to me like those kind of shoes might pinch and blister you sometimes. I’m so glad the God Who gives me grace can bless you with sufficient grace of your own. Thank you for your prayers. It is a source of strength for us, to know people are praying.

  7. Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
    Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.

    This is the least we can do. Some days are so hard we don’t know how to help ourselves. I like your thot that we have a voice.

    • To run and not be weary–I want to be that strong. The funny thing is, it takes waiting on God, not running a few practice marathons. And I’ve always been terrible at waiting.

      Thank you, Tracy, for these verses.

  8. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmites; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15

    No doubt, our Saviour was tempted to be discouraged at times. He is compassionate toward us, “For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust” (Ps. 103:14) . Yet, in 2 Cor. 12:9, He says, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

    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 excape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Cor. 10:13

    The words of a song also come to mind: “Without a valley, how will I ever know, that His strong and gentle hand will never let me go?”

    • What a treasure trove of verses, Cindy. Thank you, thank you.

      I don’t know the song, but the words gave me goosebumps. The valleys are teaching me how very weak I am and how much I need Him. But I wouldn’t mind a mountain top sometime soon, just to look back and see how far we’ve come.

  9. Zeph 3:17 “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” In the final hours before the ordination service, while we waited on God to reveal His will, knowing that our lives would forever be changed, these words rang through my battle-weary mind. And brought peace.

    • We often talk about how we have joy in the Lord, but I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how much joy God might find with me. We are truly precious to Him. I need to remember that and not forget it. Thank you, Kay.

  10. I think you or other readers have already mentioned many of my favorite verses. I know there are many more but I’m surviving on little sleep these days with my own batch of sick children and my brain isn’t feeling perky this morning.

    Yesterday when I was also spending hours rocking my wee one, I turned to hymns. I didn’t think about what I was doing at first, probably singing to just calm her but eventually I started listening to the words I was singing. What a great weapon for discouragement! I found myself rejoicing and worshiping despite my dismal surroundings. Give it a try.

    • I also often turn to singing when I am feeling sorry for myself or discouraged. Praise is a sacrifice at a time like that, but always lifts my spirits and helps me to focus on Jesus rather than myself.

      • Do you think perhaps that’s why we get discouraged–because we’re focused on ourselves instead of Jesus?

        Never mind, I know the answer, and I feel chastened. Thanks, Dawn.

    • Sometime after I read this comment, Gina, I was rocking my grumpy son. Instead of singing (a very worn-out) “Jesus Loves me,” I started singing a hymn. I can’t remember which one it was, but two bars into it, he growled and fought to get down. 🙂 It made me laugh, so I guess the hymnsing accomplished its purpose–in me, at least.

      January can be rough on children’s health. This month seems worse than other years, but maybe it’s my state of mind more than anything.

  11. I too love Isaiah 40:31. This week I’m studying to teach on Job when he was discouraged. I think Satan was trying to discourage me as well, and at times he succeeded. But we have so much hope offered us by the One who loves us more than anything. He sees your struggles, and He cares!! Hoping for better days ahead for you 🙂 Keep pressing toward the mark!

    • Thanks for your encouragement, Jolene. The devil likes to get us any way he can, and discouragement seems to be one of his favorite weapons for me. We have hope, as you said, and we have it in abundance.

  12. Ps 29:11 The Lord gives strength to His people. The Lord blesses His people with peace.

    One day at a time,with it’s failures and fears
    With it’s hurts and mistakes with it’s weakness and tears
    With it’s portion of pain, and it’s burden of care;
    One day at a time we must meet and must bear.

    One day at a time to be patient and strong,
    To be calm under trial and sweet under wrong;
    Then it’s toiling shall pass and it’s sorrow shall cease.
    It shall darken and die and the night shall bring peace.

    One day at a time- but the day is so long-
    And the heart is not brave and the soul is not strong,
    O Thou Merciful Christ be Thou near all the way,
    Give courage and patience and strength for the day

    Swift cometh His answer so clear and so sweet
    “Yea I will be with thee, thy troubles to meet.
    I will not forget thee, nor fail thee, nor grieve
    I will not forsake thee, I never will leave.”

    • What a simple verse, and yet what power those simple words contain. And the poem, especially the third verse, means a lot to me in the middle of this epilepsy story. Thank you, Donna, for sharing this. I think I need to print out all these verses you ladies are sharing and hang them on my fridge.

  13. Thanks for your honesty Stephanie! So often I find myself in the scenario you’ve described, sick children, deadlines to meet, relationships to nurture, and my energy / inspiration reaches the end long before my list does.
    My favorite verse has already been listed – 2 Tim. 1:7 This verse is a great reminder to me that those feelings of desperation and despair are NOT from God. Another favorite is Jer. 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. God knows our exact circumstances, and He has only our best interest in mind. When the circumstances I’m in are totally out of my control, I need to trust, that even in this, God is working for my good!
    Our prayers are with you!

    • Funny you should mention honesty. I started three different posts on three different topics before giving up and writing this one. None of those other posts mentioned discouragement. It’s easy to share only part of the story here, and while I realize you don’t need to know what kind of shower gel I use, I still want to be transparent enough to reveal the complex medley of joy and sorrow that is life.

      As for your verse: I wish God would tell me what His plans are; I’m not good at patience. 🙂 Thanks, Sharon, for your prayers and your words.

  14. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭40‬:‭11‬ KJV)

    • Exactly the verse I thought of!! What a beautiful picture that the Lord leads those with young… He especially cares about YOU!

      • Thank you, Jennifer. I think God put this verse in the Bible especially for mothers. I find such great comfort in serving a God Who cares this much for the smallest of His people.

    • With a Shepherd-Father like this, we should never feel discouraged. I find it the most encouraging to know that He looks after my children and cares for them tenderly. It means I’m not doing this on my own. Thanks, Stephanie

  15. all things happen for the good for those who love the Lord…..also reminded me of something my 17 year old said to me when she was faced with the death of a friend….”I don’t know what people do that don’t have Jesus” what a blessing to have that unconditional love to be heard whenever we need him…You have also had so many blessings sent your way but like all of us it is easy to become overwhelmed when so much falls our way…stay strong and lean on God, he wants you to.

    • I have often wondered that myself, how people without Jesus face the hardships of life. All things do work together for good, but we must first love the Lord. He alone makes good out of bad. Thank you, Diana, for your encouragement.

  16. My all time favorite Bible verse and one that is certainly appropriate for times when discouragement is circling around is Isaiah 40:31: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.

    I continue to pray for you and your family. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement through your posts. You will never know how much they help me.

    • Thank you, Ann, for your continued prayers. You have shared a favorite verse of mine, a favorite of many people, I think, who are weary in the race.

  17. Donna your scripture and poem/hymn are such comforting words. I am printing them off to enclose in a card to a dear friend of our family who just this week was given the news that he has a horrible cancer, the treatment for it will forever change his life in a very humbling way. I hope this will encourage him. And Abbie, Isaiah 41:10 was my verse of comfort and peace that I went to daily when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in July! It was amazing to me the comfort it would bring me in the middle of the night when the terrors would come. God is faithful, He will get us through all these struggles, one day at a time.

    • Do you know what amazes me? How God’s Word meets each of us right where we are and becomes a living spring to our thirsty souls. These verses that are shared mean something special to the one sharing it, and even though our lives and challenges vary widely, we can all find something that applies directly to ourselves in His Words. Only the Bible has that kind of power. Thank you for your comment, Kim.

  18. Reading your post and the comments brought tears to this weary pregnant mama’s eyes. It was such a great encouragement to me! I don’t know you personally Stephanie, but your book was a great encouragement to me as I was going through the grief of miscarriage a year ago. And now I eagerly look forward to reading your posts. Praying for you and your little girlie, and asking God to heal according to His divine will. My “go-to” verse is Isaiah 43:2 “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”

    • Ah, another favorite verse of mine. (Sometimes, it feels like I have a thousand favorites.) Thanks, Suzanne. I love how the word pictures in this verse show the power of my God.

      I am glad you found encouragement in the book, and gladder still that your sorrow has turned to joy. May your arms soon be as full as your heart. Thank you for praying.

  19. Jesus Christ the SAME yesterday, and TODAY, and forever (Heb. 13:8)
    …Jesus HIMSELF drew near and went with them… (Lk 24:15)

    • In a world of rapid change, His sameness is a quiet relief. His love and concern is a gentle comfort. Thank you for these verses. I am so glad He goes with me–and you, and all those who serve Him.

  20. A favorite of mine for years, For I the Lord thy God will hold the right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Isaiah 41:13. Prayers to you n yours. I find it so amazing how we as moms can encourage each other by being honest and real. Thanks for being just that Stephanie!

    • It would be interesting to do a search of the Scriptures and find all the references to God’s hand holding us. He loves us enough to keep us close, and His hands are large enough to hold us all. What an amazing God we serve! Thank you, RosaLee.

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