Participants: Shelley Quinn (Host), Linda Brawner
Series Code: IAA
Program Code: IAA000189
00:31 Hello, I'm Shelley Quinn and welcome again
00:33 to Issues and Answers. You know we're all
00:36 very much aware that life has a lot of issues
00:40 that get thrown at us. But aren't we glad
00:42 to know that God has all the answers.
00:45 And today we're going to see how the Lord
00:48 helped provide some of those answers
00:50 for our special guest. Please help me
00:53 welcome again to our program Linda Brawner
00:56 from Mansfield, Ohio. And Linda,
00:58 I'm so glad that you've come back to join us.
01:00 It's good to be here. I enjoyed so much
01:02 the program that we did on grief before.
01:05 And today we're gonna be talking about
01:08 strength, strength of character
01:11 and where it comes from? You know the Bible
01:13 says in Second Corinthians 12
01:15 and verse 9, this is what Jesus told Paul
01:18 on the road to Damascus. He said my grace
01:22 is sufficient for you, my strength is made
01:25 perfect in your weakness. Actually that
01:28 wasn't the road to Damascus,
01:29 that's when he was praying for the thorn.
01:30 But that's such a great scripture.
01:33 This is one of my favorites. It, me too,
01:36 because I love the fact that I can relax
01:40 in my weakness and just say Lord
01:42 I gladly confess my weaknesses to you
01:45 because I know your power will be made
01:47 perfect in weakness. Let's talk about
01:49 the last time you were here, we talked
01:52 about the nervous breakdown that
01:54 you'd had after the death of your father
01:56 and that was brought on because Linda
01:59 tried to deny her grief. She tried to deny
02:02 that she was mad at God and she wasn't
02:05 handling this very well and it ended up that
02:07 she did have a nervous breakdown.
02:09 And as you were coming out of the recovery
02:12 of this break down then your husband was
02:15 diagnosed with chronic illness of
02:18 heart problem, yes. After his surgery
02:20 he had kidney failure so you went through
02:24 an incredible time, and you learned a lot
02:29 about strength. Yes I did. About the time
02:34 that I actually acknowledged I had a
02:36 problem, I went to see a doctor.
02:38 I had an experience where, without words
02:45 I surrendered to God. These problems
02:47 I'm enduring are more than I can handle.
02:50 This is before your, I mean you're just in the
02:52 process of a breakdown. You know I'm sliding in;
02:55 I've not been diagnosed yet,
02:57 and but I'm definitely having problems.
03:00 I said Lord, whatever it takes bring me close
03:04 to you. And again it was just,
03:07 I looked up and I felt helpless
03:10 and I didn't say anything.
03:13 And I felt this tingling throughout my body.
03:15 As if God wanted to take me home right then
03:19 and there. And I couldn't understand it,
03:23 I didn't talk to anybody about at the time,
03:25 but that verse you mentioned;
03:27 my strength is made perfect in weakness.
03:31 I came across that the next day.
03:33 Praise the Lord. And I understood that was
03:36 what God was telling me. He was going to carry me
03:39 through what lay ahead. Praise the Lord.
03:41 I remember once as I was praying God
03:44 gave me what I call a vision. You know
03:46 when you're praying sometimes and puts
03:47 a picture in your mind. Yeah.
03:48 And this picture was a little tiny sugar ant,
03:52 and next to this ant was this huge elephant.
03:56 And suddenly the still small voice of the Lord
03:59 impressed these words upon my mind
04:01 and He said. Why would you want to try to
04:04 get by in your limited human strength,
04:06 which could be compared to this little
04:08 sugar ant next to what is available to you by
04:13 drawing on my strength which this elephant
04:16 that's millions of times greater
04:17 than this little ant. And I thought why
04:20 indeed would I? So what happened for you,
04:23 you thought you were a strong person before.
04:27 Yes. And I was strong in the sense of independent
04:30 and able to do what was right or what I thought
04:35 was right regardless of what people
04:37 thought of me. Self sufficient, independent.
04:39 Yes and those are good qualities
04:41 but they are not what God has for us.
04:44 When we lean on his strength
04:47 and it's a combination of trusting him,
04:51 letting him work in our lives
04:54 and reaching for his gifts. Amen, amen.
04:59 When we understand, you know Galatians 3:3,
05:05 the Lord said, you foolish thing,
05:07 haven't begun in the Spirit, are you now
05:09 trying to perfect it in the flesh?
05:10 We've got to understand there is nothing
05:13 we can perfect in our flesh is there? Nothing.
05:16 And what we've got to do is go to the Lord
05:20 and realize there is power in surrender.
05:22 Yes. So that's the point God got you to is
05:26 when you realize for the first time
05:28 in your life, Lord I'm losing it
05:30 and I'm ready to surrender it all to you,
05:32 what happened. He drew near me
05:36 and I wish I could say that things got better
05:38 like that and I lived happily ever I after.
05:41 But obviously I didn't, but He drew close to me
05:47 and he carried me through that.
05:49 He always shields us from more than
05:51 we can bear and when the trails are really
05:54 bad we need to remember that more than
05:57 we can bear is not more than we can handle
06:01 comfortably, more than will keep us from
06:03 cracking up having a breakdown,
06:05 but more than will cause us to lose our
06:09 faith in Him. He will never let that
06:11 be crushed out of us. Amen. You know that
06:14 scripture, you reminded me of something
06:16 because people often will say,
06:17 well God will not put on us more than we can bear
06:20 but the scripture actually says
06:21 He will not put on more temptation
06:24 than we can bear. But He will always
06:25 provided a way out. Yet in Second
06:27 Corinthians chapter 1, I'm gonna read to you
06:30 something because this is what Paul
06:32 wrote to the Corinthians he said,
06:33 we do not want you to be uninformed brethren
06:36 about the affliction and the oppressing distress
06:38 which be fell us in the province of Asia.
06:40 How we were so utterly and unbearably
06:44 weighed down and crushed that
06:47 we despaired even of life itself.
06:49 And then we felt within ourselves that
06:51 we had received the very sentence of death.
06:53 But, is that more than we can bear, yeah.
06:56 Yeah. But that was to keep us in other words
07:01 God allowed this to happen, to keep us
07:03 from trusting in and depending on ourselves
07:07 instead of interesting in God who raises
07:10 the dead. So when God, when we get to that
07:12 point of being in utter despair God
07:16 is only allowed that to happen to draw us
07:18 near as he did with you. Right.
07:19 And teach you to depend upon him.
07:21 What did he teach you about strength of
07:24 character, can you define what we we're
07:27 talking about? It's the ability to trust God
07:34 when it's all looks black. When all
07:38 your dreams have been crushed,
07:40 it looks like you will never do any of the
07:43 things that were more cherished to you.
07:46 When I had my breakdown I just about
07:47 tossed in the towel in regard to remounting
07:51 anything, to anything as a writer.
07:53 And strength is that ability to just hang
08:00 in there and trust that whatever God is doing
08:04 in your life, he is working and He will
08:08 bring you through this blackness.
08:10 As somebody who has clinical depression,
08:14 sometimes to this day I have bouts of blackness.
08:18 And I've learned to bear them patiently
08:20 and to not let myself get all upset
08:23 and worried over it because each time
08:26 He carries me through, I'm brighter
08:29 and stronger on the other side. Amen.
08:32 If you could define depression for people
08:38 you know I think it's hard for us to
08:40 understand if we're not a depressed personality,
08:44 how would you define depression Linda?
08:46 I define it as a chemical imbalance
08:49 in the brain. You cannot be happy and cheerful
08:53 if your brain is not working right.
08:55 What does it feel like? A lack of hope,
08:59 sometimes in your biology to sleep.
09:01 If it continues it can impair your judgment
09:06 to the point where suicide looks like
09:08 the only way out the only end to the pain.
09:11 An important thing if you are prone to
09:15 depression or it runs in your family is to take
09:18 it seriously to get help. Amen.
09:20 It's so much easier to treat.
09:23 It took me two years to recover from
09:25 my breakdown. If I would have started
09:28 getting medication which I knew about,
09:30 knew it was available. If I would have gone
09:32 into see a doctor six months sooner,
09:33 I probably never would have had that
09:35 recovery period. It probably would have
09:38 been a lot faster. Right. And God works
09:41 through these people. Yes.
09:44 One thing depression is not, is a lack of faith.
09:47 Amen. When I had my breakdown Christ was
09:50 holding my hand all the way. He had his arms
09:53 around me. I knew that I belonged to Him.
09:58 I knew He loved me. It just took him
10:01 and I time to put my life back together.
10:04 Amen. So don't, you know if you have a friend
10:08 who gets depressed don't assume that
10:11 they're doing something wrong spiritually.
10:13 And the strength for you came in accepting
10:19 this about yourself and just trusting
10:21 in the Lord. Yes. And leaning not on your own
10:23 understanding, right? Yes. You mentioned
10:25 my strength is made perfect in weakness.
10:27 Paul has some kind of thorn in the flesh.
10:30 Right. Some argued that was an estranged wife,
10:34 others say it was some kind of
10:35 physical infirmity. I firmly believe that
10:37 depression is my thorn in the flesh.
10:40 It is what God will use to keep me close to him
10:43 and He will use it so that I can better help
10:46 others. Praise the Lord. You know
10:48 I have a personal opinion I can't prove
10:50 this by scripture. But my belief is that
10:54 Paul's thorn in the flesh, remember
10:56 when Ananias was sent to Paul and Jesus said
10:59 I'm sending you to him to open his eyes
11:02 but you must tell him how much he will suffer
11:05 for me. I think that Paul went through
11:08 all of these hardships, the beatings
11:10 and he endured so much. I think that was
11:12 the thorn in his flesh that you know,
11:14 that's what I've always thought anyway.
11:16 That makes sense. That's what he is praying
11:18 to have removed and yet as he said in
11:20 Second Corinthians chapter 1.
11:22 God allowed these things to happen to keep Paul
11:26 close to him. And everything that God
11:28 does is for our eternal benefit.
11:29 One could argue that I could accomplish
11:32 much more if I did not have this disease.
11:35 I also deal with chronic pain which I'm sure
11:39 it contributes to the disease I need more
11:42 sleep than the average person.
11:43 I need to avoid a certain amount of
11:46 stress. But the fact is when you cannot see
11:51 God clearly you cannot serve him well.
11:54 So it doesn't matter if you can work 16 hour
11:57 days and then tap dance on your way home.
12:00 Amen. Okay now we've said that the strength
12:05 comes from God, but what is our part?
12:08 Our part is to choose to reach for it.
12:14 To say Lord I want this, I know you can carry
12:19 me through this, and we don't,
12:23 rarely do we encounter a problem say
12:27 oh thank you Lord, you can use this to make
12:29 me strong. There is a certain amount of
12:32 whaling and gnashing of teeth
12:33 and that's okay. We get to the point of
12:36 being strong by being honest with God about
12:39 how we feel and you know what worries us,
12:42 what makes us angry, what makes us afraid.
12:45 So let me paraphrase what you're saying.
12:49 When you said, our part is to choose to receive
12:52 from God. Philippians 2:13 says that God works
12:56 in us to will and to act according to his
12:59 good purpose. So our part is going into him
13:02 then and saying okay Lord. Work in me
13:06 to will, I'm willing to be made willing to do
13:08 your will. Yes. And Lord now help me step out
13:11 in faith and work in me to act.
13:13 In another words we're surrendering
13:15 to his leading choosing and looking up
13:18 and expecting to receive from him. Yes. Yes.
13:21 And I think that is probably the biggest key
13:24 to faith or to strength is expecting him
13:27 to do for us. Because there are certain
13:31 prayers we have a right to expect answers to,
13:33 anything we need to hear him
13:36 and more clearly to see him better
13:39 and to tell others about him.
13:41 He will answer that prayer. It may not be
13:46 exactly the way He expects, we expect,
13:49 but He will answer that prayer.
13:51 Yes, that's true. So what character traits,
13:55 how do we reach for those character traits
13:57 that make us strong? It takes a lot of
14:03 discipline. Not getting carried away with how
14:09 you feel. And I found a way.
14:11 Now wait a minute, what do you mean?
14:12 Well we are emotional beings. Right.
14:14 God made us to feel things. There is nothing
14:17 wrong with anger, fear, joy, happiness
14:21 but sometimes because we don't express them
14:26 appropriately they carry us off instead of
14:31 being part of a healthy life serving the Lord.
14:34 For example joy, you know if something
14:38 good happens to me and I let joy carry me off
14:42 take control well the next bump in the road
14:46 where I feel a little sad, God's not with me.
14:49 God's not blessing me. And that's not true.
14:53 And when we're angry we need to find appropriate
14:57 ways to express it. Because when we don't
15:00 as I've told you in the last show it pops out
15:03 in the most inappropriate and
15:05 hurtful ways that does so much damage to
15:08 ourselves and others. Amen, amen.
15:11 You know I failed to mention that Linda
15:14 has authored a book, precious book called
15:17 Keep Sweet. And I would like you to explain
15:21 why you titled that keep sweet
15:24 and want to tell people how to get hold of that
15:26 book, okay. It's available on my website
15:30 keepsweetforever.com. And how do we keeping
15:40 sweet is like the most important thing
15:42 a Christian can do and we do that.
15:44 But what is that mean to keep sweet?
15:46 It's very simple, don't get bitter.
15:49 That's correct. Or maybe don't stay bitter.
15:53 You know we all get exposed to things
15:56 we all have moments of bitterness
15:57 but it's not supposed to be the trend of
15:59 our lives. Yes and that's I liked
16:02 this book. She is a very engaging writer.
16:06 You've got quite a sense of humor
16:08 and as I told you the night that I read
16:10 your book, I had only had two hour sleep
16:13 the previous night and I was so worn out
16:17 and I wanted to read it before our first
16:19 program together. And when I read that book
16:21 I picked it up and I couldn't put it down
16:23 because it was very engaging,
16:25 your writing style, but it was filled with such
16:28 spiritual insight and I could tell immediately
16:31 Linda that you really do have an intimate
16:34 relationship with the Lord. Why do you think
16:38 that some people are strong while some people
16:44 just seem to fall apart at seems for any reason?
16:47 Well some of it is a lack of maturity.
16:53 My teenage daughter is more inclined to fall
16:57 apart since she rarely does it; I have very low
17:01 patience with it when it happens.
17:03 You know so, you know the longer,
17:06 the longer we walk with God the more
17:09 we see him help us, the calmer we remain.
17:12 But then sometimes we just expect for some
17:18 reason we stay in the faith
17:20 and we remind babies. We expect,
17:23 you know, we expect God if we drop our rattle
17:26 He is gonna bring it back to us. Amen.
17:28 And that if we were hungry we are going to
17:31 cry and He is gonna come right to us.
17:32 But now he wants us to learn how to dig
17:37 into scripture, how to make ourselves
17:40 available to other people in need because
17:43 when we help others whether we actually
17:47 speak about Christ or simply doing either way
17:49 we are sharing who Jesus Christ is,
17:52 that the nature of God is He loves us
17:55 and wants us happy and comfortable.
17:57 So you know even if we don't have the courage
18:01 to speak, who we are, what we do?
18:04 Is a powerful witness to the nature of God. Amen.
18:09 Now when you said dig into the scriptures
18:11 I'm gonna ask you a question that I already
18:13 know the answer to but because you
18:15 and I share something in common,
18:16 what are some of your favorite Bible
18:19 tools to study the Bible? A concordance,
18:22 an a topical Bible. The topical Bible is helpful
18:27 when you can't remember like let's say
18:30 you want to talk about the topic of how a woman
18:32 should dress modestly. You're not gonna
18:35 find a chapter in the Bible, right,
18:38 titled that. But if you look it up in the
18:41 topical Bible it would give you all the verses
18:44 that deal with the subject and it's
18:46 important on something like that to deal
18:48 with all the verses. Absolutely.
18:52 If you're gonna ever build a doctrine,
18:54 you don't wanna build it on just a scripture
18:56 to you. You wanna look at every scripture
18:58 on that topic and study it from Genesis to
19:00 Revelation, right. Right. Now you use Bible
19:02 software though too, don't you? Yes I do.
19:05 In fact my husband would be just delighted
19:09 if he would know how much I use my computer
19:12 now 'cause he was the one who dragged me
19:13 kicking and screaming in front of my monitor.
19:16 And had to put up with my fussing
19:18 and carrying on for a number of years.
19:21 But the nice thing about the software
19:25 is you've got it all and I have problems
19:28 with my neck and shoulders from waiting
19:30 on tables so many years. Lifting these heavy
19:33 books is not comfortable where as with the
19:36 computer software once you get the hang
19:38 of it you can flip from volume to volume,
19:41 from page to page in seconds. Absolutely.
19:44 And you could study with, you know
19:46 all open up and I have four or five Bibles
19:48 open at the same time and studying
19:50 comparative verse to verse
19:52 and I've got Vine's Expository.
19:55 I mean the dictionary, I have all of these Greek
19:58 concordances and dictionaries
20:01 and it's wonderful to study.
20:03 And if you are interested in
20:05 Bible software, please don't call me,
20:07 just look on the website and you can.
20:10 There's wonderful Bible packages out there.
20:12 But now in developing strength I know
20:16 from reading your book Keep Sweet
20:18 that a lot of your strength, you had a
20:21 personal relationship with the Lord before
20:24 your breakdown. Right. You realized that
20:26 after what caused the breakdown was
20:30 you building a wall between you and God.
20:33 Yes. Because you were angry with God
20:35 and not expressing it. Right.
20:36 So you learned that openness with the Lord
20:38 and then when He was drawing you out,
20:41 you kept getting deeper into the word,
20:43 your husband was drawing closer
20:45 to the Lord. So you know that Bible study
20:48 open communication with God,
20:50 dialoging with God was important.
20:52 What other factors do you think;
20:55 outside factors influence or hinder that
20:59 development of strength? Okay,
21:01 first I would like to say something about
21:02 Bible study. When I had my breakdown
21:05 my mind was functioning so poorly,
21:08 that I could not understand more than
21:11 the basics and yet I read four chapters a day
21:14 in the Bible. There is power in healing
21:19 in his words. Absolutely. We should do
21:22 everything in our power to try to understand
21:24 it. But on those days where it just
21:27 doesn't click. It's okay, keep reading.
21:30 You know Psalm 107:20, the Lord said,
21:33 He sent his word to heal me and His word
21:38 does have transforming life giving power,
21:42 it is alive and active and sharper
21:44 than any two-edged sword. So amen.
21:47 That was a good word sister.
21:49 Now Linda, back to the question, okay.
21:51 What are the outside factors that influence
21:54 or hinder the development of
21:55 our strength? There's a couple things,
21:58 lifestyle choices, okay. You know,
22:01 if you are into substance abuse.
22:03 Let's go back, let's take these one by one.
22:06 Okay. Lifestyle choices. How does,
22:08 how could that hinder or help strengthen us?
22:14 Okay. If you make bad choices in regard to our
22:17 lifestyle like choosing substances that are,
22:22 you know that harm the body, okay.
22:25 You can't hear God as clearly.
22:27 For the same reason you can't be happy
22:30 if your brain isn't right, working right.
22:32 You can't hear God if your brain
22:34 isn't working right. So whether it's alcohol
22:36 or if it's drugs, if some sort,
22:39 you're in a brain fog. You are not,
22:41 God's not going to be able to get through
22:43 as easily. And unhealthy relations outside.
22:46 Let me, let me back up that what about diet?
22:48 Definitely. Some people are actually
22:55 able to manage their depression with diet
22:58 and exercise alone. I've gone the medication
23:02 route, I would urge anybody who makes
23:04 changes and how they're managing depression
23:06 to have the guidance of a professional
23:10 because once your judgment gets impaired,
23:13 you know. Yes. You know I did some programs.
23:16 Are you familiar with Dr. Neil Nedley
23:18 he's a specialist on clinical depression
23:21 and when I did the programs with Dr. Nedley
23:23 he said if you're on a prescription
23:25 medication you never come off of it without
23:27 your doctor's supervision. Right.
23:30 But yet there are things that if you are eating
23:33 things like English walnuts or something
23:37 that is high in Omega-3 fatty acids, yes,
23:40 like the, what is it, that we sprinkle over
23:43 the, my mind went blank, wheat germ.
23:45 Not a wheat germ but we'll think of it
23:47 in a minute. But there are things that
23:49 we can do to improve mental health through
23:52 our diet and exercises well because
23:55 that improves our circulation.
23:56 What are some other things?
23:58 Our relationships. Are they healthy
24:03 relationships? So you're saying that an
24:05 unhealthy relationship can hinder you from
24:08 developing a good character traits.
24:11 Yeah, and for, you know in a mate,
24:16 in your family you want people who are
24:22 committed to the well being of the family.
24:27 Not just your own well being because
24:30 if Jerry would have dropped what he was
24:32 doing and made me the focus of his attention.
24:35 Well number one he could have died before
24:38 he had that open heart surgery,
24:39 'cause he would not have sought help from self.
24:41 And number two, he would have created
24:44 a spoiled brat. There is no, you know,
24:48 somebody who's sick does not need to be spoiled.
24:51 They may need more help than someone else
24:54 but spoiling somebody who is sick regardless
24:57 of the illness is probably the worst thing
24:59 you can do for them. That's interesting,
25:01 because I want you to even delve into that
25:05 a little bit more, okay. Are you saying that
25:07 if someone is, when you went through
25:10 your depression, if someone coddled you
25:13 too much, if they encouraged the wining,
25:18 in the complaining, and the murmuring,
25:19 you're saying you wouldn't have gotten
25:20 well as quickly as you did? Right.
25:22 In fact I did have one friend, we eventually
25:25 had to stop being friends because
25:27 she tried to fix it all the time.
25:30 And it was like candy, I loved that,
25:34 you know here my life's a shambles
25:36 and here's somebody who is willing to fix it
25:39 for me. But it's not how we were made to be,
25:43 we weren't meant to be infects forever.
25:46 We were meant to learn to walk and to grow
25:50 and to take care of our own needs to a certain
25:53 degree. So when you said she tried to fix it,
25:55 you mean physically doing things for you
25:57 or was she just so sympathetic
26:00 and understanding that she just nurtured
26:02 those negative feelings. Yeah.
26:03 So sympathetic and understanding that
26:07 she didn't, she tried but she couldn't
26:15 effectively say Linda, don't be so
26:18 self-centered, because the very nature
26:21 of any serious illness is you do focus on self
26:26 more because you do require more attention.
26:28 We're running out of time so fast. Yeah.
26:31 But let me ask you what are some things
26:33 that can actually outside influences that
26:36 can, help you strengthen personal
26:39 characteristics like, I know Bible study was
26:43 one that we mentioned. The right friends are
26:46 priceless. Friends who won't be discouraged
26:49 that you don't make a lot of improvement
26:50 but who are willing to say to you,
26:53 no you can do a little bit more.
26:55 You can get a little bit better, 'cause the next
26:58 thing you know and it may really be a
27:00 long time but all of sudden your life has
27:03 dramatically improved, inch by inch by inch.
27:06 How about the power of intercessory prayer?
27:09 Oh that is priceless. I'm sure that my life
27:14 is so wonderful because people took time
27:17 to pray. My church did not understand
27:20 what to do. I firmly believe everyone tried
27:23 their best and the one thing they got right
27:26 is they prayed and prayed and prayed.
27:29 Oh, I'm so sorry that we're out of time today
27:31 Linda but thank you so much.
27:33 You know we want to go to her website,
27:35 keepsweetforever.com and get this
27:38 wonderful book and until we can see you again.
27:41 May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
27:44 the love of the Father and the fellowship
27:47 of the Holy Spirit be with you always.
27:49 And thank you so much for joining
27:52 us today. Amen. Thank You.