Saturday, September 8, 2018

Build Him Up! (Guest Post by Danielle Foisy)

I'm excited to introduce Danielle Foisy to you this week! It's a real blessing to have her as my special guest on HeartPoint. She has such a poignant and powerful message to share with individuals and families struggling with mental illnesses. I hope her wise suggestions will reach many people who need an extra word of encouragement and hope.

About Danielle Foisy
For years, Danielle worked in the secular workplace until God asked her to take a leap of faith and leave her career to start following God’s plan for her life. In the darkest and hardest times, while living with a husband who struggles with mental illness, she found there were not a lot of resources for the person who is supporting someone who is struggling. 

Her goal is to change that situation and start the conversation. She discovered writing to be a healthy coping mechanism to deal with the stress that comes with the role, and now she is using her platform to help others who are in the same role she is in. 

Danielle lives in Haliburton, Ontario with her husband and family. When she is not wrangling her monkeys, namely two adorable young daughters, a son and puppy, they are out exploring the world. She enjoys adventures like ice climbing, rock climbing, and other exhilarating sports that give you grey hairs. 

So, without any further ado, here's Danielle!

Build Him Up!

My husband struggles with a chronic depression and has been making such amazing progress. The other night I told him how much progress he had made and it hit me how long it had been since I built him up. That, my friends, for a successful marriage should not be a foreign feeling!!

What I believe is so important is to build up our spouses. No matter what; when they look back, they need to see you as their biggest cheerleader throughout life. They need to feel your support because yours is the one that matters.

The hardest part of this marital commitment is that there are many times they are undeserving of that support and praise, many times we are angry or fighting and the last thing you want to do is say something nice. But that’s Grace; that’s what we are called to do regardless of how we feel and regardless of how deserving they are. (I am by no means claiming to be good at this!)

I heard once that men’s deepest desire is to be respected and women’s is to be loved. And the command that Christ gives us is to give what they need even if we are not receiving what we need. What this means is Respect even if you are not feeling the love you need. (I wrote another post about going to God to get our needs met…this may help here.) I am not saying to go on with your needs not being met, but what I am saying is we as individuals in this marriage are called to do what is right regardless of the other person. That is where our character is defined.

So what are some practical ways we can tangibly do this? Here are a couple areas to start.

Always Support Their Dreams
One of the best pieces of advice I got from one of my mentors was this. She said 90% of them don’t come to fruition but they need to feel safe to dream around you, and supported by you while they do.

Try and compliment or build up your spouse ONCE per day at minimum.
It’s important to be intentional in your daily interactions with your spouse. The enemy will plant lies in your head and your spouses, but you building them up, it can squash those lies right in their tracks before Satan gets a real foothold.

Trust Him
As the leader of the home, we need to allow that leading to be supported. In our home, I have the strong personality and my husband is a lot more timid. It’s really easy for me to overshadow and take over that leadership role. I constantly have to humble myself and give back the reins. By trusting him, for example in decisions about our family, our finances etc. I can allow him to lead us, but also show him I trust where he will lead us. I’m not going to get into submission in this post because that is a whole other can of worms. I am just saying and asking that you give your husband opportunities to lead your family and show him you trust that leadership.

You are the opinion that matters most, your criticism hurts more than anyone else’s. Keep this in mind with your words, they have power especially to our spouses. There are many times I have said damaging things while angry to my husband that were not worth the pain they caused him during a moment of weakness I fell into. I encourage you to build up each area of your spouse and continually remind them.

Remember how important you are, remember your words matter and remember you have the power to build up or tear down but the choice is yours alone.

About Danielle's Book: The Other Side of the Struggle: Supporting a Spouse Who Struggles with Mental Illness or Depression

Danielle’s spouse battled an undiagnosed and untreated mental illness that was taking her family down and almost destroyed it. During this time, she started a blog where she wrote about their struggles and journey. Danielle found it to be therapeutic as well as it becoming a voice for so many silent sufferers of mental illness and their supporters. 

Since writing this book, they have learned more about mental illness and how to manage and control it, and believe God allowed them to go through such a difficult time to relate to others in similar circumstances and to bring people who are suffering back to him with their testimony. 

The goal of this book is not only to reach other supporters of those who struggle with mental illness, but to raise awareness that mental illness needs to start being talked about within churches and Christian communities. The goal is to challenge the church to be a safe place for those who are struggling or supporting those who are struggling, and to advocate for those face the shame and stigma within the church for struggling with mental health issues.

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