Friday, November 10, 2017

Michelle Bengtson: An Interview with the Author of Hope Prevails


Please welcome author, speaker, and board-certified clinical neuropsychologist with more than 25 years in the diagnosis and treatment of medical and mental disorders, Dr. Michelle Bengtson. 

While we have yet to meet face to face for that long awaited chat over a cup of coffee, Michelle and I have gotten to know one another through our author connections over the years. I am  honored to count her as a cherished friend and prayer partner.  I know her as a woman of great insight, wisdom and strong faith. It is a privilege to introduce her to you, my readers. 

The Interview...


Why did you choose to write about the topic of depression?

Depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide by the year 2020. Yet whether it is world hunger, cancer, or any other catastrophic event, difficulties and hardships never quite have the same impact on our heart as they do when we go through them ourselves. The same was true for me when I went through depression.

As a neuropsychologist, I had been diagnosing and treating patients with depression for over 20 years. I had great empathy and compassion for their suffering when God called me to write a book about overcoming depression as a resource that would extend beyond the four walls of my private practice to those who couldn’t make it into my office for help. But then He revealed that there were too many books already written from a doctor’s perspective and that I needed to share my own story. At that point my story amounted to growing up in a home with a mother who was depressed my entire childhood, as was her sister and her mother. And at that point, I had also suffered my own bout with severe postpartum depression after the birth of our first son. Little did I know that after surrendering to God and telling Him that I would write this book for Him and willingly share my story, I would go through one of the most difficult times in my life, and a most severe case of depression.

Going through the valley of depression, I tried all the treatment recommendations I had suggested to my patients for years, only to find out that while they helped, they weren’t enough. This led to the inevitable question, “Why?” and “What is the missing piece? What is the real answer?” What God then showed me in the journey through my own valley of depression was that as long as we treated physical or mental disease but didn’t address the spiritual component, we were really only putting a band aid on the issue, and we could never really expect real healing to come.

Once I started applying God’s truth to my situation, freedom came, and I knew I had to share what I had learned, both from the perspective of the doctor who treats patients, but also as a fellow sojourner.

What is one lesson that you hope readers will walk away with after reading Hope Prevails?

If you will allow me the liberty of sharing two lessons: 1) Our feelings cannot be trusted, but God can. 2) In our darkest days in the valley, because of Him, there is still always hope.

What has been one of the hardest things about holding onto hope in your own life?

Our feelings are the outward manifestation of the thoughts we believe, and when our thoughts do not line up with God’s truth because we have unknowingly believed a lie, then our feelings will lead us astray and away from the hope that God offers. That is why we must take every, every, every thought captive and make sure that it lines up with God’s truth. When we do that, hope does prevail!

What is your favorite Bible verse about hope and why?

Without a doubt, my favorite verse about hope is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans for a future and a hope!” I have held on to this verse for nearly three decades through moves, through cancer, through miscarriages, through the MOST uncertain of times. It has lent me such hope and comfort because even when I cannot see a way, even when I do not know how things will get better, I can put my trust in my unfailing God who does know the way, who does see the finish line. HE knows the plans He has for me, and He promises that those plans are good. It gives me such peace despite the chaos of my circumstances!

What is one of your favorite lines from Hope Prevails?

Honestly, there is no way I can choose just one. It would be hard to choose just one. It would be hard to choose even one per page. As I re-read the book as a reader and not the author, I get inspired as I hear the words God speaks to my heart to encourage me, and it’s my prayer that He does the same thing for everyone who reads it.

“I’m here to tell you the secret is out: even Christians get depressed. Unfortunately, Christians are often the ones who most feel they must hide their pain and pretend that nothing is wrong.”

“If you want freedom from depression, you have to decide you are ready to dispel some myths and lies and replace them with truth—God’s truth.”

“The enemy isn’t only concerned with strong arming Christians. He seeks to separate believers and nonbelievers alike from God. Both Christians and on-Christians often unknowingly open the door to the devil by the things they do, say, or believe, allowing the “roaring lion” to enter and wreak havoc in their lives. This is where the spiritual roots to depression start, but it’s not where they end.”

“We are destroyed when the enemy knows more about the roots of depression than we do. We cannot fight effectively until we understand what we are fighting and have the weapon to engage in battle.”

“Jesus is the only one who has the authority to speak about our worth.”

“While we may feel broken and wounded in our despair, God promises to heal those places in us.”

If you were sitting across from a woman who is struggling physically, mentally, and spiritually right now, what would you say to her?

I’ve been there. The reason for our struggle may not be the same, but I’ve been in the place where I wasn’t sue I wanted to go on. I’ve been in the place where I wasn’t sure I could. I’ve been in the place where all I could whisper in my prayers was a feeble, “Help.” But what I learned through that time was that God always meets us there in our desperation.  And truly, it is in our weakest times that we get to see Him do His greatest work. And there is NO shame in admitting we need help. The Bible even encourages us to ask for help when it says, “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3). And to “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7).


What has been one of the most challenging aspects about writing this book?

Hope Prevails really draws attention to the spiritual aspect of depression and how the enemy of our soul seeks to steal our joy, kill our peace, and destroy our identity, and in the book I share how we combat the enemy’s attacks to take back the joy that Christ died so that we could have. I can promise you that the enemy has NOT been pleased about the writing of this book, so the most challenging aspect of writing this book has been the near constant attack from the enemy that my family and I have endured in seeing this project to publication.

The very day that “Hope Prevails” released, my husband was diagnosed with cancer. I don’t think that was a coincidence. It was like the enemy was saying, “Do you REALLY think hope still prevails?” I’ve said many times that when you write a book, your conviction to your message will be tested. But as long as I have breath, I will declare that Hope Prevails!

What has been one of the most rewarding aspects of writing Hope Prevails?

Without a doubt I can say that the most rewarding part of writing this book has been hearing from readers that it has helped them experience freedom from the chains of depression that have kept them locked up in despair for so many years. It’s time that we say “No more!” to the rule and reign of the enemy’s influence in our lives and stop it in our generation so that our children and our children’s children will not have to suffer!

Is it true that that is why you write the new Hope Prevails Bible Study?

That’s exactly right! Many readers wrote to me and asked, “When are you going to write a Bible study to go with “Hope Prevails?” At first I responded by saying, “I don’t write Bible studies.” But then I really felt the Lord nudging me, as if He was saying, “You don’t write Bible studies but I do, and I’ll help you.” So in response to reader requests, I’ve written and published the new companion “Hope Prevails Bible Study.” I wrote it very intentionally so that if you haven’t already read “Hope Prevails,” it doesn’t matter, you can do the Bible study anyway, but if you have read the original book, it will make the Bible study just that much richer. I also wrote the Bible study so that someone could go through it on their own, or it makes a perfect study to be done in a small group like in a church Bible study or through a counseling group.

Michelle, where can we find your books and find out more about you?
Hope Prevails

“Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression” is available on Amazon or 
Hope Prevails Bible Study
most major book retailers. 

The “Hope Prevails Bible Study” is also available on Amazon or Redemption-Press or many major book retailers. 








I blog regularly on my website, www.DrMichelleBengtson.com and you can find me on all major social media channels: 

For a Free eBook on How to Help a Depressed Loved One, click here: How To Help a Depressed Loved One eBook

For more helpful information about what you need to know when you have a depressed loved one, read here: 10 Things to Know if You Have a Depressed Loved One

For more about what not to say to a depressed loved one, read here: What Not to Say When a Loved One is Depressed while here are suggestions about supportive things you can say to a depressed loved one: What to Say When a Loved One is Depressed

Michelle, thank you for these wonderful resources! I know my readers will benefit greatly from your wisdom and expertise. 


Dr. Michelle Bengtson (PhD, Nova Southeastern University) is an international speaker, and the author of best-selling “Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression” and the newly released companion “Hope Prevails Bible Study.”  She has been a neuropsychologist for more than twenty years and is in private practice in Southlake, Texas where she evaluates, diagnoses, and treats children and adults with a variety of medical and mental health disorders. She knows pain and despair firsthand and combines her professional expertise and personal experience with her faith to address issues surrounding medical and mental disorders, both for those who suffer and for those who care for them. She offers sound practical tools, affirms worth, and encourages faith. Dr. Bengtson offers hope as a key to unlock joy and relief—even in the middle of the storm. She and her husband of 30 years have two teenage sons, and reside in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. She blogs regularly on her own site: http://www.DrMichelleBengtson.com

If you have questions, or comments for Dr. Michelle, please leave your comments below. I know she would love to hear from you. 





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4 comments:

  1. Concise and relevant interview, Ladies. Excellent work! Thank you both for being agents of hope and healing. ❤️

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Cheryl! I'm always happy to hear from you, my friend!

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  2. Awesome interview Gayl. Blessings Diana

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    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Isn't Michelle amazing?!
      Thank you so much for visiting!
      blessings!

      Delete

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