Nudged

We have a wonderful, enthusiastic, 100% dog dog – Ivory

First day

Someone gave her extra eyebrows so she looked like Odie

Dressed up and ready to go!

She is part Dachshund and Terrier… Her back legs are longer than her front so she’s had some interesting stops…

At times she’s know to be just standing still then whirring and 4 or 5 times chasing her tail, stop and go back to just standing there as if nothing happened…

We brought her into our life from a rescue shelter and fell in love with her.

She was 8 months old and we think she had been mostly caged. She had never played with a ball before… She literally hopped behind as it bounced for the first few times.

We have figured out her pecking order of important aspects of her life:

  1. Me
  2. Car Ride (abandonment issues)
  3. Playing ball
  4. Hubby
  5. Playing ball in the snow
  6. Food
  7. Playing ball in the rain
  8. Sleeping under a blanket

We have a routine for when we go out… Take the tennis ball chucker and launch… She chases and performs bodily function #1… Chuck it a few more and the next bodily function… A few more of chasing the ball and then inside…

Now sometimes the 2nd function time just isn’t ready… And we head back inside… But when it is she comes and uses her snout and nudges my arm repeatedly to get my attention basically saying NOW!

Nudges… That inside voice that says you maybe should pay attention to…

We all get nudges… To me that’s the Holy Spirit of God way of communicating…

I’ve learned it’s worth listening to… It usually saves me from getting caught in the rain or thankfully having extra dollar to buy something…

I also get nudges to pray for people… If someone pops into my mind I say a prayer and often just send out a text letting them know I’m thinking of them.

A few times God has NUDGED me to pray NOW! One time it was for the safety of school kids on a bus… Only the mirrors collided… If the bus has been just a few inches closer…

And please don’t think I’m bragging or trying to wear a super Christian shirt… My goal here is to show that if God uses a plain and ordinary person like me, He can use anyone and everyone!

For me with having to deal with a variety of types mental health days… I NEED TO be able to know that I’m still needed… That God and the world, either just around me or the entire planet, still find me valuable!

Look back on who God choose for his disciples… It wasn’t the priest, the Pharisees, Sadducees or the zealots, or basically most of the politicians of the day for the Jews…

He had fisherman he had tax collectors, he had people that were common back in those days… Just ordinary people…

1 Tim 1:12 I thank Christ Jesus my Lord who has given you the strength to do His work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve Him…

God has selected us and by relying on Him we can be useful…

On the fabulous and not so great days… Remembering this truth, we are valuable and needed, can help turn a day around…

I keep a Bible first aid kit on my phone and continue to add verses and personal experiences, nudges, to it…

I’m working on remembering some of the ones that have helped me the most… But my phone is usually at hand…

I think lot more, for me at least, nudges could be felt with the be still and know that I am God… Calming my chaos…

Chicken or Pig

Chicken or pig? Which are you?

The moral of asking how willing are you to be in a relationship where mental health exists.

At breakfast the pig is the one fully committed but not the chicken…

Nearly 30 years ago my dad was in a horrific accident which resulted in him having to relearn almost everything.

People, long time friends would take 1 look at my father, turn around walking out the door, never to be seen or heard from again.

There were only a few people, very few, who remained… Both male but also female who could have stood by mom in her greatest need…

Ecclesiastes 10:4 If your friend (boss) is angry at you, don’t quit!
A quiet spirit can overcome even great mistakes.

I’m thinking that this verse can be used with Mental Health going both ways. For the person who has mental health issues – with the person you are trying to educate more, if they don’t understand – KEEP TRYING and be patient!

For the person with the desire to understand and aide – KEEP TRYING and be patient!

If you cannot get the message across to each other and you notice frustration… Yup… Back to Phil 4:4-8 Rejoice together and pray for wisdom…

Matt 18:18-20 “I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”

Pray for wisdom! It’s what I do with my blog posts… It’s God writing it… I’m just the conduit

Blessings to all who do aren’t chicken (pun intended)…

Church Cliches and Stigma

I was thinking about the cliche statements in churches around Mental Health… And I was focusing on how mental health is not a sin in and of itself…

You do not get major depression disorder because you watched a TV show you shouldn’t have or you do not get general anxiety disorder because you spent more money than you should have… This is your conscience speaking to you…

Guilt can make someone anxious but the guilt can also be lifted with the confession of sin…

The mental health issues I am talking about are long lasting. Weeks, months, years. Mental health results from 2 factors… Genealogy and environment and yet it carries the biggest stigma instead of being the most loved and accepted in a church…

There are illnesses that are the consequence of sins. Diabetes Type 2 where overeating and indulging are usually the cause. Pretty much everybody knows this by now and yet we don’t shame them…

There is no stigma. We don’t have people coming up saying have faith more, read your Bible more, and it might go away. We all skip around the answer of EAT HOW WE’RE SUPPOSED TO EAT and WALKING AND EXERCISE. But we do not shame the people who have it as a result of indulging, not the way people with mental health feel they are treated…

Overindulging a long time can have very serious results on a body. Amputation of legs, loss of eyesight and kidney failure can be realities. But still no one goes up and says have more faith!

Many people break all the rules and continue to break them and yet ask to not have any health issues as a result of their choices…

How people have arrived at long-term mental health issues doesn’t really matter. All that matters is that we feel loved and accepted

If you look at where Jesus spent time while he was on earth, he went to the sick ones not the healthy…

Matt 9:12b “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.”

Various times those with mental health issues are among the sickest as we are sometimes fighting the temptation of death. We do not need a fix we simply need love and support, knowing that someone out there loves us and is praying for us. We need to feel accepted, this can mean the difference of staying alive or not… +see below

Did I cause my mental health issues? I don’t believe I could have prevented it… I may have been able to treat it earlier and it would have been less severe if I had known about it… And maybe because of church stigma and lack of knowledge I could have realized it earlier…

This is why I write a my blog and why I am trying to break the stigma in my circle of influence (churches and everywhere else) so other people can find love, acceptance and hope.

I believe that Jesus understands the harsh realities those with mental health go… I believe that in the garden of Gethsemane, when he was crying out to God and he felt that God had abandoned Him, he understood what mental health was like…

He gets it! And that gives me comfort because three days later he survived His mental health crisis…

And He can save me from my darkest mental health days…

+ Borderline Personality Disorder 1 of 10 succumb to suicide 400% more than other diagnoses

Stand Firm

Hey God, I’m having a good day today and I figured I’d do some devotions and maybe find something “Christian” I can do… I read Matt 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…

So let’s go! What do I need to do before we go?

1 Cor 15:5-8 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Stand firm… Ok I have my feet planted… Let’s go… I’m ready! Ohh umm… What about that “always”? I could maybe always give up a few hours on most Saturdays… Yah, that should be enough right?

Yah… What else?

Ephesians 6:10-17 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Standing firm seems to be really important… Shoes, shield, flaming arrows and still other pieces…

This isn’t as easy as I thought…

I mean today is a good mental health day and this seems to be a lot… What, what do I do on the not so good days?

Psalms 1:6a For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,

Yah that’s true… and I remember a bit of

Psalms 23 the rod and the staff comfort me… Oh and even when I go through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for you are with me

Psalm 29:11 The Lord gives strength to his people;
the Lord blesses his people with peace.

Job 22:21 Submit to God, and you will have peace;
then things will go well for you.

It’s great to know you are with me but I still feel scared…

Phil 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Let your gentleness be evident to all.

The Lord is near.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Peace? I’m not sure what real peace feels like… My thoughts can be so scrambled…

I’d like to find peace… But what do I do with all the thoughts running around in my head?

2 Cor 10:3-5 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

So if I take as many thoughts as I can my mental health issues will be gone?

2 Cor 12:7-9 I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.

For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Ahhh, I think I get it. People need to see how Christians deal with what life throws them… For me it’s mental health issues…

The weak and strong… I need let go of my way of dealing with it and let God.

I think that is the “let your gentleness be evident to all” back up there with rejoicing… And I’m to be meek

Matt 5:5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.

So God, I’m going to take off my shoes and let’s spend some 1:1 time together so I can stand firm…

Remorse Choice

From today’s devotions…

Good people receive the same treatment as sinners, and people who make promises to God are treated like people who don’t… God decides… Not us…

___________

Comparing the guilt of Judas and Peter on the last night before Jesus crucified…

It’s the same 24 hours and both men show they no longer have enough faith in Jesus…

Judas, I’ve read, had been looking at an army general who would free the Jews once and for all… When Jesus didn’t fit that mould, Judas betrayed him for 30 coins of silver…

Peter… One of the chosen… A servant of Jesus… One of the 12! Impulsive! Ready to take on the world! Denied Jesus 3x as predicted…

When Judas realizes what he has done, tries to return the coins but they won’t take them back…

When Peter hears the rooster crow he leaves and weeps bitterly…

Two different ways… Judas tries to fix it himself and when he can’t he hangs himself… He is defendent, judge and juror…

Peter cries bitterly looking for forgiveness…

Judas realizes his sin and then with remorse tries to put everything back to how it had been… Self-reliant trying to fix everything… Still proud… And this is what lead to his death…

Peter also realized his pride and was truly remorseful and unlike Judas, he looked to God to help him…

There is a scene in Gilmore Girls (Season 2 episode 21) where Rory misses her mom’s graduation and when she finally catches up with her she starts listing all the punishments she should have…

With mental health I can get to a self-down talking time with the flick of a switch… I’m free from self-hating (Thank you God!)… But I’m still working on self-worth. When it was self-hating… it was bring out the guillotine!

It’s easy for me to start listing all the punishments I deserve to make it up and free from my guilt… This is also self-reliance… And it’s pride in disguise… That I can punish myself better than God…

I am declaring that Jesus DIDN’T NEED to die as I can decide what I need to make everything right again SINLESS!?!?!?!?!?

SERIOUSLY

Instead I try to catch early when this is happening… I try to keep a short accounting with God… But often it takes me a while… Journalling is a good way for me to figure it out… If I haven’t journaled for a few days it’s time to see why…

John 1:9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

Psalms 65:3 Though we are overwhelmed by our sins,
you forgive them all…

I have family and friends who can notice changes and keep me accountable… It doesn’t always work like a light switch but when the light comes back on, I get to look at everything God wants me to deal with..

Oh, the absolutely worst punishment that Satan whispers is that God no longer wants me… I’m too damaged… So I better try to win God’s favor… Deal with all my sins first…

Eye of the Storm

Mental health shows it’s ugly head many ways:

  • Lack of confidence
  • Lack of self-worth
  • Feeling unlovable
  • Unredeemable
  • ________________

And often it sneaks in…@

Depression is ALL about lies… Hearing only the negative… Being bombarded by so many negative thoughts that any positive can get lost… This is why God has told us we need the helmet of salvation! And in 2 Corinthians 10:3 The Apostle Paul talks and taking EVERY thought captive to Christ…

It’s so easy to say capture and often the reality is the thought storm of mental health its like a cyclone spinning around, which is also picking up memory pieces of my life and opening old wounds afresh…

In the center of the cyclone though, there is the eye of the storm…here are only light winds and clear skies… I believe that is where I made my choice to return to God … In the midst of any situation God always provides a way out… It often, or most of the time, isn’t easy… And the time for us being in the eye isn’t long…

Life doesn’t stop… We have to go through the cyclone with God’s help… I know I can’t get through the chaos on my own… I just need to keep my eye on Him…

A word of caution… and the longer we wait the bigger the cyclone builds…

The pathway to suicide can seem to be a welcomed choice… It’s seems easy… It can be found in the eye when we are only looking down… Whereas looking up and see God reaching to guide us… His rod and staff comfort us (Psalms 23)… They don’t beat us… We can grab on and follow His tender guidance using them…

The pathway with God is harder but the rewards are eternal… And not just in heaven but also here on earth… Peace unexplainable, love beyond imagination, hope knowing God is right beside you as life is lived…

I haven’t had a major cyclone in over 2 years… I still get mini-cyclones…. I know to reach up… Reach up with my mind, my heart and my soul with all my strength… Even if my strength is opening one eyelid somedays…

For me, at least, my go to is simply repeating over and over again rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice…

Often it takes me a while to realize I’m dealing with a cyclone… But I know how to deal with them…

(Rejoice in the Lord….)

Sense-orship or censorship

A friend posted a link discussing: Five ways to protect free speech on campuses, and elsewhere

I agree with it… So here are my ramblings on the subject…

If you can’t even utter a word because of the risk of being censored, how can any open dialogue take place? 

If I cannot speak about my stance on an issue…  BECAUSE people THINK I MIGHT offend someone… Where is the proof?

Canada has been a country of diversity since before 1867… Yes, there was racism… And we need to use that and learn from it… 

But I do not recall ethnicities trying to wipe each other out of Canada… No civil war…

Oh yes, the politics was there, but that’s not what I’m referring to… (Nor the undescribable treatment of those with First Nation heritage)

In Saskatchewan a town called Weldon had a mostly Norwegian heritage… My mother was born there. In Red Deer Hill my father was born with an English heritage. Somewhere between there was a bigger town called Prince Albert… They didn’t go to war… They helped each other as our country was being established…

Now, we have different life styles… If your life style is different from mine – that doesn’t mean that one is WRONG! If there is infringement then both sides should talk. Agree to disagree… Dialogue! 

Looking at WWII the world saw horrific treatment of one ethnicity... If we refuse to discuss and dialogue then how will the generations to come understand so that it will not be repeated! (And don’t be willing to say it won’t – there have been studies to prove it will)

Yes, I am a white Christian. I have people of varied races as family and friends. I have friends with different life styles. I do not “condemn them to hell”. I love them just like every other member of my family…

I may not agree with the car they drive or where they go for their vacation!

I may not agree with their choices but I respect them and love them.

The pendulum has gone too far the other way…  It’s taboo to talk about something or subjects or you will be labeled…

I will respect people with other choices in their life style, their religion, their jobs, their place they live and I will respect what they say provided it is done in a meaningful and open dialogue where everyone has equality.

I also expect that everyone to treat each other with human decency… Mental Health, Downes Syndrome, MS, Cerebral Palsy, Race… We all bleed red, we all put our pants one leg at a time…

Just respect each other…

The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would expect others to do to you

The stuff you learned in kindergarten

O God, I Beg Two Favours

From a devotional:

Prov 30:7-8  O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die.  

First, help me never to tell a lie

Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. 

Psalms 23… I shall not want…also comes to mind…

A clean slate… A new year… Resolutions…

I heard a speaker once talk about how he had just landed off the red eye to be met at the airport by his secretary and a clean suit… the last thing he wanted and he had totally forgotten about the event… He was the keynote speaker at a ladies function. 

While on the stage only halfways awake, he was listening to the hostess talk about a need for a missionary team that required $7,000 for a much needed building… She asked him to come and lead the prayer… 

And he said NO! 

Instead he got up to the podium and looked out over the sizeable audience and said that he was sick and tired of all the prayers that went up when the reality is simply among everybody there they could easily raise the $7,000. He then took his wallet and ask the lady to open it up and take whatever cash he had in there and put it into the offering. He then announced that whatever amount they were short he would write a personal check and cover the balance. He wanted every woman in there to trust God to take whatever money they had their wallet and believe that God would bless them and return it and to come on up and put it in the offering. 

Nobody started to move so finally he looked at one lady, pointed and said you come up here and pointed and repeated to the next few. He said that people were taking money out of their wallets and stuffing it into the hymnals. 

After everybody had come he asked two women to go and count the money. They had raised more than $7,000. 

We live in a country so blessed…

And Then It Wasn’t

Jesus quotes Isaiah:

Matt 15:8-9 These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.”Their hearts are far from me”

Their hearts are far from me…

This was me… The “Sunday Christian” who hadn’t actually attended Church for a long while, maybe 2-3 years (maybe next week, I’m tired, God gets it) Ready to give advice to those poor people who just didn’t understand God…

Hey! I was raised in church… Taught Sunday school at age 13, baptized at age 12… I had won any Bible Verse challenge, I could have told you how many colors were in Joseph’s coat!

I was super-christian!

It was all about me…

And then it wasn’t

My mental health crisis came…

Matt 15:8-9 (edited) I honored God with my lips, but my heart was far from God. My (me) worship was a farce, for I teach man-made (my-own) ideas as commands from God. Their [my] hearts are far from me [God]…

My world as I knew it barely existed… I still had family… But that was about it… Everything else was gone. I would be admitted to a residential care facility and hospital (multiple times in a 2 year span) to try to figure out a med combination… They would tell me when to take it, they would tell me when to go to bed, get up, eat… They established a routine for me… Which I needed… That’s how whacked my world had become…

I had been seeking my self-worth away from God… I was proud of my worldly achievements… .when things went according to my plan… It was thank you God! Even though I hadn’t really prayed about… But I could pretend that God and I were best friends…

When my plans didn’t work out, well I guess it just wasn’t in God’s plan… God being my scapegoat…

I wasn’t devoted to God. No prayers (except fox hole), no Bible study, no church attendance…

Even with my mental health crisis…

GOD WAS NOT EVEN THOUGHT OF

until someone reminded me to think of God and we re-started attending… About 7 (SEVEN) months after my suicidal attempt had started…

Someone told me about Celebrate Recovery... I could attend with out shame or stigma… I was welcomed… I could be myself as I truly was… Not as I thought or wanted to be… The me right now…

Now… It’s all about God and my life through Him (as it’s supposed to be)

Do I think my lack of faith and being out of touch with God is why I had my meltdown? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

God does NOT punish us… However the consequences of man’s freewill can make it seem that way…

Looking back I’ve been dealing with mental health issues my entire life without grasping these facts…

Now ask me would it have it been different if my faith has been stronger? ABSOLUTELY YES!

There were signs along the way which were missed…

It wasn’t until I started seeking God that I finally started to heal… I was totally lost and sinking into a dark void… The one we all have inside that only God can fill…

So based on that fact and my walk with God today? Yes it would have been different…

John 15:5 Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing…