All That it Takes

Flat on my back… looking up… I really couldn’t get any lower except well…

I weakly and finally called out to God…

Isaiah 59:1 (NLT): Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you,
nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call

I heard about a Christian “thing” that might help….

And I went not knowing what to expect and both desperate one second and so ashamed the next… I knew some of these people… Some for many, many years (25) but hadn’t seen them for ages… But I was barely holding on and really had nothing to lose…

TO SANITY

There I heard the words read out…
We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us TO SANITY

That night, Thursday May 29, 2014 I started my walk with God again… I could be ME! Not the superficial “I’m good” while remembering I had tried suicide a few days ago… People there were real… No masks…

I didn’t talk much but God did… Maybe not in many words but it was in the WAY He talked…

“I CAN RESTORE YOUR SANITY” said warmly with love and gentleness and kindness… Giving me hope again… When I had walked in, I had NO hope… Only darkness but just enough remembrance of God and who He is…

I walked out with hope… I came back the next week and I still go back…

The meeting? Celebrate Recovery… My recovery wasn’t alcohol or drugs or pornography… It wasn’t from inappropriate relationships…

I was a food addict – emotional eating is a term I recently heard…

I was a hurting person and how I had arrived at the place I found myself was not really the issue anymore… Forgiveness was said and done many years prior… Forgiveness is a choice and I had already made that choice…

My issue was self-hatred which outwardly manifested with mental health illness and looking back, it had issues going long before I realized it…

I still deal with the mental health issues…

Does this mean my faith is not big enough? No.

Look at people who have stress issues that result in a heart attack… Are they shunned? Are they told they should have more faith… That if they go for enough walks their heart muscle somehow regenerate…

My inner dilemma resulted in my brain not working as it should… It is physically damaged and no longer produces the chemicals I need so I take medication to compensate…

But if there is only one thing you should remember about reading this blog posting…

Isaiah 59:1 (NLT): Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you,
nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call

God’s Thoughts and a Walk in the Garden

Isa 55:8 (NLT): My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine

My thoughts often suck… Between the MDD, the GAD and the BPD they can quickly turn into a tornado force storm….

God, thankfully, doesn’t think like I do…

There is an old hymn that “In the Garden” (you can hear it sung by Alan Jackson on YouTube)

The course words are what came to my mind:
And He walks with me
And He talks with me,
And He tells me I am his own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He talks with me… me, little old insignificant me… I can listen to His words… and for people who are dealing with a mental health crisis it can be a two pronged road… I can feel “guilty” because I am a Christian and yet my thoughts can be all over the place and not focused on Godly or heavenly things 1. because I don’t even think about it!! Then later I feel “convicted” because I didn’t…. 2. I do think of the Godly things however it is SOOOOO hard to stop the tsunamis and feel guilty because I can’t immediately stop it… both of the prongs can dig deep…

But now 4+ years into my mental health battle I have learned a few things…

I am able usually able to recognize the start of a tornado quicker. If I don’t, I deal with it when I do… God will help me wherever I am at… He’s always right beside me…

I am better equipped to deal with the storm… I have a Bible first aide kit handy… Bible verses which refute what is happening, journal of what has worked in the past, a support network…

The recall of physical peace with God… the words of this hymn are all too true

I have been in the garden with God…

He has walked with me – there is nothing too awful or horrid I can do that He won’t forgive… Jesus already died for it… I just need to ask in earnest…

He has talked with me – He tells me that all is right between Him and me… Jesus made everything right…

And He tells me I am his own –  that I am his Princess – that He has adopted me… that He loves me – JUST as I currently am…

And the joy we share as we tarry there – I get the treatment of the prodigal son returning – a huge feast because I am walking and talking with Him… and it is all just for ME… and truly…

None other has ever known.

Not So Perfect Just Like Me

One easy mental health issue to constantly deal with, and actually for many people, is self-worth…

Since childhood I have read and been taught all the big stories in the Bible… Joseph and his coat of many colors… Moses dramatically rescuing the Israelites… David… Who can forget David and Goliath!

And then there are the apostles! The chosen few… Peter, John, Luke, Matthew…

And Paul… Went on a road trip dealt with Jesus… Instantly converted (wouldn’t you if you had been blinded by heavenly light?)

The book of Acts and the rest of the new testament (past Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are the letters to Christians and many are from Paul

So Paul is a big time perfect Christian example right!?!?

My MH voices love to tell me what a loser I am… That I’m not good enough… That I’m a failure… That I don’t deserve anything at all… At times I don’t deserve the air I breathe…

And as a Christian… The whole stigma of how can I call myself a Christian if I have MH issues!

I read a devotional today that popped the apostles, and specifically Paul, being “PERFECT” (Chuck Swindoll is one of my top 5 Christian leaders ever)

2 Corinthians 10:10 (NLT): For some say, “Paul’s letters are demanding and forceful, but in person he is weak, and his speeches are worthless!”

Read the devotional and learn how flawed Paul was…

Remember Moses was a murderer, Abraham was a liar, David was an adulterer, Samuel was arrogant, Jonah ran from God, Paul was a murderer, Peter denied Jesus on the very night Jesus really needed him, Jacob was a thief…

Job, Elijah, Elisha, David and others battled mental health issues… Elijah wanted to die and laid out under a tree where there was no food or water…

I wonder if Saul was Bipolar? (This is my personal, unsubstantiated thought)… He flipped and flipped on issues…

I could go on and on…

So how is it that I can have mental health issues AND call myself a Christian? Easy… I’m human… I have a physical illness where my brain doesn’t work like people who don’t deal with mental health issues… My brain no longer makes the CHEMISTRY I need… (the same as a diabetic’s pancreas no longer makes insulin…

I am definitely a God fearing, thankful loved unconditionally by God person. I believe that Christ came to earth, that He died for my sins and that He conquered death in rising from the dead and later ascended to heaven…

I also can claim that there is not a perfect person on earth today… And hasn’t been for about 2000 years…

Job 5:7 (NLT) People are born for trouble as readily as sparks fly up from a fire…

After Adam and Eve enjoyed their fruit salad way back when we all mess up… Regardless of the mess – God loves us all the same… The consequences are different, but God’s love never changes…

So when it comes to looking at the Biblical giants – realize they made mistakes and fell flat on their keesters  as well… It doesn’t excuse our short comings… But we can get rid of the thoughts that we need to be perfect… It makes us human and used correctly, God acknowledges it…

2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gollum or God

Isaiah 40:3 Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting,
“Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord!
Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God!

When I read this, I thought of Frodo and Samwise Gamgee trying to navigate through the marshland with Gollum in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy…

With my mental health, at times it can seem like I’m in a marsh with dense fog, strange sounds and in an uncharted area of my life…

The proclamation of Isaiah that God is making a straight highway is a massive relief… I prefer God as my guide and certainly not Gollum!

Now, this path isn’t conditional… It’s not just possible or probable… It IS already made!

I have found that when I have turned to God at various times in my life, He is not just always there, but there with a perfect pathway… A chance to step off of the madness/spiral I have found myself dealing with…

In May of 2014 my life was spinning down and there wasn’t much further it could go… I found myself flat on my back looking up… And there He was… And there was His path, a straight path I chose to take it… Not always easy… Sometimes He carries me… Other times He walks beside me and often I follow Him and He’s always and I mean always got my back…

If I don’t see God… It’s my fault… I’ve put a curve in His straight road…

Now, to people who haven’t personally dealt with a long term mental health illness (MDD, GAD, BPD) stepping off the spiral isn’t just a tiptoe step… Think more like trying to keep from getting sucked out of an open airplane door like you see in the movies… It’s not always that severe but at times it feels that way…

There were times when I didn’t look up… When I wasn’t even thinking about God… I was following Gollum as his was the voice I heard…

But when I finally did choose to listen to God…

Psalm 116:1-2 (NLT) I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!

Luke 4:18-19 (NLT) “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come

I’ve had my oppression set free… But it is still a daily battle with my mental health… The oppression is never far away… Is it because of a lack of faith? No… Is it a punishment for my sins? No… This side of heaven I may never fully know… My theory is God is allowing me to keep it real…

For instance… If you break your arm you understand pain! A few years later your friend breaks their arm and you remember it hurt but in truth you only remember it really hurt but the actual intensity, the level of pain doesn’t return… It doesn’t truly feel like you just re-broke your arm…

I have come an incredibly long way in the past 4+ years but not all the way… I still struggle… I do my best to keep on the straight path… I stumble and get off into a ditch… I’m walking with – SQUIRREL! (I lose my focus)… Life gets busy… Life gets “easier” so I rely less on God, just like the Israelites did over and over again…

But God and His straight path are always there… I just need to make sure I’m walking with Him daily…

A Moment With My Dog

Psalm 46:10Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world. (NLT)

My dog, Ivory, needs to play just like most any other dog in the world… she knows it’s play time because I have called her name and then we just look at each other… She wags her tail increasingly faster the longer the silence is in anticipation until I finally make the first move…

Silence has been for me is hard to come by… I still find times when a kagillion thoughts are ranging through my mind… If you deal with mental health you know what I’m talking about… If you don’t… Then try to imagine about 100 wikipedia pages of information feeding into your brain all at the same time then the next batch only a few seconds or so later…

Be still… I used to beat myself up as I “couldn’t” be still long enough… I wasn’t “Christian” enough… I was a fraud… Then over time I came to realize that being still with God doesn’t need of minutes of actual silence…

If I truly love God and can only be still for a second… That’s okay!
Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’

There’s no time expectation! Time isn’t always important to God…

2 Peter 3:8 But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends, a day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years to the Lord is like a day…

I just need the silence in my heart and soul. Just a moment is enough… It’s not the duration…
I can be still wherever I am…

Just close my eyes and think upon Phil 4:8

I can use natures sounds around me
I can listen to worship songs
I get use Phil 4:4-7
I can use Psalms
I can a Proverbs
I can use blessings from the Bible
I can use promises from God
I can go back and remember all the other times God has shown me His love and grace…

I can take every thought captive (2 Cor 10:3)…

Every thought IS captive when I deliberately choose to find a moment, a mere nano-second, of being still with God…