Lately Several Days Have Attacked Me at Once

Perspective is an interesting thing… I, like many others, had my issues dealing with the threat of Covid and the uncertainty… family members that are high risk… then a family member became deathly ill… and suddenly Covid didn’t seem as important…

For the last 3 months a close family member has been very ill… they have come close to death a few times… and the doctor’s are still trying to settle everything down… add to that dealing with a loved one in hospital during Covid – you know, when it’s really hard to see them… it took WEEKS before anyone could get in for a visit… and those visits have been very tough emotionally… communication between our family and the hospital has been less than stellar many times which has only added to the anxiety of the unknown… this illness has led to life altering issues… it’s also raised issues from long ago – triggers that I have had to deal with… things I thought I had maybe dealt with – but actually hadn’t… at least not fully…

Added to that – I was given clearance to return to work 6 months ago (yeah!!) after being off for 6 years… while things were moving slowly – there was finally light at the end of the tunnel… and then the light turned out to be a train… lol… my employer decided I have been out of the workforce for too long and no longer want to recognize my skills and training… (after they had offered me a carrot, let me taste it – then snatched it away…) I can honestly understand their position – it is something I have thought about myself – and that I have taken steps to refresh my training and been bringing my knowledge up to date with any changes that have happened over the time I have been off… and I actually had a plan to present to them – but unilaterally they rescinded the position they had promised…

Life always has other stressed… and I won’t go into detail about those… but I think you can now see that indeed – several days attacked me at once… or so it seemed…

Spiritually, it’s easy to say I am under attack… and to be honest, it has thrown me into a spiral quite a few times… Not back where I was when I had to leave work and deal with my mental health illness… but far enough that it really, really threw me off track…

But God is always there… that is one certainty…

As a friend likes to quote – Only God can open a door that was closed and close a door that no one can open…

For 6 .5 years I have been honing skills – growing closer to God… learning who I am in Christ…

I’ve learned “tricks” that can help keep my grounded… which isn’t easy as my life has the challenges of a brain injury and ADHD… I’m much more than just “squirrel”… I’m more like – squirrel – is that a walnut he’s holding? Isn’t mom’s dining table made of walnut? Walnut square – I haven’t had that for a while… Square – can be divided into 2 triangles… angles – can be obtuse or acute – cute – weren’t those shoes I saw my daughter wear the other day cute? And this all happens in 1.2 seconds in my brain…

The tricks I have learnt are in grounding myself in Christ – reminders to pray EVERYDAY:

  • I am putting on the armour of God… that I have the mind of Christ
  • God is the One who makes you and us strong in Christ. God made us his chosen people.
  • Proverbs 11:29 Godly people find life
  • God is the One who makes you and us strong in Christ. God made us his chosen people.
  • That during trials I can pray out to Him – and that He will ALWAYS answer.
  • Habakkuk 3:17-19 Even though the fig trees have no blossoms (that the world around me seems to suck)… vs 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
  • 2 Cor 4:6 For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

I could continue but I have these as either prayers or as popups on my phone throughout the day…

I will admit – there are times I simply swipe them away – and times I really don’t want to – and sometimes don’t – pray…

It seemed like I was floating along and doing SOOO well for awhile… and just like Israel – it’s easy to forget about spending that quality time with God… then when things crash – it’s easy to sink into a depression… into despair…

I’m not completely out of the woods… but thanks to friends who I reached out to – I’m back to taking control with God’s help…

For me, mental health is still really a daily battle… I know I won’t take as long to recover from this crash as I did 6 years ago… I didn’t sink nearly as low… but low enough it scared me… and made me humble before my God…

I built my support system through Celebrate Recovery – if you haven’t checked it out – you need to… it doesn’t matter what type of issue you bring with you – someone there has battled the same things… the recovery isn’t just addictions like drugs & alcohol – but also addiction to negative thinking, addiction to co-dependency – addiction to foods – addiction to being treated poorly and low self-worth… addiction to hearing more from Satan than God… any type of hurt, habit or hang-ups… God is always there…

What to Pray

“I’ll pray for you”… so easily said… sometimes the delivery it is what I call a popcorn prayer… a quick instant prayer pops in and out… and that might be all that needed… a 2 hour prayer is not needed for a child’s skinned knee…

Then there is the next level of prayer…. the Sunday morning… more thought put into it… a longer appeal to God… where 2 or more are gathered… it might be something that the prayer ends with one longer and more intense prayer session…

And prayer chain prayers… more acute – someone in hospital, someone quite desperate for money or a job or something even more intent… something that sticks with you as you go about your day and you pray in the spirit through out the day…

There are other issues we can pray about… but that’s not my focus here today… my focus is on personal praying – especially for people with mental health issues

My focus is on how to pray
for anyone dealing with mental health
and the answer is straight from the Bible…

1 Timothy 2:1b …pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them

We all know to pray for all people… the intercede – to me that is what continues as home… intercessory prayer continues… long term praying… the get out the journal and write down to remember to… and to follow up and see what updates have happened….

thanks… I hadn’t ever thought about giving thanks when praying for someone dealing with a serious situation… but the more I think about it – the more it makes sense…

When someone gives thanks for someone they are saying they are valuable… that they have purpose and a reason to stick around… they may need some convincing but what a lovely way to end a prayer for anyone… and especially those battling depression or other mental health issues

Prayer is needed – and consistent prayer is called for… Dan 10:20 tells of the event of an answer to prayer being delay because of a spiritual battle…

So 3 things on what to pray :

Ask God to help them

Intercede on their behalf

Give thanks for them

Mental Health with Prudence

When I am in the middle of a mental health battle everything can and usually does seem wrong – bad – against me – nothing is going right and “NEVER” will again… and we all know that this is bunk when we are at the other side of the battle… 

The battles are dark and potentially deadly… and because of the deadly part – wisdom needs to be used… 

Proverbs 8:5-6 (NIV)
You who are simple, gain prudence;

You who are foolish, set your hearts on it. 
Listen, for I [widsom] have trustworthy things to say;
I open my lips to speak what is right.

Prudence:
1: the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason
2: sagacity or shrewdness in the management of affairs
3: skill and good judgment in the use of resources
4: caution or circumspection as to danger or risk

So #2 doesn’t really apply here but the other 3 most certainly do! 

#1 Govern and reason – Reason and mental health – basically mortal enemies and not used as a pun – 2 Cor 10:3-5 How do these words, arguments line up with God’s words and truth? It isn’t just a thoughts game – it is a Spiritual battle! Battle plan – praying, praying and more praying – and reaching out to have my network pray… 
#3 Skill and judgments and resources – as a Christian I have my Bible and my trusting “Bible First Aid Kit” – memories of dark times I have been through with God – verses in the Bible that talk to me about how irrational my behavior and thoughts are
#4 Caution – Keeping in touch with family and friends – my support network really helps keep me from big slides… I am accountable to them and they help me if they see changes in my behavior… 

Journalling – for me – journalling is important – I can look back and see success and joy!

But how about the hard times? Aren’t those depressing? 

No – I get to look back and see how God got me through the hard times! I get to look back and see just how far God has brought me! I get to go back and know that God has already helped me fight bigger battles and won them – so I know that whatever battle I find myself in – God will get me through now… 

This is called WISDOM – knowledge is knowing something can happen – WISDOM is putting knowledge into practice… 

My Temple & Talk with God Today

Eze 44:5–8 Take careful note of the procedures for using the Temple’s entrances and exits. 6 And give these rebels, the people of Israel, this message from the Sovereign LORD: O people of Israel, enough of your detestable sins! 7 You have brought uncircumcised foreigners into my sanctuary—people who have no heart for God. In this way, you defiled my Temple even as you offered me my food, the fat and blood of sacrifices. In addition to all your other detestable sins, you have broken my covenant. 8 Instead of safeguarding my sacred rituals, you have hired foreigners to take charge of my sanctuary.

Back in Ezekiel’s day, God’s temple was a single building. Built with VERY specific measurements. Here the prophet’s role was to teach the Israelites not only how to physically rebuild God’s temple where Jehovah was going to return to but to also instruct the populations on how to change their ways when seeking forgiveness and worshipping God.

God has particular and well laid out rules (which no person actually keep which is why Jesus came as the final sin offering)…

Now, I deal with food addiction… food has always been a comfort for me… a way to stuff myself and my anxiety away… well – we all know what happens with that…

I have lost about 150 lbs in the last 5 years – but lately, the scale has been going the wrong way… I can easily pop off a few excuses (definition of excuse: skin of the truth stuffed with a lie) and humanly “justify” it

The reality is – my body IS God’s temple

God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple

1 Cor 3:16-17  16 Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in[a] you? 17 God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple

1 Cor 6:19-20 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

So- while I was talking with Him today – here is what we chatted about…

My child, you are reading about My temple – all the sacrifices, all the ways that were  necessary to purify the priests… verse 6 “enough of your detestable sins!” You have brought in things and defiled my temple – your body IS my temple! I have been nudging you about this – and even now I SHOUTING this and hitting you like a football linebacker! You have been ignoring my nudges – and are bearing the consequences of your disobedience… 

How many more times will you choose to not listen? the longer you choose to not listen, the quieter my Voice is to hear… 

Lord, You know my thoughts right now – You can see the turmoil stirring up inside! the fear of failing – “yet again” – all those voices of doubt… the feeling of being overwhelmed … But yet I know that with you NOTHING is impossible… You have helped me to build my rock based house – You have built is strong with bricks of truth, of testimony, with scripture that does not change, with the covenants which You hold true. You have supplied the mortar with the word of your testimony, of the miracles of have experienced, of your faithfulness, of Your love and it is my hope and with faith, I can use it to continue building… 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GodTube

I decided to sit and read a book by one of my favorite authors, Grace Livingston Hill, so I put YouTube on with a song list on and settled in…

  • Music – check!
  • Book – check!
  • Snack and something to drink – check check!!
  • Dog tucked in under blanket and snuggled in – check

Ready to read… And then YouTube started or should I say GodTube started… Song after song… Reminder of the depth of God’s love... Balm to my heart and soul… Refreshment for my mind… Strengthening my resolve… – making it so much easier to be still and know that He is God

It turned out I clearly needed worship time with God more than reading a book so I can fulfill the greatest commandments…

Luke 10:27 He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ ; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

Regardless of mental health issues or not – GodTube is just what we need – when we need  – even if we weren’t aware we needed it…

The Faith of a Child

Jesus said we need to have the faith of a child…

Matt 19:14  Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Mark 10:15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 

Matt 5:9  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God

One year as a counsellor at a summer camp I was struck on how the simple faith of a child can be so powerful… the story goes that a girl had come to camp.  Her mother had passed away and her father was very bitter to God about it. After the camp, the girl came home, hugged and kissed her father and said, I love you daddy and God loves you skipped away. The father decided he would prove to her that God didn’t exist. He read book after book – and in the end, he found God – all because the faith of a child had said God loves you.

GOD LOVES YOU

 

So in this enlightened world – what does the faith of a child look like? As a young girl, my father was the bravest, strongest, smartest man on earth. He could fix anything – a broken toy or put up a swing set for me in the backyard – he would wrestle with me – played horse with me went swimming with me… he was my superman… and anytime I had anything that needed fixing I would simply take it to him knowing he would be able to fix it… I had no doubt…

God is far beyond anything I ever believed my earthly father could do…

In the Bible there are references to children – let children come to me – don’t hinder them, receive the gift of heaven like a child – a simple gift…

Bedtime prayers – not just the Now I lay me down to sleep… the cute ones of God bless my friend Jan who fell and scraped her knee today, God bless the dog and stop him from digging holes in the backyard, God bless Uncle Charlie as he doesn’t come to church, God bless my snails I collected today because I want to take them to show and tell tomorrow…

Those few words – with such faith… and we know this faith:

Matthew 7:9-10  “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?”

With mental health – it’s scary – it’s not just other people that you need to make sure you can trust – it’s also yourself… Sometimes we can think we have the “correct solution” – like we feel better and decide to go off our medications… or we know there is no “hope” and suicide seems to be the only way… we hibernate because we are “safe”…

Who can we trust? God – God is infallible – He is truth… He is life and he is hope – He is LOVE… when you’re on your back at the very bottom there are only 2 options – look up and see God – or look away – sometimes permanently…

If the choice is to look up, chances are it won’t be a quick flash of light and everything is perfect – there is no such thing as a perfect life – except the Life that paid it all… looking up isn’t the time to argue doctrine or semantics – it’s a time for childlike faith – our heads are so full of racing thoughts – thoughts to pull us into permanent oblivion… it’s a simple faith that can help us get back to where the light shines brighter…

Everyone has heard that all the things we really need to know in life are what we learned in kindergarten…kindergarten

I think these rules along with simple childlike faith of asking God for something really is essential…

 

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…

God and Paul are Punny

God definitely has a sense of humor… How else can you explain the duck-billed platypus?

In Philemon Paul talks about Onesimus who needs to be accepted after he had fallen out of grace… Philemon is challenged by Paul to set an example both as a man and brother in Christ… 

And then Paul lightens the atmosphere he says that anything owed… 

I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it.

Then Paul does a little tongue in cheek..

And I won’t mention that you owe me your very soul! 

And Paul gets in one last piece of fun… He writes: Yes, my brother, please do me this favor* for the Lord’s sake. Give me this encouragement in Christ

* In Greek favor is a play on the name Onesimus… It’s onaimen

Sometimes we take things way to seriously…

Laughter can be really is good for the soul… God tells us to rejoice! David danced with all his might… And Jonah? Now he had a story to tell at any get together! I never would have thought of a        WHALE for a       JAIL!!!

Is there anything that sounds cuter than a baby’s laugh? They give it 100% 

God isn’t all gloom and doom… He’s not sitting up in heaven with a lightening rod waiting for us to make a mistake so he can zap us… 

Even when going through some hard days laughter can be an escape… A funny cartoon… A joke… A pun…  YouTube videos…. Remembering something funny from your past…  How about the time… Or remember when?

I was in a room once when an elderly lady “let one rip” as she walked and bumped a potted tree… And in perfect timing the tree fell over… luckily she was pretty much deaf…

Most of God’s direction in the Bible has to do with instruction on living a better life with Him… 

But God did created laughter…

I’ve always wondered how it was when Adam was giving every creature a name… Did he ever get the giggles when some of them went by? 

And can you imagine how many scrolls Noah needed? He probably invented the catalogue system back then not to mention a sense of humor while checking his list… 

Let’s strive to find the fun and relaxation when we take our day of rest each week… 

On Sundays after church there was a show that played older movies like Abbot and Costello…. One of my favorites was Ma and Pa Kettle (Ma and Pa Kettle Math)

Those old black and white comedians… No swear words or bedroom scenes needed… Just plain old acting… 

So as we gather together, if not physically but in spirit, remember stories… Have the senior generation pass to the next generation happy and joyful memories… And while you are together… You are making a happy memory…

Also please think about people who will be having a not so joyous Christmas this year… Family dynamics have changed… empty chairs, new to your city and family far away… 

And please remember… Over the holidays, there are people who are having a mental health crisis… Hospitalized or on the streets… They belong to someone’s family… Be thankful it isn’t you…

Merry Christmas!

.

Integrity How To Lesson

INTEGRITY… My new theme idea, goal, challenge, blue chip at CR…

So what is integrity? This word that God has laid strongly on my heart?

Definition of Integrity: “The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.”

“S/he is known to be a person of integrity S/he is known to be a wo/man of integrity

Synonyms: honesty, probity, rectitude, honor, good character, principle(s), ethics, morals righteousness, morality, virtue, decency, fairness scrupulousness, sincerity, truthfulness, trustworthiness

SYNONYMS DEFINED:

Rectitude: morally correct behavior or thinking:

Fairness: the quality of having strong moral principles; honesty and decency, impartial and just treatment or behavior without favoritism or discrimination.

Integrity – But just how can an intangible choice be physically manifested? Words are just words… Words can become actions… How do I know I’m succeeding?

Proverbs 2:1-7 My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands.

Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding.

Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding.

Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures.

Then you will understand what it means to fear {awe} the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God.

For the Lord grants WISDOM!

From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.

Routine… Please don’t interrupt my routine or whatever was still left probably will be forgotten, unless it is blatantly the obvious… (Seriously I forget…)

Micah 6:8 O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.

The what is good… I’ve been taught values and principles since I was a wee little one… so good, well Jesus is good (perfect, love, etc)… And for me…

Would I offer Him…

I’m going to use the measuring rod of… If Jesus walked into the room and saw/heard whatever was happening… Would I offer Him to join me or try to cover it up…

God also tells me that there are 3 things He requires of me…

1 Do what is right I have a great book with 66 chapters that came with me as an instruction manual if I’m not sure and spend time with Him (see point 3) (and the “Golden rule”)

2. Love mercy (Dictionary: compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm)

Mercy… God has been very merciful in my life… Basically it’s was used when Jesus washed away my iniquities at the cross… and then over and over and over again when I deserved the consquences of my actions when I ask for new transgressions…

So to love mercy means I have to give it as well… The Lord’s Prayer… Forgive us our trespasses as WE (I) forgive others

3. Walk humbly with Him He’s been so merciful to me… He is love… He tells me that “I” matter to Him… Realistically… I don’t deserve even being in the same universe as Him… And I need to keep reminding myself of this… God deserves all the glory

Integrity: My challenge… I’ve put down my thoughts, they may need adjusting…

I’m setting the wall high… I can’t remember who said it but it was something like it’s better to be reaching for a high goal then a small one that’s easy to hit…

More integrity coming in future blogs…