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… 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Have Become…

God never wasted a hurt – a common saying… we all have issues – some are just more prevalent than others – with mental illness it is both out there but also so well hidden…

Paul the Apostle wrote :

1 Corinthians 9:22-23 NLT  I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

I have a friend and together we can talk about some issues we have in common… I have friends who have had to bury a child – something that no parent should have to do – and I can’t begin to understand what they are going through… I’ve had a sick child who was tested for a genetic illness and I know how wretched a time that was for me…

The saying – until you walk in my shoes… Unless people have dealt with deep depression – dealt with agonizing thoughts of wanting to live or die… and die was stronger… dealt with anxiety so strong that you feel you are being dragged into a black endless hole, feeling like you are only holding on by 1 fingernail…

If you want insight into anxiety – try this:

You are walking down a street – and you recognize the person you love most in the world walking towards you – close enough to wave at – but not close enough to talk to – and just as you wave you realize there is an out of control semi truck headed straight towards them and you can not do anything about it – take the brief moment – that less than 1 second of realization that horror – take it and multiply it by 10,000 then multiply it more – then make it last for hours or days… then you are maybe starting to coming close…

Until I knew the label anxiety I called them oppression – and in many ways that is true… As time goes the enormity of it fades – just like the pain of childbirth – but the effect of it is not forgotten… I recall and wrote in my journal, I would not wish this upon anyone – and I mean anyone – including Hitler – they were that horrible… there really is no way I can fully describe them in their entirety…

Looking back on Paul’s statement, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

If I really want to help people – my way to reach out is with what I personally know – mental health (and other things as well)… Paul says I have become “all things to people”

For me personally, I have become an advocate for people (with mental illness) so that be all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

For those whose voice is silenced with the shame and stigma of mental health – especially in the church… but also anywhere… people on the street – women close to where I live… people in whom I have contact…

that I may share in their blessings

Copyright 2018

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…

 

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!

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I Don’t Want to Adult

Today marks 2 years since my last admission ended… Major medication changes… It took many months to get to the right combo but it was well on its way…

I had to trust my psych that he knew what he was doing… 

With God it’s the same thing… I have to trust Him…

Picture a sweet little girl, say little Shirley Temple…  Skipping down a garden path and she finds a weed. She knows that weeds don’t belong in a garden so she pulls it out, goes to where the gardener is working and asks what to do with it. He points out a bucket and she simply goes to it, drops it in then goes on skipping down the path…

Oh, to have a child like faith… So simple… 

See something not right, ask and get instruction, believe instruction, follow instruction, continue on as before as if nothing had happened but wiser in how to deal with this issue again…

Matthew 18:1b-5  He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me

When dealing with mental health issues, somedays simple instructions have been all I could do… Get out of bed, go eat something, try to do something to distract (from list prepared for days like these), if needed find someone to talk to, take the dog for a walk, feed the dog, play with the dog…

These are days I don’t want to adult… Actually, I honestly can’t adult, especially when my brain chemistry isn’t correct… 

That’s why there are help lines, suicide lines, web sites…

But I do trust God..  it doesn’t have to make sense… If I find something I don’t understand I just need to go with it…

God’s got a 100% average…

Hello God… It’s About Time

God and I had a beyond incredible time today! The Holy Spirit was involved and if I thought I knew what what the Spirit groans for me was… I was floating in a rubber tube down a creek… Instead I was in the fastest boat… ever… my chest is still feeling it hours later… (Romans 8:27-28)

Back story… Sometimes life just seems to happen all at once… pressure from multiple areas of life… I battle with mental health issues and a brain injury as well as some physical aspects. Some days just suck… So I felt God telling me I needed to work on my integrity (my personal challenge started Nov 1/17… CR chips as accomplishments)

And there are really 2 well maybe 3 types of integrity…

  1. False humility type (people wanting to be seen for how close they are to God)
  2. Living a life of integrity but more like just doing it because they were told they should
  3. Really living out load… Actively trying, falling, learning why, getting up, dusting oneself off and get going again

In some areas I was wondering if I was more of a 2 than a 3 and a good smattering of 1…

So today was a good a time as any to spend quality time with God and see about getting more three’s…

We spent enough good time – I actually sent hubby a msg to eat out and come home later… I didn’t want it to end…

God was gracious but also fair in every aspect of what was dealt with…

I journaled while it was going on… I wrote something from my heart and mind and then, before I had finished writing, into my mind would come a Bible verse…

I would bring up something and really ask without a clue something would suddenly come… I’d still be finishing my part and be nodding as what I “hearing” was just the perfect response I needed… And I’d need another Kleenex…

We repeated this over and over again… I filled a lot of pages and used a good size box of Kleenex…

Just Hello God

I started with just “Hello God” and before I finished writing those 2 words I was crying…

And I felt Him say to me “It’s about time”…

The only thing that I will share is that:

I changed my journalling to more an actual talk… As if He was sitting across from me… But He wasn’t there… He was before, behind, holding me in the shadow of His hand…and in my heart…

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…

Nudges

My sweet pooch, Ivory, would love to play outside all day except on really raining days… Unfortunately for her she needs to be with someone to watch her and my life gets in her way…

But when it’s time to do what must be “done” she gives me a nudges with her nose and until I put down or cease to do what I’m doing and she keeps nudging me until I start moving towards the door…

She follows me to the door and when I put my shoes on jacket on she eagerly starts going around in circles all the time watching me make sure I’m still getting ready… open the door and we are off!!!

As a Christian I, like anyone else, have the gift Jesus sent down shortly after he ascended to heaven… The Holy Spirit… I think of it as my Godly conscience, a connection to God with prayers, direction and decisions – even when I can’t utter a word because I’m overwhelmed for fabulous and not so fabulous reasons…

HE IS WHAT NUDGES ME

That inner (good inner) voice “speaks” with easy tasks like I should take my coat along even though it’s a sunny day… And sure enough it rains or gets cooler than expected or big decisions, life altering ones (not snap though).

Four years ago the bottom of my life was falling away. As a child, as a teen and as an adult years I would have spurts where I was closer to God, usually during the tough times… 

The Holy Spirit always nudges me in every situation… He probably pounded a bass drum, a fog horn, but I wasn’t listening, I was building with MY self-worth… I ignored Him…

When I hit the bottom I had a choice seek His help or just stay there and figure out a successful suicide…

God pulled me up… I’ve need really tuning into God…

Integrity… And being true to myself with myself and I will share my progress on my blog to show myself as accountable…

My daily marker will be did I at least try? I know there will be days I fall flat on my face… Failure, though, will be in not getting up again… I may not blog every day…

Integrity… I started November 1 I wasn’t yet sure of criteria yet… But I’ve had a lot of nudges that I’ve listened to, some I haven’t but

#1 I didn’t quit (huge accomplishment)

#2 I admitted my slips and made amends

Next came some trials… A sore back which interfered me being away from CR big group and Step Sisters…

My Mental Health… I’m pushing through… It’s a struggle…

E V E R Y D A Y

I want to isolate, stay home, in bed… wrong thoughts coming at me…

Out came my daily accountability checklist… And I started going through it…

#1 Morning prayers… Thanking God… The armor of God – piece by piece… Other verses…

And I keep going down my list… Check box by check box…

When I am done, I have a lot of peace… I have Christian songs running in my head blocking out the negative thought. I put on Christian music…

And right now routine is needed:

I’m dealing with a situation/something in my life… Obviously, I wish I wasn’t… and it could turn out to be nothing or else something not if my choosing… And would be more than I can handle… and I will be listening for the Holy Spirit nudges

Huggles and loves and prayers…

Love and Like and Billy Graham

There have been days where I have loved some people but not liked them… my love doesn’t shrink… As I watch from a distance my heart sorrows for them…

From today’s devotions:

“Loving God and living fully for Him are not necessarily synonymous…”

I’m human… imperfect… I still have a piece of that fruit stuck in me… The “one” great- great x 1,000,000 grandparents sampled way back in the Garden…

But just because I love God, it doesn’t mean I’m fully living for Him…

I have frequent personal pity parties…

I have days where I’m really frustrated… You know those days where everything seems to be going wrong. Some days I can laugh about it other days I’m very frustrated and angry.

There are days when I’m angry, angry at God, angry at the world, and I have a major internal (quite BPD no emotions outward) hissy fit…

Until finally I decide, I choose to turn back to God and His word and His ways and to trust in Him…

I know He is love. I know He loves me and that I matter to Him… That he has a plan for me… And I do my Phil 4:4-9

Together God and I go on a trip back in history and I am reminded of times where I trusted Him. We go with some memories (I can remember on my own) or from pictures, through shared memories, or reading back in my journals… (gotta just love a brain injury PLUS mental health… (I have a great memory… just short)…

Then I remember that when things are beyond what I can handle, I allow Himto bring me in and cuddle me and I get to sit there and watch how He deals with whatever it is for me.

Does it mean I’m cured? Well not now it seems… . Maybe sometime later with God… Maybe never…

God knows and He knows what is coming… He has a plan… He uses imperfect people like me…

Who will be touched by my blog…

We all can look at Billy Graham and the incredible impact he personally he had…

Maybe it was just one thing that changed his heart…

So I may not touch the “next Billy Graham” but what if I do because of where I am right now…

For me, someone passing away saved me… then I started down the road and real recovery…

Makes ya think doesn’t it?