The Silence of the Grave

Psalm 94:17–19 (NLT): Unless the Lord had helped me,
I would soon have settled in the silence of the grave.
I cried out, “I am slipping!”
but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me.
When doubts filled my mind,
your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.

In early 2014 I found myself well… lost… These verses literally ring true for me…

In May of 2014 I was as low as someone can go without being dead… And I had tried one way… Suicide note written… The attempt obviously failed but the will to live hadn’t rushed in either…

The silence is the grave was close at hand… And I can quote Psalm 94:17-19 as my gospel truth…

But God did come in an unexpected way through the pending death of a friend (yes, ironic – God does have a sense of humor)… I took that step one needs to make… The 180 turn and He was there…

It’s been 4 years and today I can truthfully say God has been here… The road has been up and down… Life is never stagnant… And never should be… I went from mountain tops to deep dark dungeons… often stuck in the dungeons for extended periods of time…

Now I’m in a pleasent valley… I’m tucked under the shadow of His wing… His rod and His staff have been guiding and leading me… I wouldn’t say I’m in the valley of the shadow of death… It’s more like

Psalm 1:3 (NLT): They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.

Psalm 3:3–5 (NLT): But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high.
I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy mountain.

I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me.

I started giving everything up to God…

But know this…

IT WASN’T SNAP THE FINGERS AND ALL IS PERFECT

Today it is still a battle… Knowing it is a battle is actually good… Recently at church our pastor actually stated that if you aren’t in a battle then Satan has nothing to worry about with you… And that is a horrible realization…

I battle the normal Christan fights… Remembering to pray, doing devotions, spending intimate time with God everyday…

I also deal with the ever present mental health war… And war it is…

2 Corinthians 10:3–5 (NLT): We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

It is a battle of the mind for everyone… For some just more intently…

When I’m doing well and everything is tickity-boo can actually be the worst time… I become self-reliant… I don’t catch the slow sliding down until I can’t help but notice…

It’s a teeter-totter that needs to be balanced… I can’t do it alone… I have inside help (the Holy Spirit), wordly help (friends and family) and not wordly help (angels and Jesus and God)…

My friend did pass away a short time later… Then about 2 or so years later I met up with his wife… I asked her if she realized that his dying and my attending his life celebration (last bucket list – 60th bday party) [which was held at the hospital where I was admitted to the psych ward] had saved my life… When I went to give my best wishes, another friend talked to me and told me about Celebrate Recovery… Attending CR ultimately effected turn turning back to God and begin my healing process…

She hugged me tight and said a few times over,with tears streaming down her cheek, I knew there was a reason…I knew there was a reason…

God spoke to me and the silence was broken…

Be Still and Know

My mom tells the story of me at nine month and how a favorite toy, a ball, dropped out of my playpen… I climbed out, retrieved it and sat down and played with it. The next day the same thing happened except it rolled away… Mom was thinking, maybe I will start crawling finally… However when I climbed out I landed on my feet… I didn’t crawl… I ran and never stopped again!

There are times as an adult where it’s hard to just be still… It seems life gets in the way… Even life wrought with mental health issues… Those non-stop crazy thoughts that need to come under control… Even when my “mental health” life is managed, those thoughts are close…

Part of the managing is keeping those thoughts at bay… 2 Cor 10:3-5 talks about thoughts. Verse 5b (NLT): We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ)

Ephesians 6:10-17 Put on the full armour of God… The helmet of salvation (goes with capturing those thoughts) and the sword of the Spirit – the word of God…

Some days it’s easier than others… Even weeks or months before it gets really hard… But it’s always close… And important to remember how close… When life is “easy” I tend to rely more on myself and less on God… A predictable trait we all have as humans…

Being still and knowing doesn’t have to be hours or minutes… Sometimes it is just stopping to breathe for 1 second… Quickly recall that God is there with us and remember a better time when we had that deep and long peace that can’t be described…

As for my mom… Well you know the parents curse? The one that goes: someday you are going to have a child just like you… And I did… 3 beautiful and very busy children actually… Now that they are adults, I will get to sit back and watch…

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…

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus

Sunday… Good from start to finish…

The worship was uplifting… We praised… I bounced (to clumsy to jump)…

It awakened my soul!

We sang praising God and every song touched me… with words that I can apply to my life exactly where I find myself…

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus

And to take Him at his word

Just to rest upon His promise

And to know “Thus saith the Lord”

A hymn going back to my childhood age…

(I’ve always found Christian music comforting…) but I digress…

With my life I must be doing some things right or be on the correct path because I am bring accosted in many ways…

Spiritual, physical, mental…

Literally on all fronts… It’s a battle every day, more than usual it seems…

Is easy to just drift away on the thoughts from satan… The lies… Temping at first… The “hey, I can handle this!”

If I can handle it then why is it an issue?

One of my coping methods as a child was going over to a fantasy world… The one place where everything was perfect, that I was perfect… And was at peace and loved…

This fantasy world still exists – it literally feels about 6 inches away… all the time… In the medical world I believe it’s call depersonalization.

When I start to feel overwhelmed it would be nice to go to my “happy” place…

For the past few days I’ve been Googling an issue… And, no I don’t think I have the bubonic plague, but I have looked to better understand… It’s how I like to deal with life… I research…

If I’m going to be buying a hockey stick – what brand is best? What is the latest type? How flexible does it need to be for me? What type of curve for me? How long should the shaft be? How long…

You get the idea…

My mental health kicked into gear… I have 3 mental health issues DX

  1. Major Depressive Disorder – I isolate more… Less time on social media, not wanting to leave the house…
  2. Borderline Personality Disorder… I really dislike myself, I seek attention, tell you I hate you but holding on to you saying please DON’T LEAVE ME… Fear of people meaning me as I have yet another issue and the straw hit the donkey’s back
  3. GAD – Generalized Anxiety Disorder… I twitch more, my leg may bounce, and my aphasia gets worse, I bone myself more -if maybe I hadn’t fed the dog all my brussel sprouts when I was a child

So basically I can be twitching, sort of stuttering and attention seeking and hanging on to you… 😆

I’m getting better at recognizing my mental health signs… I certainly do not want to go back to where I was 2 years ago let alone 3 or 4… But I choose to seek out God… God always is there… He goes before me, after me and surrounds me…

{Psalm 23}

The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me (they gently guide me as I’m going through this dark valley)

God and I have some walking to do…

Where Does Your Smile Start?

I had a A-HA moment doing my devotion today… I’ve wrote about choosing to rejoice even when I really don’t want to…

I’ve had times when I said it but I’m really frustrated and I bring it out externally… I’ve banged my steering wheel and I said out loud “Well, rejoice in the Lord anyways!!!” That’s usually how I do it… Out loud and proud!

This week though I’ve been challenged in life and I found the the external loud rejoice just doesn’t fit…

The A-HA God gave me were 2 different scenarios…

The external is when you are traveling along in life’s path with God and suddenly you find an obstacle in front of … You have options… In life there is no redo so retreat is not an option…

  1. sit and do nothing as you feel this isn’t fair or you can’t figure out how to solve it
  2. Go left or right as you think you have a solution
  3. Break down the barrier with God’s help

I know I’ve used #1 (pity party) #2 (pride) many times before

#3 (Humility) God hand me the ax and point to where I need to hit!

But there is a completely different rejoicing… And this is what God placed on my heart…

I’m in a peaceful forest and I have a lit match… I find some dried up moss and I use it to start a fire… I see some smoke and promising glow so I gently blow to encourage it to flame… There is a flicker of flame so I continue to blow and add more moss… It grows and I add twigs being careful not to smother it… As it continues to grow I add larger pieces of wood…

It’s this rejoicing I’ve been using for the last few days… More of be still and know that I am God…

The out loud brings a smile to my face and inwardly, a smile first to my soul then my heart and mind…

The quiet brings a smile to my soul and spreads to heart and mind and face…

David dancing with all his might – outward rejoicing

Mary (mother of Jesus) pondering things in her heart – internal rejoicing

Don’t You (sorta) Hate It When…

When God shows up and ends your pity party!

I mean come on! Misery is so fun… We like company… Everyone pays attention to us, well at least at first…

And then God shows up with Bible verses that are so totally against my pitty party…

I not only have my mental health issues but some other things… And of course now that I stated and I’m trying to live a life of integrity Satan comes uninvited… Sneaks in… Takes any doubt thoughts and bakes a really nice cake for my pity party…

And since I’m already angry at God because I don’t understand AND He just won’t do things my way!

It’s easy to just look at the cake… It has all my resentments I’ve put away to deal with when I’m ready!!! That’s the icing…. The main part of the cake is filled with everything I’ve taken back from God as I can clearly do better!

And all the decorations are the newer issues I haven’t even talked to God about! He hasn’t done what I soooo wanted with other things…. Some issues are years old…

Then Satan lights a candle…

And with the light I remember that God brings light to the dominion of darkness… (1 Col 11:19) I start to pray and tell satan and his party to go…

I put on my armour of God… And I realize I’ve not done this for awhile…

And there’s something else been lazy about… When I’m struggling to use Phil 4:4-8 God’s instructions to me for peace…

Matthew 5 the Beatitudes…

Blessed are the poor in spirit… Blessed are those who mourn… Blessed are the meek… Blessed are those who hunger and thirst… Blessed are the merciful… Blessed are the pure in heart… Blessed are the peacemaker’s… Blessed are the persecuted…

I hang my head in shame… If someone had come to me I’d tell them go to Phil 4:4-8… And here I am not trusting God with my issues… So how am I showing integrity?

Well… I messed up… I’m human… I will take the time I need to get back my peace and also to look at my morning schedule and adjust it…

Oh, and the peace than transcend’s ALL understanding…

Way better than any cake!

Humility Brokenness Desperation

We had a guest speaker in church today.

He spoke on how 3 things are evident for a true revival.

Humility… It’s something that a person cannot measure on themselves… It is there or it isn’t… And if you’re wondering, my take is that you don’t or you have false humility (oh, this little old thing… I just found it lying around…)

Brokenness… To me this is on the floor, oblivious to anything else and having a deep look at where I’m at… like Mary the mother of Jesus… After the shepherds had come… Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. Luke 2:19

These are private times that I keep in my heart and have to look back on during hard times…

Desperation…

I heard stories today of what desperation others are dealing with in other countries… China, Burma, Vietnam, India… And my heart bleeds… The underground churches… The influx of people daily turning their lives over…

And it rings in my mind that I’m selfish…

What type of person am I here in Canada… My very life isn’t at risk like those in Egypt…

How does my miniscule mental health measure in comparison!!

(Can we see where this is going?)

But then I stop and look… Stop and evaluate these thoughts… Are they truth? Are they something that measures up to the word of God?

Thoughts either come from Satan or from God

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. 2 Cor 10: 3-5

Just because a ministry there is different from a ministry doesn’t invalidate it.

Desperate: working with someone who is struggling with mental health issues, to me, counts. A Canadian is loved just as much as a someone in an underground church in Ethiopia…

They are both created by God… They were both knit together in their mothers wombs… He has plans…

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jer 29:11

Everyone has an important place in God’s body.

Someone killed because of their faith is loved just as much as a desperate suicidal women here in Canada.

When I was at the end of my rope hanging on by a thread… And recognizing I needed help… That I had nothing left… As I’ve seen other… It’s pretty humbling

I have looked back on my journalling and I don’t recognize at all who that person was… Except I was broken… And there was enough left in me to be desperate

I may not go to Mongolia to be a missionary… But I can be one here…

Their are thousands, millions actually of people out their who match all 3 and we can see them have a personal revival…

The harvest is ready ALL over the world… Even right here…

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?

Holy Pain and Integrity

For a few weeks my back want to remind me of my age and has been a sore…

Today the pain is not only big time but also very different…

I’ve been struggling with a pity party wanting to happen (mental health issues are a daily battle) as I have other health and things stewing in the pot…

Tonight was my CR weekly big group meeting and I love attending it… This afternoon is quickly became apparent that I wasn’t able to go…

Hubby came home and we had some time together… Then off to bed for him.. he’s a morning person and I’m not… The DVD was still turned on but I wasn’t really interested and turned it off… I checked my email and so forth…

And then in God fashion, He nudge me about my new favorite word:

INTEGRITY

So I looked at my list of spiritual items and decided I would work on my 12 step lesson – SANITY… I had finished the lesson already but decided I would look again…

And wouldn’t you know it! I found a verse that I SOOOO needed…

CR loves acrostics. For Sanity the S is for Strength.

Psalm 73:26 (GNB) My mind and body may grow week, but God is my strength; He is all I never need.

It was one of those jump right off the page and smack you in the face moments… God’s way of saying to me… I have you… Lean on me… I will be your strength… I have a plan remember? Trust me…

Then the Holy Spirit sent me to (Paul talking):

We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.

And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety. 2 Cor 1:8-11

Now I realize that Im not in mortal danger… but I am in physical pain… And at times between the pain, the thoughts, the mental health issues… I can get overwhelmed!!!!

Sometimes it can be hard for me to understand what God’s purpose is… and sometimes it takes a while…

Back to CR… While I would have really enjoyed the time with my friends… God had something better planned… Great time with Him speaking to me through His Word which turned into increased faith.

I learned:

First He let me know that He is my strength and all I ever need….

Second He reaffirmed that when I feel overwhelmed and feel I’m beyond helping myself… To get out of the way (already) and have complete confidence in Him…

Although the physical pain remains for now at least, my inner self is feeling more faith, more hope and more love…

God spent time with me… What could be better than that?

Integrity

Okay… I’ve said it… Integrity… My next blue chip I will take at Celebrate Recovery…

It starts today – November 1st 2017

So what will integrity be… The word itself is intangible…

And what about the mental health aspect? I still get those reminder times… Having a closer walk with God… That trumps any bad day… They may not be pretty… But God is there…

A CR question challenged me to give my definition of sanity… I had a visual picture… Of just God and I walking and talking side by side in Edom…

Definition of integrity… a quick Google search:

  • quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness fits with Celebrate Recovery
  • the state of being whole and undividedKeeping in touch with God, praying with out ceasing…

I know I won’t be perfect but I will be increasing my integrity.

A while back I heard a rhetorical question – if you love God and you’re a Christian… Does your face show it?

There’s also the old rhetoric of being a Sunday Christian only…

Integrity goals:

  1. more prayer time it
  2. daily devotions
  3. journalling my walk
  4. have a stronger faith in God
  5. leaving my burdens properly
  6. Witness more

Am I closer to God from Sunday to Sunday? That’s how I’m going to bench mark my integrity…