Getting Through the Crisis

A crisis at any time is challenging… add on mental health issues and it can seem like a perfect storm…

Right now it seems like the entire world is in crisis. COVID-19 isn’t racist… it effecting every race and pretty much every country…

What’s different about this crisis is you aren’t alone… we are all here working through it together… and we can support each other… maybe not through hugs or physical contact with friends, but either at the 6 foot distance or online through video chats…

One important thing to remember through this is – there is NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus… We are NOT to feel guilt over past sins, after we confess them to God… Satan loves to trap us in condemnation… instead God promises to use ALL things for good, according to His purpose, for those who are in Christ Jesus!! In other words, all the bad/crappy/negative events in your life can and will be used to help others here on earth… so if you are feeling condemnation how can that event be used for good?!?!?!?! Don’t believe Satan’s lie!

I was reading through Insight for Living (Chuck Swindoll) and came across this list of okay things during a crisis:

  1. It’s okay to be mad and angry.
  2. It’s okay to sleep when you are exhausted.
  3. It’s okay to not know the answer.
  4. It’s okay to feel lost.
  5. It’s okay to feel scared.
  6. It’s okay to cry.
  7. It’s okay to doubt your beliefs and convictions.
  8. It’s okay to lose or forget things.
  9. It’s okay to have huge emotional shifts.
  10. It’s okay to say, “Though I don’t like this now, I will choose to believe God is sitting by me, so I might as well talk with Him about it all.”

WE don’t have all the answers… NO ONE PERSON DOES!!!!!!

So how do we survive? The simple answer is God… But what does that really mean? It means trusting God. Believing what you read in the Bible… Putting into practice all the morals and God truths learned in Sunday School… following through on all the things Jesus taught when He was on earth (Matthew 5 and the Blessed are statements are a great place to start)…

It also means turning your problems and issues over to Christ…

Many years ago I found myself in a crisis… through something I had been reading God gave me a message I REALLY REALLY didn’t want to hear… it meant huge changes in my life and I was powerless to change anything… God brought me to Philippians 4:4-7 and I found the steps to peace… it wasn’t easy and it took MANY hours on my face before God… at first I argued against what was coming… then I realized how futile that was… here was God preparing me to go through my toughest battle I had ever fought… He was giving me time to prepare… to press into Him for the strength I would need…

Philippians 4:4 states “Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS.” Always? Yes… it is possible… but how? For me I turned to praise songs… I sang every upbeat Christian song I could thing of… Rejoicing is SOOOOO important that God states it again… “and again I say rejoice!

Verse 5 says: “Let your gentleness be evident to all” for a long time I thought that this verse was out of place but then I realized that if I am really at a point of rejoicing then I am not all worked up (BPD Emotional Mind) but instead I am working towards peace and everyone should want what I am showing…

Verse 6: “Do not be anxious, but in every situation , with prayer and petition, present your request(s) to God“… mine was simple… I needed God’s strength to get through what I was facing… there were sub-parts we also discussed…

Verse 7: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” That peace, unexplainable, overwhelmingly wonderful peace really did come… and I still can’t put it into words… if you have worked through all the steps and then are wondering if you have “that” Peace… I can tell you – you don’t… when you truly have it, you will know… and if you haven’t found it yet start back at the top… go back to rejoicing… rejoicing until you feel God presence with you…

Six weeks after gaining God’s peace, the crisis moment came and there were many tough days… but I can tell you this… at the moment it happened, I still had that peace and I knew that while tough times were ahead, God was with me… a few days later I had a co-worker asked me why I was able to function and not a “basket case”… she saw that peace in me and wanted it… already God was using these events for good… that joyous peace and closeness to God lasted many, many months…

A friend actually told me she was jealous of me… you see, it’s hard to be that close to God in the long run… mountain peaks and valleys are a part of life… she had gone through a similar crisis and remembered how wonderful that peace, that incredible closeness with God had been…

I’ve dealt with many crisis since… some larger than others… and I can always go back to that time… and know that God is always with me… in some ways, that peace never leaves… the memory always remains…

Even during my mental health crisis, I knew deep down that God was there… my brain chemistry was horribly messed up and God has had some lessons for me to learn… now, I’m so much stronger in my faith… I had allowed myself to slide away from God… rely on my own strength and ended up spending a lot of time in the psych ward or community short stay residence over the next couple of years…

So what changed? God ALWAYS has a way off the spiral… I had to be willing to not only look for those spots but be willing to step off and accept God’s help… I’ve gone from extremely suicidal, with non-stop thoughts and many plans to not having had a suicidal thought now in a LONG time…

Don’t get me wrong, mental health is still a daily battle… only now I have safety’s in place… reminders of God’s truths, mental health mood checks several times day (phone reminders), frequently listening to Christian music… friends who care and will notice if they see something happening and warn me and also willing to call on my crap – keeping me accountable… of course, I have my family who love and support me…

COVID-19 did knock me on my butt for awhile… my anxiety was higher than normal… I fought sliding into a depression along with negative thoughts and have come out the winner… I refer back to Philippians 4:4-7 often when I catch myself anxious… God provided me with timely therapy to not only challenge my twisted thinking but also the skills and tools to make the changes… it’s been hard work… and I’ve used those tools… God’s Holy Spirit inside of me often speaks to me and warns me if I’m getting off track… that still small voice… it still rings of peace…

Mindfulness Time With God

Let’s face it – right now, life can be pretty stressful…

Concerns about health – physically and mentally… heightened anxiety… it’s easy to become depressed… to spiral down…

I’ve been struggling with my eating habits… just eating too much crap… and I’ve been excusing it as a “way to cope”… but it is unhealthy… I’ve got a couple of other stressors happening as well…

It’s so easy to turn to food… or binge TV or any other “idol” for comfort instead of to God… it’s part of our built in sinful nature – BUT we can change that… we need to get into the habit of turning to God instead…

Mindfulness is a popular term these days – being aware of the moment… fully participating… Un-mindfulness is where we do things without thinking – eg. cooking a dinner and scarf it down in 2 minutes… not really taking the time to enjoy our meal… or arriving at home but can’t really remember how we got there… I’m sure you have experienced something similar…

To be mindful with God is to stay focused on what you are doing with God… if you are praying – the try to stay just praying… not planning your grocery list or thinking about what you need to do next… this is the “quiet time”

Matthew 6:6 states: But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

It’s just a time between you and God… now, if you are like me then you might be like Doug from the movie up – squirrel! It is SOOO easy to be distracted… know that God isn’t keeping score and God doesn’t condemn anymore than you would scorn a child who is trying to bake cookies for the first time… He has incredible patience and He is simply thrilled that you are spending one on one time with Him!! Just like baking – the more you do it – the easier it becomes to stay focused…

So if you find your mind is wandering, simply bring it back to a focus on prayer… no judgement or condemnation allowed!!! That judgement isn’t from God but rather from Satan who is trying his hardest TO distract us… be gentle on yourself…

As a friend reminded me, of John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have PEACE. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have OVERCOME the world.”

Peace is really what we are after here… peace despite the storm… and God is a peace giver… there are so many scriptures that talk about peace… here is a few of my favorites:
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 16:20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

And my all time favorite: Philippians 4:4-7 from the Amplified Bible: Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, take pleasure in Him]; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit [your graciousness, unselfishness, mercy, tolerance, and patience] be known to all people. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].

Verse 8 provides alternative things to think about: Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].

The truth is what will give us peace – getting out of negative mind mode…
thoughts of:
We have the mind of Christ
We have overwhelming victory despite what is going on around us
We can protect ourselves with the full armor of God
We cannot be separated from God – not Covid or lack of prayer or not spending time with God
We are ALL welcome to join Christ in heaven (when the time is right)

In another blog posting I will take you through Philippians 4:4-8 and how God showed me one night when I was faced with a massive dilemma – and instead I did end up with that indescribable peace…

Let me know in the comments if you have questions, any verses to add or better yet – if you have success!! 🙂

Anxiety and How to Apply Psalms

I have been dealing with “stuff” and I know that from the past claiming and applying the attributes of God found in Scripture… the Psalms are really rich – the enemy, instead of being the Edomites or Moabites or any other “ites”, is satan… today my devotions too me to

Psalm 83 (NLT)
O God, do not be silent!
Do not be deaf.
Do not be quiet, O God.
Don’t you hear the uproar of your enemy? (God, I really need your help)
Don’t you see that your arrogant enemies are riding up?
They devise craft schemes against your people; they conspire against our precious ones.
“Come,” they say, “let us wipe out Israel as a nation.
We will destroy the very memory of its existence.” (They are coming at me from every way!)
Do to them as your did to …
They were destroyed at …
Let their mighty nobles die…
Let all their princes die… (Lord, I know of your power as your have shown many times before, in history and in my own life!)
for they said, “Let us seize for our own use these pastureland’s of God!” (God, don’t let them take away my green pasture where you have led me!)
Oh my God, scatter them like tumbleweed, like chaff before the wind! (May you remove them – and their arguments as far as the east is from the west! I know that You alone have the power to protect me and separate me like this)
As a fire burns a forest and as a flame sets mountains ablaze,
chase them with your fierce storm;
terrify them with your tempest. (Father, totally cleanse me and remove them)
Utterly disgrace them until they submit to your name, O Lord.
Let them be ashamed and terrified forever.
Let them die is disgrace. (Lord, let them be sent into a herd of pigs! )
Then they will learn that you alone are called Lord, that you alone are the Most High, supreme over all the earth. (Then because they will be submissive to your superiority, I and others will be able to acknowledge You as the Most High, the Lord of Lords and the One true God!)

Honestly, just writing this posting today has removed a LOT of my anxiety, so if only 1 other person reads this and finds some comfort, then I am pleased that from my trial someone else will find some peace…

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

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

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!

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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…