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!! 🙂

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… 

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

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…

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?

If Only

I’m currently doing the 12-step program Celebrate Recovery offers. It’s actually my third time. Every time I do there’s always something more that God can work on with me.

We’re dealing with the lesson on POWERLESS – an acrostic on how we really need to depend on God and for God’s help with the issue… it looks at the past…

If only…. Only If…

Only if
I had noticed _____ the _____ would/wouldn’t have happened
If only I had known _____ that day I wish I could take back my words
That time spent would have been successful only if _______
If only I had done this or only if I had seen this or only if I had been there or only if somebody had…
You get the idea…

With my mental health… If only I had talked to _____ or done ______ or not done _____ then maybe I wouldn’t have had my mental breakdown.
(see true life confession at the bottom)

Hindsight is 20/20… We all make decisions we regret… A child thinks if only I hadn’t climbed that tree my arm wouldn’t have broken…

So do I how to deal with the “if only’s”

It’s simple but incredibly hard…

  • I repent
  • I talk to God… prayer…
  • I listen to God through Bible studying
  • Learn from them my if only or only if”
  • Ask God to help me to avoid doing it again
  • I talk to my sponsor accountability partners
  • I make amends

There will be consequences… (not judgements – boy tree > broken arm)
But also peace with God from spending time with God… Be still, and know that I am God Psalm 46:10
Phil 4:4-8 …Peace of God which passes all understanding will guard your heart in Christ Jesus…

Back to POWERLESS (CR acrostic)

P is pride yah… I had lots of pride… which lead to many “if only”

O Only if… It’s really easy for me to play the self-bashing game… Instead,  I confess to God, He already knows what I did so what’s the benefit of hiding it, He can help me understand why and guides me to what I should do next time or to make amends with those who were affected by my actions…

Worry… Both backwards and forwards… Back… I can stay trapped in the past… Forward… Is God involved? So I just need to trust His plan (it’s called faith)

In going to end the acrostic here… Want to learn more? Find a Celebrate Recovery

Battling the if only or only if is better done with support…

Thinking about doing it does seem easy… It’s the application that is soooo hard…

*****************************************************************************

Okay that above is a battle plan… seems easy simple steps… I know the application is hard and I need the Holy Spirit to give me a nudge or a kick in the butt when I need to use it…

Honestly – it is what I want to do with my heart… that’s the God part of my life – but there is a carnal part of me that just SCREAMS to ignore it – excuse it away (excuse = the skin of truth stuffed with a lie), the self I have inside will distract me… I will think of ways to “justify” my reasoning to ______

The New Testament talks a lot about the sinful person I have inside… It can block the butt kicks… I might feel them or I have not listened long enough to the Spirit in me that I don’t feel them…

This was pretty much what happened in my life… I stopped listening to God… could I have avoided the mental health crisis? I don’t know that what I am dealing with is VERY physical – my brain is literally changed  – why or how or ??? I’m not 100% sure… it’s a disease… why does someone end up being a diabetic? Was it one too many cookies or cakes? Could they have prevented it? Regardless…
Regardless – I am where I am… it wasn’t sudden – there were clues it was happening… it started early on in my life… it’s where I am… This is where God and I try hard to keep moving forward…

Besides…. 

If there isn’t a battle going on – there should be and I need to seek God again… life happens – living it is the hard part….

(CR… I have no affiliation with them other than acknowledging how profound a has changed my life)

Underneath the trappings we’re decaying

My personal Bible study is going through the Book of Revelations. There are 7 church’s addressed each receive praise and instructions. Philadelphia gets a lot of praise but Sardis gets a lot of warnings including that while they seem alive they are really dead.

I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. (Rev 3:1)

From my commentary:

We cover up the dead places in ourselves with all sorts of regalia. We fill the emptiness with fine clothing, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, or relationships in which the other is set up as god. Underneath the trappings, though, we’re decaying.*

To me at least this soooo takes me to my mental health issues… For years I had been trying to fulfil the void inside that could only be filled by God… instead, I sought my self-worth in what I was performing and trying to show-off how important I was… trying to feel special and acknowledged by those around me….

Underneath the trappings, though, we’re decaying.

I had a huge dead place inside – and for me – the longer I chose to avoid it – the bigger it became… until I finally reached a point where the void was so big, I slipped off the edge and fell into it… and was forced to deal with it… and have God save me… but not before I hit the bottom with my depression, anxiety and BPD to the point of suicidal thoughts that would haunt me daily for months and months… and they still pop-up from out of nowhere still and can leave me quivering – literally, physically inside I feel like a taser or something has hit me…

I’m working the way out of the void with God’s help, however, there are scars… working and battling with God in the void isn’t easy… physically my brain is actually changed… I need – require medications to keep me from returning and falling back into the void…

Is it a case of lack of faith? No… Is a diabetic lacking faith by using insulin?

And just like a diabetic – somedays are better than others… it depends on way too many factors to list…

The good news is – I have God on my side… if I stay close to Him – listen to His spirit whispering to my heart and soul words of wisdom, I’m okay – even on the days which are not so good…

And prayer, but just not alone – I have a support network in place – I can send out a text message and know they are also praying on my behalf…

Growth – I am actively (well hopefully more days than not) seeking God’s will through not only reading my devotions but also in a group with women doing a 12-step from Celebrate Recovery – I do not have any personal gain by mentioning this other than knowing it works. The women in my groups have all different ways we have met – substance abuse, sexual abuse, anger, food addiction, codependency… but the one things we do have – a growing faith in God and building a network to support each other…

 

*Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

A Tomato And Mental Health

 I was tending to my little garden, a hopeful success this summer (I usually kill anything).

As I was working my way down to my tomato plants – I saw it! My first tomato! (and yes I know there are more in the picture).

What makes this little tomato so special was a reflection on how 1, 2, or especially 3 years ago how far I have come. I could not have done gardening, some days getting out of bed was a monumental task…showers – self-care… I didn’t deserve any was my scrambled thinking…

So, this tomato is a big mile marker in my recovery…

Seeing new life instead of the massive urge to end my own.  I’m about 18 months on a med combo that’s working… It’s been a hard road with many dark days BUT also tonnes of prayers, not just mine – with my family and my network of support…

The BIGGEST reason though… God… That’s it. God… He never gave up on me… He brought people into my life at certain times… and I found my faith in Him again…

Restore us to Sanity

My recovery started one night at Celebrate Recovery with the words …
We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity (Step 2).
I need my sanity back… That’s all I basically remember from my first few meetings… However, it was enough to keep me coming back…

A few days before my first meeting – I had tried suicide…

My life has SOOOO changed since then…

It isn’t perfect – I don’t get out of bed each day like Pollyanna. There are still really hard days… days I’m confused and not sure where or what I am supposed to do… days I feel like I have been thrown under the bus… the difference is – I have my network I have been building there to support me – send off a quick text and I know the support is there…

You are NOT too far gone for God

I want you to know that if you are reading this… You are NOT too far gone for God… If you are breathing, your heart still beating – you are still loved by God…  The very fact that you are here now reading this is the proof God is waiting for you to turn to Him… He brought you here to read this short blog… Believe in this one simple thing – that you will have your TOMATO day soon… feel free to leave a comment…