Where Were You?

Where were you when I needed you most? Why weren’t you there? Why didn’t you care?

I’ve reached out time and time again but never do you reach out to me.

I’m tired of fighting for a one sided friendship

Tired of the tears shed when I needed you most.

Tired of you not caring enough to see if I was okay

Where are you?

Why am I wasting tears over this? I’ve been dealing with this drama for over 15 years.

I cried tears then, it’s time to stop it now.

You know what hurts the most?

Knowing you’re oblivious to all of this. You don’t even see it, do you?

Where were you when I needed you most?

25 Years Of Living With Mental Illness

Some quotes on mental health and the church

The very church that preaches Christ’s unconditional love and compassion, in some instances, hurts its most needy members. 

Marja Bergen

The church ought to be a safe place for caring for those with all forms of illnesses: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual

Pastor Curtis Lowe,

“It’s really rooted in superstition and a misunderstanding of what mental illness is,”

Amy Simpson

Despite all the advances in treatment, despite all the ways in which our culture has become more enlightened and compassionate, somehow mental illness remains in a category of its own, regarded as some sort of peculiar affliction that is best dealt with by toughing it out, straightening up, putting one’s will into play and hiding any evidence of possible symptoms.

Kathy Hurt

THE LACK OF ATTENTION TO THIS IMPORTANT ISSUE BOTH BY THE CHURCH AND SECULAR SOCIETY HAS LEFT THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WITH MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS STIGMATIZED.

Gladys Mwiti

Things Never to Say to Someone Suffering from Mental Illness

  • Oh snap out of it already
  • Cheer up
  • Smile, you’ll feel better
  • Get over it

Or my personal “fave”

  • Your faith is weak, just pray it away

If only it were that simple.

I have suffered from bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety since I was 17.

21 years. It’s been 21 years. Actually, I started having panic attacks when I was 13 so yeah, around 25 years.

So for a quarter of a century I have been dealing with mental illness. I never looked at it like that before.

25 years.

Yes, I’m A Christian and Bipolar

Yes, it is possible to be a Christian, to have the love of the Lord in you and still struggle with a mental illness. The two CAN coexist! Because guess what? Mental illness? Yeah, it doesn’t discriminate. It can strike anyone at any given time. It’s a chemical imbalance.

Its Not a Lack of Faith Issue

I have suffered from depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder for many years.  I was told by someone once that my faith was not strong enough and that’s why I was suffering. I’ll never forget that.

But it’s not a faith issue. What if what I had was physical? Diabetes, or cancer? We don’t question those illnesses so why is mental illness any different? According to Ed Stetzer,

We can talk about diabetes and Aunt Mable’s lumbago in church—those are seen as medical conditions, but mental illness–that’s somehow seen as a lack of faith.

Mental illness is a chemical imbalance in the brain. It shouldn’t be treated any differently from a physical illness.

I will never understand why every organ in your body gets support and sympathy when it is ill, except for your brain.

Unknown

I have actually been told that mental illness is “all in your head.” Ummm….well yes…..it is! Where else would it be? My kidney?

Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden; it is easier to say, “my tooth is aching” than to say “my heart is broken.”

C.S. Lewis

25 years, y’all. 25 years!

Leave the Scar

I have not lived a life that boasts of anything. I don’t take pride in what I bring. But I’ll build an altar with the rubble You’ve found me in. And every stone will sing of what You can redeem…

Point of Grace

That quote above are lyrics from a song called, “Heal the Wound” by Point of Grace. I absolutely LOVE this song and I encourage you to take a listen to it.

I am not the person I once was. I found Christ when I was 19. It was 17 years ago back in March. But before I found Christ I was a miserable wreck of a person. I was depressed, angry all the time, a jerk to my family. Oh I grew up in church….sang all the songs, memorized the verses. My head was full of the knowledge of God but my heart was bitter. I was only in church because my mom made me go, if I’m being honest.

I hated my life. I wanted nothing more than to just stop living. If I stopped living the mental pain would, of course, stop. I was a cutter back then. But thank GOD I didn’t die back then because I’d definitely be in hell, where the pain would go on for eternity.

God saved me from myself. He grabbed a hold of my bitter, angry heart and turned it around.

I’m still bipolar. That will never go away. I’m on medication for life.

Yes, God could heal me from being bipolar. I do believe that. But I also believe He allows it to remain to remind me of where I was and how much I don’t want to become that person again.

It is my “thorn in the flesh.”

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12: 8-10

Everybody Always

So a friend from church loaned me a book called “Everybody Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People.” by Bob Goff. I’m really excited to read this because woo boy do I have difficult people in my life, as I’m sure we all do.

I haven’t started it yet but will be either tonight or tomorrow.

What happens when we give away love like we’re made of it?

In his entertaining and inspiring follow-up to the New York Times bestselling phenomenon Love Does, Bob Goff takes readers on a journey into the secret of living without fear, constraint, or worry. The path toward the liberated existence we all long for is found in a truth as simple to say as it is hard to do: love people, even the difficult ones, without distinction and without limits.

Driven by Bob’s trademark storytelling, Everybody, Always reveals the lessons Bob learned–often the hard way–about what it means to love without inhibition, insecurity, or restriction. From finding the right friends to discovering the upside of failure, Everybody, Always points the way to embodying love by doing the unexpected, the intimidating, the seemingly impossible. Whether losing his shoes while skydiving solo or befriending a Ugandan witch doctor, Bob steps into life with a no-limits embrace of others that is as infectious as it is extraordinarily ordinary. Everybody, Always reveals how we can do the same.

Have any of y’all read it? What did you think?

I need prayers lifted for my 15 year old nephew. He is so addicted to his Xbox and this stupid game called Fortnite. He gets so worked up when something goes wrong in the game and will slam his controller down and rant and rave. He sits in front of the screen for hours at a time. Guys, please pray for his spiritual life. He got saved 2 years ago at camp but is definitely not living the life he should be. He lets this game get to him and misses church because he was up too late playing. He didn’t go to bed until 4:30 this morning because he was playing the stupid game.

Pray for ME that I don’t lose my mind trying not let this get to ME! I have a really bad habit of letting things get under my skin.

Sounds like I need to get off here and start reading this book! LOL.

Heartbreaking

So in my last post I talked about how Prevail Church was being taken to court by former members, saying they are due the money that comes from the sale of the building we once met in. These people LEFT when they decided they didn’t like the direction Jonathan was taking the church. (although they were a part of the unanimous decision to sell the church building and relaunch as a new church. )

Well, the hearing was this past Tuesday and it was….awful to say the least. How these people can do this and still claim to be a Christian is beyond me. I sat and watched in disbelief as Jonathan was basically attacked on the stand by their lawyer.

My anger rose and my heart rate was 116 as I sat there, tears streaming down my face. A couple of times I glanced over at their side and just shook my head. It’s so heartbreaking that these people are doing this.

It says in the Bible, in 1 Corinthians 6 that we are to avoid lawsuits with other believers.

When one of you has a dispute with another believer, how dare you file a lawsuit and ask a secular court to decide the matter instead of taking it to other believers!

I Cor 6:1

Further down in verse 6-7 it says,

I am saying this to shame you. Isn’t there anyone in all the church who is wise enough to decide these issues?

But instead, one believer sues another—right in front of unbelievers!

What was the result of the hearing? Well, unfortunately it has been decided for this whole nonsense to be taken to trial.

You know what’s really sad about all this? The fact that there are unbelievers watching this unfold. People we could be leading to the Lord who are no doubt not wanting anything to do with Jesus because His people are fighting over something as trivial as money.

My heart is breaking as I type this. It’s not fair what they are doing and it’s not biblical. I think the best thing at this point is to just split the money in half. Give them half and we take the other half and just go our separate ways. It’s clear they aren’t going to back down any time soon.

OH how my heart hurts. The way they are treating Pastor Jonathan is just downright cruel.

I’ve been struggling with my feelings since this whole mess began. I struggle with my attitude towards them. I struggle with wanting to tell them off. But that wouldn’t be very Christ-like. I don’t want to repay evil for evil. (Romans 12 tells us not to) I don’t want to hate them. Honestly, I don’t. It’s just so hard right now.

I’ve been digging into the Scriptures to find verses on bitterness, anger and forgiveness these past several days.

*side note* Because I suffer from bipolar disorder, sometimes it’s harder for me to let go of things. I am in no way trying to make excuses, however. Please don’t get me wrong. I am praying to God about my attitude and reading His Word daily.

It says in Romans 12:9-10

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other.

Then a little bit further, in verse 18,

Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone

That’s what needs to happen. We need to peaceably come to a resolution. And while right now it’s seems really really hard to love these people, the Bible says we should and that’s all that matters.

So y’all….please please continue to pray for this situation that it can be resolved quickly and peaceably.

The Root of Bitterness

woman sitting under tree
Photo by Rio Guruh Imawan on Pexels.com

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” (Hebrews 12:14-15)

Bitterness is dangerous. It can and will consume a person if they’re not careful. I have struggled a lot these past several weeks with bitterness towards a certain situation. I have dealt with what I consider righteous anger towards the situation but then I learn more and bitterness will slowly start to take root.

I can’t turn away from this situation. Meaning until it resolves it’s always going to be around. But I can control how I deal with it.

I thought I had dealt with the anger but suddenly new things come into light and boy do I get upset. Because of my bipolar disorder,  I have a harder time dealing with anger. I can get worked up so quickly. But in the last two years, I have done a lot of growing in Christ and have allowed Him to step in and take control (most of the time. I am still human after all. I’m still going to mess up.)

Being a bipolar is my thorn in the flesh, I honestly believe that. God definitely could take away my illness but I truly believe He’s using it to help me grow closer to Him and to remind me to lean on Him when I’m struggling with something.

Bitterness, at first, is not something that can be seen. It can, however, be felt, little by little if we let it grow. We must learn to rip out the bitterness by the root. It does no good to just chop it down. No, it must be grabbed by the root and tossed. If we let it continue to grow in our hearts, it suddenly will sprout and out comes anger, slander, heartache. Bitterness will turn to anger. Anger will produce sin if we’re not careful. When we seek revenge, when we act on our anger, we are in danger of sinning.

Check out my post on anger: Be Angry and Sin Not

Ephesians 4:31 says ” Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (ESV)

Bitterness doesn’t have to take root. I know, you’re probably thinking, “Well, Leigh, you have no idea what’s happened to me. I have a right to be bitter.”

Let God take control. Give Him your bitterness before it takes root.

 

Be Angry and Sin Not…

man in blue and brown plaid dress shirt touching his hair
Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

I was angry a LOT in high school. Back then I didn’t know I was bipolar. I didn’t get diagnosed until about 7 years later. But my mood swings were ridiculous. I sometimes wonder why in the world they didn’t catch it sooner. I was diagnosed with being clinically depressed. But boy, was I an angry person.

I was so bitter. I hated life.

Although I found Christ in 2003, I still struggled. It wasn’t until 2017 that I got serious about my faith. I had started this blog way back in 2010 and then forgot about it. But in 2017 I signed back on and made it a point that this would be a blog for Jesus. Was I still struggling? Well, yes. But I finally found Someone who I knew without a doubt would carry me through it. I finally nailed things down with the Lord and committed myself to following Him.

Do I still have bouts of anger? Do I still have bouts of depression? Absolutely. I’m human, after all.

So there is a situation going on with my church that I can’t go into details about but has been making me pretty angry at some people.  I ask that you please pray for this situation. And pray for me as I work through this anger.  Ultimately, God is in control and knows what’s best.

I use the YouVersion Bible app and if you don’t use it, I recommend you give it a try. There are tons of devotionals/plans you can read on different topics. I decided the other night to look up plans on anger. And I came across quite a few plans!

I have slowly been releasing my anger. With God’s help, the anger is being replaced with compassion. And sympathy. I am learning to look at things differently.

I do believe that there is righteous anger. I mean, Paul says in Ephesians to “be angry and sin not.” (Eph 4:26) There are situations where we SHOULD be angry. But in that anger, we must not sin. In that anger, we must not seek revenge.

It can be a bit confusing to many because Paul says in verse 26 of Ephesians to “be angry but do not sin” and then a few verses down he says to “get rid of all bitternes, rage and anger….” (Eph 4:31)

I believe that Paul is saying to get rid of any unrighteous anger. Anger that produces malice and brawling, anger that seeks revenge.

Do you have an anger problem? Seek the Lord. Release the anger unto God. You really will feel so much better!