Posted in anxiety, blogging, christianity

A Nobody…

I’m just a nobody trying to tell everybody all about Somebody who saved my soul

Casting Crowns, “Nobody”

I’ve recently come to love this song by Casting Crowns. But as I reflect upon it, I don’t feel like I’m living up to what the lyrics are saying. Am I REALLY trying to tell everybody about Christ? So many times, I focus on ME and not on others. I have plenty of family members who are not saved and desperately need Christ in their lives. Am I living out my faith? Do others see Christ in me?

Or do they see a selfish person, living in and FOR the world?

I think to myself, quite often, that I just don’t measure up. I don’t have what it takes….

How can God use ME? I’m nothing, a nobody. I don’t have the voice. I’m broken.

Now I’m just a beggar in the presence of a King
I wish I could bring so much more
But if it’s true You use broken things
Then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours

Matthew West, “Broken Things”

But it’s right there in Matthew West’s song, “Broken Things.”

God uses the broken people to bring glory to Himself. He uses the nobodies, the seemingly inept people. I know that I feel inept a lot. What can I use, what can I do to bring others to the Lord?

Moses had stage fright
And David brought a rock to a sword fight
You picked twelve outsiders nobody would’ve chosen
And You changed the world
Well, the moral of the story is
Everybody’s got a purpose

Casting Crowns, “Nobody”

I think if I could relate to anyone, it would be Moses. When God showed up in that burning bush, asking him to speak up to Pharaoh to let His people go, Moses freaked out and begged God to send someone else. He didn’t think he had what it took. But in the end, God still ended up using Moses.

I’ve always wondered if this blog is my “voice.” Is this how God is going to use me?

Is this my opportunity to reach out to others to bring them to Christ?

I don’t feel adequate. But neither did Moses.

Posted in adhd, anger, anxiety, beauty, bipolar, bitterness, forgiveness

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

Posted in anxiety, bipolar, church, depression, medications, mental disorders

Mental Health and Christianity

Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

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

–Unknown

It’s hard having to deal with a mental illness. It can really become a burden sometimes.

As a bipolar sufferer I must deal with the rollercoaster of emotions quite frequently. I can be in the best mood one second and be crying the next. However, as of lately I’ve been pretty stable due to the increase of one medication and being put on a new medication. It seems like it’s a good balance. Recently, I was on the verge of a manic episode and I could feel it. So that’s why my doctor added a new medication to my “cocktail.”

I came across some quotes about mental illness that I’d like to share.

It’s called a mental illness for a reason….because it is an illness. Why can’t it be accepted like any other illness?

Unknown

There is such a stigma when it comes to mental illness. Just because you can’t see it, however, does not mean it’s not there.

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

I think C.S. Lewis hit the nail on the head with this quote. Trying to hide mental pain just makes things worse. But he’s right….it’s easier to talk about a physical ailment than it is a mental ailment.

There continues to be a high level of suspicion, distrust and even fear in the church when it comes to psychology and psychiatry.

Matthew S. Stanford

When I first got diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2008, I was ashamed of telling people. I thought they would act differently around me. When someone hears that a person is bipolar they start treating that person as if they are a time bomb just waiting to go off. It’s frustrating and hurtful.

Mental disorders do not discriminate according to faith, but rather affect believers and nonbelievers alike.

Matthew S. Stanford

I’ve always believed this. Mental illness does NOT discriminate!! It can strike any one at any given time, regardless of religious beliefs.

Taking medication for any illness is simply making wise use of the abundant resources provided to us by a loving God.

Matthew S. Stanford

God created doctors for this very purpose.

For the stigma of mental illness to be broken, there must be direct, transparent speech from Christian leaders. We need more open dialogue in the church.

Ed. Stetzer

The church must stop being afraid of tackling the subject of mental illness. It exists. Simple as that.

If we immediately dismiss the possibility of mental illness and automatically assume spiritual deficiency, our actions amount to spiritual abuse.

Ed Stetzer

Whether a person suffers from bipolar disorder, OCD, anxiety, depression etc…the church must come together and help fight the end of the stigma surrounding the church.

I have so many more quotes that I could share but I think I’ve shared enough. Maybe I’ll do another “quotes” entry in the near future.

Posted in anxiety, fear, writers block, writing

I Don’t Feel Like Writing….

…but I’m going to anyway!

It’s been a long time! I haven’t been on here much throughout this whole quarantined life we have going on. (How are you all doing, by the way? Staying safe I hope!)

I can’t believe I haven’t been taking advantage of all this free time to write!

But the problem is this: I just haven’t felt like writing lately! I’m not in a bad place mentally, in fact I’m doing so much better. I just go through ruts where writing just doesn’t sound appealing.

But tonight I’m going to force myself to write and see what comes of it.

For as long as I can remember, writing has always been there for me. I could sit down and pop out poem after poem in a matter of minutes. Then it stopped. I stopped. And I let the years waste away when I could have been writing.

I came across this quote that I have since printed out and taped above my desk:

If you want to write, you can.

Fear stops most people from writing, not lack of talent.

Who am I? What right have I to speak? Who will listen to me?

You are a human being with a unique story to tell.

You have every right.

—Richard Rhodes

I think, no I KNOW, that fear is keeping me from writing. So that is what I need to get past. I need to get past the fear that I’m not worth it. Past the fear that cripples me. Past the fear that I’m not good enough.

Remember a couple of years ago when I told you all that I was going to write a book? Yeah, I definitely let that fall by the wayside. I let fear win. I let my problems get in the way.

You know, I can’t go any further until I tell you that “Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson (LOVE HER!) literally JUST started playing and I had to laugh. What a perfect song to be playing when I’m talking about my fear of writing.

Just take a look at the lyrics!

I’ll spread my wings, and I’ll learn how to fly
I’ll do what it takes till I touch the sky
And I’ll make a wish
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway
Out of the darkness and into the sun
But I won’t forget all the ones that I love
I’ll take a risk
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway

Coincidence? I don’t think so! 🙂

What is it that is holding you up in life? What is that one thing you know you’re meant to be doing but are letting fear take the reigns…

I’ve let fear of not being good enough take the reigns for far too long.

I’ve always been told to “write what you know” but I always respond with “I don’t know what I know!”

And it’s time I start figuring out “what I know!” No more “I don’t know”

Posted in anxiety, bible verses, fear, peace, phobias

Coronavirus: Don’t Let the Fear Take Over

It’s crazy how quick this coronavirus has spread and the panic it has created. I went to Walmart the other day to grab some hand sanitizer and the shelves were EMPTY! (Ironically, the soap was still there.)

Toilet paper is being hoarded. Sanitizer and even alcohol swabs are disappearing off the shelf! (My mom is diabetic and had asked me to pick up some alcohol swabs for her and there were none!)

I get it, you guys. I get the scare. No one wants to get sick. But please…calm down! I saw a news report (and if you follow me on Facebook you may have seen it) about parents picking their kids up from school and wiping down their backpack, their clothes. I even saw a parent SPRAYING HIS KID WITH DISINFECTANT! (At this point I was laughing so hard)

Listen, I’m not trying to downplay this pandemic that the virus is now being called. I’m not rebuking those who are taking this seriously! I’m taking it seriously myself. As a chronic illness sufferer, I have to be careful myself! I’m taking precautions. I’m washing my hands. I’m trying (with difficulty, LOL) not to touch my face. I’m using hand sanitizer at work after dealing with a customer at the register.

We just shouldn’t be panicking about it. Panicking just causes stress and stress can actually lower your immune system, making you susceptible to illnesses.

As Christians, we are not called to live in fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self discipline.”

We aren’t called to have an anxious heart either.

Don’t worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

 

Posted in anxiety, bible verses, christian living, christianity, Faith, grace

Present Troubles

I’ve been struggling lately.

My health, my finances, etc.

But I came across several verses in 2 Corinthians 4 that reminded me that our present troubles will not last very long.  In verses 8-9 we read:

We are pressed on every side by troubles but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down but we are not destroyed.

Then further down in verses 16-18 we are told,

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone but the things we cannot see will last forever.

It’s so easy to feel sorry for ourselves, to have pity parties when things get rough. But God’s Word tells us that one day all our troubles will be gone. We will be forever in His presence where everything is perfect.

Also, in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Paul reminds us that God’s grace is all we need.

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.

Can God take away my health struggles? Absolutely! Will He? I don’t know. But what I do know is this: His grace is all I need.

His grace is all YOU need.

 

Posted in anger, anxiety, bitterness, christian living, christianity, church, Faith, forgiveness, grace, money, peace

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.

Posted in adhd, anxiety, bipolar, church, depression, Faith, fear, mental disorders

The Church and Mental Illness

I was saddened to hear about the death of Jarrid Wilson..if you don’t know who he was, he was the associate pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in California. Sadly, he took his own life on Monday. He was 30.

Wilson and his wife founded “Anthem of Hope”, a program meant to help people who suffered from depression and mental illness.

I sit here in complete disbelief. But I realize that mental illness does NOT discriminate. It can strike anyone at any given time. Christian or not. Pastor or parishioner.

It’s time that the church step up and help deal with this mental illness crisis. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly 43.8 million people experience mental illness in a given year. That’s 1 in 5 adults.

I believe that the reason the church doesn’t reach out is because they just don’t know how to handle it. But it’s time to change that. It’s time to start having meaningful discussions about the seriousness of mental illness.

There is a stigma surrounding mental health. It’s time to erase that stigma. Mental illness is REAL folks. Let’s stop pretending it doesn’t exist.

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.

My Thorn in the Flesh

Can God heal mental illness? Absolutely! He can do anything! For me, personally, I find my mental illness to be my “thorn in the flesh.” I have actually grown closer to the Lord these past several years. And I believe the verse that says, “And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. (2 Cor 12:9)


Warning Signs

  • extreme mood swings
  • talking about being burden to others
  • increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • talking about being hopeless
  • talking about having no reason to live
  • talking about being trapped and in unbearable pain

What Can You Do?

  • Ask–Talk to them.
  • Be There
  • Listen without judgement
  • Help them connect–create a network of resources and individuals for support
  • Follow up–continue to have contact with them

 

If you or someone you know is severely depressed and suicidal please contact

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255

Posted in adhd, anxiety, bipolar, christian living, depression, Faith, fear, mental disorders

Yes, I’m a Christian and I’m Bipolar…

I touched on this topic a little over a year ago but decided to add to it in case a new follower needs to read it.

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? It doesn’t discriminate. It can strike anyone at any given time. It’s a chemical imbalance.

It’s taken some time to get this blog post out because as soon as I sit down at my computer to start writing, I start losing focus. I become agitated because I can’t get my thoughts out the way I want them to.  Oh, I have many many thoughts racing through my head but they won’t come out on screen. It’s a bunch of jumbled thoughts, not making sense.

So what do I do in times like these? I wish I could say I always turn to the Lord to help me (and I do most of the time) but every once in a while I sit and have a pity party. “Why me? Why do I have to be like this? Why can’t I just be normal?” I cry and cry.

I realize having a pity party is definitely not the best way to handle it but try telling me that when I’m having an episode. It doesn’t work. I eventually find my way out of the pity party and then turn to the Lord. (I know, I know…..I should have turned to God first….and believe me…I try! But sometimes Satan is stronger than me and pulls me down.)

So why can’t I just turn to the Lord the second I feel myself slipping? I wish I had an answer for you. I don’t know. I honestly have no idea.

I’m getting better at turning to the Lord in these times. I haven’t had a bad episode in quite some time. The Lord is slowly working in me and I’m becoming stronger.

The other day I was doing my devotions and came across Psalm 27. The first verse is one of my favorites:

1. The Lord is my light and my salvation–so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?

The Lord is ALWAYS with me even when I’m not with Him! He’s there for me when I’m suffering. He’s there when life is good! He’s my light! He’s my salvation!

The last verse has become a favorite of mine too.

14. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

If you’re suffering…if you feel lost and confused…turn to Jesus. He will never fail you.

 

Posted in adhd, anxiety, depression, Faith, fibromyalgia, worry

Fibro Fog

If you or a loved one suffers from fibromyalgia then you are aware of one of the more debilitating symptoms: the dreaded fibro fog. According to MedicineNet.com, fibro fog is:

 A type of cognitive dysfunction reported by many people with fibromyalgia. Also sometimes referred to as brain fog, its symptoms include difficulty with concentration, memory deficits, and confusion.

It can be very frustrating and I know for me it leads to depression.  For me, I will have moments where I will be talking and will completely forget what I was trying to say. I will stop mid sentence therefore making me look and feel pretty dumb.  My memory is terrible and I have the absolute worst time concentrating.  (Since I also have ADHD, the concentration problem can be worse at times)

I often have trouble recalling certain words when talking or even writing. Simple words for every day things. Words I never used to have trouble remembering.

(Funnily enough, I’m having trouble right now trying to get this blog post written.)

The combination of my struggles with the fibro fog and the insecurities it brings really puts a damper on things. I want to be positive, want to have confidence but the struggle is so very real.

I googled some verses on insecurity and came across several that have been very comforting:

7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart     I Samuel 16:7

I struggle with my looks quite a bit and reading this verse really helps me to put things into perspective.

Some more verses I came across

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.    Philippians 4:6-9

These verses give me comfort because I know that by placing my trust in Him I can overcome any struggle I run into. I need not worry because He is right there beside me as I go through my insecurities and doubts.

Fibro fog may not be curable but with God’s help I can get through the frustrations it brings. And when I struggle with finding the right word, God is still right there beside me helping me to get through the difficulties.