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 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 bitterness, christian living, church, Faith, godliness, grace, Uncategorized

Be Civil Minded

23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.

2 Timothy 2:23-24

I have so many thoughts racing through my mind right now. I’m struggling with fits of anger over a situation and I want so badly to open my mouth and voice my thoughts but I know I shouldn’t.

For those of you who have read my posts over the past year you know that I am a part of Prevail Church, formerly Hyde Park Free Will Baptist.  Our pastor, Jonathan, was unanimously voted in to be our new pastor. However, once Jonathan started making changes, many members became upset and left the church.

We had to find another location for our church unfortunately because the building we were meeting in started deteriorating and the roof had so many leaks and repairs that it would cost more to fix it up than it was worth. So the building was put up for sale.

Well now, these former members are taking us to court over the sale of the building. They believe the money should go to them. They are actually trying to “reform” Hyde Park.

*takes a deep breath* THEY LEFT THE CHURCH!

You guys, this whole mess has me heartbroken. I grew up in this church.

Tomorrow there is a hearing at 2pm. It’s a public hearing so all are welcome. My mom and I will be there to support Prevail and Jonathan. If you don’t mind, say a little prayer that God’s will is done and that we can all remain civil around one another.

 

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 church, Faith, fear, love

18 Years

Some of this post is taken from last year’s post, I just added some new thoughts.

It’s been 18 years since America was attacked by terrorists. That day, the world stopped turning for just a little while.

They say when a big tragedy such as 9/11 occurs that you will always remember where you were. It’s totally true.

I still remember where I was on September 11, 2001. It’s been 18 years but I will always remember where I was.

I was a freshman in college, taking classes at the local community college. I had a late day that day so I was sleeping in when the phone rang. It was my mom calling from work telling me to turn on the TV right away.

I turned on the TV just to see the second plane hit the tower. I was in shock. What was going on??

I went to class as usual and was sitting in my psychology class when the professor stopped talking and just looked at us. He then told us that he couldn’t teach, that everything that was going on was just so surreal and that we were dismissed.

That day changed America, obviously. People were nicer, kinder. Churches filled up. People were scared and looking for answers.

It’s been 18 years. But I remember it as if it were yesterday.

People flocked to the church. Pews were filled.

America was hurt. America was down. Down but not out.

As a nation, we rose back up slowly. We became united as one.

Where were you that September day?

 

 

Where were you when the world stopped turnin’
That September day?
Were you in the yard with your wife and children
Or workin’ on some stage in L.A.?
Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smoke
Risin’ against that blue sky?
Did you shout out in anger, in fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry?
Did you weep for the children, they lost their dear loved ones
Pray for the ones who don’t know?
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below?
Did you burst out with pride for the red, white, and blue
And the heroes who died just doin’ what they do?
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself and what really matters?
I’m just a singer of simple songs
I’m not a real political man
I watch CNN, but I’m not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope, and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love
Posted in book review, christian living, christianity, church

Soul Detox

I’m getting ready to start reading (again) Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World by Craig Groeschel. I read this book awhile back but feel the need to reread it. Perhaps God is going to show me something I may have missed last time. I don’t know about you but  He tends to do that with me. 🙂

A quick summary of the book:

As standards of conduct continue to erode in our shock-proof world, we must fight the soul pollution threatening our health, our faith, and our witness to others. Without even knowing it, people willingly inhale second-hand toxins poisoning their relationship with God and stunting their spiritual growth.

Soul Detox examines the toxins that assault us daily including: toxic influences, toxic emotions, and toxic behaviors.

By examining the toxins that assault us daily, this book offers the ultimate spiritual intervention with ways to remain clean, pure, and focused on the standard of God’s holiness.

I have quite a few books by Craig Groeschel. If you haven’t heard of him I definitely recommend that you check him out. He is the senior pastor of Life.Church.

New York Times bestselling author Craig Groeschel is the founding and senior pastor of Life.Church, an innovative and pace setting church meeting in multiple locations around the United States and globally online, which also created the popular and free YouVersion Bible app. He is the author of several books, including Divine Direction, Liking Jesus, Fight, The Christian Atheist, and It. Craig, his wife, Amy, and their six children live in Edmond, Oklahoma. Visit http://www.craiggroeschel.com

Are you familiar with the Bible App, YouVersion? I use it every day and love the many devotionals you can find on this app. YouVersion was created by Life.Church.

As I venture back into this book, I will definitely keep you updated on what I’m learning at what the Lord is trying to teach me through this book. 🙂

Happy Friday everyone!

 

 

 

Posted in church, Faith, grace, Jesus, love, prayer

March 16th, 2003

priscilla-du-preez-607177-unsplash
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

March 16th, 2003 will forever be a special day for it is the day I let go and clung to Jesus and trusted in Him. Has it always been easy? No.

 

I was 19 when I became a Christian, despite having grown up in church. I went through life thinking I was saved, thinking I had it all together when in reality I was lost.

I basically had the head knowledge but none of it made its way into my heart.

I even attended a Bible College before I got saved. I honestly thought I was saved. Then I came home for spring break and we had an evangelist come and speak at our church.  He made a statement that has stayed with me all these years…..

You can be 99% sure (of your salvation) but you’re still 100% lost.

Basically, he was saying that it doesn’t matter how much head knowledge we have, if it hasn’t reached our hearts, we are still lost.

Do I doubt my salvation sometimes? Well, I’d be lying if I said no, that I never doubt it.  But Satan has a sneaky way of getting into my head and stirring up trouble. He whispers in my ear that I’m not good enough, that God doesn’t really love me, that I’m not really saved.

God is always with us even when it feels He is not. He doesn’t walk away from us, we walk away from Him.

I’ve been struggling lately but I’m slowly getting back on track. I appreciate all your thoughts and prayers.

I haven’t been writing lately but like my relationship with God, I’m slowly getting back into it.

I really do want to write a book but I’ve been neglecting it. Who knows how long it will take for me to get through the whole process but if it takes me years then so be it.


Prevail Church is taking off! We have been having a steady number of people week after week! Pastor Jonathan began a new series last week, entitled “My Story.” Here is the first sermon from that series!

 

Posted in anxiety, bipolar, blogging, christian living, church, depression, Faith, fear, fibromyalgia, grace, mental disorders, peace, phobias, song lyrics, worry, writers block

Why Is It So Hard?

I have all but lost my desire for writing. Now that I’m back to work, it seems I have let my writing fall by the wayside. After I get home from work I’m in so much pain from standing all day that I have no interest in writing.

I’m going to be honest with you all for a moment…..I’m struggling. With life, with my relationship with God, with just about everything. I haven’t lost my faith. I still believe but I’m finding it hard to set aside time to spend with God.

I’m human. We all are. We have flaws and always will. But what happens when you lose your desire for God? Why is it so hard to follow Him? I see others who are so devoted to God and have a deep relationship with Him and I wonder why I can’t seem to find that sort of relationship. I know it’s available, I know it’s there. I thought I used to have it.  Maybe I never have.

I feel like a fraud. This blog is supposed to be me telling others about Christ and His love for us. And here I am, struggling. I’ve abandoned my blog in recent weeks.

I know we all struggle. As long as we are on this earth we will struggle from time to time.

I do know that God is still working in me. As I write this, I’m listening to Mandisa’s song, Unfinished. If you haven’t heard it I definitely advise you to check it out. Here’s some of the lyrics,

Not scared to say it
I used to be the one
Preaching it to you
That you could overcome
I still believe it
But it ain’t easy
‘Cause that world I painted
Where things just all work out
It started changing
And I started having doubts
And it got me so down
But I picked myself back up
And I started telling me
No, my God’s not done
Making me a masterpiece
He’s still working on me
He started something good
And I’m gonna believe it
He started something good
And He’s gonna complete it
So I’ll celebrate the truth
His work in me ain’t through
I’m just unfinished
I’m just unfinished
So I’ll celebrate the truth
His work in me ain’t through
I’m just unfinished
I know God is not finished with me yet.  And I know if you are struggling right now, like I am, that God isn’t finished with you yet either. Keep your head up and focused on Him.
That’s what I am doing.
But why is it so hard???
Here is another song that is speaking to me right now. It’s called Need You Now by Plumb. Such a powerful song!
Well, everybody’s got a story to tell
And everybody’s got a wound to be healed
I want to believe there’s beauty here
‘Cause oh, I get so tired of holding on
I can’t let go, I can’t move on
I want to believe there’s meaning here
How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.
Standing on a road I didn’t plan
Wondering how I got to where I am
I’m trying to hear that still small voice
I’m trying to hear above the noise
How many times have you heard me cry out
God please take this?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

I don’t know where you are right now in your walk with God, whether you’re struggling, as I am right now, or if things are going great for you right now but just remember this: God is not finished with you and has great plans for you.

I honestly believe this though I’m struggling right now.
I just wish it wasn’t so hard.
Posted in christian living, church, Faith, Jesus, prayer

Give Me Your Eyes

Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see,
Everything that I keep missing,
Give your love for humanity.
Give me your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten.
Give me Your eyes so I can see.

I love this song by Brandon Heath.

I want to have a love for people like Jesus does. So many times, we can get wrapped up in ourselves that we never take the time to love other people. But we are CALLED to love others!

I want to love people with a heart of compassion and see and love people as Jesus does

Masey McLain

I’m tired of being wrapped up in myself and acting selfish. It’s time I put myself out there and love on others.


Prevail Church is slowly getting started! We had our first launch team meeting last night and we made commitments to getting on board with launching this new church. Is it scary? Yes, sometimes it can be. But God is with us and He promises never to leave us.

Our name for our church comes from the verse in Matthew 16:18: “ And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Check out our website! Prevail Church

Please continue to pray for us as we venture out on starting this new church. We still don’t have a location so please pray specifically that we find a location soon. We’ve been meeting in our pastor’s house for the time being but as we grow we’re obviously going to need a bigger meeting spot.

 

Posted in bible verses, christian living, church, forgiveness, grace, prayer

Turning the Other Cheek

When people hurt us….well, it hurts! (I know, super profound there, huh?)

But no, seriously, when people hurt us, it can cause us to lose ourselves for a little bit. We become down and depressed a little, maybe even angry. We sometimes lash out at the person, giving them an earful. (I know I’ve been guilty of this in times past.)

My church has been hurt lately. And there are people who are making sure we know it.  It has caused a great deal of discouragement and a little righteous anger, if I’m being honest. These people don’t seem to realize just how badly it hurts! The negativity they are spreading on social media…..it’s just downright mean!

The human nature in me wants to lash out, to yell, to scream, to retaliate. That’s what Satan wants me to do.

But I’m going to turn the other cheek. In Matthew 5:38-40, it says:

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[a]39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.

I don’t understand why this is happening but I do know that God wants me to react in a manner pleasing to Him. He doesn’t want me to give in to my human nature desires.

It’s hard for me, believe me. I am struggling with this very much. I want to comment back so badly. I have so many retorts for them.  But this will not please the Lord. He wants me to rise above. And I’m working on it. It seems that just when I’ve reached a point where I think I’m fine then I see other comments made. I actually had a former church member unfriend me and others from our church. It hurt so badly.

It shouldn’t be this way!! But it is.

And I’m turning the other cheek.