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 Faith, fear, prayer

Let Your Faith Be Bigger Than Your Fear

grayscale photography of people raising hands
Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

I need to confess something to you all. I struggle with praying out loud in a group of people. I get so wound up, fear grips me. I mean, it really grips me. I fear I’m going to say something wrong or stupid. I fear I’m going to stumble over my words. (I mean, hey, I do that in normal conversations, lol)

Like Moses, I’m terrible with words. (speaking them, that is) My tongue gets all tied up and a bunch of rambling comes out.

At Prevail Church, at the end of the service, we get into groups and we pray. We pray for boldness, for compassion. We pray for whatever needs to be prayed for. It’s a time to just pour our hearts out to God.

I listen to the words of those around me and wish I could pray like that. I wish I didn’t have this fear of corporate prayer.

Well, as we gathered into our groups, I could feel the Lord impressing upon my heart to pray. He did this several times. And several times I would open my mouth and then shut it. Open my mouth, shut it….and before I knew it, I had lost my chance. I let the Lord down. I just know He was up there just shaking his head at my fear of public praying.

Last night as I was just doing some reading and writing out my thoughts, I looked up and saw a sticker I have on a notebook that says, “Let Your Faith Be Bigger Than Your Fear.” And I realized I really did let my fear overpower my faith yesterday.

Fear doesn’t come from the Lord. It says in 2 Timothy 1:7:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Fear is of the world. Fear is not godly. When we feel that fear creeping upon us, we must fight back with our faith. Fight back with, not OUR strength, but GOD’s strength. Because if we try to do it all by ourselves, we won’t get far. We’ll succumb to the fear. Just like I did yesterday.

Like my pastor has said in the past….”we must step over fear to reach faith.” Faith OVER Fear!

What fear grips you? Give it to Jesus. He’ll never let you down. 

 

 

 

 

Posted in bible verses, christian living, christianity, Faith

I Will Rise

I Will Rise When He Calls My Name!
Hey y’all, I hope your Sunday is going well! Church was amazing this morning. We had a great message, a wonderful time of prayer and an awesome praise and worship time.
I don’t know if you’ve heard of the song, I Will Rise by Chris Tomlin but it is AMAZING! Please take some time to go check it out!
The lyrics are powerful and so very true!
There is a line that I love, “And my faith shall be my eyes”–Oh, how wonderful will it be to wake up in heaven one day! To see our Lord and Savior face to face!
One day there will be no more sorrow, no more pain! I long for this day, as I know any chronic pain sufferer would.

We Will Have New Bodies (Praise the Lord!!!)

2 Corinthians 5:1-10 says:

For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. 10 For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.

No More Sorrow

In Revelation 21:4, we read that “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
I’m so excited for heaven, aren’t you? There will be nothing but singing and praising and worshiping the Lord!!

I Will Rise

(Verse 2)
There’s a day that’s drawing near
When this darkness breaks to light
And the shadows disappear
And my faith shall be my eyes
Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead
(Chorus)
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise
Posted in Faith, fear, Jesus, quotes

Blogging For Jesus

I came across a quote the other day that really got me to thinking.

As a Christian blogger, you are a digital missionary.

I never thought about that before. But it is so true! As Christian bloggers, we have a duty to reach out to the lost. We have a duty to inform them of Christ’s love for us and what He sacrificed in order for us to find freedom.

For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved! But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about them unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news?

Romans 10:13-15

Christian bloggers….we are blogging for Jesus! We should be wanting to see others come to know the Lord.  As bloggers we are the digital feet!

Does this mean we might offend someone? Unfortunately, yes.  But we still need to get the truth out there for the whole world to hear. We must not live in fear of offending someone.

Sometimes we will have to step out of our comfort zone in order to reach the lost. It will feel uneasy at first, we might be tempted to give up but if we just persevere, God will see us through the uneasiness.

We can’t live for the approval of men. Living for the approval of men will let us down. Living for the approval of men will most definitely disappoint us.

Living for the approval of people will keep you from living for the purposes of God.

Craig Groeschel

 

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, christianity, Faith, grace, Jesus, love, mental disorders, Uncategorized

Repost: Thorn in my flesh

**This is an old post from 2017 but I feel the need to share it again.**

My Thorn In the Flesh

…..Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinithians 12:7-10

Some days are just a huge struggle. Seriously, the struggle is real just trying to get out of bed. My mind races with incomplete thoughts, I’m constantly restless and I just have no energy to function. Welcome to a day in the life of someone with bipolar disorder and ADHD and other health problems.

Is this the result of some unconfessed sin in my life? No, I don’t believe so. Could God heal me completely? Absolutely? But do I think He will? No, I don’t think so. This is my “thorn in the flesh.” God is using my mental illness and other physical illnesses to draw me closer to Him. He’s trying to tell me that His grace is sufficient. And it is!

Unfortunately, there are people out there who believe mental illnesses are the result of a lack of faith or some unconfessed sin. I do not hold this stance.

Why is there such a stigma regarding mental illness in the church? Why are people so afraid of it? Tell me, is having a mental illness any different from suffering from a physical illness?

When a person is suffering from diabetes, people have no problem with that person seeing a doctor and being treated for that particular problem. But when a person is diagnosed with a mental illness, there must be unconfessed sin. Either that or the person’s faith is not strong enough.

I had someone tell me that once. When they heard that I was bipolar they actually looked me in the eye and said that my faith wasn’t strong enough. Basically, I needed to “pray it away.”

MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES DO NOT DISCRIMINATE! It CAN and DOES happen to people every single day. People who are strong in their faith. People who are weak in their faith. People who don’t HAVE faith. It does not matter!

I know for a fact that Jesus loves me unconditionally. Meaning, he loves me despite my flaws, despite my health issues. He loves me.

Do I believe that I could wake up tomorrow completely healed from all my health ailments? Absolutely! But I also believe God uses these things to draw people closer to Him. And that is what He is doing with me.

My health problems are my “thorn in the flesh.” I have come to terms with that. God is using my health issues for good. I may not know what that is right now but I have accepted the fact that I’m going to have these health issues the rest of my life. And I grow closer to God every single day. 🙂

 

Posted in Faith, grace, writing

Writing Through the Doubt

Dealing With Doubt

My good friend Stephen over at Fractured Faith Blog has inspired me to write about doubt and how to handle it. Read his post, My Desert of Doubt

We all have our dealings with doubt. It’s inevitable. We’re humans. We’re going to doubt. So how do we handle it? What do we do with it? Well, we can allow it to consume us, sending us into a pit of despair or we can hand it over to the Lord who can comfort us and give us peace about our situation.

My writing lately is not coming together like I’d like it too. I’ve put the book I want to write on the back burner for now. With me being back at work, it’s a struggle to come home and sit down and write. I’m hurting from standing all day and my brain just doesn’t want to produce anything, lol.

But most of all, the doubt I have as to whether or not I can be a writer takes over and I fall victim to its prey. Who wants to read my words? Who am I kidding? My writings aren’t that good. These are just several thoughts that race through my brain when I finally do sit down to try to write something, to try and produce something worth reading.

Doubt can consume you if you let it. And sometimes, before I even realize it, I’ve let it. Satan really knows how to attack each one of us by using our weaknesses against us.

So what’s the best remedy for dealing with our doubt? Turn it over to the Father who knows about our struggles and wants to shower us with His love. We may not know what the future holds for us and that can be scary but the Lord knows and He wants to help guide us to what He has created us to be.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

 

 

Posted in Faith, fear, Jesus, mental disorders, peace, phobias, worry

Fearless Faith

Fear Is a Liar by Zach Williams

When he told you you’re not good enough
When he told you you’re not right
When he told you you’re not strong enough
To put up a good fight
When he told you you’re not worthy
When he told you you’re not loved
When he told you you’re not beautiful
That you’ll never be enough
Fear, he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear he is a liar

Disclaimer: Satan is REALLY not wanting me to post this. WordPress keeps crashing on me and it’s getting me frustrated. However…I will persevere. I WILL get this post out.  

 

Satan knows and uses my anxiety to try to bring me down. He knows I’m a chronic worrier(which I’m trying to work on.)For as long as I can remember I’ve been on medication for my anxiety/depression/bipolar disorder. Yet I still suffer from panic attacks and will sometimes fall into a deep depression. Medicine doesn’t cure the issues I have (in fact I was placed on a new medication today) but it helps keep my emotions at bay. Thank God I’m currently stable but there was a time I wasn’t. The anxiety would pile up and then the panic attacks came like clockwork.

But thank God we have Someone on our side. Someone to root us on and Someone who will love us unconditionally and through His perfect love drives out all fears!

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.~~~2 Timothy 1:7

We need to look to Christ when doubts start flying. When that anxiety kicks in and pushes you towards a full-blown panic attack.  When Satan whispers in your ear that “you’re not good enough.” Look to Christ!!! He will give you what you truly need!

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:34

 

 

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.