Posts Tagged ‘christianity’

This week we lost a beloved comedian, Robin Williams, to suicide. It has sparked much news coverage and also talk about suicide and depression.

I’ve been dismayed by some of the comments from Christians about depression. The same old dogma. What I don’t think people realize is that it makes them appear not compassionate.

If you’re not a medical professional and if you or someone you know and loved been suicidal then stop talking like you know what you are talking about!

I’m not defending the choice Robin Williams made to end his life but I’ve been in that dark of a place many times, when it honestly didn’t feel like a choice…

I’ve hurt so badly that I wanted to die. I made plans but I got help. I’ve stood on the top of a tall lookout planning to jump. I’ve hurt myself. I’ve held a bottle of pills and almost took them all.

Yes I have bipolar disorder but I’m also a Christian. One does not preclude the other. I have a vibrant, very real and authentic faith in God. But I struggle with mental illness that sometimes makes me lose sight of my faith. It’s in those times that I want to give up.

For me the moments when I felt the darkness and felt there was no light I was not alone. Some of those times were where I grew in my faith in God the most. God can take broken people and make beautiful things from them. Sometimes He even lets us break so we can realize how much we truly need God.

Throughout my life I’ve heard countless people talk about depression and their answer is to just “pray about it.” Simple and simplistic. Start with that then go see your doctor, have your thyroid checked, get a physical, see a psychiatrist and/or psychologist. Grow in your faith too but realize that spouting a simple cliche is not the answer.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, please get help today. If you have thoughts of suicide call 911 immediately. Each life is precious.

Show compassion in the way that we treat the broken hearted. Show compassion in our dialogue about depression, mental illness, suicide and our beliefs of faith.

Advertisements

It’s no wonder people who are outside if the Christian faith are baffled by our lingo. One such term literally makes my skin crawl I’ve heard it overused so much.

Intentional. Good men who I respect greatly use this phrase, men of renown. Yet it makes my skin crawl because although some of the tenets of this concept are good it just comes across often like psychobabble.

This term crosses the faith barrier and is used so much by therapists and counselors that I believe it has lost it’s meaning. I remember this term being thrown around by therapists so much in the last few years. Somehow this good concept of being intentional has gotten wrapped up by “being present”, etc.

When I hear good men, pastors, speak this term it makes me want to say “hold on!” 1. You are over using this philosophical term in ways it was not intended. 2. Do you hear how you sound to those outside your faith?
3. Are you even aware if how that word is used by psychologists and philosophers?

I am not against having purpose, conviction and living your life that way; I am just against the overuse of this word! My choices are filled with conviction and purpose as I live my life through my faith in God but I don’t need to wrap it in a nice package and call it “intentional.”

I realize that my even writing this will alienate me from some within my faith who might read this. That is not the purpose if this post.

I believe that words are powerful as are the way in which we say them. Some churches speak in an internal language that has to turn off those who walk in their doors.

To me the term intentionality seems a little rules based in concept. I think those of us who are Christians should use our language to engage those outside of the church or who are on the fringe.

We are called to speak the truth in love but not to use all the latest Christian buzzwords. If I hear one more person tell me to have a blessed day I might vomit! I am blessed in many ways and certainly I wish that for others but when we go around telling people to have a blessed day I can’t help but think that term as it is used in modern language comes more from Wiccan beliefs and greetings than most realize.

Let us break down the language barrier between those who currently believe in God and those who haven’t found Him yet. Let’s communicate in civil ways toward one another, civil dialogue that is not cloaked in buzzwords and insider phrases. Let’s be real both in the way we live our faith and in the way that we communicate with those who hold different beliefs than ours.

Grace is underestimated. We don’t have to earn it from God; it’s given freely. We’ll never be perfect. You’re not too far for Him. Nothing you’ve done can keep you from His love.

I am constantly amazed at how God provides for me, for real needs. Recently we broke another dining room chair and shortly thereafter I got two suitable chairs for free. No they are not my style but I don’t care at this point and am just happy my side table can return to side table duties after serving a stint as a chair!

I have had things like this happen to me many, many times since my divorce.  Heck I was even thinking the other day that I needed a pair of black slacks (certain kind) then found some great ones for super cheap at a thrift store.  Again, God’s provision.

Or having just the right amount of dollars, down to the exact dollar before your next paycheck.  That happens to me often and not because I overspend, just because.

Just humbled at how much God cares for my daily needs.  Spoken or not yet spoken.  He knows what we need before we know it ourselves!

 

 

Sometimes I feel like I’m just coming up for air then boom! Since I’ve only ever been me this might be normal, I’m not sure. The very thing I long for-something constant down here on earth still eludes me. One again I am learning the same lesson over again. The only constant I have in my life, maybe that I’ve ever had, is my relationship with God.

I long for a job that pays my bills, I long for a car that isn’t twenty years old, I long for my children’s time and a place to live that’s better for us.

I have forgotten that in August 2012 I was close to being homeless. I was close to not being able to pay my rent. I had recently started going to my church and they stepped in and paid my rent and utilities for September of that month and kept me from being evicted.

I had already purchased a sleeping bag and was anticipating having to sleep in my car or outside. I was beyond stressed out. I wasn’t concerned about walking away from my “stuff” but I was concerned I’d lose my kids or the ability to see them consistently.

My mind and body finally couldn’t cope and I checked myself into the hospital. After there for about a week I became physically ill and my kidneys almost shut down. I was rushed by ambulance to the ER if another hospital to the ICU. I didn’t come to until about six days later.

Laying in that bed after I woke up, everything changed. I had circled the bottom emotionally and physically and I realized how desperately I wanted to live. And not just exist, but to really love. To fully engage in my life, no matter how scary or how hard or big. To grab back onto God in a way that changed me from the inside out.

I knew that I could never quit, that my children needed me. My life was not my own. So I re-engaged and threw myself at the Savior’s feet once again and held on tightly.

Life is still hard. I have had to choose between medicine and food. I live paycheck to paycheck. Literally. I have five dollars in my account right now. Still, in the middle of this God has met my needs, often through His people, my friends and family. I’ve received checks in the mail out of the blue, boxes of clothes, gift cards, money so I could buy my girls Christmas presents, cash in a card and more.

I am humbled. I grew up in a very fortunate life, never had to worry about money and grew up in what some would deal a perfect life. Now I have become the queen of making my funds stretch. My favorite store is now a thrift store. The other day I was taking to one of my girls about grocery shopping and talked about the price of chocolate chips and how they went up. She thought it was amazing I knew that much. I was able to share how I was called to be a good steward of what God has given me.

My definition of success has changed. I’ve never been driven to financial success but have always had it as a minor and when I was married. When I was divorced I started with nothing. I’ve accumulated a few things since then but I am still one paycheck from insolvency.

I just want to have an impact for Christ. That is my hope and desire. I desire to be a good mom and hope that how I parent will be what my children need. May they remember not what we didn’t have but for what we do have-each other.

I’m tired and life is a lot sometimes but I trust in the one who made me. I’m all in.

It’s not about stuff. I’ve had a lot and nothing and neither brings satisfaction because peace comes only in God, not in the car you drive, the clothes you wear or the size of your paycheck. Perhaps we are measured by the impact we have on others for Christ. Beyond that what really else matters?

Tonight I give my future once again to the one who holds my past, my present and has my future mapped out. Glad I’m not running this show.

14 years ago tomorrow was the happiest day of my life. My family and friends all gathered together to celebrate my wedding day, April 8, 2000. I was filled with wonder and joy as I walked down the aisle to marry my best friend.

It’s 2014. Fast forward from 2000. In 2008 my spouse filed for divorce and we spent two very long years trying to reach an agreement. Do I believe in divorce? I hold to the Bible’s view that it should be for adultery only. Did I want it? Nope. Did it happen? Yep.

My marriage was difficult for many reasons. I own my part in its failure and have let it go. I am not responsible for its failure. For reasons I am not ready to say in a public forum yet, I think it’s good that I’m no longer married. No one cheated but here we are.

I had a good first two years, four tops. Then it disintegrated like a piece of rotten wood. Slowly piece by piece of me was chipped away until I no longer wanted to live. Those of you who know me know some of this. I was hospitalized for depression many times, more than I want to say. My world, my marriage was ending and I felt little reason to go on often.

I knew that I could not leave my girls without a mother so day by day I hung on. God used the darkest hours of my life to become so real to me. Although I had been a Christian since I was seven, I met Him in a way that profoundly changed me life.

I had misplaced my identity in being a mom and a wife and when those things were taken away from me I no longer knew who I was. On many levels. I had lost everything that had made me “me.” I went from living to merely surviving. I had forgotten that my identity comes from who God says I am, not who others said I was. I had to erase the tapes in my head from someone I loved that were damaging. I still sometimes hear those tapes but now I know better than to pay attention to them.

Sometimes when bad things happen people wish they could undo those things and have a do over. Although the very human and somewhat still broken part of me can relate to that I would not choose to change what happened to me. Although I will have lots to ask of God when I get to Heaven I am content to know that He sees the whole picture and I just see a piece.

I trust that God has and will continue to use my shattered dreams to bring Him glory. If I would have never married I would not be the fortunate mother of the two most amazing daughters. Being their mom truly is the best part of this human life. Knowing they will spend eternity with me makes the lonely nights without them more bearable.

So it’s 14 years later. I am no longer who I once was. I don’t know that I am better but different. I trust God each and every day with, well, everything. I have no other real choice.

He has become my father, my mother, my husband, my all in all. Anything good I have comes from Him and is a blessing.

Going on over five years since I had to move out of my home. I left that day with my sofa, two chairs, a cookie sheet, wooden spoon and my clothes and a pillow. I slept on a blow up camping mattress that would deflate in the night. Living was painful but I was determined not to give up. I had this feeling that I had been set free.

There is a Steven Curtis Chapman song that sums up how I’m feeling tonight:

remember your chains are gone

I am free and the chains that held me prisoner are gone. I’m BACK

.

Be still and know that He is God. For many months after my ex husband filed for divorce I would turn the lights off and listen to Steven Curtis Chapman’s powerful and worshipful song “Be Still and Know” right before I fell asleep every night.

I love how God can bring sings, verses, etc into your head at the right time. Last night I was outside briefly and I just stopped in my tracks as the lyrics from that song “sang” into my heart. It is times like that I am acutely aware of the Holy Spirit in me. God’s presence in me.

This week the chaos in my brain was helped as I was able to get back on the meds I take for bipolar disorder. I wish that I could explain what it is like to be inside my head, on or off meds. It was like things just fell back into place and I had four days in a row where I felt good. I cannot remember the last time I felt good for even a whole day and to have multiple days was a gift.

This week was wonderful and I thankful.

I struggle against my body (and mind) every day. Today was the biggest blessing. I woke up in the night to my nine year old whose toes were touching mine in bed. I gently covered her back up, smiled contentedly and thought that this is as good as it gets here on this earth.

You see, last night she came in after her shower and wanted to know if she could sleep with me. At first I just wanted a good night’s sleep because I had work this morning. Then I looked into this little girl’s heart and thought: what if this were the last night we had together? Then I smiled and told her to go get her blanket and pillows and in she climbed. We talked, smiled, giggled and eventually she dozed off.

Today I felt physically good all day long. It was like a vacation from my body and it was wonderful. It might not last more than today; I just know that in this instant I praise the One who granted me this great day. I look forward to the day when we will shed these bodies in Heaven.

Today was as good as it gets down here.

Image courtesy of FrameAngel / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.