All posts by Nancy Virden

About Nancy Virden

Struggles with Major Depression have ultimately led to a life of joy I didn't believe was possible. The goal of Always the Fight Ministries is to bring hope to the hopeless and encouragement to their supports.

Is it Safe to Tell God You Are Angry… at Him?

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

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Photo by Jhonis Martins on Pexels.com

What do you think? Is it ever okay to tell God you are angry at him?

If we are angry at God, does he not already know?

The Psalmist asked,  “Before a word is on my tongue, you Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Is there anything hidden from you?” (Psalm 139:4-5)

Hiding emotions from this all-knowing God is as foolish as Adam and Eve hiding in the bushes after they sinned in the Garden of Eden. 

Perhaps you wonder,  I must not talk to God just any ol’ way, right?  He is God, after all! 

Like everything else in God’s kingdom, reverence is a matter of the heart.

In Isaiah 29:13, The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”

In the opposite way, we can have strong emotions and still honor God. Openness and honesty with God is not about telling him off without any fear. Reverence is not about following religious order, either.

In Christ we are safe to be vulnerable, and glaringly human with him.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 12: 28-29).

Someday you may cry for help in a loud voice, full of confusion. You may rage in fear or frustration. You may withdraw from God out of anger or shame. Perhaps you already have and wonder if you can be forgiven.

Jesus puts no limits on what we can tell him. If we do not come to him with our strong emotions such as anger, doubt, lack of faith, guilt and shame – how can he comfort and teach us or close the gap?

God knows what made my heart often fragile. He allowed those experiences that helped to create ruins in my mind. I could choose to blame him for not giving me a happy family, but He wasn’t passive.

He used injustice to shape in me a fighting spirit.
He used pain to teach me compassion.
He used loneliness to tune my ears to his voice.

Psalm 94:18-19 reads, “When I said, ‘my foot is slipping,’ your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”

What good will come of hiding? We will only lock ourselves away from knowing his love.

Today’s Helpful Word  

Hebrews 4:16 

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

 

Perfect Father, Imperfect Dad: The Nature of Love

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

 

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Difficult visits to see my dad increased from a few times per year to once a week after my return move to Ohio in September 2015.  He continued with put-downs I had heard all my life. Other than those, he basically ignored me. Soon, an unexpected call from the nursing home where 84-year-old Dad had spent the past six years, informed me he was refusing food and water and would pass away in two to three days.

Dropping everything, I went there immediately to spend those days with him. It was Christmas week.

He was unresponsive but could hear. Dad’s attitude taught me young I  was not good enough as a person, let alone as a daughter. In a whisper, I asked my other Father, the Holy God of heaven, to help me know what to say and when to say it. Concerned for Dad’s eternal salvation, my prayer continued, requesting that God would have a conversation with him before he died.

Sunday afternoon, the third day of vigil, a chaplain asked about dad’s spiritual story.  When I told him my father had long ago been removed from ministry, the chaplain responded with an idea I had never considered.

He said, “Your dad may have trouble believing he can be forgiven. Since he was a pastor who fell into sin, he may think he is not good enough.”

That evening I took a walk. Carols wafted out of the dining hall. Pausing to listen, tears rose for the first time. I would not let them go. There was no doubt that once they started, it would be hours before they would stop. 

Upon returning to dad’s room, I was met by such a force that I froze.  Recognizing the presence of the Heavenly Father,  I entered humbly and quietly. It was clear my prayers were being answered; God was having a conversation with dad. After several minutes, God’s tangible presence lifted. Dad breathed strangely and died within the hour.

I knew my Perfect Father had met with my imperfect one. Still,  I asked God if he would be willing to give me a sign to remove all doubt that dad had accepted his invitation.

Putting my fingers in the Bible, it fell open to Micah. My eyes landed on chapter 7, verses  18 and 19. “You [God] will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love. Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!”

In the end, grace met dad where he was and reminded him no one has to be good enough to earn God’s forgiveness. God delights, actually has fun, showing unfailing love to his own who repent. 

We are all mixtures of honesty and deceit, kindness and severity, faith and doubt. We do not have the power to love without fault, and that is okay because it is not in the “doing” that we experience grace.

At one point I said to my dying father, “Dad, all you ever had to do for me to love you is be my dad. All you ever had to do for God to love you is exist.”

It is nice to think of the irony- that God chose this oft-rejected daughter to show a stubborn and broken love to a dad who never had to be good enough to earn it.

Today’s Helpful Word  

Luke 11: 11-13

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”  -Jesus

 

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

Depression and Support: What Can I Say to Make My Loved One Feel Better?

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2016  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry

photo-24819937-embracing-young-couple

At a conference recently, a woman asked me, “How do you pull someone out of depression? What can I say to make him feel better?” My answer was of the bad-news-good news type.

First, the bad news

You cannot.

You want your loved one to return to normal. Perhaps your spouse is not working and the lower-income is a challenge. You wonder when depression will loosen its grip and your relationship restored. Your children suffer because the parent in depression does  not play with them.

Maybe it is your friend with depression. You miss your friendship. The walks you used to take together, shopping sprees, watching your favorite teams fight it out on ESPN – all of this is gone. All your friend does is sit in front of the TV or stay in bed. I know it is difficult.

You would likely never say, “Why are you not working your construction job with two broken legs?” or “Go out with me – you only have a 104 degree fever!” In much the same way, complaining and frustration will never snap your loved one out of depression. 

As deep is your longing to fix all this, you do not have the power to change someone’s depression and make them healthy. 

Now for the good news!

Repeatedly, from dozens of people I have met who struggle with depression, one common thread emerges. All I want is to know someone cares.  This is good news because it is simple to do and makes a meaningful difference. These same people have suggestions for  expressing positive messages that help: 

  • Silence is okay if you are next to me while I hide under the covers. Silence from a distance hurts.
  • Say hello. I do not need my space, I need you. 
  • Send me a text, an email, an IM, a card – anything! Let me know my life matters to you.  Keep in touch even if it takes a week, month, several months…
  • If you say you will visit, do it. I am counting desperately on that.
  • Small gestures speak many words. Bring me a coffee, or a glass of water. 
  • Mention you miss me. 
  • Remember who we were and remind me you believe we can be that again. 
  • Acknowledge I am doing what I know to do. Applaud my efforts – any effort.
  • Tell me it will be hard, but I have what it takes to get through this. 
  • Ask me outright, “Are you thinking of killing yourself?” Call 911 if I express any plans or intent to do so. If I’m angry, it will be temporary, and I will be alive knowing you care.
  • When you see progress, let me know you notice
  • If you tell me in anger to “take a pill,” you are being a jerk. If you remind me to take my medications, you are kind. 
  • I may not be able to believe it when you tell me you love me or care. Tell me anyway.

Most people who struggle with depression do not receive the professional treatment they need. Untreated or under treated, they live in ever-deepening cycles of helplessness and despair. The majority who do receive proper treatment go on to lead more fulfilling and satisfying lives! 

Here’s the no-brainer. Help your loved one reach out for what could change his or her life.  Most people find a combination of medication and talk therapy most effective. 

Today’s Helpful Word

Job 2: 11-13

When Job’s three friends… heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him.  When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud…  Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

What is Covert Sexual Abuse and Why Does It Matter?

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2017  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Children deserve respect. 

Children deserve respect for who they are at each developmental stage.

As adults our responsibility is to protect children from what they are not emotionally or physically able to handle. 

Covert sexual abuse is the sexualizing of children through a variety of means outside of actual molestation. Covert sexual abuse is harmful and can deeply and negatively affect a child’s psyche and worldview. 

This type of abuse can include dressing children to look sexy, exposing them to sex via television or movies, and discussing bodies in a disrespectful way. Covert sexual abuse is not limited to these three. 

I saw a father teaching his son who couldn’t have been more than 9 years old, how to check out a full-grown woman’s body and telling the boy what was good and not so good. This was done where the woman could hear. The boy learned that disrespect toward women is alright.

At the same time, the emotions of a nine year old are focused on pleasing dad. He likely quickly picked up on these lessons. Of course I do not know the end result for this particular boy. However, by sexualizing his son, the dad stole the boy’s chance to learn to like girls in his own time, and to set his own standards. 

I know of a teen girl whose father taught her to check out women’s bodies, and like the boy’s dad, pointed out what pleased him and what did not. Girls learn from their dads how to be with boys and men. This girl was taught that her value depended on men’s approval and of course, that approval had to be sexual. 

Covert sexual abuse can take many forms. It is always damaging. Sometimes it is traumatic. 

Jesus set the tone for respect of children when he said we adults must become more like them to enter the kingdom of heaven.  It is only when we take on the innocence of children, and the trusting hearts of children that we can experience the strongest relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Today’s Helpful Word

Matthew 18:2-4

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

Peace, Be Still

 

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It was combat. Young, hardened faces tensed with the desperation of wavering hope.

Soldiers strapped to their guns, pinned down in the safest place and surrounded by mines, had been holding their precarious position for five months. Over one hundred of their teammates, comrades, and friends had been carried off and buried. There was no time for grief. No room for sentiment. 

Who would be next, no one knew.

From the outside, it appeared that order and discipline in the form of rank and file remained intact. A lieutenant was in charge now, having assumed the role after the captain and commander were killed. 

However, tempers flared. Brave chatter had morphed into a single thought.

HOLD.

Hold out, hang in there, stay the course, keep yourself together, don’t think too much, don’t lose focus, push away the emotions, calm your nerves… hold. Above all, remember those who die are heroes. Your sacrifice is secondary to the mission.

HOLD! 

D-day was traumatic for all concerned. The above scene is merely make-believe, based on a fictional television portrayal of war.* In reality, soldiers face menacing scenarios. On D-Day, the fight was horrific. It is reported that the few survivors remaining still can relive moments on that beach in France in 1944 like it was last week. 

Soldiers who stood their ground in actual wars, survivors of others’ sacrifices, the wounded, and otherwise affected men and women veterans – these are worthy and in need of our support and gratitude. They are not the only ones with difficult memories.

Beside them stand victims of abuse and torture in the human trafficking world,  witnesses to domestic violence or other crimes,  and people who survive mass shootings. Even these are but a small sample of the total number of people traumatized by literal and figurative foxholes. 

Well after one has healed physically, unresolved trauma may pin down the mind. Relief is incomplete. Symptoms of PTSD or other anxiety disorders are part of an ongoing struggle.  In the middle of run-away anxiety, often there remains a single thought.

HOLD. 

For years  my battles against unwanted thoughts were daily lost.  Learning some therapeutic strategies helped immensely. Still it seemed this was to be my forever normal –  make a choice, grow anxious, take time to recover, repeat. 

The break in that cycle came when I discovered more release and calm turning to the Lord Jesus than in any strategy I’ve tried.  It is not a passive insta-cure. However, he grants me rest from hanging on for dear life. 

While learning to heal from trauma, his words are rich with calm. “Peace, be still.” Years of practice have taught me to trust him.  Knowing he will never leave or forsake me,  I can release my hold, and just be held.

Today’s Helpful Word

Mark 4:39

And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!”  And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

*Star Trek Next Generation

Judging Motives: Depression Meets a Closed Mind (Or – Jeff Foxworthy Faced a Heckler)

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

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Photo by Designecologist on Pexels.com

Can we fully understand anyone else’s motives? 

Foxworthy

Jeff Foxworthy was called “mean” by one of the audience members as he hosted the television game show,  Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader.  His contestant was none other than Dan Whitney, playing his famous comedic character, Larry the Cable Guy. If you recall, Foxworthy and Whitney toured together for several years and have a long friendship.  

What might you have thought if you heard Foxworthy imply in front of millions of viewers that Larry was stupid?  

Whitney is a very successful comedian, actor, producer, and author.  “Larry” on the other hand is not so intelligent and is highly unsophisticated. Whitney and Foxworthy play off each other like an old married couple. 

Foxworthy replied to the heckler. “I’m not mean. I love this guy. We’ve been friends for a long time.”

We all judge

That situation may seem obvious because most of us know who are these two men involved in teasing each other. However,  all humans judge others – we do! It is not a question of judging or not. It is a matter of consciously challenging stereotypes, stigma, and negative perceptions.

If you have thought or said “stupid driver” about the person who doesn’t move as soon as the light turns green, you have made a negative assumption. If you assume laziness to be the problem when you see the mother in the grocery store with two screaming kids, you have allowed stigma to do your thinking.

Depression’s hecklers

As one with a mental illness history, I’ve felt the distrust and disdain of those who do not understand. Trying to explain the tunnel-vision that accompanies major depression, I told a man that for a while it feels like ‘me me me’. He said, “Yes, and that’s sinful. We are to be unselfish and loving.”

Nice.

Depression may prevent a woman or man from responding as we wish. She struggles to reason because her perceptions are negative. This is temporary. Meanwhile, of course she needs attention. He needs someone to dole out his meds. She wants to hear she is loved as-is. He longs for his friends to contact him so he does not feel forgotten.

The answer

We actually cannot understand anyone else’s motives. We must offer the benefit of a doubt, and believe a person’s explanation until facts show us otherwise. Close-minded people will be the last to learn.  Mental illness, abuse, and addiction each come with a crowd of assumptions and negative judgments.  

Let’s be leaders in setting higher examples, and casting the rallying cry for more eyes that willingly see, ears that choose to hear, and gentle respect for each other.

Today’s Helpful Word  

Galatians 6: 4-5
“Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.”

 

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

 

God Does Not Waste Pain On Us

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

woman raising her right hand
Photo by Murilo Folgosi on Pexels.com

God does not waste pain on us. For me, it took despair and suicide attempts to discover value in living. Those ruins of loss and struggle have become building blocks for the restructuring of joy and the real me.

A man named Paul wrote half of the Bible’s New Testament. He also strained against something he figuratively called “a thorn in the flesh.” Three times he prayed for it to go away. God’s answer was that it was through Paul’s weakness that God would prove himself to be enough to keep Paul going.  (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)

Do you think anyone in Paul’s time, or even Paul would have imagined that the persistence of his “thorn” would become a powerful lesson reaching countless numbers of people for two thousand years?

We do not always know why we suffer. For most of five re-building years following my dive into major depression, I tried to make sense of personal value and purpose. Remembering Paul, my broken spirit almost daily asked God, “Can my thorn also be a blessing? Will you ever allow me to help other people again?”

One afternoon at a 12-step meeting, a young woman shared that she was trying to escape the trauma of being raped multiple times by her youth pastor.

An inward nudge from Jesus’ Holy Spirit pushed me to go talk to her. We were strangers, yet she searched my eyes in desperation.

“Why did God send him?” she said. “Why did he send a man of God to rape me?”

She could not be free from the chain of addiction and self-medication until she was free of her deepest anguish.  It was not the horrific memories nor lack of safety that had her bound. It was fear that she had lost the God she had always known to be good. 

Referencing the Bible book of Matthew (chapter 7, verses 15,16), I said, “Have you heard about wolves in sheep’s clothing?”

“Yes!” She rose in her chair. “Is that what happened?”

“He was not a man of God.” I said. “He was a liar and a wicked man who used the church to cover evil. God loves you. He did not send that man to rape you.”

“Really? He was not a man of God?” Her eyes were wide.

“No. He was a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

If I could ever find words to describe the scene playing out in her eyes- it was as clear as a movie. From desperate fear and searching to flickers of hope,  then wide-eyed wonder and finally, freedom.

The timing that day was perfect, and the God who knows all hearts used my unsteady one to speak life to her dying one. In one moment, the Restorer of souls fashioned ruins into life-giving shelter.

Stone hearts become flesh again, human weakness is covered by divine strength, spiritual poverty becomes wealth in faith. Chains turn into testimonies, lost is found, damned is saved, and pieces of shattered minds are Tenderly gathered by the Savior.

This is what Jesus does for people. This is his amazing grace.

Your ruins have purpose in the Master Builder’s hands. If you are willing to be free,  God will incorporate all that is broken into formation of the you he always intended.

Today’s Helpful Word  

2 Corinthians 12:7-9 

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.” -Paul

 

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

Is False Guilt Leaving Survivors Stuck in Perpetual Abuse?

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

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Photo by Mudassir Ali on Pexels.com

One of the feelings people who are abused or have survived abuse may live with is false guilt. A mix of questions swim synchronized in the ocean of one’s thoughts.  These include, what do I do wrong, how did I disappoint the abuser this time, and what will I do next to cause harm and not know it. 

The idea may arise that one is a catastrophe walking.  A new belief forms,  I am what is wrong.  If this mindset is allowed to fester unchecked, a lifetime of trying to fix scenarios and relationships may keep an abuse survivor doggy-paddling in false guilt and anxiety.  It could lock a person in a cycle of false thinking;  I caused it, I must fix it.

Do you see how this can lead us into one abusive situation after another? Until 20 days ago, I was certain such negative automatic thoughts were conquered and no longer my struggle. Instead, what I discovered is that in the presence of an abusive attitude, I do shrivel up again a little bit.

After telling a young man I care about to leave my home twice, I still invited him back.  Why? Because maybe his words were true. Maybe I am the problem. Perhaps It was my job to help him at all costs.  

NO, ladies and gentlemen abuse survivors. We do not have to accept more of the same. I was bewildered by my response to what was clearly harassment. Old assumptions blinded me, and until I could see I swam again in the dark.   I am guilty of making him feel bad – NO.  It is my responsibility to help him feel better – NO.   His accusations are true – NO! 

Oh how easy it was to sink into old thinking patterns! I am grateful for the knowledge  passed to me that allowed for challenging those thoughts sooner. Let’s keep in mind that when a person disrespects you and continues to cross your boundaries, it is their problem  to fix.  They are acting poorly. You have the strength and right to say, “Not again.”

Today’s Helpful Word  

Romans 13:10 

“Love does no harm…”

 

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

 

 

 

 

A Mother’s Conversation with God

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

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Jon and Tim are my children. They have never been considered a solution to my need or search for love. It was my job to parent them, not vice versa. In that sense, my relationships with them are the purest form of love I’ve experienced.

I think God had to wait until my kids were grown before I would understand his great love. One day 5 years ago, God and I had a conversation in prayer. 

He said, “ How did you see your newborns?”

“Oh, I saw their beauty,” I said.

“Why?” He added, “All they did was pee on you, throw up on your clothes, and did nothing for you but keep you up at night.”

“I saw beyond all that to my babies- my precious ones.”

He said, “And so I see the beauty in newborns too. Whether physically young or spiritually a new believer, I understand their limits. I understood your limits. What about when your boys were a little older and could say no? How did you see them then?“

“They needed protection because they were wandering into trouble without understanding”, I said. “I accepted and enjoyed them for the stage they were in.”

“Yes”, God agreed. “And do I not protect my young ones? Did not I protect you when you wandered into sin in ignorance?” 

“Yes, you did,” I said with gratitude. 

“Then what about when your children were a little older and mouthy and rebellious?”

I said, “I saw their potential. How far they could go was clear to me. I saw in them what they could not see in themselves. If I was faithful to train them lovingly and firmly they had a chance of becoming wise adults. It was fun watching them take steps toward maturity.”

“And so it is with me!” God said. “My knowledge of all that you are never fades. My discipline is for your good. I’m so very happy watching my sons and daughters draw closer to me through Jesus and become stronger in faith.”

God continued. “But Nancy, what about now when your grown sons are not living their lives in me as you hoped? How do you see them now?”

“The same beauty that was in those babies is in these big, scruffy men,” I said. “There is nothing they can do, nothing, to make the beauty and potential I see in them go away. If they choose to toss it aside, that will be very sad. I will rejoice when they return to you with fully surrendered hearts.”

Peacefully, God spoke again.  “Nancy. Do you see now?”

And I did!

God is holy, perfect in wisdom. There is no way a mere mortal, not even a mother, could ever love better than almighty God whose very nature is love.

Today’s Helpful Word  

Isaiah 49:14-16 (NIV)

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…”   -God 

 

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

 

Jesus Offers Safety in the World of Emotions and Vulnerability

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

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When emotions are stifled as a child, you never learn how to use or regulate them.

Adult friends have said over the years, “You are open to a point, and then no one can cross that line;” or “You seem unapproachable. Above all the rest of us.”

What friends did not know is the guilt I carried and the continuous reel of tongue lashings I gave myself every day for feeling, let alone sharing any of those feelings whether happy or not-so happy. Vulnerability was downright threatening because of what I would do to myself.

I wasn’t honest about that. God knows I needed help, lots of it, but it seemed too much to ask.

I didn’t want to burden anyone with it and didn’t know what to say anyway. Yet that led to crashes that did burden people in big ways. Rarely reaching out or reaching out in ways that would not actually lead to help, kept me stuck.

Oh believe me, I kept begging – for someone, anyone – to meet my needs. Desperately screaming all my life- does anyone care? I hurt, I’m sad, I’m lost! Angrily demanding, why aren’t you rescuing me?

No one heard because I didn’t scream out loud.

Vulnerability for Wellness

When we come out of unloving or abusive families, it is common to feel different from everyone else, like we are on the outside of a huge secret. We may not know how or where to find emotional safety – or even believe it exists.

In Christ, we are amazingly safe to be vulnerable with people. He led me to wise counselors and then helped me to lower my shield. Learning openness and honesty has not only been freeing, but it helps other people to come out from the shadows.

Vulnerability is hard. We fear jumping off that proverbial cliff of trust – what if no one is there to respond in meaningful or healthy ways? We are afraid that rejection or apathy or even betrayal will leave us in a crumpled heap at the bottom.

It could happen – from the human standpoint.

In Christ though, we have safety. He is our enduring Catcher. Vulnerability with others is important for mental health and well-being. Landing in the tender clutch of Jesus makes jumping worth the risk.

Today’s Helpful Word  

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on [Jesus] because he cares for you.

 

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours.