Category Archives: Depression

It Is Worth It In the End

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

XYMONAUrgb4It would be ridiculous for me to say I’d be willing to repeat my life. Right? I mean who needs abuse and major depression?

Or would it be ridiculous? What if all that has happened that is sad and broken serves a purpose today that I wouldn’t want to give up for the world?

The latter is true. This weekend was another privilege to share my story, including mental illness, and  the hope I live in each day. There was a time- a long time- when I couldn’t have done that and understood the depth and reality of this true hope.

I talked and taught about Jesus and his salvation and love for over 30 years. However I was blind to the fact that I didn’t fully grasp what I was talking about.

Much of what I knew to be love, was not. Much of my self- image was built on sand castles that washed out with each major storm.  False, negative core beliefs, out of sight and hidden under denial, guided life decisions and filtered happy truth.

All that is in the past. No longer do I doubt my value. Love is something I feel and know and trust regardless my emotions. Those lies that penetrated my mind are gone and replaced with facts.

  • I am fully and deeply loved by God who delights in showing unfailing love.*
  • I am valuable because he made me for a purpose. **
  • Lies do not hold me prisoner anymore. Both messages and messengers were exposed as less than worthy of my attention. ***

If repeating this life would land me in the joy and love I now know, then yes, I would do it. It is not ridiculous to want to share this love and joy with you.

This post is short but loaded with powerful healing truth. Jesus loves you and wants you for his own. He created you with a purpose that will both fulfill and free you. The Holy Spirit will teach you as you read the Bible and it will make sense. He will also guide you to people who can help.

Please contact me if you have questions.

Today’s Helpful Word  

*Micah 7:!8b-19 You 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!

**Ephesians 2:8-10  God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

***John 8:44b [The devil] has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies

**** 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.

 

 

 

Staying Alive is So Much More Than Breathing

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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For a long time after my suicide attempt in 2011, life seemed to hold little worthwhile substance. Never mind I wrote a book, learned how to collage, began a writing and speaking career, and created newsletters for two classes at my church. Some days felt like fresh air and possibility. Most seemed stale and defeated.

My feet kept moving. On days with little to do, I gazed at walls or the computer screen, attempting life with little focus. Therapy homework added helpful busyness; going to therapy did as well.

However, I am a decision-maker. Once I make a commitment, 98% of the time I will stick to it no matter the cost. I’d made the decision to die by suicide. As strange as it may sound, it was difficult for me to change my mind.

Pivoting in indecision kept me stuck.  My moral center- that of wanting to please and honor Jesus – kept me from acting on the pursuit of death again no matter how I felt. It also gave me patches of solid ground on which to painstakingly climb out of the quicksand that is major depression.

Still, it was living for living’s sake. Breathing for breathing’s sake. Someone said, “You are doing phenomenally” (referring to all the projects I had taken on despite depression).  That encouraged me until the moment was over and the sense of lifelessness returned.

For a few years, occasional kudos were like sunshine and a bit of cheer leading pushed me to function. I doubted I could continue the fight without them. That theory was tested when I moved back home, eight hours away, leaving those supports behind.

Not once since I made the decision to move have I for even a nano-second regretted that choice. This is where I belong. It is where I fit. People here speak my language.

Life on my own was hard for two years. It didn’t seem I had the stamina to make healthy and wise decisions without input or an “atta girl”. Yet here is where it gets interesting.

At the end of those two years I took what I had learned from therapy and made some major decisions to remove what wasn’t helping and to grasp what would. I joined a church where my giftings are wanted. Relationships with next door neighbors are deliberate and improved. Weekly dinners with my grown sons added to a sense of belonging. Good friendships formed. Old friendships reignited. Now I know I am needed, wanted, and loved by many people.

It seems almost overnight life felt meaningful. Sure, nearly seven years is hardly overnight. Hard work after the suicide attempt, moving despite deep pain,  getting up the next day after a lousy one – those decisions paid off.  Staying alive was so much more than breathing.

I am committed to pursuing what is in my heart to do. It is still vital to honor and please Jesus. In a healthier mindset, I know he loves me too.

Today’s Helpful Word  

John 10: 10b-11a

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd.”       -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.

 

 

Thinking About Suicide? Hope is Here, at Just the Right Time

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

In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care. If you are suicidal, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  or go to your nearest emergency room.  (international emergency numbers, go here )
man s hand in shallow focus and grayscale photography
Photo by lalesh aldarwish on Pexels.com

When it seems too late, it is not.

That statement may sound unbelievable to a person on the edge of  living or dying by suicide.  However, it is not just another load of baloney. I’ve been there, and I know  it is never too late.

Despite night and day streaming in and out and sometimes blurring into each other,  relief exists. Though discouragement is seen, what is unseen is wonderful and promised. When ending it all seems the only choice, the answer is on its way.

A reason to stay alive is to wait… wait for the beauty.

If you are suicidal, immediately call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. ( outside the US, go here )

Just like trying to make out small print without my reading glasses, I cannot see the hope that is around the corner when lost in the depths of despair. It is there. It is not just the preacher’s hope, or the therapist’s hope.  It is mine to have and to keep.

I believe I landed in a new city at just the right time to meet those professionals who ‘knew how to reach me. After one suicide attempt, I tried again. A sense of hopelessness stayed around for a while. Yet I chose to believe for hope, and that was enough to keep me here. 

When Jesus came to earth the first time,  he came “at just the right time.” *

He promised to return and will do so at “just the right time.” **

He meets me where I am at just the right moments. When I stumble or grow anxious, or depression knocks on my door, he stays with me. When I cannot see forward, he shows me a way where there seems to be none.

Believe me when I say I know what it means to be on the edge of living or dying by suicide. I know that waiting for the beauty of living can take a long time and a lot of hard work. 

I also know that  rushing my trip out of here was not the answer.  Mental illness is not too much for Jesus to handle.  The right time to believe in the hope he offers is now. 

Today’s Helpful Word  

1 Peter 1: 3-4

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. 

**** 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.

 

*Romans 5:6  **1 Timothy 6:15

Take Charge of Those Pesky Negative Thoughts

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2015 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

closeup photo of woman in white shirt and pants
Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

Have you ever walked past your bed and thought, “I could use a nap”? It is possible you were not even tired before that thought occurred.

We do have control over what thoughts dominate our mind. Some of our thinking events are just habit, and like any habit, they can be exchanged for new ones. 

Think of a thought habit you do not want. If you will take the time to complete this exercise, I believe you will be surprised at the positive outcome.

Make the exchange

1) What consistent triggering event do you experience? (Example: Your mood drops when you sit on the edge of the bed in the morning,)

(2) What is your brain suggesting to you during this triggering event?  What are you thinking? (Example: “Now I have to go to work and face…” or “I don’t have anything to wear I’ll look good in.”)

(3)What is your thought habit? (Example: Associating this moment and seat with stress or negative self-talk.)

(4) What thought habit would you prefer? (Example: Associating this moment and seat with the power to make life better.)

(5) What decision do you want to make? (Example:  “I want to feel better in the morning and will exchange this thought habit.”)

(6) How will you make your exchange? Be creative with your senses and apply what you know brightens your mood. Here are some ideas.

(a)Change the environment.  (Redecorate the area; move the bed.)

(b)Change the context.  (Make this the spot for foot rubs, saying prayers, reading, or calling friends.)

(c)Change the  atmosphere. (Keep the room cheery by opening windows; invest in a coffee maker that starts before you do so you wake to the scent)

(d)Use grounding techniques that help keep your mind on the facts. (Place on the nightstand a list of accomplishments or positive affirmations from other people)

(7) Make a quality decision for when you will start. (Example: I will buy the coffee maker after work; I will write down the positives people say about me today.)

(8) What is the first action you will take next time this triggering event occurs? (Example: Read the list.)

If  you take charge of your thought life,  more happiness will greet you in the morning.

Today’s Helpful Word  

Philippians 4:8 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

***** 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.

5 Ways to Refer People Who Hurt to Professional Mental Healthcare

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

25285772 young woman consoles senior adult female

A sixty year old woman had two grown sons in their late twenties still living at home. They stole food, borrowed the car without asking, and paid no rent. The mother grew severely depressed over this, as every line she drew, her husband erased.

“I don’t think I can take much more”, she said. “I need someone to hear me, talk with me, and help me make it through another day.”

Occasionally we may run into someone whose mood appears deeper than most. It is short-sighted, and indeed dangerous to play diagnostician. Unless we are highly trained in psychology and therapeutic processes (at least a Master’s degree), we cannot claim to know what anyone needs. Our experience alone is not an accurate measure of the pain, disorder, or mental health of someone else. 

How can we suggest a troubled person see a professional? 

A general fear of making such a suggestion is that the person may become angry or upset. The key to any kind of diplomacy is calm, respect, and truth. 

Option 1:  “I care about your well-being. Your needs are greater than I can meet. How about seeing a medical doctor, a psychiatrist, to find out if more can be done medically or through therapy?”

At that point, you may offer to find such a doctor or drive to the first appointment. If the person you are referring prefers to start with his or her General Practitioner, help to compile a thorough list of symptoms to take to the doctor’s office. 

Option 2:  “Many people who have felt hopeless have found greater satisfaction and well-being through a combination of medication and therapy. I’d like to see that happen for you.”

You may offer them a list of resources, and perhaps make the calls. 

Option 3:  “All this may seem hopeless to you now, but situations and people can change. Do you think your family would agree to family counseling? Even so, you deserve to focus on yourself until you regain a sense of control over your well-being. A therapist could teach you how to cope more easily.”

Option 4:  I’m concerned about your mood. Let me take you to the ER for an assessment. They will give you appropriate recommendations. I’m uncertain about your safety.” 

Smile with a non-judgmental attitude. Show you care through sincere, non-critical acceptance.

Option 5:  In an extreme case of suicidal threats, say,  “What you are telling me is important. I will take you to the hospital now or call 911. Which do you prefer?”

Every one I have met who has lost someone to suicide still struggles with the question, “why?” Many carry false guilt wondering, “What should I have done differently?” 

I try to remember I’d rather have someone mad at me than dead. A loved one I forced to go to the hospital was angry for years. The loaded shotgun found laying openly on the floor by his bed resolved any regret I may have momentarily felt. 

It is hard to confront people this way sometimes. It is worth it to see them healthy and whole.

Today’s Helpful Word  

1 Corinthians 13:7 

Love … It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

 

***** 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.

Your Great BIG List of Great Small Ideas for Supporting People Who Hurt

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

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picture from MELOD12 on rgbstock.com

When someone speaks of a friend or loved one who is currently struggling with depression, what follows most often is, “I’ll leave them alone. They need their space.”

To me, that may be the saddest myth about emotional stress. Depression is the number one common denominator across all human suffering. Very few people want to be left alone in the midst of that kind of pain.

The question left for supports is, how do I let this person know I care without getting in over my head? Here are three categories from which to choose.

Include the person with depression whenever possible, but do not expect him or her to keep up right away. 

Your Great BIG List of Great Small Ideas

You have more time and energy to spare:

  • offer to find a doctor or therapist; take them to first visit
  • laundry/ housework help 
  • mow the lawn, shovel the snow, plant flowers
  • offer or arrange childcare 
  • give kids/youth rides to school/events
  • help with a move
  • help with a holiday – decorating, cooking…
  • meet regularly for Bible study
  • start a neighborhood Bible Study
  • organize a meal train
  • rides to doctor/therapist appointments 
  • read aloud and finish a book
  • help with taxes, budgeting
  • show the ropes in legal affairs
  • go to the bank for or with, and other errands
  • take time to study and learn about someone’s specific issue

You have less time and room for change in your routine:

  • phone calls, snail mail
  • food. material, or financial donations
  • visit in the hospital
  • gather and offer resources
  • invite this person to join you in your day’s plans
  • take a lonely person with you grocery shopping, out to a sale, or an exhibition
  • wash a car or take it to the car wash
  • ask good questions, actively listen
  • offer an invitation to join your family for dinner
  • change a flat tire
  • play a video game together online
  • watch a pet
  • drop off a meal/dish
  • invite to your favorite sporting event or your son’s little league game
  • watch tv together
  • grab a coffee together

You have little time and energy to spare:

  • encourage mutual friends to participate
  • send flowers or a fruit basket with a nice note
  • give a small yet thoughtful gift
  • pick up packages off the porch for safe-keeping
  • leave an encouraging note  
  • collect the mail
  • messenger, texts, social media, emails
  • cell phone calls on the run
  • pray, let this person know you are praying.
  • make those small connections if your paths cross. “I’m glad to see you.”
  • touch (with their permission- a hug, pat on the back, squeeze an arm)
  • make eye contact, smile, shake a hand warmly
  • inquire about his or her feelings and day. Tell about your day.

Today’s Helpful Word  

1 Thessalonians 5:14

“…encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

 

***** 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.

 

 

Dear Supports, The Line Between Concern and Control is Not So Fine. Here are 10 Differences

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

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A mother in her late sixties consistently criticized her forty-something son’s job hunt, marriage, and child-rearing. In turn, her daughter-in-law sent her accusatory letters telling her to back-off. 

Over many years, a variety of people had tried to tell the elder woman that her controlling attitude was damaging to her family relationships and ability to work well with others. For as many years, her stubbornness told a different tale; she knew she was right. 

Finally, after losing two careers and a lifetime of closeness to her children, she asked, “What am I doing wrong?”

She asked me. Her question stirred a thoughtful process that led to the following ten-point general comparison between concern and control. 

As supports of anyone who struggles with mental illness, abuse, or addiction, our role is often uncomfortable. We have to make a decision, deep in our character, as to whether we will respect each person’s freedom to choose. After offering what help is reasonable, will we let go?

Two supports in my own struggle with major depression showed opposing attitudes. One said,  “God brought us together so I can fix you.” The other said, “You are powerful, Nancy. You can get through this.” 

Which one do you suppose is still my friend?

Control versus Concern- what is the difference?

1. Concern wants to extend love above all else. Control desires results above all else.

2. Concern is humble and eager to learn. Control knows the answer.

3. Concern actively listens and validates with genuine interest.  Control does not listen.

4. Concern offers hope based on knowledge, insight, and wisdom.  Control offers pat answers, quick-fix solutions, or false hope based on incomplete understanding of a person and his or her needs.

5. Concern accepts responsibility for one’s own life, and patiently leaves others to take responsibility for theirs. Control criticizes, manipulates, and tries to force its will. 

6. Concern offers help when asked, or asks before helping. Control assumes ways to “fix” a situation or person with or without consent.

7. Concern respects the privacy of others.  Control shares what is told in confidence, and  wants in on gossip and rumor.

8. Concern feels some worry, yet also experiences peace by letting go. Control repeatedly expresses frustration and disappointment at slow or unwanted results.

9. Concern feels empathy, pain, or grief, but does not have to own what is not one’s problem. Control takes personally another person’s troubles. 

10. Concern of a Christian believer points people to Jesus. Control is self-worship that can blind others to God’s miraculous power. 

This is not about perfection, it is about growth in love. We all can pass between concern and control at moments. However, making the mistake of living as a controlling person harms relationships and damages those for whom you care so much.

Today’s Helpful Word  

James 3:13-18

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth…  

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”

 

***** 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.

 

 

 

To Show Emotional Support, Remember this 1 Vital Phrase

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

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Try to explain the difference between anxiety and fear or worry. Can you?

I’ve had difficulty describing anxiety to friends, family, and even therapists. That is because each person experiences it in his or her own way.

Most people equate anxiety with worry as if they are interchangeable terms. For me, anxiety is more of a physical sensation than a thought war. It is a vague tension that seems to almost vibrate from my core.  It can make me lethargic, sick, and sleepless even if otherwise I feel calm.

Depression too shares common symptoms across the population. However, their intensity, duration, and how a person perceives them at any given moment will not be an exact match to anyone else. 

For example, self-pity is distinguishable from depression when I feel either of them.  Contrary to stigma, they do not always show up hand-in-hand. Depression is not always preceded by self-pity. This is not everyone’s experience. 

It is hard to choose one or two most important points about offering support when a loved one struggles with anxiety or depression.  This CompassionateLove Blog has much to say on the matterThere is one theme running through it all.  

The most vital phrase for supports to remember is: 

“No one else is like me.”

That is right. Your experiences with depression and anxiety are your own. How you manage, what treatments work or do not work, how long it takes to return to normalcy  – none of these are measures for anyone else’s struggle. 

I will go so far as to say, as well as you think you know someone, do not assume what they feel today is what they have shared with you in the past. Moods are flexible, thoughts come and go. 

No one else is like you. Please do not judge and expect the same results.

Today’s Helpful Word   

Proverbs 14:10 

“Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.”

 

***** 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.

Dear 2018, You Tried to Sting Me Like a Bee, but I’m Still Floating Like Butterfly!

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

woman wearing purple boxing gloves
Photo by Ambar Simpang on Pexels.com

Dear 2018,

You old pest. You waved your gloved fists for 365 days, managing to body punch and intimidate me. I bruised, but you are the one KO’d. This fighter is standing tall and victorious! 

On your first day, joy had me floating like a butterfly.  I admit, your sucker punch of cancer and surgery in the second round was disorienting. You were good at the old one-two. Round five – a thrown back.  Round seven – shingles. Round nine – a triple punch combo.  

Maybe you hoped emotional blows would force me to take a dive. Round two left hook –  betrayal and humiliation. Round three jab – family member missing for two weeks. Round four upper cut – oldest son moved to another part of the state. Round six foul – ex-husband remarried.

Counterpunches of hope, faith, and gratitude weakened you. Despite my almost home-bound existence, patience and positivity scored.  Not once did you overpower me, 2018!

Your round nine triple punch combination came close.

The first blow fouled below the belt. Bed bugs? Really? This Ohio epidemic endangered what scant social interactions remained. Between that and your second hit, severe  anemia,  I was almost totally isolated for months.          

I staggered. Your third punch tossed me to the ropes. Anxiety swelled, accompanied by undeniable early signs of depression.   

If you stuck out your chest to boast, you underestimated how much fight boils in my blood!. Upon recognizing my old mental nemeses, I rose inspired, powerful, and defiant.  

Not only did you lose twelve rounds, it was JOY that knocked you out for good in your last wheezing weeks. You see, I know something you do not. God gave you to me. God turns everything out for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:26-28). 

Too bad for you, 2018. You stung like a bee, but God grounded this butterfly in his love. 

Hello 2019! You may yet turn out to be a ringer, but I know Who holds me and will never let me go.  

Check out the score!

  1. JOY √ A neighbor came to Christ
  2. JOY √ A second member of the neighborhood Bible study came to Christ
  3. JOY √ One neighbor started bringing her grandchildren over for their very own “God class.” 
  4. YIPPEE! √ I won my very first IRS tax-exemption status without using a lawyer! 
  5. JOY √ The bugs forced a healthy household purge, and brought by an exterminator who needed encouragement.  
  6. FUN √ I hosted Thanksgiving reuniting long-lost relatives.   
  7. JOY √ Anemia keeps me home most days, so offering support is more of an inside job. (fostering a cat for a woman in transition, and sorting papers for someone with depression.) Occasionally, people drop by who need a listening ear. The neighborhood Bible study continues.
  8. JOY √ My church’s new associate pastor is allowing me to teach short-term classes.
  9. YAY √ Finally, I began formal (online) schooling for certification as a Life Coach. This workable compromise opens a virtually unlimited field as one can grow and specialize. 
  10. JOY √ I was able to speak to the women in recovery at Timberline Knolls in Chicago

          Today’s Helpful Word

     Romans 8:38-39 

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

***** 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.

 

Whispered Guarantee: Shelter and Rest in 2019

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2018 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

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This week I spent three days at my son’s beautiful apartment over Christmas. He cooked all the meals, cleaned everything, and served me like a special guest. It was fabulous and restful, a perfect shelter.

Christmas night I had to leave for the two-hour drive home. In transit, I longed for another shelter – my house, and my bed. 

Shelters come in various forms. Houses, finances, portfolios, and reputations give us a sense of security.  We rest in family and friends. Often, hope centers on the immediate, the latest sure thing, or escape.

Problem is, each of the above is temporary and comes with no guarantee. 

A friend once had a dream. In it, there was a terrific storm. She entered a shelter, finding Jesus and many people inside. It was safe there. All was calm while the storm outside whirled about. 

Noticing the storm had quieted, my friend thought, “It is alright to go out now.” She left, only to be caught up again in massive winds. A hand grasped her, pulling her back inside.

It was Jesus. He said, “Did I tell you it was safe to leave my shelter? Stay here.”

The next morning, my friend confessed the dream had led her to a spiritual decision. She said, “I will never leave his shelter again. Never.”

Anxiety, a seemingly ever-present enemy of rest, shouts its threats. Booming rages and disasters in the world demand our attention. Depression and other disorders try to claim our minds. Yet there is a whispered guarantee. The shelter of the Most High is our place of safety. 

This shelter is not built by human hands. It is the Lord Jesus Christ, himself. In the quiet of trusting, yielding, and worshiping prayer, he whispers his love. Reading, comprehending, and living by God’s Word (the Holy Bible), raises our faith. Fear, guilt, shame, doubt, a sense of worthlessness or hopelessness – all dissolve and heal over time in the presence of Jesus, our refuge.

God’s promise to anyone who chooses to set up home in his shelter, is rest.  Under the shadow of the Almighty, we can know peace. 

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 91:1-2

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'”

 

***** 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.