Tag Archives: God

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

person in gray sweater cover face
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!

 

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!

Life balance: If you need wisdom, ask…

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

pexels-photo-260907

A Frenchman,  looking for directions, pulls up at a bus stop where two Americans are waiting. “Excusez-moi, parlez vous Francais?” he tries. The Americans stare at him.

“Parlare Italiano?” No response. “Hablan ustedes Espanol?” Still nothing. The Frenchman drives away.

The first American turns to the second and says, “Y’know, maybe we should learn a foreign language.”

“Why?” says the other. “That guy knew three languages, and it didn’t do him any good!”

I guess it is okay for me to make dumb-American jokes since I am one. American, I mean. Uh hmm.

Big decisions, even if they seem small to other people, are stressful. To know the better and best way to go, asking the one with the answers makes sense!

James 1:5-8 “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.”

When I’ve asked God for direction, resulting confusion means I do not like his answer. Waiting for the other eeny to make moe leaves me perplexed.  Lack of inner peace, tells me I’m not following his guidance.

Obedience to God simply means trusting him to have the best answers, and taking his word for it. If a choice to become involved or not in a person’s life or in a cause or service project has you worrying about the cost of time, energy, emotions, etc., pause to answer the following questions.

Grounding questions

  1. What is your goal? Positive, meaningful connections need validation, love that acts, and sincere, non-critical acceptance. Are you providing these things in relationships? Are you too busy to connect meaningfully with people in your sphere?
  2. How will accepting another role affect your family? Self-sacrifice without considering others who will be affected may be ego-centric.  Do we have the right to force sacrifice on unwilling family members?
  3. Ephesians 6:7 “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people…” People may be assuming, begging, or sweetly inviting you to participate in their vision. Some have a great plan for your life! Do you know what is God’s will?
  4. Ask, is this act of service in YOUR wheelhouse?
  5. What role do you play in this person’s life, or in this service project?
  6. Are you balancing self-care and rest with self-sacrifice? Rest without self-care may be a symptom of depression. Self-care without any self-sacrifice could be selfishness.  Self-sacrifice without rest or self-care is possibly martyrdom.
  7. Are you setting “boundaries” out of apathy or avoidance?  Do you consider Proverbs 3:27, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act”?
  8. Are you over-committed now?

Here are a few options for over-commitment

→ add a time limit to your commitment      → gather a team to finish faster     → change the duty to suit your yeses (different time/day, etc)      → delegate a replacement person    → pay for it to be done by someone else     → Say, “This is more than I thought I was signing up for”     → Say, “This is interfering with other obligations (or health)”     → bite the bullet, take responsibility for over-promising, and walk away     →count your financial and time investment as loss and move on

Today’s Helpful Word  

Acts 6:2,3 – delegating

In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, [some Jews who were active in Greek culture] among them complained against the [traditional] Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them.

 

***** 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.

When Anxiety Greets You in the Morning

woman holding her jacket
Photo by Leandro Vendramini on Pexels.com

Have you noticed that anxiety sometimes works its way up slowly, barely detectable until you notice life isn’t functioning so well?  Then other times it comes in like a pack of wild dogs, snarling and eager to take you down.

Recently, It’s been hitting me in the mornings- before I even open my eyes. I’m thinking this cannot be worry because I was asleep! 

A therapist said once that if we will take the time to look closely we will see there is indeed a starting point to our current mood.  

Since mid-February I’ve been preparing to speak four times at a women’s retreat the first weekend in May. They want me to tell my story.  Generally, my preparation style is to write out many details and various ideas on the topic.  Editing makes the final product sensible and uplifting.  

For the last 6 weeks I have been going over and over the long-ago past, not to share a sob story, but to bring out the hope, healing, and joy of it.  The audience will not hear half of what I’ve written as the speeches  are trimmed and shaped.  

It’s a process that this time, has been taking me down a dark and ugly memory lane. At first I was frustrated, hating this ancient review of situations long forgiven and overcome. Once the gathering of ideas was complete,  I thought it would start to be more fun, adding the positive and inspirational parts. It is surprising how much unwanted feelings are stirring.

It’s not that I am depressed, hurt all over again, or even struggling with the memories themselves.  It is the anxiety of having to write it down, and pick and choose what is important to the point. This forces me to read old tales again and again.

Not. Liking. This.

It explains though, doesn’t it, why I wake up in  the morning feeling anxious?  Add normal anxiety about public speaking, an approaching deadline, and well, discomfort makes sense. 

I’ve tried anti-anxiety medications. They happen to not have much of an effect on me, although I have witnessed other people thrive with this medical help.  The calm I find (and might I add joy) when anxiety seems to have a mind of its own, is to sit down, open the Bible, read for awhile and pray for awhile. 

This result is because God’s Word is powerful and touches the deepest regions of a willing heart. 

Oh, how simple solutions are occasionally! If you are like me, anxiety in the moment seems as if that is all there is and ever will be. Then anxiety about having anxiety kicks in. Solutions do not appear simple at all. 

I have two more weeks of writing and editing, then reviewing. I know that I know these talks are going to encourage many women with hope and peace of mind. The work is definitely worth it!

Meanwhile, I refuse worst-case scenarios, and focus on Jesus who has always had my back  when I feel weak.  Part of my story is the day I discovered God is not a tyrant, but tenderly cares about me, his cherished daughter. 

Today’s Helpful Word  

John 14:27 

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.   -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 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 Does “I Don’t Have a Religion, I Have a Personal Relationship with Jesus,” Mean? (and what does it have to do with mental health?) Part 2 of 2

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

person standing on slope glacier mountain
Photo by Simon Migaj on Pexels.com

To have a relationship with Jesus is to have a relationship with God. For that connection to be so personal and close, is indeed amazing. In part 1 of this post, I explained God’s side of this two-way agreement.  Today, let us discover how to react to his unending love.

Our positive and meaningful response to God

One quote from Jesus that has received a lot of press, is “Love your neighbor.” Most people seem to have heard it whether they know where it came from or not. Many probably are not aware it is only part of a powerful statement.

A man asked Jesus which one of all God’s rules and regulations was the most important. Jesus’ surprising answer was this: 

”Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength”  (Mark 12:30).

As I see it and believe other scriptures support, heart is equated with emotions, soul with faithfulness, mind with knowledge and understanding, and strength with will. We can feel sincere love for him, put him above all else, study the Bible to know him, and choose to obey his words. 

“The second is this,” Jesus continued. “‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:31).

Well, that narrows it down, doesn’t it? Our side of the relationship with God is to love him and love others. How does that look in the day-to-day?

We do what God says: 1 John 5:3 “In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome…”

We believe and love: 1 John 3:2And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.”

We practice love: 1 John 3: 16-18 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

We study the Bible as a whole: Psalm 1:1,2   “Blessed is the one… whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.”

We study the Bible to grow our faith: Romans 10:17  “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”

We pray: Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

We do not hold back in prayer: Ephesians 6:18  “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

Mental health needs to love and be loved. Love is an action, and a choice we make each day, that can overpower thoughts to the contrary. Love is not apathy. Love is what God wants. Love is who he is.

Today’s Helpful Word  

1 John 4:13-16

  “This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.  And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.  And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

 God is love…” 

 

***** 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. Hope and help are yours.

 

 

What Does “I Don’t Have a Religion, I Have a Personal Relationship with Jesus,” Mean? (and what does it have to do with mental health?) Part 1 of 2

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

25305931 helping hands

It probably sounds strange to think a person can have a personal relationship with deity. Yet that is where faith begins.

Positive and meaningful relationships are two-way. The best ones also meet the needs of each person. With God, there is no failure on his part to provide validation, acceptance, and endless love.

Our connection to God is through Jesus, as he is quoted in the Bible in the book of John (14:6).  “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” It is God’s only begotten Son’s sinless life, sacrificial death, and resurrection that makes relationship with him, and eternal life possible.  

Rather than arrogant, his is an invitation to the amazing life-giving presence of God. 

God’s positive and meaningful connection with us

God knows every second of our existence, every thought, every deed, what we have done and felt, and what others have done to us. He knows us and shares in our joy and sorrow. This is validation that who we are and what we experience matters.

God knows us: Psalm 139:1-5  “You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 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.”

God shares in human sorrow: Exodus 3:7  “The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.”

God loves us enough to take action. Yes, he accepts us as we are, but loves us too much to leave us there. God proved he values us when he moved beyond “so loved the world” to “gave his only begotten son.” As another example, we also read that compassion moved Jesus many times to heal the sick and feed crowds.

God’s love acts: John 3:16  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

God supports us in trouble: Psalm 94:18-19  “When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”

God’s love and acceptance of us as individuals is proven in that he knew how we would cause him pain, and made us anyway. He is always calling and revealing himself.

God welcomes us: Psalm 139:16 “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

God forgives when we ask:  Psalm 130:3-4   “If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.”

Mental health is more accessible when we have validation, acceptance, and active love from another person. My relationship with Jesus gives me all of that and more in spades.

If you want more information on where I stand, see my statement of faith page. The next blog will describe how we respond in this relationship. What does God get out of it?

Today’s Helpful Word  

John 14:23 

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.

 

***** 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.

 

Merry Christmas to the World

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

merry christmas sign
Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

If you could wish anything for the world, what would it be?

This question floated around a gathering last Friday. Answers included justice, food, infrastructure, non-corrupt governments, and acceptance of those who are different from any one person or group.

What are you personally doing to make your wish come true?

As we discussed this, one person said, “I am more quick to speak up when I hear people saying racist or sexist things.” Another said, “Writing letters to Congress and the President and other leaders.”

The favorite answer I heard was, “serving people.” This person said it is easy to write a check, but helping others with needs or time are some of the most valuable gifts we can offer. A listening ear, visits, phone calls, texts, rides, running errands –  each of these we can do through nonprofit volunteerism or one on one.

2000 years ago, Jesus set the example. Giving up equality with God in heaven, he took on the likeness of a human baby.  We refer to his birth as a miracle because his mother, Mary, was a virgin. God, not his earthly adoptive dad Joseph, was his Father.  

shallow focus photography of religious figurines
Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com

Did you know Jesus was around from the beginning of this earth? In fact, John chapter 1 tells us that he created everything. Try to comprehend what it must have been like for the Creator to be made subject to his creation’s care. Yet he did this on purpose for you and me and everyone else. Jesus said he did not come to be served, but to serve. 

He healed the lame and made blind men see. A woman touched the hem of his garment and became well. Jesus raised young and old to life, made lepers whole again, and forced demons to leave those they possessed.

Everywhere he went, he encouraged people to have faith in him as the anointed one God had promised to send. Jesus forgave sins, warned against further sin, and announced he is the way, the truth, and the life. Unabashedly, he said no one comes to the Father except by Jesus, himself. 

man holding sheep statuette
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He called out and shamed religious hypocrites. As a result, a jealous few plotted to take his life. In the end they were foiled, for Jesus offered himself to them freely. Then he rose to life again and returned to heaven.

This is why he came – to die as a final sacrifice for our sins.  All we have to do is believe and repent, and we will also live in heaven forever. 

Talk about a life of service! Jesus changed the world and eternity in thirty-three short years. Without a doubt, I wish the whole world knew him as the Savior. 

sky sunset person silhouette
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He is not a baby in a manger anymore. He is also finished with the cross.  He is mighty and radiant, a warrior who has won over death and will win over evil!  King of kings, and Lords of lords, he is the answer to all the world’s deepest needs. 

Merry Christmas indeed.

Today’s Helpful Word

Luke 2:8-14

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.   And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.   And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

 

***** 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.

 

9 Ways to Place Yourself in Mental Health “Intensive Care”

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

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A time of reprieve and emotional healing follows difficult struggles with depression.  It is as if God is saying, “Come now child. I know you were just beat up. Let’s sit awhile, I will bandage you, and we can talk. Only rest and know you are safe.”

Ah, the tender heart of the Almighty.

I have learned that when I feel most like giving up – whether it be hopelessness, money concerns, schooling, or  burn out in some other area, the answer comes right after a sense of defeat. 

Repeated experience has taught me to respond differently. When my mind screams. “I can’t,” now I add,”You (God) can.”  When life is too much to bear, I recall that I have survived the worst.  When emotions are too much to handle, relief and healing begin in the embrace of the Heavenly Father.

You have probably heard that it is okay to not be okay. That is true! At difficult times, we may need to put ourselves into mental or emotional health intensive care.

For me, this means stopping everything and focusing on repairing my thought processes.  From simply praying in my home, to therapy and even psychiatric hospitalization, taking care of myself is the primary means of restoration. 

9 ways to practice intensive care

  1. Take a break for awhile. If you feel as if everything is closing in around you, step back and rest.
  2. Call on God for wisdom.
  3. Seek professional diagnosis if these struggles interfere with daily functioning, especially if it has been going on for a few weeks.
  4. Struggles that seem insurmountable can ease up by reaching out for support and hearing a new perspective.
  5. Eat right
  6. Sleep right
  7. Breathe.
  8. Putting yourself in mental or emotional intensive care is more than taking a mental health day. You may need several.
  9. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, for safety and health go to the actual Emergency Room. 

Trust that sometimes hope hides behind pain. It does not disappear. To find it again, consider paying vital attention to your well-being. Place yourself in mental health intensive care.

Today’s Helpful Word

Zephaniah 3:17 

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

***** 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.

 

Struggle is Normal. Overcoming is Normal Too

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

woman with yellow backpack standing on hanging bridge with trees
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It is normal to struggle. 

It is normal to struggle. 

Say that to yourself, and then say it to others.  Not everyone knows this truth. 

Recognize Normalcy

I’ve spoken well of previous therapists who helped to move me from suicidal despair to a life of hope and joy.  I was encouraged to change unhealthy thinking patterns and habits.

Due to my temperament and life experiences, much of what I felt in this process was a sense of failure at life. Had I known how normal my struggles were, how they are so common they have names in the psychology books, I would have felt less shame. 

Since that time, my research relating to advocacy has uncovered the truth. It is extremely beneficial to learn that much of how I’d been responding to life’s challenges was normal, even predictable, under the circumstances I’d been given.

Explore your possibilities 

If you equate struggle with shame, let it go. Humans have more in common than many of us realize.

Stress will produce anxiety. Ask, “What is known to help the myriad of people who overcome anxiety?” 

Depression is caused by many factors. It is appropriate to find out, “What works for the millions who recover every year?” 

Being an abuse survivor has some predictable outcomes. Your best question is, “What have others done to overcome horrible lies and victimization and to live to the fullest degree of joy?”  

Within our struggles, God offers good gifts:

  • The help of others
  • Opportunity to rely on Him 
  • Chances to refocus on new purposes

You see, overcoming is normal too. It happens all the time.

Stick to living, taking one day at a time. Allow yourself the privilege of humanness. Take advantage of God’s gifts. You will join the throng of people who make it through.  

 

Today’s Helpful Word

Hebrews 13: 5b-6

For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” So we can say with  confidence, “The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”

***** 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.

*  crossing the bridge- Photo by Josh Willink on Pexels.com