Tag Archives: hope

A Toast to 2019

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

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Here’s to starting over!

Placing one searching foot in front of the other, may we find stability on Truth’s solid ground. Daring to ask and learn beyond familiar knowledge is a rare and precious trait.

May our flailing hearts steel themselves with eternal hope. Advancing against negative odds and uncertainty requires courage from the Highest Power. 

Let our words burst forth in constructive thought. Wisdom deplores hate and vain arguing. It speaks peace,  love, and possibility.   

May this next year be better than the last!

Happy New Year! 

New Year toasts have been a CompassionateLove Blog tradition for nine years. 

 2011    2012    2013    2014    2015   2016   2017    2018 

A Helpful Word for 2019:

Last Night’s Dream Had Me Looking for Hope Where It Already Exists

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

In my dream last night, I was walking on a broad boardwalk, surrounded by a busy crowd, everyone trying to go somewhere. Beside us was a hill topped with a white four floor apartment building.

I looked up. There were two friends peering out one of the floor-to-ceiling windows on the top floor.  They waved for me to come.  In another window on the same floor stood a mutual friend. He was staring out at the ocean and boardwalk view.  All four of us were meant  to meet at his place.

The dream whisked me to the right floor where I began looking for my friends.  Entering a small living space void of people, I spied suit coats hanging in the closet. A shirt looked like one I used to own. What is my stuff doing in here? I thought , touching the shirt,  tempted to take it back. Instead, looking about, wall decorations and well placed furniture made it clear that people did indeed live there.  I left.

A panicky feeling was rising. At first it only had been nervousness, but now I felt lost.  I tried to calm myself. Just keep looking. They are here somewhere. 

At the end of the hall where it was unlikely my friends could be, was a paneled wall instead of a window. It felt like the interior of a 1970s business office. The hall narrowed to a dead-end.  Turning back, I ventured into the last open door only briefly, recognizing no one was there.  This apartment had the enormous window and view, yet one small room. It did not seem to be a place people would gather.

The last of my dream is vague in memory.  The words “Romans 24,26” passed through my thoughts before I woke.

For some, dreams are messages. Others believe they help us process life’s issues.  If either of these are true in this case, it makes sense the dream was about searching. 

I’ve been searching for much lately.  Last night was my first at home following three days in the hospital (which is why this post is a day late). Doctors seem unable to find the exact cause and precise means of correcting a chronic issue. How to go forward with Always The Fight Ministries is heavy on my mind. I’ve applied for a great job and have made the second cut in the hiring process.  In September I backed off a favorite and useless anxiety coping mechanism, and am trying to ground myself in its replacement. 

Should I this, should I that? Which way is best, which way is disastrous? How can I avoid being wrong?  This is old stinkin’ thinkin’.  Worry, anxiety, catastrophizing… I thought it was all rooted out and overcome. Obviously not. 

This morning I did another search. Romans 24 -26 do not exist as chapters. Those particular verses in Romans 8 read, “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.  In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

Hope in this context refers to redemption of our bodies – freedom from mortality and  all suffering. We hope for what we do not yet have.  This is not the type of hope that crosses its fingers and tries to think positive thoughts.  This hope is certain, bound in the knowledge that the One True God has planned complete wholeness of body, mind, and spirit for those who believe on his Son Jesus. 

The “Spirit” in these verses is the Holy Spirit, the very Spirit that is God’s. When we are searching and do not know what to pray or decide, the Spirit prays for us.  Our suffering is never meaningless or wrapped in defeat. He will guide the steps of the righteous. 

I don’t know about you, but I needed this Bible study today. Whatever one may believe about dreams, mine led me to this promise: my hope is on solid ground, and I am not alone in the fight.  

 Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 91:1,2
 Whoever 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.

-room pic by ZELA on rgbstock.com; girl pic by JAZZA on rgbstock.com

 

 

 

A Visit to Rehab: The Greatest of These is Love

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

This past Sunday, I drove to Chicago.  The director of alumni events at a rehabilitation center had invited me to speak with residents on Monday. 

Morning came early. While much of the U.S.A. was arising and heading to work or school, these women  continued the fight  to gain recovery from addiction, eating disorders, mental health challenges, or all three. Excited and a little nervous, I left the hotel to join them.

Women in the rehab program advance in liberties as they progress. This time, my audience consisted of women in the process of learning to make healthier choices without constant supervision.  They are well on their way to going home, clean and sober. In fact, a few of them  graduated that day!

Most people in recovery have been told numerous times they are worthless, many since childhood. As part of my story,  I shared the reality of God’s love and message. I added, “I am a Christian, born-again, a follower of Jesus. But those are only words. Hopefully, my life reflects who he is.” Everyone nodded. 

America today hears much rhetoric about Christians, evangelicals in particular, and the mix of religion with politics as if faith in Jesus and a certain political party are one and the same.  It is difficult for those who do not know, to grasp who Jesus actually is. 

In some ways, the standard for Christians is raised. Show me you mean it. Show me you do not hate or despise me. Match your choices to your words. Prove your faith by your love. In extending love and compassion, and sincere non-critical acceptance to people in all stages of their journey, we represent God as the Bible reveals him.*

Mental health treatment in this country is greatly lacking. It is not available everywhere,  and is expensive for most.  Parity in the insurance realm is inconsistent. There are few standards by which to measure how long a patient should stay in a hospital.

In my opinion, stigma and lack of knowledge are the primary reasons we do not take care of mentally ill and emotionally unstable people. There is judgment – “I do not believe in mental health disability, I just don’t.”  “Depression is not an illness,  with enough faith (or strength) anyone can snap out of it.” “You are adopting the principles of the world if you give psychology any merit.” 

All these have been said to me, about me, plus many more accusations of failure. If I could describe  the beauty of joy and hope in the faces of the women I met on Monday,  perhaps more could see the value of mental (some call it behavioral) healthcare.  Maybe  God could get some credit for knowing what he is doing in each person’s life! 

Meanwhile, it is tremendous joy being vulnerable and open with people in the middle of the struggle. They, as do we all, respond to love.

Today’s Helpful Word

Mark 10:46-52

Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging.  When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

***** 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.

-woman pic by LUSI on rgbstock.com; Jesus pic from freebibleimages.org

*This does not imply avoidance of the topic of sin. As seen in my work s a whole, my emphasis is how we approach people. Are we interested in gaining insight into another person’s struggle? Jesus showed sincere non-critical acceptance to hurting people, and in the context of meeting their needs, taught them to know him.   

The Past is Not Yours to Keep

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

Let it go. We’ve all heard the phrase. Did you know your past paves every corridor of your being? How is one to let the past go when it is reflected in who you are today?

Sitting in the therapist’s office, I said sincerely, “It is not mine to keep.” Unfortunately, it was not the past or negativity of which I spoke. It was the comfort of a good day, a nice moment I was certain did not belong to me. 

Sure, I was deep in depression. No doubt that partly explains the attitude. Yet how is one to overcome depression while clinging to a prevailing mindset of defeat? Major depression had its roots, but was I feeding it? 

In my mind, I was disqualified for anything good. What sorrow in that statement!  Thankfully, and with great joy, I can say that is no longer my experience! I’ve learned to let the past go.

You are not trapped

The past carries pain for many of us. Divorce, perceived business failure, abuse, loss… you can easily write your mental list. That is part of a defeatist issue – how simple it is to fill out such a list of negative experiences. 

Doing so can lock you in to a sense of victimization. You may have been a victim at one time. The hands or decisions of others may have caused you great harm.  Those events matter; they do not own you. You can escape the cycle of defeat and disqualification. Victimization does not have to continue.

How to let the past go

  1. If you are currently abused, end the abuse.  I can only suggest you reach out for help from someone or an organization that knows what to do.  You will find numerous phone numbers and websites listed on my The Truth About Abuse resource page. Click here.
  2. Challenge your negative self-talk. Question the messages that fill you with self-doubt and fear. Take notice of evidence that contradicts the old “I’m hopeless” repertoire circling in your racing thoughts. Consider this. You have read over half of a blog about moving beyond the past. That means you have a glimmer of hope for change. If that much hope can exist, so can more!
  3. Start writing down every one of your successes no matter how small. Perhaps you tend to dwell on shame for things you have said. Instead, record the times you have not spoken hurtful words. Count the smallest of moments. How about your encounter with a waiter last week? You were polite. There was no fight. If it is possible once, why not many more? 
  4. Look inside yourself, perhaps with the help of a therapist, and see if false beliefs are guiding your decisions. Complexities may take some time. However, it is very much worth your investment. 
  5. Allow God to work in your heart. He is the difference-maker!  When you realize he embraces and forgives you, your ability to forgive yourself and others grows strong. Become rooted in the knowledge of God through his Word, the Bible. You will begin to fully grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 3: 16-19) 

Once your ideas about who you are and how you interact with the world begin to take a positive turn, you will find it easier to let go of the past. 

After all, you do not own it.  It is gone. It is not yours to keep.

Today’s Helpful Word

2 Corinthians 5:17, 18a 

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!  And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ.”

***** 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.

*Trees by XYMONAU of rgbstock.com

 

 

For One of the Least of These: Offering Living Water to Those Who Thirst

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

A few days ago, my doctor’s instructions were to avoid food and water for twelve hours before a procedure. The food was no problem, but please. Water!

Matthew, who wrote the BIble book by the same name, tells us about the time Jesus ate no food for forty days. “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.“*

Jesus, being God, had the power to make stones into bread and sand into water. He chose not to do so because he “was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.” The “Spirit” here, is God’s Spirit. Jesus was intent on doing God’s will. His goal was to finish the task for which he came to earth in the first place. 

As the Creator of everything delicious, and having come from heaven of all places, it is doubtful Jesus came here for a yummy snack! No, he intended to die for our sins and resurrect to give eternal life to anyone who will believe. He had a serious mission. 

Let’s carry this into the realm of emotional and relational thirst. When Jesus taught to give a drink to thirsty people, he meant real water.  In other scriptures we see he offers ‘living water’ to those who are spiritually thirsty. 

People are thirsty for truth, for hope, or for someone to tell them they matter.  Believe it or not, offering a cup of real water is one way to tell a person he or she has value to you.  Kind acts carry a lot of weight. On a deeper level, taking the time to gain insight into a desperate person’s  experiences and thoughts, grants us an opportunity to offer life. 

I have written and spoken on the benefits of therapy, medications, and self-care. These matter in a big way to huge numbers of people. At one point, I too was dying of emotional thirst because I did not know how, or believe I would ever, find the sustenance (love) I needed. Therapy pointed the way, and taught me how to take in what had been there all along. 

Let me be clear. I am grateful for that experience and encourage others to find wise counsel. It is important to note however, my therapists did not ever point me away from the real difference-maker, Jesus Christ. The opposite is true, as they reminded me repeatedly who I am in God’s eyes. 

Helping someone who feels emotional, relational, or spiritual emptiness, is more effective when we seek God for the answers. Sometimes he leads us to the right people who will show us how to offer support.  Sometimes he guides us when we read the Bible. Always, he makes our paths straight when we surrender our will to his, and completely rely on his unfailing love.

Embrace someone who hurts. Show compassion for the confused, and those lashing out in pain. This is like water in desert ground to them. Allow God to begin the deep work of  change, hope, and joy in you by surrendering to Jesus.

Then pass on the living water to all who thirst.                                

Today’s Helpful Word

For [Jesus]  at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”                                                                                                                                       

 

***** 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.

*Matthew 4:1,2

**Water pic by ROBBY_M; glass of water by LITTLEMAN, both of rgbstock.comrgb

If You Are Suicidal, Read This Now

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.

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

Suicidal thoughts lie.

Where’s the lie?

Chances are, if you are suicidal, you already feel that your heart has died. I’m talking about that vibrancy of soul you used to know and now wonder if it was all a joke.  Laughter sinks in your belly like a stone.  Numbness barely allows for breathing. You wonder every minute why you try.

Those emotions are real, and make sense considering what you’ve experienced.

You may believe there is no love for you, either because you question your value or are convinced people are always untrue. Maybe both.  Hurt or betrayal sting like a slow burn.  Perhaps you feel angry and deserving of the pain simultaneously.

Your suffering is real, and deserves attention. There is no need to deny your wounds. You are not alone. 

So, if the lie is not in how you feel, where is it?

The lie is in your beliefs

The lie is this: nothing can ever change; I am trapped; my future is only terrifying, only lonely, or guaranteed to overflow with losses. In other words,  you believe you are helpless and your situation, hopeless. 

I know your heart has died.  I’m saying you do not need a grave – you need resurrection.

Frankly, where you are is deep. The climb out takes time and effort. It is not impossible,  it is difficult.  Dead hearts do come alive!

You may be thinking, “Why do I care if my heart beats? My life doesn’t matter anymore, if it ever did.”

That’s what dead hearts tell us to believe. Yours won’t tell you how deeply you are loved, wanted, and needed. That’s depression’s deception. That’s part of the lie. 

The truth

You were made by God on purpose.  He has a hope and a future planned for you, and is an expert at resurrections! Your value has not reduced because of the dirt in your life. In the hands of the One who loves you, you are a priceless diamond.

Haven’t you always wanted someone to love you unendingly, someone who knows you so intimately that you hold no secrets,  someone who is with you, guides you, and listens with both ears? That is who he is. He is God the Father. 

When I was overwhelmed and wanted to die, he gave one dose of strength at a time. It can take a while to resurrect. Yet he calls to dead hearts, “Come alive!”

Here’s a simple prayer you can repeat: Holy God, help me. I do not know what you can do with this mess, but I’ll step back from suicide. I have nothing to give you; I’ve barely the energy for tears. I am trusting you sent your Son Jesus for me, so help me understand. Please make me whole. 

Today’s Helpful Word

From Psalm 23 

“The Lord… restores my soul”

 

***** 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.

*pic of cross and heart by NURBO; dead heart by KIMOLOS, both of rgbstock.com

Are Ego-centrism and Selfishness the True Causes of Depression and Suicide Attempts?

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

Depression prevents one from being himself or herself.

Optimistic, giving, loving people will turn inward and may on the surface seem selfish. Truth is, from what I have seen, the true nature of a person is not changed when they struggle with even severe depression.

This explains in part why some suicides are shockingly surprising. A funny person’s humor, or a caring person’s compassion may continue, albeit with less fervor and energy, despite growing despair. At my worst point, a fellow member of a therapy group said it seemed as if I could laugh easily.  I am naturally energized by people. In the moment, perhaps that showed. What she could not see was the cavern of emptiness on the inside.

It is a symptom

The point of this is that a generally less self-absorbed person in emotional distress may become ego-centric.  A typically ego-centric person may express exaggerated selfishness.  That is depression at work. 

Thinking excessively about oneself, seeming to ignore everyone else, interpreting what others say in negative ways, or demanding attention are a few of the ways people in depression may act.  It is ego-centrism, no doubt. It is also a symptom of the condition.

Suicide attempts

Suicide attempts are definitely a cry for help... unless they are not!  That is why it is important to take each one seriously. Many sufferers actually try to die, and survive for myriad reasons. 

The accusation that such a person was “only looking for attention” is one of the most – forgive me – ignorant responses. Obviously, one who attempts suicide needs attention, and lots of it!  Thank God if even multiple attempts are cries for help.  Perhaps the only way this person knows how to make anyone listen is by creating distress.  One who never receives that attention may go on to suffer longer and more deeply.  Or die. 

Respond with patience

Frankly, recovering from depression requires hard work. While it is ultimately not healthy to remain self-absorbed, ego-centrism may hang around for an extended time. Taking one tiny step, then two, then three may take all the self-focus and energy one can muster.

And that’s ok. Pushing too hard can make hopelessness worse.

Today’s Helpful Word

Romans 15:5

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.

***** 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.

*pics by  COBRASOFT of rgbstock.com

 

This Hope I Share:  It Is Real

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

When I speak of hope, my intention is to reach those who have trouble believing in it.  Lately, absence of old thinking patterns draws me to gratitude.  The daily barrage of self-doubt and nearly constant guilt are gone. I’m 57 years old! To think this freedom escaped me until recent years  could be sad.  However, I spend zero time in the past.  How precious is the gift of joy now!

A dream

“Who, me?” Turning to see whom Jesus was inviting to come closer, I realized he was beckoning to me. Surrounded by a mass of people spreading over green hills and mountains, he sat on table rock, holding children on his lap.

In reality, I was twenty-four years old. In this dream I was five. It was nearly impossible to comprehend he would choose me out of this crowd. Hesitantly I walked toward him, uncertain he would not change his mind.

His eyes were welcoming, piercing straight into my hurting heart. Crawling up on his lap, suddenly I was able to understand that he was holding every individual assembled there simultaneously, loving each equally with all his being.

What a peaceful wonder on which to focus.

God’s love in action

Once,  I tried to describe to a pastor the daily dread and hopelessness I felt. “I feel like I  am  standing  in  the  middle  of the road, a semi-truck barreling down on me, and my only escape is to jump aside. Lining  the  side  of  the road  are  snarling  dogs,  hungrily  watching my every move. God is above, waiting to see what choice I will make.”

“Nancy, where you are wrong is that God has jumped in front of that truck with you and is going to carry you to safety,” he said.

Considering my suicide attempt six years later, it may appear that God forgot to rescue me from the truck. However,  sometimes it is in the deepest pits we learn our most meaningful lessons.

Today I know joy. Today I know peace.  The love of Jesus’ embrace gives me rest.    

This hope is what I want to share with those who struggle to believe it exists.  It is real.

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 33:20-22

We wait in hope for the Lordhe is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lordeven as we put our hope in 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 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.

*blue sky by TACLUDA ;  yellow sky by mzacha on rgbstock.com

Free Indeed

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness, addiction, or abuse   (c) 2018  Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Freedom is the resounding word in the U.S.A. this week.  Freedom means choice.  Without choices, no one is free.

Of course, our American government makes laws with which some of us disagree.  Citizens cannot make choices outside the law.  Murderous attacks like the one at a newspaper company a few days ago happen when people ignore the law.  That is anarchy.  Anarchy leaves no one free.

Freedom 

Freedom is not absence of absolutes. It is the ability to choose what, and whom to believe.

I started working for a locally headquartered non-profit earlier this year. This corporation’s mission is to teach Christian principles of faith to the public-at-large.  Within the laws of freedom in this country is the right to free speech.  The Wisdom of God Corp. wants to talk about our concept of God. 

The first billboard goes up for one month beginning tomorrow.  The website offers compelling and gentle answers to heavy questions such as, “Who is God?” and “Are questions of morality answerable without existence of a spiritual world?” 

As for idealism, the billboard says someone is offering true freedom.  Who is doing the promising?  What does “Free Indeed” mean?

Jesus said it

Too often, Jesus is misquoted, misrepresented, and shoved into a cloud of mystery.  His message was quite simple and clear.

He said he is God’s Son:  John 10:36  “Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?…” 

John 10:24,25  “‘How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.’  Jesus answered,  ‘I did tell you, but you do not believe.'”

We are free to choose between believing Jesus or those who argue he was merely a man.

He said he is the way to God:  John 14: 6,7 “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well.'”

We are free to repent and enjoy  the relationship we can have with God because of the  death and resurrection of His Son.

He promised peace in a divisive world:  John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

We are free to trust in the unfailing character of a good God,  or to return to temporary “solutions” that fail us repeatedly. 

He promised to come back and take believers with him: John 14:1  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me… I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. “

We are free to choose where to place our hope – in the here and now, in fallible people, or in the promises of eternal life with Jesus. 

Freedom means choices.  Free Indeed is the guarantee that comes with choosing  Christ Jesus, the Savior and redeemer of our souls.  

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness, abuse, and addiction. 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, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help are yours.

Bourdain, Spade, and a soaring suicide rate: We are patching a massive rip with fraying string

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2018  Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade, and a soaring suicide rate. We are patching a massive rip with fraying string.

Patching

We have observed the increase in public discussion about suicide over the last five years. There is minimal, yet growing understanding and acceptance of depression and anxiety as deserving of treatment and not ridicule. The conversation has begun, and that in itself is good.

CNN today suggested medications and therapy as routes to self-protection from suicidal thoughts. This too is helpful because professional treatment saves lives and helps to improve old thought patterns.

Still, there is something missing, isn’t there? What about that fraying string? Depression recurs and now what? The standard answer is to change meds and increase therapy. This is great when the person in pain is able to try. And THAT is the question.

External aids do not bring about the permanent hope we need to try and try again. The greatest indicator of potential death by suicide is a previous suicide attempt. Why? We start losing the fight, that’s why. Patches help but do not provide the soul-deep sense of peace we need.

Faith

Faith is demeaned by loud voices, yet they have no answer to despair other than “perk up and hold on!” Where is one supposed to find purpose in holding on when every part of his or her being is aching to die? When depression has boggled the mind for the second or tenth time, and hope is ripped from its bearings, what promise exists in “try, try again’?

Faith that God is in charge and decides matters of life and death, faith that he knows what is best, faith that he is good and his love never fails despite the harshest emotional exhaustion – this is the thread that mends, not patches, horrific wounds.

In reality, I would not be here without faith in the above. Despite weighty darkness that can overtake my thoughts, there is always the light of hope found in surrender to God’s plan. Quite simply, I know it is not up to me to choose. God has me breathing. God is good. My hope lies there.

For all the Anthony Bourdains, Kate Spades, and businessmen and women, teenagers, moms and dad, and everyone else whose fight is too long and weary, think on this testimony found in the Bible. It is my story as well, and can be yours:

“Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” (Psalm 94:17-19) .

Please stay alive.

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness, abuse, and addiction. 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, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help are yours.