Tag Archives: peace

“But, God…” Find Contentment in Gratitude

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

oS9w2PUIn an episode* of the 1980s TV show St. Elsewhere, a would-be comedian, a character named Murray, told the following joke.  

A giant wave sweeps a boy out to sea. His frantic grandmother runs up and down the beach crying and pleading. “God, please don’t take Joey.  If you will return him, I’ll be grateful for the rest of my life!” 

Just then, miracle of miracles, another giant wave washes the boy right up to the grandmother’s feet. She hugs and kisses him. Then she looks to heaven and says, “You know, he was wearing a hat!”

Isn’t that the way it is with grumblers? Never satisfied. Today in the United States we celebrate a federal holiday for giving thanks. Many of us here have much for which to be thankful. Still, pay attention to the news or social media for five minutes and you might think complaining is our national sport.

Grumblers have a one-word slogan, “but”. The word negates anything good that follows it. For example, “It’s a nice autumn, but winter’s coming.” “God helped me with this month’s bills, but there is next month to worry about.”  

An attitude of gratitude toward God is not only saying thank you, it is also trusting him to stay the same yesterday, today, and forever. Otherwise, thanks can turn into grumbling. Like the grandmother at the beach, we might say, “Yeah, thanks, but what have you done for me lately?”

People who live in gratitude to God are content and peaceful because they understand who meets their needs. The Bible verse James 1:17 feeds their faith. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Knowing this offers certainty that what he has given and will give is enough. 

Billy Graham, the late evangelist and “America’s Pastor” said, “Nothing will do more to restore contentment and the joy of our salvation than a true spirit of thankfulness.” **

Today and beyond, we have freedom to choose gratitude over grumbling. Let today be happier, and Thanksgiving a lifetime habit. 

qVDDLsmToday’s Helpful Word

1 Chronicles 29:13-14

Now our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name…”

***** 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.

 

Happy Thanksgiving pic by XYMONAU; Thank you by COLINBROUGH: both  on rgbstock.com

*Season 5 Episode 10

**Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Thanksgiving Day – Billy Graham: How to Be Thankful in All Things. 2013. Retrieved from https://www.crossmap.com/blogs/thanksgiving-day-billy-graham-how-to-be-thankful-in-all-things.html

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

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.

 

“Ah, Nevermind…ful”

Compassionate Love:Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness  (c)2014 Nancy Virden  

Confession time. I have a flaw only my family plus the few people who have allowed me to drive them somewhere know about.

I get lost.

Easily.

Ask Asanka, my passenger to church each week. Asanka has stories about the varying number of miles it takes us to get from Point A to Point B.

Ask my aunt who rode over a curb with me because I thought I was supposed to turn at that spot. Ask my sons who spent the bulk of their childhoods in downtown Cleveland while their mother drove for hours trying to find a way out! Ok, so that last one is exaggerated. A little.

Still, the English woman in my GPS once told me to navigate off-road, I suspect because she was getting dizzy. I thought satellites were going to start dropping from the sky whimpering, “I give up!”

Until recently I blamed an outside force – distraction. “My mind is busy. That’s all it is.” However lately, the term “mindful” keeps coming up. I didn’t know what it meant when I first heard it.

It is up to each of us to do our best to focus on the task at hand and choose to keep our thoughts present and in the moment. When we do that, we are likely being mindful and feeling better about our situation.

Yesterday didn’t have to happen as it did. In the morning I left early to be on time to a meeting. The car followed my wandering thoughts, instead.  Early afternoon, I lost my Google map printout. Late to meeting number two. Ready to return home in early evening, a twenty-five minute drive morphed into a two-hour lesson in patience. Let’s just say I now know more about this area of the country than I did when I woke up yesterday. 

It’s annoying being lost. Trying to make it into an adventure did not work this time because I have a work deadline. Still, fretting in slow traffic would accomplish nothing but to make me miserable.  Worry might be one of the most common of distractions. I practiced mindfulness by focusing on and singing along with happy music.

What do you think is my response when people  suggest I “just” use my GPS, or read a map? I smile and say thank you. They mean well in the moment. 

Mindfulness. One of the keys to peace, calm, and mental health.

Today’s Helpful Word

Isaiah 26:3

You will keep perfectly peaceful the one whose mind remains focused on you, because he remains in you.

 

 

 **********COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

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

To Survivors of Suicide Loss: Let There Be Peace this Thanksgiving

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Patty was angry. Her sister had ended her life two years earlier, and left Patty in turmoil. Why had she done it? She knew she could have reached out to Patty and their other siblings.  She did not have to die.

Pastor Jones barely mentioned the past, uttering in generalities the story of his friend’s suicide thirty years earlier.  He was a fellow pastor who had called Jones and talked about feeling depressed.  Then he was gone. It did not require a doctorate to diagnose the guilt Pastor Jones carried on his face.  

These are only two of dozens of survivors of suicide loss I have met. They approach me, most often to tell what happened. They are not asking for advice or platitudes. Their tales are rarely welcomed in polite company, and they see in me someone willing to listen without judgment.

In every story there is one running theme: the question why.

Why suicide? Why did I not stop them? Why did they not ask for help? Why did I not listen? Why. Why. Why.

A Different Perspective

Sometimes I fear my story of surviving major depression and attempted suicide will only serve as a morbid reminder of pain for those who have lost someone to suicide. However, that has not proven true. Instead, as far as I have observed, my story helps those left behind with a perspective they may wish they could hear from their deceased loved one. 

For me, suicide seemed the only option after months of struggle with depression. If we wanted, we could blame me: I did not reach out for professional help until late in the process.  We could blame professionals: I was under their care when the suicide attempt occurred. We could blame the support person I reached out to who did not respond well. 

We would be wrong. There is no one directly to blame.* Suicide and suicide attempts result from mixed-up minds and torn-up emotions.

The person on the edge of a suicide attempt is not thinking about all the pain their death will bring to loved ones. Rather, they are thinking everyone will be better off.  They are not necessarily selfish, but unable to see beyond the suffering that is the only reality they comprehend.  They have not generally lost their faith.  Irrationality is due to a mental problem,  not reasonable cognitive choices. 

As supports, we only know what we know. There is no shame in not understanding how to help someone who may have reached out.  We are only human. There is no guilt to carry for being fallible. If we could change the past,  would we? Yes.  It is not too late to make peace with that.   

Anger, grief, confusion… these are natural after the death of a loved one to suicide.  Our loss is legitimate. We hurt. We want to blame someone, to find a reason for the senseless. Often, with nowhere else to look, we blame ourselves.

Allow yourself to feel, and hear this from someone who has been to the end.  The answer to why will never come, at least not in the way you want it to. Your loved one did not even know why. At least 90% of people who die by suicide do so because of impaired judgment and impulsivity. If they left a note, those “reasons” were constructed from confusion. 

Often, the holidays stir up memories of loss. Gratitude might come harder. This Thanksgiving, let yourself rest. Resign blame and be at peace. 

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 28:7

 The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.

*********Comments are always welcome (see tab below) NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental 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 is yours.

*In the case of someone “driving” a person to suicide, extreme circumstances, such as Michelle Carter who urged her boyfriend to kill himself,  would be called murder. This post is written to the vast majority of survivors of suicide loss who cared directly or indirectly for the life of the one who died. 

How GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) Can Lead to Wholeness

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Anxiety Disorders are not what many people without them think they are. They are not nervousness like before an exam. They are not even exaggerated nervousness before an exam. Anxiety Disorders are not a choice to be fearful and overcome by worry.

While I can pray and sense a grounding and safety in that, God has not chosen to remove disordered anxiety from me. What I mean is that it is a battle harder some days to overcome than others.

I think I know why.

God wants me whole. Yep, that’s right, God is allowing an anxiety disorder to make life more challenging because his goal is for me to know total wholeness.

Several months ago, overwhelming disordered anxiety forced me to speak for the first time about a lifelong issue I’d determined to take to my grave. Over years of therapy and despite great talk about the changing of my worldview and new start, I’d held this particular door shut.

It was probably easy for some people to judge me for having anxiety. But God knows what he is doing In his time, and in his way, he is using this to show me there is more to be healed.

Emotions teach us if we will listen.  Ignoring them often hurts us physically as well.

Anxiety mixed with other strong and painful emotions led to a GI bleed that led to hospitalization which led to swelling which led to a hurt ankle which has kept me more or less wheelchair bound for the last 6- 8 weeks. Surgery may be around the corner. Maybe all that could have been avoided if I had listened to anxiety and talked it out years ago. God gave me enough chances, that’s for sure. 

This process has drawn me closer to God and opened my eyes to important truths. Always The Fight Ministries and other aspects of life have changed. My soul and mind enjoy greater rest because I was forced to deal with an anxiety disorder.

Please remember, it is not helpful to tell someone with an anxiety disorder to shake it off, or quit being a worry wart. That is because anxiety disorders are not normal anxiety (hence the name “disorder”). They are complex.

Perhaps the better option is to offer a listening ear. 

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 25:4-5

Show me the right path, O Lord point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.

 

************

Comments are always welcome (see tab below).  NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental 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 can be yours.

  • pics by Kozzi.com

When It Seems the World Might End: Not Your Typical Blog

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

Greetings Friend,

This blog is usually a faith-based mental health and recovery one. Posts are most often about abuse, mental illness, hope, and how to be supportive. Today I am veering away from the usual, because there is so much uncertainty in the world.

Fact is, life is full of struggles. Focusing on all the not-so-great and could-happens is unnerving at best. Fear and anxiety threaten to undo the most stalwart of hearts. The Bible is where God’s promises are in writing.  Despite hurricanes, rumors of war, wildfires, and political upheavals, we want peace, joy, and hope. God offers them.  

There are myriads of false teachers, misquoting and adding to what God said. So why not go to the source and get it right? “For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does.” (Psalm 33:4) 

God’s promises often come with conditions

Psalm 91 (NLT)

Promise: REST in the shadow of the Almighty.

Condition: Those who live in the shelter of the Most High (Jesus is the shelter).

This I declare about the LordHe alone is my refuge, my place of safety;  he is my God, and I trust him… Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday…”

Psalm 32 (NLT)

Promise: JOY, FORGIVENESS, FREEDOM FROM GUILT

Condition: Those wholive in complete honesty. Those who confess sin and pray, those who obey God.

Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment…  Many sorrows come to the wicked,  but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord

So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him!  Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!”

Psalm 33  (NLT)

Promise: WATCHED OVER BY GOD, HOPE

Condition: Those who fear him and rely on his unfailing love

“The best-equipped army cannot save a king, nor is great strength enough to save a warrior. Don’t count on your warhorse to give you victory— for all its strength, it cannot save you.  But the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love…

We put our hope in the LordHe is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice,  for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lordfor our hope is in you alone.”

2 Peter 3  (NIV)

Promise: NEW HEAVEN AND EARTH AFTER THIS ONE IS DESTROYED; WORLD FILLED WITH GOD’S GOODNESS

Condition:  Those who believe on Jesus and are on guard, not carried away by lies and meaningless musings of people who reject God

On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames.  But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness… 

And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him—  speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.”

Why this post

Some might say writing a post like this is bad for business. I know it will not make me popular.  Nonetheless,  “success” is not my priority, and popularity, while nice, is often based on telling people what they want to hear. What matters most is that readers know their eternal options.

I’ve said many times in different ways that Jesus promised we will have trouble. Followers of Jesus are not alone. He said, “I am with you always, even to the end of the world.”*

 

*******COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

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

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Here, Have a Peace, Friend. We Can Share

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

cherry-chocolate-birthday-cakeThere was cake. This morning, a small crowd acknowledged our friend’s birthday. People with cake told those without, “It’s delicious! Here, have a piece!”  We have no trouble sharing cake, even if we are tempted to tuck some away for later.

I had a good, long, frustration-ignited and exhaustion-fueled cry a few weeks ago. Life pushed hard this summer. What is exciting is that I did not go under mental health-wise despite some challenges in that area. There was a time that kind of stability seemed out of reach. Now that I’ve tasted it, I want to share.

Here, have a peace, friend.

Know your risk. Mental health is not, contrary to what some might wish, a guarantee. Mental illness is not, as the stigma goes, “losing one’s marbles.” At least 1 in 5 people in any given year struggle with the dysfunction that often accompanies a triggered, underlying mental illness. Left untreated, these diseases of the brain tend to become worse.

Know how to find help. In a suicidal crisis, call 9.1.1 or go to your emergency room. For medical care, see a psychiatrist, a doctor who specializes in brain function. He or she will prescribe medication. To learn how to manage your disease and for counseling, see a psychologist or other licensed therapist.  To avoid feeling alone in your struggle, join a support group through NAMI* or another organization.

Know there is hope. Millions of people with mental illness are enjoying more normal and satisfactory lives due to receiving treatment. Mood swings, irrational thoughts, phobias, a sense of being out of control, a sense of worthlessness, or despair are, believe it or not, manageable. There is a way out. Seek professional treatment, stop self-medicating, do not beat yourself up for feeling “abnormal”, and pursue the hope that is yours for the taking.

Know God loves you. When we doubt this, I think it is generally because we feel flawed in some way, and incapable of deserving God’s attention. The voice of Truth, Jesus, teaches grace, mercy, and unfailing love as character traits of our heavenly Father. Sin separates us from him, yes, and he made a way around that because he loves us anyway. Knowing God’s love begins with believing Jesus is his one and only Son, that Jesus took punishment in our place, and that by dying and rising from the dead, Jesus became our Savior.

The peace I know despite discomfort, sadness, grief, heartbreak, stress, and depression, is that I have a foundation for mental stability. Understanding my illness and how to manage it are key to healthy functioning. Reaching out for appropriate help keeps me well. Because I have experienced loss of hope and watched it return, I understand hopelessness is temporary. All of this prevents utter despair.

Knowing God loves me changes my worldview, releases me from the past, and frees me from fear for the future. Because his love is constant, I am never alone and cannot question my worth.

This is delicious!

Here, have a peace friend, we can share.

handsToday’s Helpful Word

Psalm 34:8 NIV

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is one who takes refuge in him.”

-King David

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COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME (see tab below)

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

*National Alliance For Mental Illness (NAMI) is a grassroots support and education organization which exists to combat stigma and hopelessness. You can learn more at http://www.NAMI.org

Full Circle: A Week of Miracles Part Two

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

Law and justice concept gavel

A week ago today I was in a courthouse watching my marriage of 35 years come to a final close.

Our separation began in September of 2013 following 2 1/2 years of marriage counseling. In the nearly three years since, my husband filed for divorce, and settlement and support discussions and hearings ensued. Last Thursday ended all that with our signatures on a decree stating the division of assets. Now we wait for the final paperwork.

Today’s blog will state nothing negative about either my husband or the Pennsylvania court system. As in any dispute, there are two sides to the story.  Instead, I want to share with you miracles of provision and peace that culminated last week.

It probably does not need mentioning that this process has been an emotional one. There were times of great fear concerning my future. You see, I have multiple doctors and a therapist stating I have a disability due to Major Depression Recurrent and Anxiety Disorder. In their opinions I cannot hold a regular job. One went so far as to say this is permanent.  A quick look  through my work history testifies to this as well depending on one’s point of view.

I do not want to believe disability prevents me from working a steady job. It is an uncomfortable prognosis. However, I have watched these professionals closely for over five years and not once seen them backtrack or deceive. Their personal as well as professional lives are ones of integrity. Each of them have thirty-plus years of experience. I have to take them seriously.

Most of all perhaps, I know they care about me. None of them would twist the truth for a court hearing because that would hurt me! Almost beside the point is the fact they stand to lose their careers if they throw out willy-nilly professional opinions. My husband’s lawyer is an ex-therapist and knows each of these people personally. He told me he would not dispute the disability factor because he knows they do not lie!

Long before anyone used the term “disability”,  I approached Always the Fight Ministries (begun in 2012, officially named last February) with caution. Over the years there have been times I could barely function. These episodes also prove my need to take it slow. The amount of promoting one needs to invest for entrepreneurial success has suffered because of these limitations. Attempts at seeking regular help have not borne much fruit although all along the way God has provided people on occasion when needed.  Usually I feel overwhelmed and unproductive.

Yet here I am. Despite all the above, speaking and writing is bringing in more earnings. A new radio show begins in August. Nervousness comes and goes because what if I cannot manage all this? What if a crash and major depression result again? What if I am disabled?  That is why moments like last Thursday are so poignant.

Entering the courthouse as a self-representative, I knew Who was my lawyer.¹   With face turned down so as not to appear mocking, low-key smiles broke out periodically at the visual of mere mortals, including myself, trying to negotiate justice. I knew Who gave each of us our mouths to speak.²  Any authority practiced in that room was from Him.³ As such, I had to smile. It was actually fun to watch Him at work, and all the more when I kept silent. (see qualification below)

Finally, I saw the fruitlessness of this particular discussion and asked for 30 seconds to prepare an answer. Bowing my head, I asked my Heavenly Father who has never once let me down, what to say. As I gave my offer, I sensed a shift in attitude in the room. If I am correct about that, it may have been because there was no gouging or attempt at revenge. I asked for what I believe God told me was right. It is not even enough to pay my bills.

Disabled. Not capable of regular work. No stable income. Not enough money to live. Sound bleak?

I know who holds my future! As I see it, God has a plan that is fun to watch unfold. Parts of it are revealed already. Instead of the negative what-ifs, I am asking new questions. Certain God led me to ask for the amount I did, I am equally positive there is a reason. What if I can? What if I have no more crashes that take me out of the game? What if I am no longer disabled? Most importantly, what if I cannot and God accomplishes everything through me anyway?

What is the miracle referred to in today’s title? Peace. Whether things seem to go poorly or splendidly, I KNOW there is a purpose.

I am not afraid.

********

COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME (see tab below)

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

– picture from Kozzi.com

Qualification on noted comment – This is not a theological statement intended as a right or wrong way of defending oneself in court. No offense or judgment is intended toward any readers who have been through the court system, work in the legal field, or advise others to use the court system. This was my experience alone. It was a moment of clarity for me personally as I learned once again to let go and let God. I had already stated my case. It is important for justice to take place that people have a voice.

¹ From  Jeremiah 51: 36. “…I [God] will be your lawyer…”

² From Exodus 4:11. “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak…? Is it not I, the LORD?”

³ From Romans 13:1  “…all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.”

 

 

“Ah, Nevermind…ful”

Compassionate Love:Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness  (c)2014 Nancy Virden  

Confession time. I have a flaw only my family plus the few people who have allowed me to drive them somewhere know about.

I get lost.

Easily.

Ask Asanka, my passenger to church each week. Asanka has stories about the varying number of miles it takes us to get from Point A to Point B.

Ask my aunt who rode over a curb with me because I thought I was supposed to turn at that spot. Ask my sons who spent the bulk of their childhoods in downtown Cleveland while their mother drove for hours trying to find a way out! Ok, so that last one is exaggerated. A little.

Still, the English woman in my GPS once told me to navigate off-road, I suspect because she was getting dizzy. I thought satellites were going to start dropping from the sky whimpering, “I give up!”

Until recently I blamed an outside force – distraction. “My mind is busy. That’s all it is.” However lately, the term “mindful” keeps coming up. I didn’t know what it meant when I first heard it.

It is up to each of us to do our best to focus on the task at hand and choose to keep our thoughts present and in the moment. When we do that, we are likely being mindful and feeling better about our situation.

Yesterday didn’t have to happen as it did. In the morning I left early to be on time to a meeting. The car followed my wandering thoughts, instead.  Early afternoon, I lost my Google map printout. Late to meeting number two. Ready to return home in early evening, a twenty-five minute drive morphed into a two-hour lesson in patience. Let’s just say I now know more about this area of the country than I did when I woke up yesterday. 

It’s annoying being lost. Trying to make it into an adventure did not work this time because I have a work deadline. Still, fretting in slow traffic would accomplish nothing but to make me miserable.  Worry might be one of the most common of distractions. I practiced mindfulness by focusing on and singing along with happy music.

What do you think is my response when people  suggest I “just” use my GPS, or read a map? I smile and say thank you. They mean well in the moment. 

Mindfulness. One of the keys to peace, calm, and mental health.

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NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental 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 can be yours.

*picture from Quality Stock Photos