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Posts Tagged ‘Mental illness’

I may not be strong enough to conquer anxiety, but with God all things are possible.

My voice, high and quiet, barely penetrated the good-humored discussion amongst my colleagues. Attempting to lead an activity, I was certain I noticed dismissive, bored glances of the other women. Their unspoken words, all a figment of my anxious imagination, left an indelible imprint.

  I can’t stand her. She’s such a do-gooder.                                                                                  What a fake! Nobody smiles that much.                                                                                              Great…this will be a waste of time.

I carried the weight of these illusory statements the entirety of the day; my burden a series of invisible labels wrapped like chains around my spirit. I’d believed some of anxieties most common lies.

Like the tentacles of a cloying sea animal, anxiety wraps its arms around the susceptible soul.#dontgiveanxietypower#speaktruth#mentalhealth Click To Tweet

Many of us have experienced anxiety, but we become vulnerable prey when we allow its deceit to penetrate our hearts. Like the tentacles of a cloying sea animal, anxiety wraps its arms around the susceptible spirit–enfolding each woman in her own veil of unwanted worry.

Anxiety strengthens; feeding on the suppression of truth as the mind recycles wrong thinking, misinterprets events, and begins to treat lies as reality; forgetting Christ’s reassurance that he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Perhaps you, too, are familiar with the lies anxiety thrusts deep into the sensitive soul. Do you recognize any of these?

  1. You aren’t worth anything and everybody knows it. Did you notice the way the way other people avert their gaze or avoid you? You deserve their judgement because you’ll never be enough.
  2. Your worst fears may become reality. What right do you have to enjoy and experience this moment when danger and disaster are an ever-present possibility?
  3. You are responsible for happy endings. If your husband, child, or friend is unhappy, you need to fix the problem.
  4. You are never safe. No matter the circumstance or person, you must be vigilant. Life is tenuous and safety is doubtful.
  5. You aren’t lovable. You may not even be likable. Regardless of your efforts, investing in relationships is useless. There is always someone better, prettier, funnier, or smarter who is more important than you.
  6. You should just give up on beating anxiety because it’s stronger than you. Despite prayer, counseling, medication or any other intervention, anxiety will maintain the upper hand. There is no way to manage its impact; no way to live free.

Earlier today I allowed room for the lies anxiety whispers; inviting them into my mind when I should have slammed the door at their first appearance. Now, bits of silver sparkle in the sky and I’m reminded of the vastness of God’s power and might. I recall the accounts of God’s tender love and patient guidance with a people in need of shepherding. Words of acceptance and devotion flood my mind.

I recall the Way. I cling to the Truth. I seek Life.

In His presence, I rediscover what had been momentarily forgotten.

The precious blood of Christ has made me worthy.#accepted#trueidentity#mentalhealth Click To Tweet
  1. The precious blood of Christ has made me worthy. “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.” (John 3:16).
  2. Fear isn’t worth my time because He is my protector and provider.                    “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
    I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”(Isaiah 41:10)
  3. His plans and purposes are unshakeable. I’m on the winning team.                        “Remember the former things, those of long ago;  I am God, and there is no other;
    I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning,
    from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” (Isaiah 46:9-10)
  4. I am safe for eternity because I am His child.                                                                 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
  5. Even when I am at my least lovable, I am still loved.                                                      But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:4-5)
  6. Anxiety may seem insurmountable, but I know the God who split the Read Sea and brought down the walls of Jericho. I may not be strong enough to conquer anxiety, but “with God all things are possible”. Even if anxiety continues to reside nearby until my homecoming, I will choose to trust Him. “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

If anxiety is your soul’s silent enemy, would you turn to the truth of scripture? Feast on the abundance of your Father’s words and begin to drive anxiety from your heart and mind. It’s the best place to begin.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link up with the following: Porch Stories, Tea and Word Tuesday, Literary Musing Mondays, Worth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Let’s Have CoffeePurposeful Faith, Encouraging Word Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Imparting GraceDestination Inspiration, Tune in Thursday, Dare to HearHeart Encouragement, Faith and Friends, Blogger Voices Network, Faith on Fire, Dance with Jesus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Electricity coursed down my arms and into my fingertips like an electric bug-zapper lit up during a summer evening in the Florida everglades. Suddenly, my body temperature seemed elevated–ears burning, cheeks flushed. An invisible weight crushed my chest, making it difficult to fill my lungs or breathe slowly. Evenly.

My anxiety had ripened into a full-on anxiety attack.

I’d struggled with anxiety since childhood, but this was a new and overwhelming experience. Certain I was too young to for a heart-attack, I heaped on the shame.

Don’t you have any faith? God is able to manage the ticker-tape of worries steaming through your mind. What sort of Christian are you? 

Self-recrimination came easily–almost as easily as the other panic attacks, sleepless nights, and excessive weight loss.

I sometimes lose my way in the Land of What Is because I've crossed over into The Land of What Might Be.#mentalillness#hope Click To Tweet

The challenge was in accepting the truth; I have a mental illness. Like 1 in 5 other Americans, I struggle with the reality of emotions that attempt to strangle hope. I sometimes lose my way in the Land of What Is because I’ve crossed over into The Land of What Might Be; a far more unfamiliar and frightening place with all sorts of imagined disasters and potential troubles.

Over the years, though, I’ve discovered three important truths about anxiety.

  1. Clinical anxiety is not equivalent to the sinful worry noted in scripture.       Other well-meaning Christians may disagree, but as a result of this broken world some of us suffer with illnesses. Some of these, such as rheumatoid arthritis or cancer, are more readily accepted within the church. However, some of us battle daily with mental illnesses like anxiety and depression as a result of trauma or biological differences.
  2. God may choose to heal my anxiety–or not. Like anyone living with illness, I’ve prayed fervently to be healed. I’ve prayed even more passionately for others I love to be released from the burden of chronic anxiety. I am convinced that if God chooses to allow this thorn to remain while I live out my years on earth then He will use it to accomplish good in the lives of others. It is in our weakness that His power is magnified. (2 Corinthians 12:9-11)
    Anxiety doesn't make me less of a Christian.#notashamed#onbeinghuman Click To Tweet
  3. Anxiety doesn’t make me less of a Christian. I don’t need to carry shame because of anxiety. If sin is powerless to keep me from Jesus, then a condition of human frailty is even less culpable. None of my attempts to present myself worthy and whole are necessary; He only requires a contrite heart. (Psalm 51:17).

 

You, too, may struggle with anxiety. Can I encourage you to set aside your self-chastisement and shame? This is why Jesus came, Friend–to provide the Way home.

If anxiety is not on your lists of hurts or challenges, then praise God and consider encouraging a friend or loved one who is familiar with the prick and pain of this particular thorn.

I’ve included a hope-filled printable of scriptures below to pray over or share with someone else.

9 Verses Printable

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Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I often link up with the following bloggers:

Imparting Grace, Crystal Twaddell, SaltandLight, Tea and Word

 

 

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HOPE Mental Illness.png

By my early-40’s I’d earned a few certificates and degrees, four children, two dogs–and the unenviable position of being diagnosed with several disorders. Anxiety. Depression. PTSD. PMDD. Even a penchant toward dissociation.

As a young woman, I’d been certain I could shed the shame of my childhood and embrace happiness. Peace. Living. But I didn’t realize that old, unhealed wounds fester and leach. That anxiety wasn’t something I could dust off like a farmer’s pair of worn cowboy boots.

I didn't realize that old, unhealed wounds fester and leach.That anxiety wasn't something I could dust off like a farmer's pair of worn cowboy boots.#mentalillness#hope#letsgetrealseries Click To Tweet

Time clicked by and, ever so gently, God nurtured and healed. Provided wise counsel and tools to help manage the tumult of soul-sucking pain. Gifted me with a husband who loved through it all. Sustained me when I wanted nothing more than to inhale the last of earth and the first of heaven.

Have you been there? Are you there now? Or, does a loved one bear the burden of mental illness?

I know the pain and I'm sorry you're hurting.#depression#ptsd#hope Click To Tweet

I know the pain and I’m sorry you’re hurting, friend. I’m sorry you don’t share openly because you fear being judged. I’m sorry you weep, cry, and grieve for the person you thought you’d become. I’m sorry that just getting out of bed or making it through one more day makes you feel as though you’re an overloaded cargo ship sinking beneath the weight of its cargo.

Whether you are the one desperate for relief, a mama longing to take her child’s struggle, or a wife desperate for the husband she once knew, you are not alone.

One in five adults understand.

One in five women with successful careers. One in five stay-at-home moms with dinners made by scratch and dessert in the oven. One in five grandmothers living the golden years. One in five women in every church pew on any given Sunday understand.

One in five women in every church pew on any given Sunday understand. #mentalillness#1in5#hope Click To Tweet

Not only are you surrounded by others who empathize, but there is something even better. It’s the four-letter word we forget in the midst of the hard.

Hope.

We have hope because of Christ, in Christ and through Christ.

We have hope because the end of our story was rewritten on the cross. Sin exchanged for restoration, tears for celebration, and death for liberation. Neither depression, anxiety, or any other illness can wrest these from your grasp because you are held tightly in His.

When you’re tempted to believe there is nothing better than what is right now, remind yourself of what you know to be true. There will be more to your story.

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 MSG)

 Peace and grace, Tammy

Mental Health Pain Hack Image

Mental Health Pain Hack Printable

https://kingsumo.com/js/embed.js

 

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Anzac DayPhotos flashed across the large, mounted screen as people slid somberly into their seats. A copper-headed toddler pretending to fish…a lanky teen posing for a Kodak moment with his family…a soldier with his young wife and newborn child.

A brave, broken-hearted father stepped up to the podium to share stories from the young man’s life. And between tears and laughter, he spoke of the moments that made his son. Casting a line into the icy waters of a shimmering, Colorado river. Sharing the gift of laughter with family and friends. Contending with the relentless enemy–Depression.

The father’s pain—palpable and raw—struck at my core as I considered the struggles my own dear ones have battled. The what if’s invaded my thoughts and I shuddered in understanding. Two weeks later, the reality haunts me and I pray God will protect those in His care from the pain of the dark.

Depression is real. Depression steals. Depression debilitates.

If you’ve lived in its shadow—you know. If you’ve seen a loved one experience the dark—you know.

But, there is always hope in Jesus. Consider these words, Friend.

A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
    he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”

This is what God the Lord says—
the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out,
spreads out the earth with all that springs from it,
who gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it:
“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand. (Isaiah 42:3-6)

Rest in this truth…find freedom from the emotions…rely on His promise. He will hold your hand every step of the way.

livefreethursday-smFriday Link Up

 

 

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What matters more than material blessings are the things He is teaching us in our spirit.

Charles Stanley

It all began much earlier for him, but most of the nascent signs were quiet and crept into life bit by bit–a silent predator slowly introducing the victim to its presence. Then two years ago, the boy’s everyday life shifted with such suddenness there could be no doubt. Our son knew what it was to struggle with anxiety and depression.

Sleep oscillated between the extremes of non-existent and constant.  Recurring migraines…weight loss…lack of appetite. And my adventurous, full-throttle son retreated to a solitary world that seemed impenetrable.  Once in a great while I would catch a glimpse of the boy , but the cloud of oppression that hung over him was normally the more visible of the two.

There is no heartache quite like that a parent has for her suffering child and in my grief I confronted God.  I wept.  I raged. I begged.  I prayed.

Please, Lord, please!

After more than two years of trial and error…missed school days and fading dreams, we discovered the right combination of interventions and supports–not the least of which included medication.  Finally…some relief for the boy I had soothed with lullabies not so many years ago.

During this time, my boy continued to seek after God.  He wanted more of Jesus–and, unlike me, didn’t seem to struggle with blaming God for allowing this trial in his young life.  Despite the depression…regardless of the anxiety…in spite of the weariness.

One evening he returned from youth group, his face transformed by joy.

We asked God to heal me.  I don’t need my medicine anymore.

christian : Man worshiping god shot at yellow grass Stock Photo

I was skeptical…fearful…doubtful.  I believed in miracles, but this? A young man’s life could be at stake.

Slow and methodical in my response,  I have taken the “yes, but” approach to this precious boy’s healing. “Yes–God can heal, but…”

Yes, but…healing is not probable…practical…likely.

Yes, but…this could be temporary…time-inhibited…explainable.

Yes, but…are you sure you can sleep…function…manage?

And he continues to do well.  Feel well.  Live well.

I have begun to relate to the Bible verse, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” in ways I never expected.  And I wonder if any of you understand?  If you’ve lived it, too?  At some level, those of us who are Christians must grasp the mystery of such things–at least a little bit.

We trust in Jesus, after all.

Yes, but…a virgin birth is impossible…unimaginable…implausible.

Yes, but…a resurrected Messiah is unbelievable…incredible…miraculous.

Yes, but…can we know we are sanctified…rescued…redeemed?

Yes, but…He was born of a virgin, died on a cross, and rose again in three days.

Scripture for Reflection

Mark 9:24

Genesis 15:6

Isaiah 43:10

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He meant well.  They shouldn’t spend much time together.  She has a disorder–bipolar.  I winced when I heard the words because he didn’t know about us.  We understand the stigma…the struggle…the pain swelling on the inside–but still unseen.

Church….Christian…Pastor–there is already shame poured hot like coal on the one who suffers from the burden of festering pain.  And the one in six people in your midst clutches her own secret close to her chest–afraid to let you see her brokenness.  Or, perhaps, she fears revealing the truth about a husband or a child.  If she did would you whisper, “He’s depressed. Maybe your daughter shouldn’t spend time with him.”  Would you judge her?  If she believed more…prayed more…trusted more then God would heal the wound.

So when a friend condemns anti-depressants as a crutch but implores the Hurting to pray for faith, there is a problem in the Body because the Jesus I know came to heal the sick.  The Jesus I know came to remove the burden of a fallen world from the shoulders of those bent beneath its weight.  And the Jesus I know understands that mental illness is like any other–You, dear one, didn’t cause it.

There is no guilt in your struggle, dear one, just as there is no guilt with the one who has cancer.  Church, the one in six ask you to be Jesus today.

Speak truth.  The Church is the place for the suffering.

Love like Christ.  It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 

Give grace.  The nails in the tree set us free from the wounds of this world.  Our Today’s are for His glory.

And it is by grace we are saved!

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