Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Waiting patiently

Hi everyone,

This morning, in scanning the Psalms, something I often like to do because I always find something that encourages and comforts me, I landed on some verses in Psalm 37 which I had marked awhile ago. It has been meaningful to me in the past and is again today. Might it be something that would inspire you as well? I'm quoting verses 3,4, and 7a.

Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the Lord
and he will give you the desires of you heart.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him

We have to trust and keep serving Him while we rest in His goodness, eh? And we will need to wait patiently until the time is right for Him to give us the desires of our hearts.

My desire today is to have the strength to continue what I have been doing and to have a right hand person who has the time and passion to work alongside me on a regular basis. But I know too that I will have to have patience and wait for God's timing.

I hope you'll all have a wonderful Wednesday.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Talk about disorganization!!

Hi guys,

Gotta share something with you. Next week the proverbial "poop" is going to hit the ceiling at my home. With so much happening in my life right now. With such trouble staying organized already, with a big award to accept next Friday and needing to at least look cool calm and collected for it, things are going to be upside down at my house. Will you pray for me?

The ceiling in the dining area of our kitchen was damaged due to a roof leak months ago. Now it has to come down, with loose insulation from above it coming down with it. A new ceiling has to be put up. We have someone coming next Wednesday and the work will take about a week to complete.

That means emptying out that area of the kitchen from everything in there - the cabinets with dishes, cookbooks, all the junk that has collected over the past many many years we've lived here. And I will start having to pack up china as soon as I can, not leave it to the last minute - because things are always coming up that need more urgent attention.

And there will be dust!! Oh, will there be dust! Seeping into everything. Will we even be able to stand living here while this is going on? Don't know about me. Maybe I'll live in my bedroom for awhile. That's always a good place to hide away in.

...and on top of all that, we'll be putting up fresh wallpaper (which we still have to select) new carpeting, new window covering, and a new light fixture (my husband no longer likes the macrame one I made years ago).

I don't do well with stress. about stress.

Well, at least this morning, during my quiet time, I was able to write up an acceptance speech to give at the award ceremony on Friday. It will take some editing I'm sure, to make it truly ready, but the pressure on me for that has pretty well evaporated.

Today is housecleaning day. A day to be domestic. How I welcome Saturdays! Time to tidy up the many messes that have accumulated over the week. I've put on some of my favourite music. Can play it loud today since my husband is out for awhile. I'm not bothering anybody.

And maybe I'll even be able to start packing away some dishes today. I'd be ahead of the game.

Next week WILL come together - with some good planning - and keeping God at my side.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Let us not become weary

This morning I opened my Bible and - almost immediately - came to Galatians 6:9, a verse I underlined long ago:

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

And, as my mind thinks on, I remember some people who I've heard rest totally in the Bible's message "by grace are ye saved, not by anything you do." They might quote, as one example, Ephesians 2:8:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.

And yes, God saved us - not because of what we can do for Him. However, we should not take what Paul said out of context. We need to read on to what the next verse says. Ephesians 2:10:

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

God created us to do good work. He created us to help bring God's kingdom to earth. (As Jesus taught us to pray, "Your kingdom come Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven) Wouldn't our lives on earth be far more useful and satisfying if we could work for Him who has done so much for us? Wouldn't we have a lot more joy when we bring in a harvest? Let's not give up doing what we believe in. We don't need to get weary. Not when our strength comes from God - and He's always willing to supply us with that strength when we rely on Him - when we do His work.

Ah, it felt good to share that with you!

Well, Max my cat is asking for his breakfast. And I guess I should have mine as well.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

An award - wow!!

Hi everyone. I need to share with you some exciting news. Something happened that blew me away. Two days ago I received a call from the executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division, telling me they were honouring me with their Outstanding Community Volunteer Award. I'll copy here what she sent me in an email:

"The Board of Directors of the Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division would like to honour you with our Outstanding Community Volunteer Award for your dedication and commitment to creating better understanding and support for people with a mental illness through your work in faith communities. Your establishment of the Living Room, a church-based peer support group for people with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorders is an example of creativity, innovation and support. Your approach to partnership with the Mood Disorders Association of BC to ensure there were trained facilitators and appropriate resources is an example of building on the strengths of existing mental health resources to reach out to a broader community. You have made a difference not only in your life but in the lives of many. You have made the discussion not only ok but safe and supportive in the faith community. THANK-YOU on behalf of the volunteers, staff and branches of CMHA throughout BC."

I've been feeling dazed ever since I heard. It's so humbling to be recognized in this way. So good to know that my work has been noticed and that it is considered important.

At the dinner they want me to talk about what a difference Living Room has made in my life. How have I been changed by it? How have I changed in the process of helping other people?

It will take some thought to answer that well. But I know one thing. I will have to tell them how I have had to rely on God in a big way. I could not have done the work I've done without His power, without receiving strength from Him by going to Him daily. Living Room is God's work and not my work at all. All I've had to do is be His hands and voice for Him as I followed where He led. It's the only way I could have done the work I've been doing. I could not have done this on my own.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Courageous people needed

I realize that I need to write again. Have had the urge - feeling the pressure to express the many things that have been coming to mind lately.

One thing I'd like to comment on is an article with the title, Misconceptions, an excerpt from my book, A Firm Place to Stand, as published on the Hope and Healing website.

How angry and frustrated I felt as I wrote that! I haven't felt that way for quite a while. Guess working on changing things - being in the thick of responding to the injustice of stigma with the Living Room peer support ministry - has helped lessen my anger. Because I know we now have something to counteract it.

We now have a place where Christians can go and talk openly about their mental health problems and be helped spiritually at the same time - given full love and acceptance. Christians with mood disorders can talk freely here, secure in the knowledge that they won't be judged.

Now all we need to do is make Living Room available to more people. No small task. It's not easy to start a new group. Many things need to be in place. Each group needs two facilitators, spiritually mature people who have developed the skills to cope with their own mood disorder. Each group needs the support of their church and their pastors. They should also be able to form a partnership with a mental health organization that could help them with resources and - if possible - some training.

All this might seem overwhelming to many who would like to help. They need a passion, a deep desire to help others and a trust that God will help them - knowledge that they're not doing this on their own. These would-be facilitators need to be willing to step out in front of their congregations and openly share what they're struggling with. They need courage.

Ah, if you're reading this and have considered starting a group, please don't let all this discourage you. Remember that all good things - all the injustices that have been part of history - had to be fought hard for by courageous people courageous people who are willing to pray and step out in God's help and strength and power. This is how the world was gradually made a better place. It is how the Kingdom of God has to be built.

Are you willing to work for God's Kingdom here on earth? (Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven) Are you willing to improve the lives of Christians who live with mood disorders? Do you want to help encourage them by reminding them that they can rely on a God who loves them immeasurably? Would you like to fight for what is right, rather than be a victim of injustice?

Do you have that kind of courage?

Monday, September 06, 2010

Bipolar no fun

I've been toying with the idea to post again, though my moods are still not stable. I'm finding I'm rapid cycling and even at times having mixed moods - depression and high together at one time. Don't ask me to describe it or tell you how it works. It just does.

But I need to write. To express all the thoughts and feelings that I have inside. So much on my mind.

What prompted me to post now, at this point, is the re-publishing of an article I wrote a long time ago. How I regret having written that piece! How I wish I could take it back! But it has been published in quite a few places and there's no way to go back.

The title of the article is "Finding Meaning in a Life with Bipolar Disorder", which also happens to be the subtitle of my book, A Firm Place to Stand. The latest place it was published was here.

I wrote (cringe) "Mental illness is not all bad. I have lived with bipolar disorder for over forty years and have found it has many benefits. I couldn’t imagine living without it and am not at all unhappy with my life." And - oh my goodness - I want to take that back.

Bipolar can be horrific. It can ruin relationships, break families apart, totally make life unbearable. I am finding that now. It's taking all I've got to try to cope. It's taking all I've got to keep trusting God. It's taking all I've got to try and make me a person my husband can bear to live with. This is so hard on him!!

Yes, having this disorder has helped make me the person I am - creative, compassionate, and I draw close to God daily. But I'd rather not have it. I'd rather my life were easier. I'd rather I wouldn't make a fool of myself as often as I do. I'd rather be able to have better control over my emotions. How I wish I could be stable!!

Today I had to back out of a speaking engagement because I simply couldn't commit, didn't know how I would be at the time of the event. There are too many things I simply daren't do, because the stress of it might trigger an episode. When I'm well I can speak quite well. But when I'm down I simply shouldn't try.

Yes, I've accomplished a lot with Living Room. But I'm finding myself less and less able to keep up with the work I've started. And I long for someone who could eventually take the baton from me and run strong, in good health, able to lead an army to champion the cause of Christians living with mental illness.

So, yeah, bipolar disorder is a bummer. I wish I could be normal. And yet, I need to say with the psalmist, "and yet I will praise God." He's my only hope.