Tag Archives: Baptist

Jesus, please pray for us to the Father!

For those who believe

I have been thinking a lot of the fact that Jesus prays for us, not prayed. I often think of where Jesus said He prayed for Peter: Luke 22:32: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren

So, I am offering up a prayer, for those who believe, that Jesus pray to the Father, that our faith fail not! And you see also that as He restores us, He expects us to strengthen each other. There are many forms that that can take, and I am mindful of prayer, but also of more concrete things as well. Something to think about. And, Jesus prayed for all of us, including the world, in other spots in the Bible. What are your thoughts?

Isaiah 53:12
Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors ; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Romans 8:34
Who is he that condemneth ? It is Christ that died , yea rather , that is risen again , who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

John 17:
20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am ; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

♪♫ Life now is sweet …

Hi Kids!

Some of my friends will announce at the beginning of a post, “Trigger Warning!” when they’re about to write about something like suicide, or PTSD triggers, or the like.

Well I’d like to announce, “Scripture Warning!” Although, there aren’t many, and they aren’t too heavy, for those who are leery of that type of thing.

I have 3 (maybe four) blog posts on the fire that I am waiting to write, and I’m feeling a little pressure! The more serious ones I like to have a block of time to write, and to really concentrate. (I don’t want you to think I’m a total nimwit when I finally write them).

One has to do with the Secret Santa post I reblogged recently.

Another (maybe two posts) is to finish the After Midnight series, in which I talk about the origin of the title of this blog.

Then there is another “serious” (It’s all relative) post, but I forget what it was. It’s written down somewhere. I think. Give me a break! I woke up rudely at 4:30 a.m. with a charlie horse (capital C?) 😦 I am not all there yet!

So, to catch you up. I have had 2 very sweet days! Saturday I think I might have mentioned – hanging out with my son, great weather, doing some work for the church, going to coffee w/ a few friends, then a family birthday party. It was awesome!

Sunday a little pressure. It is always busy on Sunday, but I really enjoyed it: A couple of church services, seeing my son again, a sweet little nap, great weather again. I tell ya it’s been a while since I’ve had 2 really good days in a row. And I really like it!

Today will be busy, but I plan to try not to complain, and just to love it.

This is a sure plan for disaster, right? I mean, if I do wind up having three good days in a row – well, we all know that that must mean I’m manic. HAHAHA!

Anyway, I hope you all have a really good day! Here is the song (lyrics and video) that is referenced in the title. It’s the first song that was running through my head so far – and how I feel at the mo. I think we sang it at church yesterday. The youtube video plays a little stuffier version of the song than I would like, but you get the gist. God is good!

Here are two verses of scripture that the song is based upon. And pardon the formatting! I can’t seem to fix it:

Psalm 116:6 The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Would you like to be saved today? Here’s how! Check out A Love Beyond All Limits! There is no better day than today to be saved!

And if no one has told you yet today that they love you, let me be the first!
Saved Saved

  1. I’ve found a Friend, who is all to me,
    His love is ever true;
    I love to tell how He lifted me
    And what His grace can do for you.

    • Refrain:
      Saved by His pow’r divine,
      Saved to new life sublime!
      Life now is sweet and my joy is complete,
      For I’m saved, saved, saved!
  2. He saves me from every sin and harm,
    Secures my soul each day;
    I’m leaning strong on His mighty arm;
    I know He’ll guide me all the way.
  3. When poor and needy and all alone,
    In love He said to me,
    “Come unto Me and I’ll lead you home,
    To live with Me eternally.”

Ok, to those of you who are holding out…

Yes, you people who think we don’t notice …

You think you have nothing to say. You have had a few bad days. You want to have the time for it to all come out nice, or brilliant maybe, or thoughtful.

Yeah, you people.

You people who collect makeup, or maybe you are angry and afraid you will offend. Or maybe you think you always talk about the saaaame thing. It’s okay. Say it anyway. Say it if it won’t come out right. Say it if you don’t know what will come out. We miss you, and we care.

Link back to me, so I know you took this to heart! 🙂 You’re important to me!

Hear my prayer …

Our church participates in hosting a Baptist youth camp at Camp Wilmot, in New Hampshire, each summer. There is nothing like the mountains and greenery of this part of New England to satisfy your soul. The clouds are closer, the wind is sweeter, and the voice of God is in your ear.
One morning I took the photo above, and once I downloaded it, I realized something. The cloud almost took the shape of a heart held out by someone’s hand. I have since used the photo quite often on my blog, when speaking of God’s love, of hope, and of happiness. 
As a person with bipolar illness, well, even as a human being, I have a special need to be in touch with God as much as possible. Whether that means seeing God in the clouds, or elsewhere in nature, it doesn’t matter. Or maybe God speaks through a friend, or through something I’ve read somewhere. There are other, more obvious ways, of course. There is direct prayer (speaking with God), and reading the Bible (listening to God).
These are all ways I can grow in my relationship to the Lord. I have not always found this to be easy. I look at the people around me who seem to find their relationship with Jesus to be so matter-of-fact, so natural, and I have to admit that I’m jealous. I think some have this easy friendship by virtue of the length of time they have been saved, but I also think that my bipolar illness makes it difficult for me to maintain that consistent prayer life and walk with God.
I have known God since I was a little girl growing up in the Catholic church. I remember back when I had my first communion, kneeling at the altar, praying earnestly to a God who seemed so real. I almost remember being bathed in a soft, heavenly light, and love. Of course, I am pretty creative, so I may not be remembering that “just so.” But what I do know is that there was and is a God Who loves me.
Life after that childhood memory, of course, happened, along with its stormy seas. I was in and out of relationship with God as I grew older, perhaps more jaded, and by the time my parents divorced, it was more of a habit and duty to go to church. It did not seem to do a whole lot for me, and I was not all that interested in what I could give back. I was quite relieved when my mother stopped making us go to church. There had been no point to it anyway, in my mind.
Having balked at God being the ultimate authority, I continued to resist other rules; mainly, those of my parents. I pushed aside the values and expectations I had learned growing up. If I had ever feared God, I no longer did. I lived my life for me, myself, and I. Alcohol, boys, money – all of that seemed the chief end and aim of life.
Unfortunately, that life started getting more and more difficult, and I soon wound up in AA, wondering what on earth had happened.
But still, even though I’d gotten sober, I had no peace. I had tried to go back to church several times after my parents split up, and again when I stopped drinking, but there was a wall there. It seemed like God was no longer there. I had a brief experience with Him, so I thought, during my first manic episode in 1985, but that did not cause a lasting change. Most likely that was just the chemicals in my brain, messing with me.
And so, fifteen years later, I was no further along than I had been. Sober, but miserable. It was then that I met Christ and got saved, and found out that He wasn’t a church, He wasn’t tradition. I’d been right the first time. He was Someone who cared about me. I was 40 years old, and I had a lot yet to learn. I began to build this relationship, or, more accurately, God began to change my heart.
As a person with bipolar, however, I do not always find this relationship to be very smooth, or even, at times, satisfying. When I’m depressed it’s hard to read my Bible or to want to serve the Lord. When I’m hypomanic, I feel like I have a straight line to God and don’t need the Bible or preaching. I really envy those who can be consistent. I am not one of them. I do know deep down, however, that the basis of my relationship with God has got to be reading the Bible and prayer His love. No matter what I do or don’t do, by virtue of my relationship with Him, He loves me. And He wants to have a relationship with me!
One of the things that will prompt me to turn to my Bible is when a friend will post a scripture verse on Facebook, as one man did this morning. He wrote:
Psalm 143:8 Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust : cause me to know the way wherein I should walk ; for I lift up my soul unto thee.
That verse alone was very comforting to me. It was as if I could read it and have it be my prayer to God. The words of that scripture are similar to words I have used many times in speaking to God of my troubles. The rich detail spoke straight to my heart; God, speaking to me personally, through His word. Oh, He doesn’t literally speak, deep voice and all. But the written word and the response of my soul told me that it was meant for me at that particular time.
I went further. I looked up the verse in my Bible and read the whole chapter. “Wow,” I said, “is that my depression or what??” And within the text, God’s answer: Read me, hear me, follow me.
Here is the psalm. If you would like, you can also take a listen (Click here, then hit the speaker button). Romans 10:17 says that “… faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” so listening is a good practice.
1 Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness.
2 And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified .
3 For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead .
4Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate .
5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.
6 I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah.
7 Hear me speedily, O LORD: my spirit failethhide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.
Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust : cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.
9 Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies : I flee unto thee to hide me.
10 Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.
11 Quicken me, O LORD, for thy name’s sake: for thy righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.
12 And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies , and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant.

Blogging 101: Way Behind (but where I should be?)

Well, I am still doing the Blogging 101 class but now I am feeling wayyy behind. One assignment, to make nice with the neighbors – look up in my reader about topics that interest me and interact with bloggers who are writing about them. I thought, welllll I’m already doing that so check! Done.

The next assignment, to write to my ideal reader. Well, my friends, I have so many! lol… (by the way I had asked you guys to help me increase my followers and they went from 45 to 79 in a week! Don’t know if you had anything to do w/ that but thank you!)

Anyway – I will write to my ideal reader but then …

There came another assignment, but wait … do I have more than one blogging course going on? This is what I do. I start small and suddenly, POOF, I am overwhelmed.

I do this IRL (in real life) as well. I start small and manageable, as in jobs, as in volunteering/ helping others, and POOF, all of a sudden life is way too big and overwhelming.

As I have said ad nauseam, GUILT GUILT GUILT!!! is my greatest derailer.

Now why would I feel so guilty all the time!

Number one, I grew up Catholic.

Ok, I hear crickets, especially from the Catholic corner lol… I know it’s a cliche … But I want you to know, I’ve heard a lot of Baptist preachers, and they do their own share of guilting people, for not doing enough, or for not doing the right things, or for feeling the wrong way … you get my drift, sigh. This is the faith I have chosen – or God has chosen. AA says, take what you like, and leave the rest. Well, as a Christian, it has to be more like, Take what GOD says, and leave the rest! And some of the legalism I hear is not from God! And here I am, a sitting duck. Vulnerable, seeking truth and support and “the right way,” and there I am feeling guilty again!

Yes, we all know what we are supposed to do with guilt. Throw it out the window.

Some guilt, of course, is warranted! When you do something wrong, you SHOULD feel bad. You SHOULD rectify it.

Shame is another thing. I learned in recovery group circles that guilt is for what you’ve done, shame is for what you are.

And I had my share of THAT growing up. I don’t want to tell you – ok I will tell you. Parents and older siblings who said “You’re stupid, you should know better, you’re not enough, you never do anything right,” does that all sound beneficial to the soul of a child? But guess what, I bet there are few children who didn’t suffer that to some degree. So why did my psyche take it in more than those of you who don’t carry that stuff around?

That makes me tear up…  😥  But I try not to “go there.” It’s in the past and I have learned a LOT since then.

But I am still struggling. Is it my diagnosis of bipolar, my anxiety, that are making me less and less able to function?

Ok, rewind… the Church inflicted a lot of guilt, family … what about friends and lovers?

Now I admit that in my younger years I was not exactly chaste. And my choices of partners were not the best… Again with the “You’re stupid, you should know better, you’re not enough, you never do anything right,” how about we add some more … you’re not pretty enough, you aren’t enough to earn my loyalty, my fidelity, you aren’t worth my efforts to treat you better…

Ok I’m getting maudlin here.

Now there is the fourth villain: My own head. Yes, I have taken all those messages, stirred them up, added some sugar, some alcohol, some bad behaviors, some misunderstood theology, baked them for an hour at 350* … um, ok, more like 55 years, at 800* …

(Ok Kat quit whining about guilt, could you please write about something else???)

And there I come to the ideal reader. The one who is reading this. Someone who can listen, maybe nod and say “I hear you,” or even, “BTDT (been there done that).” The one maybe who is having a good day when I’m not. And vice versa! Because my favorite thing to do is help you have a good day! Or, especially, make you laugh!

So, I guess I completed another assignment. Unless … you would rather not listen to my whining. In which case you have two choices:

1. Read another of my blogs that is not so negative.

2. Hang up the phone. After all, no one is forcing you to stay here, lol…

(even though it will break my heart if you leave, pout, grin …)

Contentment=Peace

“I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
– Phil 4:11
Paul, denied of every comfort, wrote the above words in his dungeon. A story is told of a king who went into his garden one morning, and found everything withered and dying. He asked the oak that stood near the gate what the trouble was. He found it was sick of life and determined to die because it was not tall and beautiful like the pine. The pine was all out of heart because it could not bear grapes, like the vine. The vine was going to throw its life away because it could not stand erect and have as fine fruit as the peach tree. The geranium was fretting because it was not tall and fragrant like the lilac; and so on all through the garden. Coming to a heart’s-ease [a common European wild flower, growing as an annual or short-lived perennial], he found its bright face lifted as cheery as ever. “Well, heart’s-ease, I’m glad, amidst all this discouragement, to find one brave little flower. You do not seem to be the least disheartened.” “No, I am not of much account, but I thought that if you wanted an oak, or a pine, or a peach tree, or a lilac, you would have planted one; but as I knew you wanted a heart’s-ease, I am determined to be the best little heart’s-ease that I can.”
“Others may do a greater work,
But you have your part to do;
And no one in all God’s heritage
Can do it so well as you.”
They who are God’s without reserve, are in every state content; for they will only what He wills, and desire to do for Him whatever He desires them to do; they strip themselves of everything, and in this nakedness find all things restored an hundredfold.

from “Streams in the Desert with Mrs. Charles Cowman” Devotionals

Who am I? Blogging 101

I’m taking an online “course” on blogging and the first assignment is:  “write and publish a ‘who I am and why I’m here’ post.” If you’re going to read this, you will want to pour a cup of coffee and maybe get something to eat, because it is long.

All my life I have written this post (book) in my head and found it fascinating. I always thought I’d write an autobiography and sell it for millions. Who wouldn’t want to read it?

But now, I don’t even want to write it. What I once found fascinating about myself is either untrue or unremarkable. But, I’ll start it the way I always started it:  “I was born in New York …”

First fascinating fact. But really, it wasn’t “New York, New York,” it was upstate New York, and I only lived there til I was 6. 7. 8. I don’t know. First grade?

Then there is the what. For a time I was in therapy and had come to the conclusion that I’d been severely sexually abused, and in a Satanic cult.

Now I am not so convinced of that. I know some inappropriate touching went on, but pretty sure the rest of what I thought was the result of an overeager therapist who had her own agenda.

So where does that leave me?

Decidedly ordinary, is what.

But.

Well, let’s go back. I was very ordinary in grade school/ high school. Pretty much invisible. I almost wonder, if I’d been bullied, if it would have hurt less.

I did have some friends, fairly ordinary like me, and I know I would not have survived without them. My parents’ divorce. My inability to fit in. I did find a way to fit in. Alcohol fit the bill nicely.

So then! Post high school, I needed a job. Mom told me about a nurses’ aide training course. I really didn’t want to do it; I’d already done some candy striping (volunteering in the hospital), and wound up in the cafeteria and the laundry room. GLAMM-orous. I did not like the smells in the hospital, for sure. That smell of starch is still embedded in my brain. I suppose that is a better smell than the ones I smelled later.

But anyway, back to the training course. I’d already had two jobs in food service: one at McDonald’s, one at Howard Johnson’s as a counter girl. Both thankless – how could people be so rude? It was like they took everything out on you, and it wasn’t like you were getting paid enough to have to put up with that …

So I decided to take the course. It was very thorough and came with a guaranteed job at the end. They promised me I’d be on nights for only a little while, to cover someone else who was on leave. But I’d definitely go on day shift soon!

Well “soon” happened and I didn’t get changed to the day shift, so I took another job at a nursing home down the street.

I was never very efficient. I struggled as an aide to do the job. The time frame we had to work under was just about impossible. Some of the aides had time to set their patients’ hair and put jewelry on them. Not me! I was lucky just to keep them clean.

But at the same time, I took note of the nurses passing pills, in their starched (there’s that word again) white uniforms. I thought, I want to know why they do what they do? What are all those pills for? I decided to apply for nursing school, and got in to my second choice. In the end I was glad I didn’t get the first choice, which was a university program which did not offer much in the way of actual clinical patient care. My diploma program was more hands-on, and I was thankful for that.

But scared to death at the same time. I found out while in school that I had a familial tremor (think Katharine Hepburn) and hypoglycemia (think insulin shock, minus the insulin). You should have seen me trying to pull up medications into a syringe – let’s just say I didn’t have to shake the vial. I was terrified of the instructors, terrified of making a mistake. Somehow I made it through and did really well. Hardly even had to study, which I think was part of my confidence problem later on. I could cram for an exam and forget what I’d studied immediately after it.

I’d already had lots of practice with alcohol toward the end of my high school years, but perfected those skills while in nursing school. The skill of chasing boys, as well, since alcohol loosened my inhibitions. It was nice not to be invisible. That liquid courage …

But after nursing school, it became problematic. I was date-raped twice while under the influence. I was having blackouts. My “familial” tremors worsened after a night of drinking (hmm). Meanwhile I was really succeeding as a nurse, training to work in intensive care. What happened to the girl who was so afraid of failure? Still terrified, but alcohol helped me bury my fears.

After the second rape, I became more aware of my depression. I remember one night sitting on the porch steps thinking about how to take my life. Got up, drank some beers, and stifled that urge.

Soon after that I started going to Al-anon meetings, some of them especially for children of alcoholics. I don’t need to go into my family history, just, that’s what I needed to do. Out of principle I quit drinking. I had righteous indignation (“I’m not like them!”) to power my sobriety.

I also had gone on the Atkins diet and it was then I experienced my first hypomanic episode. I had no idea what was going on but I liked that feeling of power! More confidence, better recall of nursing knowledge, a superiority complex. And a feeling of being so sexy and irresistible! Did I tell you I liked it?

And then the depression came back, and worsened, and because I had stopped drinking I no longer had the liquid courage to get me through. I had started counseling, but when she’d asked me about suicidal thoughts, I’d said no. I made a plan to kill myself with razor blades and carried it out. At the last moment, when I know would have crossed over into death, I told God, “I want to die, but I don’t want to go to Hell!” Somehow I woke up in the bathtub 6 hours later, covered in blood and feces. I knew my attempt had failed, and I knew it was because of that prayer. I crawled to the phone and asked for help.

I wound up in a psychiatric unit where they started me on antidepressants. Very soon after that I began to experience the euphoria I’d had before, only bigger! I felt like I could leap tall buildings in a single bound, like I could read minds (I was sure!) and like I could personally talk to God in the sky. The sun was His all-powerful eye. I was Mary the mother of Jesus who had been raped by God and thus conceived her Son. The smoke alarms went off one day and I was sure that was because I had started a fire somewhere with my rage.

I remember my mother coming in to help me pay bills, and I had to have my Walkman playing in my ears in order to shut my brain off to concentrate. The doctors started quizzing me about my visitors, whether they had brought drugs in. When I told them about the ex-boyfriend and how we had smoked pot, they nodded their heads. It had to have been the pot, then, that made me go kablooey. It never occurred to them that their drugs and my dysfunctional brain had caused the mania and the delusions.

Eventually the mania simmered down, the antidepressant having been replaced with some other medication. I was still having brief episodes but had a prn (“as often as necessary”) medication which helped a lot.

I remember my father coming in to visit and that I started crying on purpose, just to make him feel bad. I was all about “it’s everyone’s fault,” and nowhere near to looking at myself. I was discharged with a diagnosis of depression.

I continued going to Al-anon, but I was also going to AA now because I had figured out the role alcohol had played in my life. I met my son’s father and we won’t go into that. Suffice it to say that between my inability to say no, and my lack of self-esteem, it did not take much for him to bowl me over.

After I gave birth to our son by C-section, the doctor ordered Tylenol #3 (regular Tylenol, plus codeine). I felt that euphoria beginning, and I got scared, and took myself off it. I was scared that I could hurt my son if I was under that kind of influence.

I was not a great mother. For one thing, I was with a man who seemed to thrive on rage (and later I found out was drinking). I stayed with him a lot longer than I should have. For another thing, I struggled a lot with depression, and my son’s days with me should have been filled with a lot more joy than I could muster. My work history was sketchy. At one point we lived in a transitional housing program which helped tremendously, but it was no match for my depressions and my continuing to choose, shall we say, men with problems.

I kept trying to get back to church, having been raised Catholic, but it just did not fit, nor did it fix anything, and that’s what I was looking for: a fix. I was hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital several times, both inpatient and outpatient.

I did eventually find a Christian church (non-denominational) and “got saved,” and by that I mean I raised my hand when the preacher asked who wanted to get saved. My understanding was that I was a sinner, and of that I had no doubt. I knew that Jesus died for sinners, to take our sin upon Himself, He who knew no sin!

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die : yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. — Romans 5:6-9

And so I knew I was a sinner, I knew I needed a Saviour from the wrath of God. I asked Jesus to “come into my heart” and save me.

I had another major manic episode, can’t remember any specific triggers, but again I was hospitalized. It became clear to me almost immediately that though I had accepted Christ as my Saviour, I’d never “deigned” to have Him as my Lord. And that meant following the Bible. I surrendered at that time, telling God that if He wanted to use me in that psychiatric hospital for the rest of my life, that was fine with me. But I wanted him to use me, wherever He might want me to be. I was rather surprised to find that I was discharged and I have never been hospitalized since. I started going to a church in ’06 that teaches from the Bible. It’s a lot more fundamentalist than the other church, and I believe it’s where God wants me to be right now.

That doesn’t mean I’ve been well this whole time. I have still struggled with depression and hypomania, still struggled to maintain my ability to work. In fact, presently I am “retired” from even doing a cashier job. It was too overwhelming to me. It’s very sad that as time has gone on I have become less and less able to function as a “normal” human being. I have been on disability for several years, but I have a hard time accepting that. I am very involved with my church, and it seems that doing volunteer work for God does not stress me in the same way. I do have to be careful not to overdo. Sometimes it is my guilt that makes me take on too much. Guilt for being mentally ill, guilt for not earning my keep. My counselor has said more than once that if I didn’t feel so guilty,  if I wasn’t so much in denial of having a mental illness, I could probably have a happy life and function better. I think he is right, but it is hard to just erase that voice in my head that says I am bad, and wrong, and lazy, etc.

My dream? If I had no shame for who I am, if I truly celebrated those gifts that God has given me, and used them only as much as He desired, I’d be a working novelist. I wouldn’t just dabble and play at it. I’m good at it, really. I also do have Spiritual gifts of mercy and hospitality, gifts He has given me to use for Him, but not for my ego, and not to be used under my own power. I used to dream of having a big foster home, with horses, and a long haired husband (lol). Now I just dream of being able to function, without feeling like I’m not enough.

 

And so I come to the real answer to the question:”Who Am I?” I leave you with this song by Casting Crowns:

________New Year

Suppose I could just ask you, since the stupid poll will not attach to this blog … What kind of New Year’s Day are you having?

Happy

Tolerable

Don’t ask …

Ask me tomorrow

 

I was having a pretty good day til I tried attaching that stupid poll! Argh!!! lol…

If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.

Don Charisma


«If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.»

— Vincent Van Gogh


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Keep Breathing!

 

With all the talk of suicide I thought I would submit this link and the lyrics to the song. Sometimes it is as simple as to Keep Breathing! 

 

You wait in darkness for answers that you can’t see
You know what you deserve
And you’re wondering why your life is
Not what you thought it should be

When the night breaks, your heart still aches
How can you face the day?

Just keep breathing, you’ll make it
Don’t give in, you’re not done yet
Sometimes all that you can do is
Keep breathing and believing
Don’t let go, just hang on tighter a little longer

When you feel like you’re dying, keep breathing
Don’t give up, don’t give in, don’t let go
No, you’re not done
Don’t give up, don’t give in, don’t let go

When every moment is almost more than you can take
You’ve got to know some tomorrow will bring you a breakthrough
It’s the reason why you got to get through today
When the night’s gone you will be strong

Keep breathing, you’ll make it
Don’t give in, you’re not done yet
Sometimes all that you can do is
Keep breathing and believing
Don’t let go, just hang on tighter a little longer

With every breath you’re bringing hope
You’re letting go of all your doubts
When nothing is easy, you got to keep going
Even when you don’t know how
You don’t have to know how, no

Keep breathing, you’ll make it
Don’t give in, you’re not done yet
Sometimes all that you can do is
Keep breathing and believing
And don’t let go, just hang on tighter a little longer, whoa

Keep breathing, you’ll make it
Don’t give in, you’re not done yet
Sometimes all that you can do is
Keep breathing and believing
And don’t let go, just hang on tighter a little longer

Keep breathing, don’t give up
No, you’re not done
Don’t give up, don’t give in
Don’t let go, no, you are not done yet

Don’t give up, don’t give in
Don’t let go, no, you are not done
Don’t give up, don’t give in
Don’t let go, no, you are not done

Don’t give up, don’t give in
Don’t let go, no, you are not done

Keep Breathing!  by Kerrie Roberts

♪ ♫ Here come those tears, again … ♩ ♬

Yep, survived. If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time you know what I’m talkin’ about. And I have hardly told you ANYthing! (I’ll work on that).

It’s a sad commentary. But this year has been super hard for me. I have not grown, I don’t think; I’ve gone backwards. But that is a miracle. The treadmill was going backwards, and I didn’t fall off the end. And that, my friends, is victory. If that’s you, too, pat yourself on the back.

 

Happy New Year! May 2015 be a lit-tle easier on us, lol…

Your Worth is Beyond Measure

How does that title make you feel? Your Worth is Beyond Measure.

I don’t know about you, but even typing that makes my heart skip a beat and my spirit feel stronger.

You see, God gives you what you need.

I tend to live with a low level of depression most of the time. I say “live with” because really it is my preferred state of mind. Preferable to mania, anyway.

But I don’t want to go off topic.

Your Worth is Beyond Measure.

When I pray (and I admit that I don’t do it often enough), sometimes the answer to prayer is not all that clear. But in this situation it was.

I was feeling really down, and I have this friend who has said to me, more than once, that if you truly know your value to God, you won’t be depressed.

Well, I get it. At least, in my head I do. I know God loves me. He loved me enough to die for meNever would I say that’s not enough. I know I’m just a measly sinner, still am. The only difference is, I believed in Christ and asked Him to forgive me. Now I am forgiven. I have a home in Heaven.

But still I get depressed. Oh you don’t know how it irks me when people tell me I shouldn’t! That doesn’t change the fact!

So anyway, back to my friend. I remembered what she’d said, and as always, I started arguing with her in my head. And that led to my prayer. Show me, God. I get it, on one level, but change my heart! If I’m really of any value to you, show me! Change that part of me that says I would be better off dead. Sure, I do things for people. But no one knows what goes on in my head. What I actually feel. Show, me, Lord.

And very shortly after that, I opened my email account.

There, in black and white, the subject line of one email stood out. It said, Your Worth is Beyond Measure.

Now, I don’t believe God said, at the moment I prayed, “Ooh! Ooh! I know what will convince her! I’ll get hold of her email account and send her THIS! Then she’ll believe Me!”

What I do believe, though, is that God goes ahead of me, knowing what I need. Matthew 6:8 says, “… your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” And oh thank God for that! I wouldn’t be here!

The email came, randomly, from a website from which I send email cards to friends. Reluctantly, I had checked the option, “Ok, if you must,” when they’d asked if I wanted to receive email offers from them.

Now this particular email came in July of this year. But I have never deleted it. So each time I clean out my inbox,  what’s left stands out – and I get a little lurch in my belly. Your Worth is Beyond Measure.

And it’s an affirmation more powerful than anything I could whisper to myself in the mirror.

Why does it affect me so much?

Because it was an answer to prayer. And because I know it’s true. I knew it was true when my friend said it.

But seeing it there in black and white does something to me.

I know I am of value to certain people. I do for them or I love them or I am just there for them.

But to think My Worth is Beyond Measure – to the God of the universe – that there is powerful.

More powerful than the depression that is always salting my wounds.

Because I know it’s true.

Do you?

 

Read about your value to God:

 

♪♫ Someday Lady You’ll Enable Me … ♫♪

I’m hearing a lot about Al-anon and enabling and detachment and suchlike lately.

Why? Well, it’s the holidays and if anybody (including ourselves) is going to act up, it’s then.

Why is it so hard to set boundaries which are both healthy for me, and helpful for the alcoholic or other-type folk? Cuz the person doesn’t necessarily have to be addicted for me to walk all over myself, in trying to help where I may or may not be needed.

It’s been said that the alcoholic (or whatever) is addicted to his/her substance, and that, in a way, those of us who love them are addicted to them. Why, and how, do we turn ourselves inside out in order to help a person who may not even want to be helped? At the very least, they’re not ready. And in the meantime, I’m a mess! Somebody help ME make a decision! Because I can’t, anymore!

And really, that’s what Al-anon is about. Making healthy decisions for yourself.

Applying the principles to my situation, it’s the friend who’s so angry at the world that they take it out on everyone, even those who love and try to help them (as in, me). It’s the guy who just got out of the ER after a suicide attempt who is already drinking again – and their family wants me to fix them. It’s the loved one to whom I will never be enough, no matter how I try. It’s the son that I love dearly, who said he needed to stay with me for “a while,” and it’s now going on to a year.

Meanwhile, I have the idea that I “can’t” say anything, “can’t” set limits, and, most of all, “can’t” say no. Because what if … (and it’s there that I can come up with many many reasons, ad infinitum).

How much do I do for them?

First off, I have to be in touch with God enough to be able to hear His guidance, that still small voice that says, “No no no no no,” or, “You’ve had enough.” Some call it a red flag. In my case, I wait so long that it ends up being a white flag. “I give up! I surrender!” And I’m ready for the white coats!

Secondly, I cannot be “it” for any one person. When I start thinking I’m “the only one” who can help a certain person, I am in trouble, and I am not likely to help that person very much. Especially if the load does get too big and I start resenting them.

Thinking I’m “the only one” reminds me of Elijah of the Bible, who was so depressed in the desert, and spoke to God about it (1 Kings 19:14-18):

… I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left ; and they seek my life, to take it away 

Wow, I can almost hear the whining voice. God, how come I’m the only one who can help, here? Why am I in this position? If I’m being honest, I will say, How did I get myself in this position? Can’t someone else do it? And God reminded Elijah:

… Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

God reminded Elijah that he was not indispensable, nor was he the only one serving Him “so well.” Ugh, a little ego deflating. I’m not the only one who knows how to help. I’m not indispensable. But I sure do lead people to believe I am. 

And what do I get out of leading people to think I’m “all that”? Oh I’m not consciously seeking kudos. I honestly want to help. But where do I get the idea that I can help everyone, and that I am the only one who can?

One thing that happens with me is I’m  unbelievably attracted to people who feel unlovable (or I perceive that they do). Maybe they have had some injustice done, and I want to make it up to them. Life has treated them horribly. Someone has hurt them, over and over. And I think, if I just love them enough, I can fix them. If I show them the world is not all bad, I can fix them; they’ll be happy. Then, when I can’t convince them, I am furious! “After all I did for them!” I, I, I!

Where does that come from?

Is it as simple as “do unto others as you wish they would do unto you?” Or is it, I’m looking for some payback, some undying love and gratitude?

Well, it may well be. I have come a long way from the days of my early adulthood where I felt like there was nothing to love about me.

But though I have since learned that I have a lot of good qualities, I still have the idea that I have to earn that love.

Again, I have to go back to the Bible.

Romans 5:8 KJV, But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

and, Ephesians 2:8 KJV, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

If you’ll notice, in neither scripture does it say I have to do anything to be loved. I just have to seek God, and His love is there. No earning, no being indispensable, no putting Band-aids on everybody.

God did give me the capacity to love, and to love greatly, but He did not make me God. And He did give me His Holy Spirit to guide me in what I should do for others.

I just have to stop long enough, be humble enough, to ask Him, “What wilt Thou have me to do?”

And then, the hardest part: Wait.

Approaching goodness (at least, that’s the title I started out with)

I’m doing a lot of reading of blogs, surfing around Facebook, nodding my head a lot, reblogging some … but in spite of all that, Christmas is still coming, lol…

I actually am feeling a kind of happy about it, which is unusual for me, because usually I am all about avoiding it, and dreading it.

Why?

Well, one reason is the lack of funds, but that’s not primary. When I can, I give my son some money, and give to the Christmas offering at church. Never could afford much more than that.

Well, that’s not true. I remember the first Christmas, as a kid with a paper route, when I was able to buy “something” for every of my then-9 siblings, for Mom, and for Dad. SO EXCITING! Maybe each item was under $5., but every gift was special, and thought through.

Over time, as I made more money, I was able to give more than a token gift. REAL exciting!

And then further along in time, as my illness has progressed, back to not being able to buy for anyone at all (I have bipolar, folks, which usually means depression and anxiety, which usually means, I am either between jobs, beginning one, or ending one. None of these phases lasts very long).

I can’t just blame the lack of gifting on the money. I went for five years not having contact with my family at all. My fault, the fault of the therapists, the fault, again, of the illness. [One of these days I will talk about “the fault of the therapists,” but not now. Not when I’ve digressed so well already].

So, uh, where were I?

Avoiding and dreading. Well, after the no contact thing, I started finding the whole Christmas thing very depressing. No family to sit around a table with, and a blatant refusal to enjoy it otherwise.

Why else did I avoid and dread it?

Well, there’s the depression thing. That.

That’s probably the biggest thing.

But wait, there is something even bigger than the depression. It’s the expectation that it will be depression. And even, the choice that it will be depressing.

How could that BE? Aren’t I just a victim of my illness?

Not quite. Really, I do have choices. Ok, not always, but sometimes.

Like, the last few years, I chose to attend a community dinner and bring along friends who don’t celebrate with THEIR families, for various and sundry reasons of their own.

It made me feel a part of, under the guise of being helpful to others.

I’m good at that last one.

So anyway, this year, I’m doing the same, the community dinner. Last year, my son came along, so that was really cool. Not sure what he is doing this year.

But anyway! I keep digressing!

What I want to say is, this year I am not just “supposed” to feel (here comes the list): Grateful, happy, excited, spiritual, close to the Lord, close to people …

I am actually feeling some of that!

And not in a manic-y scary sort of way. Just, kind of a normal feeling of happiness and anticipation.

WOW!

Oh did I fail to mention another reason I dread Christmas?

Yes I am undigressing a little, sorry.

I had a suicide attempt in December of 1985. Due to some of the reasons I listed above.

But I survived!

And every year I seemed to think I had to pay homage to the Anniversary of the Failed Suicide!

This year, nah, I don’t think I will do that.

I think I will be happy. And just allow that.

(and the other stuff on the list)

 

The Christmas Scandal

WOW. You have got to read this and watch the video. My eyes are still puffed up from crying after watching the video. The blog itself is so insightful. Good way to start the month! Thank you Leah!

Isaiah 43:1

sainsburys-christmas-advert-first-world-war-534812

A scandal as arisen in the UK over the release of a Christmas commercial by Sainsbury Grocery. The commercial spends about 3 minutes depicting the Christmas Truce of 1914, with the end goal of selling chocolate.

Apparently, people are upset that such an extraordinary event should be used for advertising purposes. I find this hilariously ironic.

Every year, people all over the world see their largest boost in profit because of the advertisement advantage given to them by the celebration of the birth of our Savior.

I’m very grateful to this ad and its controversy because it stopped me dead in my tracks and caused me to look at the birth of Christ in a way I never had before.

We all know (some have experience) the trauma of childbirth for the mother, but I think few of us really reflect on the trauma the child goes through.

Everything the baby…

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Are you 100% sure …

… that if you died today, you would go to Heaven?

I know a lot of religions that say that you can never be sure! But can you imagine knowing that you are saved from Hell for all eternity? God says in His word:

 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. – 1 John 5:13

 It’s so exciting for me to know you’ve sought out this page! It means you’re willing to suspend your disbelief for just a few moments, and deal with who you are in the sight of God. Now that is courage! Take heart,

 

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage , and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait , I say, on the LORD. — Psalm 27:14

Now let’s dive in, and see what the Bible says about our spiritual condition:

 

We Have All Sinned

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3:23

We are all sinners by nature and by choice. God sees all – our actions, thoughts, motives, and places we go. We all feel guilty and ashamed of things in our lives. 

We have a penalty for our sin

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 6:23

Sin must be paid for. God says the payment is death. The Bible says that there are two deaths.

Physical Death God already knows the day we will die. We can’t avoid it – only prepare for it.

Spiritual Death When a soul dies unforgiven and pays for his own sins, he goes to Hell and then is cast into the lake of fire forever. Hell was not created for people, but for the Devil and demons. God doesn’t want anyone to go to Hell.

A gift can’t be bought or earned. It can only be received. Forgiveness does not come through baptism, church, or good deeds. It only comes through receiving Jesus once and for all as a GIFT into our hearts by faith.

Yes, Jesus did die for everyone – but not every person is going to Heaven – only those who receive Jesus Christ. We can either receive or reject Him; there is no in between. No one is born with Him in their lives. He is a gentleman, and won’t come into our heart unless invited.

We can have the Saviour

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8

God chose to let Jesus pay for our sin by taking our place on the cross. He was spat upon, whipped, beaten, and crucified. He loves you. He died, was buried, and arose after three days. He is in Heaven making room for you. If you were the only sinner in the world, Jesus would have died just for you. He loves you!

To be honest, most people have never had a definite time, place, and day to accept Jesus once and for all into their hearts. If this has ever happened to you, you would remember it! If you were to die unforgiven as you are, where does the Bible say you would go? Is that what you want?

You can be forgiven now.

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. – Romans 10:13

If Jesus was willing to take you just as you are, wouldn’t you be willing to take Him, “just as He is”? Just ask Him now.

Right now, in your own words, pray and ask God to forgive you for being a sinner and to save you from Hell in Jesus’name.

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. – 1 John 5:13 KJV

What a promise!

Please let me know about your decision to receive Jesus Christ as your Saviour so I can pray for you and help you from here!

Your relationship with God is actually the most important thing about you. That relationship will determine just about everything else in your life, even more than your education and occupation. Because your relationship with God must be right, you need to be in the right church to grow in Christ. Straight-from-the-Bible preaching is essential! It will instruct, guide, encourage, and challenge you to be all you can for the Lord! If you need help finding such a church, please send me a message and I will do what I can!

How do you maintain your grip on reality?

Great blog on what to trust when you’re depressed. I know it’s not my own thoughts and opinions of myself! Those are warped. (The reblogs don’t mean I’ve given up – but see “It’s Nice To Share” at https://kbailey373.wordpress.com/2014/11/03/its-nice-to-share/

Under Reconstruction

About a year ago, I wrote a letter to my future self. It was barely three months after what had been my debilitating bout of depression to date, and I was a little nervous. To realize that for eight out of twelve months I could have been so wrong about so many things, so blind to so many truths, so caught up in the half-lies of my distorted reality — it was a world-shattering realization. (In my previous post, I write in greater detail about the distorted thought patterns of a depressed person.)

I say world-shattering because most of us grew up being told to believe in ourselves, that if we believed something about ourselves then that’s true. Or at least, that what we see in ourselves is supposed to be more valid than what others see in us. Never let anyone else have the final say. They are but naysayers. Trust your heart. 

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Whosoever means Whooo-Soooo-Ever!

(This is from a 2011 blog that still applies.)

A friend of mine asked me today to remember her in prayer. Of course, I am always happy to do so, but she implies that God’s ear is more inclined

(or should I say, declined)

to hear my prayers.

Her request reminded me of a conversation I had with another friend, Donna, just yesterday. I’m pretty sure Donna won’t mind if I share it with you:

DDH: Good Morning, Friends! Hope each of you are happy and have a deep settled peace and joy within you today~~ if not, please allow me to pray for you, I am no one special, but any of us can go to God in prayer, the Word says He hears the sincere cries of our hearts – and that means ANY of us 🙂 ~ know that Jesus will fill the difficult places of your life with His peace, and yes, even with His joy~~ Blessings and love to each of you~~ ♥ 🙂

Here is my reply to Donna:

KCB: Love this! So many people ask me to pray for them, as if I have a special connection to God. Well, I do! But so does anyone who calls upon the Lord!

There are many many many verses that support what I said to her, including:

Joel 2:32 And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

I’m not special! But yet, you and I are both special to God! So SPEAK UP! God hears you!

 

Kneeeeee Mail!

I don’t know about you, but I tend to save things in my inbox to prompt me to remember stuff. Of course, it gets cumbersome after a while and I end up deleting the whole pile, wondering why I saved it in the first place.

One such email came from Dayspring.com, which is where I used to get and send a lot of email cards to friends – encouragement, birthday cards, and the like. Well, on a particularly stressful, sad day I received one with the subject line, “Your Worth Is Beyond Measure.”

Wow.

I received that on July 27, and it still gives me chills.

See, I have a friend who says that she lived with depression for most of her life. And the difference for her was discovering her value to God. “More than rubies!” She says.

And shortly before I got that email, she’d reminded me of that. “More than rubies!”

Only, I can’t seem to get that from my head to my heart.

And just writing that makes me cry.

So, I’ve kept the email, and as many emails as I’ve deleted, that one stays. Lord, help me to “get” that. I know You love me. But man… life is really hard sometimes.

My depression is more an energy thing, than a sadness thing. I am not “sad.” I’m frozen.

But, at times, yes I am sad.

Take this email:

Hello,

We’re the __________ a caring facility that provides specialized diagnosis and treatment services for children, adolescents and adults suffering from a wide range of psychiatric and addiction challenges. We’re contacting you regarding a challenging career opportunity for a very special, compassionate Registered Nurse who wants to work in our _______________ location where he or she can dramatically impact the lives of those in need.

Yes, I am an RN, and that advertisement came out of the blue to my inbox.

It made me sad.

I saved it until I could write this blog without tears.

Yea, nice try. (sniff)

You see, years ago, that ad would have been one to make me leap up with joy, and send off my resume without hesitation.

Today, not so much, because I know I can’t do that anymore.

There was a time I might have been able to.

But ironically my own “psychiatric and addiction challenge” makes it so I can’t accept “a challenging career.”

Even working in retail is too much of a challenge. (Not that retail is easy. No no no).

But I must remember: “My worth is greater than rubies.”

Sure. But it’s hard to believe that when you can’t “even” work.

But what I can do is enjoy my life.

So “they” say, lol.

Now I’ve been through many years of therapy, hospitalizations, outpatient programs, etc.

My greatest challenge is “accepting that I have a mental illness.”

I put that in quotes, because I can hear my therapist saying that to me (as he has, over and over and over. YUCK).

One of the things that all these programs recommend is to find those things that I enjoy, and do them. That’s supposed to help me enjoy my life.

Well, on a good day, a day when I thought to challenge myself (there’s that word again), I told myself, “enjoy your life!” and went to an arts and crafts store. Ironically, that’s the kind of retail store I last tried to work at, and failed.

Anyway, on that good day I signed up to take a crocheting class.

I am actually looking forward to it.

And trying to block my mind from the fact that “a challenging career opportunity for a very special, compassionate Registered Nurse” is not in my future.

But “Your Worth Is Beyond Measure.” That is something I could put my teeth around.

(Is that an expression? lol)

Well, in the immortal words of Elvis Presley: I need “Only Believe.” (Click the link)

I have to chuckle. Elvis, who died from drugs and alcohol, telling me to “Only Believe.”

But I think, even from the grave, it speaks to me.

One of the AA stories I used to hear is “How to become an old-timer,” a person with years and years of sobriety. They’d say, “Don’t Drink and Don’t Die.”

Pretty simple.

Meanwhile, as long as we have breath, there’s a chance (praise the Lord). So don’t drink. And don’t die.

It helps to send a knee mail, too. Because when I send a “knee mail” to God, praying on my knees, things happen.

Unfortunately, when I’m depressed, I forget. That’s when my friends kick in, and pray for me. Thank God! I’d never make it through without those prayers!

Mark 10:27 KJV

And Jesus looking upon them saith , With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

It’s nice to share!

Let me talk to you about sharing.

There are a couple of uses of the word, with which most are familiar. There’s the “half and half” sharing we learn as toddlers, wherein you get a cookie, I get two. You get a cookie – never mind, I get all the cookies. Let’s talk about blocks…

Then there’s the “sharing from the heart” that I will attempt on this page.

The origin of the word “share” (see Websters) is the Middle English word schare, from Old English scear; akin to Old High German scaro plowshare, Old English scieran to cut — hmm, cut. Seems appropriate and I’ll tell you why …

Since last December my son has been staying with me for “a while.” (His definition, not mine). Life had taken its toll and he needed some Mommy time (my definition, not his). And so, not having had the wisdom to take pen and paper and notary seal in hand, I said, “sure.”

I was thrilled. A mom lives to hear that her children need her. Many, of us do, anyway. In my case, I had hungered to even hear from him. The ole, is he dead and did he wear clean underwear kind of thing.

Yeah. Torture.

He had spent time in the Army, and though he was always Stateside, I worried. Especially since apparently they’d broken his fingers and he couldn’t even text. My goodness.

And so, I drove the million (less than 200) miles to get him, and his few paltry boxes, with joy.

Now, I’m not saying I had no reservations. I also own a few paltry boxes, ok, a few more than his, but not many. Pretty Spartan. I live in an efficiency apartment: Small, in other words, and not in a cute tiny houses way like you see in magazines. It is strictly functional, and may I emphasize, intended for one person.

The pay (disability) check, also intended for one.

The energy of the lessee, also limited to one. I had worked hard to reach this stage of my life: That stage of knowing my limits, having experienced the ups and downs of bipolar that reinforce those limits.

Ok, I guess you probably get my drift.

Now let us get down to the nitty gritty. The most painful part of this process, going on a year later? Sharing my computer.

Now I admit, my computer’s chief function is my amusement. Yes, it’s been a lifeline at times. Yes, I have made fast friends that I hope to have for a lifetime. But mostly, it’s for fun. And I resent having to curb my amusement. There is only so much I can stand of reading in bed. (No offense to the authors). I know, DS [Dear Son] requires more amusement than I, after all, I am more mature, but waaaah! I want my computer!

And now I have something semi-productive that I need to do with it. I need to write my 50,000 worrrrds for Nano! And though I can say what I mean on Facebook or in my blog, there are conditions that have to be met when I am seriously writing, and Nano qualifies:

1. I need to be alone. Someone waiting his turn or sleeping on the couch does not meet this criterion.

2. I need to be able to pound on the keyboard or tippie-toe on it, according to the emotion I’m trying to convey. Again, trying not to wake the giant does not meet this requirement.

3. I need to be inspired, and not harboring ideas of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. I mean couch. Again, this does not achieve my goal.

There are more things I could add to this list. For example, my sugar and caffeine levels must be exquisitely balanced. The humidity and temperature must meet certain requirements. My pencils must be 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

But an actual excuse? I don’t like it.

That said, let me tell you about the bathroom…

“A Christian Bipolar”: Say what?

I’ve been looking at the new title of my blog that refers to me as “A Christian Bipolar,” and I’m just not crazy about it. It fits, but I don’t like it. It sounds awkward, stilted. It fits .. but I don’t like it.

Well, let’s address the Christian part. I grew up Catholic, but when I was 13 and my parents divorced, we quit the church. I still tried a few times as an adult to go back, but it never really fit. (There’s that word again. Now I’m going to start talking about clothes, haha… but that’s a whole nother story).

Then in 2000 I met a lady who was a fellow employee at a nursing home. Pat was a CMT (Certified Med Tech) and I never understood how she could get all those meds into all those people and still be happy. But she was. One day, I asked her why, and she told me about the Lord Jesus Christ, and about this church where she went.

I didn’t go right away. But one day I was working at another facility (I was an agency nurse), and a lady and her 8 year old son came in to play music and sing to the patients. As I passed medications, they went room to room singing hymns. I kept trying to catch up with them; I really hungered to hear what they were singing. And by the time my shift was ended, I really really needed what they had, what Pat had, and what I didn’t. Now I don’t understand why I had this need. It had been building for a while, I guess, but this particular morning it felt really urgent.

The day that this mother and son came to the nursing home, it just happened to be a Sunday, and I just happened to have to drive by the church Pat had told me about. I’ve heard that referred to as a “God-Incidence” (as opposed to “coincidence”). Anyway, I got to the church between their early and late morning services.

It was like a party! There was rock-ish Christian music playing, and people were milling about drinking coffee and eating pastries. I felt at home right away, and began to go from person to person, asking after Pat. “Do you know Pat ___?” “Have you seen Pat ___?”

No one seemed to know her, but I knew in my heart that God had brought me to this place – literally, to this church, as well as spiritually. It was the perfect time.

The late morning service started, and people tucked their cups of coffee under their chairs and stood, facing the front. The music changed to a slower tempo. Some closed their eyes, and their bodies began to sway. I thought, hmm, this is different. The words to the song appeared on a screen in front, and people started singing. The words reached into my heart and ministered to my soul. It is hard to explain, but again, it was just what I needed, at the time that I needed it.

After a couple of songs, the pastor went up onto the stage and began to preach a message. An outline to the sermon appeared on the screen, along with different verses from the Bible.

I can’t say I remember what the sermon was that day, but I did start going to the church on a regular basis. I began to hear things like “Born Again,” and “Being Saved,” things about Jesus, and why He came, but I didn’t begin to understand until around Easter, when the pastor really addressed it. The scriptures spoke to my heart and convinced me that I was a sinner in need of a Savior. There is more here about that and it would be worth your while to read it. This was really the beginning of my Christian walk, and quite different from my Catholic background in a lot of ways. I’m not saying that if you’re Catholic you are on the wrong path, but I will say there are things I learned growing up that are not in the Bible. Say no more, say no more.

Since then, my chief aim in life has been to walk closer with the Lord and to be more like Him every day. I just have this extra “spice” of being bipolar that makes that really difficult sometimes.

Sounds like a very ordinary story, and really it is. I do know God brought me to that place and has accompanied me ever since – though there are places I truly wish He’d walked me around, instead of through. It’s worth it, though. I know where I am going when I die. The Bible says that “… the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people.” (1 Samuel 12:22). Elsewhere, the Bible says, “And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: (Jeremiah 32:38) That gives me so much peace! To know I am His; to know He is mine.

Do read the page I referenced above, about salvation. You may not be ready now, but there may come a day when something happens that reminds you of “that place,” and you too need to go there, with some urgency in your heart. It is nice to know where to go, when you need to go Home, and never be alone again.

Like I said, it was not to my parents’ God I fled. It was to my own. I’ve never regretted it.

Depression is a funny thing.

Haha, very funny.

My brother’s yearbook photo has his favorite expression: “Funny haha? or Funny peculiar?”

I’d say depression is funny peculiar.

First off, there are a lot of “shoulds” in the world about depression.

You “should” be grateful, you “shouldn’t” be sad, you have every reason in the world to be happy, just pull yourself up by the bootstraps, yada yada to the nth degree.

Obviously the people who say such things have never HAD depression.

Maybe they have BEEN depressed, but that is not the same thing.

Well, here is an example. I am wandering the internet trying to research this new novel I’m going to be working on, and somehow I land on a blog written by parents who lost their baby daughter at 4 months of age.

Now THAT is something to be depressed about, right?

And, I have no right to be depressed; I’ve never gone through anything like THAT!

So buck up, kiddo. SMILE.

Ugh, that was Dad’s pet peeve, he was always after me to SMILE.

Well, I don’t believe in being dishonest. I remember talking to a friend at church about it. If I am not happy, I’m not going to be standing around smiling like a blooming idiot.

For one thing, people who do that depress the heck out of me lol…

But seriously, when I’m at church, for example, depressed, looking around me, I think I’m the only one who is struggling here, “everyone” else is happy therefore there is something wrong with me.

But if people would tell the truth about how they were feeling, wouldn’t we be better able to help each other? I don’t understand… 😦

Mind you, I’m not depressed today. I am happily alone in my apartment (yay!) raided the candy machine downstairs, took a nap, working on my book, all is right in the world.

But on some days I could have identical conditions and feel entirely different. The best definition I found online: Depression is “a psychiatric disorder characterized by an inability to concentrate, insomnia, loss of appetite, anhedonia, feelings of extreme sadness, guilt, helplessness and hopelessness, and thoughts of death. Also called clinical depression.” (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/depression).

For me, it isn’t even a feeling of sadness. It is a feeling of nothingness: no joy, no energy, nothing. The word “anhedonia” above means “the absence of pleasure, or the inability to experience it,” and that pretty much sums it up.

“But what about the God thing?”

Yes, as a Christian, I am often told, I should be one of the happiest people on earth. I have salvation, I have Christ living in me, I have the Holy Spirit as my guide .. oh dear… another “should.”

And hearing that I “should” be one of the happiest people on earth makes me feel very sad. No, beyond sad. Ashamed.

And that is probably the more pervasive of anything I feel when I’m depressed. 😦

Elsewhere in the blog, I will talk about ways that scripture can help with depression, and specific actions you can take that will help.

But for now, I just want to say that if you want to “should” on me, that’s probably the best way to assure that I will 1. stay depressed, 2. feel ashamed, and 3. avoid your counsel altogether.

Just so’s you know.

NANO NANO – no, not a Robin Williams reference…

November First begins what’s called “National Novel Writing Month.” I think it is 3 times that I have “won” – which means that I have challenged myself to write 50,000 words in 30 days, and made it! There are other years that I have made an attempt but for some reason – distraction, depression, distraction … yes I said it twice – have not been successful.

If you want more information go to http://www.nanowrimo.org.

This is really good for those of us whose internal editor is grossly overpaid. I think I am going to participate this year but I haven’t come up w/ a potential plot. I really haven’t tried yet. I think it would be fun to use my 27 year old as the main character. Who know? I might work out some conflicts that we have not discussed yet lol…

It’s interesting that I say I am so “into” writing but I still have difficulty writing this blog. Maybe if I write it as a “fictional” (wink wink nudge nudge) account I will be more active.

I appreciate everyone who has been following, making comments, and “liking” my blog so far!