Peace in the Midst of Trouble….

I read an interesting quote. “Peace is not the absence of trouble. It is Christ in the midst of trouble.” That is so true.

I recently found a childhood friend that I have not seen for many years. I decided to share info about my history of child abuse (being abused and being an abuser- 35 years ago). I tried in one paragraph to explain things like Bipolar Depression, Borderline Personality Disorder, DBT skills therapy, and other facets of my mental illness. I do not know if I will ever hear from my old friend again.

Another old friend, who has been like a second mother to me, can not understand why I tell the world all of my secrets. She keeps her innermost secrets hidden, as most people do.

I share my secrets because I genuinely care about you, the person who is suffering with mental illness, you the person who loves someone with a mental illness or you who are curious and would like to know more about depression, anger, anxiety and other mental health issues. I want to help you the way others have helped me. You are not hopeless. God loves you and He can radically change your life.

I am far from perfect as anyone who knows me will tell you. But after years of counseling, trying numerous different medications until I found the ones that worked for me and years of God’s compassion, love, mercy and forgiveness I am not the person I was 35 years ago. I am mentally stable most of the time (unless I miss my medications for some reason). My life has been a total nightmare- a roller coaster of ups and downs.

Jesus has been with me every step of the way. He is my rock, my fortress, my redeemer and friend. He is my shelter in the time of storm. He is the light in my darkest days. He will never leave me. He will never forsake me. He will never die. Yes, peace is not the absence of trouble. It is Christ in the middle of trouble.

Are you depressed? You need Jesus. Have you been abused? You need Jesus. Have you said and done terrible things? You need Jesus. Are you struggling with addictions? You need Jesus. Whoever you are and whatever you have done God loves you. He created you. You are so precious and valuable to Him that He died on the cross- He paid for all of your sins. If you confess your sins and trust in Jesus He will forgive you and adopt you into His family and give you a home in heaven and eternal life. He will give you peace that passes all human understanding.

After you have found Jesus, there are three things I would ask you to do. They have helped me more than anything and they will be a great help to you. Find a Bible preaching church. The preaching from God’s Word comforts me, encourages me, inspires me, corrects me, challenges me, and has changed my life. Next, find a Celebrate Recovery Group in a church where you live. It is a Christian 12 step group- Jesus Christ is the higher power that can change your life and help you with your hurts, habits and hangups. I have met people whose lives have been changed and freed from addictions to alcohol, drugs, sex, food, pornography, hurts from child abuse, hurts from divorce and so many other issues. You are not hopeless. Jesus can free you from your addictions. The third thing I would recommend is that you get counseling. Call your local mental health clinic and ask for a psychiatric evaluation. A psychiatrist prescribed the medication I needed to keep me stable. A therapist is a caring person who will listen to what is on your heart and help you to see things more clearly.

Are you thinking about ending it all? Are you feeling like life is just too hard to bear and that people would be better off without you? Please call the phone number below and talk to someone. You can get help. Your life is not hopeless. Don’t give up. Please call the number below. You will be glad you did.

SUICIDE HOTLINE

1-800-273-8255

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Your friend,

Terri D

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Bentley And the Snow

I woke up early this morning and saw that it was still snowing outside. The snow was almost two feet high. The dogs, my Labrador Willow and my dachshund Bentley wanted to run outside and play in the snow. They could not understand why I would not let them outside to play. The snow would have been over Bentley’s head. I had to prepare the way. I had to shovel a path for Bentley so that it would be safe for him to go outdoors.

In the same way, we often do not understand why God does not give us what we want when we want it. God sees what we do not see. God sees that it is not good for us or if it is a person, they are not ready for us. Perhaps God needs to work on that person, and prepare his or her heart for us. Perhaps we are not ready and God needs to prepare our hearts. God often sees that the time is not right to get what we want and that we need to wait and to trust Him knowing that he wants to protect us, keep us safe and do what is best for us in the long run.

The Bible says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.”

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Are You Depressed?

My Unhappy Friend

My friend is lonely. She is depressed. She is not exercising. She is not eating right. She is not getting along with family members. She is not praying or reading the Bible, in fact she has not been in church in months. She is miserable and unhappy.

My Advice

I listened. I interrupted a few times. ( I am really bad at interrupting. I drive my husband crazy). I told her repeatedly- just do one thing. Go to church. At the end I told her- don’t try to do everything. Just pick one thing to do- and the most important thing for you to do is to go to church every Sunday.

Going to Church Is Hard

Sometimes going to church is so hard, especially for people who suffer from depression. So many Sunday mornings when I had very little sleep the night before I don’t want to go to church. I want to stay home and sleep all day. God will understand…. but I get up, eat breakfast, take a shower, dress nice (nice shirt and jeans) and I force myself to go to church. I am ALWAYS glad I did.

Why Going to Church Is Important

It is important to go to church- not for GOD’S benefit but for OUR benefit. Of course by church I am referring to a Bible preaching church. People are friendly and happy to see you there. ( If you go for a few weeks and nobody talks to you find another Bible preaching church). You will receive a warm welcome. The worship music is beautiful. You don’t even have to sing. You can just listen and hear about the mercy, love, grace and goodness of Jesus. The offering is a time of grateful people giving God back a portion of all He has given for them.

The Preaching of the Cross

The preaching of the cross is powerful, challenging, encouraging, comforting, inspiring and life changing because of the power of Almighty God. The preaching of Jesus death on the cross to pay for your sins because He loves you so very much and his offer of forgiveness he gift of eternal life and a home in heaven can change your life forever. We need to be reminded over and over again that we matter, that we are valuable to God, that we are created by God and that we are His Masterpiece.

The Devil’s Plan

The devil does not want you to go to church. He wants you to be miserable and unhappy. He wants to destroy your life and use you to destroy the lives of other people. When you repent of your sins and trust in Jesus you become a child of God. You are part of a family. United we stand- divided we fall. We help each other, we are stronger together, we are part of the Lord’s army. We are in a spiritual battle with our enemy the devil. A person- any person- is not your enemy. The devil may be controlling them and you need to pray for them. In God’s family we pray for each other. We love each other. We encourage each other.

“I Have No Friends At Church.

I love my church. They are my family- God’s family. I have been going there for six years and not one person has ever invited me to their house. I joined a small group. My husband and I love our small group. We meet twice a month. It is a Bible study and a potluck. We pray with each other and for each other.

Take Action

I got tired of not being invited to people’s houses. So I invited people to come to my house once a week for a woman’s Bible study. We studied the Bible and the book Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Will Set Them Free. It was an excellent study for anyone, male or female. I highly recommend this book. But out of our entire church only three people came to my home for a Bible study. (One more lady came for a few studies at the end of the study and two people did a correspondence study with me). But those three friends became very special to me- my three best friends in Michigan (along with my sister Mary). We were a support group for each other.

CONCLUSION

Go to a good Bible preaching church. If the music and preaching are good, keep going. Join a small group. I take back what I said earlier. If the people are not friendly then they need YOU to be friendly. Introduce yourself to people. Ask people questions. People love to talk about themselves. If all you can do is drag yourself to church once a week then do that. Ask God to help you. Force yourself to get out of that bed, eat, shower, do your hair, dress nice (jeans are fine) and go to church. Step two is joining a small group. Step three is joining what’s called a Celebrate Recovery Group, a Christian 12 step group that meets in churches and helps people with their hurts, habits and hang ups.

I am praying for you, dear reader. Please. Go to church every week. That is your top priority. If you are doing all three of these things it is up to you to decide what you need next, what is important to you and what you need to do.

If your life seems hopeless and you think you will never be happy and that people are better off without you- if you are even contemplating maybe trying to end your life you need to call the suicide hotline. They can help you. Call them. Talk to them. They truly care about you. I care about you. Please call, right now.

1-800-273-8255

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My Daily Reflection

An Incredible Story

When I woke up this morning I grabbed a Readers Digest. The story I happened to read was about a woman with two daughters going through a divorce and her Dad was dying. She went for a walk on the beach one day and God told her to paint. So she gave up her job, went to Michael’s and they had so many kinds of paints she had no idea what to buy. A salesman chose some acrylic paints for her, she bought an easel, canvas, paint and she just began to paint- with no art classes, no experience and nothing but the talent God gave her. She lived near the beach. She painted many paintings as time passed. Her two daughters started painting also. She took photos of her paintings with her phone so she could look at them. She had so many paintings that she covered every wall of her house. One day she was walking by an art gallery. She went inside and talked to the owner of the art gallery. She showed him photos of her paintings. He gave her a private art show! Next God told her to write a children’s book! I closed the magazine. I did not want to read any more. Really? It was that easy for her?

My Negative Reaction

“I’m such a loser. I cannot paint. I can not write a book. Nobody likes my blogs. There is a guy on WordPress that gets 100 likes every day. What does he write about? How to be a better writer. Writers on WordPress eat that up. I have never written a book and I cannot help people to be better writers.” I told my husband.

Why I Write

I write about God. And God is just not very popular. But God tells me to keep writing about Him. “Why?” I ask God? “Nobody is reading anything I write.” “Because” God tells me. “That other writer tells people how to be better writers. I want you to tell people how to be better people.”

I write sermons by Rick Warren because they are so encouraging and inspirational and brighten my whole day. I listen to them every morning. They remind me that GOD needs to be number one in my life. They remind me that people are more important than material things. They remind me that I need to relax and enjoy life and be content with the things I already have. They remind me that God loves me and has plans for my life. They remind me that I have a lot to be grateful for. They remind me that when the future looks black- Jesus will be my light. He will give me strength when I am weak and weary. God will give me hope when things look hopeless. When I have said and done terrible things I confess my sins to God and find compassion, mercy, love and forgiveness.

What About You?

I know God can help you. God can change your life. God loves you. God has the power you need. He will give you strength when all your strength is gone. He will be your light when everything around you feels totally black. He will give you hope when you feel hopeless. Christian- you need Jesus. Atheist- you need Jesus. Jew- you need Jesus, the Messiah. Widow or divorcee, you need Jesus. You who battle with depression and borderline personality disorder and anxiety like I do- you need Jesus. Teenager, you need Jesus. No matter what religion you belong to- you need Jesus. Today is the day to cry out to God. Ask Jesus to forgive your sin. Believe in Him (His virgin birth, death on the cross and resurrection) and ask Him to be your Lord and Savior.

To the Christian

Christian, look around you at the snow, the trees, the birds, the blue sky, the white clouds and the dark sky. Look at the pet you love so much. Jesus Christ created all of them- for you. He loves you. He is powerful. He can and will meet your every need. He will not give you everything you want but He will give you what you need. Are you facing a dark night?

God will give you the grace to get through each day one day at a time. Confess your sin. Ask for forgiveness. Trust in Jesus. Lay all of your burdens at the cross and He will give you the peace that passes all human understanding. Do it right now, today. You will be so glad you did.

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DO YOU HAVE BIPOLAR DEPRESSION?

WHAT IS BIPOLAR DEPRESSION

Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania) and lows (depression). Moods affect sleep, energy, judgment, behavior and the ability to think clearly.

RISK FACTORS

Having a close family member with bipolar disorder.

Going through a period of high stress such as the death of a loved one.

Drug or alcohol use and abuse.

CAUSES

Biological: Physical changes in the brain

Genetics: Having a close family member with bipolar disorder

SYMPTOMS

Feeling sad or hopeless

Feeling abnormally upbeat, jumpy or wired

Having increased activity, energy or agitation

Having euphoria – extreme feelings of joy and self-confidence

Decreased need for sleep

Unusual talkativeness

Racing thoughts

Easily distracted

Poor decision making

Taking sexual risks

Going on spending sprees

Making foolish investments

Feeling sad, empty or hopeless

Tearful

Teens and children: irritability

Significant weight loss or gain

Insomnia

Sleeping too much

Fatigue and loss of energy

Restlessness

Slow behavior

Feelings of worthlessness

Excessive guilt

Decreased ability to think, concentrate or make decisions

Anxiety

Thinking about, planning or attempting suicide

(I found the information above at http://www.mayoclinic.org )

DIAGNOSIS: Must be made by a psychiatrist.

The only one qualified to make a diagnosis of bipolar disorder is a psychiatrist. If you think you have bipolar disorder your first step is to call a psychiatrist or a mental health clinic and make an appointment for a psychiatric evaluation.

Treatment

You will speak with the psychiatrist who may prescribe medicine for you. There is nothing wrong with needing medicine. Bipolar disorder is a chemical imbalance in the brain. If you were diabetic you would take insulin and it would save your life.If you have bipolar disorder, you may need to take medicine and it could also save your life. Or it could just give you a better quality of life. You will also need to speak regularly to a therapist. This is a nonjudgmental person who is kind and caring. They will listen to you and a good therapist will give you feedback. Most of mine have been very good. My suggestion is to see a therapist for a minimum of six times. If your therapist is not helping you, ask for a new therapist.

MY STORY

I was totally out of control. I was a wonderful mother – very loving and attentive and playful one minute and then screaming at or beating my children the next minute. I could not manage my overwhelming and powerful emotions. I lost custody of my children and permanently damaged them for life. They were taken away from me and three of them grew up in numerous foster homes- separated from me and from each other. They grew up feeling unwanted and unloved because I was so out of control and abusive. Not everybody who has bipolar disorder is violent like I was. That is my story.

TODAY

I am on medication and I see a therapist regularly. I am not the person I was 30 years ago. Medication and if you have bipolar disorder, you may need to take medicine and it could also save your life. Or it could just give you a better quality of life. You will need to speak to a therapist. I am on medication and I see a therapist regularly. I thank God that I am not the person I was 30 years ago. Medication, counseling, JESUS, and a lot of supportive people have saved my life.

YOR LIFE

You cannot imagine the difference medication and therapy can make in your life. I was totally out of control in years past and now I am pretty stable most of the time. When I stop taking my medication, I become unstable. It is important to note that many people take the medication, they feel better because of the medication, and they start taking the medication because they feel better. If you are feeling better it is because the medication is working. Do not stop taking your medication.

I hope this blog is a help to you or someone you love.

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FULFILLING ALL YOUR NEEDS

[The universe, the earth, the mountains, the deserts, the oceans, everything has been created by the power of God. By this same Almighty power, He can meet all of your needs.] [Brackets- my comments].

1. God (Jesus) said, “I am your shepherd.” Psalm 23 [Jesus repeated,”I am the good shepherd. I lay down my life for my sheep.” ] God promises you, I will take care of you, I will bless you, I will protect you, I will save you, I will guide you, I will direct you, I will discipline you when you need it, I will do all of these things. When you are so tired you cannot put one foot in front of the other, I will carry you.

[God makes this promise to his children. How do you become a child of God? You confess your sin and ask Jesus to forgive you. You believe in Him- His virgin birth, his death on the cross and His resurrection. In Romans 3:10 in the Bible Jesus tells us that we are ALL sinners. In John 3:16 Jesus said,”For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

2. Give God first place in every area of your life. You don’t just pray, “Yeah, God I just want you to get me into heaven”. You pray “You need to be number one in every area of my life.” Matthew 6:31 NLT tells us “Your Heavenly Father knows perfectly well what you need.” God knows your needs more than you do.If you did not have needs you would never trust in God. God will give you what you need if you give him first place in your life and you live as he wants you to live.

3. RELAX. God wants you to relax. Give him all of your worries in prayer. Then count all your blessings. Make a list of all the things God has done for you. Write down your list of blessings, save that list and when you start feeling down, take out that list and read it. Sometimes you need to make a list of all of your worries. Write them all down. Then give all of those worries to God. When you are worried, don’t repress it, don’t suppress it, express it. Give it to God. If you take a can of coke, shake it up and put it into a freezer it will explode. The same is true in your life.

Jesus said in Philippians 4:6-7 “Don’t worry about anything, instead, pray about everything.” Tell God all of your needs and thank him for all he has done for you. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. You will have peace when you have no logical, rational reason to have peace. Then you will be a witness to the world and people will say, “Man, I want to be like that guy or that woman. She has peace in the middle of chaos. RELAX. Every time you start to get worried say, “The LORD is my shepherd.”

4. TRUST GOD FOR ONE DAY AT A TIME. Matthew 6:34 says,”Don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will have it’s own worries. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own.” God will give you the grace you need for today. He will not give you the grace you need for tomorrow until tomorrow. That does not mean you do not plan for the future. The fool makes no plans for the future. Have you planned for your eternal future? Have you made peace with God? When you worry about tomorrow ‘s problems you miss all the blessings of today. God will help you to deal with whatever hard things happen when the time comes.

IF YOU HAVE STRUGGLED WITH CHRONIC ANXIETY AND YOU’VE HAD IT FOR YEARS

1. See a Doctor. Get a check up. Have some tests done.

2. [Have a psychological evaluation]. Get a good therapist.

3. Medicine might help you. It’s OK to need medicine. When a person’s chemistry is messed up some people are chronically anxious. Other people are chronically angry or chronically depressed. If you’re having a chemical imbalance in your [brain] and you say “just trust God” it is like cutting the wing off a bird and saying “OK fly.” If it doesn’t have a wing a bird is not going to fly. You may have to get your brain stabilized with medication.

4. WHAT GOD GIVES TO ME, HE WANTS TO GIVE THROUGH ME.

God wants you to share everything he gives you with others. When God meets your needs, he want you to meet the needs of other people. When you meet other people’s needs with what God has blessed you with, God gets extremely happy. God is a generous God.

From “Letting God Meet My Needs” Part 3 by Rick Warren

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YOU DO NOT HAVE TO WORRY BECAUSE….

[The universe, the earth, the Rocky Mountains, Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon and YOU were created by Almighty God. He exists, whether you believe in Him nor not. That same powerful God can change your life. He really can. I know because He changed my life. – Terri]

1. GOD IS THE SOURCE OF EVERYTHING YOUNEED TO LIVE

“The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing.” Psalm 23:1You do not have to look anywhere else to have your needs met- not Wall Street, not the government, not your spouse, not your IRA, not Social Security and not your job. You need to put your security in something that can never be taken away from you. You can lose your health, your job, your good looks, your husband, your family, your life and your mind. Do not put your security in any one or anything – they can be taken from you. The only thing that matters is your relationship with God. Nobody can take that away from you.

“The Lord is your shepherd.” Psalm 23:1What is a shepherd? The shepherd is the person who cares for sheep. Sheep are defenseless animals. They have a lot of natural predators. They are not fast, they cannot run, they do not have claws and they do not have sharp teeth that can bite. They are not very smart animals. They get lost, fall off cliffs – they really need a defender, a shepherd. Left on its own a sheep is going to get eaten.

What does a shepherd do? This is what God, our shepherd wants to do for you.

A shepherd feeds, leads and meets needs. God says he will be your shepherd. He will feed you, he will lead you and he will meet your needs. Sometimes you need protection. Sometimes you need comfort. Sometimes you need encouragement. Sometimes you need discipline. Sometimes you need direction. If you are a parent, you are a shepherd. It is your job to feed, lead and meet needs. If you are in a management position it is your job to feed, lead and meet needs. You feed information and motivation. The word pastor is the Greek word for shepherd. It is your pastor’s job to feed you the Bible. It is your pastor’s job to lead you and to meet your needs. If you are in any caring ministry you are a shepherd.

2. There is nothing you need that God cannot supply. “God will supply all you ever need from his glorious resources in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NLT. God’s goodness is not based on your goodness. It is based on his goodness. You don’t have to be good for God to be good to you. God is good to you because of what Jesus did on the cross.

3. God does not want you to worry about anything. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. “Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Philippians 4:6NLT. Worry may be the most common sin on the planet. Worry is rebellion against God. God tells us we don’t need to worry. God tells us he does not want us to worry. You can pray or you can panic. If you’re not praying, you’re panicking. You either worry or you worship. When you invite worship in the front door worrying goes out the back door. When you invite worry in the front door worship goes out the back door.

WHY DOESN’T GOD WANT YOU TO WORRY?

1. WORRY IS UNREASONABLE, ILLOGICAL AND IRRATIONAL. . “Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or drink. And don’t worry about your body or what you will wear. Your life is far more important then clothes.” Matthew 6:25NLT.

1. You worry about the wrong thing. We worry about the little stuff – how you look, what you feel, what you say, if you are running late.We worry about things that will not matter in five years. If you are going to worry -worry about things that are eternal not external. Worry about stuff that’s going to matter in 10 years or 100 years or 1000 years or for eternity. Most of the things we worry about are temporary things.

2. You worry about things we cannot change. To worry about something you cannot change is useless. To worry about something you can change is stupid. If you can change it – change it. Worrying about it will not change it at all.

3. Anytime you worry about something it keeps getting bigger in your mind. If somebody criticizes you, says an unkind word to you, makes an off the wall comment and hurts your feelings you worry about that. What does that mean? They’ve probably already forgotten it. They probably did not even mean it in the first place. If you keep going over a worry in your mind, the worry never gets smaller. When you worry it always get bigger. If you continue worrying you think the whole world hates you. That is the irrationality of worry.

2. WORRY IS UNNATURAL. “Look at the birds of the air. They don’t sow or reap or store away in barns. And yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than birds?” Nature does not worry. Human beings are the only things God created in all of the universe that worry. Ants, horses, cows, plants and rocks do not worry. Worry is rebellion against God. It is unnatural. You were not made to worry.“Why do you worry about your clothes? Look at the flowers. Look at the field of lilies. They don’t worry about how they look. Yet King Solomon in all his glory was not clothed as beautiful as they are.” Matthew 6:28, 29 If you have ever looked closely at an orchid or a rose or any kind of flower you can see the design, the detail and the beauty. Look at a wildflower. God says they are beautiful just the way they are. They do not have to put on make up. They do not have to get fancy and they do not have to worry about how they appear to everyone else. They are beautiful. You are beautiful just the way you are. God created everything else but he made you his child. God is not the father of horses, cows, birds or ants. They were not made in God’s image. You are distinctly different from all the animals. You were made in gods image. Have you ever seen a cow praying? You never see a doggy going to warship. God cares for you as a father. Children get special privileges. You are worth more than the birds.

3. Worry is unhelpful. It is useless. It does not change anything. “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Matthew 6:27 Worry cannot make you an inch taller, an inch shorter, bigger or smaller, or thinner or fatter. Worry does not work. Worry can shorten your life. Tension and stress can shorten your life. Worry about any one problem in your life will never make you one step closer to the solution. Worry is stewing without doing. It is investing a lot of emotional energy into something that is not going to do anything. It is like sitting in a rocking chair. You can rock back-and-forth back-and-forth back-and-forth but you have not moved 1 inch. You have made no progress at all. The only thing worry can change is you. It will make you miserable. It won’t change the person you are worried about. Worry cannot change anything in your past. It’s already done. Your past has passed so why are you worried about it? Warry cannot control your future. You are not controlling your future by worrying about it. If it can’t change the past and it can’t control the future what good does worry do? It would mess it up today. Proverbs 12:25 Tells us that were he weighs us down. You worry about so many things -you get discouraged, you get depressed and you get filled with despair. God tells us our body was not designed for worry. Every time you swallow your worry your stomach keeps score. Every time you swallow your worry you say oh my aching back. Oh I have a headache. All my stomach is upset. Why? Because you were not made to internalize worry. It is unhelpful. It is bad for your health. People who don’t worry don’t live as long.

message from Pastor Rick Warren.

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