September 10th- Suicide Prevention Awareness Day

I will never forget going to the funeral of a 19 year old girl. She completed suicide only two weeks before she was supposed to start college. She had been in an emotionally abusive relationship and the young man abruptly broke up with her. Her family and friends were devastated. She had been in my mentoring group for young people from Vietnam. All of them went on to college except her. It was a tragedy.

Out of the group one became a doctor, several became pharmacists, a few became nurses, one is an architect, one is a CPA, others engineers, but I still think about her. I lost track of her during the year before she died. She had quit coming to our group.

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The emotional distress people who attempt or complete suicide is difficult for many to understand. There can be any number of underlying issues the person faces. When I went through suicide prevention training, I learned that someone just asking if a person is contemplating can make a difference.

As a Christian, my desire is to reflect the love of Jesus to those around me. A person may not be ready to hear the message, but could benefit from someone caring if we are open to caring for others.

If you happen across this post because you searched suicide and you are considering it, please know that God truly cares about you. There is no one and nothing worth throwing your life away. As the video I am sharing at the end of this post says- Stay Another Day.

People need others who care about them in these difficult times. It can as simple as reaching out when one feels prompted to do so.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- Meet Me There by Lydia Laird

When I’m sure I’m forgotten and forsaken
When I find myself all alone and scared
When the chains of anxiety have brought me to my knees
Sweet Jesus, meet me there

I love the lyrics of Meet Me There by Lydia Laird. Jesus indeed meets us in our struggles, in our troubles, in our difficulties. There is never a moment Jesus is not with us. He has promised to always be with us, but we get bogged down in life and it is too easy for us to lose sight of the truth that Jesus is always with us.

This song is a reminder to look to Jesus in our struggles. He is waiting for us to do so.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays-I’ll Be Okay by Lydia Laird

When I read the about section for Lydia Laird’s site-lydialaird,com, three things got my attention. First she is a Christian. The other two things I related to, 1-she lived in Romania part of a missionary family, and 2- she has struggled with depression and anxiety which for me were side effects of chronic illness.

Whatever we go through in this life, we can know God is with us. We can look to God for help, comfort, and strength. Laird’s song I’ll Be Okay is a reflection of that borne out of her experience looking to God for help, comfort and strength.

May this song bless you as much or more than has me.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday-What Ifs?

None of us really goes through this life unscathed, but for some there can be hurtful memories from the past whether from family issues, abuse, trauma, job loss, health issues etc.

It is so easy to fall into the pitfall of the What If thinking. I have to admit at times in my life What Ifs have dragged me down.

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What If my father had not lost his business and found our he was diabetic when I was 12. What If he had not retreated in his vodka.

What If I had not experienced a serious health crisis and had to leave the school where I was studying for the ministry.

I know the What Ifs all to well.

But two scripture verses raise me up.

Romans 8:28- And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

God is always at work in my life to bring everything together for my good.

Ephesians 2:10- For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

God created me with abilities and talents to match what he is calling me to.

So how do I turn the What Ifs around when they try to raise their ugly heads?

What I do is change the What Ifs. Examples:

What If I had not had my health crisis 1993 to 1995. I would not have been led to what I do now.

What If I had not been through what I have been through. I would not have met the people Jesus has blessed me with meeting, sharing his love with, and helping.

What If my family life had not been so messed up. I would not have the empathy for others that I have now.

By changing my What Ifs, it keeps my focus on Jesus and his calling on my life. It helps to keep things like despair, self pity, etc out of my life.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

How Jesus Would View Simone Biles

Negative reactions to Simone Biles withdrawing from the Olympics has much more to do with how messed up values are in our culture than Simone Biles withdrawing. The one question I ask myself is how would Jesus view her?

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Here is a 24 year old woman who has spent the majority of her life training. She has already captured six medals in previous Olympics. But she is also a young woman who is a sexual assault survivor. She was victimized along with other young women by someone teen girls should be able to trust, a team doctor. She had the courage to come forward along with some of the other victims. That kind of trauma stays with a person. She pursued her love of gymnastics even while carrying that trauma in her spirit.

As a Christian, I am mindful of how even Jesus experienced being praised by people and then rejected and scoffed at by some of the same people during his Passion Week when he was crucified. Jesus views Simone Biles the same as he would any woman who has been victimized as Biles was. He views her as a young woman in need of healing for her soul and spirit and in need of his compassion.

That is the only way Christians should view her, as a young woman who has suffered at the hands of not only the man who assaulted her, but also at the hands of those in Team USA who sought to cover it up. She owes us nothing. She deserves compassion, understanding, and respect for having achieved as much as she has while dealing with trauma.

Thank you for reading God Bless.

Music Mondays- Peace Be Still Featuring Lauren Daigle with The Belonging Company

I don’t want to be afraid
Every time I face the waves
I don’t want to be afraid
I don’t want to be afraid
I don’t want to fear the storm
Just because I hear it roar
I don’t want to fear the storm
I don’t want to fear the storm

I love this recording by Lauren Daigle. When I listen to it, it reminds me to look to Jesus in while going through difficult times such as waking up with pain wondering how I will make it through a day.

There are two times recorded in the bible involving Jesus and his disciples. followers, being in a storm while in a boat. There was the time Jesus walked on the water through the storm and the time Jesus was sleeping in the boat when the storm came.

In Mark 4 we read about Jesus sleeping in the boat in the midst of the storm. The disciples were freaking out and woke him up. Jesus simple said 3 words, “Peace, be still,” and the storm stopped and the waters calmed.

In Matthew 14 we about Jesus walking on the water in the midst of a rough waters and says to his disciples who thought he was a ghost. “Take Courage, It is I. Do not be afraid.”.

Storms come and go in our lives. We face difficult times. In the difficult times, Jesus comes to us just as he did the disciples. Our worst problems he can quiet with a few words.

When Peter tried to walk out to Jesus on the water and faltered, Jesus didn’t let him drown. Jesus picked him up out of the water.

What so easily overwhelms us, Jesus has power over it.

I live with chronic illness. Jesus comes to me in the mornings as I pray to give me strength for the day.

We might live with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, addiction, yet Jesus will come to us.

Sometimes Jesus calms the storms in our lives and sometimes he joins in the midst of the storms and tells us to take courage because he is with us.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday- Jesus Understands Inner Turmoil

Being in turmoil emotionally can be caused by many life experiences such as the death of a loved one, family problems, loss of a job, living with anxiety just to name a few.

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When I pray, it is comforting to know that Jesus understands. He understands because he lived in this life and experienced the ups and downs of this life. Inner turmoil, emotional turmoil. is something Jesus understands.

The night Jesus was arrested before he was crucified, he knew what was going to happen, He knew the plan. He was in a garden praying. He asked the Father if there could be another way, but said not my will but your will be done. His inner turmoil was such that before he prayed he told his disciples in Matthew 26:

“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

His prayer was so intense emotionally that we see in Luke 22:44

And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

When we are distressed and are not sure how to pray or what to pray, we can take comfort in knowing that Jesus understands inner turmoil and take comfort even more in knowing he can help. We read in Hebrews 4:

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need

Jesus understands and wants us to come to him.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday-May Is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

What ever our struggles are in this life, Jesus wants us to come to him. He wants to come alongside us us. He has promised to never leave us. Jesus gave the open invitation in Matthew 11:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

If we need counseling, he will walk alongside us as we seek it.

If we need medical help, he will walk alongside us as we seek it.

I love this song. It expresses so well the sentiments of Jesus for those who struggle in life.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Special Surprise Before Surgery

This was me in the waiting area at an outpatient surgery center. I had minor surgery yesterday. Something made a huge difference for me. After I was taken back to the room to be prepped, I noticed Christian music was playing. They had a local Christian radio station on.

As I laid in the prep area listening to worship songs, it was a blessing to pray for people. It was the calmest I have felt in years in a medical facility. Being able to listen too worship songs before surgery was a special suprise.

This weekend will be blogger chat Saturday morning in Zoom, relaxing at home the rest of the day Saturday, church Sunday morning, and coffee shop Sunday afternoon. It will be a weekend to take it easy.

What are your weekend plans?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday- It Is Okay to Ask For Help

Trigger warning. This post deals with suicidal thoughts. If that makes you uncomfortable, please click away.

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As an American I have never understood why the UK keeps a monarchy nor the fascination with the Royal Family.. As someone who is busy with ministry and teaching, I have never been a big fan of talk shows like Oprah. I have always felt I have better things to do with my time. But when I saw a promo clip of the interview with Harry and Meghan, I decided to watch it. My motivation was simply to listen to someone give voice to what so many people struggle with- Depression and what some people struggle with- Suicidal Thoughts.

In the interview she shared that she confided in her husband Harry about her suicidal thoughts and that she needed help. Sharing that so publicly will hopefully help others to share with and confide in loved ones or people they trust.

She also shared that though she asked for help other than from her husband, she was not given help. That is very concerning.

Living with four chronic illnesses all of which have depression and anxiety as possible symptoms, I understand depression. I talked with my doctor and he prescribed medication for me to treat depression and Fibromyalgia. When I confided in one of my pastors, and he said, “Matt it is medical. You do not need to resign your ministry.” it was a moment I will never forget.

My experience has reinforced for me that God does indeed care. Jesus cares and works through other people. God wants us to ask for help.

There is hope for depression and struggling with suicidal thoughts. It is not only okay but wonderful to seek help. If family is not a safe place to confide in, there are school counselors, pastors, mental health facilities. There are hotline numbers.

In the USA-800-273-8255

In the UK- Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90 (UK – local rate)
Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 91 92 (UK minicom)
Hotline: 1850 60 90 90 (ROI – local rate)
Hotline: 1850 60 90 91 (ROI minicom)

In Canada- 1.833.456.4566

There is always hope and we can ask for help. If we have depression, we can seek help. Talk with a doctor, a pastor, a trusted teacher, talk with someone. If medication is needed, it is not only okay but important to do so. If suicidal thoughts, PLEASE SEEK HELP.

I love the message in these videos. Stay Another Day and Your Story Isn’t Over Yet.