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-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- Same God by Hannah Kerr

God who created all we see is the same God who loves us and is always with us. There is never a moment God is not with us.

He is with us the middle of everything we go through, I have experience his presenced on days when chronic illness flares. I feel his presence by the songs in my spirit.

I have experienced that in down times through the little and big ways he lets me know he is with me.

Whatever you are going through, the same God who created everything you see, the stars at night, the trees, the birds,, is the same God who sees you, knows you. knows your struggles and loves you.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday- Jesus Understands Scars

When we think of scars. we tend to think of physical scars. I have many of those. But there are also psychological and emotional scars. Jesus understands scars. He suffered for us and still has those scars. He also faced rejection and betrayal. I would like to share the following from an old post of mine from three years ago when I first got going with blogging.

12 scars on my body tell stories of my life. Some are from surgeries like the  scar from an appendectomy when I was 21. Some are small like the small scar next to my left eye from a freak accident while setting up an outdoor activity for kids at church. The tiny scars from arthroscopic surgery on my right shoulder in 1990. The scar on my stomach when I was attacked by a dog when I was 12 is symbolic of the upheaval in my youth. The two inch scar on my left hand from a surgery to repair damage when I had a hand injury in 1996 represents my health struggles of the 1990s.

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Scars represent our wounds that have healed. Some heal over correctly but some wounds that ‘heal’ over leave places that will never be the same and sometimes not work well.

But what of the scars from wounds no one can see? The scars from being abused. Scars left from struggling with addiction. Scars left from being victimized. Scars from broken relationships. Some wounds go so deep into our souls that we wonder if they will ever scar over the way physical wounds do when they heal.

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One day Jesus told Thomas to reach out and touch His scars from the nails that pierced his wrists and the scar from the soldiers spear that pierced his side. His scars are still there to show us His love. Having all power, he could have stopped his crucifixion, but His love for us made Him lay down His life for us.

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He says to all of us, “Look at the scars on my wrists and feet. Look at the scar in my side. My scars are for your scars.”

His scars are there because he wants to bring healing to our souls and spirits. His scarred wrists reach out to us saying, “Come to me all who are weary and find rest for your souls”

One day I reached back to his hands extended. I reached back to find rest and healing from my past as the son of an alcoholic father and mother with mental illness. Rest, oh yes rest, from the anger, confusion, doubt caused by my own sinful reactions to life.

The hands on his scarred wrists long to hold our hand and walk in this life with us. Jesus is reaching out to you. Will we take the hand offered in love and friendship offering healing for our souls?

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.

Music Mondays- I’m Not Alone by Riley Clemmons

I thought my worth was lost but my worth was not lost on you

If we ever wonder if God thinks we are worthwhile, we only need to stop and think about Jesus. Jesus on the cross was God reaching out to show how much he loves us.

Nothing can separate us from God’s love. Out of all creation, we are what he values most. No matter what pit we are in, depression, divorce, family problems, health problems, financial problems, memories of past trauma or abuse, we are worth so much to God that he sent Jesus.

God loves you. That means you are worth so much to God.

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.