Prayer requests and praise reports for May 30th

Please leave your request for prayer if you are struggling with mental illness or you know someone who is. God works through the prayers of His children.

Hello, everyone. Please remember me in your prayers if you have a moment.

Nene, Prayer for her father to be saved and to come to a place of peace.

Dusty- Depression….. I am.getting hit pretty bad with depression tonight.

Dusty- Prayer that God would remove all fear as God works in her life.“I don’t want this to continue yet I’m afraid of what I might have to experience to get better.”

Rachel- i’m really really not doing well. i am afraid of how badly i am doing and of the thoughts in my head. i am afraid i am growing angry/bitter with God and i don’t want that. i have a second appointment with the therapist today and hopefully we start the work today (intake last time).

i believe, but i need so much help with the equally strong unbelief. it’s just gone on for so long and i am in such a dark place right now.

Una- I have/had a boyfriend who is currently on his 2 week break from Iraq. This is his 3rd tour. He has 5 months left to serve on this current tour. We had plans for the time he is here in the US, but after two days with him, he pushed me away and I had to leave. He has symptoms of PTSD. He is easily angered by everything I say, he does not sleep, and he cannot talk to me about anything. We are both Christians, but I think he is conflicted about his relationship with God. During the two days with my boyfriend, I found out that my grandfather had passed away. My boyfriend could not express any words of compassion or sympathy for my loss or give me a hug. I have prayed for him since I left, but wonder if there is anything I can do for him, i.e. be there for him. His family is not around; he is alone.

Erunner- Our nephew is serving his second tour in Iraq. Pray for his safety and emotional state as he serves our nation.

Erunner- Our brother-in-law He was diagnosed with stage 4, non-small cell Lung Cancer on March 18,

Erunner- Our nephew’s wife has MS and has also been diagnosed with epilepsy. She is in her 20’s with two small children.

New praise reports

BrianD- Praise report-

I posted here, at FTA and at Michael’s blog earlier, and some gracious posters responded and indicated they would pray.

I don’t know for certain if their prayers had any effect or if God decided to move (or allow things to happen on their own), but things have lightened and are much, much better for me tonight than they were last night.

Thank you all who were concerned enough to pray for me – I appreciate this online community, spread over several blogs, very, very much.

Okie Preacher- Praise report- Update on Josh. He is doing better and they are going to let him stay and graduate with his unit, even though he will miss two weeks of training. Thanks for praying…

Nene- Praise report- My praise for today is that the iron works contractor sent the same workers today, as last year. They were superb, and respectful. I was a bit concerned about who would be working here today.

Past requests

Rachel needs prayer for direction in her life and for stability of her Bi-Polar ll illness. Pray that she also regains her desire to write.

Pray for Cash, who shared his story of PTSD, that God would continue to heal and lead him

Okie Preacher- Please pray for Josh who is the son of a member in Okie’s church. He is in basic training, and has fractured his pelvis. Pray for his healing.

Rachel- i am going to see a therapist recommended by a christian friend this afternoon. i’m nervous. please pray for me. i really want this to work (esp since the psychiatrist said we were running out of options. encouraging, right?), but i’m afraid to hope since nothing has worked so far.

Rachel- i am sorry to have so little to give these days. please pray for me as i am coming off of one of my medications and it is having some side effects. i’m glad to be coming off of it, but the side effects are not fun.

Maryellen- Please pray for my daughter Jennifer and her daughter Avery. Many of you know that Avery was born with Down Syndrome in September 07. Well, last week my daughter and my son-in-law traveled from Denver to Salt Lake City to visit with a noted neuro-developmentalist who specializes in treating Down Syndrome kids. They went to obtain specialized help in tailoring Avery’s early intervention therapy to her special needs. The good news is the specialist thought that Avery is definitely high functioning but the difficult news is that Avery’s therapy will be highly demanding. In order to keep Avery achieving to her potential Jennifer must spend several hours in therapy with Avery a day. Avery is only 7 months old and the commitment to such an aggressive therapy regimen is a daunting decision for my daughter and son-in-law. They also have a 2 and a half year old and Jennifer must work a job from home in order to supplement the family’s income. Pray that they find the strength to do it all and can shed the tendency to be overwhelmed. I appreciate any prayers, Maryellen.

Erunner- It appears I haven’t passed my kidney stone. I need the referral from my insurance to be okayed so I can visit a urologist.

Erunner- Pray for this blog that God would use it to reach the hurting and to give wisdom to those who contribute; Maryellen, Larry, and Joe H., as well as myself.

Excellent P.T.S.D. resource for Afghanistan and Iraq veterans

I was watching CNN a few days ago and caught an interview with Dr. Barbara V. Romberg, a psychologist in the Washington, D.C., area. The interview centered on a project she began for veterans of the current Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts. The name of the project is “Give An Hour.”

Here is a link to their Mission Statement and I encourage you to read it. From the section “Our Mission” they share the following.

“Our mission is to develop national networks of volunteers capable of responding to both acute and chronic conditions that arise within our society. Our first target population is the U.S. troops and families who are being affected by the current military conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Give an Hour is asking mental health professionals nationwide to literally give an hour of their time each week to provide free mental health services to military personnel and their families.”

Along with the casualties our nation has suffered there is also a very real cost to our veterans and their families.

“According to a RAND report released in April 2008, over 18 percent of troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan–nearly 300,000 troops–have symptoms of post-traumatic stress or major depression. At the same time, about 19 percent of service members reported that they experienced a possible traumatic brain injury.”

These numbers are staggering and will only increase as we remain in conflict. As we have shared regarding mental illness and the Christian on this blog, many Christians are not seeking help due to the stigma attached to mental illness. Now we are learning that many of these returning veterans aren’t seeking help for the very same reason.

“A major barrier preventing military personnel from seeking appropriate treatment is the perception of stigma associated with treatment.”

The military is simply not prepared to deal with the staggering number of veterans and their loved ones who are being impacted by these issues. That is why this program has such potential and needs to be brought to the attention of the public.

Qualified mental health professionals throughout our nation are DONATING an hour a week to help our veterans and their families. They are adding to their numbers as quickly as possible as the need is so great.

A few things. 1) If you are a mental health professional reading this you might consider becoming a part of this worthy cause. 2) If you are a returning vet or the family member of a returning vet, I encourage you to get in contact with this organization. 3) If you have a loved one who will soon be returning from their tour of duty, please be proactive if you sense they are showing signs of PTSD or Major Depression so as to get them help as quickly as possible.

In closing, I am linking to a story from the website that demonstrates what some of our returning vets are having to deal with. It’s a sad story, but we need to realize the severity of the battle that lies before us as a nation to provide help to our returning vets who are coming home damaged emotionally. They gave their best for us and we owe them the same.

Journaling while at a low point with Panic Disorder

I came across this recently and thought I would post it. I wrote it almost two years ago when things had really fallen apart for me. I was near the point where I really believed I was without hope. It wasn’t too long after this that things began to change for me. I’m not the poster boy for 100% recovery but I hope what I wrote then might let somebody know there really is hope and that God hasn’t abandoned you.

It seems I have been looking for relief longer than I realized. The first time was when I joined a group for adult children of alcoholics. At the time I was incredibly sad and beginning to realize things weren’t well. I attended the meetings for a while and got the book by Claudia Black. I learned stuff, but things didn’t change for me. Later, I went to Chuck Swindoll’s church where they had Christian ACA meeting. I only went to a few though.

Time went on and things got bad as anxiety became the theme of my life and it dominates to this day. I have all of these ideas why my anxiety is so bad but that hasn’t helped me.
My anxiety seemed to be the proof I was damaged emotionally and I have struggled trying to make sense of my life since it appeared. There is sadness which seems to be a big theme for me. When I had my first panic attacks I felt like my life was being overpowered and I had no ability to fight back to protect myself.

I have seen numerous counselors and have picked up various books and bought two programs in my efforts to be free from my anxiety. It seems all I have been able to do is learn about myself and panic but never able to make application to where I could get better. Along the way I have battled depression and am now on permanent diability and haven’t worked for three years. The last few years prior to that things were falling apart and I didn’t work much at all.

I’m 52 years old now and I’m wondering how this is going to work out for me. It seems the things I have tried haven’t worked or I haven’t been willing to make the effort to allow things to work. I still am a very afraid person and it’s overwhelming quite often. It is what caused me to be so sick when my appendix burst. I was too afraid to go to the doctor and I ended up in a bad way, in the hospital for ten days. It’s what keeps me from the dentist. For some reason, that is my biggest fear.

There is so much confusion for me as I am a Christian and I wonder so often about where God is in all of this. So often I feel so totally separated from Him. When I have panic attacks I always feel so alone and unable to take care of myself. I feel like I have done things wrong and have not allowed God to help me. I have so often written in my journals through the years about my sadness and yet nothing changes.

I don’t want this to continue yet I’m afraid of what I might have to experience to get better. That seems to keep me stuck. I could really use some direction for myself. I don’t know where to look any more. And I don’t seem to be able to be willing to connect with God in all of this. I could use His help.

Approaching one month

It’s almost been a month since our “Grand Opening.” We have tried to provide resources for visitors to take advantage of and articles that will place Mental Illness in its proper context. As time moves on we will do our best to offer information through what we publish that will educate and encourage those who visit here.

A few trends I have noticed are that our weekly prayer threads generate the most responses. We will keep prayer up front, realizing it is the strongest resource as believers at our disposal. Please don’t be shy in sharing your requests.

Another trend I have seen is the huge interest in the topic of depression. Our posts about the PBS specials dealing with depression generated a lot of visits to the blog. It seems clear this is a topic that many are interested in. We will seek to address this topic as we are able as time moves on.

The final trend I have noticed and I think is true for all blogs is that the number of people who actually post is quite small compared to the number of people dropping by. That is fine as I hope that folks who “lurk” are being helped in some way with what they read here.

We will continue to post references for churches and counseling as they become available. The churches we list are not going to come down on those suffering with a mental illness. You will be safe in visiting and even joining these churches if God leads you in that direction.

The counseling resources we list and will be listing are folks who deal with mental illness and have the heart and the knowledge to be a help to you. You will have to decide in visiting any of these references, if the counselor and you are a good match. You should find each of them open to patiently answering any questions you have.

We hope to have a list of psychiatrists available as time moves on, but that is proving a bit difficult. You may have help in this area by speaking with a counselor/psychologist as they may have someone they can refer.

What we are really hoping to receive are testimonials from folks who are traveling the road to recovery with mental illness or those who have reached a place of coming through to the other side.  These testimonials greatly encourage those who read them.  If you would, consider sharing with us by e-mailing your testimony to me.

God bless each person who reads this. If you have suggestions, e-mail me at erunner54@gmail.com

If you have been nervous about posting here, I pray that you will when the time is right.

Praise music has a way of quieting my anxiety. I’d like to leave you with two of those songs.

God bless and have a great Memorial Day!

Prayer requests and praise reports- May 23

The greatest gift we can give to others is our prayers. Unknown

Please leave your request for prayer if you are struggling with mental illness or you know someone who is. God works through the prayers of His children.

Past requests

Rachel needs prayer for direction in her life and for stability of her Bi-Polar ll illness. Pray that she also regains her desire to write.

Pray for Cash, who shared his story of PTSD, that God would continue to heal and lead him.

New Requests

Okie Preacher- Please pray for Josh who is the son of a member in Okie’s church. He is in basic training, and has fractured his pelvis. Pray for his healing.

Rachel- i am going to see a therapist recommended by a christian friend this afternoon. i’m nervous. please pray for me. i really want this to work (esp since the psychiatrist said we were running out of options. encouraging, right?), but i’m afraid to hope since nothing has worked so far.

Rachel- also looking for a new psychiatrist which i think is almost as bad as looking for a new church!

Rachel- i am sorry to have so little to give these days. please pray for me as i am coming off of one of my medications and it is having some side effects. i’m glad to be coming off of it, but the side effects are not fun.

Maryellen- Please pray for my daughter Jennifer and her daughter Avery. Many of you know that Avery was born with Down Syndrome in September 07. Well, last week my daughter and my son-in-law traveled from Denver to Salt Lake City to visit with a noted neuro-developmentalist who specializes in treating Down Syndrome kids. They went to obtain specialized help in tailoring Avery’s early intervention therapy to her special needs. The good news is the specialist thought that Avery is definitely high functioning but the difficult news is that Avery’s therapy will be highly demanding. In order to keep Avery achieving to her potential Jennifer must spend several hours in therapy with Avery a day. Avery is only 7 months old and the commitment to such an aggressive therapy regimen is a daunting decision for my daughter and son-in-law. They also have a 2 and a half year old and Jennifer must work a job from home in order to supplement the family’s income. Pray that they find the strength to do it all and can shed the tendency to be overwhelmed. I appreciate any prayers, Maryellen.

Erunner- It appears I haven’t passed my kidney stone. I need the referral from my insurance to be okayed so I can visit a urologist.

Erunner- Pray for this blog that God would use it to reach the hurting and to give wisdom to those who contribute; Maryellen, Larry, and Joe H., as well as myself.

More Than Coping- Out Of The Shadows

This is an article I wrote for From The Ashes in July of 2007. There are some minor changes from what I originally wrote.

John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

As Christians, we all should desire to live the abundant life. This is not a life that is marked by material possessions, but rather one that is marked by the fruit of the Spirit as mentioned in Galatians.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, 5:23 meekness, self-control…….


Paul, in writing to the Philippians, shared this portion of Scripture with which we are all familiar.

Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.

4:7 And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

4:8 Finally, my brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are right, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue and if there is any praise, think on these things.


As Christians, we understand that in this world we will have trials and tribulations. Jesus said that very thing to His disciples.

John 16:33 I have spoken these things to you so that you might have peace IN ME. In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.

Jesus spoke these words to His disciples, preparing them for what lay ahead. At the same time, we as believers today experience our own trials. They come in various forms and quite often we can’t say why. We as Christians are living pretty predictable lives and then one day or maybe over a period of time we find ourselves in an emotional place we never saw coming. Since we are familiar with the Scripture verses above, quite often we become confused and even scared. We are totally familiar with them. We have maybe memorized one or more. We may have even shared them with another when they were struggling. But for some reason they aren’t helping us. This was never in the script!

As the depression becomes worse or our anxiety spirals out of control we re-read these Scriptures and we pray to God asking for His help and healing touch. Yet in many instances, it seems the connection we have with God has been severed.

In my case, when I was afflicted with panic attacks, I was scared to death. Panic Attacks are something you wouldn’t wish on anyone, and those who have never been there can’t begin to relate. I was praying like never before. I was confessing every sin I could think of and yet my panic remained. And when you are at this low point, the enemy shows up and tells you what a failure you are and you begin to believe it. Sadly, some in the church tell you the same thing in so many words.

There are those today who would tell us we can walk in perfect health and that physical healing was part of the atonement. Therefore if you aren’t walking in perfect health, well then you need to basically get squared away with God. Fortunately, that line of reasoning has been shown to not be a true representation of the will of God for His children. Christians get sick. Some are sick for years and some will die from their illness. Others God will heal, either through medicine or supernaturally.

We see the body come together in our churches when a member of the body is ill, in the hospital, or has learned they are facing a serious illness. The body will rally around that person and that person’s family and God’s Spirit moves. Unconditional love is shown to the one who is ill. In these instances, outcomes can range from a miraculous healing to the person going home to be with the Lord. In all of these instances we see the body coming together in one accord towards a common goal. May that become a reality for those in the church who are suffering mentally.

Jesus identified with those who suffered. Isaiah 53 paints a picture of our suffering Messiah. We see how He agonized in the garden as He faced the cross. He went to the cross and died a terrible and humiliating death for each of us. He stepped out of eternity to suffer the penalty for our sins so that we might have eternal life. He is our High Priest making intercession for us before the Father. Jesus will never condemn us.

Yet we have in our midst, people we rub shoulders with in church, who are quietly suffering and they need the Body of Christ to rally around them just as they would for a cancer victim. Unfortunately, many, if not most of these people, for one reason or the other won’t seek help. They live in the shadows, suffering in silence, wondering if there is any help for them at all. Why are they so quiet about something so painful? A huge reason is they can’t endure being told that they are the problem when that isn’t the case at all.

These believers love God. They desire to serve Him. They aren’t in sin. Many are serving Him very publicly. Yet they are quite often afraid to go to the very people who are closest to them to ask for help. That is to our shame. Mental illness is not a respecter of persons.

I am sure some believers that are hurting mentally may simply need to feel safe and pour their heart out to a person(s) who will listen and counsel them through the Scriptures. Many times God works through this process. Being able to share honestly and without the fear of being judged is a powerful thing in and of itself.

There are others who need more than Pastoral or peer counsel. These Christians who are suffering with severe depression, panic disorder, OCD, bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia very often need professional counseling and possibly a Psychiatrist who can pinpoint what is happening and provide the appropriate medication. All of these Christians need to be secure in the fact that they can come out of the shadows and be embraced and loved unconditionally so they might receive help.

How might this take place? What might give Christians the courage to step out of the shadows and seek help? Possibly one idea might be for Pastor’s to take the time and speak candidly to the body that God has entrusted to them and in so doing, create an atmosphere where hurting believers can come out of the shadows and get the help they need. Maybe it might be having somebody come as a guest speaker and sharing about these things? I’m not sure how practical that might be, but it is a thought. God willing, maybe this site and others like it might be a tool to reach our brothers and sisters who are living lives of desperation.

At the same time we have to be realistic by stating there are leaders in the church who see things quite differently than what is shared here. They see mental illness as fruit of a life not trusting in the promises of God or having been or currently in a state of sin. They don’t believe these things are real illnesses, so they respond and teach accordingly. And the hurting retreat further into the shadows. As a result some will seek to relieve their pain through drugs or alcohol. Some fall out of fellowship, totally discouraged and without hope.

How often have the emotionally hurting heard in one fashion or other to fellowship more, serve more, be in prayer and in the Word more? I have found that people who understand the most are those who have been there. They can relate. Their heart breaks. They won’t make you feel like a Judas if you need medication. They understand that there exists such a thing as Godly, professional counseling that isn’t going to compromise your faith and ruin you. There are Godly, Spirit filled people who have been trained to deal with the person who wakes up screaming at night after a tragic event. They understand why some believers are afraid they might hurt their own child. They can help walk a person through the maze of depression. They can help a person who has panic attacks see the world as a safe place and help them think correctly. They can help that person with OCD learn to leave home, not worrying they left the stove on.

In a nutshell God can work through them and do mighty things.

It would not be right if I didn’t address another reality. It is valid to point out that there are Psychiatrists who pass out strong medication without a second thought. You walk into their office, present your symptoms, and you now have a long term supply of medication that was never necessary. Some Psychiatrists don’t take the time to properly evaluate you and may give you the wrong medication. Along with the above, Christian Psychology isn’t always quite Christian. You end up hearing things that don’t align with your faith and may even contradict it. But because the above exists, you don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

There are verses in the book of James we cite for those who are sick.

James 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.

5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

5:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Something I would love to suggest and one day soon hope to see is for those who are suffering to do what is stated in James. Phone your church and ask for prayer. Maybe God will supernaturally touch you. Maybe not. But there may be real freedom in taking that step of faith. Sadly, this might not be an option for some because their church views their illness as something that needs to be overcome and defeated.

Those of us who are afflicted with mental illness quite often start believing the lies of the enemy as he tells us we are failures, second rate, carnal, or in sin. And quite possibly the biggest lie is he tells us there is no hope. As Christians go about their lives with these “secrets” years can go by and slowly these lies become our truth. That cycle must stop!

When there is a need, the Body of Christ is capable of so much. If the need isn’t known, how can they act? But how will they know if people are afraid to ask because of the stigma attached to mental illness? The stigma needs to be shattered and many in the body need to be open to the fact they are wrong.

The promises of God are not for a select few. They are for all of us. He has the hairs on our head counted. He created the entire universe. He loves each of us so much.

This site is dedicated to those among us who have or are currently suffering with mental illness, as well as their loved ones who are trying to help. By the grace of God this will be a safe place to discuss mental illness. We are not here to argue about the validity of a Christian Psychologist. We are not here to debate the idea mental illness springs out of some character defect or lack of Christian discipline. We aren’t here to debate the idea medication is wrong for the mentally ill. We are here with the hope that God would see fit to allow just one person to find hope for their life, to understand how very much God loves them, and to realize His promises are not for everyone else. And if He chooses to do more, then we will direct all praise and thanksgiving to Him.

Using myself as an example, we all need to be open to the fact sin may be involved in our lives. Through the course of my anxiety I became angry, bitter, and unforgiving towards those I thought had hurt me for no good reason. Dwelling on the unfairness of it all, I only made my anxiety worse. Looking back, I pretty much told God I couldn’t trust Him. I would pray and go for a drive and have a panic attack. When these attacks were especially bad, I felt abandoned and helpless. I thought God had forgotten about me. So I decided to take care of myself, to ensure that I would experience as little panic as possible. I was a man destined to learn the hard way.

That’s exactly what happened as my life eventually spiraled out of control. Thank God He reached down and pulled me out of the miry clay. I saw that my sense of entitlement was not correct. And I learned that God would help me as I took small steps in trusting Him. That began with repenting of my sins in this area and seeking forgiveness from those I had harbored so much ill will against. He allowed me to see that the promises in His Word applied to me. And step by step, He is allowing me to face my fears. I’m not “healed” but I am content in my circumstances. As hard and unfair as it may seem, we all need to be open to the fact that maybe their is sin God would have us recognize and then deal with. This does not apply to everyone, but I ask that we all start by being open to this possibility. I say this because the sin issue was real for me. In no way am I telling you that is your truth. If it is, I pray God would reveal that to you.

My hope for this blog is to provide as many resources as possible that we can draw from. And quite frankly, one of the most important resources we have is one another. A person who may feel like the biggest failure in the world might find that as they share their heart they will give another person the courage to do the same. And you might be surprised how much your honesty will impact others. You may find you aren’t as alone as you thought you were.

In conclusion, if you are one of those who is in the shadows, our hope is that you will find safety here. And by the grace of God, you will find healing in whatever way our loving God chooses to offer it.

I am a lay person and speak from my years of suffering with Agoraphobia and Panic Disorder and what I have observed along the way.