Think Of This Woman Speaking For You

This was written by one of my nieces. She has battled an eating disorder, thyroid cancer, and is currently battling lupus. I have always admired her attitude no matter the circumstances. I hope this will bless you.  Allan

Today was filled with so many emotions. As I sat in church today, Pastor Ryan briefly mentioned healing. Immediately, I thought of myself. I asked God, “Where is my healing?” Maybe it isn’t for me. Maybe this is as good as it will get in my body.

I thank the Lord for His presence in my life. He gently answered me, “I have healed you!” I immediately knew what He had meant. You see, healing comes in all sorts of ways. Many of us see healing as a physical thing. But, this is not the only or even the most important kind of healing that our Heavenly Father can give us.

My heart has been healed. He has brought me an internal healing. One that far surpasses any healing that can come to this wretched body of mine! I sat and wept. I thanked the Lord for healing me.

I don’t know if people can see the healing that he has brought to my life. I don’t know if my physical illnesses hides the miracles. I pray not. I pray that people can see that God’s miracles and healing are all around.

Today, I also found out that all my cancer screens came back negative and clear of any signs of cancer! I praise God for this! I praise Him for another day to hug and kiss my three men. I praise Him for never leaving me and holding me up when I couldn’t find the strength to meet my day.

As I ran through so many emotions today, I found out that a dear sister in went to be with the Lord today. She battled cancer and ultimately she won!

She taught the world what it was like to walk this life with Jesus. In the depths of her valleys she displayed so much love and joy and peace! She shined God’s light so bright. She will be greatly missed!

As she walked home with Jesus, I couldn’t help but think how she faithfully served God until her last breath. So today, I am sending prayers to her family. Today, Kara was welcomed home like royalty. Today, I will press on and continue to learn how to follow Jesus. Today, I will LOVE BIG!

Isn’t It Time We Talked About Mental Health

Taken from Facts & Trends which is found   HERE.

December 2nd, 2014. Ed Stetzer

With the recent onslaught of high-profile tragedies connected with mental illness, many people, Christians and non-Christians alike, are talking about the challenges of mental illness. It’s an important conversation. But one thing I’ve observed is the difficulty with which Christians address mental health in a responsible and holistic way.

Mental illness carries with it an unfortunate and undeserved stigma to which many church leaders don’t know how to respond to those struggling with mental illness. I’m encouraged, however, by the openness among church leaders toward understanding mental illness so they can serve their people more appropriately.

The information gleaned from the recent LifeWay Research study on mental health and the church is very telling. It reveals some of the holes in our collective understanding of mental illness and our approach to helping those caught in its unforgiving clutches.

One out of four people experience some type of mental illness in a given year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. That means people sitting in our pews struggle with mental illness. They and their families desperately want the church to talk openly about the issue so it won’t be taboo.

However, our research indicates most pastors rarely talk about mental illness in sermons or other large group messages. In many ways, the church, the supposed haven for sufferers, is not a safe place for mental illness. For the stigma of mental illness to be broken, there must be direct, transparent speech from Christian leaders. We need more open dialogue in the church.

That said, 56 percent of pastors strongly agree local churches have a responsibility to provide resources and support to individuals with mental illness and their families. That number is not nearly as high as it needs to be, but it is an encouraging start. Also encouraging is that 53 percent of individuals with mental illness surveyed said the local church has been supportive.

Churches tend to either abdicate their role in mental health to outside medical professionals or to isolate themselves from the medical community. Neither response is helpful. Even those in secular branches of psychology and psychiatry say psychological health is better when people are connected with a faith community, and that should drive churches to healthy partnership with trained medical professionals.

The Bible teaches that Christ’s followers are meant to serve the broken and the hurting. When Jesus announced His ministry in Luke 4, He said He had been sent to preach good news to the poor, captive, and blind. Throughout His ministry, Jesus served the hurting.

The world is continuously surprised, however, that the followers of Jesus are less inclined to do the same. So, the church shouldn’t abdicate to nor isolate from those trained in these fields but, instead, find the place of tension in the middle from which the gospel flows forth unimpeded to the hurting.

There is incredible need for churches to speak more about mental health and to do so honestly, directly, and purposefully. Attitudes are certainly shifting on this front. Churches are moving toward a greater level of awareness and engagement on issues of mental heath.

My challenge to the church is that we might move beyond the whispering, the silence, the shame, and the stigma. Instead, let’s understand and show others that Jesus came seeking, saving, and serving the lost and broken people around Him. We, His church, honor Him when we join in His mission by doing the same.

Hopefully, we can learn from the ongoing conversation and shape a new, more helpful approach to serving those who struggle with mental illness.

Megan’s Story: A Child’s Story Of Schizophrenia

Taken from   NAMI    which is located    HERE.

The children sat quietly in their first grade classroom completing a Thanksgiving coloring project. Most of the students at age 6 needed to improve their fine motor coordination, so sometimes coloring within the lines represented a challenge. When the brown crayon Megan used to color her turkey rolled over the line, she believed that her turkey was ruined. A disaster ensued.

Megan uncontrollably leaped out of her seat and grabbed the box of crayons that lay on her desk. In anger, she screamed and threw the crayons one by one into the classroom wall with great force. Since incidents like this had previously occurred, the teacher, Mrs. Hill, was prepared. She used the school contact system and summoned the security guard.

Within minutes, Megan was removed from the classroom and made to sit outside the principal’s office, as she had done many times before. Here she remained for the next 90 minutes until the principal believed that she was calm enough to return to class.

As the months of the school year progressed, Megan became known as “the bad one” by both the teaching staff and the other first grade parents. With this reputation, she was excluded from birthday parties and play dates. When she became upset at a Brownie troop meeting and stomped on a cupcake that she had dropped, the troop leader contacted Megan’s parents and advised them that Megan was no longer welcome to be a member of the troop.

Megan’s parents, Sandra and Daniel, became deeply concerned about Megan’s behavior and outbursts both at school and at home. Hyperactive and distractible, her tantrums frequently dominated her days. She seemed unable to focus or complete tasks assigned to her. In addition, she had trouble sleeping and kept them awake night after night. It was time to seek help.

The evaluations seemed endless. They began with the psychologist and pediatrician. They continued with neurologists and specialists in the field of cognitive and executive functioning. Megan was questioned extensively to determine if she had been sexually abused, and given an MRI of the brain to detect abnormalities. She was also interviewed and tested by the special education team in her school.

Time passed. No diagnosis, only ideas. And Megan’s life deteriorated as she isolated herself more and more from the pressures of her stressful world. Fearful of people and life outside the home, sadness and depression now dominated her thoughts.

Sandra and Daniel had one more idea. Desperate, they made an appointment with a renowned child psychiatrist. Dr. Evelyn Smith led Megan to her private office and began with a series of questions.

“Megan, do you ever hear anyone talking to you even though you cannot see them?”

Megan was completely surprised but seemed relieved to hear this question. A smile appeared upon her face. “Yes, I do,” she replied. “How did you know?”

“Is it just one person that you hear, or more than one?”

“It’s always the same one.”

“Does this person have a name?”

“His name is Jason but I call him J.”

“Does J ever ask you to do anything that you do not want to do?”
Tears came into Megan’s eyes and began to stream down her cheeks. “Yes, sometimes he tells me to hurt my Mommy and once he told me to kill my cat. But I love Mommy and my pet cat and I didn’t want to do it.” She folded her arms and buried her head in her lap.

“When do you hear J speaking?”

“All different times. I hear him in school a lot when the teacher is talking. I hear him in bed at night and I get afraid and can’t sleep because he scares me. Mostly I hear just J but sometimes I hear loud noises in my ears and I can’t get them to stop.”

Dr. Smith completed her interview, and Sandra and Daniel had a diagnosis for their child at last: early onset schizoaffective disorder, most likely caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. Megan had been experiencing a series of psychotic episodes. No one, including Megan, had understood what was happening to her. She did not know how to distinguish reality from the character that existed only in her mind.

Megan had been experiencing the symptoms of an illness, but society had blamed her for its ravaging effects. Now Megan’s family needed to seek answers and learn how to provide for her special needs. This would be the only path to Megan’s chance at a normal life. First, Megan needed to be stabilized on medication. The second step was to work with the special education team in Megan’s school district to provide a safe and successful school environment with small classes and an appropriate IEP.

The new medication successfully stabilized Megan’s moods, but it failed to address the issues of psychosis, and soon Megan began to have further experiences with imaginary beings. Her parents recall the day when they heard Megan’s screams coming from the bathroom.

“Mommy! Daddy! Help me! I see them now. Come and look! The vampires are in the toilet bowl!” Her parents followed her into the bathroom to investigate, but saw nothing. Sandra picked up her daughter and hugged her.
“It’s OK, Megan. There is really nothing there that will hurt you. The next time you need to use the restroom, come and get me, and I will be there with you always, to keep you safe from harm.”

Dr. Smith responded to the situation by prescribing an antipsychotic. It is sometimes a risk when prescribing such medications to young children, as each individual reacts differently. Megan was one of those rare cases that had a life-threatening reaction to the drug. Within a few days after the initial dose, the muscles in Megan’s body tightened, leaving her unable to move or breathe. After 12 hours of unconsciousness in the emergency room, she survived.

Megan’s journey through her illness did not end there. It was only the beginning. Trial and error of other medications ensued. When she was still not stabilized by the beginning of second grade, Dr. Smith recommended it would be best for Megan to be removed from the traditional school system, and home schooled during her second grade year. With tutoring and family support, Megan successfully completed the state mandated core curriculum of second grade, using her dining room as the learning center.

More challenges lay ahead. With Megan’s wavering moods still out of control, as a last resort her parents placed her into a residential hospital for children. A team of doctors and psychiatrists monitored her behaviors and reactions to various medications. Sandra and Daniel longed for their child, and silence reigned through every hour and day that passed without their precious daughter.

Six months later Megan returned home. When she did, a miracle happened. She had changed. Now she laughed and played and enjoyed the people around her. She was filled with love and hugs and the joys of living. She made friends and for the first time, had a chance to succeed. Megan was now ready to return to school.

Sandra and Daniel had one more challenge in Megan’s recovery. They wanted Megan’s new school experience to be a positive one, so they petitioned Megan’s school district to pay for placement in a private school to address her special needs. Worried about funding, the school district refused. A year long court battle followed, as Megan’s parents learned how to navigate the legal system and fight for their child’s rights to an appropriate education. Finally, Megan was placed in the school where she belongs.

Today Megan is 13 years old. This past June, she graduated from middle school and surprised her family when she was chosen to be the valedictorian of her seventh grade class. She proudly spoke from the stage, thanking her parents for their love, and her special teachers for their support and dedication. After her speech, the principal presented Megan with the President’s Education Award for her outstanding academic achievement.

Megan’s story has touched the lives of all who know her. Family and friends who shared her journey have become enlightened about the stigma of mental illness in our society. They have learned that those living with mental illness can thrive and prosper with appropriate interventions and the ongoing medical research that is available today.

There is hope.

I am Megan’s grandmother.

Streams In The Desert: March 28th, 2015

And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon a heap. Joshua 3:13

Brave Levites! Who can help admiring them, to carry the Ark right into the stream; for the waters were not divided till their feet dipped in the water (ver. 15). God had not promised aught else.

God honors faith. “Obstinate faith,” that the PROMISE sees and “looks to that alone.” You can fancy how the people would watch these holy men march on, and some of the bystanders would be saying, “You would not catch me running that risk! Why, man, the ark will be carried away!” Not so; “the priests stood firm on dry ground.” We must not overlook the fact that faith on our part helps God to carry out His plans. “Come up to the help of the Lord.”

The Ark had staves for the shoulders. Even the Ark did not move of itself; it was carried. When God is the architect, men are the masons and laborers. Faith assists God. It can stop the mouth of lions and quench the violence of fire. It yet honors God, and God honors it.

Oh, for this faith that will go on, leaving God to fulfill His promise when He sees fit! Fellow Levites, let us shoulder our load, and do not let us look as if we were carrying God’s coffin. It is the Ark of the living God! Sing as you march towards the flood!
–Thomas Champness

One of the special marks of the Holy Ghost in the Apostolic Church was the spirit of boldness. One of the most essential qualities of the faith that is to attempt great things for God, and expect great things from God, is holy audacity. Where we are dealing with a supernatural Being, and taking from Him things that are humanly impossible, it is easier to take much than little; it is easier to stand in a place of audacious trust than in a place of cautious, timid clinging to the shore.

Like wise seamen in the life of faith, let us launch out into the deep, and find that all things are possible with God, and all things are possible unto him that believeth.

Let us, today, attempt great things for God; take His faith and believe for them and His strength to accomplish them.
–Days of Heaven upon Earth

Praise & Worship: March 26th, 2015

1.  How Can It Be-  Lauren Daigle

2.  I Am Not Alone-  Kari Jobe

3.  Praise To The Lord, The Almighty-  Choir Of King’s College Cambridge

4.  Beautiful-  Vineyard UK

5.  Wasteland-  Needtobreathe

6.  I Will Look Up-  Elevation Worship

7.  Night Season-  David Nevue

8.  Lord I Need You-  Matt Maher/Audrey Assad

9.  In The Night (My Hope Lives On)-  Andrew Peterson

10.  How Deep The Father’s Love For Us-  Selah

11.  Our God Saves-  Paul Baloche

Jonathan & Charlotte Amaze Everyone On Britian’s Got Talent

A friend posted this on Facebook and after watching it I knew I wanted to post it here.  The focus of this video is the overweight 17 year old.  He speaks a little about how he has been treated in his life due to his weight.  Then when he steps on stage the reaction of the audience and Simon Cowell in my mind was mean spirited as well.  Not all overweight people have Jonathan’s talent and if he performed terribly I imagine he would have faced a ton of ridicule.  Yet he took the big step of going on television and delivering a jaw dropping performance.  Jonathan should be accepted the same no matter how well he sings.  How many young people who have been bullied and teased have gone on to have emotional problems in their lives?  Too many!!  That being said I hope Jonathan and Charlotte go on to win this competition and do great things.  Allan

Originally posted in March, 2012

 

 

Mental Health Issues A Huge Challenge For NCAA In Regard To Student-Athletes

Taken from Fox Sports  which is found   HERE.

On Jan. 17, 2014, University of Pennsylvania runner Madison Holleran committed suicide. She was 19. Since this tragedy, the sports community has struggled to address the root cause of Holleran’s death: mental health.

To gauge the current climate inside locker rooms, FOX Sports interviewed more than 25 female student-athletes along with NCAA officials and mental health experts. Though these student-athletes told stories of resilience, they also revealed cautionary tales for the well-being of young women in college sports.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, women are “nearly twice as likely” as men to develop depression, anxiety and eating disorders. Add in the stress of sports commitments and you have a dangerous combination. The majority of women interviewed pointed to eating disorders related to their sport as the top issue.

“We talk about [body image] every day,” said a group of University of Southern California lacrosse players. Anorexia or bulimia is twice as rampant among athletes versus the general population of women, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD).

The pressures of women to gain muscle in training but stay thin to uphold a standard of beauty outside of sports is irreconcilable. “I’ve never met a gymnast who was in love with their body,” a former D-I gymnast revealed.

In sports, the private issue of women’s body image becomes public. Dartmouthvolleyball player Alexandra Schoenberger’s trainers would hook her up to a machine to track changes in her body fat percentage, which sounded like the sports equivalent of the “jiggle test.”

A D-I swimmer recalled men wore T-shirts that read “Whale watching” in reference to her team. Even in the coverage of Holleran’s death, many were shocked to see the media use photos of the young woman wearing a bikini, taken from her Instagram account.

Bottom line, mental health is a matter of safety, not only because of suicide risk but also the detriment to long-term physical health. Eating disorders are common causes of heart problems and osteoporosis. Anorexia and bulimia have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness according to ANAD. More women have eating disorders than breast cancer, yet every major women’s and men’s sport has a pink ribbon campaign while mental health issues go unnoticed.

So where do these student-athletes go for help? Few women interviewed had used on-campus psychological services because of the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

“No one wants to admit there’s a problem until it’s too late,” Duke basketball player Oderah Chidom said. Most student-athletes viewed professional help as a “sign of weakness.” Those who did seek help found the wait time was up to three weeks to book an appointment.

For a young woman suffering from deep depression, three weeks can be the difference between life and death.

The NCAA is one of the biggest red flags on this issue.

In 2013, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Brian Hainline declared mental health as the No. 1 health and safety concern in the NCAA. There are more than 200 pages of mental health documents buried deep in the NCAA website — a quarter of which focus on women’s issues alone.

However, not a single student-athlete interviewed was aware of any tangible NCAA resources. This absence has not gone unnoticed. Holleran’s friend and teammate Eliana Yankelev posed the question, “How much is the NCAA willing to ignore as long as they are making money?”

When asked if the NCAA had a responsibility to take a direct hand in the mental health of student-athletes, Mary E. Wilfert, Associate Director of the NCAA Sport Science Institute, stated, “No, intervention cannot come out of the national office … we are not a medical organization.”

Yet every year, the NCAA holds mandatory medical screenings and trainings for all athletes. For example, Sickle Cell Anemia is now covered after a Division II basketball player died in 2011. The Center for Disease Control cites that Sickle Cell affects less than 1 percent of Americans.

Madison Holleran

By contrast, serious mental health issues plague 12 percent of the population, according to the National Eating Disorders Association. Furthermore, the NCAA’s own data states that heart problems (for women, often the result of eating disorders) and suicide as the second and third leading causes of death among student-athletes.

So why is mental health not part of the NCAA’s mandate? Associate Director of Public and Media Relations, Health & Safety Christopher Radford responded, “We can’t just decide to make this part of the guidelines, at every division they’d have to decide on legislation.”

“Concussions get more attention because of the media, the NFL, lawsuits, and Congress … it does not reflect the NCAA attention,” Wilfert added. In other words: money, bureaucracy, and not enough people have sued.

Certainly, Holleran is all the proof the NCAA should need to justify faster resolution.

The student-athletes and mental health experts interviewed largely agreed on the solutions to the mental health epidemic. First, the sports community needs to further the dialogue to stamp out the stigma. Second, the student-athletes themselves need to take better advantage of the on-campus support available. Most important, the NCAA needs to take responsibility as the governing body of college sports to raise awareness, offer tangible resources to students-athletes and set a national standard. Hopefully, all parties will step up to ensure a safer future for women in college sports.