Streams In The Desert: October 31st, 2015

Likewise also the Spirit helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what to pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God   Romans 8:26, 27

This is the deep mystery of prayer. This is the delicate divine mechanism which words cannot interpret, and which theology cannot explain, but which the humblest believer knows even when he does not understand.

Oh, the burdens that we love to bear and cannot understand! Oh, the inarticulate out-reachings of our hearts for things we cannot comprehend! And yet we know they are an echo from the throne and a whisper from the heart of God. It is often a groan rather than a song, a burden rather than a buoyant wing. But it is a blessed burden, and it is a groan whose undertone is praise and unutterable joy. It is “a groaning which cannot be uttered.” We could not ourselves express it always, and sometimes we do not understand any more than that God is praying in us, for something that needs His touch and that He understands.

And so we can just pour out the fullness of our heart, the burden of our spirit, the sorrow that crushes us, and know that He hears, He loves, He understands, He receives; and He separates from our prayer all that is imperfect, ignorant and wrong, and presents the rest, with the incense of the great High Priest, before the throne on high; and our prayer is heard, accepted and answered in His name.
–A. B. Simpson

It is not necessary to be always speaking to God or always hearing from God, to have communion with Him; there is an inarticulate fellowship more sweet than words. The little child can sit all day long beside its busy mother and, although few words are spoken on either side, and both are busy, the one at his absorbing play, the other at her engrossing work, yet both are in perfect fellowship. He knows that she is there, and she knows that he is all right.

So the saint and the Saviour can go on for hours in the silent fellowship of love, and he be busy about the most common things, and yet conscious that every little thing he does is touched with the complexion of His presence, and the sense of His approval and blessing.

And then, when pressed with burdens and troubles too complicated to put into words and too mysterious to tell or understand, how sweet it is to fall back into His blessed arms, and just sob out the sorrow that we cannot speak!


Praise & Worship: October 30th, 2015

Song List

1.  Beautiful-  Vineyard UK

2.  The Wonder Of Your Cross-  Robin Mark

3.  Waiting Here For You-  Christy Nockels

4.  You’re Beautiful-  Phil Wickham

5.  Sometimes By Step-  Rich Mullins

6.  Fall On Me (Set Me Free)-  Vineyard

7.  Breathe-  Kathryn Scott/Vineyard

8.  How He Loves Us-  Kim Walker/Jesus Culture

9.  My Soul Longs For You-  Misty Edwards/ Jesus Culture

10.  The World Needs Jesus-  Malcolm & Alwyn

11.  Revelation Song-  Kari Jobe

12.  I Will Rise-  Chris Tomlin

13.  With All I Am-  Hillsong

14.  Sweet Cherry Wine-  Tommy James & The Shondells

15.  Be Thou My Vision-  Van Morrison

Sam Sarpong, Former Model And MTV Co-Host, Dies At 40

Taken from CNN which is found   HERE.

If you or some one you know is considering suicide you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline  which is found HERE.  You can also reach them at  1-800-273-8255.

Samuel Sarpong Jr., a former co-host of MTV’s “Yo Momma” and model, died Monday after jumping off the Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena, California, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner said. He was 40.

According to a statement from the Pasadena Police Department, a witness reported seeing a man standing on the outside of the railing of the Colorado Bridge on Monday morning. Officers responded to the scene and closed the area off.

While police were talking to Sarpong members of his family arrived, police said, and provided information on his emotional state to the authorities.

“Tragically, after approximately seven hours of communication, the male jumped from the bridge into the Arroyo,” the statement read. “He was pronounced deceased by Pasadena Fire Paramedics at 3:52 PM.”

Ed Winter, assistant chief of investigations for the LA County Coroner, said the final cause of death is pending toxicology reports.

Sarpong was born in London and as a youngster moved to the United States with his father.

As a model, he was the face of Tommy Hilfiger for several years and also modeled for other high profile designers including Dolce & Gabana and Versace.

Sarpong’s career as an actor earned him appearances in films like 2003’s “Love Don’t Cost A Thing” and on various TV shows including “My So Called Life,” “24” and “Bones.”

According to his IMDB page he had a bit role in the upcoming series FX series “American Crime Story” which is set to air in 2016.

But Sarpong was best known for three seasons of hosting the reality show “Yo Momma” with actor Wilmer Valderrama.

Valerrama paid tribute to Sarpong on Instagram and wrote “I am so sad & so confused.”

“Sam did it all, believed in dreaming bigger than anyone around him,” the actor wrote of his friend. “We made memories together that will last us forever, thank you for sharing your talent with me and the world.”

Sarpong’s family released the following statement to The Hollywood Reporter:

“It is with great sadness that the family of Samuel Sarpong, Jr. must share the news that Sam has passed away. The circumstances surrounding his death are currently under investigation and no additional details are known at this time. Information about final arrangements will be forthcoming. The family appreciates the thoughts prayers and other expressions of sympathy, and request their privacy be respected at this extremely difficult time.”

According to the family he is is survived by his father Samuel Sarpong Sr., and his sister June Sarpong.

Mental Illness, Leprosy, & Thankfulness

As I have thought about mental illness and the stigma that is so often attached to it my thoughts have often drifted to the disease of Leprosy.  I am reminded of a story in Scripture that convicts me of how I respond as God works in my life and the role pain can play.

Through the years pretty much all I knew about Leprosy is it was a picture of sin and it terribly disfigured people.  I thought of the movie Ben Hur where the mother and sister of Ben Hur were afflicted with Leporsy and forced to live in caves.  Below is a brief overview of Leporsy taken from Easton’s Bible Dictionary.

“This disease “begins with specks on the eyelids and on the palms, gradually spreading over the body, bleaching the hair white wherever they appear, crusting the affected parts with white scales, and causing terrible sores and swellings. From the skin the disease eats inward to the bones, rotting the whole body piecemeal.” “In Christ’s day no leper could live in a walled town, though he might in an open village. But wherever he was he was required to have his outer garment rent as a sign of deep grief, to go bareheaded, and to cover his beard with his mantle, as if in lamentation at his own virtual death. He had further to warn passers-by to keep away from him, by calling out, ‘Unclean! unclean!’ nor could he speak to any one, or receive or return a salutation, since in the East this involves an embrace.”
That the disease was not contagious is evident from the regulations regarding it (Lev_13:12, Lev_13:13, Lev_13:36; 2Ki_5:1). Leprosy was “the outward and visible sign of the innermost spiritual corruption; a meet emblem in its small beginnings, its gradual spread, its internal disfigurement, its dissolution little by little of the whole body, of that which corrupts, degrades, and defiles man’s inner nature, and renders him unmeet to enter the presence of a pure and holy God” (Maclear’s Handbook O.T). Our Lord cured lepers (Mat_8:2, Mat_8:3; Mar_1:40-42). This divine power so manifested illustrates his gracious dealings with men in curing the leprosy of the soul the fatal taint of sin.”

As with Leprosy mental illness has a stigma that goes along with it.  Sadly much of this stigma is found in the Body of Christ, the very place where love and compassion should be found.  Instead the sufferer is in a sense, treated like the Lepers of old.  To our shame some in the church view mental illness as “the outward and inward sign of the innermost spiritual corruption” as described above.  As a result many afflicted believers become separated from the church as they live a life of shame and isolation, mourning their perceived wretched condition.

With both leprosy and mental illness “pain” is a big component.  In a book titled “Pain: The Gift Nobody Wants”  author Philip Yancey talks about his work with lepers and the unique role that pain plays with this disease.

With leprosy the victims lose the ability to feel pain and as a result this leads to serious consequences which can include the loss of limbs.  When somebody is sick quite often pain is the alarm that tells us something is wrong.  As a result we go for treatment or take medication and quite often the illness is done away with.

If we weren’t able to feel the pain we would not know to go to a doctor and the illness could in many cases lead to serious consequences up to and including death.  In this sense pain can be seen as a gift.  As the leper can’t feel pain they unknowingly aggravate an area of the body that is “infected” and create additional damage.  As a result they unwittingly make their condition even worse.  If they felt the pain this could be avoided.

The pain of mental illness is different than the pain of the flu or other diseases but it is pain none-the-less.  The pain we experience lets us know something is wrong and we have the opportunity to address it.  Many times the sufferer will find relief while at other times relief is a long time in coming for reasons we don’t know.  But what I do know is that God is aware of our pain and in His perfect will He has His reason(s) for allowing it.

What if God reached down and instantly removed your Panic Disorder, PTSD, OCD, Bi-Polar Disorder, or depression?  How would you respond? There’s a portion of Scripture I would like to close with that tells the story of when Jesus healed ten lepers.  It has much to say to us today.

Luke 17:11  On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee.
Luke 17:12  And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance
Luke 17:13  and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”
Luke 17:14  When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed.
Luke 17:15  Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice;
Luke 17:16  and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.
Luke 17:17  Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?
Luke 17:18  Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”
Luke 17:19  And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

Here we see ten lepers crying in one accord to Jesus.  These ten were outcasts and they kept their distance from Jesus per the law.

Numbers 5:2  “Command the people of Israel that they put out of the camp everyone who is leprous or has a discharge and everyone who is unclean through contact with the dead.
Numbers 5:3  You shall put out both male and female, putting them outside the camp, that they may not defile their camp, in the midst of which I dwell.”
Numbers 5:4  And the people of Israel did so, and put them outside the camp; as the LORD said to Moses, so the people of Israel did.

As they cried out they said “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us” and Jesus responded by saying “Go and show yourselves to the Priests.”  He hadn’t healed them but they realized that the reason they would be going to the Priests was based on the law.  They knew they would be healed and so it was, as they were on their way, they were healed.  Notice how they obeyed before the promise was realized.

Leviticus 14:2  This shall be the law of the leprous person for the day of his cleansing. He shall be brought to the priest,

As we read on we see that only one came back to say thank you.  The others continued on their way.  The one who came back and fell at the feet of Jesus was a Samaritan, one who was despised by the Jews.  Along with the story of The Good Samaritan this story was an example of how the Jews were wrong in their harsh judgment of the Samaritans. The one who would least be expected to do the “spiritual” thing in response to his healing was the only one who did.

Jesus didn’t command the lepers to come back and thank Him.  Neither are we commanded to thank Him when each of us receive our ultimate healing, the forgiveness of our sin.  How could we not thank Him for saving us?  Not just at the time of being saved, but throughout our lives.  That’s a mark of spirituality that the Jews missed.

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.
Philippians 4:7  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

As those with mental illness are often perceived as less than they are (Samaritans) we can realize that our pain serves a purpose and in the midst of that pain God would have us remain thankful.

God never says to be thankful only when times are good. He realizes there are times when we don’t feel thankful. He does ask us to be thankful even when the feelings aren’t there.

Jesus spoke solemn words to the disciples as they would soon go into the world yet He ended those words with a promise that I pray we all can hang on to.

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. 

Bipolar Disorder Can’t Stop This University Of Colorado Senior

Taken from USA Today  which is found   HERE.

When Elizabeth Vanicelli was 7 years old, she started seeing a therapist for depression. At 9, she was prescribed Paxil, an anti-depressant medication. At 15, things got much worse: she told her psychiatrist she had a plan to end her life.

Not long after, Vanicelli was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder, a genetic, long-term condition characterized by moderate mood swings from manic highs to depressive lows. By the time she was 20, Vancielli’s disorder had progressed to bipolar I, a more severe diagnosis that the National Institute of Mental Health defines as “manic or mixed episodes that last at least seven days, or by manic symptoms that are so severe that the person needs immediate hospital care.”

The challenges for Vanicelli have been many since childhood; she was bullied she says, and her illness was often confused for behavioral problems. And they continued in college as her health situation affects everything from the managing of classwork to her social life. Yet she’s now a senior at the University of Colorado graduating early with a degree in Finance, a minor in Economics and an International Business Certificate proudly looking forward to graduation.

“I say I am bipolar and that’s not the case. I have bipolar. It makes such a difference. I think (it’s important to realize) that whatever mental illness you have, it doesn’t control you; you control it,” she says.

Bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million people in the U.S., or 2.6% of the total population, according to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. Bipolar I occurs in between 1% of Americans according to Nassir Ghaemi, an academic psychiatrist and professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, who specializes in the disorder.

Her manic episodes, she adds, make her “obsessive.” Hallucinations and delusions, says Ghaemi, are common with severe bipolar disorder, and Vanicelli says she “see things that aren’t there … and I just want it all to stop. .. .There are too many thoughts in my head.”When Vanicelli is depressed, she says, she feels like she can’t get anything done. “I’m lonely and angry and irritated, and I make up stories in my head distorting reality to make it seem like everything’s terrible,” she says.

But from the time she entered college, Vanicelli never stopped pursuing her dreams. As a freshmen, she joined the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program even knowing that her disability might affect her desire to serve. She held off as long as she could to submit her medical evaluation in hopes if she proved herself, she’d be allowed stay in the program. But although she was nominated for best cadet, once her medical history was submitted she was removed from the ROTC as her disorder meant she waslegally not allowed to serve in the military training program for undergraduates.

Attending classes, she says, has also had its obstacles. The medications she takes, for one, can make it difficult to retain information.

While Vanicelli gets As on homework, she says that she “fails every test. There’s no way around it, no matter how hard I study.”

The medications can also flatten her emotions, which can make her seem apathetic and disinterested, which makes many social situation difficult, not to mention group projects. And even when she shares her health issue with others, some people become wary of her because of the label.

Ghaemi says there can be a stigma associated with people who have a manic-depressive illness.

“Part of it’s based on ignorance, people just don’t know what it is,” he says. “People think that there’s something morally wrong with people that have depression or mania or any psychiatric condition and so they discriminate against them.”

Vanicelli says she’s received good support from the school. She has a case worker at the Office of Disabilities at the University of Colorado, and “an impact letter which (explains that) because my disability is pretty unpredictable sometimes I’ll miss class or miss an assignment. The past few semesters I’ve missed some very important things and had to make them up.”

Dating has also been difficult to do. She currently has a boyfriend, and says she told him on  their third date about her disorder.

“Alex has never been judgmental. He’s always been supportive, he’s always really cared. … And he still pushes me to be a better person.”

Vanicelli says that the best thing to do is to embrace who you are, and not let the illness define you as a person.

“Ultimately don’t choose a school based on limitations or what you think your limitations are because you don’t have to let it limit you. I don’t want people to think you can’t do something because you have your disorder or they have depression or they have schizophrenia or whatever they have, because it’s not true.”

She adds, “Do what you want, if you really want it. You’ll find a way.”

Originally posted in 2010. Due to elections in Canada this article has been popular lately so I thought I would share it once more.  Allan

Taken from Bipolar Disorder magazine.

For many years, Margaret Trudeau thought her up and down moods were just part of life. After all, her story resembled a movie script. Still a teenager and vacationing with her family in Tahiti, she won the heart of dashing Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who would soon become Canadian prime minister. Then in 1971, the former Margaret Sinclair of Vancouver married Trudeau and at22 became the youngest first lady in Canadian history.

Thrust into an international spotlight, Trudeau reacted to the loneliness and structure of public life. For those over 40, Trudeau needs no introduction. In the 1970s, she was one of the world’s most glamorous and scrutinized women, visiting heads of state with her husband and bringing along her sometimes erratic behavior. She was an A List celebrity, an It Girl, as capable of attracting headlines as Princess Diana.

“I thought my life was just taking me high and low,” she says. “I had been given so many rich opportunities in my life.”

As is often the case, this celebrated life was not as it seemed—the drama of her highs and lows continued. Those decades of Trudeau’s public life were filled with deep self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy as a wife, mother, and woman. (“I remember thinking I was just a cosmic joke,” she once said.)

Her separation and eventual divorce from Trudeau left her struggling for an identity and an income. Her ups and downs continued after marrying Fried Kemper, a Canadian real estate developer. In 1998, when Michel, her 23-year-old son with Pierre, was killed in an avalanche while skiing in the Canadian wilderness, she could no longer avoid her fate.

In 2001, a year after Pierre’s death and her second marriage in trouble, Trudeau ended years of denial and checked herself into an Ottawa hospital, where she was diagnosed with bipolar. Five years later, when she felt her recovery was as complete as it needed to be, Trudeau announced at a hospital fund-raiser that she had been struggling with bipolar for years and had been misdiagnosed for decades.

“It’s not just what life throws at you,” says Trudeau. “Bipolar is an exaggeration of your emotions, so when you do get knocked down by life—which you will because everyone will be knocked down at some point—it’s very hard to bounce back. Some people can live with sorrow for a while and get on with their lives. I didn’t have that ability. What I learned is that it’s awfully hard to do it on your own.

“And that’s my message: to reach out and get help.”

So consider this the latest chapter of Trudeau’s remarkable life: She’s an eloquent and compelling advocate for people with a mental illness, in particular those living with bipolar. Instead of running from reality, she flies across North America to discuss that reality with eager audiences, delivering more than 20 speeches last fall alone. Now she uses the celebrity—celebrity that once seemed to her more like “infamy”—to bring attention to worldwide causes: She is honorary president of Water Can, an international organization dedicated to helping the poorest communities in developing nations build basic water and sanitation services.

Just as essential to Trudeau’s new identity is her devotion as a mother and grandmother. She now lives in Montreal, close to Justin, 35;and Alexandre (“Sacha”), 33, her surviving children with Pierre; and her grandchildren, toddler Pierre-Emmanuel Trudeau and infant Xavier James Trudeau. Alicia Kemper, 18, her daughter from her second marriage, also attends college in Montreal. Trudeau guards her family’s privacy with a fierce maternal instinct, but ask her about those grandchildren and watch her face light up.

“I don’t care about the power, I don’t care about the glamour, and I don’t care about the prestige,” she says. “What I do care about is my sanity so I can raise my children. I did manage to keep my family.”

“Not the Margaret Trudeau the world used to know,” is how one national magazine in Canada described her. But at 59, there’s still plenty of the spark and personality that captivated the late prime minister and many of her fans when she was a free spirit in an age of nonconformity. She still talks with that same breathy voice. Her large blue eyes still reflect the range of human emotions.

“For years and years, I didn’t get proper treatment,” Trudeau says. “I didn’t accept I had this disease of the brain. I didn’t accept it because I didn’t think I was crazy. I didn’t want to be thought of as crazy. I just thought my emotions were getting the best of me.

“The shame is in having a mental illness and not facing it and getting it treated, because you’re going to destroy your life and probably destroy your marriage and probably destroy friendships,” she says. “You’re probably going to disappoint people; you’re probably going to have trouble keeping your job. The shame is in other people being ignorant and the lack of education of what it is that happens to people suffering from mental illness.”

Trudeau still seems to thrive in the limelight and is the first to embrace everyday drama. Now, however, she has this undeniable humanity, a presence that only comes from someone who has hit bottom and fought back. She has emerged from that lifelong struggle of highs and lows with a strong, clear message for others who are living with bipolar. She gives great wellness tips. And her formidable communication skills and most amazing array of adventures provide a wealth of stories and personal history she can draw from.

“I think I came out of this whole experience with a certain amount of wisdom, because when you are bipolar, it is a gift,” she says. “You get to experience the gamut of human emotions deeply and profoundly. And, yes, you get to feel an excess of sorrow and an excess of joy. A lot of people who live in the so-called normal state—I don’t know what that is except maybe a safe place where they feel neither up or down—they don’t have the same degree of compassion bipolar people have.”

Trudeau was alone at the movies when the darkness returned. She was watching Into the Wild, the 2007 Sean Penn film telling the true story of Christopher McCandless, a privileged young man who died overcome by the elements in the Alaskan wilderness. Immediately, she flashed back to Michel’s tragic death.

“When I came out of this movie theater, I was just shaking with grief,” Trudeau says, her eyes filling with tears as she remembers the evening. “And I thought, ‘Oh no, here I am slipping back into that deep, deep grief I was into.’ ”

Then something happened. Instead of sinking into melancholy, Trudeau took cues from her own wellness tips. “I bought all kinds of food and came home and cooked up a storm,” says Trudeau. “I filled my freezer and put on some good music and said I am not going to wallow in grief.” She made osso buco and molasses cookies—this flurry of cooking stopped her descent into depression and gave her an appreciation of the small delights of everyday living.

Trudeau tells this story twice in the same fall evening, once while being interviewed by this reporter at the Keefer Mansion in Thorold, Ontario; and again while addressing a capacity audience at Brock University in nearby St. Catharines.

Trudeau’s ability to pull herself out of the darkness after Into the Wild provoked her son’s memory is another example of her growth and recovery, a transformation that has become a source of strength and pride. “I allowed myself to feel the grief and then told myself, ‘Enough,’ and moved on,” she says. “I moved into a place where I could find the light.”

Trudeau does not flinch when reminded that she still is not over her son’s loss. “There is no getting over it,” she says. “There is no escaping your life and the tragedies that happen. You have to own them.

“For a good five years, I was a deeply grieving mother. I could hardly exist because of the grief, but it was exaggerated because of the bipolar, and I was untreated and I didn’t have any help. But once I got help, I was able to own the grief, and it deepened my heart and my memory. I’m not trying to forget because there is no forgetting. It’s the opposite. It’s in the remembering that you heal.”

That night at Brock, Trudeau could have held the attention of her audience—students, mental health workers, consumers, and fans—three times the length of the 90-minute program. And her choice of wardrobe—tailored pinstripe suit covering a ruffled white blouse, a red leather belt, and shiny black pumps with pointy heels—is a giveaway that her spirit is alive and well, even after all these years.

Some in the audience wanted to hear about her days with the Rolling Stones. (“No, Mick Jagger wasn’t a nice guy,” she said, answering a question from the audience. “But Ron Wood was a really nice guy. I really just sat under their piano.”) Some asked about enduring the mental illness stigma.

Seven years ago when she was in Royal Ottawa Hospital, where she would receive her bipolar diagnosis, her second husband was less than sympathetic. “You really must be crazy if you think I would let my children go into a mental hospital,” Trudeau recalls Kemper saying.

“In two and a half months in the hospital, my children never visited me,” she says, referring to Kyle and Alicia, her son and daughter with Kemper, who are now 22 and 18, respectively. The audience gasped. “But I’ve forgiven him,” she says. “It’s part of my Buddhist nature.”

Trudeau remembers her first serious depression occurring after the birth of her second son, Alexandre, in 1973, two years after marrying the prime minister. Then came the “freedom trip” years, escapes from what she calls the “long tunnel of darkness” of life as first lady. Her attitude on her mental condition remained as inconsistent as her behavior. Consequences, Trudeau’s second book, published in 1982, includes a chapter called “On Being Mad” that discusses her first encounters with the mental health system. The chapter ends with a statement about rediscovering her sanity “on my own, without help” and calling psychiatry “a gigantic illusion.”

Now, however, Trudeau views those freedom trips as manic episodes, undetected evidence of her condition. She makes a point of not blaming her behavior—whether it was cavorting with celebrities like Jack Nicholson, or her famous photographed appearance at Studio 54 the night before her husband was voted out of office—on her mental illness. Still, she says that her bipolar condition exaggerated her existing impulsive nature.

“With bipolar, while you’re in a hypomanic state, one of the effects is impaired insight,” she says. “You think you know what you’re doing, but you really don’t. I spiraled into a deep depression and I could not get myself out of it. And it affected my marriage because I could not function. It was evident in the mood swings, the deep depressions. If I had been treated properly, I probably would have had a different life.”

Even with these personal difficulties, Trudeau “humanized” her husband, the prime minister, particularly in the 1974 campaign, prevailing on him to tear up prepared speeches and instead speak from the heart about his vision for a more just Canada. “We had a grass-roots-style campaign and we won a large majority,” she recalls. “As I was just the ‘wife of,’ I did not have an office or a staff, [but] I wrote thousands of thank-you notes by hand to good people who had reached out to me or sent little gifts to our children.

“My proudest moment as ‘wife of’ was heading a nongovernmental UN–Habitat forum in Vancouver,” she recalls. “Margaret Mead and Barbara Ward, plus other eminent environmentalists, were there.

That conference inspired me to get interested in clean water as a human right.”

“Many of us have followed her life when she was our first lady,” says Elaine Edmiston, chair of the Canadian Mental Health Association task group that sponsored Trudeau’s talk at Brock. “More importantly, she is extremely articulate, presents a powerful message of her own experiences, and is able to connect on a very personal level with a large audience. She is also very funny and tells good jokes.”

People who have bipolar can choose to be sane, Trudeau maintains. For her, reaching out means finding someone to guide you through your limitations and helping you to examine your inner life. That almost always means therapy. You need to educate yourself, she says, from the medications that are required to one’s behavioral patterns. “I’m certainly not going to tell them to just ‘buck up,’ ” she says. “That doesn’t work.”

Trudeau also recommends some kind of vigorous exercise routine, although she admits hating to exercise herself. “I did have a personal trainer for awhile,” she says. “He was pretty cute. And he made me like it a little more.”

The “hardest part” to recovery is the spiritual side, Trudeau says. Although Trudeau is a Christian, Buddhism is a way of life for her. Trudeau practices daily meditation, not the formal kind with mantras and rituals, but a “moment-to-moment” style that encourages her to take the time. She doesn’t hesitate when asked how to repair those damaged relationships, many of which suffered because of her condition.

“You need to develop a sense of forgiveness,” she says. “Forgiving myself and forgiving others for abandoning me, for hurting me, for their lack of understanding. I have to ask for forgiveness, and I have to forgive myself.”

The other essential ingredient to recovery, Trudeau says, is gratitude. “When you are a grateful person, you are a generous person, and then you are a happy person. When you give, you get—you certainly do.

“I know what it was like to be so low, and to have that flame of hope—the one you should always have—go out. I have such gratitude for being well and having been given the gifts I have in my life.”


Margaret Trudeau’s wellness tips

  • Self-monitor, don’t self-medicate: “I had to stop self-medicating. I loved marijuana, and giving it up was one of the hard, mature decisions I had to make. To self-monitor, know when you’re feeling balanced and consistent and able to function very well. Know what that feels like.”
  • Don’t try this alone: “It’s very hard to examine your life by yourself. You need someone who can guide you to understand yourself and your limitations. You need therapy.”
  • Find an exercise regimen: “One of the side-effects of medication is weight gain, so you have to be very careful about your diet. I walk 40 minutes a day and do yoga. I ski. I ride a bike.”
  • Get in touch with your spiritual side: “I don’t live in the future. I live now. I don’t live in my regrets, or my mistakes. I move on from them and learn. I meditate. It’s a daily practice of ‘take the time, take the time.’ ”
  • Find a way to be needed: “I put my pride aside to take a very small job. It got me outside my world of grief and pain. You have to get out and contribute.”

Streams In The Desert: October 24th, 2015

I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument  Isaiah 41:15

A bar of steel worth five dollars, when wrought into horseshoes, is worth ten dollars. If made into needles, it is worth three hundred and fifty dollars; if into penknife blades, it is worth thirty-two thousand dollars; if into springs for watches it is worth two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. What a drilling the poor bar must undergo to be worth this! But the more it is manipulated, the more it is hammered, and passed through the fire, and beaten and pounded and polished, the greater the value.

May this parable help us to be silent, still, and longsuffering. Those who suffer most are capable of yielding most; and it is through pain that God is getting the most out of us, for His glory and the blessing of others.

Oh, give Thy servant patience to be still,
And bear Thy will;
Courage to venture wholly on the arm
That will not harm;
The wisdom that will never let me stray
Out of my way;
The love that, now afflicting, knoweth best
When I should rest.

Life is very mysterious. Indeed it would be inexplicable unless we believed that God was preparing us for scenes and ministries that lie beyond the veil of sense in the eternal world, where highly-tempered spirits will be required for special service.

“The turning-lathe that has the sharpest knives produces the finest work.”