More Than Coping

Mental Illness And The Christian

40 Powerful Quotes From Corrie Ten Boom

Taken from  crosswalk.com   which is found    HERE.

April 15th marked the birthday of the amazing woman, Corrie ten Boom. At the age of 91, on that very same date in 1983, she also passed into Heaven’s gates. According to Jewish custom, celebrating the same day for both birth and death is the unique sign of a very special individual. I think the rest of the world would agree. Corrie ten Boom was one of the most godly, soul-rich individuals I’ve ever read words from. Her deep wisdom came with the cost of journeying through great pain in this life, yet many of us have gleaned amazing nuggets of truth from her experiences. Evidence still that God uses all we walk through in this world for greater purposes and good, more than we could possibly ever imagine.

The ten Boom family were Dutch Christians who helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust of WWII. When their home was raided after an informant tipped off the Nazis of their activities, the entire family was imprisoned. Corrie and her sister were sent to a notorious Nazi concentration camp. She was miraculously released from prison just days after her sister had died there. God brought incredible beauty and healing through her difficult experiences, and her words still have great relevance and impact in our world today. She authored a number of books and was most famously known for The Hiding Place, the incredible story of her life. The title refers to the secret place where the family hid countless Jewish people needing help in their home, and is based on this scripture, “You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word” (Psalm 119:114).

Certain themes run through her greatest quotes over and over again – truths we need reminding of in all we face today – Forgive, Love, Trust God, Don’t Worry, Pray.

40 Powerful Quotes from Corrie Ten Boom:

“You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have.”

“Do you know what hurts so very much? It’s love. Love is the strongest force in the world, and when it is blocked that means pain. There are two things we can do when this happens. We can kill that love so that it stops hurting. But then of course part of us dies, too. Or we can ask God to open up another route for that love to travel.”

“Today I know that such memories are the key not to the past, but to the future. I know that the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work he will give us to do. ”

“And our wise Father in heaven knows when we’re going to need things too. Don’t run out ahead of him.”

“Love is larger than the walls which shut it in.”

“Even as the angry vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him….Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me your forgiveness….And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on his. When he tells us to love our enemies, he gives along with the command, the love itself.”

“If the devil cannot make us bad, he will make us busy.”

“You will find it is necessary to let things go, simply for the reason that they are too heavy.”

“Some knowledge is too heavy…you cannot bear it…your Father will carry it until you are able.”

“Don’t bother to give God instructions, just report for duty.”

“You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have.”

“God takes our sins – the past, present, and future, and dumps them in the sea and puts up a sign that says NO FISHING ALLOWED.”

“Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.”

“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.”

“Happiness isn’t something that depends on our surroundings…it’s something we make inside ourselves.”

“Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?”

“In darkness God’s truth shines most clear.”

“What wings are to a bird and sails to a ship, so is prayer to the soul.”

“With Jesus, even in our darkest moments the best remains and the very best is yet to be…”

“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.”

“It is not my ability, but my response to God’s ability that counts.”

“This is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person he puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only he can see.”

“Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees”

“The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration, but its donation.”

“There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.”

“If God sends us on stony paths, he provides strong shoes.”

“Worry is like a rocking chair: it keeps you moving but doesn’t get you anywhere.”

Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible.”

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”

“Trying to do the Lord’s work in your own strength is the most confusing, exhausting, and tedious of all work. But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then the ministry of Jesus just flows out of you.”

“There is no panic in Heaven! God has no problems, only plans.”

“When I try, I fail. When I trust, he succeeds.”

“God never measures the mind… He always put His tape measure in the HEART.”

“Let God’s promises shine on your problems.”

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.”

“Worry is a cycle of inefficient thoughts whirling around a center of fear.”

“Now, I know in my experience that Jesus’ light is stronger than the biggest darkness.”

“Discernment is God’s call to intercession, never to faultfinding.”

“The first step on the way to victory is to recognize the enemy.”

“Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden.”

Corrie ten Boom’s amazing life and journey remind us still today how to live strong and love well through the hope and freedom of Christ. May we press on in that wisdom, moving forward with the same forgiving spirit that typified this courageous soul. Don’t let the enemy hold you back. No matter what we walk through, God has good in store.

Anxiety Drug Overdoses Have Quadrupled Over Last Two Decades, Study Finds

In dealing with the topic of mental illness quite often we learn of the importance of medication that allows people to live healthy and vibrant lives. This article points out the reality of drug overdoses due to anxiety medication. Allan

Taken from  NBC News   which is found   HERE.

More Americans than ever are overdosing on anxiety drugs, researchers reported Thursday — and it’s not clear why.

The new study finds not only that more Americans are taking the drugs, which include brand names such as Valium and Xanax, but that they’re taking more of them.

But while the quantity of prescriptions filled tripled between 1996 and 2013, the number of overdoses quadrupled during the same period, the team reported in the American Journal of Public Health.

“We found that the death rate from overdoses involving benzodiazepines, also known as ‘benzos,’ has increased more than four-fold since 1996 — a public health problem that has gone under the radar,” said Dr. Marcus Bachhuber of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, who helped lead the study.

“Overdoses from benzodiazepines have increased at a much faster rate than prescriptions for the drugs, indicating that people have been taking them in a riskier way over time.”

Benzodiazepines are extremely popular drugs in the U.S.

Related: Drug Overdose Deaths Hit Alarming High

More than 5 percent of U.S. adults fill a benzodiazepine prescription every year, for conditions such as anxiety, mood disorders and insomnia.

They’re known to be highly addictive and, in 2013, nearly a third of the 23,000 people who died from prescription drug overdoses were taking them.

Bachhuber’s team looked at large health surveys to find trends in their use and abuse.

“The rate of overdose deaths involving benzodiazepines increased more than four-fold from 0.58 per 100,000 adults to 3.07 per 100 000 adults,” they wrote. “However, this rate appeared to plateau after 2010.”

“Between 1996 and 2013, the number of adults filling a benzodiazepine prescription increased 67 percent, from 8.1 million to 13.5 million,” they added.

They found a similarly large increase in the number of pills each adult was prescribed.

It’s not clear why overdoses went up so much. It could be people are taking the drugs for longer times, raising the odds that they’ll eventually overdose. Or it could be the pills are getting to people who don’t have prescriptions, the researchers wrote.

Streams In The Desert: February 20th, 2016

Nothing shall be impossible unto you  Matthew 17:20

It is possible, for those who really are willing to reckon on the power of the Lord for keeping and victory, to lead a life in which His promises are taken as they stand and are found to be true.

It is possible to cast all our care upon Him daily and to enjoy deep peace in doing it.

It is possible to have the thoughts and imaginations of our hearts purified, in the deepest meaning of the word.

It is possible to see the will of God in everything, and to receive it, not with sighing, but with singing.

It is possible by taking complete refuge in Divine power to become strong through and through; and, where previously our greatest weakness lay, to find that things which formerly upset all our resolves to be patient, or pure, or humble, furnish today an opportunity — through Him who loved us, and works in us an agreement with His will and a blessed sense of His presence and His power — to make sin powerless over us.

These things are DIVINE POSSIBILITIES, and because they are His work, the true experience of them will always cause us to bow lower at His feet and to learn to thirst and long for more.

We cannot possibly be satisfied with anything less — each day, each hour, each moment, in Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit — than to WALK WITH GOD.
–H. C. G. Moule

We may have as much of God as we will. Christ puts the key of the treasure-chamber into our hand, and bids us take all that we want. If a man is admitted into the bullion vault of a bank, and told to help himself, and comes out with one cent, whose fault is it that he is poor? Whose fault is it that Christian people generally have such scanty portions of the free riches of God?
–McLaren

Praise & Worship: February 19th, 2016

1.Good, Good Father- Chris Tomlin

2.  Flawless-  MercyMe

3.  Hallelujah-  Phil Keaggy

4.  You’re Still God-  Godfrey Birtill

5.  Resurrection-  Nicol Sponberg

6.  Rooftops-  Jesus Culture

7.  Good Feelin’-  Sweet Comfort Band

8.  I Shall Not Want-  Audrey Assad

9.  Healing Rain-  Michael W. Smith

10.  Lord Reign In Me-  Vineyard

11.  My Lighthouse-  Rend Collective

Touched with Fire Is an Offensive Cartoon of Mental Illness

Taken from  The Stranger which is found   HERE.

You know that one friend who tells you depression shouldn’t be treated with medication, because you could just cut out gluten or eat more kale?

Touched with Fire  is 110 minutes of that friend, and it’s just as insufferable as you’d expect. Ostensibly a love story between poets with bipolar disorder who meet in a psych ward, it is actually an extended infomercial for the book it’s based on (by psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison) and also maybe for not taking your meds, even though Jamison herself doesn’t advocate that.

Also featured prominently: Winter as a metaphor for depression! No discussion of insurance coverage or the difficulty of accessing mental health care! Katie Holmes and Luke Kirby chomping the scenery, as their characters somehow publish books with alarming frequency, despite never writing anything worth publishing! (I suppose inane rhymes about the sun and moon technically qualify as poetry, but in real life, they’d deservedly end up in a slush pile.)

It all boils down to an offensively cartoonish depiction of bipolar disorder as a gift that needn’t be medicated—which, like, have you ever known someone with untreated bipolar disorder? It’s not all flights of boundless creativity and reckless passion. Untreated mental illness is debilitating.

Breaking down the stigma attached to mental health disorders is a huge, important undertaking, and this is not the way to do it. The crazy artist is a stereotype, right up there with the hard-drinking artist. Addiction and bipolar disorder are diseases, not artistic best practices. Drinking did not do Ernest Hemingway or David Foster Wallace any favors. Clinical depression was not what made Sylvia Plath’s poetry great; it was her incredibly disciplined drafting process. The idea that taking care of yourself is somehow the antithesis of making art is an insidious myth; one can’t exist without the other. That isn’t romantic, but I guess neither is breathing? Both are required if you hope to have a sustainable career.

The world is hard enough on artists, and by romanticizing the very things that kill good art, movies like this one make it even harder. If you want to watch an ill-conceived screed against taking medication for bipolar disorder, and a massive oversimplification of what it’s like to live with mental illness, please enjoyTouched with Fire.

But if you want a story that takes mental health seriously and depicts the challenges of seeking treatment, you’d be much better off staying home and rereading The Bell Jar. We should envy Plath’s genius, not her pain. recommended

Anxiety Stole My Personality – For A Season

I received an e-mail from Melanie several days ago.  I don’t know her but she asked me to consider posting this article on my blog. I Thought for a long time deciding that a woman sharing her life in all honesty from where she is right now could encourage others. So for the first time I am posting an article sent to me via e-mail. Please keep Melanie in your prayers as it’s clear she has a heart for God. We’re all in this together.  Allan

Melanie Valdivieso- Anxiety Stole My Personality – for a Season

Christ has set my soul free – Hallelujah! This truth shall forevermore stand. But on this earth and in this body, I have a mental illness: anxiety, plus a dash of depression. An invisible enemy, stigmatized as either lunacy or mental weakness – it has stolen my personality and threatens me with doubt. I fret over the future and plan for crises that never happen. My chest grows heavy, my vision blurs, and my head spins. My time is consumed with regulating breathing and my heartbeat. All I want is to get out from under the blanket that suppresses who I really am.

Ironically, I held a very stressful job that I LOVED; I was a high school English teacher. Indeed, I was going to teach for the rest of my life – with the help of meds of course.  Oh, that glorious moment during my second year of teaching when I realized that I was free to be myself because I had found the right medication. Then the rollercoaster ride of bodily changes started: my brain would grow accustomed to the medication and quit responding to it, or my body would grow  a brand new human being or two. Every few years I needed to readjust or change my prescription, the challenges and rewards of teaching captivated me again, and on I persevered.

Then the 2015 school year started, and I experienced my worst episode of anxiety. Logic takes a flying leap when you can’t breathe, focus your eyesight, or stand in a crowd of people, so it didn’t occur to me that I needed to see the doctor about changing my prescription. By the time logic did manage to squeak through the cracks of my troubled mind, it was too late. My love of teaching had deserted me, and the best I could muster was babysitting the students. After nine years of teaching, I was so tired of having to fight my body and my mind to do my job, so I quit at the end of October.

As you can well imagine, the lies of the enemy nagged at me everyday during this season of transition, and I allowed them a seat in my heart. Specifically, the master lie that took the throne was that I had failed. My husband’s denial of my mental illness heaped upon the guilt and shame of quitting a career to which I devoted myself left me floundering for purpose. I had failed miserably to pick myself up through strength of will and support my family financially.

However, the Lord of the Universe says that I am not a failure. He states it over and over again in Scripture.

Truth #1

2 Corinthians 6:18 – I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.

I am a daughter of the King. Anxiety and depression are physical problems, albeit they manifest as emotional symptoms, but that doesn’t change me being a princess. I had lots of fun teaching as God’s daughter, and now He is humbling me for other services.

Truth #2

Romans 8:1 – Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

First and foremost, since Jesus doesn’t condemn me, I shouldn’t presume to condemn myself. Secondly, mental illness is NOT a sin. Finally, the choice to quit was a healthy choice, and God definitely supports health!

Truth #3

Isaiah 54:5 – For your Maker is your husband—the Lord Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.

How to react to my husband when in moments of anger he says deprecating things to me? Now I know; my Maker is my eternal Husband. I will listen to what He has to say about these trying times by respecting His commands to be Christlike.

Truth #4

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.

Psalm 115:3 Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.

This is God’s sovereignty! I have faith that either God allowed this ordeal to occur so that I can focus on a new ministry, or He is just so powerful that He turned something horrible into something that glorifies Him.  Either way, I give my injury to Him and He transforms it into beauty.

After coming through as a whole person, I praise God for His mercies, which don’t depend upon my feelings.  God’s Word is the truth that stands forevermore, and through each episode of anxiety in my life, the truth is internalized more and more.

Melanie Valdivieso

February 12. 2016

Michael Newnham: Make Your Own Application

My friend Michael Newnham writes devotionals quite often using his cat to teach us lessons about ourselves and God. Michael is the founder of the Phoenix Preacher  which is found  HERE.

Miss Kitty has some fears.

She’s terrified of the city street sweeper.

She’s afraid of black plastic bags.

She swears she lost a loved one to a vacuum cleaner.

The garbage truck was sent from hell to eat cats in her dreams.

With the exception of the black garbage bags, these are all understandable things for a cat to be afraid of.

They are large and loud and if I didn’t know what they were, I’d be afraid of them too.

What is irrational to me is her response to her fears.

As I sat to write this morning, she was sleeping soundly on my lap.

We heard the street sweeper approach at the same time…

She sat bolt upright, jumped off my lap, pried the door open, and fled outside.

This is how she reacts to all things that cause her terror.

She leaves the safety of my lap and the safety of her home to strike out on her own to save herself.

She leaves the place where she’s totally safe and runs to places where safety is uncertain.

She doesn’t trust me to protect her.

She thinks that at the end of the day she must rely on herself to stay safe.

She ends up outside or under the house where all manner of dangers truly do lurk.

I am smarter than my cat…sometimes.

I have my own fears.

Sometimes.. the doctors report is as loud as the garbage truck, the bank statement as fearsome as getting caught under the street sweeper.

Sometimes…the cares of this world threaten to suck the life out of me like the vacuum inhales the souls of cats in Miss Kitty’s nightmares.

I used to run.

There was no place to go.

Now, I stay on my Masters lap until the terror passes.

The terrors are real, but so is He.

It’s safe.

There’s room for you.

Make your own application…