The Face of Mental Illness

wildflowers_zydeqDY_.jpgDoes mental illness actually have a face? I suppose many of us, if asked, might sketch something dark, melancholy, even abstract, however, I am beginning to see mental health concerns from a new perspective.

Imagine with me buying one of those big containers of wildflower seeds from your local gardening supply store. In late winter or early spring, after cultivating your garden soil into a deep, dense and rich haven, in which your newly bought seeds will begin to grow and flourish, you wait with great expectation for late spring or early summer when all your flowers begin to bloom and you have a carpeted menagerie of Dahlia’s, Zinna’s, Sunflower’s and more. This is how I am beginning to view mental health awareness.

A collective of beautiful minds that:

  • think deeply.
  • feel on a deeper, rawer level than most not only for themselves but for others and this can be very overwhelming,
  • have HUGE compassionate hearts that bruise, break and agonize easily.

What I have learned and am continuing to learn:

  • outbursts are not about you. They may be directed at you but most likely they are situational in your loved ones life.
  • when your loved one is experiencing a downward spiral help out in any way possible keeping as close to a routine as possible. Maybe that means doing things for your loved one that they would otherwise be able to do for themselves. Something as simple as offering them their medicine, making their meals or doing a load of their laundry.
  • find a support group or start one.
  • lower your expectations. Not of your loved one but for yourself. You may not be able to ‘do’ all the things you want to accomplish and that is okay. Tomorrow is another day.
  • Take care of you so you can take care of your loved one.
  • You are not alone.

Together you can bloom where you are planted.



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Prayers of a Pastor


There we sat, the room empty, except for one other man. The light was dim and dingy. Off in the corner the television was on and bleating louder than it ought to have been. She sat next to me doubled over in pain with tears streaming down her face wondering what was taking so long. It was 3:30 in the morning. The man brought my attention to the rain that had started again and the howling of the wind.

I sat feeling helpless trying to control the panic beginning to creep in. I closed my eyes and began to pray. I simply said, “Jesus we need you.” The door opened and we were called back. The man came right up next to me and followed us. Just as I was beginning to feel unsettled about this, he said, “I want you to know I was praying for your daughter.” With a relieved smile, I answered, “Thank you.” He said, “As a Pastor that is my job.” I thanked him again and told him there is something special about the prayers of a Pastor.

As we sat in the exam room engulfed by the privacy curtain, listening to the activity of a busy ER, I marveled at HIM. His lavish love poured over us creating a sweet perfume for our souls. Before I ever uttered a word in prayer, God had already answered and placed that Pastor right near us.

If that isn’t love, what is?

Precious One, God is ever close, his love knows no bounds and he is always listening to the sweet tinkling of your voice.


PS she is fine and God is good….ALL the time.

Through The Storm

About a week ago during worship at church we were singing “Cornerstone” by Hillsong. This is the chorus:

One letter from old brick alphabet set “Christ alone Cornerstone. Weak made strong in the Saviors love. Through the storm He is Lord, Lord of all.”

I was struck by the thought that a storm experienced in a person’s life is usually thought of as a negative thing, but it doesn’t always have to be nor is it always a bad thing. You see, the day before we had taken our oldest love bug back to the airport for her trip back to college. And, although, this was our sixth such trip since she started college in late 2013, this time it was the hardest for me. I also sensed it was a bit harder for her as well.Anemometer

I wondered on this as Holy Spirit was showing me this momentary storm was not a bad thing, it came out of a really good thing! As I stood in worship the tears starting flowing, both sad tears for a season that has passed and tears of gladness at the Lord’s work. He showed me pictures of her youth like a slideshow and he spoke to my heart, “My hand is upon her. I have given her the passion of her heart; the passion for justice. She is on My path.” Oh, the grace of God is unfathomable! He never has to share with us the inner work he is doing, but many times he chooses too. He knew my troubled heart before the storm ever hit and he offered his grace, his comfort and his love.

crown3-111413-734Through the storm He is Lord, Lord of all.


Full Circle

Last week I took my youngest love bug to have some blood work done. It was late in the afternoon and we were the only ones in the waiting area, when a very nicely dressed man, around my age, okay, that would be middle-aged, came in with his father, who was walking with the help of a walking stick, not a typical cane.

mothers-day-background_z1eLooOOI sat there discreetly listening, yes, I eavesdrop and I love to learn about others and their story, I never know when Holy Spirit will ask me to give a word of encouragement! As they checked in it was evident that they were there for the father. I also surmised that the son had taken time off work to help his father in this manner, hence the son still wearing his suit.

As we waited to be called, I prayed for the father asking Jesus for peace and thanking God fathers-day_1100013316-1013intfor the love this son showed his father in taking care of him. I was struck by the contrast that I was there; a mother taking care of her daughter and they were there; a son taking care of his father, when  Holy Spirit reminded me of this verse.

Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged; parents are the pride of their children. Proverbs 17:6.

heart-in-circle-stroke-icon_fJlmH88_Full circle just as God intended it to be.


On Being A Mom

Being a mom is the greatest blessing and job in the entire universe! I wouldn’t trade the trials, challenges and struggles we’ve faced in raising our lovebugs so far, though daunting at the time, because they have helped us grow as individuals, bond as a family and grow our faith and trust in God, knowing we can depend on Him for all things.

Screenshot_2014-08-29-13-47-29-1Our older two are one year two weeks, and according to our oldest, 1 day apart. They were 4 and 3 and a half when our littlest lovebug was born. I remember fondly the days when the middle seat, of our now retired Suburban, had one booster seat and two car seats lined up. In those days, a full night’s sleep seemed like a distant dream, these days horror mones are the cause of sleepless nights, but perhaps that is a story best left untold. Like clockwork, every night, one of them would wake up and make their way into our room and lay on the floor on my side of the bed, where I kept pillows and blankets, you know, just in case. Soon and as if the other two knew it was their turn, they too would end up next to their sibling and sleep the rest of the night snuggled up to one another. Just recently, I remembered those nights and wondered, “when did this season end?” The change happened so subtly it was as if it had always been that way. But my momma heart still holds onto those precious memories.Garrett, Hannah playoff 2013

20140212_135910These days I look into the faces of you younger moms and I see the tiredness in your eyes or hear the cries of your little lovebugs and without you knowing it, I am silently cheering you on and praying for you! You can do this!  The message you send your children with your perseverance is that you love them and you think they are worth all the tears, the crying, the struggles, the smiles, the accidents, the homework you don’t understand, and all the other challenges you may face by being called to the most important job ever. 20140506_213503

One day your children will remember how you poured all your heart and then some into them and they will call you blessed.

Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.” Proverbs 31: 28-29