Tears to Joy

Tears to Joy: November 2013

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Living in the Now

Too often we long for those good ole' days or we pine for the future, and we totally miss the present. A couple of people who are very near and dear to my heart are in the early stages of Alzheimer's. Watching their memory decline has reminded me how precious time is and of the importance of today. As Thanksgiving approaches, I am committed to grasping every moment. Each moment is unique and special and is one we can never get back.

I am an incessant planner. My calendar fills months in advance. Jeff is constantly reminding me to take life one day at a time. While planning isn't bad, I can let my plans get in the way of God's. I can miss divine appointments, because I am so focused on what I "need" to do.

In college, I heard a quote that really resonated with me. It said, "If I give you my time, I give you my life, because time is life." There is so much truth to that statement. As I hurry to finish my next assignment for school or to cross off the next item on my to-do list, I may miss many valuable opportunities to connect with people. I don't want to give my life away to stuff, but want to invest it in the lives of others. I pray that this season as we reflect on all that we have to be thankful for, that we will take time to refocus on what really matters in life.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Call to Prayer

Several years ago, I listened from my hotel room as the call to prayer sounded over the loudspeakers. Muslims all over the city were getting out of their beds before the sun had risen to get on their knees and pray. I remember the conviction I felt as I watched their dedication and commitment to pray. Beloved, I believe God is calling us to seek his face.

My heart is heavy as I write this post and I ask you to join me in praying for Christians in leadership. I've had several calls recently from minister's wives who are experiencing gut-wrenching pain and heartache due to their husbands' sins. These men of God have fallen into depression, addictions (pornography, substance abuse, gambling, etc.), adultery, and more. I write this not to bash these men in any way, but to call us to prayer. Satan wants nothing more than to kill, steal and destroy, and he often attacks families in leadership.

I can remember the loneliness that we experienced as we struggled in silence with the symptom's of Michael's bipolar disorder. Who does the minister talk to about his struggles? Many will lose their jobs if they bring their sins out of the dark and into the light, so fear keeps them entangled in their sin.

I ask you today, to take a few moments and pray for anyone you know in the ministry. Pray that God will keep them from temptation and restore broken relationships. Pray that God will redeem their hurts for his glory. Pray that these ministers will find safe people to confide in and to seek help.

We are called to laugh with those who laugh and to mourn with those who mourn. Today, I grieve with my dear sisters who are mourning their husband's poor choices. I pray that God in his infinite grace and goodness would comfort their hearts and restore their joy.

I'm not sounding a siren from a loud speaker, but I am pleading with you to join me in prayer. Will you take a minute to get on your knees before the Lord even now?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Helping Your Bipolar Loved One

This is going to sound utterly selfish, but the number one thing you can do to help someone you care about who has bipolar disorder is to make sure that you are healthy yourself. Loving someone with bipolar often comes with extreme highs and lows, and their roller coaster of emotions often carry you along for the ride whether you want to go or not. You love them and want to do everything you can to help; sometimes to the point that you neglect yourself.

There was a time when Michael’s mood swings were so severe that nothing was stable in our lives. I felt like I was living in a minefield, and at any moment, life could explode. In a moment of desperation, I remember thinking that if something didn’t change, I was going to have a nervous breakdown. I knew our daughter needed at least one sane parent, so I decided to move out of our home until I could get a grip on my own emotional and mental health.

Leaving was one of the most difficult things at the time; Michael thought that I was leaving him permanently and had many of our friends and family calling to convince me to come home (they were unaware of his disorder). Being apart was difficult in many ways, but being in a stable environment gave me the space to gain some perspective. When I finally did return home, I was in a much better place emotionally to support him than I was when I left.

Was I selfish to leave? Yes and no. The decision to leave for a brief period was what was best for our family. The one thing I know is that when I took care of my own mental health, I was a much better wife and mother. I’m not saying that you need to take this to the extreme and that it is all about you and making yourself happy, but I am suggesting that you take care of yourself.

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