About tonyroberts

I am a man with an unquiet mind who delights in the One who delights in me.

Helping Each Other During the Chaos of COVID.

This was written by Emma is a psychologist in New Zealand who works using the Solution Focused approach. She has worked in mental health, education, and suicide postvention and is currently employed by New Zealand Police within the family harm team. In her spare time, Emma delivers free suicide prevention workshops to the general public, as well as online learning via Zoom.    Let me begin by acknowledging that 2020 has been a tough year for everyone. That said, let’s talk about how to help each other get through the changes brought by this virus….. Convey empathy People need to feel heard and understood. It is important that we acknowledge what the situation is like for them, without judgment, and communicate that we understand how things are for them. Examples of statements or questions that convey empathy include: It sounds like things have been really stressful for you? It must [...]

Helping Each Other During the Chaos of COVID.2020-11-18T01:56:00-05:00

Life in South Africa during COVID 19 by Marlene Bartlett

Marlene writes: I grew up in Johannesburg and spent 38 years there. I am a Graphic Designer with a Diploma in Art Direction (Advertising). My struggle with mental illness began 24 years ago at the age of 16 when I hit my first major depression – the journey to accurate diagnosis, understanding and management has been complex – as with us all. I am a divorced, single mother and an anti-Child Abuse Activist.  My fight in this sphere dropped me onto the radar of some extremely evil people at the end of 2018 and I was forced to lay low for the sake of survival.  I had to leave Johannesburg and now live in a picturesque little town on the ‘Garden Route’ in the Western Cape surrounded by rainforests and blue flag beaches.  The perfect setting to recover, heal and regain strength for the work that lies ahead. God has [...]

Life in South Africa during COVID 19 by Marlene Bartlett2020-11-16T15:39:27-05:00

Prophet for People with Mental Illness

True prophets speak the truth no matter what the cost. The Word of God burns inside them until they have no choice but to speak and to act. Through stories, dreams, visions, God speaks through prophets that others may hear and hold onto the promise or heed the warning. In the Bible, true prophets are a mixed breed. Some are royal advisers. Some are outlaws, opposing unjust rule. Some are simple farmers, or shepherds, like the prophet Amos. The credential for becoming a prophet is not wealth or intelligence or popularity. For each prophetic occasion, God hand-picks the prophet who will deliver the authentic message from God to the people. At times this was a message of hope, reminding the exiled community of God's covenant promise. This message was encouraging, uplifting words like: "Keep moving forward. God is with you." Other times it was a word of warning: "Change [...]

Prophet for People with Mental Illness2020-11-19T00:14:46-05:00

What to do when you are COVID weary.

It's mid-November. We have been living in a pandemic period for nine months now. People are anxious. About catching the COVID virus. About paying their bills. Many are lonely, lacking the physical connections we need for positive affection and support. Others are angry, convinced all of this scare is overblown, even a political tactic to usher in an autocracy. Things seem so bad and it sounds like they will only get worse before they get better. And it may be a long time before they get better. No one is immune from the challenges bearing down on us personally and socially. Those of us living with mental illness can be particularly vulnerable to the extra stress the pandemic has created. To cope with the imbalance within me, I rely on a measure of balance in the world around me. Of course, it's not possible to live in a stress-free environment. [...]

What to do when you are COVID weary.2020-11-16T10:12:46-05:00

A Close Encounter with a Combative Commentator

Some time ago my dad had his 8th vascular surgery in 6 years. I wrote this in my journal that day... The surgeon said it went as well as could be expected.  Dad is now awake and responsive. There is a palpable sense of peace permeating the air in this expansive waiting area. I'm here with other close family members,. We are sitting in solitary solidarity. All is well. All was not well two months prior the last time dad had surgery. We were shoehorned into a cubbyhole with what seemed like hoards of masses of thousands of other families. and clans and troops. Fox News was blaring over the airways. One man in camo jacket, tube socks and scuffed penny loafers did the commentary: On International Affairs: "Who cares if he has personal relations with the Russians? I say keep your friends close and your enemies closer." On Health [...]

A Close Encounter with a Combative Commentator2020-11-12T05:06:01-05:00

The Personal Cost of Freedom

I went to a fast food restaurant for dinner some time ago. The guy ahead of me had just come home from Afghanistan. He was buying dinner for his son and himself. The total came to over $20. He didn’t have enough. They said they would give him a 10% military discount. Still not enough. He started taking away food from his order until he could afford it. Sad. Then I saw a man who had heard this haggling hand him $100 bill and say, "Thanks for your service." The soldier teared up and said, "You don’t know how much this means to me." The man smiled and said,  "You don’t know how much what you do means to me." I posted this story on Facebook and it got well over 100 likes and a dozen shares. It shows that people really want to care about those willing to give [...]

The Personal Cost of Freedom2020-11-08T21:32:25-05:00

Nurse Ratched Now

{from Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest} [Nurse Ratched] reached in the basket for the log book. “Must we go over past history?” That triggered something, some acoustic device in the walls, rigged to turn on at just the sound of those words coming from her mouth. The Acutes stiffened. Their mouths opened in unison. Her sweeping eyes stopped on the first man along the wall. His mouth worked. “I robbed a cash register in a service station.” She moved to the next man. “I tried to take my little sister to bed.” Her eyes clicked to the next man; each one jumped like a shooting-gallery target. “I—one time—wanted to take my brother to bed.” “I killed my cat when I was six. Oh, God forgive me, I stoned her to death and said my neighbor did it.” “I lied about trying. I did take my sister!” “So did [...]

Nurse Ratched Now2020-10-29T19:26:20-04:00

Prayers Answered and Unanswered: Yes? No? Wait?

At age 55, my father-in-law was diagnosed with an advanced stage of colon cancer. He received an aggressive round of chemotherapy. Inexplicably, he went into a coma. We recruited prayer warriors throughout the country. In just a few weeks, one of his medical interns happened to read a case study that perfectly fit my father-in-laws profile. They adapted his treatment. He returned to full function. He is now 85 and enjoying life to its fullest. Prayers answered, "Yes." Some time ago, my (then) wife and I separated after 20 years of marriage. I desperately wanted to reconcile. I sought intensive counseling for over a year.  I met with church elders and deacons. I prayed. My family prayed. My friends prayed. My church prayed. After 5 years, it became clear marriage reconciliation would not happen and we got a divorce. Prayers answered, "No." I served in pastoral ministry for twenty years [...]

Prayers Answered and Unanswered: Yes? No? Wait?2020-10-25T06:42:56-04:00

The Bittersweet Blessing of Bipolar Revisited

The past three weeks I've been enjoying the blessing of bipolar. By this I mean I've been full of energy and positivity. I've been creative and very productive. What has been different in this manic binge is that I am still engaging in some self-care through prayer, diet, and sleep. I wouldn't say I've been perfectly balanced, but I'm making progress. I know this won't last. In fact, I have slept 20 out of the last 24 hours. My emotions are on edge. I snapped at my wife over a perceived slight that was anything but. This is the part I hate about my illness, but I still appreciate what it has given me. I say this realizing some experience more extreme symptoms and don't felt any redemption in their suffering. I grieve for this. This isn't my story. I find a bittersweet blessing in bipolar. This is what I [...]

The Bittersweet Blessing of Bipolar Revisited2020-10-22T21:27:07-04:00

What comes after When Despair Meets Delight? — Next Steps.

I’m been on quasi-sabbatical, letting go of some of my busyness to make room for God’s business in my life and ministry. For over a year now, my time has been consumed by my When Despair Meets Delight book and, while there are still things to do to “get it out there,” my mind can now mostly pivot to my next book, my next project, my next dream to pursue. It has been said of writers that there is nothing more terrifying than a blank page. Starting over is daunting for anyone, particularly when it seems we are starting from scratch. We can fool ourselves into believing we have to magically discover the one right thing to do out of an infinite number of wrong choices. This is the Enemy’s convincing lie designed to paralyze us from faithful action. I am devoting this season of transition to discerning prayer. I’m [...]

What comes after When Despair Meets Delight? — Next Steps.2020-10-18T22:04:10-04:00
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