My Biggest Thanks is Grace by Ray Lehman

My biggest thanks is the Grace that God provides. This Grace can only be given as a gift and it is undeserving. If I were to be aware of the awesomeness of God but had no Grace that was available to me, I would go mad, or more mad than I already am, as I have been diagnosed with schizoaffective type bipolar disorder. Jesus provided a way where there was no way. God had showed us that blood must be shed for the forgiveness of our sins. All the way back to Cain and Abel and the sacrifices they provided to God. Jesus was the Lamb of God to be the final and ultimate sacrifice for the sins of those that would believe and receive His gift of ultimate redemption with the Father and indwelling of Their Spirit, the Holy Spirit. We see with Abraham and Isaac the story being [...]

My Biggest Thanks is Grace by Ray Lehman2024-01-30T09:09:02-05:00

#remissionispossible

I have big news! I noticed yesterday I was feeling mellow. The only word I had for it was effortless. Today, I realized the voices in my head that have been constantly demanding my attention for over three decades have been silenced. Praise God and pass the sugar free sweet potato pie! #remissionispossible

#remissionispossible2022-05-10T12:09:56-04:00

Word of the Year: Eucharisteo – the miracle of thanksgiving.

Eucharisteo—thanksgiving—always precedes the miracle.  ― Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are   Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.  (2 Corinthians 9.10-11)   Each year I select a word to focus on in my faith journey each day. Said better, God selects the word and I confirm it. Today the word came to me from Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts. The word Eucharist appears in various forms 53 times in the Greek Scriptures. Strong’s Concordance lays out three ways that these words can be used: 1. To be grateful, to feel grateful; 2. To express gratitude [...]

Word of the Year: Eucharisteo – the miracle of thanksgiving.2022-01-02T20:56:30-05:00

My Life Partnership: In Sickness and in Health

I'm writing this intro section shortly after midnight on Susan's birthday. She is reclining with her granddaughter Rose who is congested and unable to stay asleep in her crib. I'm praying we all get the rest we need to enjoy the day that lies ahead. The genesis of what follows was first published in February of 2019. I'll tack on an addendum to bring it up to date. Over Labor Day weekend in 2018, I met the woman who would soon become my wife. Susan is all I could ever ask for in a life partner. She is intelligent. She has a beautiful smile. She has a great sense of humor. And, most importantly, she loves me and shares my faith. She accepts my identity as one who has bipolar disorder and affirms my mental health ministry. She is a definitive example of “ezer,” a help-meet who enhances my life, [...]

My Life Partnership: In Sickness and in Health2021-11-20T06:26:35-05:00

Praying When You Can’t Pray

A few weeks back, I surveyed my subscribers to ask what topics you would like to me address. I received this response from a woman I'll call "Miriam" --   Maybe could you write about tips for maintaining a prayer life and connection with God in the midst of a severe depression when all spiritual consciousness feels absent and motivation is non-existent due to the disorder.   Oh my, Miriam, we've been to some of the same miserable places. I suspect many of you reading this have as well. They say misery loves company. I say there is no better company for misery than a fellowship of faith. I'm typically not one to give advice, or tips. But I can share some stories from my experience and the experience of others I've known that might be an encouragement. When we have fallen into a pit of despair, sometimes it helps [...]

Praying When You Can’t Pray2021-08-25T18:48:46-04:00

“Joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” by Abigail C.

A baby born after a loss is referred to as a "rainbow baby," so we included this nod to our losses in my maternity photos.  Photo credits: A.McGrath Photography     “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” I have conflicting feelings about this verse (Romans 12:12), although it  has been my favorite for as long as I can remember. For one thing, I fail at every part of it. On the other hand, it contains everything I need to survive even the depths of despair.   I’m Abigail, and I am many things—a friend of Tony’s, a lifelong Christian, an occupational therapist, a mother of three, a wife, and hopefully a future entrepreneur (you know, in my free time). I have also struggled with an anxiety disorder since high school and more recently added PTSD to the mix.   Quick background: I started having panic attacks [...]

“Joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” by Abigail C.2021-07-08T06:27:04-04:00

Faith Grows in Community by Lisa Jamieson

My growing up could read like a mashup novel from National Geographic, Little House on the Prairie and Epicurious magazine. Before kindergarten, I was riding my bike to a Minneapolis candy store several blocks from home. Later, I ice skated to elementary school on the James River in North Dakota. By the time I was 9 years old, we had moved to Canada where I was collecting sap from maple trees every spring, catching smelt in Thirty Mile Creek, building blanket forts surrounded by peach and cherry orchards in the summer, swimming to a rocky pier off the southern shore of Lake Ontario and stomping Niagara grapes with the neighbors every fall.   Woven between the lines of that idyllic childhood were some dark days too. I carried the grief of good-byes and struggled to make friends.    Attending weekly church developed my sense of God’s presence but I perceived him to be [...]

Faith Grows in Community by Lisa Jamieson2021-05-21T05:37:00-04:00

“We’re going to be okay.”

One of the labels for the mental illness I have is bipolar disorder 1, rapid cycler. This means that my mood state constantly changes. I often go from abject despair to supreme elevation, and back again in less than the time it takes to complete a sentence. It is exhausting. It's like running a marathon at a sprinter's pace, with no water stations to rest. The body can't take this for long, much less the mind and spirit. The challenges we have faced in 2020 have tried the souls of many, even those with no mental health diagnosis. Added to this the death of both my parents and it is little wonder that the First Quarter of 2021 has hit me like a horrendous hangover. But there is hope. Even when circumstances around us seem bleak, there is a glimmer of hope. As a follower of Christ, I celebrate this [...]

“We’re going to be okay.”2021-04-04T20:10:37-04:00

My First Valentine, Forever: Patsy Lou (McPeak) Kurtz

Hey Mom, it's one snowy Valentine's Day around here. Crisp, clear, and sunny. It's a good day to lay around like an old yard dog and do a whole lot of nothing. That's what Briley is doing right now, perched like a princess beside me. I really miss you, Mom. I've lost count of the number of times I started to pick up the phone only to realize Verizon doesn't go to Heaven. It's been a terribly difficult year. A pandemic. Racial unrest. Political insurrection. You died two days after your birthday. I'm glad you were able to enjoy that vanilla milkshake that day and that you didn't suffer undue hardship. Your passing was much harder for us than for you, I suspect. Suddenly. Complications for COVID. I'm grateful I got to pray with you before you breathed your last. I thank God that both you and dad held onto [...]

My First Valentine, Forever: Patsy Lou (McPeak) Kurtz2021-02-14T12:38:06-05:00
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