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

Karma vs. Grace: A Psycho-Spiritual Analysis

Karma means action and action motivated by compassion is good. To complain that what happens to you is just the result of your karma is lazy. Instead, confidently recalling the advice that, "You are your own master," you can change what happens by taking action. ~ Dalai Lama.   If you want God's grace, all you need is need, all you need is nothing. But that kind of spiritual humility is hard to muster. We come to God saying, "Look at all I've done," or maybe "Look at all I've suffered." God, however, wants us to look to him... ~ Timothy Keller.   I have a good friend (I'll call her Trish) who practices Buddhism. Trish says she likes having a teacher tell her what to do to gain spiritual enlightenment. She claims this is just what Jesus did with his disciples. He showed them the right things to do, and [...]

Karma vs. Grace: A Psycho-Spiritual Analysis2021-08-22T18:34:04-04:00

The Bittersweet Blessing of Bipolar

“Though I am often in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony and music inside me. I see paintings or drawings in the poorest cottages, in the dirtiest corners. And my mind is driven towards these things with an irresistible momentum. ― Vincent van Gogh; The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh Now that the human genome project can draw the DNA map of our bodies, gene therapy becomes an ever increasing reality. We can restructure our bodies and minds such that debilitating conditions could disappear. The question we now face is what goes and what stays? And, who decides? One of the persons who serves on the human genome project is Kay Redfield Jamison. Jamison has both a professional interest and a personal perspective in genetic mapping. First, she is a psychiatric researcher. She is certainly concerned about the tools medical science can use to alleviate unnecessary suffering. [...]

The Bittersweet Blessing of Bipolar2021-08-19T22:46:15-04:00

“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

A Woman Among Lions, Fighting for Faith and Family by Kirsten Panachyda

My guest blogger today is Kirsten Panachyda. Kirsten writes and speaks to infuse courage into the soul-weary. Her book Among Lions: Fighting for Faith and Finding Your Rest while Parenting a Child with Mental Illness is available now. Kirsten blogs at kirstenp.com. She and her husband Dan have two sons, and they are a roller-coaster-riding, travel-loving, blue-hair-dying family.   Once again my night devolved into nightmares, restless dozing, and eventually, sleeplessness. I stayed in bed until I felt like I would explode if I didn't cry and then I crept downstairs. I shuffled into the kitchen, thinking maybe I could make a cup of herbal tea to soothe my tight throat and aching chest. I got as far as the stove, picked up the battered red kettle, and slid down to the floor.  My kitchen floor was not something nice to sit on. When we bought the house in 1997, [...]

A Woman Among Lions, Fighting for Faith and Family by Kirsten Panachyda2021-05-23T04:03:14-04:00

When 100% is 100% Too Much, Less Becomes Much Better

It's been two weeks now since I returned home from an inpatient stay at the local psychiatric hospital. I can't say I feel 100%, but my improvement is really quite remarkable. In fact, it may be best that I'm not 100% the way I was before going in because that 100% was about 100% too much. I wasn't living well within my limits. I was trying to be everyone for everybody, including myself. In one 15 day stretch, I slept a total of 30 hours. Thank God I had so many people praying for me and ready to intervene when I was willing to ask for help. Being on a psych unit at any time can be a bit unnerving. Being on one during a pandemic is downright frightening. At least it was for me. But the staff did a tremendous job allaying my fears. More than anything, they modeled [...]

When 100% is 100% Too Much, Less Becomes Much Better2021-02-18T20:22:21-05:00

Saints and Shadows by Les Rust

Leslie D. Rust is a Presbyterian pastor, writer, and blogger who has a keen interest in liturgy, monastic spirituality and the mysteries of faith. Having grown up in the mountains of east Tennessee he is an avid hiker, camper, and makes and hangs out in hammocks of his own creation. He is fond of music, mirth, and at least a little bit of mayhem. He can be found blogging at Character in the Making. characterinthemaking.com.   The sun has made its way into my window this morning.  It is a clear day with only a few high, thin clouds at the moment—warmer than it has been.  Thankful for the sunlight on this new day.   Before it rose I was chatting with a good friend who has a ministry dealing with faith and mental illness.  He has had a hard time lately including a brief stay in the hospital to help [...]

Saints and Shadows by Les Rust2021-02-10T09:53:56-05:00

From One Generation to the Next by Lindsay & Landon McIntosh

I was raised in a loving Christian home. We went to church every Wednesday, and twice on Sunday. Youth group, choir, and bell choir were part of my life and I loved it…. socially that is…I never really dived into the Bible, I did not know all the books of the Bible, and I could not have quoted a verse if my life depended on it. Church was a safe place to go and have fun with friends. However, the older I got the more things began to change. I noticed that while my friends were still wanting to have fun and socialize, I wanted to listen to the sermon, and I wanted to learn about the Bible. So, I began to sit with some of the older kids, and my parents and really listened to the sermons.  Throughout the next several years I worked on building my faith and [...]

From One Generation to the Next by Lindsay & Landon McIntosh2021-01-16T17:38:56-05:00

The Light at the End of the Tunnel by Kevin McDermott

Hi, My name is Kevin McDermott. I'm a firm believer in JESUS CHRIST LORD AND SAVIOUR and am seriously mentally ill. I'm diagnosed bipolar and schizophrenia. Here's my story.   About 22 years ago before I was diagnosed with SMI, I left home to embark on a journey that would forever change my life. I had no money and only had the clothes on my back. I wanted to find my way to eternal life. Anyway on my walk I came upon a drainage tunnel which sits outside of Lincoln village apartments. I could walk through it but I had to hunch my back to do it, I walked about a mile and there was an adjoining drainage tunnel that I came to.    My mind was racing and I thought of the movie Shawshank redemption where the main character (Andy) had crawled through a sewage of crap and came [...]

The Light at the End of the Tunnel by Kevin McDermott2021-01-24T15:02:53-05:00

Addictions and SMI go hand in hand by Audrey A.

Audrey writes: I was an active  advocate for family members and for  those suffering Serious Mental Illness in central Kansas. husband I also facilitated a NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness) support group, and taught Family to Family education classes for family members of the mentally ill. My husband and I have retired to the state of Oklahoma, nearer to family. I continue to advocate for change in the laws regarding SMI by way of online advocacy groups. My husband and I sat quietly, but anxiously, in the crowded courtroom, waiting the Judge's entrance. The judge who would decide our 19 year old son's fate for the next several years. We whispered words of comfort to each other, shared nervous giggles and tried to remain calm, as we waited. This was our final trip to the local county courthouse. We had hired an attorney to defend our son on his [...]

Addictions and SMI go hand in hand by Audrey A.2021-01-27T05:28:41-05:00
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