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

Delight in Disorder: Sin & Sickness

People ask me what the difference is between my first book, Delight in Disorder, and my second, When Despair Meets Delight. They are both about the two subjects I have the most passion for -- faith and mental illness. They both tell the story of my life and the lives of others in my ministry. They both press through dark valleys -- disorder/despair, and come to a bright pinnacle -- delight. Yes, there are some common features of the two books, but there are also some key distinctions. Delight in Disorder could be best described as a devotional memoir, a collection of 90 reflections on Psalm verses as they have shaped my life and my understanding of faith and mental illness. When Despair Meets Delight is a memoir of a minister with a mental illness and a model for mental health ministry. I wrote Delight in Disorder as therapy and [...]

Delight in Disorder: Sin & Sickness2020-10-14T20:58:57-04:00

How Our Thorns Make Us Better, Revisited by Lamar Hardwick

The following post was first posted on September 2, 2020. I am republishing now because there has been a significant development in the life of the author. Lamar has been diagnosed with stage three colon cancer. He is taking an indefinite sabbatical to pursue treatment. This will no doubt change his life in many ways, but he is facing it with the same courage for which he is known. Lamar has been posting prayers for strength to rally his "fight club" as he faces this battle. This one is from yesterday -- Good morning fight club. It’s another great day to fight! Pray this with me “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but [...]

How Our Thorns Make Us Better, Revisited by Lamar Hardwick2020-10-12T03:39:40-04:00

Around the World in 80 Key Strokes: Writing as Global Mission

I have been more active on social media than ever before as I promote my book. While I worry of becoming grandiose by focusing on my own story, I am delighted at the friendships I am forming around the world with people who share the same passions about reaching out to those impacted by brain illnesses with the compassion of Christ and the consolation of the Holy Spirit. One friend I've recently made is Rosette. Rosette is from Uganda and is part of a faith community which takes seriously the call of Christ to engage in healing ministry. She shared a story of a woman with severe schizophrenia who had been left to flounder in isolation. Members of the church visited her, prayed with her, advocated for her to get and take the medication she needed. Now, while not cured, she functions fully in the life of the community. She [...]

Around the World in 80 Key Strokes: Writing as Global Mission2020-07-23T03:13:53-04:00

Revealing Voices: A Faith-Based, Peer-Led, Story-Driven, Stigma-Breaking Podcast

I was over at Studio E recording Revealing Voices with my good friend Eric over a glass of wine. Between sips, Eric looked at me quizzically and asked, "How many of your readers listen to our podcast?" I was dumbfounded. Literally found dumb. "I have no idea!" I exclaimed, "Furthermore, I don't even know how many of my readers know about Revealing Voices." [Note: Eric and I don't always drink wine, but when we do, we can be redundant and say things like furthermore.] How about you? Yes, you, Delight in Disorder reader out there. The one looking at this post on your mobile phone, your iPad, laptop, PC, or God-knows-whatever-other-kind of technology. Do you know about Revealing Voices? If so, have you checked us out? Let me share a little about our show: Several podcasts touch on mental health. Others bring up topics of faith. We offer a unique faith-based, [...]

Revealing Voices: A Faith-Based, Peer-Led, Story-Driven, Stigma-Breaking Podcast2020-01-26T20:25:49-05:00

The Promise and Perils of Pills

Some time ago a woman named Robin connected up with me on a Facebook group for writers. Robin is a free-lance author who writes for such publications as bp magazine, a periodical for those with bipolar disorder and those who care for them. bp is sort of like the BBC for those of us with mental illness looking for hope, education, and support. Robin asked if she could interview me for an article. My first response was "Wow." Just, "Wow." It's been several weeks now and we are set for a phone meeting on Wednesday. My "Wow," has turned to "Thanks," to Robin; and "Please help, Lord," that I might represent the Delight in Disorder mission well. Robin has given me the topic she wants to focus on in our interview... medication. I thought it would be good to share some initial thoughts with you, to best prepare. In [...]

The Promise and Perils of Pills2018-12-02T19:52:50-05:00

Bruised, Not Broken: Resilient Hearts

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. (Isaiah 42.3) My parents divorced in 1975. From then on, I have been identified as a child of a broken home. This brokenness certainly describes the nature of the family we once had, or hoped to have. That image of family is forever broken, shattered, never to be fixed. But I am not a broken person. Bruised, yes. Even deeply wounded, but not broken. At least not forever broken. Fractured, but capable of being mended. In time, with plenty of prayer and much care, I have passed through stages of recovery to become a wounded healer who intimately feels the pain of others and, by God's grace, responds in love. In her soon-to-be published book Kicked to the Curb, Dr. Susan Lockwood describes resilience is the life of a young woman named Rose. Rose is a twenty-something [...]

Bruised, Not Broken: Resilient Hearts2018-09-19T11:53:23-04:00

Higher Power Healing

In a piece I wrote some time ago, I made this contention: The issue for college students now is not so much “Can I admit my needs?:” but, given these needs, “What do I do now?” If we borrow the language of a 12-step program, many students take the first step of freely admitting their powerlessness, that their lives have become unmanageable, even that they are faced with insanity. But few take the next step, the faith step, believing that a Power greater than myself can restore my sanity. (from "How, Then, Shall We Live?" by Tony Roberts) This post sparked a thoughtful response from Howard Chang: Tony, I read your piece. I liked how you highlighted the improvements that have taken placed in mental health care in college campuses since the 80s and posed the question, "What next?" to students after they have taken the first step. However, I [...]

Higher Power Healing2019-05-22T17:23:06-04:00

Praying for Caleb

For 13 years, he was the life of the party, greeting everyone in church, directing praise, sharing a smile or loving touch with those who needed it most. Suddenly, 3 years ago, he developed a mysterious condition that has baffled even the top specialist at Johns Hopkins. He became nearly catatonic and has regressed to the point that all he can do on his own is eat. Recently, we consulted an ear, nose, and throat specialist who found Caleb's lingual tonsils are restricting oxygen to Caleb's brain. Surgery is scheduled today. I am praying for complete miraculous healing for Caleb, to the glory of God. Second, I pray that whatever lies ahead, we witness to the spiritual healing of Christ. Please pray and invite other prayer warriors to do so. Call upon the One who alone heals us and makes us whole. #PrayingForCaleb. Update: Caleb's surgery is complete. The doctor [...]

Praying for Caleb2017-05-30T14:08:49-04:00

Escaping the Pain

In the Lord I take refuge. How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain”? (Psalm 11:1) When I first began to experience the symptoms of bipolar, I tried to escape them with drugs and alcohol, what some call self-medicating. As you might expect, this only made things worse. Treating a mood disorder with non-prescribed mind-altering drugs is not something I would now recommend. I then tried to treat my symptoms with only talk therapy and self-help techniques. While it was good to get off un-prescribed drugs, talk therapy alone was ultimately ineffective. It wound up being another form of escapism from my full problem. It was bipolar disorder causing a chemical reaction in my brain, and I needed something more than encouraging words to re-establish balance. One thing I’ve discovered in my journey through bipolar is that faith and medicine can, and often do, [...]

Escaping the Pain2017-05-30T14:02:54-04:00
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