Love that Inspires Growth and Hope through Trials

Love that Inspires Growth and Hope through Trials

Mental Illness and Our Take on It

Our Struggles, Our Testimonies, Our Hopes, Our Dreams

Sometimes life is like the pushing a boulder up a mountain. Especially when there is mental illness involved. Especially when there is more than one person in the family with mental illness. Especially when someone in the household decides to do major moving around of furniture from one room to another. Especially when you catch some kind of bug that just drains all energy you might have had. So, I'm sitting in what is supposed to be my sanctuary from the rest of the household. All around me are books and junk left over from the partial moving around of our rec room. I have no doubt that it will eventually be a haven for me, but at this moment it's getting on my every nerve as I try to cope with it. Last night I got maybe three hours of sleep, and I'm tired and irritable. As in, I shouldn't be allowed to talk to people, especially my daughter who suffers from mental illness. So, yet again, I have gotten gruff and hurtful with her because I was wanting some "me" time to decompress after a disturbing experience this morning. Well, it wasn't her fault, she wasn't even there. She's wanting to get out of the house and maybe spend time with people, whether they are friends or not. Me? I want to go hide in my cave. I want to stay as far away from people as possible. Not a good combination, really. It's frustrating that I can't keep my mouth in check when I feel this way. It's devastating that I sometimes do more harm than good in relation to dealing with my daughter.

Sorry to any people I see or deal with today. Just tell me to go to the corner, where it is quiet and not chaotic.

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“… It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” --Deuteronomy 31:8
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. --Jeremiah 29:11
"We're colored people, and we live in a tainted place
We're colored people, and they call us the human race
We've got a history so full of mistakes
And we are colored people who depend on a Holy Grace --DC Talk "Coloured People"
It's my will, and I'm not moving
Cause if it's Your will, then nothing can shake me
It's my will, to bow and praise You
I now have the will to praise my God 
(We've got to be children of peace,
we've got to be children of peace)" --DC Talk "My Will"
"Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life." --St. Francis of Assisi
People often ask me why I put so much emphasis on peace and the war to get there. Well, with a disease that makes it hard for me-- and for anyone who is with me-- to have peace, just the thought of rest, of the blessing of peaceful golden silence after so many fears and voices in my head, of mutual peace between me and my family-- my friends-- my God... Just thinking about those things is a hope that I long after. After the war of trying to spread peace and failing miserably, and being unable to victor over the pain, it makes it difficult to live through these days. For so long, I can't get past the fact that I cannot be who God made me to be... I guess I ought not try all of this on my own, because, of course it falls apart that way...
Those days when waking up and moving forward are the hardest of things to do. It's a fight to look in the mirror and exhausting to chew your food, when these things discourage you from bathing and eating... That's when being a child of peace and light is the hardest of things to do and when fading into the grays sounds like the best direction. But, it's also the time that it's most important to be that child of peace.... spread the good news, comfort the broken, lift up the weary, carry the burdened, and love the neighbour-- and the enemy, forgive the hurts, live, love, laugh, and yes, even weep for and with the mission field... What's the mission field? It's the vast sea of faces... the entire world, no limits at all... All four corners of the world, to the end of the age... until your very last breath and the eternal and never-ending peace of the Kingdom is yours to taste and behold... But it is so hard, and we have so many fears... I know it all too well... But there isn't anything we can't do with God... He plans great things for us. My prayer now is that we will not let ourselves fade... because God will bring us into victory, He will crush Satan under our feet... and He will cry out with a loud voice to not be afraid and that this, our enemy is only one of the many He will slay beneath our feet.
Like when Joshua slayed the five kings in Joshua 10, God will conquer the enemies who were rulers over us when we trust in Him... 
So it was, when they brought out those kings to Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said to the captains of the men of war who went with him, “Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings.” And they drew near and put their feet on their necks. 25 Then Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; be strong and of good courage, for thus the Lord will do to all your enemies against whom you fight.” 26 And afterward Joshua struck them and killed them, and hanged them on five trees; and they were hanging on the trees until evening. --Joshua 10:24-26.  
So why do I put so much emphasis on peace with fellow man and God? Because "...we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." Ephesians 6:10-13. With that known, to fight against these spirits, we must live a life of agape(unconditional love), joy, shalom(grace, mercy, and peace), hesed(lovingkindness), faithfulness and self-control... We spread the truth on those basis. That is why peace is so important to me...
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Patience can persuade a prince, and soft speech can break bones.

Proverbs 25:15 [NLT]

This past Sunday, I posted about how God reached to me with love... It was a beautiful day, and God really wanted me back it seems. Through the past year and a half God has broken me down for His glory plenty of times...leaving me very vulnerable to His Word. He can come in very easily, compared to the days, of my teenage rebellion. Yesterday, I crashed pretty hard when the night fell. Depression hit me like a strong ocean tide. Knocked me down pretty hard... I struggled to keep a firm hold on what God spoke to me Sunday... Today is a wee bit different... I'm having some severe ups and downs. There are times I'm so happy, I cannot help but cry and laugh, tending to want to dance and sing... But then I crash and feel as though I'm the lowest of the low. Really now, I just want it to be Sunday again... I want to feel the presence of God in the company of His people. I want to feel that oneness of the Bride again in the breaking of the bread, I want to feel that mist that is the Holy Spirit, dwelling in His house as we sing, I want to hear His Words speak to convict and I want to forget the bitterness I bear and sorrow I have for just one moment while we all pray as one... In this moment I feel so alone, yet not alone... I feel this sad deep burning longing for the Lord to come... and yet I feel Him right here. Almost as if I'm with a friend, and still I'm crying and telling them I miss them. I want the Kingdom to come and I want to advance it. I feel so lighthearted, but a burning ache remains. Many people think me weird when I say this, but I'm Homesick... even when I am under the protection of these four walls and ceiling... White walls with a brown-carpeted concrete floor... I don't feel at home in the apartment that I live in...

I don't feel like I fit in any category when I walk out of these walls. The only category I would at least half-claim as my own is outcast... I walk these wet, cracked streets of concrete and asphalt. The cracks almost a sign of the insanity and sorrow that just shatters what is left of the groaning world. I hear the tears of the world, the lullabies of a million shattered hearts all in one vicinity... With all these faces, they're looking for the same thing I am... to fit in. To find the place where their puzzle piece should be. The unique beauty of their hearts warped in the sin that took hold... Victims, tyrants, prisoners, slaves, warriors, healers, peacemakers, and dictators. A salad of humanity... and it seems in the many faces I'm just one raindrop among this dry land. Is it just me? But this road isn't where I want to walk. My pillow isn't where I want to lay my head. My apartment isn't where I want to be sheltered. My place in the armchair isn't where I want to think... Is it just me or am I the only who cries for the Home where I've never been... Who longs after what I cannot know? Sometimes I feel as if I'm the only one who trying to serve Him with all my heart, holiness often feels like an empty attempt that leads to madness. I can often feel so alone, forgotten, left behind... They say that God remembers me, that I am His desert rose, and object of remembering, but is that the case, when I feel like it is vanity to be pure? This feeling isn't new to me... it was what broke me to almost stop believing, last week. I know He remembers me. And though I'm an alien here, when I come Home, you know where I'm gonna fit in? Right in His arms... I know my voice isn't drown among the sea of cries and tears. I'm not a lost soul on the path to nowhereland... I'm not the forgotten, I'm the choicest part in God's eye... All of His children are.


How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God! What joy for those who can live in your house, always singing your praises.Interlude

What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.

O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, hear my prayer. Listen, O God of Jacob. Interlude O God, look with favor upon the king, our shield! Show favor to the one you have anointed.
A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you.

Psalm 84 [NLT]

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"Lord, I must say; I had lost my hope. I thought You were mad at me, that I was wrong, wicked, and ugly. But these people spoke Your words to me. Supposedly, You spoke through them, telling me I have beauty and gifts. Lord, You remembered me in my youth; when I was close to You. Is this You? Is it true? Do You truly mean this of me?"
I wrote these words in my journal at the end of my day, yesterday... I was pierced by joy and it is natural for joy to break one's heart, I suppose... But, God reached out to me so lovingly yesterday, but I had deafened my ears for so long... Honestly, I was down all week, angry, quitting life and expecting to quit Christianity... I even settled for even less than Him. But, I must say that when one who truly loves God, says they're quitting in the faith... It is like saying, "I quit breathing." So, inevitably, I returned, like a thousand times before... after saying those words, and God took advantage of that moment... He dove right back into my heart and whispered the words, I longed to hear. Now, subconsciously, I have this messed up picture of what God is like... I think every human being tends to believe similarly... I always imagined God almost as some angry Scotsman who has no problem hauling a "beastly child's" arse upstairs and tanning their hide. I always seemed to believe that He was this passionate man with a fire that would eat me alive if I didn't please Him... I always tried to force myself to do the things I thought He wanted me to do to make Him love me... I was always angry with looking in the mirror, and seeing a pathetic monster that God must hate... So naturally, I was afraid to face God... My tongue preached about such a caring God who unconditionally loved all of His creation, but I lived like I was saying, "God loves all of His creation, and children unconditionally... well all but me." I lived as though I had to work to earn His love...
I always thought God was saying harsh things to me... I was terrified to be that "false prophet", that "hypocrite", that "generation of vipers"... I thought I was the coward, liar, manipulator, and demonchild that many said of me... I assumed God believed it of me. So, Sunday morning, I went to church... and my friend, Mr. Bob preached on Jeremiah 2:2-7... I must remember a quote I found on Facebook when mentioning this sermon; "There is something comforting about a billion stars held steady by a God who knows what He's doing" and I must add that it is comforting to think about that because He is mindful of billions of stars each and every one of them... then the God who holds the stars in place, turns around and whispers; "I want to hold your heart..." to billions of captive people and He chooses to free and love them... Knowing I'm one of those freemen--or women breaks my heart with joy because this, the Starkindler is also the Healer and longs to heal what has been shattered... So when this sermon was preached, there were several points to it...
1.) You are the object of remembering... Yaweh remembers you!
2.) Within a sea of faces, you can tend to feel rejected, unimportant, forgotten... but Yaweh's thoughts are on you...
3.) The devotion of your youth--your hesed-- a loving kindness, affection and covenent love is what God longs from you...
4.) Psalm 139:15-18: The Lord delighted in the time that you were in your mother's womb... Because it was just you and Him...and the mutual affection between the two...
5.) Though He cherishes and remembers it all, you turned from Him... you were angry...Why? Because whatever happened to bring you there seemed unjust and not fair to you...
6.) So, now you may be in the Valley of Baca[weeping], but it isn't your destination, but the journey to it...
7.) The Lord wants to bring you to the land of bounty and restore it all as if it never happened...
8.) It is time to decide if we are ready to do what it takes and set out again to leave that place...
9.) God remembers. Do you?
I went on with the day, still feeling a little cynical about it all, but the sermon pierced and broke through my shield. Which brought the tears I've stowed away... Until I went to a prophetic gathering in Mr. Bob's newly planted church... and God spoke directly to me through a song that a friend sang and two strangers... Told me I was beautiful and gifted, that I radiate joy and God is pleased with me... He loves me for the joy I have, and long to spread to all people... It broke all control I had and I cried hard on the shoulder of a dear friend so much... I didn't want to believe any of it... but, God touched me, and broke right through the whispers I had and blessed me with sweet rest and the end of the tunnel... Through the prayers of the faithful, He lifted the clouds up just enough to see His light... even on this overcast day I am not depressed nor down, which is so nice... I feel like I really do have a sound mind now. Which is new to me, at least in these past few months...
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The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. 8 And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!”  --Jeremiah 1:7-8

I went to church this morning. My pastor preached on thepassage above, talking about three main excuses that all people say when they hear God's call for ministry...


1) ministries are for priests alone.

2) "I can't do it, I am inadequate."

3) Fear.


I, myself have felt this way before. I felt my call to this ministry for 2 years, until I finally went after it... I had no particular wisdom about the faith I said I believed in, other than what I heard and what I caught on from other's examples... I can honestly say I wasn't the goody-two-shoes Christian girl type by the age of 16... I fell completely away by 17, but still went to church gatherings. I only watched what was around me, and gathered information that way. I never sat down and read the bible on any occasion... So, with all this said, I only believed what others were saying. So, ignorance froze me up, in which I said, "I've got no authority, it's the pastors who do." 2 years later, I was being practically pulverized by a great huge spiritual wrecking ball that destroyed my "cottage of comfort" and uprooted my lies, brought them out into the open, rearranged them, rebuilt me into a fortress, and replanted me elsewhere... that was when I felt my inadequacy of it because of all I had done, what I was-- "I can't do ministry, God wouldn't use some bipolar freak" was a popular excuse that I made. I tended to use my mental illness as a reason to not go into ministry... I also wrestled with the truth, ran from the love, and hid from the change that was being made... Lastly, I was afraid... I was afraid to open up to more scars and to be honest; I still am afraid to continue the ministry... I'll willingly bring my fears about this ministry out into the open... You might as well know!

1) I'm always worried what my family is going to say about what I'm expressing... There's lots of people who go through that fear right?

2) I'm a little hesitant to speak truth, for fear of offending others out there... kind of natural of humanity right?

3) I'm afraid I'll speak a half truth, or a lie that I have come to believe, basically afraid to mislead others... There's many other leaders fear that, right?

4) (and as I said up there...) I'm afraid to have more scars from opening up to others... need I say why?

5) I'm afraid to do or say nothing at all, which with the other fears, typically freezes me up... I'm not only one, I hope...


So, typically all 5 of those fears tend to land me down into procrastination and thinking especially hard...perhaps even over-thinking my next post, until I've ran myself down with my "brainstorming", that I come and write, prepared or not, and I just write what I feel led to write... Still, a little timid to post by the time I finish usually but... I will always keep in mind what the Lord has said to me, and all who call upon His name and obey His commands:


"Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.

    Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you.

    I will hold you up with my victorious right hand." --Isaiah 41:10


Also, I shall remember that:

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." --2 Timothy 1:7


Some things my mum wrote in her notes for church today is something that I think we all should remember as God's children and so I'd like to share it; "All God's people are responsible to minister the kingdom of God. God supplies the gifts to the people in order to minister. God has arranged all these circumstances to engage in ministry. There are no excuses. God is with you to deliver you. Don't let fears rule the roost. That is not a good reason to not do God's work."

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Who We Are

Arianna LIGHT for MI

Arianna is a proud authoress, artist, and musician, but the most important thing about her is; she seeks the hidden face of God with a passion. A lover of culture, art, music, and all things geeky and Celtic, her writings are often greatly impacted by these things.


Valerie LIGHT for MI

Valerie is the wife of a remarkable man, and the mother of three children, with two of whom having various degrees of mental illness. Valerie is no stranger to mental illness herself as a sufferer of depression on and off for years.