On Pain and Trauma

I’ve gone underground for a while. So much has happened. Hatred seems to be winning. People are fighting everywhere. This past Wednesday, a man shot two people at my local grocery store. The victims were friends with my parents. My father was on the way to the store when the shooting broke out.

I am showing signs of trauma. My heart keeps racing. I can’t concentrate. I can’t sleep. I can’t effectively cry. I can’t.

I have been back to the store. I wanted to check on my friends who work there. There are flowers inside and outside of the store. I had to walk passed where one man was shot in the head. His poor grandson was next to him when he was shot. Another woman was killed in the parking lot.

I just want to get under a blanket and stay there. This nightmare just keeps going on. One of my close friend’s brother attends the Pittsburgh Synagogue where 11 people were murdered. Mail bombs have been circulating America.

One thing I have noticed and one thing that really hurts is the silence of so many Christians. When will we speak up and say enough? When will be hold those in power accountable. It seems like we want to hold them accountable for some issues, but give them a pass on others.

People are hurting. I am hurting. I am reading Psalms. I am trying to pray. I am trying to read the Word. I am trying to crawl into God to find peace. I’m too squirmy right now. My spirit and soul are restless. I just try to get through each day by having something to look forward to. My heart is so heavy and I know I am not alone. Help us.

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I’m Angry

I’m skipping church today and I am not proud of it. I realize that I am giving in. I am angry. I am angry with my fellow Christians. I am tired of Christians rationalizing mental health stigma. I am tired of the sermons and teachings that are overtly partisan and against Jesus’ teachings and examples. I am angry that so many Christians can’t see past their own political beliefs to see Christ. I am angry that so many Christians will forgive people of one political belief but not the other. I am angry that famous preachers engage in partisan political hacks and attack. I am angry that so many Christians can look past the racism, sexism, and hatred running rampant, all because the perpetrators are of the same political beliefs as they are. I am angry that so many Christians worship political leaders. I am angry that the poor, helpless, downtrodden, and hurting are trampled upon and Christians rationalize it because they feel they must protect the wealthy and powerful. I am angry that pro-life really just means pro-birth. I am angry. I want my faith back.

Peeking above the water and a reminder revelation

Lately, I feel as if I am just keeping my eyes above the water. Sometimes, I go under for a bit and stay away from everything and everyone, even God. Sometimes, I struggle to stay afloat. From an outside appearance, I have a blessed life. A blessed life is not a perfect, struggle free, life. I don’t want to list my complaints  because I don’t want to give them anymore time or energy.

When I avoid God, I look for earthly things to calm and satisfy me. I always find that this kind of comfort is temporary. I always have to find something new to quench that longing and that thirst. I skim my Bible reading and rush to put my headphones on to listen to secular music. I go for a drive. I go for a walk, all while trying to run from myself and the source of my help, God.

I was driving home the other day and a light bulb turned back on. Jesus is my joy and satisfaction. Only in Him am I whole. Only in Him can my soul and mind find rest.

I was ashamed because I had been running from Him for so long. I didn’t want to pray and ask for forgiveness. I was even afraid to look up from the floor. I was and am still unworthy of His love and sacrifice. Fortunately, He doesn’t require us to be perfect to come to Him. He requires us to believe. When I believe, obedience will not be so difficult. It will be fulfilling. It will satisfy the yearning in my heart.

I am healing. I am on my way home. I am home Jesus is my home.

Mental Wealth

My mental health hasn’t been great lately. I love my job. I am blessed with a place to live. I have a loving and supporting family and I have loving and supporting friends. That doesn’t guarantee great mental health. I have been very anxious. I have been having nightmares. I have been trying to avoid my own reality, even though my reality isn’t bad.

I am getting help. But sometimes the words fail me when I am getting help. I’m not honest with them because I don’t think I want to be honest with myself. I’m not even telling God everything. I’ve been trying to hide from Him. I’m not praying like I used to. I feel ashamed.

My mind feels cluttered and chaotic. My spirit feels damaged. I know I can never be perfect, but sometimes I feel hopelessly flawed. I know Jesus saved me. I know God cares for me. I wonder if I believe it.

It also doesn’t help that some follower of Christ do not believe in mental illness. They don’t support people getting help for mental illness. They believe the person with mental illness is just an unrepentant sinner. I know people like this. It hurts. I don’t think Jesus would feel this way. He healed people. People sought Him for help. I don’t know where this belief comes from, but I wish it would stop. I wish I would stop beating myself up.

Work worth doing

I started a new job today.  It is with a local agency that conducts research on factors such as education, food insecurity, health, jobs, and quality of life. We then share the research findings with people who can take action to address the issues. The job will not make me financially wealthy, but I am blessed to work with people wanting to improve the lives of others. This is where I feel the most comfortable. God has given us all a ministry. It doesn’t have to be in a pulpit. Where has God called you? What is your ministry? Living in God’s calling is peace. It doesn’t promise that life will always be easy, but we can have peace. I wish you blessings and peace.

“At the end, your greatest joy will not come from what you received from the Lord but from what you accomplish for Him” ― Gabriel E.O.F. Omoboriola

“Ministering Christ to others so that Jesus might be reproduced and grow in people is the highest service to both God and man.” ― Henry Hon

“Love is the easiest way of evangelism” ― Sunday Adelaja

“We were created to use our lives as an instrument and everything we have to extend God’s Kingdom” ― Sunday Adelaja

Thoughts on death

Legendary singer and activist Aretha Franklin died today. I hate death. My first experience with death came when I was in the 4th grade. Within less than two years, I lost my grandmother, an aunt, and an uncle. I was in shock. I didn’t understand why they were leaving. I couldn’t comprehend all of the funerals. It took me a while to realize that they weren’t coming back.

As my parents age, I panic about losing them. I know I will see them one day again in Heaven, but I fear I will not be strong enough to be here without them. I even find myself distancing myself from them sometimes as if I am trying to prepare myself for their departure.

I do have a rare, incurable illness and I would be lying if I said I haven’t asked God to take me first. I once had a nurse tell me that the doctors had to come and “bring me back” twice in one night while I was sick in the hospital. Even when I  was little, I would tell my parents that I wanted to go first. I am not suicidal and do not have any plans on taking my life.

How do you prepare to say goodbye?  How can I find the comfort, peace, and strength in Jesus? Jesus, I am calling you. I am afraid. I know I have nothing to fear, but I am afraid. I know You will sustain, carry, and keep me. Help me to focus on You and keep the faith.

Hiding and Isolating

I haven’t been this down for some time. I have walked away from God. I have walked away from myself. I am spending my days in gloom. I don’t want to see family or friends. I am even avoiding social media because I don’t want people to reach out to me. I don’t want to talk. I have been sick for the past few weeks and it took three different doctors to try and figure out what was going on. I think I am finally getting better, but I don’t know if this physical illness has affected my mood. I suppose it is entirely possible. When I am home, I spend my time laying under a blanket on the couch. I have skipped going to the pool. I keep the blinds closed and sit in the dark. This is not healthy. I need some relief. I need God.

But I feel like I can’t reach out to Him. I feel so ashamed and guilty. I know this is the devil and a lie, but this is how I feel. My shoulders are heavy and tense.  I read my Bible every day, but I don’t believe I am getting anything from it because I don’t feel like I am putting anything in to it. My heart is heavy. I am burdened. I need to hand it over to Jesus, but I don’t even know what I would be handing over. Maybe I don’ t need to know. Maybe that is faith. I guess there is only one way to find out.