Mental Illnesses are Complex and Not a Decision.

Photo Credit: WeTheVillage.co

You may be well-meaning by telling a struggling friend to cheer up, think positive, pray more, read the Bible more, eat better, serve others more, rest more, etc. However, the fact is they could already be doing all of these things and still be struggling with mental illness just as someone struggling with cancer or a broken bone may not be instantly cured by “chin up” talks from friends.

Mental illness is as real and complex as cancer, fractures, or any other illness or injury – just often times not as visible. And often these crippling mental illnesses remain invisible because the sufferers feel shamed and/or shunned if they share.

This shaming and shunning is particularly prevalent in some Christian communities where the (false) assumption is that if you have enough faith, you’ll have a healthy and happy life. The truth is, Christians suffering from mental illness may very well be seeking and trusting God with more faith, trust, and passion than those who haven’t suffered this way have even ever needed to muster.

So continue to pray for your friend who struggles with mental illness. But if you can’t have a conversation with them where your part is mostly listening and supporting rather than offering ideas, solutions, and quick fixes which essentially admonish the sufferer to “snap out of it”, it may be best to say nothing at all.

It’s time to bravely move BEYOND what we see….

We collectively gasp at yet another news blast of what we thought was a success story ending in tragic pain.

And…. where one well-known story ends, thousands more slip quietly into the dark night of despair.

All the while…. we smile for another selfie while masking our own pain.

As one who has literally been talked off the ledge of life more than once, I now stand on that same ledge and shout, “This has to end now!”

I’m not talking about ending in yet another tragedy. Rather, let’s write a different story by shining the light of transparency and authenticity on our pain so true healing has a fighting chance.

Let’s say “goodbye” to building a life of lies through social media fronts or pious religious displays of fake faith and strength.

Let’s be real even if it means letting others know we’re really hurting. And let’s be present for each other beyond a few “likes” on social media.

Let’s stop play-acting and heal together.

SuicidePreventionLifeline.org

CelebrateRecovery.com

The Lesson of the Broken Bottle


So, I had a broken kind of a week.

No new drama or crisis hit. It was one of those weeks where I lost sight of the bigger picture – or, actually, of my good good Father who lovingly crafts the bigger picture.  So I stopped trusting and pulled some “stuff” that has been coming on strong against me for a while out of God’s hands placing it squarely and only on my own shoulders – and it began to crush me.

And I allowed it all to almost push me to the edge…. Quite literally to the edge – actually. I’ve been open with my story and history of depression and thoughts of suicide. Let me just be real transparent and say there are moments in my life I need to stay away from large metro areas with really tall building. No worries. You don’t have to call 911 and put me on a watch or anything. When I crawled out of bed long enough to drive into the city earlier this week, my Good Father made certain that both buildings I had in mind had more secure access to their balconies than I had recalled. And I am well past the crisis point now. But – wow – was I ever a broken human! And trying to not to look broken in front of everyone I’m trying to be strong for shattered me even further. 

But now…. even though I’m past the most broken point of the week – I was still struggling this morning with quite a bit of shame and remorse about how I acted within that moment – even lashing out at those trying to help.

And I felt that my broken moment somehow diminished God’s glory in my life and His ability to use me. But then, as I was walking through the master bathroom this morning, I knocked the beautiful little bottle of fragrant oil you see in the picture off the side of the tub. The neck of the pretty antique bottle broke and it’s “head” rolled to the floor. (Thankfully, I am rather skilled at Super Glue repairs so I think I can fix it).

But even if I can’t repair the bottle – the lesson is priceless. I heard Holy Spirit whisper to my heart, “Tracy, does the brokenness of the bottle change the fragrance of what’s inside it?” 

I thought, “No, I actually can smell the fragrance now.” 

“Exactly!”

The brokenness of the vessel doesn’t change or lessen the power of the fragrance inside. The brokenness releases the fragrance to anyone who is near the broken vessel.

This timely little object lesson was a much needed reminder that:

Our brokenness does not diminish God’s ability to use us. Once we release our brokenness to Him, it deepens His ability to use us and further spreads His healing presence to the other broken ones.

It’s really not about us anyway. It’s about WHO we carry.

“Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life.” -2 Corinthians‬ ‭2:15-16‬a MSG (The Message Paraphrase)

Transparently yours so brokenness can grow us,

The Gift of Tears

God collects the tears of the hurting (see Psalm 56:8) and weeps with those who weep (see John 11:33-35). And nothing is quite as beautiful as when His people do the same….. very rare and completely counter-cultural in a society that avoids pain and idolizes comfort…. but beautiful. May we have our #FathersHeart toward the hurting. Sometimes it is OK to weep with them and be present in their pain rather than sing the same old #PressOnAndBeStrong song.

Never Too Late to Get Back On Track

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:1-2‬ ‭ESV‬‬