Christmas – when there’s no peace in your world.


I plenty of Christmas shopping this year. I had a great time, filling my cart with gifts for some of my closest and best friends and relatives. I also spent a lot of time in between my shopping watching other people. People were sad, or crabby. Or looked so stressed. And so I thought I would write a little about that.

The Christmas that I was in the hospital getting chemotherapy probably was the best Christmas my family has ever had. It probably should have been the worst one, but I was blessed with parents who knew how to make us a family no matter where we are. We didn’t have a lot of presents because our money went into medical bills. And we didn’t have a way to make a Christmas dinner, because we were in a hospital. But we had each other.

For many years from my teens through college, I was depressed. I guess I didn’t know that I was – I was just so tired all the time. But there were quite a few Christmas days when I was not the happiest camper. In fact, plenty where I was just sad – there wasn’t a reason. But those weren’t bad holiday memories either. Because I had my family.

This year, I’m not depressed, I have bouncing, happy kids in my family. Everyone is alive. And we’re together. And that matters. Yeah, there are gifts, but no one ever remembers what they unwrapped – they remember how they felt.

As a Christian, it’s really easy to remember our family and friends in our Christmas celebrations. But what about the people who don’t feel like celebrating? What about the people who just lost a child to cancer? What about the person who is mentally ill who’s been abandoned? Can we take our peace to those places, or do we close our eyes and look away, because there’s no joy on earth where there’s deep sorrow and grief? What about the people who aren’t together with anyone? Christmas for blog

Maybe you’re that person – who isn’t feeling the peace on earth this Christmas and you don’t feel comfortable just showing up to church. It’s okay. You don’t have to be anything more than you are. Just like Love came to the earth to bring us all peace, I hope that you know that there are people who think of you – and who may just show up on  your doorstep with cookies and ask if they can stay awhile.

Maybe you’re the person stressed buying gifts. Maybe it’s time to get rid of gifts, and start being the gift. I promise your stress will quickly become peace. Because no matter what, peace did come to earth. And because of that, we’ll never have to be without someone who loves us so.

Merry Christmas, dear friends. Merry Christmas.

…because love wins.

hksad

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Beauty, beauty.


Your life is your lesson. You can’t change what people say to you, how they handle your quirks and imperfections, or even sometimes what you say when you’re not thinking. But you can learn. You can grow. And you can take everything we learned in school and make yourself the student, and life the teacher. Your life is your lesson. And you’re getting straight A’s.

…because love wins.

To look back.


I’ve been through enough big things that I’ve learned the value of being able to look back on what was hard. I’ve learned that it always passes, but that the lessons stay. Tonight I was looking at some pictures with my mom. On my 21st birthday I could hardly stay awake in the car on the way to my birthday gathering. I was just so down and fatigued. Just depressed.

She said, “Those are some pretty deep, dark days to look back on.”

Yes, they are. And I’m so happy to be looking back, not being in them.

…because love wins.

Some learning about ADHD.


I’ve decided that ADHD is worse than both depression and anxiety. I have also been able to see that not being close to someone who lives with a mental illness can make it very hard to understand what a mental illness even is. But I have learned that if you are close to someone with mental illness, you’ll learn a lot about the beauty of being human. Here’s why. 

Let me state this, as a follow up to my previous post – ADHD stinks. It’s up and down and triggered by all kinds of things. It involves the parts of the brain which need to be used to see problems. It’s like trying to process how to fix a machine through that broken machine, for the person living with it. Of course, this isn’t to say that people with ADHD can’t figure out life. But this is to say that some of them have to work way too hard to do that. 

Then there’s us. People who stand on the outside and see the symptoms of things:
Easily distracted. (Yeah, the shiny things jokes are funny for about 5 minutes, but not a lot after that.)
Wanting to be organized, and not being able to figure out why that’s challenging.
Lacking motivation (not that they don’t care).
Hard time understanding social cues and that being more surprising for them than others around them.
And anger. (I would be angry if I couldn’t understand what I was feeling or why I was too.)

If my brain wouldn’t let me see how I could get out of those things, I wouldn’t know that I was bound to live my life short of who I could be either. No one with ADHD is stupid because of it. They’re not awful. They may have developed some character difficulties, but I would have too. They’re wonderful, beautiful people. Who just happen to have a hard time fighting their own brain.

 

This has been a lot of learning about ADHD. And has me thinking I probably have a new passion to pursue in my life. 

…because love wins. 

Why ADHD is not a disorder.


I love my boyfriend.

A whole lot.

When I met him, he talked a lot. I was really depressed and that was totally annoying to me because I couldn’t handle anything. Once, we went to lunch and he talked for the whole hour straight. I couldn’t make more than 3 sentences fit together, but he struggled to be able to make 3 sentences make sense together. I used to talk a lot too. (Haha. I still do sometimes.) So I kind of understood that. I had just gotten out of a relationship, as had he. So, we had lots of learning to do. And this clearly was not a good place to start another relationship. But there was something cool about that guy.

A couple months passed and we talked here and there. He was loyal, passionate, a dreamer, compassionate, and lively. And that’s awesome. Everyone loves that. He loved that too. And I love that. After a while, I could see that his mind always ran in 100th gear. I asked him if he ever thought of ADHD being a thing in his life. I knew a couple people with it before, but he managed really well. I could just see how tired he would get listening to his head go so fast.

So I started doing some more research. Yeah, totally could be it. I had just been treated for my depression and therefore found it hard to not be researching mental illness and how to be healthy. Fast forward a long ways, some more meds for us both, some new learning, some work and school adaptations, and here we are.

We’re not perfect by any means. We’ll tell you that. But we do understand each other pretty well. And we understand grace in new ways now. Ray can focus better, and learn things with more silence in his brain. And pay attention to me. And I’m not breaking down because he struggles to give me attention. And I have learned to be able to recognize when he does his best. And he, my best.

But the point of this post is to express that I don’t think “Attention Deficit  Hyperactivity Disorder” should be called a disorder. As I look around at the adults in my life, I see an awful lot of them that exhibit the signs of adult ADHD. They speak without thinking, they spend foolishly, they can get confused, and sometimes they can just be mean because they’re overwhelmed. And that’s pretty interesting to me. Because obviously in this society, we aim for order. And peace. And straight lines. But, that’s not always what everyone is.

Energy is suppressed rather than re-directed. They’re misunderstood and disliked because of the way they state things. They probably don’t understand some key life pieces because they couldn’t learn them when they were little. But that doesn’t mean they’re broken. That just means they’re different. So maybe people need to draw a picture rather than read a paragraph. Or maybe they have incredible insights into the world to share. That doesn’t make them broken.

I don’t love ADHD. Neither does he. But, we do understand it. And we do know that it’s a part of our life. The sooner we stop hating the person with the ADHD, the easier it is to work with and around the ADHD. Because I’ll tell you, ADHD means that that person has been through a lot in life…simply dealing with their own minds. And that means that they understand people beautifully. They may be right on the verge of helping someone else…or reaching their full potential. But they just need someone to pay attention long enough to show them how to pay their own attention.

My boyfriend doesn’t have a disorder. He’s got different abilities than I do. And he knows Jesus in a new way because of that. Because Jesus is still the king of all.

…because love wins.

Mental Illness and Jesus


So I’m crazy. 

At least that’s what society says. Of course the stigmas of depression have continued to improve as years pass by and we can see that people all around the world have it, but still, there are lot of people who don’t understand mental illness. Either because they have it and don’t know, or they just don’t have it. Which is awesome. 🙂

But for those of us who do understand and are also Christians, there is this post.

So I have mental illness all around me. As you know (hey frequent readers!) I myself have been diagnosed with depression. I’ve got anxiety, more anxiety, addiction, and ADHD hanging out in other people in my family and friends. And it’s a new learning experience every day.

First thing’s first. Jesus CAN fix anything. He totally can. Prayer works, and you should keep praying, no, matter, what. There have been plenty of times when I have been hopeless for the people around me with mental illness. And by nature of depression, I was pretty hopeless for a long time for myself. But, I have learned to not relent. God wants us to keep knocking on that door until He opens it. He desires healing – he desires peace for us. But, that doesn’t always mean that He’s going to answer in the way that we think He will. He’s going to answer in the way that is most effective for bringing us to Him.

I will tell you, being mentally ill will bring a person to Jesus. There’s not a lot more to do without actually going crazy. Trying to help someone with anxiety, depression, or ADHD will as well. And you know what? I’m thankful for that. Some of us are on meds. I used to think that they weren’t necessary. Jesus humbled me…sometimes that’s the tool he wants to use. Sometimes the meds can’t do it all and there’s some serious soul-digging that has to happen.

But through it all, Jesus is king. He knows that mental illness is just another piece of the fallen world, and the truth remains the truth – He has freedom for us. We may not know how healing will come in earthly terms, but we do know that it will come from Jesus.

Anyway…if you’re ill, or someone you know is, don’t give up. Beg for strength, mercy, healing. Keep your eyes on the goal. You may need to change the plan to get to the goal, but walk in with a shield of love, and see that healing will come, in some way. It will. So rest in that. You’re not at all alone.

Image

…because love wins.

“I suffer with depression.”


“It’s the stigma that makes you hold it in and you hide it, because the stigma around depression in our society is very real. Unfortunately we live in a world where if you break your arm, everyone runs to sign your cast. But when you say you have depression, they run away. We can’t procrastinate on something this important.”

This, my friend says it all really well. Please watch – understand depression.

Depression is real. It’s not weak.

Depression

…because love wins.