The Outcast. Mental Illness and Homelessness.

(I give permission for anyone to copy any of my posts.)

I have a sister who lives at a campground. Some of the sites are for permanent residents and the rest are for campers. She lives in a motorhome. After living there for awhile, she found out a man lived on the property who did odd jobs for the owner of the camp and its residents.

She asked this man if he would clean off the roof and do other tasks for her. She got to know him and realized he wasn’t quite normal. She found out he used to be an executive at a large corporation, but his young wife had died of cancer and he had a nervous breakdown. He told her he was in a hospital for a few months and was better for a time. A few years later, he had a girlfriend who also died, in an accident I think.

After that, he was in a permanent depression and just couldn’t cope with life at all. He lost his job and was homeless for a long time. Somehow, he got a small camper and lived in that. He came to the campground and asked the owner if he could live there by doing odd jobs and he told him he could.

My sister knew him for at least five years but told me he was going downhill. He started going to a psychiatric hospital occasionally. Later, when she would ask him to work for her, he forgot or took a few weeks to do it. Eventually, he quit doing all work.

Around that time, they started talking about God. She bought him two Bibles, one a graphic novel type and another regular Bible. She spoke to him of what God had done for her and how she loved being a Christian.

He told her all the Christians he had met were unkind to him, especially two people at the park, one of them the manager. They had promised to pay him a certain amount of money and then cut his pay in half after he was done. He said he had tried to go to churches, but the people there didn’t want him. He said he was surprised she was a Christian because she was nice to him.

A few months later, she found out the owner and manager had kicked him out because he wasn’t working enough and his site was messy. She doesn’t know where he went.

When I think of that man, I think of the word, “Outcast.” Then I think of Jesus, a friend of outcasts and who became one himself. I also think of mental illness and how misunderstood it is.

As I’ve written before, I have a mental illness and my sister told me most of the homeless people she met have had either a physical or mental illness. They are people no one knows what to do with. They are without a rudder in this cold world. People look down on them and ask, “Why aren’t they working? They look healthy enough to work!”

I’ll tell you why. They probably can’t concentrate, they may be terrified of people (like me), they are afraid to work because they know they will make mistakes and people will yell at them, and they can’t bear the thought of that. (me) Their memory isn’t good. They will forget what you told them to do, or misunderstand instructions. (me) They don’t have a car, bus fare, clothing. They are sometimes so nervous they cannot speak. (me)

If I didn’t have a husband to support me, I’d be homeless myself. Well, my daughters would take me in. I am blessed that way. My family understands my illness and loves me.

I’m writing this because I wish so much that the world would do something for these people. I know how complicated that is; although I did read about a city in Canada that built apartments for all the homeless and made it a law they couldn’t live on the streets. It has worked out wonderfully and is actually saving the city money. Maybe it isn’t as hard as we think. We have a terrific Premier in BC, where I live. He is doing a lot for the homeless. I admire him.

Well, I said what was burning in my heart tonight. Here are some verses from the Bible about outcasts.

The blind man Jesus healed:

They answered and said to him, “You were born entirely in sins, and do you teach us?” And they cast him out. When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, He found the man and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

 “Who is He, Sir?” he replied. “Tell me so that I may believe in Him.” “You have already seen Him,” Jesus answered. “He is the One speaking with you.” “Lord, I believe,” he said. And he worshiped Jesus.   John 9:34-38

A parable of Jesus:

So, they took him and killed him and cast him out of the vineyard.   Mark 12:8

Verses about Israel:

If your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there he will take you.  Deut. 30:4

I will make the lame into a remnant, and the outcast into a strong nation. Then the LORD will rule over them in Mount Zion from that day and forever.  Micah 4:7

Behold, at that time I will deal with all your oppressors. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth.   Zeph. 3:19

Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, with no one passing through, I will make you majestic forever, a joy from age to age.   Isaiah 60:15

Treatment of the poor:

What do you mean by crushing my people, by grinding the face of the poor?” declares the Lord GOD of hosts.   Isaiah 3:15

What sorrow awaits the unjust judges and those who issue unfair laws.

They deprive the poor of justice and deny the rights of the needy among my people.

They prey on widows and take advantage of orphans.

What will you do when I punish you, when I send disaster upon you from a distant land?

To whom will you turn for help?

Where will your treasures be safe?

Isaiah 10:1-3

It is a perilous thing to take advantage of the poor.


Our Past Follows Us.

(I give permission for anyone to copy my posts for any reason.)

My husband loves the dozens (actually, a lot more than that I think) of Christmas movies that are found on Netflix and Amazon Prime. He has always liked action movies too, but lately he has focused on these Christmas movies. I find most of them sappy and badly written, but some of them are really good.

Last night, when we were watching one, my husband said, “I like these kinds of movies because they show happy families. I grew up in an unhappy family so it’s nice to see.” I’m so glad he told me that, because as tough as my husband is, and anyone could tell you he is a tough guy, I wondered why he liked these movies.

I know someone who loves crime shows. But she only likes the ones where the criminal is caught. She wants to see that person go to jail or executed. I think she gravitates to these shows because in her childhood, her life was threatened by a family member in the middle of the night. She would wake up with a sharp knife at her throat.

I like to read books or watch movies about real people who have overcome great difficulty: abuse, neglect, an illness. I think I am always searching for answers how to overcome my past.

Years ago, I used to have a recurring dream. My father and I were in a bus; he was driving and I was in the passenger seat. I looked over at him and he was laughing maniacally while speeding along the highway. Then I would wake up.

After years of therapy and talking with God I began healing. One night I had the same dream, except this time I was driving and he was in the passenger seat. I was feeling peace.

I have healed quite a bit, but I’m not cured of my mental illness. I still have problems with how I see myself. I still have automatic thoughts that plague me. But I am better, by the grace of God who helps me every day.

I have to ask him for that help. I can’t sit back day by day leaving God out of my life. I need him. If I don’t give myself to him each day, I start waking up wishing I was dead. I start getting depressed and hopeless. He keeps me from all that by prayer so that even if these thoughts pop up, I know he will help me. I just say, “God, I don’t want to think that. Give me something good to think.” And he does.

May God help all of us who have psychological problems. They can be devastating, but may God give us strength to walk through them.

Thank You God for My Suffering.

Joyce Meyer

I was watching Joyce Meyer this morning, and she spoke about going through trials, pain and suffering and how these things equip us for the future. They equip us with experience that we can then use to help other people. She said we usually don’t realize this until we are older and can look back on our lives.

Joyce used the example of Joseph’s life, which if you read it in Genesis Chapters 37-50, will explain why “But Joseph replied, “Do not be afraid. Am I in the place of God? As for you, what you intended against me for evil, God intended for good, in order to accomplish a day like this—to preserve the lives of many people.”

Just the other day, my sister said to me, “When you used to come to Nevada to visit me, it surprised me how my bad temper didn’t upset you. When I raged about something, most people didn’t like it and would get upset, but you would just sit there working on your crossword puzzle.”

I said to her, “I realized a few years ago, that the years of having my husband lose his temper had taught me not to take anger personally. I read a book that explained bad-tempered people are not actually mad at you; they are angry about something else, usually their childhood.”

Living with my husband and praying about my own temper, has been good for me. I didn’t think so at the time, in fact, I hated it, but God used that so I could learn to let people go and not be upset about what they say and do. I haven’t learned this perfectly, but most of the time when someone is mad at me or at something else, I feel at peace about it.

My husband rarely loses his temper now. We have both learned how useless it is to be angry at people. When he does slip and flip-out, we pause and then start laughing. This is what can happen when you follow Jesus through your life. We are both in our late sixties and both of us have learned through suffering and praying. It is God alone who changes us as we ask him.

My sister and I are very close, even though we live miles apart. Through email, Messenger and phone calls, we share our happiness, sorrows and how God is working in our lives. She has helped me so much in so many ways. She says I have helped her. This deep, Christian friendship is what I have needed. I can tell her anything and know I will be understood; she can do the same with me. I pray all you who read this will have a friend like that.

The other thing I have learned through suffering is compassion. I believe if a person goes through life with everything going their way, they will probably be proud and selfish. How can we understand the suffering of others if we never go through it ourselves?

I read a millionaire say, “Anyone can do what I have done and be rich.” I suppose he says that because he has never had a family member who is not as smart as him. He doesn’t realize that intelligence makes a huge difference in how successful we will be in this world. His parents probably sent him to a wonderful university where he learned what he needed to learn.

There are those who suffer mental illness. People like me, who have no confidence and are terrified to work with other people. People like me who freeze and are speechless and so afraid to make a mistake on a job they can’t function. People like me, who were horribly abused as a child.

I can now say to God, “Thank you for all my suffering.” I never thought I would ever, ever say that, but I can see the beauty that can come from it. I would rather be who I am, with all my weakness, than proud in my own strength. I can say with David, “The Lord is my strength,” because I know how true that is.

God Lifted Me Up.

 

nature moss hills bog
A Bog: Photo by Jaymantri on Pexels.com

I was re-reading Psalm 40 and was moved to gratefulness again.

Psalm 40:

I waited patiently for the Lord;

he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,

out of the mud and mire;

he set my feet on a rock

and gave me a firm place to stand.

 He put a new song in my mouth,

a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear the Lord

and put their trust in him.

I do feel God has lifted me out of a miry bog, or quicksand. I was sinking because of the memories of my father sexually abusing me. I was sinking in shame, mental illness and depression. But through the years he lifted me up out of that.

It didn’t happen quickly. It takes time for the mind to heal. Am I completely well body and soul? No. But I am now standing on the rock, Jesus. My feet are no longer slipping and sliding. I understand how to run to him, to pour out my heart to him and to let him give me peace. Perfect peace? Yes and no.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.  Isaiah 26:3

I used to think that when we had perfect peace it would never go away. But I was wrong. Our peace is disrupted when life brings obstacles or tragedy. Satan messes with our peace when he whispers negative thoughts to us.

So, we have to go back again to God and tell him how we feel and ask for his peace. We need to go again and again through the day and quote uplifting Bible verses praising God. Satan cannot stay where God is being praised and trusted. This is what I think Paul meant when he wrote, “Fight the good fight of faith.”

I learned most of this through Joyce Meyer. I watch her TV show every day. She focuses on how to live the Christian life. She was raped by her father for most of her childhood. She understands.

I still have a mental illness. I still hear my little girl inside say things. But I don’t mind too much. I try my best to stay away from things that trigger me. I can honestly say I am mostly happy and at peace. It is a wonderful feeling. He lifted me up out of the slimy pit, out of the mire and mud.

Psalm 40 is a Messianic psalm. Commentators have said the feelings expressed in this psalm are what Jesus felt. I’m going to write about that next time.

 

 

 

 

Your Prayers For Me.

Thank you very much for your prayers for me. I woke up this morning and I felt better. The clouds had lifted by the power of God.

This morning, I woke from a dream. In the dream there was a large round table. There were about 10 people sitting around the table with playing cards in their hands. I sat down in an empty chair. My cards were face down in front of me. I could see the cards of the other players. Everyone had a 3 in their hand. I looked down at my cards and thought, “I need to have a 3 also so I will be like all the others.” I picked up my cards and I did have a 3. I felt happy, then I woke up.

I would guess the dream represents how I feel around people, even family. I need to be like them to fit in. Everything I do should match up with other people so they will love me. I don’t want to be different. I want to fit in. I want to please people, and if I don’t, I feel devastated.

I’ve known this about myself, but I guess I need to face it and pray about it. It was frightening to make a mistake when I was young because my father could become very angry. He never believed me if I said I didn’t know something was wrong. He would say, “Don’t give me that. You know better.” I didn’t really. He always thought I was lying about things and when I was a teen he called me a slut. I had not had sex with any boy at the time, but after that I decided I didn’t care anymore because he already thought I was having lots of sex. The only kind of sex I’d ever had was with him when I was younger.

Joyce Meyer says, “The only way out is through.” She said that about her sexual abuse. She didn’t want to deal with it, but God showed her she needed to. I’ve dealt with mine too, I think. But there are always going to be after-effects of our childhoods. No one gets completely away from that. It is a large part of who we are.

Thankfully, God tells us, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

I am a new person compared to the person I was before I met Jesus. Giving my life to him was the best decision I ever made. He has made many parts of my life so beautiful. My most precious dream was to have children. He gave me two daughters and now 7 grandchildren. I feel most blessed, my dream came true and he multiplied it. One day I will live with God in heaven – my most precious dream now. 

He never sleeps

He never slumbers

He never tires of hearing our prayers

When we are weak

He becomes stronger

So rest in his love

Cast all of your cares on him.

From “He Never Sleeps,” by Don Moen.

Jack-in-the-Box.

My brain feels broken. I can’t believe this is happening. I’ve had so many weeks of coping well since my mom broke her hip. Mental illness is like a Jack-in-the-box. The music plays, I am coping well, I dance to the music, then, without warning, the evil clown pops up. The music stops and I’m afraid.

I thought the clown was gone.  I thought I had dealt with him and found the secret to happiness and coping well with life in a consistent manner.  I thought God and I had this at last.

The problem is my brain beats me up any time I make a mistake. As an example, this morning I poured myself some coffee and remembered the time I made some coffee for my daughter and it was terrible and she poured it down the sink.

This happens to me daily. Something happens and it reminds me of a mistake I have made. When I have made a lot of mistakes in a row, I start losing it. I listen to good music, but it doesn’t help as much as it usually does. I’m praying, yes. But prayer feels different. I’m too full of myself and not enough of God. I go from prayer to thinking sad thoughts. Sad thoughts move into despair. I shake them and they come back.

The one thought that helps me is that I have been through this before and worse. By God encouraging me, I have made it out of darkness into the light. I know this will happen again. I cling to this thought.

Meanwhile, I am cleaning the house, taking care of my mother and making dinners (my nemesis). I don’t share how shaky I feel, because there is no point. No one but God can help me and I know that. I don’t need to make everyone else feel bad.

One small thing that bothers me is not knowing if I can make it to the dentist next week. Will I be able to leave the house?  I’m getting more and more afraid of leaving the house unless someone comes with me. I feel like just giving up and canceling the appointment like I have done over the last year and a half.

It has been a hard 6 months. My mother fell, broke her hip and then all the trouble with the hospitals and rehab facility. Then my sweet nephew died. My husband is not happy lately about his life. Nothing I say helps him. I guess it is a miracle I am still coping – sort of. If you can call this coping.

Well, enough of that. I’ve been wanting to write about a beautiful verse on how God makes his footsteps a path for us to walk.

“Righteousness will go before Him and will make His footsteps into a way.”  Psalm 85:13

“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Loving-kindness and truth go before You.”  Psalm 89:14

The lyrics from the song, “Feel Your Love,” by Don Moen and Frank Edwards have helped me too.

It’s in your name that I found love.
I give you praise for all you’ve done.
You call me by my name, I wll trust in you.

I feel your love surround me.

Suicide. A Story of God’s Love.

Fragile_Emotion

Statue:  Fragile Emotion

Photo by: Don  http://www.flickr.com/people/97224989@N00

My beloved nephew, Ian, killed himself a month ago. He was 45 years old. He had paranoid schizophrenia. 

I remember reading some religions believe suicide is a sin. Even a sin God can’t forgive. I don’t believe that. I’ve been suicidal myself; I have a mental illness because of my abusive father. Elijah wanted to die, so did Jeremiah and Job. God didn’t tell any of them they sinned in that wish.

Ian quit taking his medication, which a lot of people with schizophrenia do. He kept refusing to take it until he was having delusions every day. I won’t go into detail about his illness, what I wanted to share about him was his journey to God.

About a year or more ago, Ian started getting interested in spiritual things. He wanted to find the “true” religion. He studied Buddhism, Islam and Christianity. He used to call me and we would talk about these religions. He asked me why I thought Christianity was the true religion and I told him. Then he started asking me about the different Christian religions. I told him of some of the different beliefs that were out there. He asked me about the church I grew up in, which is the Seventh-Day-Adventist Church.

I explained our beliefs to him. So, he went and visited some churches in his community in Washington, State. I asked which one he liked best, and he did say the Adventist church. He asked about why we worship on Saturday instead of Sunday, and I told him all the reasons.

When my mother broke her hip and was in the hospital, Ian came to see her and stayed with us. He came twice. We talked some more about God, and why I believed he was the true God. All the rest of the time he talked with me it was about his delusions of being followed and how he was putting us in danger just by visiting us. He thought the government was after him, but I never did understand why he thought that. He talked about conspiracies, but I don’t know what kind. He thought he had special powers.

The only time he talked sanely was when he talked about God. The last day he was here, he said he had made up his mind and believed in God and Jesus and also would not work on Sabbath again. I was very happy for him. As he drove away for the last time, I said to God, “Oh Lord, what are you going to do for him?”

He killed himself a few days later. I think God stepped back and let it happen. Ian had turned to God, given himself to him and that was what God was waiting for. Ian will now have the peace he longed for when Jesus returns. We will see him and hug him again, and he will be all well. I’m so looking forward to that day. I’ll see my brother, grandson, Ian, my grandmothers and who knows who else? And of course I will get to see Jesus and the face of my father God. Oh yes, I am excited about that day.

Discontent Leads to All Sins.

I am writing on the book, “The Art of Divine Contentment,” by Thomas Watson. I’ve learned a lot about myself in this book and how I have let discontent sometimes rule my life.

Mr. Watson writes that the first sin in the universe came from discontent. Lucifer and his angel friends became discontented with their stations.

And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—“ Jude 6

Lucifer (Satan) was quite dissatisfied with his place in heaven. His discontent turned into rebellion against God – though God had done nothing to him.

“How you have fallen from heaven,

morning star, son of the dawn! (Lucifer)

 You have been cast down to the earth,

you who once laid low the nations!

 You said in your heart,

“I will ascend to the heavens;

I will raise my throne

above the stars of God;

I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,

on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.

 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;

I will make myself like the Most High.”

But you are brought down to the realm of the dead,

to the depths of the pit.”  Isaiah 14:12-15

When Satan met Eve in the garden, he told her God was withholding a wonderful thing from her, the knowledge of good and evil. He said, “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

 

Eve must have felt some discontent in not having the same knowledge as God. She must have wanted what God had and decided to get it. So, she believed God was a liar and sinned against him.

 In his book, Watson says that discontentment leads to every other sin. Every single one!

 I thought about myself. I thought about the years I had been so depressed, suicidal and lonely. Was that because of discontentment? Yes, it was. I could see it clearly. I was discontented with my past, with my childhood all the way through adulthood.

 I was angry I had a mental illness, that I wasn’t like other people, that I couldn’t work without having a breakdown, that my husband and I didn’t have what other people had because their wives worked and they had extra money. I was not content with this life God had given me. I thought I had suffered too much. That it wasn’t fair, that God wasn’t fair.

 Yes, I was the epitome of discontent. I was its poster child. I was no better than Eve, or heaven-forbid, Satan himself. Whoa. Scary.

 So, this week, I had been feeling down and upset and didn’t realize why. I asked myself, “Are you discontented about something?”  Yes, I was. I didn’t like it that my mom was in a nursing home instead of with me. I felt terribly sorry for her that her memory was bad now. She couldn’t read, watch TV or walk any longer.

 Mom told me she had wanted to die, but she didn’t die. She told me she hates being in a home. She told me she is angry, helpless and hopeless. I felt sick when she said these things. I don’t want this kind of empty life for her either.

 But, during this, I did remember how when I trust God I always find there is a very good reason for everything that happens. I’ve been trying to give all my feelings about Mom to him. He has been helping me a lot. But I need to do it every day, or the discontent will creep up on me and I’ll be depressed again.

 I believe Mr. Watson is right. All sins do come from discontentment. Now that I know this, I will talk with God about it, pray about it and because God is my Savior and partner, I believe I will gain the victory over my discontentment.

Mental Illness and Sex.

I have been wondering if I should write about this subject and have decided I will in the hope it will help someone going through something similar. But if you don’t want to hear about my sex problems, you better stop reading.

 

I was sexually used by my father, starting when I was very young. He also abused me physically a few times to keep me in line. I was terrified of him.

 

I’m 66 now, and still have trouble with sex. Things are definitely better, but I’m still working things out. God has shown me something I thought I would share.

 

Every Friday, even though I’d had a great week, I began feeling sad. I didn’t know why until I prayed and paid attention to myself. It is because the weekend is coming and I know my husband and I will have sex at some point. After we do have sex, my depression lifts. I don’t have to worry about it for another week.

 

The thoughts I used to have during sex were not pretty – I will spare you the details. But I couldn’t enjoy the sex any other way, it seemed. I wanted to make my husband happy, and I was; but God was not happy because I was hurting myself.

 

God has been telling me a long time to quit thinking violent thoughts when I have sex. I tried a few times, but then I would just feel numb. Then one night after sex, I had this sudden urge to scream and keep screaming forever. The urge went away, but when I talked with God he said, “I can’t keep you sane, as you keep asking me to do, if you continue thinking these thoughts.” I pondered that for a few minutes and said, “I’ll try.” Then I said, “No, I promise I will never do it again.”

 

At that, I felt a powerful presence come over me. I had woken with a headache and it went away immediately. My body had been aching; I felt a softness all over me and the aches were gone. I knew it was the overshadowing of God’s presence. I felt so good and happy. I felt so thankful.

 

That was two weeks ago and sex with my husband has been great. We tried some new things to help me relax and of course, he is so patient with me and always has been. It is kind of embarrassing to talk with God about all this, but after all, he invented sex! It ain’t my fault! I just want to learn how to live with it and enjoy it and He is helping me.

 

God always helps me with everything if I come to him about it. I wish I could convey how wonderful it is to have God to go to. People seem to be afraid to give control of their lives over to him. If they only knew! If they only knew what a great person he is! If they only knew how he gives his best to us.