Trust Him, the master healer

I have been reading so much lately, it seems, about more and more people who are suffering from mental illness, anxiety, depression, loneliness and many other symptoms of disconnectedness, since the pandemic.  I imagine that it will take some time for all of us to recover from this past year’s events.  Unfortunately, I don’t believe we have seen the peak of the real effects of isolation.  But I do believe that we will hear more and more about that in the coming days.  

It also seems that cropping up everywhere are ways for us to find solace, healing and peace.  For example, coaching, meditation, workout or diet programs that promise cures, motivational speakers who claim to have the answers.  All of these avenues for healing I think have their place and are great.  And I am not discounting the good that those things can do in any way.  Please don’t misunderstand my mention of them. I myself participate in many of these activities.  And find them very helpful.

But while pondering on that, I started to think about how there is only ONE that we can really trust to heal our aching and broken hearts, to calm the raging PTSD that I think we are all suffering from.  To comfort us when we feel afraid and alone. And that is the Master Healer himself, our Savior Jesus Christ.  

So this podcast/post will be dedicated to Him.  I love my Savior with all of my heart.  And I know that He is always there to send angels in whatever form we need to get through all that we experience in this mortal life. And truly some of those angels may be in those programs that I mentioned above. However, I believe that what is important at this time, is for us to turn our hearts, our faces, and our lives toward Jesus Christ with more fervor, with more commitment, and with an energy that will open the Heavens and pour out blessings upon us.

What I want for you is the feeling that angels are surrounding you now more than ever.  And I really believe with all of my heart that we probably have more angels around us and with us than we have ever had before!  One of my favorite scriptures comes from the Doctrine and Covenants.  And for those of you that are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, that might be unfamiliar to you.  What I’m referring to is a book of blessings and revelations given to the early saints when this church was restored to the Earth.  If you would be interested in more information about that, please contact me, I would be so happy to share it with you.  

So one of my favorite passages from that book is in section 84 verse 88.  It reads:

And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face.  I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up. 

Don’t you just love that?  It is so comforting and beautiful. The first time that scripture impacted me deeply and became my favorite scripture was when I was in the psychiatric unit for the first time nearly 20 years ago! I remember feeling so alone, and so confused as to why things were happening the way they did.  My husband at the time was very thoughtful and knew how important the scriptures were to me.  Although I can’t remember a lot from that experience, I do remember that seeing my scriptures on the nightstand when I woke up, was such a comfort to me.  

I talked about Scripture study last week and how important that is.  And I think that they speak to us each in different ways.  For me, being able to open the scriptures and have the Lord speak directly to me, happens quite regularly.  Not all the time.  Sometimes I am in desperate need of an answer or help and it’s nowhere to be found.  But on many occasions I can open them and immediately be inspired, comforted or directed.  And I believe that the reason for that is because the Lord, our Savior, is so interested in our well being.  And He loves us so much!  If we come to Him broken and alone He is not going to leave us comfortless! He has promised us this.

When I originally started my blog, I did it because I was inspired by the Lord to share my experiences of living with Bipolar in the hopes that it would be somewhat of a comfort to those who are living with some form of mental illness.  I wanted to talk about what I was going through, because people seemed to be so uninformed and afraid to talk about it.  It was, and still is quite frankly, something that people hesitate and are fearful to talk about.  And yet so, so many people suffer in silence because it is an illness that can’t be seen by the naked eye.  I can tell you from experience that the last thing those that suffer want is to be shunned because of something that we did not choose.  

Just like no one would choose to be diagnosed with cancer or any other illness.  People with mental illness do not choose to be depressed.  And yet so many times I have heard people say hurtful things like, “you’re just making this up”, “you can get out of it, just get up and get out of the house”, or “why can’t you just be happy?” Believe me if it was that easy, we would all be snapping our fingers and jumping out of bed. However, it is much more difficult than that, and can take years sometimes to find the help so desperately needed.  

I pray every day that those suffering and feeling so alone, will feel the comfort, peace and strength that comes from the Master Healer.  He is there.  I promise you He is, and He is waiting with open arms to surround you with his love and strength.  

Many times those open arms are found in those around us and I am praying daily that this isolation and disconnectedness that we are going through will end soon.  That we will be able to embrace one another again.  I think we have seen how needed human contact is.  We are all desperately in need of love and that feeling of connection.  It just isn’t quite the same virtually as it is for real.  But, what a blessing the virtual world has been over this past year. Can you even imagine what it would be like to be completely isolated?  Unfortunately, there are those who don’t have access to that.  And I’m sure that they feel so alone, and don’t know where to turn. 

In a talk given in 2006 by our future Prophet, President Russell M. Nelson he said,

I recognize that, on occasion, some of our most fervent prayers may seem to go unanswered. We wonder, “Why?” I know that feeling! I know the fears and tears of such moments. But I also know that our prayers are never ignored. Our faith is never unappreciated. I know that an all-wise Heavenly Father’s perspective is much broader than is ours. While we know of our mortal problems and pain, He knows of our immortal progress and potential. If we pray to know His will and submit ourselves to it with patience and courage, heavenly healing can take place in His own way and time.”

Now I know that in times like these when you are suffering that may not seem like much comfort. You might ask yourself what do I do in the meantime, while I wait?  While I feel so much pain?

And surely, I  don’t have all the answers to those questions.  But I do know this. Our Savior is waiting behind a door without a handle, for us to…. Just open the door.  It seems so effortless, and yet it is sometimes so difficult to turn ourselves over to Him.  

He says in another favorite scripture of mine from the bible in 

Revelation 3:20“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

And in Matthew 14:27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer it is I; be not afraid.

And I love the imagery of that statement, straightway….  He didn’t take His time.  He was right there. And then immediately assuring…it is I, be not afraid!  He longs for us to reach out to Him.  He longs for us to feel peace.  He longs for us to trust Him.  He longs for us to hear Him!

I have often thought about how God made each of us as individuals, unique in our own special and eloquent ways.  We each have our own set of behaviors, character traits, problems, talents, trials, successes and failures. Not one of us alike, and yet not so different in so many ways.   Although, sometimes we feel like we are totally alone and that there is no one that feels the way we do about what is happening in our lives.  There is ONE!  We have a Savior who loves, cares, and suffered for us, so that we can overcome all that this life throws at us.  I am eternally grateful for that!  And I urge you to turn to Him in times of heartache and sorrow.  In times of confusion and distress.  In times of grief and pain.  Praise and give gratitude to Him in times of health and prosperity.  The truth is, He has given us so much, even our very lives.  And even though we feel broken and alone… He is the Healer, He is the ONE to turn to!

Get down on your knees and open your heart to Him. You can trust Him.  He will never forsake you. He will hear you.  He will comfort you straightway! He loves you that much.  And so do I.

XO Wendy

 

I will not leave you comfortless

Good morning! Well actually…it didn’t start off as a good morning. It started off like this: (you can listen to it in a little more detail by clicking on the podcast link.)

It started out with my usual morning routine.

Journal entry: “I’m tired today. And feeling just kind of blah. I think I slept pretty good. But my motivation is pretty much drained. It’s frustrating to me that I can just wake up and feel yucky for no good reason. I hate bipolar! I hate that it’s just always there. I hate that despite trying so hard to do all the right things that it just is there… If I miss a workout or maybe eat the wrong foods or my sleep is off a little. It’s just frustrating and I hate that I am broken.

Luckily God restores broken… eventually. And I know This, but hard days are just HARD. And there is just no way of getting away from that.

Gratitude: Grateful I have a husband who tries to understand and catches me when I fall.”

Scripture Journal: (still distracted and trying to sort things out) “I guess I should have seen it coming. It’s kind of like a freight train… I can’t hear it until it gets close and starts blaring the whistle, and then its too late. It’s already here. And I have to back track and ask why? What did I do different? Why is it coming or happening now? And a part of me just wants to go back to bed and not deal with these feelings of despair and worthlessness. I hate it and I hate that my children will probably have to deal with it at some point.

A thought comes to my mind.  I will not leave you comfortless.  And suddenly I have to find the scripture that those words come from. It’s palpable, I desperately need to find it. I go to my phone, the Gospel Library App. I click it open….and there it is staring me so hard in the face that I had to take a screenshot to prove to myself that this actually happened. It clicked right to comfortless: will not leave you comfortless, John 14:18!

I must have been in the topical guide when I last studied but I don’t remember searching this topic. But God knew. He knew that I would need this today.

This is what I wrote after to document my experience: Sometimes we go to God and sometimes He comes to us. That’s how I felt this morning. I could feel the depression settling in like a black storm cloud that I have grown accustomed to feeling. Waiting to enfold me in its blackness. And just when the tears began to fall and I was feeling so alone, I had a thought. Not my thought. It was the spirit sending me this message. “I will not leave you comfortless”… Where is that scripture I thought and I grabbed for my phone to look it up in the Topical guide to search it out. And then… a miracle.

 

I don’t know how He does it. I guess because He is God and He knows what we need when we need it. It was almost as if He was saying… No really– I won’t. You see it was the VERY FIRST thing that popped up when I opened the app. I didn’t even search it out. Staring up at me from the phone was the word comfortless, will not leave you comfortless, it read. And the scripture reference. Here’s the screen shot I had to take to remind myself how quickly God works sometimes. I couldn’t believe that for some crazy reason, it just happened to be on that exact page when I needed it the most. I needed to know that He knows where I’m at and what I’m feeling. And He was reminding me with absolutely no room to even doubt, that He does. He really does know me individually and wants what’s best for me.

And for you as well! You are His and He is yours.

As I thought about that word and that promise I am reminded of the covenants that I renew each week in church as I partake of His sacraments. (I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and we do this each week to remind us of the covenants that we made with the Lord when we were baptized.) I promise that I will keep His commandments that I will always remember Him, that I will take His name upon me. And then He promises me that I will ALWAYS have His spirit to be with me.

As I contemplated on that I realized that promise is one of the greatest promises that we can have. It’s no wonder or no mistake that those prayers are repeated to us every single week. He wants us to know without room at all to doubt…. that He will never, ever, even in our darkest moments, that He will not leave us comfortless. That we will ALWAYS have His spirit to be with us.

I think I may have to frame that scripture to remind me daily that I am worthy of His comfort. I am His and even through the times in our days and in our lives, He says, “I will not leave you comfortless and the final phrase of the scripture….. I WILL COME TO YOU!”

John 14:18

I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

XO Wendy

He restores playlist

Letting go of the ruin

 

When I was fifteen years old, my dad and I bought an old beat up 1976 Camaro from the high school auto shop.  I was going to be driving soon, and if things worked out I’d have my own wheels and freedom!  I was so excited.  

If memory serves me right, we paid about $300 for it.  It was in fair condition.  It could be driven.  But there were several things wrong with it, including it was in bad need of a paint job.  Of course I only noticed what it looked like on the outside and I wasn’t so sure that the $300 was well spent.   But it had good “bones”.  And the interior was still pretty nice, although stained a bit.  But my dad could see something in her that I couldn’t.

My dad and I spent the better part of a summer working on that Camaro, and bringing her back to life.  He on the mechanics of it, and me helping with the stains on the interior and the frame.  I remember spending hours sanding the metal down by dipping the sandpaper in water and then removing every bit of remaining paint left.  We rubbed putty (or something of the sort) in every dent and then sanded that down.  It was a grueling process that required attention to every detail.  But that was the process that was required to make her new again.  To repair the damage that had been done and make it whole once again.

Then finally… one day she was ready to paint and get the finishing touches put on.  I had saved all summer long to be able to pay for the parts and the paint job that went into her (candy apple red!).  And I couldn’t have been more proud of the work that we had done.

The day that we put “Old Red” on the road was one of the most exciting days of my life!  All of our hard work had finally garnered the result that  I craved.  She wasn’t perfect, but she was mine, and that’s all that really mattered to me.

As I reflected on that restoration process these past few months, I have been reminded of all the processes of restoration that we all have to go through during our lives on this earth.  We are all broken down, with a few stains here and there, in bad need of repair or “restoration”.  And although we may feel like we are barely getting by, the Lord sees our “good bones”.  He sees what the outcome can be with a little sanding here and a little putty there, and maybe a shiny new coat of paint.

I have spent a lot of time pondering and asking the Lord why?  Why do I have to live with a bipolar diagnosis?  Why is it that my body is broken down, stained and dented?  What good is meant to come out of this?  What’s the purpose?

And then I remembered the story of the Old Camaro and it came to me with perfect clarity.  We come to Him (our Lord Jesus Christ), broken, beaten down, full of sorrow and He “restores” us.

When I was diagnosed bipolar, my life as I knew it ended.  Everything changed.  I went from feeling like nothing could stop me.  To feeling like a broken shell of a person.  I was struggling with finding the right medications, the right Dr., the right plan for recovery.

It was only when I laid all my fears at the feet of my Savior that true restoration began.  Where I saw a broken shell, He saw the good bones. It has not been easy.  It’s a long grueling process.  From waiting for 6 weeks just to get into see the right Dr. and then ending up in the hospital again right before that appointment.  Then waiting another 6 weeks to finally get in again. Then trying different medications, behaviors and habits that work for me and my body chemistry.  A little sanding here and a little putty there.  He truly has been my source of restoration.

Elder Holland, an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, once said, “I think of that night when Christ rushed to the aid of His frightened disciples, walking as He did on the water to get to them, calling out, “It is I; be not afraid.” Peter exclaimed, “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.” Christ’s answer to him was as it always is every time: “Come,” He said. Instantly, as was his nature, Peter sprang over the vessel’s side and into the troubled waters. While his eyes were fixed upon the Lord, the wind could toss his hair and the spray could drench his robes, but all was well—he was coming to Christ. It was only when his faith wavered and fear took control, only when he removed his glance from the Master to look at the furious waves and the ominous black gulf beneath, only then did he begin to sink into the sea. In newer terror he cried out, “Lord, save me.”

Undoubtedly with some sadness, the Master over every problem and fear, He who is the solution to every discouragement and disappointment, stretched out His hand and grasped the drowning disciple with the gentle rebuke, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Matthew 14:27–31

If you are lonely, please know you can find comfort. If you are discouraged, please know you can find hope. If you are poor in spirit, please know you can be strengthened. If you feel you are broken, please know you can be mended.” (May 2006 General Conference address).

We just need to reach out to Him and then keep our eyes fixed upon Him.  He can restore us.  He can bring us hope and peace and comfort.  If we will let him.  Because He loves us.  Because He broke the bands of death.  Because we are His!

We need not be fearful of the changes and trials that come into our lives.  We need only to believe.  Believe that He will come to us in His infinite power to restore us to our former state.  Believe that He will bring us back to a state of health, soundness and vigor.  It may not happen now, it may not happen in this lifetime.  But it will happen.  One day we will be restored in all our glory.  Just like my dad and I restored Old Red.  Our Savior will restore us, and He will take us out for a spin on the road and we will be His because that’s all that really matters to Him.

XO Wendy

 

 

 

 

 

An Ordinary Box? Or Something More?

Imagine for a moment, a medium sized moving box, (maybe one that you could put a couple loads of old clothes in).  Dingy, old and worn, smelling musty from being stored for a long period of time.  Maybe even a little water damage can be seen in the ripples of the beat up box.  Dust has begun to collect from the years of being untouched.  An ordinary storage box by outward appearances.

Ok.  Do you have that mental picture in mind?

Now let’s take this imaginary box to a new level.  Though ordinary, there is something different about it.  This box can not be seen by the naked eye.  Beat down, worn out, and barely noticed anymore.  But….YOU CAN see it clearly now.  And It is time to open this box and discover what is inside. For some reason, you are a little afraid of what you might find, but you decide to open it anyway.

To your astonishment, as you open the box, familiar things begin to suddenly appear in your minds eye.  There are loads and loads of memories inside.  Good ones, bad ones, happy and sad, success and failure, adventure, and despair.  But wait.  Some of these memories you recognize, and some you have never felt or seen before.  How can that be?  It is YOUR box, right?

Then you realize deep in your soul that these are ALL of your memories!   A Lifetime’s worth!  All of your emotions, your hopes and dreams, your adventures, your experiences!  Even those you haven’t had or seen before. All of them trapped deep inside this box never to be found.  And then it hits you!

It comes to you with great force, like a huge punch in the gut. You feel sick to your stomach as you realize that this  box was created FOR YOU!  Not only that, it was built BY YOU!

You suddenly realize that there is one emotion that is not trapped or missing.  It is the very same one that kept you from opening it to start with.  The very one that you are feeling right now.  It’s Fear!  Fear of what might have been inside.  Fear of what might have happened if you opened it.  Fear of the unknown.  Plain and simple, the emotion is  Fear.  And you realize that you have been filled with fear for a very long time.

Ok, snap out of it.  Back to real life?  How do you feel?

No worries.  The great thing about imagination is that it is just that, imagination!  And that means that you can change the way this story ends!

And you know what?  It is time!  It is past time for you to take control of your fear.  Kick it to curb.  Release all of those past experiences and failures that have made you afraid to experience your life. Afraid to try new things, to take risks, to become more than you are and learn something new.

Because no one wants to look back at their life as they take their last and final breath and see that there was so much more that could have been.  If only they would have opened the box!

Break free!  Your life is waiting for you!

XO, Wendy

What prompted this post:  I realized that since I was diagnosed with Bipolar 5 years ago, I have been so afraid of what might happen.  It took several years to get meds right and get my physical, mental, and spiritual balance back.

But since then I have been somewhat paralyzed by the worry that it will happen again (meaning I would end up in the psychiatric ward again).  So what if it does?  It wouldn’t be the end of the world.  I mean, I do NOT want that to happen for sure!  However I  have survived.  I’ve been surviving it most of my life (with the help of my Savior and redeemer carrying me every step of the way).

But the difference now, is that I am so much stronger.  Because I know.  I know what I am dealing with.  I know what triggers me.  I know what precautions I need to take.  There is absolutely no reason to remain stuck in this place.  It is way past time to see what is on the other side of fear!

And if you have similar feelings of being stuck and unable to progress or move forward.  Maybe it is time to take a good look at what is holding YOU back.  I’d be willing to place a bet that it is the box of fear that you have been hiding in.

I know it’s not easy to break free from.  Believe me I have been trying for nearly 40 years.  Do not let this be your story.  There is ALWAYS hope!

P.S.  If you have not yet heard of it, check out the book Limitless by Jim Kwik.  I haven’t finished it yet but it has made me realize that  my brain is not broken.  Just untrained, underused and misunderstood.  A work in progress, but truly limitless!

 

Does it ever get better?

Heavy laden

Does it ever get better?  Will I ever feel happy again?  Why is this burden so heavy and why was I asked to carry it?  These are just a few if the many questions that you may struggle with.  Some answers may come quickly then there are some that may never come in this lifetime.

Sometimes you may find yourself digging a deeper and deeper hole as you list off all of the negative ways that BPD (Bipolar Disorder) has affected your life. It’s so easy to throw a little pity party and blame ‘all the things’ on your illness.

But the truth is, there is so much more to you than your illness.  You are not defined by it!  There are certainly times in your life that it may seem to control your every thought and move.  And at times,  you feel like others truly define you by it (some probably do). But it is only Satan that will have you believe that you have no control.  He is the father of all lies.  He would have you believe that you can never get well, that you will continue to hurt others in your life, that your life is not worth living, that you are all ALONE.  But Satan is wrong!

You see, God will never ever leave you!  He begs you to come to Him.  He beckons you to lay all of your burdens at his feet.  To let Him Heal you!

One of my favorite songs by Sidewalk Prophets says:

To the thief, to the doubter
To the hero and the coward
To the prisoner and the soldier
To the young, to the older
All who hunger, all who thirst
All the last, all the first
All the paupers and the princes
All who fail you’ve been forgiven
All who dream, all who suffer
All who loved and lost another
All the chained, all the free
All who follow, all who lead
Anyone who’s been let down
All the lost you have been found
All who’ve been labeled right or wrong
Everyone who hears this song
Just
Come, come to the table
Listen to the song below.

I am reminded of so many times throughout scripture that the Lord pleads with us to come unto Him.  To let Him heal our broken souls.  He says in Mosiah 24:14

 “And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.”

As we approach Easter this year I hope that you will put the atonement of Jesus Christ to work in your life.  He is there for you.  He loves you.  And He has sent many people into your life to be His hands.  To help you and to guide you and to help you realize that you are not alone!

I sincerely hope that your day and weekend gets better and that the sun will shine over you as you push through the hard days in your illness.  Don’t give up! The fact that you are reading this post means that He does hear your cries.

XO Wendy