New School Year: SUPPLY Needed

26 08 2015

New.school.yr.SUPPLY.nded

The approaching new school year means…excitement or apprehension, depending on your circumstances.

Students entering school for the first time eagerly anticipate going to school “like the big kids.”

Students returning to school with mental illness (MI) may worry about “the big kids” who bully.

School pressures can cause concern to any student. But for someone with MI, it can easily increase anxiety. And threaten mental stability.

That’s why moms raising kids with MI can also experience increased anxiety late in August. As the start of school creeps closer, her thoughts might become more consumed with her child’s stability.

What can she do? Where can she turn? Read the rest of this message I posted on my “Mental Illness, Mom 2 Mom” blog:

http://mentalillnessmom2mom.net/2015/08/26/new-school-year-supply-needed/





Banish Negative Thinking

20 02 2014

look.up

I love ‘but.’  It’s a powerful word to declare moving day on worries and cares.

The Psalmist loved using it. It helped him focus on Someone bigger than his problems. He deliberately shifted his focus to God. No small accomplishment given his problems. I can’t begin to understand what it’s like to flee from approaching armies. I can, however, relate to the writer’s raw emotions. His difficulties: affliction, rejection, sorrow, loneliness…

Read the following list of verses from Psalms. It just might become your personal pep talk to shove out all anxieties. And fill your mind with thoughts of God’s greatness and love.

“Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, ‘There is no help for him in God.’ Selah But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head.”  Psalm 3:1-3

“How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O Lord my God; enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; lest my enemy say, ‘I have prevailed against him’; lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved. But I have trusted in Your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.”  Psalm 13

“They confronted me in the day of my calamity, But the Lord was my support.”  Psalm 18:18

“For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away. I am a reproach among all my enemies, but especially among my neighbors, and am repulsive to my acquaintances; those who see me outside flee from me, I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind; I am like a broken vessel. For I hear the slander of many; fear is on every side; while they take counsel together against me, they scheme to take away my life. But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God’”  Psalm 31:10-14

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.”  Psalm 34:19

“A11 who hate me whisper together against me; against me they devise my hurt. ‘An evil disease,’ they say, ‘clings to him. And now that he lies down, he will rise up no more.’ Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. But You, O Lord, be merciful to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them.”  Psalm 41:7-10

“Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; defend me from those who rise up against me. Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloodthirsty men. For look, they lie in wait for my life; the mighty gather against me, not for my transgression nor for my sin, O Lord. They run and prepare themselves through no fault of mine. But I will sing of Your power; yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; for You have been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble. To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises; for God is my defense, the God of my mercy.”  Psalm 59:1-4, 16

“Save me, O God!  For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary with my crying; my throat is dry; my eyes fail while I wait for my God. Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; they are mighty who would destroy me, being my enemies wrongfully; though I have stolen nothing, I still must restore it. O God, You know my foolishness; and my sins are not hidden from You. Let not those who wait for You, O Lord God of hosts be ashamed because of me; let not those who seek You be confounded because of me. O God of Israel. Because for Your sake I have borne reproach: shame has covered my face. I have become a stranger to my brothers, and an alien to my mother’s children; because zeal for Your house has eaten me up, and the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.  When I wept and chastened my soul with fasting, that became my reproach. I also made sackcloth my garment; I became a byword to them.   Those who sit in the gate speak against me, and I am the song of the drunkards. But as for me, my prayer is to You, O Lord, in the acceptable time; O God, in the multitude of Your mercy, hear me in the truth of Your salvation.”  Psalm 69:1-13

“Let them be confounded and consumed who are adversaries of my life; let them be covered with reproach and dishonor who seek my hurt. But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and Your salvation all the day, for I do not know their limits. I will go in the strength of the Lord God; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only.”  Psalm 71:13-16

“My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  Psalm 73:26

“I cried out to God with my voice – To God with my voice; and He gave ear to me. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; my hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing; my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God, and was troubled; I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah. You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. I call to remembrance my song in the night; I meditate within my heart, and my spirit makes diligent search. Will the Lord cast off forever? And will He be favorable no more? Has His mercy ceased forever? Has His promise failed forevermore? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies? Selah. And I said, ‘This is my anguish; But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.’  I will remember the works of the Lord; surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds. Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary; who is so great a God as our God? You are the God who does wonders; You have declared Your strength among the peoples.”   Psalm 77:1-14

“O God, the proud have risen against me, and a mob of violent men have sought my life, and have not set You before them. But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth. Oh, turn to me, and have mercy on me! Give Your strength to Your servant, and save the son of Your maidservant.”  Psalm 86:14-16

“For my soul is full of trouble, and my life draws near to the grave. I am counted with those who go down to the pit; I am like a man who has no strength, But to You I have cried out, O Lord, and in the morning my prayer comes before You.”  Psalm 88:3-4, 13

“My heart is stricken and withered like grass, so that I forget to eat my bread. Because of the sound of my groaning my bones cling to my skin. My enemies reproach me all day long, and those who deride me swear an oath against me. My days are like a shadow that lengthens, and I wither away like grass. But You, O Lord, shall endure forever, and the remembrance of Your name to all generations.”  Psalm 102:4-5, 8, 11-12

“They have also surrounded me with words of hatred, and fought against me without a cause. In return for my love they are my accusers, But I give myself to prayer.”  Psalm 109:3-4

“Princes also sit and speak against me, But Your servant meditates on Your statutes. Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.”  Psalm 119:23-24

“The cords of the wicked have bound me, But I have not forgotten Your law. At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You,because of Your righteous judgments. I am a companion of all those who fear You, and of those who keep Your precepts. The earth, O Lord, is full of Your mercy; teach me Your statutes.”  Psalm 119:61-64

“The proud have forged a lie against me, But I will keep Your precepts with my whole heart.”  Psalm 119:69

“Their heart is as fat as grease, But I delight in Your law.”  Psalm 119:70

“Let the proud be ashamed, for they treated me wrongfully with falsehood; But I will meditate on Your precepts.”  Psalm 119:78

“My soul faints for Your salvation, But I hope in Your word.”  Psalm 119:81

“They almost made an end of me on earth, But I did not forsake Your precepts.”  Psalm 119:87

“The wicked wait for me to destroy me, But I will consider Your testimonies.”  Psalm 119:95

“I hate the double-minded, But I love Your law. You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.”  Psalm 119:113-114

“Princes persecute me without a cause, But my heart stands in awe of Your word. I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure.”  Psalm 119:161-162

“I hate and abhor lying, But I love Your law, seven times a day I praise You, because of Your righteous judgments. Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.”  Psalm 119:163-165

“Our bones are scattered at the mouth of the grave, as when one plows and breaks up the earth. But my eyes are upon You, O God the Lord; in You I take refuge; do not leave my soul destitute.”  Psalm 141:7-8





Burden Lifted

5 02 2014

Vickis.trees

Can God be found in misery? Sometimes burdens pound us so low we’re too depressed to seek Him. Thankfully, He finds us. When we’re too low to look up, He reaches down. He’ll remind us of His care. Just like what He did for me today.

Countless people are suffering due to the recent storm in the northeast. About half a million people are without electricity in my area. Thanks to the snow-ice-rain storm that struck last night.  Ice-covered roads, littered with downed live wires, have imprisoned residents in their homes.

I surveyed our trees and found only one down. Then I spotted our cluster of Leyland Cypress evergreens. They drooped under the weight of snow.

“Don’t worry; I’ll help you,” I told them. The load of snow on each branch threatened to distort their shapes.

I swatted snow off the first limb. It lifted slowly upward as if to say, “Thank you. That feels much better.”

The second branch responded similarly. Displaying its graceful relief.  The two released branches looked like a picture of praise to God.

Thank You, God, for this symbol of burdens. How I rejoice like this tree when I surrender my worries to You.

My mission continued. One branch didn’t raise its limb when struck. I peered closer to the trunk and investigated.

“What’s holding you down? Oh I see. Your neighbor is weighing you down.”

I understand, Lord. Others can pull me down. People who complain about their aliments entice me to admire my own aches. Tempting me to complain about my multiple sclerosis. I’m grateful for godly friends who, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)”

I aimed my snow scraper brush at the adjacent branch and smacked it. Both boughs floated heavenward.

Branches close to the ground were buried in snow.

Now, Lord You’re showing me how my cares can bury me. They beat me down so low I no longer focus on You. Like days I’m tempted to encase myself in blankets and remain in bed for the day. Without trusting You to help me serve others.

The whacks each branch received restored new life.

Thank You, Jesus, for bearing my burden on the cross. And for easing my daily burdens. “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. (Psalm 68:19)”

I finished the job; grateful God provided the strength and the lesson.

Ask God to reveal His presence to you today. Then watch and listen!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)”

Dear Father, Help me throw off everything that hinders my walk with you. Remind me of Your invitation to, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)”    In Jesus’ name, Amen

Has God surprised you with His presence? Did He speak to you during the busyness of your day?





Helping Kids Deal with Fear

12 12 2012

Hurricane Sandy

    Hurricane Sandy

The shooting in an Oregon mall yesterday may have scared your child. How can we help children deal with fear? Especially when we don’t understand how it could happen. Especially when our own sense of security is rattled.

I learned a powerful lesson about helping children cope with anxiety while teaching second graders.

One fall, I had a student who sometimes seemed reluctant to go out to recess. The Lord helped me notice a pattern. He resisted going outside only on cloudy days.  To confirm my suspicions, I took him in the hall.

“Are you afraid to go outside?”

His eyes got as big as saucers. With sheer terror written all over his face he reported, “Yes. It’s because one day in after-school care we had to run quickly inside before a huge storm got us!”

That experience gave him a phobia of going outside on a cloudy day.

I reassured him saying, “God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear. I believe God will take away that fear by Christmas. So, I want you bring in a change of clothes. I’ll also bring in a change of clothes. When you tell me the Lord has removed your fear, we will celebrate by walking together in the rain.”

God honored my words spoken by faith. He removed the boy’s fear. One day—before Christmas—we rejoiced in God’s faithfulness by walking together in the rain.

That same God can remove  your child’s fear. And replace it with His perfect peace.

Kids worry about lots of things. One day, I asked my second graders what they wanted to talk to God about—to say what worries them.  Here were some of their responses:

  • I worry about fire (in my house, at night, etc.)
  • I worry about a burglar or robber breaking into my house (that he might steal me).
  • I’m worried I might break a bone.
  • I worry about noises.
  • I get worried about if someone gets sick. I get scared that they will get so sick that they will die.
  • What I worry about is fires, my mom getting cut, burglars, bullies, sickness that makes people die, heart attacks, guns, noises, and darkness.
  • I am worried that someone might get shot, get stabbed with a sword or just die.  I am so worried about that.  I’m also worried about someone taking me at night time. I’m worried about my family getting hurt like in a fire.  A bad dream is definitely one of the most scariest things of all.
  • I’m worried about people fighting in Iraq like my brother.
  • I’m worried about bullies.
  • I’m worried about my fish dying.  All the other fish died and most of them were babies.
  • I am worried that I will get the spirit of fear.

God honors the Truth we invest in our children. Calm your child’s fears with verses like:

“Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me and I will listen to you.”   Jeremiah 29:12

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

2 Timothy 1:7

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

What does your child worry about? How do you calm his/her fears?