Wrapping Up Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental health awareness is vitally important to change the way individuals with mental illness are perceived in society. We have not come a long way from asylums and being killed. We are currently repeating a history we fought so hard to change.

It’s normal for the police to be called on an individual with mental illness and potentially be murdered. We hear it, see it, know it’s bad, but it’s a normal in our society. It should not be this way.

Individuals with mental illness and addiction are handcuffed when transported from hospitals, emergency rooms, and to doctor appointments. They say this is done when we are considered high risk. Could you imagine being mentally sick and handcuffed because law enforcement is scared of you?

I have experienced this and it’s traumatizing. It causes individuals with mental illness to decline the treatment they need to avoid situations like these.

The saddest part is individuals with mental illness would rather suffer or take their own life rather than get help. It is because of these normal practices in our society that individuals with mental illness suffer in silence.

As we wrap up mental health awareness month, remember individuals with mental illness, are more likely to harm themselves than others. This is because we battle our mental health issues inwardly. It happens but it’s rare for an individual with mental illness to harm others unless they feel threatened or are struggling to manage their illness.

Be aware of what we face, but don’t stigmatize us and live in fear. We are battling an invisible disability and trying to cope with the struggles of life like so many other invisible diseases and illnesses.

Mental Health Awareness Matters.


Struggles of Battling Mental Illness

Mental illness is complex for us who battle it every day. The shame that many of us feel is an understatement. The ways we are discriminated against for being different goes without saying.

The struggles I have faced can be overwhelming. I know I’m not alone, but it can feel like we are alone in the fight to manage our illness. Also, while fighting to be understood and accepted by those who love us and people in general.

A month of awareness changes nothing if hearts and minds toward individuals with mental illness don’t change.

There will always be a need for awareness. In the United States, we often see the picture that individuals with mental illness will harm others or are violent. Statistics actually show that individuals with mental illness are more likely to harm themselves than others. Often times the individuals in the media are just people with evil hearts that committed violent crimes.

It is these issues that make it challenging to struggle with mental health issues.

May is mental health awareness month don’t suffer in silence

Be the change. Be the difference the world needs.

Happy Mother’s Day

I have been fortunate to have many mothers in my life. My grandmother was very influential in my life as a child and made me the woman I am today. She loved me with a deep love.

She was also a big supporter in my battles with mental health or mental illness. About nine years ago I prayed for spiritual mothers. I have had many of them since that time. This included church mothers, godmothers, and friends.

A mother is someone who takes pride in ensuring the needs of others are met. God-fearing mothers put others’ needs before their own needs. My mother taught me how to pray and always told me to put God first. My spiritual mothers encouraged me to live a life that honors God in every way.

Mother’s Day reminds me of all the women that help me to grow and mature into the woman I am today. I learned that life is hard, but you can overcome anything with God.

I was taught that my relationship with God will carry me over the course of my life. During the storms I faced in my life my mother, grandmother, and spiritual mothers have been there for me every step of the way.

Mother’s Day is a day to honor the women in our lives that have held us up and made our lives better and helped us grow.

Mothers change the world every day. We become a part of this world through our mother’s womb. Mothers are the vessels to carry life in this world.

I want to wish all the mother’s in my life and all the mothers in the world a Happy Mother’s Day.

Mental Health Awareness Matters

Stigma is defined as a set of negative or often unfair beliefs that a society, group, or individual has about a group, or person.

The month of May is mental health awareness month. The color or ribbon is green. The first week of October is mental health awareness week.

Millions of people in the United States battle mental illness. Mental illness is always hard for people to understand because it is an invisible disability. You can not see a mind or brain that is unhealthy. It is hard to see anxiety, depression, irritability, suicidal thoughts, etc. These can be easily missed or misunderstood unless they are expressed by the person struggling with them. The battles individuals with mental illness face are real. There is no cure for mental illness.

The severity level or how much it disables the person varies from person to person. There are people who just seek therapy, or meditate to stay grounded or centered to manage stress. Others like myself need treatment, medication, and struggle to manage the stresses that come with everyday life. This does not mean we are weak, or inadequate in any way. It does mean our mental health disability impacts our daily lives.

Some of the most brilliant minds we know today battled mental illness. Robin Williams was one of the greatest actors of all time. He was one of the most iconic comedy stars. He battled depression and ultimately ended up taking his life.

Jennifer Lewis is an African American female actress. She has played many roles on television and in some of the most iconic movies like “The Temptations”.

Jennifer Lewis has shed light on the fact that she has battled bipolar disorder for most of her life. The most challenging part for her was that for many years she received no treatment. She did not know what she was battling. Later on, she realized through seeking help that it was bipolar disorder.

Many people believe that mental illness is something you pray away, but this is untrue and a form of stigma. Also, some believe that we are being possessed by a spirit, and if that spirit is under control we would be cured. These are all myths.

Individuals with mental illness are extremely gifted. We are often very artsy, or witty. We do well working in a trade field or working with our hands. Some of the issues we face as adults are because we are often misunderstood. We often realize and recognize more than people think we do.

Some people target individuals with mental illness and we can be manipulated, taken advantage of, or abused. This is not a reflection of our lack of awareness, but more of the craftiness of the person’s tactics to use and abuse.

Mental illness should not bring shame to those who battle it every day. More awareness is needed. Many people who haven’t been impacted by it do not understand individuals who battle mental illness. A lot of people suffer in silence to avoid stigma.

Also, many people decline proper treatment and live very challenging lives. For the small percentage of us that embrace, and strive not to suffer in silence, it is a rocky road to live.

Mental health awareness matters. If you are someone battling mental illness do not suffer in silence. Though it may seem impossible, reach out and get the help you need.

I have been on this journey for eighteen years. I know more than anything that it is my connection to God that makes a big difference. It helps the battles that we face as individuals with mental illness. All things are possible with God no matter what we face (Matthew 19:26).

Feel free to check out my book about the struggles I have faced battling mental illness.

The Dealt Hand: The Story of My Battle with Mental Illness

Mental Health Organizations

National Alliance on Mental Illness (http://nami.org) There are local affiliates across the US and surrounding counties where you live.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (https://www.samhsa.gov/)

Suicide Hotline: You can dial #988 and that will direct you to the suicide hotline from any mobile phone.

Change is Necessary

Are you resistant to change? Be careful how fast you answer. Another question would be, if your world as you know it changed, how would you respond?

Let’s take a look at the Israelites…

The Israelites were God’s chosen people. They became in bondage to a tyrant Pharoah king.

“Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we; come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and it happens, in the event of war, that they also join our enemies and fight against us, and so go up out of the land” (Exodus 1:8-10).

They were in bondage to this tyrant king. They were in bondage like many of us are in bondage to our past, relationships, addictions, people, jobs, grief, etc. God decided that they needed to be delivered or that it was time for a change for His chosen people.

“The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

This conversation between Moses and God is a similar conversation that God has with us when it’s time for a change. God is about change. Though God does not change, He is a God that is always working to change and mature us (Galatians 2:20). It is a work He will continue until it is complete (Philippians 1:6). This is the reason Jesus did not stay in the tomb but rose with all power.

Jesus is the sacrifice that changed everything. God gives us an opportunity to change, grow, and evolve. We often decline the offer because we are not ready or are not open to change.

“And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” And the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward” (Exodus 14:13-15). 

The Israelites were being delivered, but fear set in and they felt like going forward would be impossible. God told Moses to go forward instead of listening to the Israelites’ fear. Moses let them know God is with you. They were facing the army of the Egyptians and the Red Sea.

I am not sure what I would have done. I know that I have faced challenges and obstacles that evoked fear to move on. God is with us when it is time for us to change. He needs us to move into a new phase in our life. No matter how hard it may seem to set a new path, set the new path anyway.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:1-2).

Our bodies are the vessels we live this life in. Given to us and created by God. We are to live in these vessels holy and sold out for Christ. This seems easily written or said, but we all know it is hard. Many of us are plagued by all forms of abuse and other trials. Our bodies should be a reflection of God. The mind is to be renewed. The mind is the source of how we act and have our being in these bodies or temples. If we are not open to change and a renewed mind we will not live out our purpose.

We must begin to change the way we see ourselves and past hurt. We do this so that we are not aimlessly living with no purpose. It is essential to change and live a life that glories God. Though the world is turning away from the natural order of things. We must choose that the change we want to make is one that glorifies God.

I thought years ago, I would never make it through all the challenges I was facing. I thought my mental health issues were too great to master. They still give me quite a challenge. Though this is true every day I change a little at a time.

I try to remember to embrace change. The older we get the more centered and stuck in our ways we become. Change will always be necessary. You decide whether you are open to it or not.

The Israelites were facing the Egyptians behind them and the Red Sea in front of them. They chose to tackle the Red Sea and never look back. What is in front of you that you want to run from?

It’s time to tackle your Red Sea. Change is necessary.

Faith is Powerful

A few weeks ago, I posted about prayer and how it’s a spiritual weapon. Another important weapon we need to have in our toolbox is faith. Faith includes hoping and trusting God will do what He promises in the midst of the waiting.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). In this scripture the writer illustrates that faith is hoping and believing for what you cannot see and that has yet to be revealed or seen. With this in mind faith is trust in God. Many of us know God has promised things to us. The absence of what He promised makes us waver in trusting that the promise will fulfill itself and come to pass.

Ultimately this process is what matures our faith. There is nothing mystical about faith, but there is the need to read God’s word. So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ (Romans 10:17) That is the foundation of faith. When you read God’s word your faith matures. We see so many people in God’s word who believed and God worked through their faith or belief.

God’s word has been the foundation of faith since the Old Testament. In Hebrews, chapter 11 we are given a look back into how many like Abel, Noah, Abraham, and Sarah kept the faith (Hebrews 11: 4-11). They trusted the promises God made to them.

Some might ask the question does one have more faith than others? Has God given some people more access to trusting God and having faith?

“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not think of yourself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each the measure of faith (Romans 12:3).” God has given us everything we need to have faith and trust in God. It is up to us to use the faith God has instilled in us.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Faith and trust go hand in hand. It is hard to master faith as troubles come and we question and begin to lose trust in God. Trust is often lost as we face losses and hard times. The derailment of life and often being caught off guard by unfortunate circumstances are hard. It is hard for most of us.

“And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment. For she said to herself, If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well. But Jesus turned around and when He saw her He said “Be of good cheer, daughter, your faith has made you well” (Matthew 9:20-22).

This woman had endured a sickness for twelve years that no natural medicine could cure. She was tired of going through the sickness. She must have heard about Jesus and what He could do. She pressed her way to Jesus. He says in this scripture that it was her faith that made her well. Yes, there are some things that are not going away in our lives. We see that with Paul who had a thorn to buffet him (2 Corinthians 12:7). But there are certain things that God does want to heal, but our lack of faith hinders the healing from taking place. Deliverance is often found through believing things can and will change.

She had suffered for twelve years. I have battled mental health issues for eighteen years. Do I believe my mental health issues can one day be gone? Yes. I also understand that even if it remained God will help me to live with the issues I have.

God said to me years ago, “Even if your illness remains it won’t stop the call on your life. I can use you no matter what”. I share this because some people need to know that God can use us no matter what.

I have suffered battling mental health challenges. Even with these challenges, God has used me. I saw him help me believe that I can do things many said I would not do. It is my faith that pushes me to believe that despite my illness God allows me to do the impossible. He has pushed me to a higher depth of faith. I have said things God would do in my life even if people doubted me. Though they doubted, I was sold out that I would reach whatever God put in my path.

Faith is about believing despite what some may say is impossible or don’t understand. As this woman pressed through the crowd for her deliverance some people could have seen it as strange or weird. She pressed because she was sold out that she was going to be healed. This is the power of faith.

Ultimately, faith is powerful.🙏🏾💜💞

Live to Heal from Brokenness

The brokenness some of us feel from the tragedies of life can feel like an elephant sitting on our chest. We can find ourselves wondering if we will ever heal. Healing is not something that happens overnight. It takes years of working to be free from so many broken areas.

Some people believe they will just snap out of the hurt. The reality is that it takes time. It can take years to fully heal. You really have to work on yourself. One part of the healing process is recognizing that there are areas of brokenness in your life.

Brokenness is not a bad thing or something to be ashamed of. We all get broken by life. We all have been broken in some area or another. Some of us live our lives not healing. We are often are so broken that we self-sabotage the things in our lives that matter.

We may hurt the very people that want to love us. We also can be in survival mode all the time. Sometimes we have walls built up around us and live in fear of being hurt again.

You can begin your healing process in therapy. Counseling is one way to uncover the areas that need healing. Finding the right therapist can be a challenge but once you have found your match it can be a blessing.

Healing with people who have had similar experiences is also healthy. You can find these groups in your community.

If you have had issues with domestic violence, for example, you can reach out to a local agency and see if they offer a support group. Sometimes healing can be easier when you realize you are not alone in your hurt.

It is also a great way to meet new people and make new friends. Some of us can find support groups in our local church. I always believe the church is a spiritual hospital and often helps a lot of us get through life.

When you are hurt and need to heal, try not to make decisions based on brokenness. We have all done it. I have not arrived but I strive to be better one day at a time.

Healing from brokenness is not an easy feat. It takes time, patience, and a willingness to heal and not remain stuck. As life takes its course we can easily find ourselves broken and struggling to heal. No one is exempt from these struggles. Over time healing does happen.

You need a safe space to heal. You need people in your life that do not continue to keep you bound. Freedom is found in God. No matter what Jesus’ Resurrection is liberty and freedom from anything we face. Brokenness does not have to remain a constant reminder of the pain we felt from being hurt.

Live to heal, one day and step at a time.

The Risen Savior

The holiday is Easter, but believers celebrate Resurrection Sunday. We recognize that Jesus paid it all for all of us. It is God that chooses who will be saved. It is not by our might, will, works, or good deeds. Jesus paid it all so our will, might, works, and good deeds are not necessary.

“Now After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.

And behold there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it.

His countenance was like lightning, his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook from fear of him. And became like dead men.

But the angel answered and said to the women, Do not be afraid for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said” (Matthew 28:1-6).

Many have argued its relevance today. Some even believe it is but a fairytale. I’m not into debating at all. My beliefs and understanding of God’s word go back many years. If it had not been for Jesus’ resurrection I would not be where I am today. Jesus rising from the tomb with all power shows us that we can rise out of the things we often feel bound by.

Jesus is our example of what the ultimate sacrifice is. He paid a debt no one else could pay. I understand that there is a God greater than the troubles we face. We are in these temporary imperfect bodies God has given us to dwell in on this Earth, which shows how great God is.

Jesus’ crucifixion was the beginning of a new dawn on Earth and in Heaven. The church we see today would not be what it is without Jesus’ crucifixion and His resurrection.

It is not about a bunny or a basket. It is about Jesus who paid it all. He is our High Priest (Hebrews 4:14). He is our lily in Valley (Song of Solomon, 2:1). He is our Bright and Morning Star (Revelation 22:16). He is the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2: 20-22). He is a solid foundation we can build on (1 Peter 2:7-8).

It is not about new dresses, shoes, heels, suits, big feasts, etc. We show our celebration with these things, but even without them, Jesus will still be the ultimate Sacrificial, Risen Savior.

I leave you with this as you enjoy your celebration with family and friends. Jesus paid it all for you and for me. When He comes back what state do you want to be in? Live each and every day as if Jesus is coming because we never quite know when. Jesus rose and they were in disbelief. Don’t be like the people of that time. Live a life that honors Jesus’ sacrifice.

Happy Resurrection Sunday. 💜 ➕

God Prevails

When the storms of life are raging God prevails

When all hope seems to be falling away God prevails

When death takes those we love and grief sets in God prevails

When our hearts are broken from the losses we face God prevails

When we try to make sense of the troubles of our past God comforts and prevails

When we look up and wonder where He is in all of our troubles He shows Himself and He prevails

The list could go on

The truth of it all is that no matter what we face God prevails

Prayer is a Spiritual Weapon

I’ve been trying to get my finances in a better place and the program that I started recommended an accountability partner. I was given a list and one of my requirements for the partner was that we pray for each other. It seemed like a simple request to me, but not to the other person. It made me wonder how far the world is away from one of the most significant spiritual weapons.

I don’t care how hard we try one day prayer will be the only thing that can get you through a hard time. You may not be praying because you felt it wasn’t a necessity. When life gets hard enough you will request it to get through the rough patch.

How often do we watch our favorite thrillers, action flicks, or romance movies or shows, and as the story unfolds and trouble happens here comes the scene of them in over their heads. We know the scene; they stumble into a church and it’s the pastor they are in need of. Though these are actors. There are many people who abandon the idea of God, prayer, fasting, faith and believing altogether. The truth is that we all need a prayer life.

My mother taught me about prayer at age five, but that was not just for me, it was for anyone that comes into my life. God also lays people on my heart to pray for. I know prayer is the medicine that opens the door to healing, faith, forgiveness, and a relationship with God.

I remember I didn’t mind praying for myself, but I was so puffed up and hurt that I thought others did not deserve my prayer. I thought they ought to know prayer is important and if they don’t pray for themselves that is their problem.

There is no selfishness with God and though we have our ways of being full of ourselves it is a hindrance to us. You can’t do life alone. God sent a storm my way that changed my attitude. I’m always willing to pray for others now. It’s one of my duties of service as a believer. My godmother has taught me that prayer is the passage to overcoming the challenges we face in life.

Prayer is one of our spiritual weapons. I have faced many storms like all of us. I’ve tried to master the way I fight through every storm, but it doesn’t take away the pain and hurt of the storm. I pray, cry, believe it will get better, learn to trust God, and fast as needed. Through praying, fasting, trusting, crying, and believing; God gets me through. Some of the things I face, the enemy is doing, sometimes it’s my poor choices, and other times there is an area God recognizes I need to shed off or grow in.

There has never been a greater time for prayer in this world than now. Life keeps showing the world that none of us are exempt from going through. No matter how rich, fancy clothes, fame, etc; you will go through. It is a part of life.

Sometimes the struggles of life bring us closer to God. Other times some of us are driven away from God. Many of us needed God more and sought God more during the pandemic. This is exactly what I feel God needed from many of us.

Prayer is a necessity for me. It seemed like something to have in my back pocket years ago. Now it is the center of everything. I pray every chance I get. It doesn’t mean I am special. It means I have learned that it is important to me and I don’t compromise about it.

I can’t make anyone else understand its importance the way I see it. I can try and share my view on it. Sharing in the hopes of encouraging someone else to seek to gain a prayer life that supports the issues they face in life.

Prayer is our spiritual weapon. It allows God to work in our lives. It keeps us grounded. Prayer changes the things we go through. There are times when God’s purpose and will is far greater than the prayer we prayed. This does not change prayer’s significance, but God’s will is so much higher than ours. In those times we must accept God’s will and not allow it to throw us off course.

Prayer is our anchor. Allow it to keep you grounded. It is our spiritual weapon.