We are all a piece of the  puzzle. Our lives interlock to form an image more beautiful than any single piece.

Nobody knows everything about me, but they all know something. It’s not what I convey in words, it’s also in what I do. I try to do the next right thing every day, but I don’t. Not by a long shot.

I suppose I want a relationship with God where I can get the good stuff from him and try to make myself feel better on my own. I’m not sure why I’m afraid to be honest. Fear is a knot inside of me.

We are driven either by fear or by love. It can be difficult either way. I used to say to the kids ‘we can do it the hard way or the easy way.’ True. But we can also do it by the hard way or the harder way. Sometimes that’s the choice. Perhaps if we do it the harder way God gives us more help.

Thats what I’m going to find out.

Aside

Grace!!!

At the end of the day, everybody, all of us, are just a bunch of broken people. I will never forget the words to a song that has stuck with me since I was a child. It was performed by the Gaither band, and I don’t think it was ever recorded by anybody else. Friday nights at a community center of some sort, a group of people from various denominations came together to worship the Lord. The song, Something Beautiful.

Something beautiful, something good
All my confusion He understood
All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife
But he made something beautiful of my life

If there ever were dreams
That were lofty and noble
They were my dreams at the start
And hope for life’s best were the hopes
That I harbor down deep in my heart
But my dreams turned to ashes
And my castles all crumbled, my fortune turned to loss
So I wrapped it all in the rags of my life
And laid it at the cross.

CHORUS

All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife
But he made something beautiful of my life

The verse that says ”all I had to offer him was brokenness and strife’ meant so much to me. The song, they would play on acoustic guitars, my dad playing, me being proud.

At the end of the day, that’s’ it. Gifts of brokenness and strife. That’s just a whole lot of my life. Me offering brokenness and Him offering healing.

We get banged around a lot in this life. Its not just Christians. It’s every single person on the earth. I speak to the church because I do believe we are called more than anybody else to offer grace and love. I think the age of ‘tough love’ has passed. That doesn’t mean zero accountability or the Lord allowing us to continue in our sin. It means being very prayerful and thoughtful if we feel the need to exert influence on another one’s life.

There are a lot of broken, hurting people out there and yes, there is a time and place for dealing with that. I just submit that our own brokenness might hinder us from offering grace to a whole lot of broken people.

And if you find an updated version of that song, please let me know.

Grace!!!

Educating

I was working on a really good posting and then life happened and it actually was an amazing moment of my intentions and others intentions coming together. I had a sponsor who said ‘look for the motive under the motive.’ I’m trying to do that.

There aren’t the same type of support group for people with bipolar illness as there is for alcoholics, but the 12 step process works for just about anybody.

Educating yourself about people’s illnesses is really important. I’ve seen in other people’s lives how the program can really come together in a family to help everybody affected by an illness. A person doesn’t have to leave their home to find information. My illnesses cause me to isolate. In meetings there are people who have had or currently have pain. Being with these people, in an environment where you can share anything….and I mean anything, and being affirmed and even relating to others helps to get you into your atmosphere. I am not a born again Christian, I am not a fundamentallist Christian, I’m not only bipolar, I am and I am not lots of things. I have never been embarrassed for what I have shared with another alcoholic.

I had forgotten about that.

Educating

Who We Are

I think there is only one person who reads this thing. At least I hope so.

I write what is true to me, and I write what I would like to see. To see from the church, from AA, from my family, from God. Just because I write it doesn’t make it so.

I have been reading about a drunk who was memorialized in the movie ‘Barfly.’ His name was Charles Bukowski. He was a drunk and a writer. Probably in that order. He drank his whole life. In fact, from time to time you’ll see the quote

“Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.”

Whether there were interventions or therapists or even one AA meeting, I think he would want you to believe not. If you haven’t seen Barfly, I can recommend it highly just in the sense of being well performed and providing a lot of food for thought.

The relevance to me is that I wonder who I am. Am  I the Missy who hasn’t had life experience, the drinking, the illness, all of it. Would I be a different Missy if I had a PhD or had 10 children or lived in L.A..?

Is the true me a person of age 25 or 46, or am I not me yet because I’m really the Missy I will be at 50? And  who are you? If you write a book, traveled the world or lived in India would you be a different person? Are you a better person because of your accomplishments or in spite of them?

If a person has a brain tumor does that ruin who you are? Are you your brain? Drinking physically changes your brain and behavior, does it destroy the real you? If you go to heaven brain damaged, even as a result of your choices, is that who you are?

We die, we say we go to heaven. Who will we be there? Good children? Self-assured 55 year olds? Who are we if we don’t sin? When my grandfather died, not 30 seconds later, my grandmother said ‘where is he right now?’

I judge other people. Sometimes my judgment is to not judge.

I feel better about myself when I’m doing things that make me healthy. I work on improving things. Change is difficult.  We could all have a little more grace around us. We don’t know other people, their talents and their limitations. A person said to me one time, ‘I would change places with you if I could.’ I wondered if she thought she’d do better than me.Yes I judge others. I don’t know what kind of hell they are in. God help me.

Who We Are

Illness and Morality

I was so interested in seeing Black Box   on ABC last night. I anticipated it for a few weeks. I knew it was going to be a doctor with bipolar illness. As far as tv shows go, this was a fine show. I wasn’t bowled over. I wasn’t concerned with how this might illuminate my friends and family. As much as I covet understanding, I was realistic. I wasn’t prepared for a side of how they represented her immoral behavior.

In my world, in all that has happened through the years, there is nobody more in need of a Savior than me. I believe the Bible is the Truth, written from God’s lips, and it doesn’t feel to me as if anybody was more determined to in some way touch the hem of the clothing of the person standing next to Jesus. I exaggerate, but I’m trying to say this with the core of my being. Only Christ wants my salvation more than me.

The thing is, I do have this illness. Let’s pretend for a moment that I wasn’t bipolar, which would be great. In that case, I would still be an addict an an intense one.

I am really truly grateful for the examples of those who have gone before me who did suffer more than me.

The problem, is I have this great moral failing. I sin. I do things that are against what I believe and I do it often. A verse I acquainted with is Matthew 7:4: In struggling against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

In truth, I don’t know that I have resisted. In my illness, there is just a mountain of sin that I don’t think I resisted. If I had courage and strength I can, but not in my own self.

What has happened with me morally, I have to bear. I have broken things that I don’t think I can put back together in this life.

So…in getting back to it….the tv show ‘The Black Box’ displayed a vulnerability people with addictions and bipolar illness have. For me, what I think. is. that. I am praying for a waterfall of Truth and Grace to wash away the fear, guilt and regret.

Illness and Morality

Shedding Depression

I never speak for all alcoholics or people with bipolar illness. My experiences are not the same. My thoughts are not the same. But, there is enough similarity that we who identify ourselves with one another can help each other. For addicts in particular, there is an uncanny ability to read one another. There is a desire to disengage and isolate.

I think people who haven’t had life changing suffering, cannot relate as well to those who suffer. I wonder if that is why addicts and those with mentally ill scorn the church. I don’t know. It’s hard to be friends with someone who never spent a night puking up their guts, arose with misery and started the whole thing over again…over and over with the minutes, day and years being consumed with it all.

Further, I don’t understand others, their own trials. On some level I have empathy and I know my empathy is not as great as the ones who are suffering in ways I haven’t suffered. I’m aware enough to say that people don’t understand without judging them for not understanding. Francis I. Anderston – “true words can be thin medicine for a man in the depths.’

When my former husband had an occasion to be hospital overnight, there was a man in his room who was  just completely out of it, dying, not understanding where he was. He kept yelling out for help all day and all night. I was there for a visit and he asked me over and begged me to help him get out of there. ‘Throw my legs over the bed, I’ll do the rest!’

You see, if I could throw my legs over the bed, wouldn’t I have done it by now?

Shedding Depression

Inbetween Articles

I think much of what I write is my wish list. It isn’t necessarily what is best for me. I have found this verse I rely on to try to keep thinking straight:

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,i and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ

The New International Version. (2011). (2 Co 10:5). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

One of the tools I’ve learned in DBT is to be mindful. My tapes run on a track that plays through…some days it’s brutal. Fortunately, not all the time. So…to me being mindful is taking a thought and evaluate it. How I try to evaluate it is according to the following verse:

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

The New International Version. (2011). (Ro 12:3). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

The phrase ‘sober judgment’ is always what I’m meditating on when I take a thought captive. Sober judgment. Neither more highly or lowly than I ought.

I think if I stay on that course, I’m more likely to view things more properly.

And I still have not gone to church.

Inbetween Articles