Not a Day Promised

Battling mental illness through education and resources. "Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance." Proverbs 1:5

Monday, September 19, 2011

My Notes: I Know Where My Boy Is - Celebrating Carson Memorial Service

by Todd Brooks

On July 18, 2010, Fellowship Church Chapel, Grapevine, TX, with over 500 in attendance, the Lord gave me a forum to share my hurt, my hope, my love, my memories. The memorial service, entitled, "Celebrating Carson", began with testimony from Collin, Channing and Pierce Brooks. The message was given by the director of FC Children's Ministry, Pastor Mike Johnson. Authors (The Band) blessed us with worship music for the service.

I rested my elbows on the podium that Carson designed and welded with several of his classmates (presented to Fellowship Church as a gift by Carson), and begged the Lord to speak through me that He may be glorified. The following are my presentation notes:
(The service was video taped <4-parts> and can be replayed in its entirety by clicking here.

Notes:  I KNOW WHERE MY BOY IS

Searching for Answers:
  • (Standing in the Shadow by June Cerza Kolf)
  • “Why?” – I honestly don’t know.Mat 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
  • It was not in my control.
  • We are unafraid of our thoughts.
  • We will live without regret.
He Was Not a Coward:
  • (Standing in the Shadow by June Cerza Kolf)
  • He had Bipolar.
  • Times of irrational state of mind.
  • “Anyways, what I've told people for a long time is that when you commit suicide you are NOT in your regular frame of mind. Think about it. You ain't gonna do it if you are in your right frame of mind. Therefore, it is done in a completely boggled state.” Marty Rice, Carson’s welding instructor.
  • The “downs” were pure agony for him
  • He could no longer bear the burden.
  • The load was simply too much.
Went to Sleep Looking Toward Heaven:
  • Psa 92:5-6 “O LORD, how great are Your works!”
  • (Forever Yours/new song heard last night/FC)
  • "Our Hearts Are Pressed. Our Arms Are Stretched. We Want To See The One Who Has Told The Dead To Rise. Our Voices Shout. And Our Hearts Cry Out."
  • 1 Thes 4:13-18 ”But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning
    those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope…And
    the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain
    shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the
    air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another
    with these words.”
Move Over Guilt:
  • (Standing in the Shadow by June Cerza Kolf)
  • For Carson -
    • The end of anguish-filled days.
    • The end of long, dark hopeless nights.
    • The end of fear of facing another day of the same.
  • For those left behind - 
    • No more worry.
    • No more lost sleep.
    • No waiting for the next crisis.
    • No more fear.
  • NO REGRETS!
  • ...But…oh, how guilty this sense of relief feels...
God Remains Victorious:
  • Rom 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
  • As I imagine Jesus to satan, “Yours was never a war for Carson's soul. He was already Mine. I just wanted you to see how a real Christian warrior does battle for Me. Your true destiny is the pit...tick-tock." (satan is such an idiot)
The Suicide of a Born-Again Christian - I Believe The Soul is Safe:
  • Carson gave his life to Jesus and was born again at 7-years old.
  • John 6:35-40 “And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes
    to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst…All that
    the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no
    means cast out…And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees
    the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up
    at the last day.”
  • We cannot judge a person’s entire life by one single act.
  • It was a brief moment in an entire life.
  • Carson gave us way more love and tenderness than not.
The Most Intimate Word - Know:
  • Psalm 139 “O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there. Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” even the night shall be light about me; indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You. For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. How precious also are your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; when I awake, I am still with You.”
Outpouring of Love:
  • The people - Fellowship Church.
  • Authors, The Band.
Closing:
  • 2 Cor 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you.”
  • His grace is custom-designed for each of us; for each need, for each time, and especially for when we don't even think we need it.
I know where my boy is!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Break My Heart for What Breaks Yours, Lord

by Julie Brooks

It is not difficult to feel broken a lot when you are struggling with the loss of a child and trying to take every opportunity to save another child during his struggle with Bipolar disorder. There are days when our youngest son says, "I just want to go to heaven to be with Carson."

In that moment, my heart sinks, and an irrational thought goes through my mind, "Why should I ask our son to stay on earth and endure the gut wrenching pain and uncertainty of this erratic illness called Bipolar?"

But, then I hear a calming whisper from the Lord, "Just go with me on this journey, and I will teach you how to help your son and the others that share your journey with their love ones, suffering with mental illness."

I know that the Lord's track record is 100% in keeping His promises, so I go with His lead. I will trust the Lord to care for our son minute by minute, and to show me how I can be His instrument by using my heart to be broken for what breaks His.

Since Carson took his life and went to be with the Lord, it is not hard to have a broken heart. Day by day, the Lord is putting the pieces of my heart back together; the pieces don't fit together nice and neat because they have been scattered. But, the heart He is putting back together for me will be so much stronger, because He is building me a new one, piece by piece and day by day!

Lord, I pray this day for your continued guidance in this journey. Please awaken Christians to be willing to open their hearts to see those suffering with mental illness.  Give them a desire to educate themselves and take your lead to bring understanding and support where there is none! Amen.

Please visit http://www.bpchildren.org/ for website resources, links and books.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

God is Our Hope

by Julie Brooks

Even though this ten month anniversary of Carson going to live with the Lord is hard to imagine, and only by the grace of God we find comfort, God is our only HOPE to bring a change in the way society views mental illness (Bipolar).

It is our calling as Christians to help and support those suffering and their family members, that see their loved one's pain as they suffer.

Please join me in praying for an awakening among Christians. God is in the restoration business, and I want to be His #1 obedient servant to help do His work!

I love you Carson. Mom

For This Memorial Day Choose Life

by Todd Brooks

As we remember those who fought and fight to give us freedom in the United States of America, I remember that Carson shared with his mother and I that he had spoken to several service recruiters on multiple occasions. He wanted to join. He felt that purpose and was not afraid to respond. It hurt him deeply that his bipolar condition could not be accepted. He understood, but he was deeply hurt, allthemore a sign to him that because of his condition, he was rejected.

Judging by all of the comments I see on Carson's Facebook Memorial Page, I suspect he was a true warrior for the many; many of you, but he just didn't realize it.

Thank you all for your continued memorial comments to Facebook. Never feel ashamed to offer your hurting heart to others, and please do not be burdened for Carson, for Carson is no longer burdened.

Do not take your own life, for your heartbeat is melded into a fabric that covers many, maybe hundreds, maybe thousands. Each person you know, that knows you, knows of you, knows you through a friend, knows a friend through you, has heard of you in a story, has watched you from afar then told someone else; all of these are in the same fabric cover with you and me. Pull one thread, and the whole garment is touched, thrown inexplicably out of kilter, with utter consequences likely.

You matter, even when you don't believe you do. Tell someone you are hurting. Let them help. They want to help. Don't give up. We need you with us!

I may sound like a broken record, but please give your heart to Jesus Christ. While we need and must maintain our freedom as American citizens, do not forget that you have a Saviour that has already secured eternal freedom and Heavenly Citizenship for you; an invitation to everyone, with no strings attached but to trust in Him.

Carson didn't know he would be bound with the chronic Bipolar disorder burden, and while he was still in right mind, at seven years old, he reached out, and Jesus took his hand, so that even now as I continue to mourn his loss, I know where my boy is. Jesus never failed Carson.

Do you know what tomorrow will bring? Are you sure you will be alive, coherent, functioning? Not a day is promised, but if you give your life to Jesus Christ today, right now, an eternity with Him IS promised.

Thank you all for your words of encouragement over this past year. We are blessed that you would make the time to think of Carson.

Todd Brooks (Carson's Dad)
Jeremiah 33:3

Friday, May 20, 2011

Bipolar Fact Friday #5

A bipolar individual may be unable to make the connection between mood swings and their Bipolar disorder. Parents can usually more accurately describe the child's behavior than the child himself.