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

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

God's "Miracle Minutes"

by Julie Brooks

Today, I rejoice that God helps me see Him, even in the minutes of my days!

In the last 2 years since Carson took his life, and as we continue to help Pierce and others navigate mental illness through education and awareness, it is even more evident that the Lord wants me to share a simple thought He gave me a year and a half ago.

We all have a tendency to view our days as "all good" or "all bad." But, God has shown me the wonder of viewing my days in "minutes"... His miracle minutes!

I can choose to praise Him even if for one minute of gladness, encouragement, progress, stability, solitude, praise, joy and more; thus binding the enemy in that same minute. Our Lord loves it when we praise Him!

This is an awesome perspective! Why wait to praise him for His small wonders? 

We have 1,440 minutes in each day; each minute an opportunity to praise our Lord for small victories, the miracle minutes. No longer view your life in days but in miraculous moments sponsored by the God of the universe!

Let the praising begin as we go out and bear witness to our mighty God's strength and grace in even the small minutes of each day. 

May you all have many of His miracle minutes! Amen!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Carson Moments

by Julie Brooks
I am reminded of the pain of losing Carson as I visit with a friend that lost her son to suicide not quite one year ago. 

I can see how God gives us empathy and understanding, only by going through painful events in our lives; events that we really don't want to go through, but events that our almighty God can take and use for His glory! 

But, the moment the pain of losing Carson comes through in memories, from nowhere, as a reality, it is almost unbearable...  

I call them my "Carson moments"; times when the hole in my heart seems unrepairable.

But I cry and cry out to the Lord, to restore my thinking and the joy that only the Lord can give us through His grace! 

This is not a post of sadness but one of reality.  Just a reminder that there are hurting people all around us. 

We must put on God's 3D glasses (Father, Son and Holy Spirit glasses), because there are people suffering, waiting for someone to reach out to them!  

May God issue you your own 3D glasses. They are free when you accept Jesus as your personal just have to use them!  Amen!!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Word Picture - Christ's Powerful Restoration

by Julie Brooks

As a former R.N., I had to learn a lot of abbreviations. God reminded me that I can use an abbreviation that most of us recognize, CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation), to have a new meaning from a Christian perspective.

As Christians, we can use the Holy Spirit's strength and power to perform CPR (Christ's Powerful Restoration).  We can assist the Lord in breathing life into others, those that don't know the life transforming power that God can give them through accepting Him as Lord and Savior.

The results of this CPR will not only affect your life here on earth but will assure you an eternal life in Heaven with God when you die.

As a Christian, I am also a different kind of R.N. - a Reborn Nurse, my life forever changed, and I am willing (with the Lord's help) to perform His CPR...the results are eternal. Amen!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

He Who Comforts Us in All Our Afflictions

by Todd Brooks
"He who comforts us in all our afflictions that we also can comfort those who are in our afflictions, with that comfort by which we are comforted." 2 Corinthians 1:4

For all of us who are challenged with some level of brain disorder; i.e., mental illness, God calls us to comfort those who are like us.  
For all of us who have lived and learned and are still learning to cope, there are many who have not and still suffer the full force of chilling mental disruption, fearing they must remain invisible; alone, with no help, no light, no acceptance.

For the many of us that have found ways to stay above the water line (so to speak) long enough to get one breath, then two and maybe three, we have knowledge to be shared with those who know not.

If you are a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, if you suffer from any form of mental disorder and your today is brighter than yesterday, if you have or are accepting that life change is inevitable and a decision you are fully empowered to make (better - if you are willing to allow Him to make necessary changes through you), then you know that God has truly not forsaken you.  He has a plan for you.  To Him, there is no such thing as mental illness.  

He created you, fully knowing your future.  

However, for those who do not know Jesus Christ, He knows of two futures for you, one future with mental illness where you choose not to believe in Him, one with no promise of protection, one on your own both in living and in passing.  

Then, there is the other future (John 3:16) He holds for you, one that comes with a promise, that if you choose to confess that you are lost and without eternal hope, if you choose to trust and obey Him for your future, He will be your heavenly Father, who knows and loves you and promises the following future for you, "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)  The plans He has prepared for you include you as you are, with what man labels as mental illness.

God is not restrained by anything that is part of His creation.  He could cure you, where man can only test mice in a lab.  But, He chose to give you the choice of a future with or without Him.   He knows you may not choose Him.  He's the one that decided to give you true "freedom of choice."  His first priority is always to heal you of your sin, so that whether He allows you to be cured of your infirmity or maybe he carries you through life in your infirmity, He will get the glory.  

If you want the promise God makes above, you must give your life from this moment (why not now?) forward to Him, without abandon; fully sell yourself out to Him and accept sight-unseen His plans for you.

I'm praying right now for you to receive His free gift of eternal salvation.  Why don't you pray the following to yourself (if you've never prayed, it's okay - just talk to Him - He's listening right now):

"Jesus, I need you.  I've come to the end of myself and no one is there to help me.  I've tried everything I know how to do to make me happy, to be successful.  I've done a lot of good for people, but I did it in my name, not yours.  It's hard for me to admit, but no matter what I gain for myself, it is never enough.  And this mental disorder, it's painful, I'm scared.  I'm admitting to you that I need you.  

Jesus, I've been told that if I cry out your Name, if I surrender my life, my future self, if I believe that you are Jesus the Christ, the only Son of God, who died for my wrongdoings, then by faith in YOU ALONE, I will be saved, I will be healed, cleansed of my sins against you, cloaked for all eternity in your purity; BORN AGAIN, this time into Your Kingdom, that you will always and forever be with me, always be aware of my infirmities, always be wherever I am to help me; able now to execute the 'plans you have for me.'    

I'm scared, Jesus, but I give my life to you this moment.  Do with me as you please.  In Jesus' name.  Amen."

If you chose to make the commitment and prayed the above, you may have just felt at ease for the first time in your life, you may have gotten a chill, you may have smiled, you may not have noticed anything at all.  

But, you are now sealed for all eternity by the promise of the God of the Bible Himself.  You have chosen an eternity with God.  You can check that off your bucket list.  And, if you choose to grow from your current infant state of Christianity, be prepared to see miracles in and around you, as He is your heavenly Father, and He will bless you!

How do I grow?  Now what?  To start, seek out a local church this next Saturday or Sunday; a bible-believing church.  If you are in the Dallas, TX area, here are a couple of ideas to get you started (Google any of the following):  Fellowship Church (Grapevine/Ed Young, Sr. Pastor), Prestonwood Baptist Church (Plano/Jack Graham, Sr. Pastor), Stonebriar Community Church (Frisco/Chuck Swindoll, Sr. Pastor), Irving Bible Church (Irving/Andy McQuitty, Sr. Pastor) and many others.  

All you need to do is walk in, tell just about anyone there that looks like they know the place that you are a new Christian and want to know more about church.  That's all it will take.  Be prepared to be honored for your decision to trust in Jesus Christ and treated like royalty.  Some day, you will do the same for another.

Oh, back to my main point.  If you are a Christian and your life has improved, even with the infirmity that you have, then you must "comfort those who are in our affliction."  Peace be with you and yours.  As my wife Julie often reminds me, it just may be that our infirmity is the normal the Lord seeks, in that our focus, our anxiousness, our creativity, as Christians, often leads us back to Him. He likes when we seek to remain close to Him.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Live With No Regrets

by Todd Brooks

How can one live without regret?

One way is to stop thinking and start doing; reaching out to someone you know is hurting right now, telling a family member you love them, texting someone a quick uplifting word of encouragement, breaking the ice with someone you feel is avoiding you but you know needs your help.

You may be the last person to communicate the love of God to them before they die - don't end up living with the regret of not having done or said something to someone...
       ...yes, that someone you are thinking of right now.
Go's as good a time as any...
                                         ...don't continue to live with the possibility of regret.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Word Picture - His Refreshing Breeze

by Julie Brooks

As I was exercising on the treadmill this morning, God gave me this word picture. I always place a large fan in front of me so I can be comfortable while I exercise. I can feel the breeze from the fan and see the evidence of it working as my hair is blowing and the breeze cools me.

But, I can't see the current of air coming from the fan. 

I am reminded that in my Christian life if I will just plug into God through His word and prayer, bringing my focus on Him, I can experience comfort and unmatchable peace, and know that He is near, even though I can't see Him.

His refreshing breeze can bless me every miracle minute of the day. The decision is mine whether I will take advantage of His loving presence and plug into it!

1 Peter 5:6-7.  "Humble yourself before God. Make Him the FOCUS of your thoughts. Bring your concerns and needs before Him, understanding that He is the sustainer of all life; and the peace of God will guard your heart and mind freeing you from the worries of life." Amen

Monday, May 21, 2012

Word Picture - My Day is a Gift

by Julie Brooks

The Lord just gave me a word day is a gift! 

I can choose to open it in a hurry, not looking at the detail and care that was taken to wrap and prepare the packaging, anxious to move on to what is inside. 

Or, I can savor each detail of the gift's packaging and be thankful for the time and care it took to prepare. 

Lord, help me to enjoy every detail of my day, each miracle minute, and give you praise and glory! Amen.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Mother's Day Treasure

by Julie Brooks

I keep this priceless gift from Carson out where I can see it before I turn out my light and go to bed.

It is dated May 2000...Mother's Day. It is a treasure that means more to me each day!

I love you Carson...LIVING WITHOUT REGRETS with God as my it should be!  Mom

Monday, May 14, 2012

I Will Continue to Knock!

by Julie Brooks

Anyone that knows me, knows I love to pray and collect doors. Here is a little door that hangs in our bedroom. I now see how the Lord has merged the two together in my life.

Matthew 7:7, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find;... knock and the door will be opened to you." In the book PIVOTAL PRAYING, John Hull and Tim Elmore, the authors, describe the word "knock" in this verse as a "constant beating on a door, not a one time tap." It connotes an incessant, almost annoying knocking until the desired results occur.

Jesus beckons us to persist as we partner with Him to accomplish His purpose. I continue to pray "knocking" prayers to our almighty God!

I know He hears and will answer my prayers for the mentally ill and how He wants to help and minister to them thru us as Christians.

I now understand the desires the Lord has given me...both visual reminders (my doors hanging decoratively throughout our house) and spiritually (His opportunities through intercessory prayers).

Amen...I will continue to knock!!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Word Picture - The Invisible Electric Fence

by Julie Brooks

As many of you know, Bipolar disorder has dramaticly affected my life. Loosing Carson to this disease and homeschooling our youngest with chronic Bipolar disorder has enabled me to see it’s effect on a minute-by-minute basis.

God gave me a word picture this morning that might give others a glimpse into those that struggle with and are misunderstood because they suffer with Bipolar disorder and/or other mental illnesses.

Because Bipolar disorder is an invisible illness, there is also an invisible electrical fence surrounding those suffering. Attempts to reach those experiencing the effects of mental illness can elicit a retaliatory sting of words or actions that are hurtful. Their reactions may not make sense and can cause those who love them to draw back in pain.

But, as we move closer to those suffering with mental illness, drawing on God’s supernatural love, their electric fence begins to lose its strength, and soon it can be clipped. As we step over that dead wire, we breathe life, trust and understanding into that person struggling with mental illness and its effects.

Don’t let pain stop you from reaching out to someone who is mentally ill. There is a miracle from the Lord to be seen; not a cure, not an easy fix, but a life that is touched by the supernatural love and power of our God!

I am praying, with faith in our Lord, that you will join me in touching the lives of those suffering with mental illness.

Word Picture - Mental Illness: The Natural Disaster Within

by Julie Brooks

The Lord gave me this word picture a couple of months ago, but I just remembered writing it as I thought of the help needed to rebuild lives affected by the recent tornadoes in our area.

We all have seen the destruction that can come as a result of natural disasters, such as tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and tsunamis. Suffering with mental illness is a natural disaster turned inward. The damage is hidden from those around the person suffering because the disaster starts from within; i.e., irrational thoughts, paralyzing fears, physical symptoms (headaches, stomach issues); the list goes on!

We must educate ourselves to the signs of these oncoming disasters. Education, plus a purposeful and kindred connection are required to equip a caregiver, or just one who cares, to sense when an individual is trying desperately to “contain” the development of the inevitable disaster brewing within. It is possible to assist in calming the upcoming disaster within, before eruption, if there is someone educated around them to point out the pain and erratic behavior they are seeing exhibited and offer understanding and support.

However, if you haven’t experienced this type of natural disaster within, of mental illness, yourself, or see a loved one who suffers with it, once it happens, it is truly hard to imagine! The behavior that can follow can look like so many other behaviors; i.e., anger, sadness, isolation, defiance, that can be misunderstood. Unfortunately, the results can be devastating and sometimes fatal (suicide) to the person experiencing the mental illness. The disaster can create “shock waves” that affect family, friends and friends of friends.

If mental illness is handled not by the Red Cross but by those that have been healed by Christ’s blood, shed on the cross, those that are Christ followers, the outcome will look more like a construction site than a disaster site.

If we as Christians believe that God is in the business of helping rebuild and restore lives, then what are we as Christians waiting for? We are willing to help with natural disasters everywhere. Will we not take the time to proactively educate ourselves about mental illness and what it looks like? Is it easier to just avoid the disaster site?.

With the Lord’s insight, and willingness on our part to become educated and open to the hidden pain around us, we can join The Lord’s Disaster Relief Team. Rebuilding any disaster site takes preparation, time and tireless effort, but the results will be one disaster site at a time reconstructed for His eternal glory.

Will you join me in praying for the Lord’s construction sites and teams to begin popping up everywhere? The life restored could be yours or your loved one’s.