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

Friday, September 22, 2017

Attitude of Gratitude

by Julie Brooks

Today, I choose an attitude of gratitude for everything the Lord has given me!

As I go thru my day, I pray God will direct my attention to the smallest of details that are His blessings, like: 

- My Salvation and my eternal assurance of going to Heaven when I die
- My wonderful husband Todd Brooks
- Our 5 children and their spouses
- Our 5 grandmiracles
- My extended family too!

And, more: 
- My daily devotional
- Christian music
- The birds singing (God's free radio)
- My eye sight to see all the beauty God has created
- Our house
- Our furry family members
- Coffee and tea
- A treadmill
- Shoe laces to keep my tennis shoes on

And, on and on, with the smallest of things we often take for granted.

Today, I will ask God to allow my eyes to focus on His Miracle Minutes. 

Today, there is going to be a lot of praising going on, because I'm on a treasure hunt for an attitude of gratitude!  Amen!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Broken Stand Right Before Our Eyes

by Julie and Todd Brooks

We all are broken in one way or another:


...Physically,
...Mentally,
...Spiritually.

Christians, there is no better time than now to seek out those around us who suffer in silence with mental illness. Even though their disability is invisible to most of us, we need to advertise in our communities that they are always welcome in the first established Hospital on earth...the local Church!

It is so hard for some of us to acknowledge that mental illness is real, that it causes real pain; that such inescapable struggle truly exists. We can't see it, can't touch it, can't define it; so it must not be real.

The broken stand before us; right before our eyes.  

Some of us need a heart transplant; to one that is not so hardened that we cannot sense our Father's prompting that we go beside them, attach our yoke to them, and help carry their burden as His Word commands.

There are too many families losing their children, parents, spouses, to suicide; in record numbers. The evidence is clear, so many of those precious lives were struggling with some mental dysfunction at the time of their death. The families left behind will never truly get over such loss. 

Our local Hospitals (the 4 walls we call the Church) have plenty of room. In fact, don't we beg for more attendance? Why is not every local Church on fire to reach this often ignored group? 

Why bother? 

Try this experiment at your Church to test the impact that could be made by the local Church seeking out those broken with mental illness. Hand each 4th person attending your next church service a white ball cap as they enter the sanctuary. At some point in the service, ask all that were given one of the ball caps to put it on for a couple of minutes. 

Have everyone look around. Statistics are strong that 1 in 4 adults suffer with some form of mental illness.  Wow! That's one quarter of your current congregation that statistically suffers with some form of mental disability. With such visual evidence, wouldn't you want to know more about this disability? Wouldn't you want your local Church to promote awareness about it, talk openly about it, preach about it, care for it, consider it a mission field? You are a steward of the local Hospital. You have a say. What say you?

Learn. Help undo the mental illness stigma. Don't miss that the Lord has gifted such with various talents, taken for granted; i.e., detail orientation, organized, creative, visionaries, risk takers, bottom line controllers, high energy workers, high sense of urgency, independent thinkers, highly competitive, protective; these are talents most of us don't often associate with brain dysfunction, but by design of God's hand, these are talents waiting to be used that God may be glorified, 

If we look for and acknowledge the gifts that the Lord has given those with mental disabilities, and how they could add so much to our churches when given the opportunity...our congregations could and would become stronger; not weaker. Get educated. 

May we welcome all those the Lord is bringing to the first Hospital ever established...the local Church!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

God Cares About The Smallest Details

by Julie Brooks

I love this picture because it reminds me of all that we have around us to thank the Lord for!

Of course, I also love that there is a Greyhound in the picture. Look how much fun he is having with something we usually complain about having to rake up...leaves.

God could have made trees with colorless leaves, but we serve a God who is into every detail. I'm sure He is hopeful that we will notice how color coordinated His leaves are.

I always say that the Lord allows the evergreen trees to stand out among the other trees, who have lost all their leaves during the winter. I like to think He is rewarding the evergreen trees for weathering the cold winter. They keep their green leaves. They remain beautiful to remind us that we can hang on and make a difference for Him, even when it might not be under the best of conditions (winter). 

And, for those poor ugly trees that are waiting on their leaves to come back after the long winter, they come back dressed in new leaves, some with the most beautifully colorful blooms.

I am so thankful that God cares about the smallest details...which is why we can trust Him when we are going through a winter season in our life. 

I will punctuate that with a Hallelujah! ❤

Sunday, March 12, 2017

You Raise Me Up

by Julie Brooks

Years before Carson Brooks took his life, but was still struggling with unstable bipolar, he had a playlist on his MP3 player. The song, You Raise Me Up, written by Brendan Graham and Rolf U. Lovland, specifically the version sung by Josh Groban, was one of his favorites. Sometimes, he would play it over and over.  Sometimes, I could hear him singing it. (To watch video, click here:  https://youtu.be/oni0tO_HN30?t=21)

After Carson took his own life on July 12, 2010, the words of that song took on a different meaning for me. It seemed a cry for help in his dark moments. I really hadn't listened to the lyrics closely:


"When I am down, and, oh, my soul, so weary
When troubles come, and my heart burdened be
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit awhile with me


You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be."


Today, when I hear it, tears wash my eyes, because I know those that struggle with mental illness yearn to have someone carry them during those dark days, when their soul is so weary, when troubles come, and their heart burdened be. 

Yes, as a Believer, I know Jesus carries them in "dark times."  But, you see, depending on the severity of their mental illness, their ability to think rationally is impaired to the point that they cannot wrap their thinking around a God that would love them. This is why I advocate so desperately the importance that Christians must be the hands and feet of Jesus for them; during the dark times!

Chances are that you've not ever heard of someone taking their own life because of heart disease. Could it be because so many around them can readily identify that type of illness and suffering, and in turn are then more likely to raise them up, and carry them, until they are stronger?

Though there is no visible wound with a mental illness; nonetheless, real pain exists, just as one recovering from open heart surgery.

Listen to this song to see if you can identify why Carson found hope in its lyrics, that he hoped someday someone, other than family, would understand his bipolar disorder and lift him up, to carry him when he felt he could go no more. 

Sadly, that didn't happen for Carson. He hid his complex illness and suffering at school, work and church, and chose instead to empathize with others and help them. Only when he came home did he feel free to show his depression; his darkness.

I do have a hard time listening to this song without shedding tears, tears necessary to release the pain of a mother's grieving.  I will live my life without one of the precious miraculous gifts God gave Todd Brooks and I.

I will see Carson in Heaven, but that will be a long wait, unless God decides to come sooner.

Please become educated about mental illness. This biological disorder knows no boundaries! 

Contact me about our Grace Alliance Support Groups; Family Grace Groups for caregivers of a mentally ill loved one, and Living Grace Groups for anyone struggling with a mental illness. We meet @ Fellowship Church, Grapevine Campus @ 7pm, the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month.

God made us all with the ability to sympathize. To empathize, you have endure the condition or the same situation. Help those who are suffering and need someone to be that person to raise them up and get them help.

Call me #469-774-3663. I can help with listening, recommending resources and praying for you.

#hope4mh #mentalhealth #mentalillness #notadaypromised.com #gracealliance #MHGA 
#untouchedmissonfield #livewithoutREGRETS 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Post Suicide Care - The First Week

by Julie Brooks

I just learned of yet another young person's suicide in our area. I don't know the youth or their family. But, it doesn't matter. 

I can still pray and remember what those first few weeks of shock and fog felt like when we lost Carson.

First, I ask you to lift up this family, and other families you know of and don't know of, who are left only with memories. Ask the Lord to cover them with HIS custom made grace, for His grace is always perfect and greater than our faith. 

Secondly, I pray that others who know the family will respond. Understand that this family will not know what they need in the midst of this devastating crisis. 

The Lord is always present, but this is where you can become the hands and feet of Jesus. If you feel led to help them, just do it.

The following list can be a good start:

1) Disposable plates, utensils, cups, individual bottled water, tissue paper, paper towels toilet paper, hand sanitizer; staple goods, etc. These could be left on the porch as not to disturb the family.

2) Stop and deliver small nutritious snacks, high in protein; i.e., mixed nuts/trail mix, dried fruit, granola bars, pretzels and cheese, yogurt, etc. They won't feel like eating, and may need to be reminded to eat and stay hydrated.

3) If it needs it, show up and mow their grass.

4) Transportation to and from the funeral home.

5) Run some errands.

6) Do they need someone to just be there at the house for comfort; just being there, perhaps even without saying anything.

7) Make phone calls, arrangements, etc., if needed.

And most of all, PRAY for them and the lifelong journey they are beginning. 

At around 3-4 weeks, the shock and fog will begin to lift, the pain and grieving will become reality, fewer people will tend to be available to the family. They will still need to be checked on. The pain and struggle of grief is real and raw.

These are just a few suggestions from one who has received such favor from Him through friends.

Thank you. God will honor our prayers!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

With Brave Wings She Flies

by Julie Brooks

As I have shared before, Carson described having bipolar like being a bird with broken wings. 


Which is why I always ask God to allow me to "fly;" to carry on the message of those who are struggling with mental illness.

It is hard for those who struggle with mental illness to let us see the pain they live with everyday. We all know many people that struggle with mental illness. We just don't know they have a mental illness. Because they work so hard for us not to know. 

I pray some day God will allow me to be a part of all that HE has helped me envision; the way we could better educate others about mental illness, early red flags, the power of community over individual efforts, the critical role of the local Church stepping up and establishing mental illness as a mission field, all of us taking more seriously the fact that suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for so many between the ages of 10 to 24 ... and so much more.

Today, there is incredible training and support for the lay person. No degree necessary. Resources like: Mental Health Grace Alliance (mentalhealthgracealliance.org), Saddleback Church (saddleback.com/connect/ministry/mental-health-ministry/lake-forest), Key Ministry (keyministry.org) and NAMI (nami.org). You can learn about mental illness; become a caregiver, an advocate, a educator or just a compassionate listener. You can be such a blessing to someone in need. You can be His eyes and hands, doing His work.  Help is needed. No waiting in line. 

We can begin to talk about mental illness out in the open, with the hope of reducing or ending stigma, such that the stigma will no longer bind those suffering from reaching out for help. We can develop friendships; like minded passion. 

Those who struggle with mental illness are some of the most compassionate people around, because they know what it is like to be in pain.

I will continue to do as God has persistently called me; to be available, to listen, to advocate for, to educate, and yes, to be a broken record if I have to - for His glory. Everyone can help break the devastating stigma of mental illness. Basically, we need to do what we do for those who have any other chronic illness. 

I pray God will make my wings supernaturally strong to do HIS work. It is still very lonely. The work is great, but the workers are few. I have a precious son in Heaven, who took his life, and another son doing an excellent job navigating the same illness...bipolar.  

I will not stop advocating, posting, talking, helping those who want so desperately to be helped and understood; not until I reach Heaven's gates.

Julie Brooks,R.N.
Warriorette in God's Mental Health Army.
We never turn away new recruits. Praying God sends an army of willing Christians.