Tuesday, September 30, 2008

God will make a way when there seems no way

Thank God for the ways He can work His ways for me when there seemed to be no way.

Are you going through a tough time now and there seems no way out? Don't give up! Keep trusting in God. He will make a way for you when there seems to be no way. For with Him all things are possible.

Hope this song "God will make a way" will encourage you to continue to trust in God to work a way for you.



God will make a way

God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me
He will be my guide
Hold me closely to His side
With love and strength for each new day
He will make a way, He will make a way.

By a roadway in the wilderness, He'll lead me
And rivers in the desert will I see
Heaven and earth will fade
But His Word will still remain
He will do something new today.

God will make a way,
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me
He will be my guide
Hold me closely to His side
With love and strength for each new day
He will make a way, He will make a way
May you God guide and lead you, and make a way for you in whatever you may go through today and every day :)

Thank you for stopping by. Thanks for your encouragements. Hope you have a blessed day!
Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. Jeremiah 33:3

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sign and symptoms of clinical depression and bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness)

Dear Friends,

Thanks for stopping by this Mission 4 Monday post.

I am thankful to God that I can continue to serve Him through this blog.

One of the missions of my blog is to share with others God's goodness and mercies to me in managing clinical depression and bipolar disorder, as well as to share resources that will benefit a person with a mood disorder and information for their family and loved ones.

There is still a wide misunderstanding about depression in our society and even among Christians. Many still mistakenly think that all depression is due to a weakness in a person's character or a lack of faith in God. But in reality depression is complex (read more on The Complexity of Depression).

There is a form of depression which is clinical and due to changes in the brain or body in which a person is not able to think or function as per normal. There is also a form of mental illness or mood disorder in which a person alternate between 2 extreme mood swings ie mania and clinical depression.

What are the signs and symptoms of clinical depression or bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness)?

How can one differentiate between spiritual depression and clinical depression or bipolar depression?

Clinical depression and bipolar depression are real medical conditions that can be treated. Different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through, the symptoms are severe.

The following is an excerpt taken from an article on the website of National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). (NIMH said "NIMH publications are in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without the permission from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). NIMH encourages you to reproduce them and use them in your efforts to improve public health. Citation of the National Institute of Mental Health as a source is appreciated.")

Introduction
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in a person's mood, energy, and ability to function. Different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through, the symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe. They can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. But there is good news: bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.

What Are the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder causes dramatic mood swings—from overly "high" and/or irritable to sad and hopeless, and then back again, often with periods of normal mood in between. Severe changes in energy and behavior go along with these changes in mood. The periods of highs and lows are called episodes of mania and depression.

Signs and symptoms of mania (or a manic episode) include:
• Increased energy, activity, and restlessness
• Excessively "high," overly good, euphoric mood
• Extreme irritability
• Racing thoughts and talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another
• Distractibility, can't concentrate well
• Little sleep needed
• Unrealistic beliefs in one's abilities and powers
• Poor judgment
• Spending sprees
• A lasting period of behavior that is different from usual
• Increased sexual drive
• Abuse of drugs, particularly cocaine, alcohol, and sleeping medications
• Provocative, intrusive, or aggressive behavior
• Denial that anything is wrong

A manic episode is diagnosed if elevated mood occurs with three or more of the other symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for 1 week or longer. If the mood is irritable, four additional symptoms must be present.

Signs and symptoms of depression (or a depressive episode) include:
• Lasting sad, anxious, or empty mood
• Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
• Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, including sex
• Decreased energy, a feeling of fatigue or of being "slowed down"
• Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
• Restlessness or irritability
• Sleeping too much, or can't sleep
• Change in appetite and/or unintended weight loss or gain
• Chronic pain or other persistent bodily symptoms that are not caused by physical illness or injury
• Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts

A depressive episode is diagnosed if five or more of these symptoms last most of the day, nearly every day, for a period of 2 weeks or longer.

A mild to moderate level of mania is called hypomania. Hypomania may feel good to the person who experiences it and may even be associated with good functioning and enhanced productivity. Thus even when family and friends learn to recognize the mood swings as possible bipolar disorder, the person may deny that anything is wrong. Without proper treatment, however, hypomania can become severe mania in some people or can switch into depression.

Sometimes, severe episodes of mania or depression include symptoms of psychosis (or psychotic symptoms). Common psychotic symptoms are hallucinations (hearing, seeing, or otherwise sensing the presence of things not actually there) and delusions (false, strongly held beliefs not influenced by logical reasoning or explained by a person's usual cultural concepts). Psychotic symptoms in bipolar disorder tend to reflect the extreme mood state at the time. For example, delusions of grandiosity, such as believing one is the President or has special powers or wealth, may occur during mania; delusions of guilt or worthlessness, such as believing that one is ruined and penniless or has committed some terrible crime, may appear during depression. People with bipolar disorder who have these symptoms are sometimes incorrectly diagnosed as having schizophrenia, another severe mental illness. It may be helpful to think of the various mood states in bipolar disorder as a spectrum or continuous range. At one end is severe depression, above which is moderate depression and then mild low mood, which many people call "the blues" when it is short-lived but is termed "dysthymia" when it is chronic. Then there is normal or balanced mood, above which comes hypomania (mild to moderate mania), and then severe mania.

In some people, however, symptoms of mania and depression may occur together in what is called a mixed bipolar state. Symptoms of a mixed state often include agitation, trouble sleeping, significant change in appetite, psychosis, and suicidal thinking. A person may have a very sad, hopeless mood while at the same time feeling extremely energized. (read the full article)


(Note: This blog is for me to share my experiences and information I have found, or resources I have found useful. This is not a place for self-diagnosis. But if you recognize some of these signs and symptoms in yourself or your loved ones or friends, you/they may need medical attention, please consult the medical physician.)

I hope to share more from this article and other resources on the diagnosis and treatment of depression and bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness).

If you are keen to read more, you can also read my previous posts:

About depression, bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness) and mental illness or mood disorders:

1. About bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness)
2. Myths and Facts on Mental Illness
3. Treatment of bipolar disorder
4. Various pamphlets and articles on bipolar disorder for sufferer and carer

For friends and carers:
1. Helping someone with mood disorder
2. Family and Friends' Guide to Recovery from Depression and Bipolar Disorder
3. How Carers and Friends can help

Other recent related posts:

1. Trust during rough times
2. Finding meaning in a life with bipolar disorder
3. Mental illness (depression, bipolar disorder, etc) is an illness like any other
4. Video on "Depression - A Stubborn Darkness"

For more Mission 4 Monday posts, visit Peggy.

Thanks again for stopping by! Thanks for all your prayers and encouragements!

Take care and God bless :)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Praise ye the Lord for it is good (Scottish Metrical Psalms - Psalm 147)










Dear Friends,

Thanks for stopping by my Fearfully Fabulous Friday and Then Sing My Souls Saturday.

For Fearfully Fabulous Friday I am sharing this wonderful verses from Psalm 147 and a very encouraging commentary from Matthew Henry on these verses:

Psalm 147:1-11

1 Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.
2 The LORD doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.
3 He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
4 He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.
5 Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.
6 The LORD lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.
7 Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:
8 Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.
9 He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.
10 He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.
11 The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.

The following is an excerpt taken from Matthew Henry's Commentary:

Psalm 147:1-11

Here,

I. The duty of praise is recommended to us.

II. God is recommended to us as the proper object of our most exalted and enlarged praises, upon several accounts.

1. The care he takes of his chosen people, Psalm 147:2. The Lord builds up Jerusalem. The gospel-church, the Jerusalem that is from above, is of this building (the church and all who truly trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ is the spiritual Jerusalem). He founded it by the preaching of his gospel; he adds to it daily such as shall be saved, and so increases it. He gathers His people by giving them repentance and bringing them again into the communion of saints.

2. The comforts he has laid up for true penitents, Psalm 147:3. They are broken in heart, and wounded, humbled, and troubled, for sin, inwardly pained at the remembrance of it, as a man is that is sorely wounded. Their very hearts are not only pricked, but rent, under the sense of the dishonour they have done to God and the injury they have done to themselves by sin. To those whom God heals with the consolations of his Spirit he speaks peace, assures them that their sins are pardoned and that he is reconciled to them, and so makes them easy, pours the balm of Gilead into the bleeding wounds, and then binds them up, and makes them to rejoice.

3. The sovereign dominion he has over the lights of heaven, Psalm 147:4, Psalm 147:5. The stars are innumerable, many of them being scarcely discernible with the naked eye, and yet he counts them, and knows the exact number of them, for they are all the work of his hands and the instruments of his providence.

4. The pleasure he takes in humbling the proud and exalting those of low degree (Psalm 147:6): The Lord lifts up the meek, who abase themselves before him, and whom men trample on; but the wicked, who conduct themselves insolently towards God and scornfully towards all mankind, who lift up themselves in pride and folly, he casteth down to the ground, sometimes by very humbling providences in this world, at furthest in the day when their faces shall be filled with everlasting shame.

5. The provision he makes for the inferior creatures. Though he is so great as to command the stars, he is so good as not to forget even the fowls, Psalm 147:8, Psalm 147:9. Observe in what method he feeds man and beast.

(1.) He covereth the heaven with clouds, which darken the air and intercept the beams of the sun, and yet in them he prepareth that rain for the earth which is necessary to its fruitfulness. Clouds look melancholy, and yet without them we could have no rain and consequently no fruit. Thus afflictions, for the present, look black, and dark, and unpleasant, and we are in heaviness because of them, as sometimes when the sky is overcast it makes us dull; but they are necessary, for from these clouds of affliction come those showers that make the harvest to yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness (Hebrew 12:11), which should help to reconcile us to them. Observe the necessary dependence which the earth has upon the heavens, which directs us on earth to depend on God in heaven. All the rain with which the earth is watered is of God's preparing.

(2.) By the rain which distils on the earth he makes grass to grow upon the mountains, even the high mountains, which man neither takes care of nor reaps the benefit of. The mountains, which are not watered with the springs and rivers, as the valleys are, are yet watered so that they are not barren.

(3.) This grass he gives to the beast for his food, the beast of the mountains which runs wild, which man makes no provision for. And even the young ravens, which, being forsaken by their old ones, cry, are heard by him, and ways are found to feed them, so that they are kept from perishing in the nest.

6. The complacency he takes in his people, Psalm 147:10, Psalm 147:11. In times when great things are doing, and there are great expectations of the success of them, it concerns us to know (since the issue proceeds from the Lord) whom, and what, God will delight to honour and crown with victory. It is not the strength of armies, but the strength of grace, that God is pleased to own.

(1.) Not the strength of armies - not in the cavalry, for he delighteth not in the strength of the horse, the war-horse, noted for his courage (Job 39:19,. etc.) - nor in the infantry, for he taketh no pleasure in the legs of a man; he does not mean the swiftness of them for flight, to quit the field, but the steadiness of them for charging, to stand the ground.

But, (2.) God is pleased to own the strength of grace. A serious and suitable regard to God is that which is, in the sight of God, of great price in such a case. The Lord accepts and takes pleasure in those that fear him and that hope in his mercy.

Observe, [1.] A holy fear of God and hope in God not only may consist, but must concur. In the same heart, at the same time, there must be both a reverence of his majesty and a complacency in his goodness, both a believing dread of his wrath and a believing expectation of his favour; not that we must hang in suspense between hope and fear, but we must act under the gracious influences of hope and fear. Our fear must save our hope from swelling into presumption, and our hope must save our fear from sinking into despair; thus must we take our work before us.

[2.] We must hope in God's mercy, his general mercy, even when we cannot find a particular promise to stay ourselves upon. A humble confidence in the goodness of God's nature is very pleasing to him, as that which turns to the glory of that attribute in which he most glories. Every man of honour loves to be trusted.

Thank and praise God that He has called us to Himself and place us in the church which is the body of Christ that we can worship Him, grow in Him and enjoy His love through the fellowship of His people. As we converse one with another and recount God's goodness and mercies to us, we shall find many reasons to praise the Lord!

God heals us when sin broke us by sending His only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ to die for us on the cross and wash away all our sins. He reconciled us to Himself and bless us with every spiritual blessings and provide also for our temporal needs. Though in this life, we have our portions of ups and downs, being sinners saved by grace and still living in a fallen and imperfect world, God is showering His love and mercies to us daily that we may know His love and know that He is working all things for our good (Romans 8:28).

Thus afflictions, for the present, look black, and dark, and unpleasant, and we are in heaviness because of them, as sometimes when the sky is overcast it makes us dull; but they are necessary, for from these clouds of affliction come those showers that make the harvest to yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness (Hebrew 12:11), which should help to reconcile us to them.

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

For Then Sing My Souls Saturday I am sharing this video on Psalm 147:1-11 posted on Youtube:



Psalm 147:1-11

1 Praise ye the Lord; for it is good
praise to our God to sing:
For it is pleasant, and to praise
it is a comely thing.

2 God doth build up Jerusalem;
and he it is alone
That the dispersed of Israel
doth gather into one.

3 Those that are broken in their heart,
and griev├Ęd in their minds,
He healeth, and their painful wounds
he tenderly up-binds.

4 He counts the number of the stars;
he names them ev'ry one.
5 Great is our Lord, and of great pow'r;
his wisdom search can none.

6 The Lord lifts up the meek; and casts
the wicked to the ground.
7 Sing to the Lord, and give him thanks;
on harp his praises sound;

8 Who covereth the heav'n with clouds,
who for the earth below
Prepareth rain, who maketh grass
upon the mountains grow.

9 He gives the beast his food, he feeds
the ravens young that cry.
10 His pleasure not in horses' strength,
nor in man's legs, doth lie.

11 But in all those that do him fear
the Lord doth pleasure take;
In those that to his mercy do
by hope themselves betake.

May God enable us to sing praises unto Him daily as we remember and experience His goodness and mercies.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you have a blessed weekend!

For more participants of Fearfully Fabulous Friday, do visit Jill.

For more participants of Then Sing My Souls Saturday, do visit Amy Wyatt.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My grace is sufficient for you











Dear Friends,

Thank you for stopping by my Word-Filled Wednesday (WFW) and Thankful Thursday (TT) post. I am combining these 2 in order to share the same picture and verse for WFW with my TT friends.





(My brother took this lovely photo at Muriwai Beach, Western Auckland, New Zealand.)






And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee:
for my strength is made perfect in weakness.
Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities,
that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9


♥ Thank God that He has promised in His Word that His grace is sufficient for us! As we face many challenges daily, we can take comfort in the assurance that God will give us grace to go through them. Are you overwhelmed today by your circumstances or challenges or difficulties? May God's precious promise encourage and strengthen your heart as you press on in His strength!

♥ I thank God that He has granted me much grace and strength in these recent weeks of many challenges. As I recover from my relapse of my illness, I am facing much challenges of pacing myself moderately while coping with family, church, work, blogging and other commitments. Thank God that day by day I am learning that His grace is sufficient for me. Though I am weak, He is strong and His strength is made perfect in my weaknesses!

♥ I thank God that He has given me much grace to serve Him through blogging. I am in the midst of praying and making some changes to my blog. Due to the terrible stigma that is still associated with mental illness in my country, I have changed my photo to a new picture of a beach. This is to protect my privacy. As I am seeking ways to earn a living to support my mother and myself, I felt compel to make this change.

I have also created this new blog. If you notice, this is actually a new blog (http://morethanconquerors2008.blogspot.com/) with a copy of all my previous posts. I intend to post all my full posts on this blog from now onwards.

I will post short excerpts of my full posts on my original blog at http://www.lifewithbipolardisorder.blogspot.com/ for the benefit of my readers who are not able to read my full post. I realized that sometimes I post very long and my readers may not have the time to read my full post. So my excerpts will hopefully benefit these readers.

♥ I thank God for my family, church, friends and every one of you my blogging friends and visitors.

♥ I am thankful to God for the prayers and encouragements of so many of you! It is my joy and privilege to meet all of you through blogging! I am greatly blessed and encouraged by many of you. Thank you for your friendships!

May you find rest in God's love, mercies and sufficient grace in whatever you may go through today and every day :)

For more Word-Filled Wednesday participants, do
visit Amy at The 160 Acre Woods. It will be a very blessed and encouraging experience for you.

For more participants of Thankful Thursday, do visit Iris at Sting My Heart.

Thank you for stopping by. Thanks for your encouragements. Hope you have a blessed day!

Recent posts:

Video on "Depression - A Stubborn Darkness" by Edward T Welch (M4M)

The Faithfulness of Divine Love because the Lord is my Shepherd (FFF & TSMSS)

Come unto me.... and I will give you rest
(WFW & TT)

Depression and bipolar disorder are illnesses just like any other (M4M)

Amazing Grace (FFF & TSMSS)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Video on Depression

If you prefer to read a shorter version of this post, you can read excerpt from "Mission4Monday : Video on Depression".

Dear Friends,

Thanks for stopping by this Mission 4 Monday post.

I am thankful to God that I can continue to serve Him through this blog.

One of the missions of my blog is to share with others God's goodness and mercies to me in managing clinical depression and bipolar disorder, as well as to share resources that will benefit a person with a mood disorder and information for their family and loved ones.

Today, I like to share this video on "Depression - A Stubborn Darkness" by Edward T Welch posted on YouTube.

This short and moving video on depression sheds some light on depression and it's impact upon the sufferer and his loved ones.

Many mistakenly think that depression is purely of a spiritual nature and is due to a person's lack of trust in God. While others may treat those with depression and mental illness as if they are mad people. But in reality clinical depression is a very common mental illness due to chemical imbalance in our brain and relapses can be triggered off by various reasons. It is a medical condition that can be treated just like diabetes.

Too often Christians misunderstood that all depression are due to spiritual reasons or lack of faith in God. But there is a difference between spiritual depression and clinical depression. Spiritual depression may occur when we sinned against God or do not believe in Him or put our trust in Him. But clinical depression is very different and it is a real medical condition that can be treated and needs to be treated. It is different from the occasional "blues" or "depress" feeling that we get every now and then, which we get over quickly. Clinical depression is more severe and prolonged, and cannot be willed or wished away. Thank God that He has provided various medical and other means for us in this generation, so that we can be more functional.

If you are a Christian and you are suffering from prolonged clinical depression, you will likely have to cope with false guilt. I encourage you to read the messages of Dr David P Murray on "Depression and the Christian" and you will find much encouragement and help.

Clinical depression is a medical condition that can be treated. I hope you will seek help besides praying to God.

Know that you are not alone and we can find comfort in God and His Word while we await His restoration through His Words and the various means He has made available for us in this generation.

Hope this short video will bring some comfort to you if you or your loved ones are suffering from depression.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5825004682085410590



Other related posts:

1. Trust during rough times
2. Finding meaning in a life with bipolar disorder
3. Mental illness (depression, bipolar disorder, etc) is an illness like any other

For more Mission 4 Monday posts, visit Peggy.

Thanks again for stopping by! Thanks for all your prayers and encouragements!

Take care and God bless :)

If you prefer to read a shorter version of this post, you can read excerpt from "Video on Depression".

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Faithfulness of Divine Love because the Lord is my Shepherd

Dear Friends,

Thanks for stopping by my Fearfully Fabulous Friday and Then Sing My Souls Saturday.

For Fearfully Fabulous Friday I wish to share this encouraging portion from CH Spurgeon's devotional, Morning and Evening, February 28, Evening.

The Faithfulness of Divine Love

“The barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah.” 1 Kings 17:16

See the faithfulness of divine love. You observe that this woman had daily necessities.

She had herself and her son to feed in a time of famine; and now, in addition, the prophet Elijah was to be fed too. But though the need was threefold, yet the supply of meal wasted not, for she had a constant supply. Each day she made calls upon the barrel, but yet each day it remained the same.

You, dear reader, have daily necessities, and because they come so frequently, you are apt to fear that the barrel of meal will one day be empty, and the cruse of oil will fail you. Rest assured that, according to the Word of God, this shall not be the case. Each day, though it bring its trouble, shall bring its help; and though you should live to outnumber the years of Methuselah, and though your needs should be as many as the sands of the seashore, yet shall God’s grace and mercy last through all your necessities, and you shall never know a real lack.

For three long years, in this widow’s days, the heavens never saw a cloud, and the stars never wept a holy tear of dew upon the wicked earth: famine, and desolation, and death, made the land a howling wilderness, but this woman never was hungry, but always joyful in abundance.

So shall it be with you. You shall see the sinner’s hope perish, for he trusts his native strength; you shall see the proud Pharisee’s confidence totter, for he builds his hope upon the sand; you shall see even your own schemes blasted and withered, but you yourself shall find that your place of defence shall be the munition of rocks: “Your bread shall be given you, and your water shall be sure.”

Better have God for your guardian, than the Bank of England for your possession. You might spend the wealth of the Indies, but the infinite riches of God you can never exhaust.
In the midst of much economic uncertainties, natural disasters and afflicting illnesses, thank God that we can rest in the faithfulness of His Divine Love!


For Then Sing My Souls Saturday I am sharing this "The Lord is My Shepherd" video which is posted on YouTube. This is one of my favorite Psalm and I am reminded of it daily now. Thank God that the Lord Jesus Christ is our Shepherd and we shall not want/lack!



Psalm 23 (Scottish Metrical Psalter)

1 The Lord's my shepherd, I'll not want.
2 He makes me down to lie
In pastures green: he leadeth me
the quiet waters by.

3 My soul he doth restore again;
and me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness,
ev'n for his own name's sake.

4 Yea, though I walk in death's dark vale,
yet will I fear none ill:
For thou art with me; and thy rod
and staff me comfort still.

5 My table thou hast furnished
in presence of my foes;
My head thou dost with oil anoint,
and my cup overflows.

6 Goodness and mercy all my life
shall surely follow me:
And in God's house for evermore
my dwelling-place shall be.


May the knowledge that the Lord is our Shepherd and He will provide for all our needs brings peace, comfort and assurance to us everyday as we look to Him, Who loved us and gave His life for us.

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever." Psalm 23:6

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you have a blessed weekend!

For more participants of Fearfully Fabulous Friday, do visit Jill.

For more participants of Then Sing My Souls Saturday, do visit Amy Wyatt.

Psalm 23
(King James Bible)

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Come unto me...and I will give you rest












Dear Friends,

For this week, I am adding my Thankful Thursday to Word-Filled Wednesday in order to share the same picture and verse with my Thankful Thursday's friends.


Matthew 11

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.


♥ Thank God that we can go to Him whenever we are heavy laden, and He gives us peace and rest!

♥ Thank God that He is sovereignly in control of all things. And this time of great uncertainties with the hurricane, tornadoes, other natural disasters, sicknesses, financial crisis, etc all over the world, we can go to Him with all our cares and anxieties and find rest in Him.

"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

♥ Let us pray for all those that are affected by the hurricane, tornadoes, other natural disasters, sicknesses, financial crisis, etc all over the world, that they may come to know our Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord in this time of great needs. May God protect, provide and comfort His people who are affected by these.

♥ I am thankful to God that my review with my Doctor went very well yesterday. Thank God that so far my condition is stable and my Doctor is pleased with the progress. Thank God for providing me with a compassionate, caring and kind Doctor who is doing all her best to help me learn to manage my condition. Thank you for all your prayers and encouragements.

♥ I thank God for my family, church, friends and every one of you my blogging friends and visitors.

May you find rest in God's love, mercies and faithfulness in whatever you may go through today and every day :)

For more Word-Filled Wednesday participants, do
visit Amy at The 160 Acre Woods. It will be a very blessed and encouraging experience for you.

For more participants of Thankful Thursday, do visit Iris at Sting My Heart.

Thank you for stopping by. Thanks for your prayers and encouragements. Hope you have a blessed day!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Mental Illness (depression, bipolar disorder, etc) is an illness like any other

My friend, Peggy, has just started "Mission 4 Monday".

The purpose of MISSION 4 MONDAY is to share YOUR MISSION each week.

I am thankful to God that I can continue to serve Him through this blog.

One of the missions of my blog is to share with others God's goodness and mercies to me in managing clinical depression and bipolar disorder, as well as resources that will benefit a person with a mood disorder and information for their family and loved ones.

Last 2 weeks, I shared two articles written by my friend and fellow blogger, Marja Bergen namely "Trust during rough times" and "Finding meaning in a life with bipolar disorder".

Marja is the author of a new book "A Firm Place to Stand" on finding meaning in a life with bipolar disorder.

Today, I like to share the following excerpt taken from another book written by Marja entitled "Riding the Roller Coaster: Living with Mood Disorders" :

An illness like any other

We always think of mental illness as something that happens to other people, not to us. To be diagnosed with depression or manic depression is a scary thing. But how we cope with our mood disorder is largely determined by how we look at it. If we can accept it as the illness it is - an illness like any other - we will be ready to move ahead with our lives in a positive way.

The negative view much of society has of mental disorders is partly due to the fact that people do not understand there is usually a physical basis for these illnesses, often in the form of a chemical imbalance. This imbalance is treatable with medication. With effective treatment most of us can live close-to-normal lives. Mental illness is an illness like any other.

In fact, mood disorders are comparable to other illnesses, such as diabetes. A diabetic is not to blame for his or her illness. Neither is a person with a mood disorder. Just as diabetes can cause serious disability and even death, so can mood disorders. Diabetics often require the use of medication to maintain stable blood sugar levels. People with mood disorders also require medication, in their case, to maintain emotional balance. Finally, as is the case with those who have diabetes, if people with mood disorders take their medications regularly, chances are they will live a close-to-normal life.

Nevertheless, because of the fear of having a "shameful" condition, or of being labeled by society, many don't search out the help they so desperately need. What results is much unnecessary suffering by people who could otherwise have been helped.

In recent years much research has been done and doctors, mental health associations, societies and libraries can provide much information. Mood disorder self-support groups are an especially good source of information. Here we can find pertinent literature and discuss affective illnesses with others who have problems similar to our own.

As we come to terms with our disease we learn to understand how imperative medications and other treatments are - how they form the basis for our well-being. Once we have the physical aspects of our illness under control, we can prepare to take charge of our lives and make the most of the strengths we all have.

As we walk with our friends and acquaintances, we should walk with self-assurance. In that great family of individuals who suffer from personal problems, sicknesses, and handicaps, each of us is a unique yet ordinary member.

As a sufferer of bipolar disorder, I am thankful to know that my condition is a medical condition that can be treated. This has helped me to read and understand more about my condition, and seek medical and other helps so that I can be more functional.

Bipolar Disorder or previously known as manic-depressive illness is a mood disorder with extreme mood swings ie. manic/hypomanic and depression. It is a medical condition that can be treated and with suitable medical and other helps, one can live a life that is close-to-normal.


The above excerpt is taken from Riding the Roller Coaster by Marja Bergen : Living with Mood Disorders


Mood disorders, such as depression and manic depression, affect up to 10% of the population. Marja Bergen is one of those people. Over the 30 years that she has had manic depression, she has gradually adopted a lifestyle that makes it possible not only to cope, but to live a full and productive life. In Riding the Roller Coaster, she shares very practical tips on such things as escaping the blues before they grab you, what to do when you don't feel like doing anything, and keeping life stable.


Reviews in the Media


Mood Disorders Association of BC

Robert Winram, Executive Director
This excellent first person account is filled with encouragement for those managing mood disorders. It delivers understanding, insight and very tangible strategies on how to overcome the difficulties of depression and manic depression. Marja Bergen gives us a very human perspective drawn from her experiences. Her path to recovery is exciting and positive.

News Leader
Despite increased understanding by the scientific community, there is still a big gap in the understanding of these illnesses by the general public. Long-time Burnaby resident, Marja Bergen, has tried to help bridge this gap. Having suffered with manic depression (or bipolar disorder) for the past 34 years, Bergen knows what it is to experience the elation of mania and the despair of depression in the book, she draws from her experience using personal vignettes from her life as well as offering strategies for dealing with the problems that arise.

Bergen offers encouragement to the reader with essays such as: Dealing with the Stigma, Keeping a Balance, If You Can Trust Yourself...and Building Confidence.

Burnaby NOW
Annie Boulanger
The publication of her book is very timely as there are indications that mood disorders are a growing problem in the workplace.

Personal vignettes and real-life examples abound in Bergen's book, including frank descriptions of her own history, from her first treatments in Riverview, to problems adjusting medications in later years.

The book is easy to read, and while Bergen's style is warm and encouraging, it is also clearly written from her own experience.

The book is not only helpful to sufferers of mood disorder related illnesses, but also to their families to understand what it is that their family member is undergoing.

Wayne A. Holst
This book come highly recommended as integrated resources for pastoral counselors as well as other caregivers in parishes who are committed to working with the spiritual aspects of depression within the larger framework of holistic health.

BC IAPSRS News
Bruce Saunders
Bite-sized essays. Brimming with wisdom, forgiveness, acceptance and practical advice. One can easily pick it up and read just a page.

I especially appreciated the “we” tense used throughout and her just plain good sense of things that often get overlooked in our battle with the pathology.

Marja Bergen has crafted an invaluable tool from her life experience with a challenging condition. A great deal of anguish for sufferers and their families, as well as time and money for the mental health system, would be saved if this book were standard issue for all people diagnosed with manic-depression.

I’d like to see all those engaged in psychosocial rehab reading this book to understand mood disorders better and to recommend it to their clients

Rural Roots
Peter Griffiths
The book is relatively small and easy to read.

It is excellent material, and presented simply and clearly. From her reading, research, and most importantly, her experience of living, Bergen has put together short writings on different aspects of depression and manic, and in a very readable format.

This book needs to be read by sufferers of depression and mania, as well as by their family and friends as well. I also wish that psychiatrists who treat people who suffer from depression or manic would hand out a copy of this book along with their prescriptions. If they did, they would be surprised to find out how more effective the medications would become.



If you are keen to buy books by Marja, do check out Marja's new website.

Thanks again for stopping by! Thanks for all your prayers and encouragements!

Take care and God bless :)

For more Mission 4 Monday posts, visit Peggy.


Books

1. A Firm Place to Stand by Marja Bergen

2. A practical workbook for the depressed Christian by Dr John Lockley

3. An unquiet mind by Dr Kay Redfield Jamison

4. Broken Mind by
Steve and Robyn Bloem

5. I'm Not Supposed to Feel Like This by Chris Williams, Paul Richards and Ingrid Whitton


Excerpts from Books

1. Trust during rough times (Excerpt from "A Firm Place to Stand" by Marja Bergen)

2. Finding meaning in a life with bipolar disorder (Excerpt from Marja Bergen's article on canadianchristianity.com)

3. An illness like any other (Excerpt from "Roller Coaster" by Marja Bergen)


Friday, September 12, 2008

Amazing Grace

Dear Friends,

Thanks for stopping by. I am combining my Fearfully Fabulous Friday and Then Sing My Souls Saturday.

For Fearfully Fabulous Friday, I have been reflecting on God's Amazing Grace in my life and the way He has been answering my prayers for Emily and so many others in my life. God's mercies and faithfulness never cease to amaze me!

I am reminded afresh of God's grace in my life ever since I know Him.

God draw me to Himself while I was yet a sinner, saved me from my sins and continue to shower His love and grace on me day by day. I live by His grace daily.

God is with me through all the changing scenes in life. And in all my trials, afflictions and difficulties, His grace has been sufficient for me and nothing will ever separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. What a mercy!

I read this encouraging portion from Horatius Bonar’s “Follow The Lamb” which I hope will encourage you too:
"Thou therefore, my son, be strong, in the grace that is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 2:1)

It was this grace or free love which first began with you, and with which you began. It was this which you at first “apprehended,” or rather, which “apprehended” you; and your special character is that of men who “know the grace of God” (Col 1:6); who have “tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Pet 2:3); men on whom God has had compassion (Rom 9:15); men to whom He has shown His forgiving love. Such is your name.

This grace of God is your strength, as it is your joy; and it is only by abiding in it that you can really live the life of the redeemed.

Be strong, then, in this grace; draw your joy out of it; and beware how you turn to anything else for refreshment, or comfort, or holiness.

Though a believing man, you are still a sinner; a sinner to the last; and, as such, nothing can suit you but the free love of God.

Be strong in it. Remember that you are saved by believing, not by doubting. Be not then a doubter, but a believer.

Draw continually on Christ and His fulness of this grace. If at any time you are beguiled away from it, return to it without delay; and betake yourself to it again just as you did at the first. To recover lost peace, go back to where you got it at first; begin your spiritual life all over again: get at once to the resting place.

Where sin has abounded, let grace much more abound. Do not go back to your feelings, or experiences, or evidences, in order to extract from them a renewal of your lost peace. Go straight back to the free love of God. You found peace in it at first; you will find peace in it to the last. This was the beginning of your confidence; let it be both last and first.

This abounding grace, rightly understood, will not make you sin; it will not relax morality or make inconsistency a trifle. It will magnify sin and enhance its evil in your eyes. Your footing or “standing” in grace (Rom 5:2) will be the strongest, as well as most blessed, that you can ever occupy. If your feet be “shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (Eph 6:15), you will be able to “stand” and to “withstand”; not otherwise. Remember how Paul and Barnabas urged this upon the Jews of Antioch, “persuading them to continue in the grace of God” (Acts 13:43; Gal 5:4; Titus 2:11; 1 Peter 5:12).

(Excerpts from Horatius Bonar’s “Follow The Lamb”)
Thank God for His Amazing Grace that saved me while I was yet a sinner and now His grace is keeping me through each day. And by His grace, I shall one day be with Him in glory to worship Him and enjoy His love and fellowship for all eternity. What a blessed hope!



For Then Sing My Souls Saturday I like to share the hymn Amazing Grace written by John Newton.

Wikipedia has a write-up on John Newton and his writing of Amazing Grace. John newton (July 24, 1725 – December 21, 1807) was a former slave-ship captain.

Someone wrote :

John Newton was a slave trader. He trafficked thousands of men, women and children. in 1748 a violent storm threatened to sink his ship and he fell to his knees and prayed to God for mercy. It was that night that John Newton sensed that there is a God who hears and answers prayers. He can save the worst of men. Over time, Newton repented. He became a preacher and writer of hymns together with William Cowper.

In 1772 he wrote a hymn called "Faith's Review and Expectation", a song that we know now as "Amazing Grace". It became perhaps the most popular song in history. A song that with a few notes lifts the head of the hopeless and softens the heart of the hardened.

On September 11th, "Amazing Grace" was sung to comfort a mourning world. It was sung after the hurricane Katrina, reviving the spirit of a fallen city.

Grace has the power to transform to right the wrongs, and turned a man who was once traded slaves into one who fought for their freedom.

Through many dangers, toils and snares, we have already come;
’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead us home.

"Amazing Grace"

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev’d;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ’d!

Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promis’d good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call’d me here below,
Will be forever mine.

John New­ton, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­i­ver, 1779)


This touching video with an introduction to John Newton's writing of "Amazing Grace" is posted by betahifi on YouTube. This "Amazing Grace" is sung a capella by Judy Collins, accompanied by the Harlem Boy's Choir, performing at the national Memorial Day Concert, Washington, DC, May 1993.



Here's another Video of "Amazing Grace" sung a sweet little girl Zoei Toh :)



May you continue to know God's love and Amazing Grace in very special ways today and everyday!

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you have a blessed weekend!

For more participants of Fearfully Fabulous Friday, do visit Jill.

For more participants of Then Sing My Souls Saturday, do visit Amy.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thankful Thursday











"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. Jeremiah 33:3

Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. Psalm 36:5"

Dear Friends,

Thanks for stopping by! Thanks for your prayers and encouragements.

♥ Today I am thankful to God for hearing our prayers for Emily and her family. Thank you for praying for Emily and her family. Thank God for His mercies and faithfulness!

Last Wednesday and Thursday, I shared that my friend, Peggy, has started "Mission 4 Monday" and while visiting M4M blogs, I came across Liza's Eyeview. Liza shared about her friend Emily who was hit by car on a Wednesday afternoon 2 weeks ago. Emily suffered multiple fractures. A surgery done on Saturday went well and thank God that on Tuesday 2nd Sept Emily has regained consciousness.

Thank God for His further mercies and faithfulness to Emily and her family. On Saturday, 6 September, Emily was moved out of the ICU. On Monday, 8 September, Emily was able to have her breakfast at the courtyard and able to make some phone calls. Praise and thank God!

♥ Thank God that we serve a Great God Who is greater than any circumstances in our life!

He is a God that hears our prayers and delight to answer it according to His mercies.

What a mercy that we can come before our Heavenly Father's throne of grace daily to cast all our anxieties and care upon Him and to find strength, grace, joy and peace for each day to walk with Him and serve Him.


Please continue to join me in prayers for Emily and her family, if you can.

Josh Spencer's update on Wed, 10 September:
" ... Emily's personality, memory, and conversation abilities are coming back well. And her physical movements. It's mostly her cognitive abilities -- attention, judgement, social behavior skills, problem & decision-making skills, etc. -- which are lagging.

Everyone tells us it will take 6 months to a year of rehab for those functions to be healed, if they ever are. Most brain injury survivors need some form of rehab for the rest of their life, but many can still return to productive, "normal" lives with the right help.

Everyone, please continue to pray for the Lord to continue healing Emily's mind in whatever way he sees fit, and that our family would have the wisdom to do what's best for Emily, and for the medical system to do so also."

Liza's update and prayer request at Praying For Emily on Wed, 10 September are:
Praise Report:

The rehab doctor told Linda that they may possibly send Emily home on Thursday or Friday! OK, this is advance report...not definite yet. The rehab doctor will make a decision on Wednesday (which is today). I will let you know of the decision as soon as I hear from Jenny or Linda.

Prayer Requests:

1. For Emily's mind to continue to recover. We are so happy and excited about Emily saying words and "conversing". Considering the accident and the severity of her condition when she first got in the hospital, it's a miracle that she's talking and conversing at this time. However, she far from total recovery. At this point, she speaks in a "child like manner" and not yet the Emily that used to be before the accident. Therefore this is something we can focus our prayers on. For a complete healing of her mind.

2. For Emily's emotions. Jenny mentioned that Emily was sad yesterday. We can all understand that. We understand how she will go through a vast variety of emotions throughout the recovery process. Please keep her in prayer on that area. Emily is a strong and sweet young lady, and I know that she will get through this ordeal but it is not easy.

3. For the pain to subside and be gone. Jenny did not mention about the pain yesterday but I know that's a big issue. Please continue to pray that all the pain will subside.

4. For logistics, etc. - If the rehab doctor decides that Emily will be able to go home sometime this week, there will be a lot of decisions to make in term of logistics and support. Pray as the Spirit leads.

5. Strength and wisdom for Emily's family - this prayer request is from me, not from Jenny. I just know that Emily's family needs a lot of prayers for strength and wisdom during Emily's recovery. I know you are already praying for this, so this is just a reminder :)

Thank you so much for keeping up with the blog and for all your prayers and support. God bless you all.

Liza

♥ Thank God for preserving Emily and giving her a heart to serve the Lord even in her afflictions.

Emily's mother, Linda wrote on Monday, 8 September:

"....Early this morning, when just Emily and I were awake, she was thanking the Lord and asking Him to use her. When I reminded her that He was using her in a mighty way thru her blog to thousands of people around the world, she nodded her head and said,"ok". I am constantly reminded of God's grace, goodness, faithfulness and powerful love in watching each small and large step that Emily is taking. Thank you for all the kind words but most of all your prayers. Each of us are witnesses to God's deep, deep love for his children. May He richly bless each of your lives.

In His Son's Worthy Name,
Linda"
It is encouraging to read of how Emily is thinking of serving the Lord and asking Him to use her even in her affliction now! Praise God for using this accident to be a testimony of His mercies, goodness and faithfulness.

I am reminded of the song I posted last Saturday for Then Sing My Souls Saturday.

Praise You In This Storm

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth


Thank God that He loves us and is in control of all situations in our life so that even in the storm we can praise Him for His love, mercies and faithfulness.

♥ I am thankful to God once again for providing precious people in my life ie. my family, church, friends and blogging friends who love and care for me in their very wonderful ways.

♥ I am thankful to God once again for all of you, my dear blogging friends and visitors. I have been so greatly blessed by all of you and I thank God upon every remembrance of you. It is wonderful to read of how God is guiding and blessing you in your walk with our Lord and it encourages me in my walk with God too. Thanks again for your prayers and encouragements.

May you know God's love and care in very special ways today and everyday!

How about you? How has the Lord blessed you through the past week?

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you have a blessed and thankful day!

For more participants of Thankful Thursday, do visit Iris at Sting My Heart. It will be a very blessed and spiritually uplifting experience for you!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Word-Filled Wednesday : Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens









(I took this picture at Singapore River during an outing last week.)
Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. Psalm 36:5


Thank God for His love, mercies and faithfulness that are so abounding!

Today I am delighted to share with you the mercies and faithfulness of God to Emily!

Last Wednesday, I shared that my friend, Peggy, has started "Mission 4 Monday" and while visiting M4M blogs, I came across Liza's Eyeview. Liza shared about her friend Emily who was hit by car on a Wednesday afternoon 2 weeks ago. Thank you for praying for Emily. Thank God for His mercies and faithfulness to Emily. On Saturday, 6 September, Emily was moved out of the ICU. On Monday, 8 September, Emily was able to have her breakfast at the courtyard and able to make some phone calls.

Emily's mother, Linda wrote,

"....Early this morning, when just Emily and I were awake, she was thanking the Lord and asking Him to use her. When I reminded her that He was using her in a mighty way thru her blog to thousands of people around the world, she nodded her head and said,"ok". I am constantly reminded of God's grace, goodness, faithfulness and powerful love in watching each small and large step that Emily is taking. Thank you for all the kind words but most of all your prayers. Each of us are witnesses to God's deep, deep love for his children. May He richly bless each of your lives.

In His Son's Worthy Name,
Linda"
It is encouraging to read of how Emily is thinking of serving the Lord and asking Him to use her even in her affliction now! Praise God for using this accident to be a testimony of His mercies, goodness and faithfulness. Thank God for Liza's labour of love in setting up Praying For Emily blog so that we can witness God's mercies and faithfulness to those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Do visit Praying For Emily, if you have time, for the encouraging report of God's goodness to Emily and see some sweet photos of Emily and her loved ones. Leave a note to encourage them, if you can, and to rejoice with them over God's mercies and faithfulness.

We serve a Great God Who is greater than any circumstances in our life. He is a God that hears our prayers and delight to answer it according to His mercies! What a mercy that we can come before our Heavenly Father's throne of grace daily to cast all our anxieties and care upon Him and to find strength, grace, joy and peace for each day to walk with Him and serve Him.

May you continue to know God's mercies and faithfulness in many wonderful ways daily :)

For more Word-Filled Wednesday participants, do
visit Amy at The 160 Acre Woods. It will be a very blessed and encouraging experience for you.

Thank you for stopping by. Thanks for your prayers and encouragements. Hope you have a blessed day!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Finding meaning in a life with mood disorder


My friend, Peggy, has just started "Mission 4 Monday".

The purpose of MISSION 4 MONDAY is to share YOUR MISSION each week.


I am thankful to God that I can continue to serve Him through this blog.

One of the missions of my blog is to share with others God's goodness and mercies to me in managing clinical depression and bipolar disorder, as well as resources that will benefit a person with a mood disorder and information for their family and loved ones.

Last week, I shared an article "Trust during rough times" which is an excerpt taken from a new book "A Firm Place to Stand" written by my friend and fellow blogger, Marja Bergen. Marja is also the author of "Riding the Roller Coaster: Living with Mood Disorders".

Today, I like to share another very encouraging article written by Marja for CanadianChristianity.com entitled "Finding meaning in a life with bipolar disorder". It is a personal testimonies of how God has enabled Marja to find meaning in a life with bipolar disorder. This article is reproduced here with Marja's kind permission.

Bipolar Disorder or previously known as manic-depressive illness is a mood disorder with extreme mood swings ie. manic/hypomanic and depression. It is a medical condition that can be treated.

It is possible for people with mood disorders such as bipolar disorder, clinical depression and other mood disorders to live a close to normal life with medical helps and other helps. Support from family and friends are crucial to their recovery and well-being too.

I am thankful to God that with medical and other helps, I am able to live a more functional and productive life.

It is my prayers that resources and testimonies shared on this blog will continue to benefit people with mood disorders and their family/friends who love them.

Finding meaning in a life with bipolar disorder
by Marja Bergen

Mental illness is not all bad. I have lived with bipolar disorder for over forty years and have found it has many benefits. I couldn’t imagine living without it and am not at all unhappy with my life. In many ways, I value what this illness has made possible for me.

With effective medication to keep symptoms under control, people with bipolar disorder can live a close-to-normal life. Yes, moods will fluctuate and cause occasional problems, and treatment will need adjustment. Suffering will always be part of my life. But I accept the way God, the Great Potter, made me. I am rich on many levels.

Like many people with this disorder, I am very creative. I receive a lot of pleasure from photography and using my imagination. The deep emotions I experience, although painful, are a source of richness; I feel completely human. My frequent hard times have helped me appreciate the good times and I make the most of them. Spiritually, I’m stronger for having had to deal with great trials. The fires I’ve passed through have refined me.

Most of all, I appreciate the compassion I am able to have for others who suffer from depression and other mental health issues. Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 1: 4 hold true for me. I praise God “who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received.” God has shown me his love, and I want to pass that love on to others.

Over the past few years, I’ve been fortunate to be part of a church community that has supported me and helped me grow spiritually. With the Christ-like love they have shown me, I have come to understand how great God’s love is. In turn, I now help others through a support group and one-on-one, in person and through my blog. I feel fulfilled. The language of suffering I’ve learned helps me connect with people in trouble. I am able to understand them in a way many others could not.

I feel a bit like Patch Adams in the Robyn Williams film. While Patch is a patient in a psychiatric hospital, he discovers his ability to connect with people. He learns to understand his severely disturbed roommate to see the person behind the illness and helps him through his problems. Not only does this delight Patch, it makes him a well man.

Patch eagerly tells his doctor he is well and needs to leave the hospital. I connected to another human being, he said. I want to do more of that. I want to learn about people. I want to help them with their troubles. I want to really listen to people. Connecting with other people gave Patch joy. It gives me joy, too. When God places you in this role a role he made for you joy happens. Walking with people through some of their toughest times is rewarding and a privilege.

Bipolar disorder will always be with me, and I suffer many high and low moods. But, I don’t feel I’m a victim of the disease. God has helped me find a way to make my illness work for me instead of against me.

‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ (Jeremiah 29:11) God has a plan for each of us. Though we might have a severe illness such as bipolar disorder, God has work for us to do. Eventually, we can use what God has given us even the bad and turn it into something good.

Marja Bergen is the author of Riding the Roller Coaster: Living with Mood Disorders (Northstone, 1999) and a new book for Christians about living successfully with bipolar disorder (to appear). She is the founder of Living Room, a faith-based Mood Disorders Association of BC support group. Her blog, marjabergen.blogspot.com, deals with mental health and faith issues. She can be reached at info@candidsbymarja.com.

This article is published on the website of CanadianChristianity.com and reproduced here with the kind permission of Marja.

Here are some information about these 2 very useful books written by Marja:
Books by Marja Bergen:

1) Riding the Roller Coaster: Living with Mood Disorders


Mood disorders, such as depression and manic depression, affect up to 10% of the population. Marja Bergen is one of those people. Over the 30 years that she has had manic depression, she has gradually adopted a lifestyle that makes it possible not only to cope, but to live a full and productive life. In Riding the Roller Coaster, she shares very practical tips on such things as escaping the blues before they grab you, what to do when you don't feel like doing anything, and keeping life stable.



Reviews in the Media


Mood Disorders Association of BC

Robert Winram, Executive Director
This excellent first person account is filled with encouragement for those managing mood disorders. It delivers understanding, insight and very tangible strategies on how to overcome the difficulties of depression and manic depression. Marja Bergen gives us a very human perspective drawn from her experiences. Her path to recovery is exciting and positive.

Burnaby NOW
Annie Boulanger
The publication of her book is very timely as there are indications that mood disorders are a growing problem in the workplace.

Personal vignettes and real-life examples abound in Bergen's book, including frank descriptions of her own history, from her first treatments in Riverview, to problems adjusting medications in later years.

The book is easy to read, and while Bergen's style is warm and encouraging, it is also clearly written from her own experience.

The book is not only helpful to sufferers of mood disorder related illnesses, but also to their families to understand what it is that their family member is undergoing.

2) A Firm Place to Stand : Finding meaning in a life with Bipolar Disorder


"A Firm Place to Stand is a must-read for Christians who struggle with mental health challenges and the faith communities who minister to them.

For too long, society has misunderstood and feared individuals who live with mood disorders. This book dispels the lingering stigma attached to mental health conditions and encourages people to lovingly welcome the sufferers into congregations by understanding them better and supporting them in practical ways.

Most importantly, for the sufferers themselves, A Firm Place to Stand shows that it is possible to have a mental disorder yet be close to God and derive strong support from a growing relationship with Christ.

In her sincere and candid style, Marja Bergen reflects on her forty-two years with bipolar disorder, showing how faith in God can help a person with a serious illness turn weakness into strength. She describes how God transformed her from an insecure, withdrawn person into a leader, an activist, and the founder of Living Room, the growing Christian support group for people with mood disorders."

If you are keen to buy these 2 books by Marja, do check out Marja's new website.

Do visit Marja's blog, if you can, and get to know her. You will be greatly encouraged by her.

Hope the above article and resources are helpful to you or your loved ones/friends with mood disorders.

May God continue to enable us to know His love and mercies through all the changing scenes in life. May God enable us to love, pray and support our loved ones/friends with mental illness or mood disorders, and reflect Christ's love and compassion for His suffering people.

Thanks again for stopping by! Thanks for all your prayers and encouragements!

Take care and God bless :)

For more Mission 4 Monday posts, visit Peggy.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Trusting in God's arms and Praising Him in the Storm (Fearfully Fabulous Friday & Then Sing My Soul Saturday)

Dear Friends,

Thanks for stopping by. This is my first time participating in Fearfully Fabulous Friday and Then Sing My Souls Saturday.


My friend, Jill, has kindly invited me to join her new Fearfully Fabulous Friday!

For Fearfully Fabulous Friday we can write or share pictures about the way we love the Lord, along with bible verses that help us draw closer to Him. Examples of how we are fearfully and fabulously made are GREAT! We can write about the miracle of birth, adoption and life! We can write about Creation! We can share photos of birth, adoption, and His creation!

I am thankful to God for giving us His Words and many encouraging writings of His beloved people.

I am thankful to God that He loves us and is in control of everything in our life. We are fearfully and wonderfully made by God. He is our Creator and He cares for us. In this life we shall have our share of ups and downs, happiness and sorrows, wellness and sickness. Our greatest assurance is God loves us and He is with us through them. He is lovingly working all things for His glory, our good and the good of His people.

Recently, I read a very encouraging devotional by CH Spurgeon and like to share with you too. Hope you will also find encouragement in it.

"On mine arm shall they trust." Isaiah 51:5

In seasons of severe trial, the Christian has nothing on earth that he can trust to, and is therefore compelled to cast himself on his God alone. When his vessel is on its beam-ends, and no human deliverance can avail, he must simply and entirely trust himself to the providence and care of God.

Happy storm that wrecks a man on such a rock as this! O blessed hurricane that drives the soul to God and God alone!

There is no getting at our God sometimes because of the multitude of our friends; but when a man is so poor, so friendless, so helpless that he has nowhere else to turn, he flies into his Father's arms, and is blessedly clasped therein!

When he is burdened with troubles so pressing and so peculiar, that he cannot tell them to any but his God, he may be thankful for them; for he will learn more of his Lord then than at any other time.

Oh, tempest-tossed believer, it is a happy trouble that drives thee to thy Father! Now that thou hast only thy God to trust to, see that thou puttest thy full confidence in him. Dishonor not thy Lord and Master by unworthy doubts and fears; but be strong in faith, giving glory to God. Show the world that thy God is worth ten thousand worlds to thee. Show rich men how rich thou art in thy poverty when the Lord God is thy helper. Show the strong man how strong thou art in thy weakness when underneath thee are the everlasting arms.

Now is the time for feats of faith and valiant exploits. Be strong and very courageous, and the Lord thy God shall certainly, as surely as he built the heavens and the earth, glorify himself in thy weakness, and magnify his might in the midst of thy distress. The grandeur of the arch of heaven would be spoiled if the sky were supported by a single visible column, and your faith would lose its glory if it rested on anything discernible by the carnal eye. May the Holy Spirit give you to rest in Jesus this closing day of the month.

(Taken from Morning and Evening, CH Spurgeon, Morning, 31 August)
How true it is that in times of severe trial we have nothing on earth that we can trust to, and is therefore compelled to cast ourselves on God alone. It is then that we are drawn nearer to God and to know His love and faithfulness in very real and personal ways.

O blessed hurricane that drives the soul to God and God alone!

For this reason, we can thank God for the trials, afflictions and difficulties we face in this world. All of these are working together for our good and God's glory.

Therefore we can rejoice in the Lord always because He loves us and He is in control of all things. May God deepens our love and devotion to Him, and make us useful in His Kingdom.

And we know that all things work together
for good to them that love God,
to them who are the called according to His purpose
... in all these things we are more than conquerors
through Him that loved us.
(Romans 8:28, 37)




My friend, Peggy, encouraged me to share this song and participate in Then Sing My Souls Saturday as it really suits the encouragement from God's Words above. Thanks, Peggy, for telling me about this song!

Praise You In This Storm

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth


May God enable us to cling unto Him in difficult times and Praise Him in the Storms because He loves us and will see us safely through.

May you continue to know God's love and care in very special ways today and everyday!

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you have a blessed weekends!

For more participants of Fearfully Fabulous Friday, do Jill.

For more participants of Then Sing My Souls Saturday, do visit Amy.