bipolar mom shares her insights on everyday life

Archive for the ‘faith’ Category

The Miracle on Olive Street

As many of you know, our church is putting on a production, The Christmas Shoes, tomorrow night and Saturday night. Our last dress rehearsal was scheduled for Tuesday night because, even though we wanted to have a dress rehearsal the night before the first show, there were too many school-related activities, so in reality, about 70% of the cast would not have been in attendance.

Our family was one that would have missed tonight’s practice, since Karen had a choir concert.  Another family had an orchestra concert to attend. The local Lutheran school, had its annual Christmas program, etc.

Well, God said, “Ha! I’ll show you! I’ll make sure you can all make it to this rehearsal because I think it’s important to put on this show!” And He sent an ice storm.

This was not a huge, epic ice storm. It was just enough to mess everyone up last night, and, apparently, this morning. But it was enough to cancel all the schools in our area. Including the Lutheran school that never cancels school, since they don’t have buses to run or kids walking to school.  But all of them were canceled today.

Well, my friends, the rule is this: No school=no evening activities. So, the roads were fine and dandy this afternoon, and a new full-out dress rehearsal was born. No choir concert, no orchestra concert, no kids Christmas program. We were all free to attend tonight’s rehearsal.

Another point in the show’s favor:  Tom was going to go into work today, but as he was on his way to a lunch meeting, the other guy calls and cancels. So, Tom decided to turn around and just work from home, and was, therefore, able to leave our house at 4:00 to get to church and get everything set up.

Our director had two stents put in last week, but felt like coming tonight for the first time since his surgery. His father has also been in the hospital, but was released, you guessed it, today.

As it turned out, all but one of our actors were able to attend. (He lives in Columbia, MO, and wasn’t planning on coming anyway.)

I’m so excited to see what God has planned for our shows Friday and Saturday. He has certainly given us plenty of opportunities and signs that He has blessed this performance!

Want to be a part of this Christmas miracle? Come on by King of Kings Lutheran Church, 13765 Olive Street, Chesterfield, MO 63017. Feel free to call the church office for directions: 314-469-2224. Shows are at 7pm both Friday and Saturday nights.

It’s free! So, come and keep warm both inside and out!  🙂

 

Our Father Knows Best

Lately, for some unknown reason, I’ve been looking back on various times of my life.

Yesterday, my former boyfriends was my thought topic. Some of the memories brought a smile to my face, others…not so much. I started doing the “what if…” game.   “What if I had married “Hercules” instead of Tom?” Every time I would insert a different name, a thousand reasons that Tom was better would come to mind. He’s obviously the best choice.

I only told one person “I love you.” And, yes, that was Tom, obviously. I didn’t realize people said it to more than one person. I just never did. I will still remember the feeling that came over me when Tom told me he loved me. My heart leapt out of my chest. I quickly responded with “I love you too!” and then we both hung up the phone really fast. You see, he was calling me to wish me a Happy New Year when he was living in Virginia, and I was living in Missouri.  We’d never dated. Just wrote letters and made expensive long distance calls. But, I knew then that Tom was THE guy for me.

So, as I reminisced about my past boyfriends, I really did come back to Tom as the winner over all those guys. I don’t regret dating those guys, because each relationship taught me something. (I feel like I have to put that disclaimer there. Some of those guys were really sweet, great guys. Others…(rolling eyes))

See, God had Tom out there for me. I couldn’t imagine any of those other guys dealing with my bipolar disorder with the calmness and love that Tom has. Right now, I have tears in my eyes because I know how very lucky I am. But, it’s not luck. It’s God. He’s got the plan. I just have to follow it. He hasn’t let me down yet.

No Such Thing

In my opinion, there is no such thing as “coincidences.” They are “God sightings.”

This was proven to me yesterday.

I’ve had a few crummy days. The bipolar has reared its ugly head. No idea what is bringing it on. Could be stress, but there’s really not that much.

I had my weekly Bible study yesterday. I wasn’t feeling very motivated. Really didn’t even want to get up off the couch. But, I knew that when I don’t feel like I have time for God, that’s when I need Him most. So, I picked my lazy butt off the couch, put on some makeup and took off. Driving there was a chore in itself, but i persevered.

I got to my small group classroom and was asked, “How are you doing?” and the tears started rolling. After another member of our group shared a story behind her prayer request, I decided to share that I have bipolar disorder. The tears came again. Everyone was so supportive. But, here’s the God sighting. One of the women in the group said, “Michelle, there is a bipolar support group here at this church that meets once a week. If you’d like I can introduce you to John who runs it.” What are the odds that this woman was in my group? And this week, no less. She was gone last week and will be gone next week!

Another group member came up to me and said, “You’ll really like John.”

After the Bible study was over the member took me to meet John, and it was amazing. Their Bipolar support group meets once a week, and that created such a light in the tunnel for me. I know my parents and husband want to help. I know my psychiatrist and therapist want to help. But, none of them have actually been where I am. It’s so hard to explain what I’m feeling; what I’m going through. Now, I’ll get to talk to people that do. People that know what it’s like to want to get even just a part-time job, but know that we can’t be relied on to actually show up every time. People that have people to support them, but feeling badly that you are “playing the bipolar card again.” People that know what it’s like to keep trying new medications, but are worried about the effects they will have on you. That it could actually get worse, because it has in the past.

I know I’m very fortunate to not have this disorder to the extent that others do. I’m rarely in the “why me” mode. Honestly, I just don’t have the energy to feel that way.

So, next Tuesday night is the next meeting…I think I can…I think I can…

Still Flying High

I never expected this high from the NYG to last this long.  I expected it to be a short-term thing, and then reality would set in.  So far, it hasn’t.  Well, reality is there, but it doesn’t seem to be affecting me like it usually does.  (aka, bringing me down, freaking me out, stress) Sure, there have been stressful moments, but they seem pretty short-lived.  I just keep thinking about how much God loves me.  And what a great friend he is.  I’m never alone.  That is awesome.

I’ve also given a lot of thought to the type of person I appear to be. I try to reference God at least once a day.  To someone. I want the world to know that I LOVE JESUS and that GOD is the reason I can get up everyday and know that I can handle whatever life throws my way.

An example of this new-ish attitude has been noted by the members of the cast and crew of the musical I am in. Everyone has really cleaned up their language.  The director stated at the beginning of rehearsals that he cusses a lot, and if any of us had a problem with it, he would try to refrain.  I didn’t say anything, but just never used any of those words, and often wore a religious shirt. (Not necessarily on purpose.  I just have a lot of those) I even had one of the cast ask me how long I’d been involved in my church, what kinds of things I do there, etc. 

I’ve been trying to be a Christian, not just call myself one. After being around 25,000 youth that were charged up about being a Christian, it’s hard not to jump in and join them!

NYG

I returned home from the NYG (National Youth Gathering) in New Orleans last week.  I’m still on a high.  It was a mountaintop experience.  There were 25,000 Lutheran youth that pretty much filled the Superdome.  Having all of those singing at the top of their lungs and praising God was just amazing.  We had Mass Events every night where everyone congregated in the dome, and I got teary-eyed just about every night.  Okay.  Every night.

I wish I could explain the experience, but I liken that to taking pictures of the Grand Canyon.  Sure, the photos look pretty, but seeing it in person is an entirely different matter.

I have some funny stories to share, but I’m just going to let this post sit here for now.

On the Dot

Today was the Spring Women’s Retreat at my church.  I had a rough night sleep-wise last night, and last week was just rough emotional-wise.  I had every reason not to go to the retreat this morning.  I thought of a million reasons not to go.  But, I went anyway.  I had a few responsibilities and had promised someone I’d be there. 

The theme was On the Dot, and I had an amazing time.  (Which is kind of funny, since On The Dot means “exactly on time.”)  Lots of great moments:  Sharing, devotion, and lots of laughing.  What a great way to spend the morning!  It was all a part of God’s timing.  We read about several women in the Old Testament who could show us a time when God was with them.  Very cool.

So, thank you to all the women who took the time to plan such a wonderful morning.  You have no idea how many lives you touched.

What the (*&%?!??!?

As I mentioned previously, I’ve been sick in bed for several days.  Keyword:  SEVERAL  And, I’ve had the benefit of having Instant Netflix to keep me company.  I finished watching the entire first season of Lie to Me, but the second season is not available to watch instantly.  Bummer.

So, I went searching for another show to watch.

I discovered that Rescue Me had almost, if not all, its seasons on the instant list.  Sweet.  For those of you not familiar with this show, it stars Denis Leary and is about New York City firefighters.  I think it’s on FX. 

Since it is on cable, it doesn’t have to adhere to many FCC regulations.  Including, most obviously, language.  Wow.  At first, I was shocked.  Then, I decided to keep watching because the storylines were really good.  Keep in mind, though, that I was basically immersed in this show for hours.  Hours.

I finished all 13 episodes of Season 1 and was starting on Season 2 when I finally quit.  Since I was feeling so much better, I decided to converse with the family.  Namely – Tom.  He was browning hamburger and was getting ready to drain it straight into the sink when I uttered a sentence that I am fairly sure has never left these lips.  I won’t write it here, but it wasn’t the worst cuss word I’ve ever heard, and not even the 2nd or 3rd worst, but it was the tone of my comment that took me by surprise.  That, and how quickly it just rolled off my tongue.  Tom looked at me and said, “Well, I don’t think that was necessary.”  I quickly said, “Oh my gosh, Tom!  I am SO sorry!  You are right, that was so not the right thing to say!”  Karen came in and suggested a synonym for the word I used, to which I quickly responded, “Seriously, Karen.  That whole phrase was wrong to say.  I don’t know what came over me.” 

Then, it hit me.  Denis Leary.

After about 10 minutes, I went back into the kitchen, apologized to Tom again, and said, “It’s Denis Leary’s fault.  I’ve been watching Rescue Me while I was sick.”  He laughed out loud.  “Okay.”  (I did inform him that if he poured hamburger grease down the sink, he was paying for a plumber.  We’ve got enough issues with those pipes.)

I’ve always admired Tom for his clean mouth.  And, now I have an even better idea of how hard it must be to keep a clean mouth when surrounded day after day by foul language.  Granted, I doubt if there are any “Denis Learys” in his office, but I’ve heard enough at office functions to get an idea of what is said during the day.  Especially since I’m guessing the language I hear is cleaned up a bit.

So, again, Tom, I apologize.  And, you are an amazing example of a Christian man.  Denis Leary?  Not so much.

God at Work

Today’s Monday link is of a personal nature.  Mark was confirmed yesterday.  And as I mentioned in a previous post, his testimony was about my brother. 

When I read his testimony on Wednesday, I cried.  I told him it was amazing, and that he really has a gift of putting into words how he feels.  I also told him to be prepared for there to be tears in the congregation of those who know the situation.  He said, “I know.  I’m kind of expecting that.  In fact, I knew when I came down here and you read it today, that you would cry.” 

He wanted to make sure he wasn’t being “mean.”  I assured him he was not.  He said that he had thought of being more specific about the “personal issues,” but thought it best not to elaborate.

So, without further ado, I give you the link to his testimony

I am so proud of him.  I cried a little when he delivered the testimony, because I was amazed at what a strong Christian Mark is.  And, how I truly fall short.  My friend told me that Tom and I had built a strong foundation for him.  Thank you, Liz.  But, still I wondered how I would be able to prevent what happened with my brother to happen with Mark. 

Then, I remembered Mark’s verse.  And, I’m following Mark’s example.

Let Go. Let God.

Amazing what those four words can do.  Powerful.  Trust me.

I’ve been trying to get in touch with my brother regarding his attendance at Mark’s confirmation.  I sent him an email weeks ago, letting him know that his godson was already 14 and it was time for his confirmation.

No response.

Yesterday, I called him at work (since we are not allowed to call him at home), and he didn’t answer his cell phone or his work phone.  So, I left a message.  Very nice.  “I really need to talk to you.  Will you give me a call on my cell phone when you get a chance to talk?”

No reponse.

I called again this morning.  Again, voice mail.  “Look.  I really need to talk to you.  Call me.”  Then, I checked my email, and he’d written me and said that he would be available for one hour today.  Which, of course, had already passed.  Not his fault, really.  He wrote that he’d be in and out tomorrow.  I wrote back to call me when he had a chance.

This has been weighing on me for such a long time.  Down doesn’t even begin to describe this.  The pressure to say the “right thing” is huge.  I’ve been praying that God will give me the right words to say.  I just haven’t had to chance to say ANYTHING!

Mark is going to write his testimony about my brother.  His testimony is based on his Confirmation verse, Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”  His take on that verse is that he hasn’t seen my brother in a long time, and he doesn’t know why, but he knows God has a plan.  Do I mention that to my brother?  Or will that scare him off?  Or make him realize how important he really is to Mark?

So, while driving around this morning, I prayed, “God, I can’t deal with this anymore.  Can you take it from me?’  BAM!  Instant peace.  I swear.  Or promise, whatever.  I assure you this is the truth. 

This doesn’t mean it’s gone from my mind.  It’s still there, but the sinking feeling, the anxiety, the general feeling of ickiness is gone.  Completely disappeared.

Why did I wait so long to call on God?  He’s got it.

Happy Birthday to My Brother

It’s a bittersweet day for me.  My little brother turns 40 today.

Why bittersweet, Michelle?  No, friends, he’s not dead.  I just haven’t talked to him in over 5 years. 

After he got married and had a baby, his wife turned into a complete B****.  And, yes I meant for that to be a capital “B.”  She wasn’t always like this.  She was fun to be around before they got married.  After that, she changed slightly.  But after their first son was born, WHAMMO!  She pretty much refuses to let our family (grandparents included) visit.  Or let my brother visit us.  In fact, the last time my brother came, was when my dad had a heart attack and a five-way bypass 5 1/2 years ago.  Even then, his wife made him feel guilty for spending more than a day here.  She is of a different religion, and even though he doesn’t feel like that plays a part in all of this, from what I’ve read, it is classic behavior on her part.

Yes, my brother is an adult.  She just makes his life miserable if we even entertain the idea of visiting or try to contact him.  He does call my parents about once a week from work, and has been doing that for a couple of years.

They have 2 sons.  One is in Kindergarten, and we only saw him when he was a month old.  That was NOT a pleasant visit.  (We were allowed to visit only 2 hours each day.  Nice.)  It was even worse when my parents went the next week.  It’s a 10 hour drive from here to visit.  They have another son that just turned three and we’ve never seen him.

Normally, his birthday comes, and I think about him a little, then push him from my mind because it’s been so long.  But, today is different.  As I sit here with tears in my eyes, I remember our last conversation.  It was two days ago.  My dad went back into the hospital after his cardiologist sent him to the ER.  My mom contacted my brother, and then he called me to give me his home phone number.  I didn’t even recognize his voice.  It really tore me up.  I kept saying, “Your voice sounds so different.” 

It just made me realize how much I’ve missed him and how time has really flown.

Prayers are going up daily.  I pray for my parents to be able to see him soon.  I pray that he has the guts to stand up to his wife.  I pray for guidance as to what to do to help him.

I just have to keep reminding myself that God is in control.

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