John 13:35 – By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (NASB)
I returned from my doctor's appointment yesterday. Her ultimatum, I must find a consistent regular 'counselor' and group support/accountability partner along with increasing mood stabilizers to their maximum dosage with improvement ... or into the hospital I go. She was ready to put me there yesterday. I told her I know the drill if done. After 72 hours, unless you are a threat to yourself or someone else, you are released. It is easy enough to talk your way out, just say 'I'm good now.' (Footnote - though not a Christian, she called early before any appoitments started just to see how I was doing and offer other resouces than those yesterday ... more than her professional obligation)
Losing 15 lbs. in the past two weeks, she asked if I was planning on killing myself. I said, No, I'm to chicken but if I could go to sleep and not wake up, absolutely. I said I was not interested in counselors or psychotherapy. I have tried it for 30 years and a waste. Until the bio-chemical balance of +40 years is resolved, just talk. I live with deep 'soul' hurt every day. Counselors not interested. They see you for money but you are only a patient. Do they really love you?
The same with Christians, let's talk predestination, pre-tribulation, post tribulation, spiritual warfare, renewing of the mind, gifts of the spirit or being a dispensationalist since the perfect arrived with the closing if the Cannon (Word Of God) at the council of Nicaea, 4th century A.D. The number of angels on the head of a pin, handling God's word, eschatology, obedience, sacrifices, covenants, triune, various doctrines of Calvanism vs. Armenianism, revelation of the Spirit, etc. It is meaningless talk and sophistry without the love of Jesus Christ shown demonstratively to one another. Stuff I've all heard over forty years from Francis Schaffer, Watchman Nee, C.S Lewis, A.W Tozer, Tim La Haye, etc. Gosh, let's get real. The only thing which has kept me is God's Spirit breaking through when the internal storm is not raging and His love in Christ.
When I wrote Walk the Talk, I offended one person who dropped me as a friend. I did not know it for a month until I tried to send a mail asking how they were doing. Got the 'no relationship exists message.' I assumed responsibility as God instructed, repenting and walking through a long process to seek forgiveness. They said I was forgiven after the first blog.
However, I'm still ignored on anything written though they offer effusive encouragement to other blogs. If I require self-examination before the Lord, let me humbly say all do even without 'major issues.' Suppose my reply to their comment on first forgiveness blog, somehow again hurt their feelings. Though they never sent a mail saying why the first, it is between them and God.
In the 9 months on CB, I have not figured out why men will not go below a superficial level relationship? They prefer to espouse and promulgate theological viewpoints rather than love and care regularly or daily. They have arrived and all is together. Conclusion, all 'Christian' venues participated in are the same unless a Christian 'recovery' group.
Younger people writing saying they have attempted suicide only seem to disappear. I've tried to comment, encourage, and establish a relationship. They must not sense inclusion from the group as a whole and God's love, slinking away. If this writing offends, I apologize in advance only saying what many are afraid too out loud. I am OK if you send John a mail asking him to remove me from the site, a further show of love.
Asking twice for an accountability partner, none responded. This is fine. I'd rather know where I stand than play pretend. I only wanted someone who genuinely cares, showing the love in Christ to one who will 'run off the railroad tracks,' maybe often unless balance is achieved. Part of the package God is working on.
I was never asking for someone to 'fix me' or listen to rambling about 'issues.' Merely to walk and talk in God's love, encouraging and edifying. The only thing keeping me hanging by finger nails to existence in this world is two children who can't see a dad 'check out,' though I want too.
Am I as broken as possible ... millimeters away. Will the pain stop without getting undiagnosed multi-frequency bi-polar disorder in my teens not caught? The manic states disappear and mood stabilizers are the only hope for the utter depression. Have I tried everything spiritually and medically? All but one I can think of. Guess I don't have the gift of faith given by the Holy Spirt. In Luke Jesus states how much more God will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask, though bad you give good gifts to your children.
Reading Billy's last blog where he was leaving, I think he got it right (Cliques, etc.). We say, Count on God alone. Latent message - don't count on me. The time, energy, and investment are more than I am willing to give. I do trust God to rise up one person. My doctor said in a month and a half at next appointment without great improvement, to hospital she sends me for elecrto-shock therapy. (only medical item not done; all spiritual cleansing options can check done).
Thank you to those who have prayed for me. Mostly to the ladies and one brother who have mailed and tried to reach out as able. Obviously this broken soul is in need of more. I will not trouble you with more blogs the next month and a half, running the medical course. I will attempt to find an accountability partner for the +12th time. Also, a pastor who will love and counsel versus preaching at me.
Pastor Ron over my twenty years in Portland could provide expository positions with the best if so desired. However, his message never wavered from God's love in Jesus Christ and Him crucified. As the corporate body grew from 11 to between 4000 – 5000 in the mid -90's, churches from all over the US sent people to ask what programs he had for church growth. Saying, None, we just proclaim the love of God. That is what it is all about. God to us, us to Him and Jesus love to one another.
When I first joined CB, I was told I found a home. Guess we all need to rethink it, for someone like me and the mental difficulties. Christians don't seem to want to make accomodations unless those with Alzheimer's and Dementia, now moved into an unkind arena. One thing remains, where God's love is proclaimed and lived. It speaks to one looking for a reason to continue in life.
I do not want to be a drag on the site. The movie Ragamuffins on the life of contemporary Christian singer Rich Mullins depicted such. Neglect from childhood left a void. He kept asking God to heal and battled alcoholism while writing Sing your Praise to the Lord and Doubly Good, giving to Amy Grant. Nashville producers said his music wasn't upbeat and positive enough to sell records to the Christian demography. He did finally get his chance, writing and performingthe number 1 hit, Our God is an Awesome God. Rich said he wrote what was on his heart and life was hard. He kept asking God and Jesus what he was supposed to do; quite a relevant question.
II Cor. 2: 4 – 6 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. (NASB)
Pro. 29: 18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. (NASB)
I don't know so much that people are not wanting to help; my guess is that many think (as I do) that we are not knowledgeable or 'good' enough to be your accountability partner. You have been and remain in my daily prayers. I certainly do not want to see you leave CB ~ you have been a tremendous asset here, tho' it seems you do not realize that.
You are loved here. If you feel you are not, I pray God shows you how wrong you are. If you feel you are not, I am quite sure it is a trick of the enemy... he is a master at getting people to "feel" unloved, unwanted, etc. The enemy is a master at creating discord, real or imagined; and he is a master at deceiving us.
Again, Les, you are loved here, by many. We may not understand what you face; we may not be able to walk in your shoes; but we know the One who does and to Him I bow my knee and ask that He show you how much you are loved here. I ask Him to pierce through the darkness and discouragement, straight to your heart of gold, and let you see the truth that you are a vital and integral part of this band here at CB.
I send you much love ~ know you are in my prayers,
Am sad. Like Beth, I don't think it's a question of lovelessness or unwillingness or of anyone wanting to ignore you. It is that, as she says, many feel too small or lacking in wisdom to be an accountability partner. I was reading from Job last night, and increasingly conscious how fine the line is between words of comfort and words that may annoy or be unhelpful. Often I have not responded on your blogs but quietly thought over them because there were no words ... because I didn't want to be Job's comforter.
I still don't know what to say. Will be praying that God would send you the support you need, and that He will help you to know for sure that "count on God" isn't synonymous with "don't count on me". It's usually meant as a word of encouragement when we don't know how He will do it exactly, but we have faith that God will uphold a person.
One of the problems of online friendships and fellowship is that we just don't see those moments when another person is sitting looking "right at us" (well, our words, anyway), "listening" to everything we said ... and not knowing even what to say. In real life, we know that the silent person looking at us cares. Online we just don't. You haven't seen me but I've been there and thinking of you.
God bless, Les, and take care.
I have to agree with what Beth and Sarah said and I am praying.
Les my heart does out to you as it always has, but as the others have commented it is not easy through cyber-space to know what and how to assist. As I was contemplating in my spirit how to reply the following passage of scripture came to my mind from Isaiah : "Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. Rather than poke us with a sharp stick there must be a way where we can sit down with the Lord and step by step you show us how we can support you through this site. I am aware many have been praying for you but I sense that you long for something of a; shall I say 'more practical manner.' I do not wish to stamp on you but I am seeking before the Lord some practical manner is which we here at CB can assist you. But you will need to assist us in this process with some pointers and guidance as to the 'how.' I am sure you have some ideas as you no doubt have been thinking for some time concepts that would be helpful. Under the Lord we both have to face up to this point and come up with some help.
I need to mention that your blogs and friendship have meant a lot to me and I have been blessed by them, so, to that end I do not see your time here as wasted for I am convinced in the Lord that you were brought here by the Holy Spirit for the benefit of both of us; for we were to learn from you and you were to be touched by the Lord in a process of healing. This I believe has began and is happening before our eyes which is wonderful in the Lord, as I have seen the peeling back of layers of filthy rags that you have wrapped around yourself.
I believe that you are at a cross roads, which the Lord is asking that we all here on CB look up to guidance from the Lord for he has sheltered you under his wings and will continue to do so.
This comment is not intended to push you away but has been born in the heart of God for these thoughts are not my thoughts but come from the love and heart of our saviour who wishes that all come to salvation not only in spirit but body, soul and mind.
May God continue to led you into paths unknown, but known to him who has bleed and rose to give you newness of life in all fullness.
I am fully aware that over the last little while I haven't been providing you with the support that you need at this time. That does not indicate a lack of caring by any means, just a few health issues that have taken me low in terms of physical capability. I do however, apologise for not reminding you that I will always be here for you. If I am honest, I guess what I see in this blog is a man who is hurting because of the careless comments and reactions of some people. Les, you know that I have been honest within all of our dealings and I pray that you will think about what I am about to say. I know that the mental issues you have a very real and I will never try to lessen the seriousness of those. I pray that someone finally finds the balance in what you take to give you more opportunity for a settled personal and family life. What came to mind when I was reading your blog is that I wanted to encourage you. I want to encourage you to keep looking to God and mentally letting go of the actions and reactions of those who do not understand who you are in Christ. Some of us said at the beginning that you had come to the right place, that you were a real blessing to have around. That hasn't changed. Some of us promised that when you walked we would walk with you and when you couldn't walk we would carry you. That promise is still true. We are blessed to call you 'friend' and 'brother in Christ'.
Les, my friend,
It is the Father's will to comfort you and see that you get the help you need; He has placed on my heart a step toward meeting that solution.
By His grace, please watch for my blog addressing this solution to be published by tomorrow (Saturday), Dec. 6th or Sunday, Dec. 7th.
In Christ's Love,
I may be wrong, (that happens often), but I am seeing you suggesting a one-hour group time, of sorts, once a week, online. Made up of men. I don't recall any 'men's' group being any success since I have been here (2009). Nobody posts anything often and regular. I pray one will step up and head up a group, if I am correct here.
I fix things. Troubleshoot, and then solve the problem. They are electrical, or mechanical. But honestly, a lot of that mindset transfers to the spiritual realm. Part of the 'earthen vessel' I am. Us men are lousy when it comes to committment, talk, encouragement. Sure, we will do it, but will move on if we don't see nothing happening. As a whole. Just how we are.
The women, are much better at such things. The comments on my own last blog, (by the way, the one titled 'This is just me', was written showing my input, the most), show pretty well what I mean. The guys just, ..yeah ok, I am sad, but, see'ya, God be with you. The women saying I am sad, but don't stay gone long, we will leave the door open. Brother they will do the same with you. You are among us, now. You feel the love. You know it is real. Perfect, yet, no. But do let us know you are here.
I apologize for my shortcomings, and they are there. But I can't just leave. I hope you feel the same. I will be praying for you during the time you referred to. I also hope one of these retired men, here, can step up and head up that men's group. God bless brother. I mean that. Maranatha
You got it right 100% on what I ultimately am suggesting not just for me. The problem in 'cyberspace' is how to make it really work ... if He want's it to be so, God will make a way.
I'd love to 'step-up' but am a mess when medication is not right and others need consistency and stability. As 'Christ rights the ship,' my hope one day is to minister to those in some capacity through sharing in the comfort I have received (II Cor).
You summed it up correctly, men stink at wanting to get below the 'macho' veneer and share what is really going on. Christians men are worse needing to 'have it together" or our faith isn't right; hearts breaking most do not realize over coming is a daily battle and process. It is so bad most do not realize this a process.
The cultural stigma is why men suffer most in silence. 23% of all American adult's will have a major depressive episode (lasting 3 weeks or more without any external triggers; e.g. - death of a spouse or immediate family member, divorce, job lose, etc.) in their life. 1/4th of the population will require professional treatment whether Christian or not. Once this occurs, more than a majority will suffer 4 additional episodes in a lifetime requiring intervention. These are those WITHOUT a chronic disorder.
You got it correct, women are much more willing to be emotionally honest due to Western Cultural acceptance of it being OK to express hurt, cry, sadness, etc. Guys are supposed to 'toughen up' and just use 'mind over matter.'
Thank you so much for your honest and great sharing.
You and other men may find it a bit strange but in recent years I have found myself praying often for the men within the church. It is a topic that first came upon my heart around the time my son entered his teen years. Then, when my son was 16 I came across and read a book that was directed towards men actually (but was also for the women who loved them) called "Wild At Heart" by John Eldridge which I passed onto my guys. I'm glad I read it because it gave me much to think about into how "the church" in the west at least has hurt men, often demanding that they conform to the ways of women and denounce who they are. I don't know. Perhaps the men on this site will disagree with me but I still believe in my heart of hearts that it is true.
One of the things I noticed when I first stepped through the door of my present church was that there were men everywhere. My previous experiences with churches was that the women far outnumbered the men. This was different and I believe that it is also the reason for church growth. Men are bringing their wives and children to church. They are being leaders in their homes.
When we do the women's conference, we do it the way women would do it. We have a two day conference that we pay $50 or $60 to attend to help cover expenses (there is help available for women who cannot afford to attend). We have an "after-party" after the event on Friday night with chocolate of course, a concert or something (we did a fun fashion show one year), shopping, etc and have a morning and afternoon session the next day and box lunches.
The men have an annual event as well but they learned long ago not to call it a conference. They call it "Man Night" and as you can see, they do not do it in two days. It is one night because men say what needs to be said and are done while we women... sigh. That is not what we do. We say it, discuss it, say it again and discuss it some more until we have thoroughly exhausted the subject and then some.
The event is free. Men are much more likely to show up if something is free whereas women, though we certainly do show up at free things as well, are less reluctant to pay to attend a conference.
The men are promised food. Not chocolates and finger sandwiches but it is stressed that this is "Guy Food" fit for men and they will have a lot of it. Our church does "promos" of upcoming events and I can tell you the one for "Man Night" is definitely different than the one for "Sparkle".
Yes, they do have a speaker but I am certain things look very different from our women's conference and it should because its not "Woman Night" its "Man Night"!
For the past several years, as I come to the entrance of the church parking lot for a weekend service, the first people I see are men standing at the entrance. These men are positioned there to welcome everyone coming to the church. We have both men and women greeters inside but it is men who are at "the gates" so to speak. That is deliberate and yes, I have to say, I notice that.
When I was going through cancer treatment, people would greet me, hug me, pray for me, etc but it was men that surrounded my husband. I will NEVER forget the day that as we stood in the foyer at church, a group of men suddenly came up to me and my husband and surrounded us. One of them looked at me and said, "We've got Dave's back." I broke down and cried because you see, as his helpmeet who was so sick, I had been broken-hearted that I was not up to the task. These men were reassuring me that my husband was not alone. His "brothers" were there.
As my son's marriage has disintegrated, I have become aware once again of the strength of men as his "brothers" surround him, protect him, fight for him, strengthen him, care for him, etc. This is what God designed men to do and that is exactly one of the things Adam did not do in The Garden in regards to Eve. There is more that happened when he tried to pass the buck than what we might realize.
I am sorry that this was such a long comment but you know us women. Perhaps I am also speaking out of turn as I am a woman but well... that is something we women often do as well so give me grace, guys.
Women, we need to pray for our men as they lead us in our homes and our churches.