Love that Inspires Growth and Hope through Trials

Love that Inspires Growth and Hope through Trials

Mental Illness and Our Take on It

Our Struggles, Our Testimonies, Our Hopes, Our Dreams

Sometimes, in my daydreams, I fantasize about having children that are productive members of society: college graduates, productive job, living their own life in their own place. I'm ashamed to tell you this. By now I should have expunged those dreams from my mind and my vocabulary. I should be relishing the fact that I get to commune with my children for a little while longer. I should realize that the older two need me right now, especially my daughter. I long for a peaceful home that doesn't have drama everyday. Sometimes the drama gets very old. I know that my husband would like to walk out of the situation. It can be so hard for him to bear. Honestly, I feel that way sometimes. Lots of things keep both of us here. Mostly each other, and our youngest child. I look at the situation, and I feel like I'm in a no-win situation that will never end. The thought of being in it much longer sends disappointment shuddering through my being.

The drama. Oh my, the drama. Every little thing is magnified exponentially. The mentally ill can be so preoccupied with themselves in a most unhealthy way. It drains the listener so much that it can be difficult to be sympathetic, and sometimes can cause the listener to want to avoid the mentally ill person. I understand that more than I care to admit. It makes it hard for the mentally ill subject to find and keep friends. However, I so admire and appreciate those friends of Arianna's that come back day after day to be there for her. They are so good at helping her put things into perspective, and focus on more meaningful dialogue. I so appreciate those friends! I wish I could be more like them. Of course, those friends aren't living with her day in and day out, and definitely aren't responsible for her care and well-being. Of course, I'm supposed to be responsible for her, but her friends don't have to be, but they choose to. I applaud them. I applaud anyone who takes the time to know someone who suffers from mental illness, because they can see the special part of that person, and they appreciate it. And in the meantime, they can take a little of the burden off of the family that lives with it 24-7.

This isn't to say that I don't love my daughter. I do, with all of my heart. I appreciate her gifts, and her abilities. She can be delightful to be around. And my hope is that one day she will be all that all the time. But in the meantime, I need to learn ways of dealing with my inner turmoil, and not let it affect my relationship with a daughter who, although she suffers from a mental illness that drains everyone in her family, has some mighty gifts. I just need to maybe focus on those instead of the other things.

There is so much that I do wrong as a mother and wife. I handle stress badly. Yet I allow stress into my life willingly, it seems. Being the sufferer of my own mental illness, specifically ADHD, I always have to have things busy. Even my relaxation has to be busy. I must be actively listening to something, actively watching something, actively doing something, or I go stir crazy. I cannot just sit and do nothing. So I cram all types of things into my life, and add more and more until I'm so stress with all the stuff crammed into my life. So many people tell me that they are amazed at how patient I am. They especially told me these things when my oldest two were young. I was always amazed that they would believe that. Still am, really. Whatever I felt like inside, something totally different was showing on the outside. I was never patient. And this wasn't a mask I put on. How do you put on a mask of patience? I never could. Another thing people tell me all the time is "I don't know how you do it." To me, that is just not helpful because so often I don't think I'm "doing" it very well. I "do it" by doing it poorly 90% of the time.

As you go about your day to day activities, take a minute or two and reflect on how you deal with those mentally ill people in your sphere of influence. Do you try to run away like I would want to? Do you look more like the friends who see the best in the person, and deal with the rest willingly? How do you feel about your responses to those people? What can you do to be there for the parents of the mentally ill? Leave your comments below. I'd like to hear from you.

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I have been taking a well-earned sabbatical from writing and Wattpad. Been reflecting on the Word, examining my heart, listening and spending time with my friends and family. During my reflections, I noted three things in my life that need work on desperately. 1.) my perspective on myself 2.) my habits of secret holding from my parents and 3.) my habits of getting into conflicts that I do not belong in... I just now realized that, though they seem like three completely different points that I'm mentioning, they are still surprisingly entwined with one another. 
I noticed it by looking back at a status that expressed how I felt about myself. The perspective one has of themselves tend to affect their habits...
"sigh... I hate my very existence and I just want someone to just sit really close to and cuddle with. However, I feel like just a shadow, the kind that scares everyone away, because it looks beastly..." — feeling depressed.
I have noticed that this very perspective of myself affects two things about me: which is my "need" for proving myself independent and able to go through life on my own... and my "need" to be the hero... When I cannot prove myself worthy or that I can handle others' and my own problems, that I, myself can save my friends and myself. That's when I get dis-regulated, I start feeling as though I make things worse by noticing the beast-- that is my mental illness--lashed out on somebody else... I become an outcast. I lose friends. I lose relationships. I, then feel as though my mental illness-- which is the "shadow of the beast"-- is the only defining thing anyone else sees in me... So, as they look at the shadow, they believe it beastly... I'll digress and say my disease can really be that. They'd rather see the shadow, and turn away without seeing the owner of that shadow... me, my true self. I tend to want to work my disorder away. I am very competitive, which is part of my disease, I believe... I must rise above it, on my own, with my willpower, by my own strength--forget about depending on God. Forget about asking what He wants... I have to be that hero... We probably can logically say we've all been here... the fact that it is against all I believe... and it makes forgiving others even more of a challenge, as well, because it's on my own will... I cannot forgive, except by the power and love of the Lord INSIDE OF ME! We all struggle with surrendering in obedience to God. Some more than others... and I can honestly say, that regrettably I am one of the more stubborn children, I kick and scream my way back to God, a lot of times... But, I do try to work past that I turn my eyes upon the Lord.
By entering into conflicts that I probably ought to have not gotten involved in, trying to be the hero of those who struggled, I have lost friends, torn people apart, just by watching it unravel at my touch. I have learned a valuable lesson today in my dailyaudiobible... and this lesson is to rely on God's voice... Look to His will before your own desires... ask Him to answer the question; what is the posture of my heart? He is the ultimate hero that works through and resides in you... You are only the hands and feet... He is the power that wills you to move... the only thing we need to do is pray, abide in His call for us, submit to His will and move where He leads us... The true earthly "heroes" are the one who choose to bend a knee to the Almighty, and do each simple thing according to His will to advance His kingdom... the ordinary shall become extraordinary, by their willingness to surrender.
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Sometimes life is like the pushing a boulder up a mountain. Especially when there is mental illness involved. Especially when there is more than one person in the family with mental illness. Especially when someone in the household decides to do major moving around of furniture from one room to another. Especially when you catch some kind of bug that just drains all energy you might have had. So, I'm sitting in what is supposed to be my sanctuary from the rest of the household. All around me are books and junk left over from the partial moving around of our rec room. I have no doubt that it will eventually be a haven for me, but at this moment it's getting on my every nerve as I try to cope with it. Last night I got maybe three hours of sleep, and I'm tired and irritable. As in, I shouldn't be allowed to talk to people, especially my daughter who suffers from mental illness. So, yet again, I have gotten gruff and hurtful with her because I was wanting some "me" time to decompress after a disturbing experience this morning. Well, it wasn't her fault, she wasn't even there. She's wanting to get out of the house and maybe spend time with people, whether they are friends or not. Me? I want to go hide in my cave. I want to stay as far away from people as possible. Not a good combination, really. It's frustrating that I can't keep my mouth in check when I feel this way. It's devastating that I sometimes do more harm than good in relation to dealing with my daughter.

Sorry to any people I see or deal with today. Just tell me to go to the corner, where it is quiet and not chaotic.

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“… It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” --Deuteronomy 31:8
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. --Jeremiah 29:11
"We're colored people, and we live in a tainted place
We're colored people, and they call us the human race
We've got a history so full of mistakes
And we are colored people who depend on a Holy Grace --DC Talk "Coloured People"
It's my will, and I'm not moving
Cause if it's Your will, then nothing can shake me
It's my will, to bow and praise You
I now have the will to praise my God 
(We've got to be children of peace,
we've got to be children of peace)" --DC Talk "My Will"
"Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life." --St. Francis of Assisi
People often ask me why I put so much emphasis on peace and the war to get there. Well, with a disease that makes it hard for me-- and for anyone who is with me-- to have peace, just the thought of rest, of the blessing of peaceful golden silence after so many fears and voices in my head, of mutual peace between me and my family-- my friends-- my God... Just thinking about those things is a hope that I long after. After the war of trying to spread peace and failing miserably, and being unable to victor over the pain, it makes it difficult to live through these days. For so long, I can't get past the fact that I cannot be who God made me to be... I guess I ought not try all of this on my own, because, of course it falls apart that way...
Those days when waking up and moving forward are the hardest of things to do. It's a fight to look in the mirror and exhausting to chew your food, when these things discourage you from bathing and eating... That's when being a child of peace and light is the hardest of things to do and when fading into the grays sounds like the best direction. But, it's also the time that it's most important to be that child of peace.... spread the good news, comfort the broken, lift up the weary, carry the burdened, and love the neighbour-- and the enemy, forgive the hurts, live, love, laugh, and yes, even weep for and with the mission field... What's the mission field? It's the vast sea of faces... the entire world, no limits at all... All four corners of the world, to the end of the age... until your very last breath and the eternal and never-ending peace of the Kingdom is yours to taste and behold... But it is so hard, and we have so many fears... I know it all too well... But there isn't anything we can't do with God... He plans great things for us. My prayer now is that we will not let ourselves fade... because God will bring us into victory, He will crush Satan under our feet... and He will cry out with a loud voice to not be afraid and that this, our enemy is only one of the many He will slay beneath our feet.
Like when Joshua slayed the five kings in Joshua 10, God will conquer the enemies who were rulers over us when we trust in Him... 
So it was, when they brought out those kings to Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said to the captains of the men of war who went with him, “Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings.” And they drew near and put their feet on their necks. 25 Then Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; be strong and of good courage, for thus the Lord will do to all your enemies against whom you fight.” 26 And afterward Joshua struck them and killed them, and hanged them on five trees; and they were hanging on the trees until evening. --Joshua 10:24-26.  
So why do I put so much emphasis on peace with fellow man and God? Because "...we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." Ephesians 6:10-13. With that known, to fight against these spirits, we must live a life of agape(unconditional love), joy, shalom(grace, mercy, and peace), hesed(lovingkindness), faithfulness and self-control... We spread the truth on those basis. That is why peace is so important to me...
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Patience can persuade a prince, and soft speech can break bones.

Proverbs 25:15 [NLT]

This past Sunday, I posted about how God reached to me with love... It was a beautiful day, and God really wanted me back it seems. Through the past year and a half God has broken me down for His glory plenty of times...leaving me very vulnerable to His Word. He can come in very easily, compared to the days, of my teenage rebellion. Yesterday, I crashed pretty hard when the night fell. Depression hit me like a strong ocean tide. Knocked me down pretty hard... I struggled to keep a firm hold on what God spoke to me Sunday... Today is a wee bit different... I'm having some severe ups and downs. There are times I'm so happy, I cannot help but cry and laugh, tending to want to dance and sing... But then I crash and feel as though I'm the lowest of the low. Really now, I just want it to be Sunday again... I want to feel the presence of God in the company of His people. I want to feel that oneness of the Bride again in the breaking of the bread, I want to feel that mist that is the Holy Spirit, dwelling in His house as we sing, I want to hear His Words speak to convict and I want to forget the bitterness I bear and sorrow I have for just one moment while we all pray as one... In this moment I feel so alone, yet not alone... I feel this sad deep burning longing for the Lord to come... and yet I feel Him right here. Almost as if I'm with a friend, and still I'm crying and telling them I miss them. I want the Kingdom to come and I want to advance it. I feel so lighthearted, but a burning ache remains. Many people think me weird when I say this, but I'm Homesick... even when I am under the protection of these four walls and ceiling... White walls with a brown-carpeted concrete floor... I don't feel at home in the apartment that I live in...

I don't feel like I fit in any category when I walk out of these walls. The only category I would at least half-claim as my own is outcast... I walk these wet, cracked streets of concrete and asphalt. The cracks almost a sign of the insanity and sorrow that just shatters what is left of the groaning world. I hear the tears of the world, the lullabies of a million shattered hearts all in one vicinity... With all these faces, they're looking for the same thing I am... to fit in. To find the place where their puzzle piece should be. The unique beauty of their hearts warped in the sin that took hold... Victims, tyrants, prisoners, slaves, warriors, healers, peacemakers, and dictators. A salad of humanity... and it seems in the many faces I'm just one raindrop among this dry land. Is it just me? But this road isn't where I want to walk. My pillow isn't where I want to lay my head. My apartment isn't where I want to be sheltered. My place in the armchair isn't where I want to think... Is it just me or am I the only who cries for the Home where I've never been... Who longs after what I cannot know? Sometimes I feel as if I'm the only one who trying to serve Him with all my heart, holiness often feels like an empty attempt that leads to madness. I can often feel so alone, forgotten, left behind... They say that God remembers me, that I am His desert rose, and object of remembering, but is that the case, when I feel like it is vanity to be pure? This feeling isn't new to me... it was what broke me to almost stop believing, last week. I know He remembers me. And though I'm an alien here, when I come Home, you know where I'm gonna fit in? Right in His arms... I know my voice isn't drown among the sea of cries and tears. I'm not a lost soul on the path to nowhereland... I'm not the forgotten, I'm the choicest part in God's eye... All of His children are.


How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God! What joy for those who can live in your house, always singing your praises.Interlude

What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.

O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, hear my prayer. Listen, O God of Jacob. Interlude O God, look with favor upon the king, our shield! Show favor to the one you have anointed.
A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you.

Psalm 84 [NLT]

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Who We Are

Arianna LIGHT for MI

Arianna is a proud authoress, artist, and musician, but the most important thing about her is; she seeks the hidden face of God with a passion. A lover of culture, art, music, and all things geeky and Celtic, her writings are often greatly impacted by these things.


Valerie LIGHT for MI

Valerie is the wife of a remarkable man, and the mother of three children, with two of whom having various degrees of mental illness. Valerie is no stranger to mental illness herself as a sufferer of depression on and off for years.


Live Here Chicago
Live Here Chicago