Daily Archives: 27/03/2019

Finding The Way Home Is Personal

I keep being asked if I didn’t fear God would smite me for calling Him names. I was like ‘No! I believe He is big enough and can handle it after all He didn’t strike David dead and others who did madness so I don’t think he would strike me down.’ Was I naïve? Maybe but seeing that I was being honest…He would have to handle it and I was right.

He came through, hugged me, loved me and rebuilt me. He pushed me through the people He sent to help and demanded nothing but full attention and work to get better. He sent me teachers to give the needed skills. He sent people who wouldn’t take nonsense or excuses from me. He made a way to walk through the valley of the shadow of death because the valley is a place of learning just like the green pasture is an important place of growth and rest. In reality, nothing is like people say and I could fully count of His word to perform.

Indeed I have found the joy of the Lord is my strength but it is a different concept. You see, when I understood that there would be valleys, I would feel the shadow of death, fear would come close, loss would show its face but His rod and staff, yes…His rod and staff, they will comfort and guide me; He will send His angels to watch over me; He will send me help from the holy hill. The difference has been how I find Him and connect to His plan His way in even in the darkest hour and there were many dark hours. Yet in the darkness, He was the one who was right next to me all the time.

One thing is certain, I will never tell anyone to just believe like I used to. I now ask hard questions and push for honest answers that will lead to learning the right choices for walking and strength to stay the path. Sometimes all it takes is an emoji from one who knows me, a look from one of my pillars, a slice of cake and black coffee, a good book, a moment watching the sunset, a tear shed in the privacy of my workout, a walk in the estate, thirteen-page journal entries…there was never one way to deal with it. The only thing I know for sure is His rod and staff…no platitudes, no affirmations to chant, just dealing with issues one at a time.

The way out was to categorise life into sectors: emotions, faith, finances, the marriage, friends, family etc. I dealt with the issues sequentially in an order that worked for me. It has been the hardest but sweetest journey because I have tools, I have proof, I have support and for that I am aware that I am privileged.

There has been an increase of strength and joy in my heart and I owe it to God because of the dark times that have drawn me closer to him, given me the skills I need for navigation and trimmed off my madness and the sense of judgement I had against those who were struggling. The struggles have made me stronger and more compassionate and I hadn’t even noticed it till my sister said, ‘I like the person you have become through the challenges; you are nicer and more compassionate.’

So if the trouble will help another person down the road; bring it on. There is a method and a purpose for the madness so bring it on. The reality is that each of us must deal with the issues and rise to the fullness that awaits us. Here’s to more conversations about life and mental health.

#NoExcuse #NoLimitations #MentalHealth

When It Came Knocking I Knocked Back

In the last several years I have had the privilege of facing some very challenging times in life that have led to dealings with depression, anxiety and despair. Did I just say privilege? Yes I did. I had the privilege of facing some things that shook me to the core, messed my belief system, blew my dreams to smithereens and left me standing bruised, burned and in tears in the middle of nowhere. Those who are very close to me know the depth of these challenges but they don’t scratch the surface of what others I know around me have gone through. 

I wasn’t the one who couldn’t get out of bed daily. I wasn’t the angry, moody one. I was the high functioning, externally confident, high performer who was dying on the inside. 

I remember battling the thought that I shouldn’t feel so low if the joy of the Lord is my strength. I remember standing on the Word, it failed and fell apart. I remember asking, how could I be so sad and miserable when God has promised to lead me in green pastures by cool waters? Had I lost the plot? Would I ever recover? Am I crazy to be feeling the way I am?

One of the greatest moments of shift was when I mentioned my struggles to a very dear sister with the fact that I was seeing a shrink. Her response was a simple “so?” What? How? Her response took me aback because I expected her to run for the hills and never come back. To discard me as broken. To judge. Then she helped me understand. She too had struggled and sought help from a shrink and doors opened to healing and strength. 

I began the journey to healing that day and it has been quite a journey. It is still a walk and the best part was finding people who share my faith, have been through it or are actively helping others through it without losing their faith.

How did I make it back? Am I even back? Yes I am back and it has been quite a journey. 

The biggest challenge was rebuilding my faith. It fell apart because it was premised on things and actions rather than a deep seated love relationship. I had all the good girl things ticked; served in church, went for bible study, shared my faith, led youth groups etc. and I thought I was solid. When the foundation fell out and my life wasn’t working as I trusted it would and I was left with nothing, I realised that my foundation was actually on sand and I didn’t even know. The loss and failure triggered a crisis of faith and trust that triggered deep depression, anxiety and despair that only I could dig my way out. 

What did I do? 
I let go of expectation. 
I let go of people. 
I let go of hopes and dreams. 
I let go of the wanting people to make me happy. 
I understood that where I am is a result of the choices I have made and I can make another choice to get out. 
I understood that certain people won’t stay even if I wanted them to and so I found ‘my people’ and we held each others hands. 
I outsourced my faith and asked people to pray for me when I couldn’t pray for myself. 
I asked God to cut the crap, come, sit next to me and teach me Himself who He is or just get out of the picture completely. 
I was done with unreliable people and that included Him if He wasn’t going to show up.

I know many say it is audacious but when you are at rock bottom and have nothing to lose, you can only go upward with those who decide to walk with you. 

Let me tell you… 
God showed up in full force. 
He held me, 
Uncovered all the levels of madness and false expectations I was living by, 
Showed me all the lies I had listened to and given strength.
He taught me the things that would get me from one end to another. 
I learnt that the things that will get me out of that place may not the same for my sister or brother so I don’t use my way out to tell people how to get out. 
I ask them to find their answers at the foot of the cross.

Mental wellness is a personal journey that can make us stronger if we let it. Surprised I’ve been on this journey? Just imagine how many others around you are in this track and you don’t even know. 

Let’s begin to have honest conversations about mental health. 


Mental Health & Life

We are hearing more and more about mental health issues yet many of us won’t talk about it. There is still a lot of stigma around it that we don’t talk about it. So many questions and stereotypes that we don’t want to talk about it that are hurting our nation.

Most of us would rather die than admit that we have or have walked through mental health challenges because we are scared of what people will say about us. we are worried if we will lose our place in society. We are told that it will bring shame to the family if it is discovered that one of us has dealt with these issues. We say things like, she just needs to snap out of it, just get your stuff together, how can you be depressed and you are a Christian and many more strange things like it.

Why can’t we just admit that we have had mental health challenges or someone around us is working through them? What is so wrong with saying we aren’t coping with life and need some help? Why is there such a stigma around mental health issues? When did it become ok to side line people because of their personal challenges? Would you talk badly about someone with cancer or diabetes or hypertension or any other physical disease? So why do we talk badly about mental health challenges when they are just a disease like any other?

There is the mother who went to bed one day and couldn’t wake up the next because her body was too tired and this struggle led to depression. There is the young person raised in a home with exacting standards to be maintained who just got tired of being someone they aren’t and shut down. There is also the man who hasn’t reached where he wanted to be by now and life isn’t improving but the pressure ‘to be a man’ is more than he can bear. There is the person who has ended up with depression because of a debilitating disease.

There is the couple who have lost a baby and she is broken beyond repair and is barely hanging on but since she was the one who went through the situation no one thinks he is hurting. There is the father whose adult son has died and he doesn’t know what to do with the grief. There is the person who had great hopes in their job but has just been made redundant and he cannot face his family to tell them the truth. There is the pastor who is seeing his congregants growing as individuals but the growth isn’t translating to a vibrant congregation. There is the couple who hoped for happily ever after and till death do us part but now they cannot stand each other.

Mental health challenges are closer to you than you could even know. In fact, they could easily be within you and you aren’t even aware. We need to be more considerate and willing to learn how to manage this as it is indeed a part of life.

#NoExcuse #NoLimitations #MentalHealth