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    Life After Death, Grieving a Sister’s Suicide

    This week I am honored to feature the words and heart of a dear friend of mine who lost her beloved sister to suicide. Her pain is fresh, but her hope in the Lord is inspiring. Nina resides in Monticello, Georgia and is mom to three sweet children, a military wife, a medical professional, and a loving friend and sister. I know her prayer is that her words bring comfort and encouragement, especially to the brokenhearted and hopeless. Everyone loves a heroic ending. The masses pour into movie theaters to watch superheroes conquer the enemy and save the world at the brink of destruction. Our hearts soar when allied forces march in…

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    Self-Care for the Whole Person

    “Read your Bible and pray more,” I heard over and over again growing up in the church. And I did. It helped fill my mind with truth and connect me with God. But it didn’t stop me from becoming depressed during my senior year of college. When my doctor diagnosed me with depression, I first thought, “No way. Not me. Christians don’t get depressed.” As if she could read my thoughts, my doctor, who knew I called myself a Christian, said, “Depression doesn’t mean you don’t pray enough or love God enough. Depression involves physical, chemical imbalances in the brain, and it commonly creeps up in busy, stressful periods of…

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    This is Your Brain…On Stress

    Those who grew up in the 80’s can’t forget this gem of a PSA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk9XY8Nrs0A While the war on drugs continues to rage on, another battle happens almost every day in traffic jams, breakrooms, and around dinner tables: the battle within the brain as it deals with stress. According to the American Psychological Association, the stress situation in America is “chronic.” That’s putting it mildly. Many would say modern-day Americans are the most collectively stressed-out population in history. Could we really be worse off than our ancestors, who dealt with things like tribal wars, natural disasters, and animal predators? Several MD’s answer that question with a resounding ‘yes.' Their reasons merit another…

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    Fighting the Burden of Mental Illness Through Prayer

    Our wise, experienced family doctor asked me an unexpected question during a wellness checkup: “You live with two depressed men (my husband and my son, both of whom have been open about their struggle with depression). What are you doing to protect yourself? Depression is contagious.” I told her, “Well, actually, not long ago I got off a cruise ship with my joy-filled sister where we had five days together with nothing but fun and laughter, and it completely filled my tank.” “Great!” she nodded. You need to do that more often.” As soon as I left her office, I called my sister. “You’ll never believe what my doctor just…

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    How to Support People Facing Mental Health Challenges

    Mental Health Day is October 10. According to the World Health Organization, one in four people will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide. So how do we support those who suffer? * Recognize that many mental illnesses have nothing to do with choices. Often we have an erroneous theology of the physical body that labels physical illness as involuntary but mental illness as a choice. Yet, the brain misfiring, lacking connectors, or working without needed chemicals can affect behavior in ways that are out of a person's control. * Be present.…

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    Ministry and Mission and Mental Illness

    In the United States, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. It's the time when advocacy agencies and support groups draw our attention to the indicators, treatments and challenges for the nearly 20 percent of the population impacted by mental disorders. For one month a year we are exposed to stories, facts, figures and fundraisers with the hope that we will care. However, for many families, the stories don't surface just once a year. They are written every day in desperate hearts coping with the confusion, isolation and stigma of mental illness. And many authors of these stories are sitting in the pews of your church. Did you know that? While…