Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Conquering the Stigma of Mental Illness

"1 in 6 adults and almost 1 in 10 children suffer from a diagnosable mental illness. Yet, for many, the stigma associated with the illness can be as great a challenge as the disease itself... You see, stigma is caused by either the wrong information (misperception), or no information at all (ignorance)...

"The good news is- stigma can be conquered. How? By those with a mental illness sharing their stories. And by those without an illness- listening and learning." - from Bring Change 2 Mind

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sexual Exploitation in Dallas

Lately, I've joined with a few ladies in ministering to sexually exploited women in Dallas. We visit local brothels, strip clubs and call sex ads to pray for the women and try to show them Christ's love. In many of the brothels, Asian immigrants sleep on mats- on the same floor where they sell their bodies during work hours. Because these women speak limited English, and have no transportation, they have been our biggest burden.

A few weeks ago we took some bread and sparkling grape juice, along with some Scripture verses (in English/Thai) to pass out to the women in the brothels. Several of the places have been shut down since we visited in August, but it's left the remaining brothels very busy. The parking lots were unusually full for a weekday afternoon.

Most of the Asian brothels have shrines set up outside where the women can daily bring food sacrifices or incense. It saddens me to think about the life these women are living. The cycle of degradation, lust, power and confused prayers offered to man-made gods with deaf ears.

We're currently in the process of trying to start a non-profit organization so that we can raise funds to continue ministering to these marginalized women. There is so much more on our hearts to do. And the need continues to grow, as our eyes are opened to sexual exploitation all around us.

Monday, October 12, 2009

"Clean" is in the eye of the beholder...

Just thought I'd share a recent frustration- my daughter's version of a "clean" room.

Well, at least I can see the floor again...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Take Captive Every Thought

Last night I didn't sleep very well. I went to bed late, couldn't get comfortable, and Ted's snoring was worse than normal. I tried sleeping on the couch, but I'm used to someone next to me, so I went back to my bed. I finally was able to fall asleep using the earplugs I wear during band practices. Yes, the snoring was that loud. Then Timothy came into my bed in the wee hours. So I knew it was going to be a rough day.

While I was showering, I felt really down. I kept thinking about finances, life circumstances, body image issues... and the world was turning dark and overwhelming. And then I remembered that I hadn't had much sleep, and that perhaps this depression was really just physical exhaustion. So I felt better, but then my mind kept drifting to the same problems, and I'd feel discouraged again. So I told myself again that nothing had changed but my perspective, I was just tired. Every time I had a negative thought, I had to tell myself the truth. "Take captive every thought" (2 Cor. 10:5). Arrest the thought, deflect it, replace it. Repeat as needed.

It still surprises me how fast I can feel overwhelmed and depressed. If I had given in to the negative thoughts, I could have been immobilized by the end of my shower, and it would've been that much harder to remind myself of God's truth. Little things like sleep make a HUGE difference in being able to manage thoughts and emotions. And when I feel vulnerable to attacks of discouragement, that's when I need to stay closer and cling harder to God.

Later in the morning, I was able to play some worship songs on my piano and just rest in His presence. I felt completely refreshed and re-centered again. And when Timothy took his nap, I took a little one, too. The combination of sleep + God's presence = peace. Sounds simple, but it's easy to forget in the emotional breakdown. Fortunately, God is really nice and nudges me in the right direction when I start to lose my way. Hopefully, I'll remember tomorrow when the daily chaos strikes again. But for tonight, I'll try to get more sleep. I think I'll be proactive and use my earplugs right away this time.

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