His Time/This Life

This is pretty much how I’ve been seeing time as of late:


To a certain degree, it seems like there’s plenty of time, while in other cases, it feels like I’m running out of time. Altogether though, I recognize that time is a major commodity that we can’t get back once it’s been spent.

One aspect of my life that I’ve taken on in the past week is not to mourn over the time that was lost during my mental shutdown. Rather, I told myself that I needed to focus on the time ahead of me and what the Lord has planned for the days to come.

I know that when I was sick, I didn’t take each day as it came, instead I took each moment as it came, moment by moment. As I look at the crazy clock picture above, I recall the feeling of time just spiraling out of my hands and losing all hope as each day went by. However, now that things seem to be on the right track, Lord willing, perhaps I can get some things going forward and in order as each day comes.

One thing I know is that I’ve set my sights on May 2016 to graduate high school so that I can make it just in time for the citywide graduation ceremony in June. My recent mental alertness has caused me to want to start taking on 2 school subjects at once, which I’m just considering at the moment if I can. This is something that requires prayer before I do so, as it will take up more of my time in each and every day. It would likely be worth it in the long run, but I just want to ‘count the cost’ as it were, to see if I can fit a second subject into my time schedule.

Another thing that I expressed interest in last night during a get together was that the desire to go on a missions trip is returning to my mind and heart. The head of the chapel’s missionary committee suggested that while I’ve always had the Philippines in mind, he recommends to start with something more local first, just to test if I could do this, and I would agree. The chapel has a Summer mission they make up North every year, so maybe it’s time to do that in 2016. My mentor has warned me of the heartbreaking extreme poverty in the Philippines, knowing how emotionally involved that I can get, but he always thought that it was a good idea. For now, I’m just praying to see if this is really something I want to do, or if it’s God’s plan and intention (and timing) for me to do this. I’ve only been getting my meds balanced since last week, so I don’t want to jump on anything quickly.

When it comes to time, the Lord has allotted me a fair amount of it to do what He wills for me to do. I just have to be cautious of how I spend that time right now, as I want to do so for His glory, and not for me to waste with things that just don’t matter in this life. All in His time, I suppose.

God Bless…

When Fear Sets In But There’s Assurance

I was in the small town of Tavistock Ontario for the fall conference of the Brethren Assemblies. It was the first conference that I’d attended all of this year.

While I was there, I was faced with quite a few crowds and I had to step outside multiple times to avoid oncoming panic attacks. Now this may seem like an annoyance to many, but for me, it ended up being a blessing, as I got to have a quick discussion with one of the conference speakers about messages that he has preached that he didn’t have time to trim and edit, and he proceeded to tell me that the small ministry of Cross Conversion Tape Transfers was an answer to prayer. In fact, I gave many people and chapel elders my ministry business card today and now we will see what happens from there, Lord willing.

Today also marked a very strong point in my life as well. With it being the first conference for 2015, I did so with an excited feeling inside of me, a sense of renewal of sorts. You see, as long as I wasn’t properly adjusted on my meds, I was very bitter towards the assemblies, and just the North American church at large. All I could see was moral failure in the pews on Sundays and I allowed it to make me very angry.

It hasn’t been until my mental health issues have been sorted out that I had begun to wonder if all of the issues that I had with the church were problems that I saw within myself. Was I really now willing to admit that everything that I didn’t like was actually a mirror?

Little did I understand just how ungrateful I really was. I had a large audio tape order from the assemblies main book sales and publishing company, as well as having had 3 articles published on a prominent assembly website. To be honest, on the outside, I did all of this as “God’s Work”, meanwhile telling His people to shove it, and today was just the day that this all came into perspective.

I cannot begin to think of how blessed that I have been with this tape ministry during the darkest of times. I had honestly assumed that the ministry was over now because I’ve been healing and recovering, but today proved otherwise. In fact, the ministry has only just started.

So I suppose what I’m saying is that tomorrow morning, I will be at the Lord’s Table at 9:30am for the first time since I believe September. This was just a meeting that I wanted nothing to do with anymore and all that it represented. It’s just amazing how the Lord can forgive such arrogance and pride when it is confessed to Him. In all honesty, I would have chose to let me suffer off my meds longer…but thankfully, I’m NOT God!

Next week at the chapel is the missions conference. This will be a big and busy time at the soundboard, and I’m so grateful for the help that the Lord has provided for me in that particular chapel ministry, and also that my ego has released the grip of making that my job and nobody else’s.

The perspective that I gained today, and the time that I’ve spent in the Word this past week has been amazing. How great is our God that He can send someone from 0 to 60 in a matter of less than a week if they are honestly and genuinely seeking Him in repentance and faith?

God Bless…

Facing The Darkness While In The Light

Lately the Lord has encouraged me in this battle to get back to a good state of health and well being. He has provided many Scriptures to bring me along, as well as many different songs and hymns to help carry me through the dark times that I’ve been facing when I just don’t feel like I can keep going on in the direction that He wants me to go.

I honestly never realized the battle that I would be facing in my own mind in order to get back onto a healthy medication schedule and to be able to see each and every day as something special to be enjoyed. Last night was a particularly difficult trial, as I began to have a panic attack just minutes before I was to take my meds, and I was literally left with no strength in my arm to bring my hand up to my mouth in order to put my pills into my mouth.

Since Sunday night, the battle has grown more and more intense. I can feel the war inside of me, fighting for the ability to stay up the entire night, rather than do the right thing by getting this over with and going to bed. There really is a dark struggle in all of this. I know that I have to take my meds…but something says not to.

No matter what the situation, I’ve begun to read again, plus I’ve taken the time to sit down with God’s Word BEFORE the laptop gets turned on. These are the little victories that I’ve wanted to see for quite some time. I have also finished transferring all of the audio cassettes from the Gospel Folio Press order as of yesterday. With the bad, can come the good, if you’re willing to look for it.

Today I’m submitting the assignment that changed my life for the better to my high school teacher in the course that I’m working on. It’s the most abysmal piece of work I’ve ever done, but the fact that it opened my eyes to there being a major problem in my life, I guess it isn’t all that bad. At least it’s going to help me to move forward in my school work, which is what I really want to do to be able to graduate by June 2016.

I have a great support team on my side. The chapel’s elders, my mom, a prayer partner, and now a fellow Christian friend who is praying for me and is concerned for my welfare. I’m definitely taken good care of in prayer and concern. I’m truly not alone.

As I’ve read the first few verses of James, been led to Luke 9 and today to Psalm 84, I have found the direction and a particular path that the Lord is leading me in His Word, and that is to take refuge in Him alone, and to trust in Him, that He will see me through this battle. Keep going to God in prayer to calm the panic attacks, and don’t get down on myself because I may take my meds a few minutes after midnight because I’m trying to calm down from anxiety. It happens, just trust that the Lord will see me through.

On Priorities

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:31-34 NKJV)

I came to an interesting conclusion tonight, and that is that the internet has nothing inherently good to it for me. It’s just one big digital junk pile that I’ve come to waste my time on.

When I moved at the end of March, I parted with my internet, only to get something faster a couple of months later. Financially and on a level of interest, I now have no idea why I felt like I needed it. Yes, I have this blog, and I also have the chapel website that I admin, but other than that, I’m running out of ideas and the wallet is taking a hit as well.

Most importantly, I’ve been noticing that while my meds have been adjusting in my body, I seem to be having a bit of clarity in seeing that my time has been greatly wasted online since I got downtown, except for the first couple of months that I didn’t have my own connection.

In short, I’m wasting God’s time on things that just don’t matter in the long run, and I really have to do something about this.

I used to be all gung-ho for being outside, but I kinda got stuck in a rut during my difficult downtime recently. I have become lazy and lethargic in daily activities with no real schedule of any kind.

Now I’m not saying that it’s the internet’s fault, it’s really my fault for allowing myself to get inactive the way that I have. I find it to be a blessing that I’ve lost much interest in the net and also how Facebook doesn’t interest me like it used to. There’s more of a charge to do more than what I’m doing now.

Let’s face it, I’m my own worst enemy a lot of times and now that I’ve begun to correct over a decade of atrocious mental health issues, I’m finding myself having more interest in living a life that I never knew that existed all along, continuously shortchanging myself with the way I messed things up constantly.

A new time is beginning, one that is spent more in the Word of God and off of social media. I still go online, as you can see by this post, but I’m quickly releasing my grip on the concept that the world wide web is all there is for my little life.

There’s plenty of people who need help or just want to talk to someone in this city. I’m coming out of my own enclosed shell now that my mental health recovery is becoming a reality, rather than just a catchphrase. Bring it on!!!

God Bless…

Restoring Sanity

Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. (Psalm 25:5 NLT)

From the people that I have talked to, this is a rather common thing, something that isn’t an anomaly, but happens quite often with people in my situation. I’m talking about not taking my medications as a form of invisible self-harm, and I’ve been doing this for the past 13 years. That is, until Sunday night.

I have struggled with this for the longest time. “You have to take your meds Pat”…um, yeah, I know that already, in fact, I tell myself that every single night. What it came down to was a matter of this being the only thing that I had control over in my life, and therefore if I wanted to take them, I did, and if not, then I didn’t. Simple as that!

The effect I would get from not taking them would vary on a scale from a manic high to a depressive low, to anywhere in between. What it came down to was that if I felt something other than the crushing pain of my failures in life, I would be OK with that, and thus, that’s usually how it went.

I was working on a school assignment in my Health For Life course that is know as a ‘Vitality Record’. This is to keep track of not just what you are eating, but how your moods and fitness levels are. I filled out last week from Monday to Friday and by the time I reached Friday I looked at the record and saw how miserable and down I was throughout the week. I then finally said to myself “I need help”. In short, my school work may have saved my life.

On Sunday, I took the bus to church for the 11am meeting. I had a meeting scheduled with the elders afterwards. What ensued was pretty much what I’m writing here. That I told them about this battle that’s lasted over a decade because I feel absolutely useless to anyone and that I just keep feeling mental and emotional pain, and how I deal with it. I told them not to tell me that I had to take them, because I knew that. I told them that I was just at a point where I didn’t care anymore…about anything…at all. I just knew that I needed to be open about it.

They were a good help, each of them having a different perspective of seeing things, which I was glad for. One of them was able to explain what I meant by ‘self-harm’ in not taking my meds, so that was helpful. Overall, it was a good meeting and later that afternoon I told my mom as well.

So now the plan is to take my meds by no later than midnight every night. Now I’m not gonna lie to you, there have been nights where I still don’t want to. So much so, that I’ve had this self-talk in my head telling me that I’d be okay without them for just one more night. What it comes down to is in the past 2 nights, I’ve taken them before midnight despite the struggle, and I still really don’t want to…I just don’t know why I don’t want to.

I’ve been in contact with someone on Twitter who deals with patients with mental health issues and eating disorders. She’s the one that I mentioned a while back that wants my story on dealing with mental health. I explained to her my situation that I’m in and she seemed to understand entirely what I was talking about. She’s seen how cutters harm themselves, so she was able to figure out what I meant by mine not leaving any scars that people can see.

One thing that I’ve contemplated for a long while now is seeing a Christian therapist that I have the contact info of. I think I may be at the point where going to see him might be the best option for the time being, so I will look into booking an appointment for December when his schedule opens up.

Starting today, I actually took the time to take on that tithing principle that I was talking about a few days ago. The first thing that I asked the Lord when I sat down was what should I read in my Bible and the response I got in my head was the Epistle of James.

All I had to do was read from verses 2 to 7 to understand 3 things that I need to be seeking daily: Patience, Wisdom and Faith. Apparently these 3 things I’m having trouble with at this present time as I deal with each and every night of voices in my head telling me that I don’t need my meds and that I’ll be “just fine.” This, I doubt, but seeing as I’ve been doing this for so long, I know that I could, and therein lies the struggle.

For now, I don’t even tell myself to take it one day at a time. Rather, I tell myself to take it one moment at a time, as this is all that I can seem to handle at the present until a later date.

So if self-harm is something you’re struggling with as a believer in Jesus Christ, you’re not the only one. In fact, I’m willing to talk about it with you if this is the ‘thorn in the flesh’ that you face daily. Don’t suffer alone!

How We “Spend” Our Time With God

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until  it overflows. (Malachi 3:10 NASB)

What do you think of when I say “Tithing”?

For some in the church, this means taking 10% off of your overall income and giving it to God.

Others might say that the tithe ended at the cross with all of the Old Testament Levitical laws. There is no tithe, and besides, God wants a cheerful giver, not someone who does so because they feel that they have to.

While others may be cynical enough to say that the church just holds that over the people’s heads so they can get their money to pay the pastors and the staff.

No matter what you’re belief of the tithe in the Old Testament or in most churches today, I was presented with a concept that I’d like to share with you about how you spend your day with God.

The idea is that based on the old 10% tithing of the Old Testament, can we take each 24 hour day and give God at least 2 hours and 40 minutes of those days to dedicate to prayer, reading and study?

Now I know what you might be thinking: “I don’t have that much time to spare in a day!” Fair enough, but how much time do you spend on social media in a given day? Perhaps MORE than 3 hours for some of us? If so, you have time to at least try this.

Look, I’m guilty of the social media obsessions as well, I spend far too much time using it, and often it makes me depressed. So what better way than to be so blessed by the Lord than to make the time for Him, rather than our usual 5 minute prayer and a quick devotional? Yup, I’ve been totally guilty of that since I came to know the Lord 5 years ago. What I challenge, I’m willing to do so myself.

You really have nothing to lose, and you have everything to gain. Yes, it may not look like that at first, but trust me, that’s really just self-talk from the enemy of your soul telling you that you have so much to do and your present “plan” is just fine.

Do we want “fine” or do we want God?

All I’m suggesting is just to try it for at least 3 days straight, you’d be amazed at the blessing that you feel and experience from putting God first.

When God Isn’t So Big

They will be put to shame and even humiliated, all of them; The manufacturers of idols will go away together in humiliation. (Isaiah 46:16 NASB)

Before I came to know the Lord, the Peanuts Gang was my ‘god’. I literally had 3 bookshelves loaded to buckling full of books, figurines and all sorts of collectables.

How much of a diehard was I? I even had 3 bottles of unopened hand soaps that had a Snoopy inside the bottle, along with unwrapped chocolate figures. As long as they stayed packaged, they would be worth something someday.

Also in the 1990’s, my place was the place to be because I had all of the current video game systems that mattered on the market. Everything Sega and Nintendo had produced, I had it hooked up to the television in my bedroom. I was the gaming king!

It wasn’t until I became a believer that I saw a lot of futility in these things. I sold my PlayStation 3 which I had modified with 500GB hard drive for $360 and sold all of my games at the music store for over $300 as well.

I also proceeded to look over my vast dynasty of Snoopy’s and all of the other Peanuts items that I had, and one by one, I began to load them into large totes which are now in my mom’s basement, awaiting someone who may want them. Meanwhile, I took all of my plush Snoopy’s to church in a couple of large garbage bags and began to hand them out to the children who appreciated them, and more so the parents, as they realized what I was parting with, and what it meant to me to do so. The only thing I continue to collect is the Complete Peanuts series with a new volume twice a month, and even this is coming to an end in 2016 with the final volume.

The Peanuts Movie will be coming out in theatres on Friday, and I am still failing to find someone to go with me. I just think it’s a tad awkward for a 36 year old adult male to go to what would be considered a “kids movie” alone. But I’ve found nobody to go with, so this Saturday afternoon, I guess I’m going to it alone.

As I pondered the thought that I might miss the movie in theatres, it really didn’t bother me all that much, as I’ll probably pass up the new Ghostbusters movie as well. There’s just something about these things that really doesn’t interest me anymore.

Now I’m not saying that this type of radical change happens with everyone, but it has happened with me in the last 5 years. I honestly have no real interest in the things of the world anymore, not even something as small as having a TV in my apartment.

The world has nothing to offer me really. Even when I fire up Netflix, I only do it for when I’m going to be having my uncle visit who loves to watch movies and television shows. I on the other hand, can live without, so we usually watch stuff on my laptop when he’s here.

Yesterday I mentioned how social media had depressed me to the point of walking away from it for a short while. Well this is also the same way with collectables, knick knacks, video games and movies. I’m not even a fan of much of what constitutes itself as a “Christian Film”, but like I said before, this is just me and my opinion.

I enjoy reading, I enjoy the occasional iTunes session playing off my iPod dock, I enjoy writing. I enjoy many different quiet things that so many have taken for granted, or they have decided that the silence is too loud for them. I make the most of it to be honest.

Now I’m not prescribing that all Christians need to get with this program of scraping the “Garbage In/Garbage Out”, but it is very helpful, especially in today’s world where we’re bombarded by noise and distractions all the time.

Psalm 46:10 begins with “Be Still”, and maybe that’s just what we’re all missing: The still silent quiet moments when we can hear God the most.

God Bless…

A Fight For All It’s Worth

And [Jesus] said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23 ESV)

My writing has been few and far between as of late as I come to understand what God wants me to write, rather than just venting a personal opinion. Much like being around the Lord’s Table on Sunday mornings, I really don’t have much of anything to say right now.

Over this past weekend, I felt an ’emptying’ of sorts, as a heaviness was upon me while I battled sickness, and ending up missing a good conference on the Saturday. What ensued was a time of much sleep, and then bouts where I couldn’t sleep, all the while being deeply bothered and disturbed by many things that affected me physically.

In the meantime, I’m mostly writing in a journal, slowly getting back into the Word on a more frequent basis, however, I feel so run down and exhausted, like I always want to sleep for some reason, but I don’t know why. It’s usually after a time of prayer that I’m reinvigorated again and ready to go for a while longer. Otherwise, I just fight to make it normally through the day.

As I read and write, I notice many things have changed since I was battling my mental health issues. One of those things would happen to be my lack of urgency to pick up the pen and start writing, unlike when I was severely depressed, and could write through the entire night. The motivation just doesn’t seem to be there anymore.

Something that I haven’t shared with anyone is that I had a mini-breakdown a few weeks ago around the time of the election for a Prime Minister of Canada. I became so discouraged and dismayed, not at the results, but at the reaction of much of the ‘Christian’ community. Seeing all over social media how these people were forgetting the principle that we are to pray for leaders in authority, but it doesn’t say to complain or insult them, but all I saw was criticism and insulting remarks, and anytime I read a ‘prayer’ for the new Prime Minister, it was usually thinly veiled with backhanded nastiness. So I left social media for a little while. I occasionally go back on, only to see that things haven’t changed.

What I’ve begun to seek is the what is found in the words of Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (NASB)

This is just something that continues to spur me on, and Lord willing, I’d like to see my teaching articles on the site increase again, along with my mental health articles as well. However, I really don’t know what’s going to happen to the blog, as this seems to be a portion of the website that I’m beginning to tire of. Maybe it’s time for something new…a change…a challenge perhaps?

Things are beginning to change from the inside out right now and I’m not sure if I’m going to adapt well to the adjustments that I feel inside of myself.

We shall see in the coming weeks…

State of Affairs

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act, (Psalms 37:5 HCSB)

In the past several weeks I’ve been experiencing a lot of numbing pain in my right shoulder and it has had me really hurting most days. If you add on top of that how my mood has been affected by some recent events in my life, I’ve been battling a few things uphill. I will be seeing my doctor this Thursday, so I’ll be sure to mention to him about the pain that I’ve been in.

I just didn’t want to get out of bed today. I stayed in bed until 5pm. I could feel pain in my chest, my arm, and I was feeling down as well. What I fail to understand is why it’s so hard to get a physical done now, and why the government has seemingly made it expensive to have one. Shouldn’t we be focused on preventive medicine, rather than having to treat something later that could have been prevented?

I’ve been spending most of my time offline, as social media has really been depressing me as of late, and as I write this, it’s been quite a few days since I’ve written in the blog. I have just not had the motivation to do anything but read.

Last week I returned to the thrift store to work a shift after barely being there for months, I cringed at the thought of tossing heavy garbage bags full of clothes into a truck, or even moving anything at all because of my arm, but by God’s grace, I was able to at least do something productive, and it was good to be back.

This week could be a challenge for me, as the pain in my arm and shoulder is causing an occasional numbing in my right hand, and also with the fact that I’ve just been a bit sad lately, the road that  lies ahead of me won’t be an easy one.

Today was the first Sunday this month that I wasn’t at church, and I’m just telling myself not feel bad about it. I’ve really come to enjoy being back at the chapel again, but I guess there are some days that the Lord wants me to slow down from what I’m doing and regain a perspective of some sort. In my weakness, He is strong!

Just to ask if you could pray for me at this time while I deal with both physical and emotional health, I’d really appreciate that, thanks!

God Bless…

The Little Things Matter

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9 NKJV)

One thing I’ve learned in this whole Celebrate Recovery step study is this: There are no shortcuts to be able to be healthy, no matter what anyone may tell you, and this includes all areas of your life, not just physical, but mental, emotional and spiritual as well.

In the past few weeks, I have been exposed to a lot of garbage thinking and ideas. Some of it has been political, but much of it has just been your everyday pondering of how so many in the church can live like the rest of the world and still claim to worship the Lord. In short, it’s made me into a bit of a negative person, and therefore, I had fallen into this way of thinking sadly.

As I prepare to study the letter of 1 Timothy at my chapel in the next so many weeks, I can’t help but think to myself how this letter of Paul’s to his son in the faith, Timothy, was all about “Right Living”, and how to walk according to the spirit. It’s also a great little book of the Bible that teaches on church order and how the all the churches of the saints should be run, and not just disregard some areas as “tradition” and “culture”. It should be a great study overall, and I’m quite excited for it.

The political landscape has changed in the country of Canada, and while many people of faith lament the new Prime Minister and his majority government, I for one am excited to see where the Lord will direct this land at this time. So many things have come down to a make-or-break situation in the life of a believer that with the party policies in place now, the Christian will have to stand out in deed, more than word perhaps. How this will be done by many will be a difficult new thing entirely, but the “silent witness” is something that I’ve been doing over the last 3 years and getting told that this isn’t evangelism, meanwhile, I see results to speak about Jesus in otherwise anti-Christian areas. I’d say that the Lord can use anyone in any way He so chooses, and that it doesn’t come down to our man made ideas and plans. Sadly, there are those who believe that there’s only one way to preach the Gospel, and we may be heading into a time where that “one way” may be stripped away. There’s nothing wrong with reinvention, as long as it stays true to the Word.

I’m praying that I don’t become discouraged as I continue on. The things that the Lord had laid before me to do are very time consuming and at times, stressful, but He is always faithful to see that His plans come through to the end, and I’m grateful for that.

What I’d just like is some motivation and good health to be able to do more…but I do give thanks for what I’ve got so far, and that may just be enough to get through day to day.

God Bless…