On Worry | Part 1

I washed my hands all the time. I fretted about everything. I cried easily. Anxiety plagued me. I lived in prison — a prison of my own making. My struggle with anxiety increased in my early teens. I feared stealing, lying, cheating, killing myself, and so many others things.

Today, I open part 1 of my journey through worry. I hope you’ll stay for all of it.

worry1

A life of constant worry lead to exhaustion. I felt stuck in a black hole, unsure of how to climb out. How could I go from chains to freedom? How could I break the cycle of questions and torments, especially when trapped so deep? Would it ever happen? Or would I always live like this?

These feelings tormented me.

As a young girl, this did so much damage. Such thoughts always lead to deep damage. Eventually, I voiced my twisted, dark thoughts, because I couldn’t cope alone anymore. It wasn’t hard for those close to me to know I struggled, but it was hard for me to verbally admit it.

But at last, I told my Mom the struggles I faced. I was tired of the endless darkness. My Mom gave me the first shreds of hope. She wrote Scripture on 3×5 cards for me to read over and over again. She also bought me Loving God with All Your Mind by Elizabeth George. This book pointed me to Scripture and showed practical ways to break out of my self-destructive thinking patterns.

However, it isn’t easy reaching this point. Admitting one’s struggles takes courage. It’s hard to share the dark thoughts inside us or to say, “I’m afraid I’m going to kill myself.” If I could travel back to my life as a young teen, I’d tell myself three things. Continue reading “On Worry | Part 1”

Hope For The Hurting

hopeforthehurting1“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 How can we think about hope when our hearts are shattered into a million pieces? All we know is the pain. All we feel is the pain. Pain that consumes us until we’re convinced that even God can’t take it away. Pain that makes us plan to end our life so we don’t have to feel it any more. Who can think about hope in such dire pain? Not me. I had a plan to make the pain go away. I was going to take enough of my migraine pills to put me to sleep forever. God stepped in at that moment.

My two girls were in bed, my husband was at work. It was time. I went to the kitchen cupboard to find my pain killers. My bottle was not there! I searched high and low. I looked in places they wouldn’t normally be found. Where are they?!! I know I took one last night, so they should be right here! I finally gave up the search, went to bed, and somehow slept through the night. The next morning I opened the dishwasher door to put dishes away. There, right on the top shelf, in the middle, upside down, was my empty bottle! No drugs left, not even the lid.

Twenty-six years later in God’s perfect timing, I get to share my story with you. I believe, I know that God, the Creator God of the universe, sent His angel to dump my drugs down the drain to save my life. When I was at the end of my rope and let go, the Lord’s hand was there to catch me. He is ready to hold you right now. He is there to give you hope when you feel you can’t go on. All it takes is one wobbly little baby step toward Him, believing that He might have your answer. He is waiting for you right now with His arms open wide.

Will you enter into His loving embrace?

Valerie

Tis the Season

tistheseasontobejollyDeck the halls with boughs of holly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Tis’ the season to be jolly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Tis the season to be jolly, right? Yet in times past, the month of December was reported to have depression and suicide rates peaked. However, as I’ve researched this topic, I’m finding that what was previously reported is now being deemed as a myth. It seems that depression and suicide attempts (or actually committing suicide) rise during the Spring and Summer according to about half of my sources.

Honestly, I can’t say that I agree with my collogues’ recent discovery of declining numbers among the depressed and suicidal in the winter months or around the holiday season. On the flip side, other sources and collogues agree that there is a definite increase in cases of depression and suicide during this time of year. This won’t turn into a debate of who’s right and who’s wrong, my goal is to help snuff out depression and suicide altogether.

Through personal experience and knowledge gained by working with the depressed and suicidal I can attest to the multi-facets that are attached with the holiday season – The good, the bad, and the ugh.

The Good: Don’t’ get me wrong, I enjoy the holidays. It’s the time of year when we come together in celebration of our Savior’s birth. During this season we tend to be a little more open to receiving Christ as well as sharing Him with others, more giving to those who are less fortunate, and more caring to our fellow man in general. It’s a time to gather with loved ones (family and friends), remembering those we’ve lost along the way while reminiscing about the good old days. We eat (boy do we eat) and we are merry. In addition, some of us are more excited about giving than we are about receiving during this time of year.

The Bad: The holidays also trigger a temporary “feel good” sensation, and for those of us who struggle with depression – that’s a welcomed feeling (even if it doesn’t last). However, if you battle with depression or feelings of prolonged sadness (or worse) without apparent reason (and I use that term loosely), you are painfully aware that temporary good feelings simply won’t cut it.

Please understand that the holidays will no more cure (or contain) depression or suicidal tendencies than a Band-Aid will cure (or contain) a deadly disease. Don’t be duped by the holiday hype because it will not  last. Santa will never be able to do what the Savior has already done, there is actually no comparison whatsoever between the two.

Now, although Christmas is the most popular and widely celebrated holiday, the meaning of Christmas has been diluted with sugar-plum visions that give false hope based on materials. If your hope is in anything outside of Christ it will be dashed.

The day we celebrate the birth of the Savior has been reduced to a mere profit making opportunity which also happens to be the largest revenue generating contingencies in the industry. The Christ in Christmas has been replaced with the commercial instead.Our media outlets are flooded with countless advertisements bombarding us with innuendos that a product (disguised as a “gift”) will bring us some level of instant gratification and happiness, when in fact it will never satisfy our needs. No object can fill the role that was solely meant for God. Note that the ultimate gift is Christ Himself – He gave His life for us to live. He is truly the gift that keeps on giving (all year round).

The Ugh: Bah Hum B-ugh! If you or someone you know is fighting with depression or is suicidal your/their demeanor during the holiday season may be sort of *shrugs* blah. Sometimes, it’s hard to pretend to be jolly on the outside if you feel like everything is falling apart on the inside. The expectations add pressure to the person who may already feel like they’re about to break under the weight of it all. Also consider that some people are hiding tragic situations they are facing and are suffering in silence. The simple act of getting out of bed is like pulling teeth and the holidays alone cannot penetrate the walls created by their present dire circumstances. However, there is One who has the power to annihilate every wall with His amazing love. It is He alone who is able.

In spite of the good, the bad, and the ugh that are sometimes accompanied with the holidays, be comforted in knowing that our faithful heavenly Father is our emotional stability. He wavers not. No matter the rhyme or reason, He is the same in every season.

Praying that you remain steadfast in Christ, both in and out of season,
Takiela

In Honor of Suicide Prevention Day

1shatteredglass

Stuck in a piercing darkness, doused with excruciating pain, I’m beckoning death to answer my call. It is the only ending to my misery. I welcome death, I long for it, with outstretched arms and an icy embrace. The present condition of my life is now feasting on any hope for my future.  The light at the end of the tunnel has completely vanished because I’m in too deep. Drowning in the sea of life, taking my last breath, as I disappear into the shadows of the abyss, a realm of unknown in which I’ll remain forever.

That is a glimpse inside the mind of someone who is suicidal. You may ask me how I know this information, and I will answer, because those were my thoughts. Yes, I tried to kill myself on more than one occasion as a teen.

My childhood was far from a cakewalk. I have seen and experienced things that no adult, much less a child, should ever see or experience under any circumstances. There were moments that I feared death and moments I craved it. It was a means to an end. The only way to once and for all be free, I could be eternally rid of the pain in me, ultimately escape the misery. Although death was sometimes attractive to me, it was always a little beyond what I could reach.

I believed that I was not worth saving. I believed I was not loved. Because you see the person(s) responsible for loving, providing for, and protecting me was the very person(s) who rejected me in every inhuman and humiliating sense of the word.

My fragile heart was like glass put through a meat grinder. It was incapable of repair. Each time I tried to pick up the pieces in a desperate attempt to put my heart back together, the fragments of glass would cut deep into my flesh, causing further injury.

Finally, He saved me.

You see sweetheart, when life has caused your heart to shatter into irreparable pieces through your eyes, it’s but a fracture to the perfect eyes of God. He is able to do that which we are incapable of doing. We may think our heart is damaged beyond repair and it is damaged beyond *our* repair. The beauty of broken is that God is the mender of broken. We cannot mend our own brokenness, God doesn’t get glory out of us fixing ourselves. Sometimes we’ll cause further injury to ourselves in the name of fixing ourselves. We are limited as humans and from our perspective it really is unable to be repaired, but there is nothing on this earth that the merciful hands of our God is not able to restore.

Suicide Prevention Tip:

Retrain your Brain – the conquering of suicide is impossible apart from God. Remember, every action was first a thought/ idea. To combat lies you must be armed with truth. Find scripture that encourage you and memorize it. Post it on your mirror (use a memo app that will allow you to post it on your phone) put it in the signature line of your text messages, surround yourself with that scripture (it doesn’t have to be limited to one scripture, but it must be at least one). Each time the lies (masqueraded as your own thoughts/ideas) appear in your mind, annihilate it with the truth of God’s word. Think about the scripture, whisper the scripture, scream the scripture, write it down, whatever it takes. The reason for this is to intentionally train your brain to do what will eventually happen naturally – the word of God will become a shield to your heart, unable to be penetrated with lies. Rest assured dear hearts, God watches over His word to perform it.

Have You Heard?

In case you missed Takiela on Choose NOW Ministries Teen Talk Radio, here’s your chance to hear her NOW – just scroll to the bottom of this post.

Also, if you haven’t heard about The Scarless Pledge…

by Takiela Bynum 2013©

The Scarless Letter

Hello Beautiful.

I know you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders right now. Family issues, the kids at school, boy drama, grades, and the list goes on. Add sex (pregnancy scare or worse), drugs, or alcohol into the equation and it upgrades your life from bad to worse.

You’ve isolated yourself and are drowning in depression. Numb from any feelings of hope, craving death. You pick up a razor and start to cut, ultimately leaving scar after scar until…red-eye-liner-swatch

Does this sound familiar?

When I look at you, I see the past me. My prayer is that when you look at me, you’ll see the (possible) future you. Twenty years ago I was fifteen and dealing with the issues of life. Feeling lost and I would often embrace thoughts of eternal sleep. My mind had grown tired of the endless troubles going on in my life at that time. I wanted to escape. I wanted peace. I began to cut. My only hope was that one day I’d hit a vein that would take me out of my misery…forever.

Understand that no one told me that my life wouldn’t always be filled with hurt and pain. I didn’t know that I’d have a life bursting with more joy that I could ever imagine. I wasn’t aware that every scar I put on my body, I’d have to give an account for one day (to my children). My present hurt prevented me from seeing my future hope.

When you’re in a hopeless state of mind, you may not realize it, but you’re telling God that even He is incapable of solving your problems. It’s too complicated for Him to resolve. You’re saying things are the worst it could ever be and will always be this way, ultimately shutting out the only One who can bring you out.

Your future in Christ is much brighter than any darkness you will ever endure. (Read Roman 8:18) No one shared that truth with me which makes me obligated to share this vital information with you.

Today let’s make a pledge, from this day forward we’re going “scarless!” We can’t do anything about the old scars but we can choose not to make new scars. Let’s put down our razors and pick up scarlet red eyeliner. When or if we ever get the urge to cut, use the red eyeliner. It’ll help remind you of the blood Jesus shed on the cross for you and it’ll also wash away…never leaving a scar.

I, (insert name here), being of sound mind and body, here do pledge to God and all who love me on this month (insert month here), of this day (insert day here), in this year (insert year here) to bury all self-harming ways, never to be exhumed again! In the sight of God and all witnesses, I promise if and/or when I get the urge to self-harm, I’ll replace my instrument of destruction with an instrument that represents hope, a scarlet red eyeliner pencil, instead. I will do this in remembrance of the blood Jesus shed on the cross for me, (insert name here). I am committed to the “scarless” pledge. With God nothing is impossible.

Find an accountability partner, someone who will help you commit to this pledge. Know that you have fans cheering you on and praying for you in heaven and all over the earth. Even though I’ll already be praying, if you’d like me to pray for a specific person/situation or if I can help in another way comment below publicly or email me privately (takiela@takielabynum.com).Take the “scarless” pledge today!

Teen Depression – The Point of No Return

She’d taken several pain killers to prevent her from feeling any pain. Besides, she needed a backup plan in case the other thing didn’t work out.

She located the vein, turned her head and quickly slid the razor across her flesh. She winced at the sharp sting. The warm ooze drizzled down her hand and left its trail on the hard wood floor. She climbed into bed and hoped for death to quietly greet her while she slept.

That was a dark day in my teen life, one I’ll probably never forget. The pain and hurt I endured left me beyond hopeless; I’d reached the point of no return.

According to the dictionary, the point of no return is defined as the point in a course of action beyond which reversal is not possible. Have you even been at a point in your life, the point of no return? Have you even been broken by life’s circumstances and craved death? Have you even made plans for your life only to watch them come undone? If so, you’re not alone.

Although I had made plans to die that day it was not God’s purpose for me and God always triumphs…always. His word says it in Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it’s the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

The plans we make in life are subject to change especially if it’s not what God has intended for us. Our plans is not limited to bad, it includes the good plans we have for our lives as well. We may plan to attend college majoring in a prominent field of study, with a promising career after we graduate, get married, have children and live happily ever after. However, if that’s not God’s purpose for your life, although it’s a great plan, His purpose will prevail. Jeremiah 29:11 clearly states that God knows the plans He has for us (not the plans we have for ourselves), and His plans are to prosper us, not to harm us, to give us hope and a future.

In those dark moments in life, there are times all we have to hold on to and hope for is the truth of God’s word. It is this truth that will enable us to hang in there one more day, and then another day, and another until His word shines so bright that it becomes the only life giving light we see in a world of darkness.

“God is in control” is totes cliché I know but be that as it may, it’s true. In the midst of chaos, depression, hurt, pain, anger, mistakes, and even suicidal attempts…God is in control. I can honestly admit to you that in spite of every plan I’ve ever made in life, God’s purpose for me has always been what’s best for me. Yes it was hard, no I didn’t always understand, and sometimes I down right hated what He was doing, but looking back I know that He always had my best interest at heart and I’m forever grateful.