Putting on My Happy Face

I’m not going to lie. Past 24-48 hrs didn’t feel great. Tomorrow until about mid October, I have 2 conferences to present short papers in, a week long seminar/workshop and preaching once.  Well, maybe that isn’t so bad.  But yesterday morning until now, it felt like an insurmountable amount of overwhelming tasks before me. But a practical stranger, someone I have not really met, but has seen a picture in which I have a radiant smile on my face, reminded me to keep smiling today because my smile shows God’s love in me.  I’m like, wa, wa, wa, what?

So I decided to put on my happy face today and be happy today.  I don’t know how to do this. I am going to start by smiling and to keep smiling as much as I can throughout the day today.  And I am going to start by being thankful for things that are going well and things that I appreciate in my life. And I am going to also think positive and good thoughts today.  So yes, today is and will be a happy day, because I put on my happy face!

Running my first 5K for Suicide Prevention – Sat 9/28/2019 – In Memory of Esther Lee

In Memory of my friend Esther Lee, and in order to raise awareness and financial support for suicide prevention, I plan to run my first 5K this Saturday 9/28 at 9 am in NYC.

The official event, Samaritans 21st Annual 5K Run/Walk for Suicide Prevention is taking place in Boston, MA at the same time.

If you or someone you know needs to talk, call or text 877-870-HOPE (4673).

Putting this event and intention out there for awareness of preventable aspect of suicides, and if you are having suicidal feelings/thoughts, you are not alone.

I have preached past 2 Sundays on the importance of talking about depression, hopelessness, and suicides at churches and also that it takes a “village” to support those who are in need of support and compassion. Planning to preach this sermon as many times as I can, at different churches I get invited to preach at until we don’t need to hear it anymore at churches from the pulpit, from pastors, during Sunday worship.

Would you like to help me raise awareness and funds for preventing suicide?  I am a virtual participant (running by myself in NYC rather than the official event in Boston, MA). So I didn’t have to pay registration fees and I’m not obligated to raise money. I’m raising money anyway in the spirit of raising awareness. Raise Awareness and Funds for Suicide Prevention 

What if we could offer companionship and comfort to those in need?

“Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure suicidal thoughts.

Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure depression.

Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure PTSD.

Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure anxiety.

But that doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t offer us companionship and comfort.

He ALWAYS does that.”

5:01 PM · Sep 9, 2019· – @Jarrid Wilson

I don’t know that depression, suicidal thoughts, PTSD, trauma can be cured, there is healing, but not sure there is a cure. But for sure the excruciating and mind numbing pain and suffering they can be managed. It requires vigilant up keeping of all that it takes: therapy, medicine, skills to manage anxiety and cognitive and behavior therapy to modify distorted thought and behavior, and it really takes a community and network of support to maintain one’s mental health.

I just want to say, if you are feeling hopeless, depressed, suicidal, or suffering from any pain, that I have been there and am here now and am more than happy to be here for you. Reach out, because invisibility of depression means we don’t always see it even when it’s really painful.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call 1-800-273-8255
P.S. Prayer request – I feel I have to speak on this issue.  So I’m going to preach on depression, mental illness, and suicides this coming Sunday. Please pray for me to speak clearly in a way that is helpful and to have boldness and courage to speak out about how God has worked in my life as well.

This Instagram post!

I was inspired by this post: www.instagram.com/p/BybO-FwhbdJ/

by @heysarahcarter to write this comment… “Your commitment to show up to create space for the broken And bruised hearted – this speaks to my spirit. Because the broken and bruised hearts, where can we call home?”

Benediction by Nadia Bolz-Weber, at the funeral of Rachel Held Evans

I preached today about how to live the life of Christians, here and now, even as we pray, Come, Lord Jesus. During the sermon, I read the benediction by Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber, which was read at the funeral of Rachel Held Evans.  I read the benediction during the sermon as an example of the kind of life we must live as Christians, the kind of prayer we must pray in today’s day and world. .

..So gifted, so loved, so loving, so sad, and yet the world is a better and happier place because of Rachel…

Video of the funeral of Rachel Held Evans

Benediction by The Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber, at the funeral of Rachel Held Evans

“Blessed are the agnostics. Blessed are they who doubt. Blessed are those who have nothing to offer. Blessed are the preschoolers who cut in line at communion. Blessed are the poor in spirit. You are of heaven and Jesus blesses you.

“Blessed are those whom no one else notices. The kids who sit alone at middle-school lunch tables. The laundry guys at the hospital. The sex workers and the night-shift street sweepers. The closeted. The teens who have to figure out ways to hide the new cuts on their arms. Blessed are the meek. You are of heaven and Jesus blesses you.

“Blessed are they who have loved enough to know what loss feels like. Blessed are the mothers of the miscarried. Blessed are they who can’t fall apart because they have to keep it together for everyone else. Blessed are those who “still aren’t over it yet.” Blessed are those who mourn. You are of heaven and Jesus blesses you.

“I imagine Jesus standing here blessing us because I believe that is our Lord’s nature. This Jesus cried at his friend’s tomb, turned the other cheek, and forgave those who hung him on a cross because He was God’s Beatitude— He was God’s blessing to the weak in a world that only admires the strong.  

[And shall Rachel have this last word…]

“‘Jesus invites us into a story bigger than ourselves and our imaginations, yet we all get to tell that story with the scandalous particularity of this moment and this place. We are storytelling creatures because we are fashioned in the image of a storytelling God. May we never neglect that gift. May we never lose our love for telling the story. Amen.'”

For you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety

Sharing Psalm 4 here, which has been on my heart. Sleeping in peace every night is a blessing I often take for granted. But many of my friends don’t sleep well. In fact, most of my close friends don’t sleep well. I’ve been recommending this Psalm hoping this Psalm could be of comfort and bring peaceful sleep.

Good night, my friends.

Good night, friends I have yet to meet.

May you be at peace and sleep so that you will be restored by rest and have courage and strength to face tomorrow.

I recommend reading it over and over for desired effect. 😴

Peace

– – –

Psalm 4

Confident Plea for Deliverance from Enemies.

To the leader: with stringed instruments. A Psalm of David.

1 Answer me when I call, O God of my right! You gave me room when I was in distress. Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.

2 How long, you people, shall my honor suffer shame? How long will you love vain words, and seek after lies?

Selah

3 But know that the Lord has set apart the faithful for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him.

4 When you are disturbed, do not sin; ponder it on your beds, and be silent.

Selah

5 Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord.

6 There are many who say, “O that we might see some good! Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord!”

7 You have put gladness in my heart more than when their grain and wine abound.

8 I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.

daily struggle: “make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation”

I am a morning riser.  I can’t stay up late, and start getting sleepy around 9 pm!  So I look forward to each morning when I wake up, refreshed on most mornings, and looking forward to a new day.  Past week, however, I wake up and feel a bit lost.  It’s been difficult to focus and to achieve sustained concentration level required to study.  So I wonder, how can I calm down and take advantage of the morning hours that I am alert for to try to be productive?

The answer I think is psalms.  Reading psalms, I think will be my remedy.  I feel lost and this seems to be a human condition we all share, especially during such days of unsettling political, ecological, and moral climate.  If you find you are feeling lost, more than usual, I invite you to read psalms with me as you start your morning.  Maybe even after reading and praying through the psalms, you will still feel at a loss.  But at least God will hear our prayers through the words of the psalmist that we lift up.

This morning, I am just going to meditate and pray these words:

“make haste to help me,
    O Lord, my salvation.”  (Psalm 38:22)

Lord, come quickly to my aid.  Lord, come quickly to our aid.  That’s my prayer this morning.  I will have that on repeat in my mind, soul, and heart.