Updates About Life

When I first started this blog in 2007 I was 21 years old living in Kansas City, Mo. My tagline for this blog was: sitting in His Presence is a great disturbance. I was obsessed with the Fear of The Lord. I wanted to speak of nothing except the power of God and the message of the return of Christ.

Now it has changed to Louder Now. I did that because over time we grow and understand ourselves better we gain a louder clarity to things. We grow and mature and our maturity proves to put us in a more confident place to speak about things. In 2013 when I got our of the hospital after 5 months I was reading everything I could get my hands on and I feel like I am coming back to the book The Millionare Messenger by Brendan Burchard. It was about becoming an expert at something. Reading every book you could find on a subject. I know now that my area of expertise is mental health. 13 years of being diagnosed bipolar and taking medication but to be honest I have had a really hard time working on it. Reading has been hard. Writing has been even harder. So, the fact that I am here telling you what is going on with me. That is a step in the right direction.

I have been watching so many shows and movies and I have some thoughts for you. There is to much content out there. I binged 4 shows on Apple TV. I recently watched The Morning Show Season One and it was incredible. It was spoiled with such great actors and even better writing. I then moved onto Home Before Dark which was so creative and so fun. It tells the story of a small town murder and how police are corrupt and cover it up. The story centers around a nine year old girl who starts her own online newspaper and does the reporting herself. I then moved onto some loud laughs with Ted Lasso starring Jason Sudeikis. I also thought it was cool that Marcus Mumford did the soundtrack for the show. This was also the same weekend that my friends from Kansas City( now living in Oregon and St. Louis) came into town for our friend Bruce Kim’s wedding. I had started a Keto diet a few weeks before and when we all went out to eat I killed a Kale Salad.

I got a flat tire on a Saturday night and it meant I couldn’t go see my mom on Sunday so I binged Defending Jacob on Apple TV. I will forever be a Chris Evans fan.

I also started speaking again for mental health. My first gig back was September 30th with Tri City Pomona. And since then I have been working again with NAMI In Our Own Voice doing various presentations in Southern California.

Back to watching stuff. I have found myself looking for stories and looking for inspiration but struggling to really set aside time to write down my thoughts. I finally made an outline for a book that I want to write about my mental health journey but every time I really sit down to do any real writing I find myself finding a new show or a movie and getting into it.

I got so into Succession or also known as the best show on television. Since I am an avid listener to The Armchair Expert I also discovered Fleabag but still haven’t gotten past the first couple of episodes. Succession tells the story of a wealthy family based loosely on everyone who has ever been a billionaire because of their media influence. Its not Citizen Kane but it sure does tell a great story of greed and power. I am already caught up on Billions so I understand and can’t get enough of rich people drama.

I haven’t written a post like this in a while but last week I published a tribute to my friend Billy who recently died by suicide. I wrote this post on my Louder Now Blog. You can find it HERE.

I have been suicidal more time than I can count actually really only a few different times in my life. 8 years ago I entered into the worst year of my life due to getting off of medications. There is nothing worst than being suicidal. Its the lowest you can ever feel and when you get into it and you feel like you are so stuck that suicide seems rational then you really have a problem. So, what’s next?

I am sitting at LAX airport getting ready to go to Seattle to see my family for a whole week. Three nephews and the whole family together. I can’t wait.

Live your life to the fullest. Maybe I have forgotten how to live because I get lost in to many stories and other people’s lives fill my life so how much more time can there be for me to get to living,

That’s my challenge to you.

Louder Now Episode #29: Day #89( In an episode)

I have been in a depressive episode since May and that is why I haven’t been publishing, writing, podcasting, exc.

Depression started a year ago at this time but it has intensified since May. Things have been better then last 2 weeks but I still feel like I am in it.

Here is a little recap.

Louder Now Episode #28: 7 Years Later

7 years ago on this day I had the most intense experience. I tried to suicide by overdose. 7 years later I am alive and living with purpose. I went into a coma and after much prayer from friends, family and Newlife Pomona I came out of the coma without any brain damage or memory loss. I look back at how dark and awful those 8 months were leading up to this event. I see now that God had His hand all over my life and was with me the whole time. I went through a lot of acceptance after spending 5 months in the hospital after this event took place. I needed a balance of faith and medicine and since then I have never been the same. I have honestly been in a hard season this past 9 months with depression. I am still human and still struggling.

I don’t have it figured out. How many people saw a miracle or even experienced one yet still struggle to keep their eyes on Jesus? Faith is a constant process and so is hope. At the end of this video I thank all the people that have helped me along the way. My family, my job, my doctor’s, churches and most of all COMMUNITY. Having friendships has helped me so much and having people that lift me up and encourage me help fight the stigma. I feel like a broken record every time I post something but ask for help. Those three words: I need help is something we should all live by. Reach out. Build your faith. Ask for help. Ask for wisdom with doctor’s and medicine( if you need it you might need it and that’s okay). Thanks to everyone who continues to support me in prayer and in relationship. Today is a special day. ( this is a shorter version of The Beginning Again starting with my time in Kansas City from 2004 to 2012). For the whole version watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rLJ8…

#depression #mentalillness #suicideprevention #askforhelp #nami #anxiety #speakingout #havinghope #hopeisfound

Take Today

Poetic reflections on what God is doing in my life.Take Today

Take me into something new

Where I no longer don’t have a clue

For we have a whole lot of history

But where would I be without mystery.Take me out of this misery

Where I rarely want company

Where it hasn’t been you and me

Where sadness has had to much to say

Where love has nowhere to stay.Take me out of the old and place me into the

New. where it so begins again, stories of me

And youI am longing for a new day one brighter than today

Where light overpowers the dark,

Where I feel you a little,And more than just a spark.Where I see something better about

Tomorrow for today has enough sorrow and

Pain that has held itself against me.I am trapped inside of yesterday

Carrying its troubles to another day

But only you can set free

And change me,Truly, truly is all I hear

You say to me!For most of us feel trapped inside our own

Home and most of are longing, still, to be known

Whether or not there was a virus we still have a

Disease and a problem with addiction

We still have a story, a true and tried nonfiction

Yesterday has dominated today and what’s left of

Today is what is gonna happen tomorrow

But where is now and what is has to offer

Is it just to painful here at the altar, All I sense is sorrow from what has been

And what I can’t see is the new You create

And the voice that isn’t hate, but love and

Perfection, a new take on everything

You take the old and make it new

You take this forced stillness and make it

A time to speak, a time to seek, and a time to

Hide is no longer how I want to live. You take me out of yesterday and put me in

Today and today is where you are

Where stillness isn’t far and where pain is

Near but so is Your healing and so is Your dealings

With me and with all that You have planned.I embrace the new and all it has to offer

I lay it down, all that I have to offer.I give it to You,Again and again

Take all of me

Take all of today

4 Ways To Keep a Burning Heart

This has been a hard season for all and its no mistake that we all have something to say about it. I would like to use this time( like anyone should when they post something) to bring encouragement and wisdom to the free time we are having. I have not used my time wisely in my hard season of dealing with depression. I have drifted away from putting the Scripture in front of me and ever since the quarantine started I have been diving back into the word and it has been making a world of difference. Having time on my hands has been a great test of where I put my focus. I want that perfect peace that comes from focus on Jesus( Isa.26:3).
I am not the first to suggest that we take this time seriously before the Lord and place our hearts in focus on Him. Here are some ways to keep ourselves burning in this time.
I have used the word BURN and broken this into 4 ways to keep that fire going in God.
BURDENS Often we come to God with a heavy heart and we should but do we take that heaviness and submit our concerns to Him. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to cast our cares for He cares for us. And Galatians 6:2 tells us to bear each other’s burdens. We are called, as individuals, to submit our cares to God and also called to help each other in prayer, love and support with their burdens. When we can take this heaviness and give it to God we find space for His presence to work in and through us.
UNITY Staying connected to each other has been forced in this season but unity is a supernatural power that comes from Jesus. ( 1 Cor. 1:10; Eph.4:13; Col. 3:14). Often times the thing that keeps us from unity is unforgiveness and bitterness. I have started in the book of Mathew and I plan to study the Gospels in this season but I like the Sermon on the Mount where is says in Mathew 5:23-24 ” Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
Usually we are not unified with Christ because we are in need of reconciliation with our brothers or sisters in Christ, or anyone else. What keeps us from burning for God and staying fresh in His presence is this need we have for peace with each other. Take care of your offenses and God will take care of giving us His presence.
RENEW I remember in my years living in Kansas City Mike Bickle used to talk( all the time) about reading 10 chapters a day and pray-reading the word of God. Not just reading it but praying through it. Taking Scriptures and praying and asking for transformation while we read. I am committing to getting back to this Romans 12:2 lifestyle of renewing my mind daily. Our foundation is the word of God. It is the only way we grow and change and especially in this time of crisis we need to stand on His promises.
NEW LIFE. We are a new creation( 2 Cor. 5) and we live now according to our new way of life( Romans 6:4). Often times our struggle is with old ways of thinking and old ways of living. It is also a matter of who we are friends with. Do we have true fellowship with those that are also walking in newness of life or are we still associating with friends that are not living this way? Read Romans 1-8 for more details on how we are a new creation. Take a stand against the old ways that try to tell us we have not changed. Find ways to get around those that will encourage you and challenge your faith.
I hope this helps you in this season. I have found much strength and encouragement in putting this four areas to practice. Let’s go after His word and do it together. This season is only going to make us stronger if we enter into the grace that is available to focus on Him.

Waiting

Coming out of the fog of depression and into the light. Here’s a reflection.
Waiting
Waiting on You,
Making it all about the things
You do.
You work and own all of my history
Where would I be without Your mystery.
For Your Gospel has made You at the center
For You speak and break chains
And chains have been following me
Bound and not free.
I am waiting on You,
Waiting on You for change
This house needs a rearrange,
For I am still waiting on You to move
Things around,
I am waiting on You to change this town.
I am waiting on You to answer my cry,
For these days I have a lot of why.
I feel desperate for change,
Desperate for something to shift
Desperate for this fog to lift.
For all I’ve known has been depression
For all that is there it feels like oppression.
There’s pain and sorrow in the wake of each day
There’s this feeling that this is never going to go away.
It disappears slowly and surely
Where did hope go and has it gone so slow.
Come with Joy and come with it fast
You hold life eternal all that will last.
Do I know you now as God provider
Do I follow You as God the Father?
Am I hidden with You in that You do
Cause I am waiting for change and
Waiting for words written to live inside
Of me.
What is the cost of waiting on You
What have You done for me
The cloud is a thing that makes me
To barely see,
The dark is close and yet I feel it fading
Away.
I am waiting for Your light to make way
And for this life to live another day
A day without sorrow and the pain
Of depression, but days where hope
Is all I am waiting for and all I am
Living for

Seeking and Searching

I have been using this time to reflect on my journey of mental health and how faithful God has been in the process. God has truly been the source of all the hard questions I have asked over the years. It hasn’t been easy dealing with depression and bipolar. It has forced me to trust God in a deeper way.
This is called Seeking and Searching.
Seeking and searching
You call me into the deep things
Into the unknown,
Out of my comfort zone.
I have been searching and seeking for
a place You call home,
A place where I feel I am known.
You give grace and mercy when I
least expect it and shine light where
I would reject it.
You fix this broken heart
And call me afresh to a new start
This day You have called me forth
To a new search, to a new way of
Living as the church.
You call me into the deep things
And ask of me to sing new songs.
I used to be quiet about the struggle
About the diagnosis,
About the way this disease has effected
Me,
It feels as though it has not stayed hidden
For I have searched and I seek to find some
Rest,
For it has been my greatest test.
My faith has been a war within,
Are you healer, are you strong,
Are you the depth that will last long?
I seek and search for You in this time of
Testing, in this time of crisis, in this time
Of needing more than just words to be
True but a life of power that comes only
From walking with You.
You have become an all consuming fire
A birth to a new desire,
It has come from seeking,
It has come from searching
I am loud now,
Loud about the pain that follows me
Loud about the hopelessness that I have
Faced,
Loud about finding You in the secret place
Loud about hope that comes from You
Loud about spending all my time trying to
Search and seek and make it all about You.
I search and seek,
And choose You this day

New Mercies

More poetic reflections on my journey.
Waking up to a new day,
Where new mercies are the way
I hear the blessing in the rain,
I feel less of the pain,
You are the healer of this brain.
Waking up and trying to find You,
Where have You gone off to
And where is the one that has always
Provided.
These mercies I pursue
For I am in need of more of You
I have been finding solace in the
Hidden
Where you call me deeper and out in
The open
Where we seek Your voice and the places
You have spoken
Where I wake up and I know I am
Chosen.
I walk through this darkness and let the
Light in,
I walk through this sorrow and borrow
Your new mercy,
I seek You for I am thirsty,
I lean on You in all of this,
I press into You no matter the
Cost,
I walk as if I am not lost
But as if I am found
Safe and sound and in Your arms.
I wake up with a new vision
I wake up with hope for a new
Mission.
I follow You and worship You
In that you do
I remember You.
You made this day
And you made this rest.
I put my faith, now, to the
Test.
It’s time to rise for today is new
It’s time to fight and to set the
Sight on the merciful one.
I wake up with mercies that are new
I wake up with eyes stayed on You.

Fade Away

More poetic reflections on my journey with depression.
Waking up to a feeling of fright
Gracefully made it through the night
Trying to get this right
Trying to find some might
Maybe You are who You say You are
Remembering the left wrist and the
Time it was to close to call
When the last I remember was a great
Fall and a fade away.
All that is in front of me is the darkness
And it creeps in with boldness
But where is God and where is the light
Where is the right?
Am I going to far left
And to far lost
And to far gone,
Cause I am fading, too
And where are You
Where are You in all of this.
I see You just barely
I feel You just rarely
I know You but only simply
When did this get so complicated
When did You fade, fade away like
Into the blue You are in a different place
You feel gone and lost away from this place
I feel I have lost my way
Trying to find You
Trying to make it through
Trying to survive
Without the will to live
Where you are?
Have you faded away too
Help me find You
Help me see You
You are in the midst of this place
You have to be here
Where else can I go or
Try to run from Your presence
Waking up to a feeling of fright
Gracefully made it through the night
Trying to get this right
You are good no matter what I feel
You are good no matter what I go
Through, You are the center of this
Storm, and Your eyes don’t fall from
Seeing me in this place.
You have not faded away from this place
You see me here.
My vision will become clear
I am starting to feel You near.

My Depression, Part 2( Old Post)

I wrote an article back in January about how I have been dealing with depression. This season of life has been one of the hardest in a long time. I am now on my 8th month of feeling depressed and not stable. A week ago I was at the end of my stay in the hospital and 2 weeks ago I did a short stay in a psychiatric emergency room. Facebook has always been a place where people vent and sometime vomit their personal opinions but can also feel like no one is really being real with what is going on inside of them. I am seeking to comfort those who are afflicted with depression by sharing my own struggles.
I have been lacking the motivation to do all things that need to be done for me to live a normal life. Everything has been hard and my dark thoughts have been harder to fight each and everyday. It feels like instead of taking it one day at at time that I am taking it one hour at at time.
Here is what I am learning. Some main truths to hold onto.
#1 I need to TRUST in the Lord with all my heart.
It is easy to talk about trusting God when things are going your way but what about when we really feel like we can’t feel or see Him. I have broken down TRUST to mean:
Totality- it is all our heart we are called to give and all of our life we are called to lay down. Depression wants to steal the wholehearted commitment we have for God.
Righteousness- walking in the truth that we are the righteousness of Christ, and we can’t earn that. It is part of walking as a new creation. Depression steals and kills these simple truths and pulls us away from them.
Understanding- Lean not on your own understanding but in all your way acknowledge Him. I am learning to not lean on my own understanding especially when it comes to taking medications and having to depend on the help of doctor’s. I don’t have to understand everything going on around me or in me but He wants to lean on Him.
Sacrifice- Trusting Him means we sacrifice our will and our ideas and our strategy and lay that down to know His will even more. Depression steals you away from real sacrifice and makes everything about what you aren’t doing and where you aren’t seeing Him in your life.
Together- Trusting Him for real friendships and relationships. Having this in our life makes all the difference. Depression isolates you from connection and without connection you lack purpose and without purpose you lack hope and hope makes us come alive and walk in Joy on the inside.
#2- I need people. I have been reaching out to everyone I know asking for prayer in this time. It has forced me to walk in humility over my situation. People are needed in my life to pull me through. I think of the passage in Luke 5 when the paralyzed man needs people to pull him closer to the feet of Jesus. It seems like it wasn’t just his friends that helped lift him over the roof but it was also and could have been random people that are around. Asking for help can be the hardest thing we ever do. It leaves us venerable and in need and that need comes out when we are asking others to pray for us. My church every Sunday morning does a call for those that are hurting and need prayer. I have been raising my hand every week asking for prayer. I am texting people everyday updating them on how I am doing. I need people.
#3- The bigger perspective. Life is short and flies by. Often you see a theme in movies and shows where characters are asking hard questions about themselves and their story. It comes down to living a life without regret. Taking chances. Having faith. Finding love. Losing love but to the point that it doesn’t lose you. Depression has been making me feel like this is it for me. That I am going to struggle this way forever and it can’t really get that much better even though I spent the worst year of my life in 2013 to then having the best 6 years of life to follow. Can I really get back to that place of feeling stable like I did for 6 years? This feeling of depression can’t last forever.
#4 Trusting doctor’s. I have never been in the doctor’s office so much and in touch with my psychiatrist. This hard time has forced me to trust in the medical process especially with changes to medications that have been happening. It has forced me to trust my doctor on a whole new level.
I hope this post brings encouragement to you. If you are someone struggling with bipolar or depression ask for prayer and help from those around you. Don’t hesitate to reach out.