Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Blog From Guest Writer Darrell Creswell

This blog is going to be different because it was written by someone else.  It is my honor to introduce you to a fellow writer,  Mr. Darrell Creswell.  He is a very anointed writer and surprisingly asked for my permission to write a blog about me based on my testimony.  Not only did I give him permission.  I was truly humbled and honored that he would want to do so.  To find out more about Mr. Creswell and his compelling & moving  blogs filled with God's truth and revelation, please visit:   www.darrellcreswell.wordpress.com.  Thank you Mr. Cresswell, again, not only for writing such a beautiful piece, bringing honor and glory to God, but for allowing me to repost it on my own blog.  I still feel just as humbled and honored now as I did the day you asked me about writing this piece.  Blessings Always, And In All Ways.  Your sister in Christ,




Chantelle…….A Masterpiece Michelangelo Couldn’t Create
© 2010, Darrell Creswell

Recently I sat reading Chantelle’s information. As I went from line to line, I felt the tears began to flow as the Spirit of God quickened in me. I felt the Spirit of God explaining her to me as I began to fully His beautiful creation, this masterpiece in Christ Jesus.


In our communications I have realized what a very unique person Chantelle is, as I have the other half of her life, her husband Ryan. Together as one, Ryan and Chantelle’s story rivals that any one that has ever been written. The miracle of love poured out as these two lives became one by the grace of God, is such a tremendous love story, it would make even Shakespeare jealous.

To understand the life of Chantelle Thomas Henderson, one needs to understand the works of Michelangelo, Donatello and Auguste Rodin. These men represent arguably 3 of the greatest sculptors of all time. Chantelle, her life, her marriage to Ryan, and what she has become in Christ Jesus is nothing short of a masterpiece that is equal to Michelangelo’s “David”, or Auguste Rodin’s “The Thinker”.

To understand sculptures let us travel to in 300 B.C., somewhere between the Black Sea and the Persian Gulf. Here we see an artist crafting with his hands a vision that he wishes to create. He starts with crude non distinguishable chunks of beeswax. He works with the wax and creates the form that the sculpture will resemble. He then covers it with liquid clay and then cooks it in a fire. In the flames the wax is lost, replaced by empty space. Tin and copper - alloys of bronze – are gathered, mixed and heated. Once the alloy is melted, it is then poured into the cavity where the wax had been inside the fire-hardened clay. The metal then cools and the sculptor knocks the clay from the metal. The first bronze of the still crude sculpture is cast.
There are many rough edges, marks, core pins, sprues, vents, and risers that are attached to the rough initial first cast. These protrusions, scars and blemishes are removed with a saw and tool marks are polished away. Incomplete voids created by gas pockets or investment inclusions are then corrected by welding and carving. Small defects where sprues and vents were attached are filed and ground down and polished. Much work is needed to transform the crude chunks of wax that are then covered by clay, treated by fire and then worked skillfully by the master’s hand to remove all blemish and scars to finally reveal a masterpiece.

Chantelle’s life is that masterpiece, and God is her Master Sculptor. To understand how this masterpiece began we need to travel back to 1971, in Memphis Tennessee where Chantelle was born. She was given up for adoption at birth and at a young age was exposed to pornography and sexual abuse by her family members. While babysitting at the age of 14, a father of the children she was babysitting began sexually molesting her and abusing her.

Even though Chantelle had accepted the Lord into her heart as nine year old, the sexual abuse she was encountering at the hands of this pedophile continued into her teen years. The wounds she suffered emotionally as a result of the abuse led to more problems in her life such as to drinking, and partying.  She struggled to maintain some sense of sanity by trying to immerse herself in the church but to no avail, as the wounds suffered by the abuse she was encountering led to an eating disorder, and the use of cigarettes, marijuana, and alcohol.

The sexual abuse finally ended when she moved away and gained employment as a flight attendant. Even though the sexual abuse had ended she struggled to deal with and to medicate the deep wounds she was suffering by using cocaine. The abuse she had suffered beginning as a child had wounded her as the drugs altered her reality, she allowed men to use her, worked briefly as an exotic dancer, and became pregnant.
Where Chantelle found herself in life, was a far cry from the young girl who loved to go to church every time the doors were open, and attended youth camp every year. Gone was the innocence of her youth, destroyed by the sexual abuse that started as a child and continued until her late teens. Her childish giggles and laughter had faded into the horror of addictions of drugs and alcohol. The dances she enjoyed in too-toos as a little ballerina turned into dances that she’d perform on a different stage as an adult, while she removed her clothes; as the wounds of her pain, masked by sin hid the masterpiece that lay within. She felt shame, injected into her heart by the lies of the enemy as he preyed upon the innocent heart of a child, as was set out to destroy that which Christ had died for to redeem, Chantelle.

Satan thought that his plan was perfect. Chantelle was abused; her innocence was shattered, her joy gone, and replaced with sorrow and bitterness. She was in New York, struggling to deal with her life and she was using cocaine. One night as she did more and more cocaine she began to feel the powerful effects of the drugs taking a toll on her body. Suddenly she began to feel she was going to die. She sat in a fetal position fearing for her life on the cold hardwood floor of an apartment, and the God of her youth was quickened to her heart. She began to cry out to the Lord and promised Him that if He allowed her to live until the next day, she’d pack everything and move back home and that’s exactly what she did. The Master had begun to form His masterpiece.

As she went back home she found herself in church where she met a young man named Ryan. She had not dated since coming home as she could not get over her past enough to allow it to bring restoration and healing to my own life and heart. She as dealing with herself, and there was no room for a man in her life. But she consented to meet him for a date following a four hour telephone conversation with him.

Ryan was a strong Christian, and innocent to say the least. Before asking her out, Ryan had no idea of her past. So there they sat on their first date that night at Olive Garden on Highway 78 in Snellville, Georgia. Chantelle decided to lay it all out for him, all of her past, and then she wouldn’t have to worry about a second or third date. So she fired both barrels. She waited for him to bail out the nearest exit, or make some excuse to leave. But he didn’t…..he stayed.  Not only did he stay, when he went home that night the Lord spoke to him that Chantelle was to be his wife. Here we can see our Lord the artist, in love crafting with his hands a vision for Chantelle and Ryan’s lives that only He could create.

Ryan and Chantelle were married and it would take much work by the Hand of the Master for His masterpiece to be finished as no great work of art is done in a day.

God started with crude non distinguishable chunks of life that Satan had left of Chantelle and began to mold her with love and care from His Son. He began working in her life and slowly began to create the form that resembled a sculpture. God brought Ryan into her life and Ryan’s love was the clay that held the wax together and they were tested by fire.  In the flames the old wax was lost, but the form of the sculpture God was creating was held intact by the solid hardened clay. The empty space inside the form of the clay was to be replaced by two separate elements melted together to form a single alloy that would become God’s handiwork inside the form crafted by His hand. Chantelle and Ryan were the alloys melted into God’s spiritual bronze that was then poured into the cavity where the wax had been inside the fire-hardened clay. The alloy forged by fire then cooled and the clay was no longer needed as the alloys had forged, becoming one. A sculpture was formed and the Master Sculptor knocked the clay from the metal. The first bronze of the masterpiece God had made of Ryan and Chantelle’s life was cast.

There were still many rough edges, marks, etc., attached to the rough initial first cast. But by the Masters hands these protrusions, scars and blemishes were removed by the working of the Spirit in their lives and are continually being polished away.

In Chantelle’s life as it is in all of us, much work is needed to transform the crude chunks of wax that are our lives, so we can skillfully be transformed by the Master’s hand into His masterpiece.

Chantelle Thomas Henderson is the handiwork of God the Master Sculptor, and she and Ryan form a masterpiece as they were forged together and they became a thing of beauty that Michelangelo in all his glory could not even come close to creating….As Chantelle explains ….God says, “I will give you beauty for ashes.” (Isaiah- 61:3)  That He certainly did, and then some…..

www.darrellcreswell.wordpress.com

Sunday, September 12, 2010

How Big Is Your Elephant





How Big Is Your Elephant?
© 2010, Chantelle Henderson



This was originally a post I had between me and a group of friends, but as I read over it again tonight, I felt compelled to put it out there for everyone.   It’s a short one! Can you believe that!!!??? I hope it encourages you to stop and think for just a moment about any elephants you may have in your room.

Ok mighty men and beautiful women of God, this one is just something personal between you and God.....just provoking you to think about and maybe even face this "thing" that may be in your life more than worship and adoration and time spent with the Father. The thing(s) I'm talking about are idols.  It can be a person, or a thing. Anything you worship more than The One who is The Lover Of Your Soul.  I looked the word up in the dictionary and these are some of the definitions:

An image or other material object representing a deity to which religious worship is addressed. Biblically.

An image of a deity other than God. the deity itself.

Any person or thing regarded with blind admiration, adoration, or devotion a mere image or semblance of something, visible but without substance, as a phantom.

A false conception or notion; fallacy.

An image used as an object of worship.

A false god. One that is adored, often blindly or excessively. Something visible but without substance.


In my prayer time this morning I asked God to show me any idols in my life. People or things that I give more attention to than Him.  His Holy Spirit is so gracious when it comes to seeking Truth - if you are asking with a sincere heart and crying out to Him, "GOD! SHOW ME THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE HIDDEN!  I DON’T WANT TO LIVE IN DENIAL ANYMORE!"  As in my case, He did. There were actually some surprises in there. I'm sure we've heard the statement that "We can't conquer what we don't confront." How true it is. It is so easy to ignore the elephant in the room, but one day it's going to get so large that you won't be able to get around it. You'll have to deal with it. So in light of speaking about idols, I would just encourage you today to ask the Lord to show you anything that may be taking time, energy, effort, emotion, or passion, that actually belongs to Him, but your affections are set on something other than Him.  My elephant's gettin' pretty big, so with the Lord's help, I'm gonna start confronting some idols in my own life. How about you?  Is there an elephant in your room?  How big is your elephant starting to get?  How big is it going to get before it overtakes you?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My Psalm Of Brokenness







My Psalm Of Brokenness
© 2008 Chantelle Thomas-Henderson

Psalm 5:15-17

"Unseal my lips oh Lord that I may praise you. You would not be pleased with sacrifices, or I would bring them. If I brought you burnt offerings, you would not accept it. The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit. A broken and repentant heart, O God, you will not despise."

I've been longing for a past
That I know is forever gone.
Clutching my pillow through the night
And feeling so all alone.


Falling on my knees
And releasing all my tears
Crying out to you, O God,
To deliver me from my fears.

Looking for my friends
Who are no where to be found.
Standing at the crossroads of life
With different paths all around.

Which one do I take?
I desire the one that leads me to you.
Show my feet where to walk
That I may not walk on what isn't true.

Nothing is familiar to me.
Everything is so new.
I've been stripped of all my comfort zones
And am unsure of what to do.

You are the lover of my soul
And the lifter of my head.
May you never hold the bottle in vain
That holds all the tears I have shed.

I've lost everything
That was once a part of me.
That somehow became idols
That had me bound when I thought I was free.

Holding on to my first Bible
With it's pages tattered and torn.
Returning to my first love
Whose power caused me to be reborn.

But this one thing I do know.
Is my Abba Father's loving arms.
For it is there I find my refuge
From this unfamiliar journey's storms.

Throughout all of this
I hear your Spirit's words so gently spoken.
Telling me that in this state,
I am finally, truly broken.

Now you can build me up
And make my life what you want it to be.
Thank you for loving me enough
To show me that in you and you alone I am free!




Letter To An Old Friend





Letter To An Old Friend

© 2010, Chantelle Henderson


I was sipping my morning cinnabon coffe with 4 splendas and a quarter milk as usual when I came across pictures of an old friend from high school on facebook. One picture in particular was so unusual I had to enlarge it. Much to my surprise it was a creative scrapbook-like picture with her senior photo, our high school’s letters, and a handwritten letter to herself in high school from her older point of view.  The beautiful letter she wrote was brimming over with wisdom , value, and insight. It is with her blessing that I’ve decided to follow her lead and write my own letter:


Dear Unique, Valuable, and Precious Chantelle,
As unusual as it seems, there comes a great, unexpected stream of healing in writing yourself a letter after 20 years of being out of high school.  There’s so much to tell you and I can’t possibly conceive that I will even begin to scratch the surface of all there is to share. I look in the crystal clear reflection of a mirror of all that I wish you’d known during one of the best seasons in your life-your high school years.
First of all, I would tell you that you didn’t have to try to fit in anywhere because you were such a unique individual that had you just been yourself, those that were meant to accept you would have. You are biracial and being in a predominately white school, I understand that you were trying to figure out which race you belonged to. In reality, no matter what color you are, once that was stripped away, there stood a rare jewel of sorts. The many facets of your personality exclusive to you is what would have made you acquire the approval you were so desperately searching for.
You have an incredible laugh and the ability to make those around you feel like they are special and loved. You were so busy acting out for attention that you and the people that surrounded you both missed out on friendships that got buried in the grave of race, expectations, and self centeredness. You didn’t have to be forceful or bossy.
Remember the day you should have listened to Senorita Pugh?  Her only requirement that once you crossed the threshold of her classroom door, ONLY spanish was to be spoken.  All you had to say is, “¿Podemos ir al baƱo?” because you knew it. You knew how to speak Spanish so much so that Ms. Pugh was constantly encouraging you by telling you that you had all the rolled r’s down pat and the pronunciation of your words in Spanish were “exceptional”. Of course, true to your pattern of seeking attention, you decided that you were going to rebel. To the best of my recollection you got up and went to the bathroom without permission and had that poor woman chasing you down the hallway yelling, “Chavela! Chavela!”. But the attention you sought [and received-negatively] was worth so much more to you at that time than respect for several teachers who did all they could to cheer you on to better behavior in and outside of the classroom. The best way to have flourished in her eyes and those of  all your educators’ would have been to treat them with honor and respect the way you do now when you bump into them in the grocery store, movie theatre, or ironically, while registering your own son for high school. You were some of their favorites so in reality, you didn’t need to act out. They thought you were great, especially in the absence of your negative behavior.
Upon further reflection of those years, I would have told you to never take a drink or smoke pot, or smoke cigarettes because later on in life you became a prisoner to them and you had to fight with everything in you to lay those deceptive comforters down-especially the cigarettes and alcohol. I know you did it because of him-because you were trying to erase and block out what he was doing to you.  The alcohol seemed to sooth your inner battle to reconcile that what he was doing to you was wrong with how you enjoyed the attention.  Because it made you feel special, you allowed him to manipulate, abuse, and convince you that there was nothing wrong with what you were doing. Oh what a lie! I wish you would have screamed at the top of your lungs and never let it happen. You could have gone to your parents and they would have protected you. Well twenty years and an endless count of tears and and inconceivable pain you are still having to process and battle the scars of innocence lost.
That night at Ken’s Pizza with K.R. was not something you asked for. You told him no. Yes you were drunk but you told him no. After that I know you felt that it no longer mattered who you gave your body to. It’s not your fault and I understand why you held that sacred part of you so close to your heart and soul. It was the last piece of “you” that still belonged in your keeping that no one could ever take away from you…or so you thought. It’s ok. You didn’t know what else to do. The misplaced blame has now been replaced with an assurance that you are so much more than what happened to you on the night that changed your life forever. You were still a vision of strength and virtue – If only you could have seen it then.
I would have told you to slow down. Oh, you wanted to grow up so fast. You wanted a boyfriend and commitments. Your obsession was to be popular and desired with the boys-of course, that’s all they were at the time-boys.  You never did experience having a boyfriend in high school. I wish that you’d gone to the prom despite the fact that you didn’t have a guy to take you. You now know that Heavenly Daddy would make up for it 18 years later. You found yourself in the open air on the roof of a 5-star hotel, overlooking the ocean, dancing with Ryan Henderson – just the two of you – alone with a band preparing for a wedding with time to kill – singing “You Look Wonderful Tonight”. It was your favorite song and Ryan knew it. He went and made that special request. So under the sky bursting with stars in Cancun, a band singing just for two lovers, with the man of your dreams who loves you unconditionally and taught you that you were worthy of unconditional love, you had the best prom you could have ever wished, hoped, or prayed for back then.
Your quest to be physically beautiful sparked the lie that binging, purging, or starving yourself was the only way to do it. Oh, what a sad lie it was. Whether they told you or not, guys thought you were attractive, adorable, and captivating, but they were held hostage by a mentality that racial barriers could not be crossed.  They knew no different.  Times have changed and it is much more accepted now than it was then.  I know you had your “moments” with a couple of the boys in the really “popular” crowd.  It was all in secret.  You were better than what part of you they would accept in private so their friends wouldn’t find out. You are worthy of being displayed such as that of a breathtaking bride on her wedding day, not some hidden “embarrassment”.
I know some of the best times of your life in high school were spent in theater – Pippin & Brigadoon, talent shows……that was when you shined the most. It was because you were taking your artistic God-given gifts and talents and demonstrated what you were capable of when you were passionate about using them. It was your bubble of positive attention and acceptance. I don’t blame you. I still look back and remember those as some of my most memorable times in high school. Oh and how can we forget church. You were obsessed with Amy Grant and Sandi Patti so any chance they offered you a solo you were up front and center with a mike in your hand and a song in your heart.
Remember the wonderful bonds formed at Bethany Bible Church’s Youth Group? Winter ski retreats and Centrifuge Summers-what glorious times! The way you came back on fire for the Lord…and yet you were always conflicted. I know you loved Jesus and wanted so badly to live a life that you knew would be pleasing to Him when you already were. I would have saturated you more in the memories of the last nights of Centrifuge when everyone was completely broken and weren’t afraid to share. Those were the now-treasured moments that you look back at now with great affection and sense of intimacy. There were no jocks, or cheerleaders, or homecoming queens. It was just a group of teenagers releasing all their pain unashamedly and bearing one another’s burdens. As your older self, you don’t take those moments for granted any longer because you’ve witnessed His ability to turn all the bad, ugly things in your life, and theirs into a beautiful testament of God’s faithfulness and enduring, relentless love that is matchless.
Genesis 50:19-21 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
…. “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result—the survival of many people. Therefore don’t be afraid.
Oddly enough, during these past 20 years of observation from your older self’s view there is one thing that I really should be remorseful about, but as irresponsible as it seems, you don’t regret. It was the last semester of your senior year and you and M.M. would skip school in what we affectionally called the grey land yacht, your 1987 4-door Grey Ford Escort. You still laugh when you think about the aged man in his retirement years in the blue jean overalls day after day policing the entrances and exits of the parking lot. With laughter you recall all the relatives that “died” or were “ill” right down to your long deceased great, great grandmother as your excuse to leave. With rolling eyes and hand waving as if it were a white surrender flag he would release you to go.  You and M.M. would escape and got into whatever was available to do that day. The majority of the time you just hung out at her house. It didn’t matter what you did because you’d conquered the impossible task of skipping school so you could taste all the benefits of wild, rebellious, and yes, even the witty fruit of your liberation.
One last thing. I never forgot the night you graduated from high school. Your grades were mediocre but good enough to walk across the stage. With one handshake and one open hand you received a piece of paper validating that chapter of your life was over and it was now up to you to begin a new one.  It would require you entering into a different world-a new chapter that had yet to be written.   I remember you actually being sad once the graduation ceremony was over. In true form, once the lights went out, the crowds gone, and the production was over, reality hit and you felt it. You were afraid.  Now you know, that no matter what your plans are, ultimately God is the one who writes every chapter in the book of your life.
Proverbs 16:9 (New International Version)
In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.
You are so incredibly smart and gifted. Your teachers were correct in their report cards. Consistently teacher after teacher would share one concept in common. It was, “If Chantelle applies herself more then she would excel.” At the time when those dreaded reports went home to mom and dad I would look at them and hung my head down because I knew they were right. His ability to do in and through you what you could never do on your own is still a revelation we’re still working on believing today.
Philippians 4:13 (Amplified Bible)
I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency].
Here you sit 20 years later partaking in one of the most passionate disciplines that you have a love affair with-WRITING. “I would have.” Or “I should have.” Or “I could have” fill these pages with truths you would not have believed then had someone told you all of it anyway.
It’s ok. It’s more than ok. Even though I sometimes wish you’d made different choices then, those are all things that partially shaped who you are today. Those choices are a part of what makes you…..well you. I don’t look back at you with disappointment but on the contrary, with gratitude, pleasure, joy, and confidence. Papa always finds a way to turn your mess into a message to display it for His glory. And that is what He’s done with your life. Sure, you didn’t have to experience those things. You could have made other choices that were, shall we say, less self-destructive, and still been the delightful, loving, and compassionate woman you are today.   Be careful, however.  If you keep looking in the rearview mirror of yesterday’s mistakes and shortcomings, you will miss what still lies ahead of you for the next 20, 30, 40, or even 50 years.
Just like then, you still have your moments of rebellion, selfishness, lack of confidence, poor judgment, and stupidity. You can still be abrasive and insecure. You still have your moments of being obnoxious, not applying yourself, and mischievousness. The biggest difference now from then is all the healing and peace you have from knowing that you are the apple of God’s eye in spite of the fact that you can still be some or even all of those things. You know how to embrace the security of knowing that you are always in His keeping. You have fallen in love with the Lover Of Your Soul who holds the key to your past, present, and future. That is something that can never be taken away from you. There is a sacredness in the knowledge and belief that if for no other reason, because you are His, you will always pull through whatever life brings. You belong to Him. You are rooted and grounded in Him. His truth is now your truth. He’s redeemed time for you. You grasp the promises of His word more and more each day and are bold enough to try to carry that message to others.
Romans 8:26-28 (The Message)
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
In closing, I will say this. Looking back, ONLY for a minute is fine, but living your life one day at a time, one choice at a time, one mistake at a time, one victory or defeat at a time is how you should live. Live everyday as if it were your last. Don’t let the past keep you from believing in your dreams, clutching on to the hem of His garment in times of desperation, or allowing the enemy of your soul to defeat you. You are a victorious overcomer and will continue to be. He’s so proud of you……and 20 years later, so am I.   I couldn’t be more proud of the woman you are today.
Isaiah 61:1-3 (Amplified)
I will give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit–that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.













Coming Out of the Closet My Life As A Bipolar Christian

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Coming Out Of The Closet:  My Life As A Bipolar Christian
©2008 Chantelle Thomas-Henderson




"..But the disease thrives on shame, and shame thrives on silence, and I've been silent long enough." Quote from Author Terri Cheney's Book, MANIC: A Memoir
Psalm 73:21-26 (NLT)

21 Then I realized that my heart was bitter, And I was all torn up inside. 


22 I was so foolish and ignorant
I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.


23 Yet I still belong to you; You hold my right hand.


24 You guide me with your counsel, Leading me to a glorious destiny.  



25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
I desire you more than anything on earth.  



26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, But God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever.  


Let me just start off by saying that Heavenly Papa makes me laugh. He makes me smile. He keeps me on my toes, tickles me, and knows how to show me that I may have my own plans, but He will have His way. I say this because thus far I've taken two out of town, scenic, quaint, quiet trips to work on my book, and twice I've walked away with NOTHING. Ironically, today, sitting in the carpool line in a noisy, not-so-private place waiting for my youngest to come out is where I started writing this. That's funny to me! I kept asking Him why now, and He showed me clearly that I need to approach this whole book writing thing with baby steps. As soon as the blinders were removed I knew I had to blog about something that is very deep and personal something that up until now I've only discussed with a few friends in my inner circle, my sister, best friend, pastor, and family. It's something I've been ashamed of and have kept hidden for fear of what the world would have to say on the subject. I guess from the title you can gather what this blog is going to be about. Yes, I am Bipolar and I am a Christian.

Not too long ago I emailed friends and family requesting a response to one question. "If you could describe me in ONE word, what would it be?" Well, they knew me well enough to be totally free and comfortable in being honest in their responses. Some of these folks I've known all my life, others for years, some are just mere acquaintances. I felt comfortable enough to ask. I was actually asking the question for the book, not realizing they would also be used in this blog also. These are just some of the responses I received:
Affectionate, angry, blue, broken, charming, cute, crazy, controlling, depressed, desperate, disconnected, downhearted, advocate, bold, creative, erratic, extrovert, outspoken, euphoric, exceptional, exotic, excessive, extravagant, extreme, frustrating, fun, funny, hilarious, honest, hysterical, impulsive, intense, introvert, intense, aggressive, leader, passive, irrational, loud, loving, loyal, melancholy, miserable, moody, nutty, obnoxious, obsessive, oppressed, organized, passionate, optimistic, real, seductive, sincere, special, spiritual, spoiled, strange, transparent, trustworthy, inhibited, unbalanced, unglued, unique, weird, unreasonable, unsettled, unstable, uplifting, exhorter, uptight, wild, sarcastic, sassy, raw, unpredictable. Then of course, there were those who couldn't stick to the one word rule and did some doubles. They were self-destructive, passive aggressive, over the top, strong willed, life of the party.
Now..before you start calling me Sybil or want refer me to deliverance ministries to cast out demons, let me tell you a small portion of why there are so many qualities and personality traits that I received on the feedback that are totally contradictory. I have written 3 key blogs since May of last year that have laid the foundation for this very blog. They are: "Beautifully Broken" (05/14/07), "How Forgiveness Taught Me To Love" (01/16/08), and "What's Your Cancer" (02/29/08). This blog is about my unfolding and coming to terms with being bipolar.
If you reference my blog from 05/14/07, you will see that I was in an inpatient treatment facility for 3 days as a result of coming off some medication I was taking for fibromyalgia. What I did not reveal at that time was that while there I was diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Now I'm not one big on titles (especially ones that can produce a negative and adverse reaction), but I thought that was a bit too much. My therapist and I laugh about it now, but I literally asked her on every visit if she was certain I was bipolar. I refused to believe that I was. That was just such a foreign concept to me at the time. The PTSD I totally understood; but the bipolar thing, I'd never even heard of before. I just knew that most of my life I've had seasons of severe depression and seasons of extreme highs accompanied by reckless behavior....again.....see the book for details. As I went back over my life I could plainly see that from the top to the bottom of the list, I could check off every symptom of Bipolar I Disorder.
For those of you that don't know what Bipolar disorder is, it's exactly what it says, two opposite poles. Here is an excellent explanation found in the following link:
"According to the definition outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), bipolar I disorder, considered the most severe form of this mental illness, is "characterized by one or more Manic or Mixed Episodes, usually accompanied by Major Depressive Episodes."
In a major manic episode the patient may become delusional and even suffer from hallucinations, which are symptoms of psychosis. If this occurs, the condition is called bipolar I with psychotic features. Only bipolar I disorder, by definition, can include such psychotic features. Bipolar I can seriously impair day-to-day functioning.
Other symptoms and characteristics of mania include:
  •  Grandiosity
  •  Decreased need for sleep
  •  Pressured speech
  •  Racing thoughts
  •  Distractibility
  •  Tendency to engage in behavior that could have serious consequences, such as spending recklessly or inappropriate sexual encounters
  •  Excess energy
Symptoms and characteristics of major depression include:
  •  Decreased energy
  •  Severe withdrawal from normal activities
  •  Weight loss or gain
  •  Despair
  •  Irritability
  •  Uncontrollable crying
  •  Thoughts of or attempts at suicide
by Kimberly Read

I know that may be a lot to take in, just as it was (and at times still is) for me. The most difficult part of all this is reconciling how a Christian woman, born again and filled with the Spirit of God, could have such a major chemical imbalance that it would cause me to have this disease. It wasn't until I bought several books (which I will reference at the end of this just in case you or a loved one has been diagnosed) and became educated on the disorder that I was finally able to understand it and what the best plan of action would be for me and my family.  I'm not going to go into a long Biblical Theological argument here. I will just say that my husband & I have chosen the best treatment for me at this time is to take medication to manage and stabilize my moods at the advice of my medical team of doctors until I am healed and delivered from the disease and the havoc it has caused in the past and can cause now if I don't take my meds and cast down thoughts and imaginations that are not of God. What I can tell you is that I have learned that like Paul's thorn in the flesh, I've asked Daddy to remove it so many times, and every time His response to me has been, "MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT IN YOUR WEAKNESS".
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Cor.12:9)
The highs are highs and the lows are lows. He's been with me in the valley and He's been with me on top of the mountain. I do depend on my faith, but I also accompany it by works. For that, at this time, it means routinely going to my therapist and psychiatrist, being consistent in taking my medications daily, and being honest with those around me when I am at either extreme or even feel like I'm about to be.
By the way, I no longer fight with my therapist on my diagnosis. After much research and prayer and counsel, it's undeniable that I've had it probably since my childhood. If I look at past (or even recent) behaviors it makes perfect sense. I have Bipolar I Disorder. (Save the responses about the power of the tongue, please. I do speak healing over the situation and I don't deny I have the disease, but I do deny its right to exist in my life. Until the healing manifest, I have to follow the Lord and what He's given me peace to do while waiting.)
So what's the bottom line? Why am I sharing this? I want to encourage Christians (or anyone reading this blog) that when you have, know and/or love someone who has been diagnosed with a mental disorder (a chemical imbalance of the brain) or any mental illness, it is to be treated no different than if that person came to you and said I have cancer or a tumor. We still need your prayers and support. We still need you to walk through the journey with us. And may you forsake your temptation to judge and try to figure out what we did that "opened the door to the enemy" to bring this into our life. I so wish I could go into more detail, but it would be in bits and pieces and probably would confuse you more than anything. 
I no longer want or choose to be silent. I may be hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Cor. 4:8-9). Until this thorn in the flesh of mine is removed, I will continue to persevere knowing that He is my Daddy who loves me with an everlasting love.
Here are some great resources for you or someone you may know that will help you and them understand what bipolar disorder is and how you can manage it or be a help and support to someone who has it.  Don't just do nothing.....remember..."the disease thrives on shame".
The Holy Bible (Especially Psalms and Proverbs) by God
Bipolar Disorder for Dummies by Candida Fink and Joe Kraynak
*This was THE BEST book on educating me and my loved ones on the disorder
Manic: A Memoir by Terri Cheney
*This is not a Christian book, but it is a great memoir that gives a clear picture of the life someone with bipolar disorder
Mood Swings by Paul Meier M.D., Stephen Arterburn, Frank Minirth M.D.
A Testimony Of God's Faithfulness To A Bipolar Christian: In The Pit by Nancy L. Hagerman
Here are some good links to articles also:




Also remember that laughter is GREAT medicine.  I found this picture and fell in love with it!  Hope it brings a smile to your face :-)




Blessings Always,
Chantelle