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How Things Happen


31 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

33 He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”

Matthew 13:31-33, ESV

These are perhaps the three most potent verses in the entire Bible. And whenever you find “potency” you will find a strong possibility of exponential growth. It may be a steady synergy, or an explosive fission. Either way, it’s going to grow!

Both the seed and the yeast have so much in common. They are two sides of the same proverbial coin. And they represent explosive growth. If they are unleashed, watch out! They are both “pep and power” and now set loose they will take off.

The seed is put in the ground and the yeast in the flour. And the farmer and the baker both do their initial work of planting or kneading, and then they just stand back, their work is pretty much done. They now just let “nature” take its course.

These parables Jesus taught here are small— but hardly less significant because of their brevity. These two can bury you with all they imply and mean. When we think clearly about yeast in your cupboard and that single seed in its package, we should see the “life” that resides in them, and the potential that waits.

I think much about the Church. At times, I admit I get frustrated with it. I get judgmental, and fearful that it won’t survive into the next century.  I truly understand that I can be critical. At times my friends must deal with my “ugliness,” but still they put up with me. (They are true friends.)

The kingdom is growing, and advancing. I love the wonderful promise in Isaiah 9:6, (usually read at Christmas time only. A mistake.) But Isaiah 9:7 is also pretty amazing too,

“His government and its peace
    will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David
    for all eternity.
The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
    will make this happen!”

Let it grow, let it grow! 


ybic, Bryan

kyrie elesion.

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Night Terrors, [Protected Children]

night-terrors-21467698 “You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,”

Psalm 91:5


It is easy to fear. This can be the true reaction of a soul smacking up against the vicissitudes of life. Things do fluctuate, and we really can’t predict its issues with us. We hit it at an alarming speed, which only adds to the confusion. Who can act and react to all the twists and turns?And life can get strange. If you’re not afraid sometimes, you may not be human, lol.

But fear can be extracted from the believing Christian. 

“You will not fear” is the ‘buzzword’ repeated over and over. in scripture. And fear is such a complicated thing. (It really doesn’t ‘snack,’ it devours a person.) The believer carries the only antidote to the stark raving fear that eats away at the soul.

“The terror of night,” is a clear description of all that can occur in this life. Terror is such a powerful word. It embeds within with foreboding and a noxious kind of fear. It’s a kind of ‘panic’ in the face of an acute evil. It is hostile to the spirit and it claims all that it gets. Fear can drive a person to do some regrettable things.

 “Nor the arrow that flies by day,” Daylight means that the archer can see his prey. He doesn’t work at night, but uses his eyesight during the day. The arrow he shoots focuses at a singular point. He wants to pierce the heart. He strains at his bow, at the precise moment lets loose.

But we are given this precious promise, that gives us faith and acts like a shield and a buckler. The promise is given to unworthy persons. No one deserves the grace that has been given so freely. But we do take what He gives. We have a ‘stark-raving’ fear on one side, and on the other is a soul under protection. Our decision is obvious.

“You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,”

Psalm 91:5

This simple verse puts everything in its place. I’ve read it, and now choose to make it live by faith in this ragged heart of mine. Yes, the promise is real– no mirage and no tricks, no ‘smoke, or mirrors.’ It is a true offer of protection for the ‘child of God.’ He alone meets the need inside our hearts for safety.


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A Day in the Life of a Mental Hospital Patient

6:30 am. “Rise and shine,” but this is debatable– you simply just breathe and walk, in this kind of a desperate mental fog,  (Simply put, ‘there will be no sunshine for you today.’) But, this only just seems to really matter to us, who have no hope.  You exchange brief greetings with your roommate, which only just seems proper, even at this level.  We are given “ratty” old surgical scrubs to wear through out the day.

We head down ‘en mass’ to the cafeteria.  I see the servers on the line, I notice that they avert their eyes from us as we form a hungry queue.  Sometimes, they will give us choices: “bacon or sausage?”  To a mental patient, this can be a Gordian Knot of complexity.  So the line moves slowly, as we try to sort out this conundrum.

There is no coffee for us, as patients.  It has been two weeks for me, and I dream of a cup of hot coffee, with cream.  Some of the attendants drink Pepsi, although it is done hiddenly, but we all know it.  We resent their liberty, especially when we have none.  There is a question of equity, with us, which has been violated.

8:40 am.  We are all race to be the first in line for our morning meds.  It almost seems we are afraid they are suddenly going to run out.  I get my Seroquil, my lithium, my Zoloft.  Additionally, because I am ‘post-op’ brain tumor, I am given a mild stimulant called Provigil to help me think clearly.  I have no idea if it works, or not. (I rather have a cup of coffee.)

We then gather into a day room full of clunky and ugly furniture.  It is big, and the chairs encircle a grimy tile floor to make a large open space.  This is not an orderly place, as people are wandering about, some stare at the wall or at a fake plant in the corner.  It is noisy, some even shout.  Others just “rock” back and forth to a song that only they can hear.  A few of us lie in “fetal position” of hiddenness, just wanting to disappear.

The thought occurred to me one day, of a ‘giant aquarium.’  It was constantly moving, swirling about.  If you stopped moving, it meant that you were dead.  Everyone was moving, and oblivious to the others who were also moving.  This seems to explain much.  (You will need to accept the ‘aquarium’ idea if you really want to process the moment.)

On one of my stays, weeks went by before I realized that this particular meeting actually existed, but I was very confused and seriously beyond any correction.  I was really struggling with clinical depression, so meals and meds was all I could manage.  When I finally figured this out, I quickly joined the fish bowl.  It was both good and bad.  But mostly good. Finally as bleak as it was, I started accepting reality.

11:00 am.  One thing you do notice is a lot of disjointed conversations.  You would speak to someone and 10 minutes later they would answer.  And for the most part, conversations would be muted, whispered to people.  As if there was a conspiracy involved, and a certain appropriateness must be taken. We were a paranoid bunch.

Sometimes an attendant would turn on the TV.  I can remember watching cartoons and just maybe I would think that they were communicating to me in code.  We did have a VCR for movies, but because one guy urinated into the machine, it shorted it out.  So, alas, no more movies.

During one stay (and there were several) I was suicidal.  The staff watched me like a hawk, sitting at my door out in the hallway. But I was desperate to cut my wrists, so I stood up in a chair.  I took down a clock and wrapped it in a blanket, to muffle the sound of breaking glass.  I managed to slash my wrists deeply and often, before the nurse came in my room.  For a moment, I brought an excitement to the staff.  And perhaps a certain meaning to me.

When you’re in a psych ward your days are beyond tedious.  One day is like the next.  The psychiatrist comes to see you for 10 minutes, and it is a high point of your day.  You discover that any new explanations, or treatment plans are done solely by the doctor.  That is one of the first cardinal rules on the ward.  Ask a nurse or an aide, and they invariably dodge.  But the psychiatrist “rules the roost.” Everyone follows his decision. This is useful to know.

1:00 pm.   Suddenly a young teen girl with schizophrenia, screaming and pounding her head against the wall has now becomes the focus.  Every couple of days this happens, and in a twisted way punctuates the drabness of the day.  She is artfully restrained by the staff and taken to “the padded cell.”  We are all told it is for her own protection,  but we as patients, we all rally behind her fight.  When she makes a break from the nurses we all cheer her effort and want her to escape.

The second cardinal rule of the floor is that you don’t “stick out” in any way. Creating an issue is never tolerated, whatsoever.  Demanding more TV time, or coffee, or a newspaper will hardly ever go over well.  Just before Thanksgiving, 2003, I timed my meeting with the pdoc to raise an issue of a fresh cup of coffee.  There was a nurse present at our meeting, and she had to respond to the doctor’s order that I was to be given coffee on Thanksgiving morning.  The next morning the coffee was delivered, but the nurse insisted that she would set in a chair next to me until I finished.  Nevertheless, it was a glorious moment.

3:00 pm.  I soon developed auditory hallucinations.  First, I kept hearing a CB radio, squawking constantly.  A few days later, I started to hear a telegraph, “dit-dot-dash.”  They both were very loud and insisting that I pay attention.  Also, I would have 3 or 4 moments of seeing black and hairy spiders climbing at me.  They were so real, and even volitionally know they were not real, I still panicked.

4:30 pm.  They’re other issues as well.  I basically hated phone calls from family.  When they did come they always seemed intrusive and seemed to work against the thinking on the ward.  When a few friends did visit, I would be abrasive and rude.  Wishing they hadn’t made the effort.  I imagined their hearts processing me and my need to be there, and it disturbed me.  Since I lived about 300 miles from the hospital, it took effort on their part to try to see me.  Looking back though, I wish I had been nicer.

8:48  pm.  Getting ready for bed.  It seems that is what I have waited for this all day.  These are moments I have started to live for.  Sleep = oblivion.  I fade to black, and life is paused.  There isn’t any issues for me to figure out.  For eight hours, I find peace,  Sleep is a deep mercy, a gift given to us from the Father.  Those of us, who struggle hard against the dark, understand the “gift” of grace in the form of sleep.  Depressives very often crave sleep. We often want to hide into it, as if doing so would solve our problems and issues. For me, sleep was the only time I was free from the ward.

I want to sleep, to close my eyes and to be gone.  I suppose that is true, for all of us who want to “commit suicide by sleep.”  We seek oblivion, and long for the moment when we can “check out.”  We want to be forgotten and overlooked. We deeply want to be erased, and move directly into forgottenness.

When we have been committed to the ward as patients, we will probably be shaken to our core.  Our insertion into a diverse floor of mental illness, will always introduce us to deep desperation. We are jolted that there is a darkness that is pursing us far beyond what seems is right.  We must call out to Him who can save us.


kyrie elesion, Bryan


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Peanut Butter, Hot Lunch and Dreams

Warning: Rambling post, very tedious. Don’t operate heavy equipment for two hours after reading this post.

I grew up in a big, brick house in Northern Wisconsin. Our beautiful home hid our desperate poverty, and it was quite difficult. My father and mother scraped by enough each week to feed and clothe us. But just barely.  Mom would take some elbow macaroni, and mix it with stewed tomatoes (from a dwindling supply she tried to manage.)

I was oblivious to our precarious situation.  I carried a plain peanut butter sandwich to school for years, but I had a simple dream of getting “hot lunch.” I was tired of peanut butter, as I watched all the other kids eat pizza, hamburgers and (my fav. mashed potatoes with a pat of butter.) I ate PB for several years.  You could stucco a house with what I ate.

I wasn’t really settled in my heart or thinking.  I developed into a bipolar childhood that had quite a bit of depression, and a load of impulsivity.  I was an impossible child, and I  was out-of-control. I was either terribly manic or profoundly depressed.  My Mom and Dad simply didn’t know or grasp my mental illness and how it was effecting me.

A repeated nightmare worked its claws into my thinking. I would wake up sobbing, almost inconsolable. I had this dream several times in my teens, and can still 40 years later taste the panic. In this dream, I would be lifted up and laid on a slow conveyor belt.  I would be on my back, and I would see over my feet a giant roller.  This roller had big nobs on it and it was rolling over what the conveyor belt brought to it.  In this dream I was paralyzed, unable to escape this giant crushing roller.  I kept fighting, and trying to escape.  But, I was completely frozen.

I would waken just as my feet met the roller.  The fear I had was as intense as any I ever had.  (Except when I had to go down to the basement, but that was more reasonable.)  I would repeat this dream several times, and it was always the same.  I haven’t had this dream for 30 years or more, but it still has a potency and fear to make me edgy.

Over the many years I have thought about this.  I certainly don’t want to mysticize it, or try to force an interpretation out of it.  But it has struck me as a metaphor of my life to some degree.  In this dream I was moving toward an inevitable crushing.  The paralyzing panic was a fair description of where I was at spiritually.

This explanation may sound childish and simplistic.  But it is so workable, and brings a certain comprehension to these terrible moments of fear. And our dreams, well, they are funny things.  All of us, somehow, and in some strange fashion are treated to a surrealistic and fantastical mini-story as we sleep. But what does it mean?

Much of the time, upon awakening, we try to piece together both the chronology and the meaning of what we had just dreamed.  It’s hard to do, most of the time it justs slips away.  Yet, our inner heart always wonders if that particular dream was “good, bad or ugly.”  There are rare times when we can grab on a sequence of events, and relay it to a close friend.

Some things will never be revealed in this lifetime.  But I believe there are certain things in our dreams that the Holy Spirit chooses to bring to light.  We are never sanctioned to seek the meaning of our dreams, but only the Lord Himself.  We should never lean on our understanding, but on our Father and His Word.

P.S. I realize in writing this, I don’t like peanut butter at all.

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Dreaming of Forgiveness

This article was originally posted on my blog, Linda Kruschke’s Blog, here. When Pr. Bryan asked me to contribute to Broken Believers, I knew this was one post I wanted to share here.

Important caveat: In this article I am not suggesting that unforgiveness or other unrepentant sin is the root of all depression. There are many causes of severe depression. Sometimes the depression of a person can have multiple causes and exacerbating factors. This is just my story, and I believe I’m not alone in the root of my struggle. I write this for those who, like me, have been hurt and have hung onto the bitterness that such wrongs can cause.

As I write this, I’m sitting in the Portland, Oregon airport waiting to board my flight to Boston with a layover in Houston. It’s 10:47 p.m. and I’ll soon (I hope) be on the red eye, trying to get some sleep. I doubt it will be the kind of deep sleep that leads to dreaming.

For the past couple of days a blog post idea has been flitting around in my head that has to do with dreaming. Or more accurately, it has to do with a specific dream. I decided this was the perfect opportunity to write that post.

This is a true story of a dream I had 13 years ago, but it is as vivid in my memory today as it was the moment I awoke from it. But before I get to the dream, a little background (some of which those who have read much of my blog will already know, some of which I’ve only shared one-on-one with people I know).

I had been struggling with major clinical depression for almost 7 years. There had been some good days, weeks, maybe even a month here and there, during that 7 years. But never any lasting relief. Even before that I had dealt with low grade depression for a long as I could remember. Through it all I blamed one person for all my misery. I’d been blaming him for almost 20 years. I was sure what he had done was the reason for my depression and that there was nothing I could do about it. I had become convinced that I would always be miserable. My regular mantra was that he had ruined my life.

So you might be wondering what he did that was so terrible. I’ve thought a lot about whether I would include that piece of information here. I’ve shared it with friends, but I’ve decided not to do so in my blog. I believe that this post will have a greater impact if I don’t because the principles I learned through this story aren’t dependent on the wrong that was done to me. Just as we don’t know what the thorn was in Paul’s side that he asked the Lord to remove (2 Corinthians 12:7-10), so that his story has a universal message that Jesus’ grace is sufficient for any suffering, I think my story will have more universal appeal if the reader can fill in the blanks with whatever wrong has been done to them.

You might also be wondering if my life really was miserable during this time so as to warrant being depressed. I assure you it was not. I was (and still am) married to a wonderful man who loves me and would do anything for me. We lived in a nice house. I had graduated from law school cum laude and had a pretty good job. My sweet, loveable son was also born during this time. I actually had, as George Bailey would say, “a wonderful life.”

Still, I was in utter despair and medication was not helping. I mentioned in a previous post about my friend June who invited me to my first Bible study, which happened towards the end of my 7 years of major depression. It was while I was attending this Bible study on a weekly basis that I had the dream.

Okay, now to the dream. It started out with me standing at the checkout counter at the grocery story. I paid for my groceries and turned to leave. There he was, on his knees, asking me to forgive him. But I walked away. Suddenly I was at the post office mailing some letters. I finished my business with the postal clerk and turned to leave. There he was again, on his knees, asking me to forgive him. But I walked away. This scenario was repeated at the bank, the library, and several other of the regular places one goes in life.

He was everywhere in my life in this dream, but not trying to ruin it. He was always asking for forgiveness. I awoke from the dream and knew immediately what I needed to do. God had been trying to tell me this very thing in various ways for quite some time, but I hadn’t listened. I couldn’t ignore this clear message of forgiveness.

So that is what I did. It wasn’t easy, and I had to pray for God to help me, but I forgave him. Suddenly a flood of names came to my mind. People who had “trespassed against me” in some way or another over the years; people I was holding a grudge against. All the bitterness I had been holding in my heart came pouring out and I began to cry. I asked God for forgiveness for my failure to forgive for so long.

The effect on my depression was not immediate, but it didn’t take very long compared to how long I had been struggling. Within just a few months I was off antidepressants and have not had to take them since. There are still days, sometimes weeks, when the darkness returns (though not as deeply as it had consumed me for those 7 years). For me, I can usually trace the lurking threat of depression to someone I’m angry with, someone I need to forgive. I’m reminded of the lesson of dreaming of forgiveness.