He didn’t know we were here, or he may still be…

 

It was a beautiful, sunny day. We were doing one of our favorite things – having brunch, in the sun, fresh coffee, talking about our plans for the rest of the day, including shopping, beach swim, and talking about our business and dreaming about the future.

But today was extra special: It was Harvs’ birthday.

We were talking about our passions, about themes many clients were walking through in their lives, and there it was: identity. We had spoken of it countless times before, but today, watching Harvs speak so passionately, so empathetically, so prophetically, about his clients and the lies that had planted to attack their identity, make them doubt their worth, and be the foundations they built their whole lives on. Identity is the number one area of attack for human minds. If the lies can plant at the foundational level of who we are, we question our identity: how we see ourselves, how we see the world, how we see ourselves in the world. And everything else comes from that foundation of who we are.

We have been solely running our mind health clinic: Reminded, for nearly 3 years, several years prior to this under a previous branding, strategically and obediently within the world marketplace, not advertising as Christian, not speaking the name of Jesus to clients, all for the 99% of clients who do not identify as Christian, most of whom would not come for psychological therapy to Reminded if we advertised as Christian. And we love what we do in this space. But we each feel a strong call to minister directly to Christians also. We love running worship bands and pastoring people, we love being leaders in the church, we love speaking biblical truths and kingdom revelation: and we couldn’t do this from Reminded.

I do need to say at this point, everything we say, all the therapies we use, every thing that happens in our therapy rooms within the clinic is God-breathed, Spirit-led, kingdom keys to freedom and Truth. All of it. God was just very clear in it’s inception that it was for the marketplace, that He can speak for Himself, and “even the rocks cry out” so He didn’t require us to speak His name – He was and is fully capable of this Himself.

And oh! The breakthroughs we see; the successful outcomes for people we get to walk them into; the lives we save everyday. We LOVE it!

And then an American pastor died by suicide, and my first thought was, “He didn’t know we were here, or he may still be”…

Hello, Identifyed.

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I saw it that day so clearly, written in my mind’s eye, spelt just as it is – it was one of those, “Are you sure God, I don’t know if I would have called it that” moments. He chose. And it fell into our laps, into our hearts, into our spirits. And we had purchased the business name, domain name and set up the social platforms by the next day.

And that is the start of Identifyed’s journey. This is it. This is where we begin changing Christian culture around pastors and leaders seeking help for their mental health concerns, being able to talk about how they are coping, what they are thinking, how they are feeling, what they are carrying, the fears and voices they fight in the night. Because they are people too. they have minds. No one is immune from mental health concerns, from illness, from overwhelm, from burnout, from fear, from doubt, from lies, from attacks on their identity, from suicide. We need to speak truth into this area, so pastors can be real with how they are really going, and have the support, therapy and healing they need to get through.

We are currently working behind the scenes to develop the logo, website and branding. We are constructing the social platforms, online community and collecting resources for how this arm of our business will get out into the Christian community worldwide.

So watch this space. This is for you. This is for us. For Christ’s bride and every person at the table. So share away, follow us, read, learn, understand, heal.

May no other pastor be taken by suicide, because there is now someone here when they look for help, and we are not going anywhere!

For long lives and whole minds,

Harvs and Sal

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Grant and Sally Harvey (or Harvs and Sal) are Clinical Social Workers (AMHSW), married for 16 years, parents to four children (aged 14-7), living in Noosa on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland Australia. They run Reminded mind health clinic in Noosa.

@identifyed_ (Instagram) @remindedmind

Identifyed (facebook) Remindedmind

Check out http://www.reminded.com.au for more info in the meantime while our website is being built (will be http://www.identifyed.org)

 

 

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Challenging truth

  

What I’m going to write about today started with reading an email that was publicising a recently released dvd set on inner healing. In the write up about it, the line ‘you need to embrace the pain of recovery to find freedom’ struck me. 

This was an internationally acclaimed writer, speaker and leader, usually writing things I completely agree with… Until that email. Why would they write such a misleading and fear-perpetuating statement, and to try to advertise their latest publication…why?! 

In my work with thousands of clients over the past decade, this is the one statement that many people believe in that stops them from going through therapy to find healing. They are afraid of how hard it will be, of having to drag it up and re-live it through conversation, to which the hour session will be up and they will be left with their story, memories, trauma, past, fears, all up rooted, sitting or festering on the surface to then have to drag it again through their day and night, with the belief it will take so long, if ever, to get through it…

…’the pain of recovery…’ Sorry, I disagree.  If recovery is painful it’s not recovery it’s rehabilitation-using the injured body part in order to strengthen it to be able to use it again. It needn’t be like that with our minds. 

Recovery suggests a getting better, recovering from what it was yesterday… And that it will at some point be recovered- which suggests it’s back to the way it was prior to whatever happened or hurt it. Not a lesser version of, not still damaged, not walking with a limp. Recovery suggests wellness, wholeness, recovered…

And I know how that will be contrary to what many of you have been told, even by professionals, friends, family, leaders. I’m sorry they said that. I’m sorry they believe that. 

As I often say to clients, I wouldn’t do this job if I thought it was just a bandaid solution; if all I was doing was picking rotten fruit but leaving the tree. It’s all or getting to the all or nothing. It’s healed or healing or nothing. 

If you have been trying to get through something for years, going to therapy, seeking help, reading, praying, seeking counsel, and it hasn’t shifted….do something else! It’s clearly not working. And don’t let the something else be to give up. There is still hope. There is always hope. Just find a more effective means of working through it. Of walking through. Don’t stop in it. Keep going. Move forward. Don’t settle here. There is more. There is freedom. There is light. 

And if there is pain in the process, find a less painful way, because it needn’t be painful. Therapy shouldn’t be painful. It can be gentle, quick and move from the wound that is already there (so why do we think we need to go over it, push and prod it, scratch at it- we already know it’s there and that’s enough to do the work), to being healed and leave no scar or change to the skin. 

That’s ReMindEd’s stance on therapy and the place from which we work. I know it’s a big claim, but over a decade of work has proven that our eclectic mix of evidence based therapies actually work. And actually isn’t painful in the process! The wound left there is painful, healing shouldn’t be. 
  

He is…

  
Tonight, as I flip through one of my many journals and work books, one that is now full with more than a year’s worth of thoughts, prayers and reflections, I come across this entry I would like to share with you. I hope this speaks to your heart as it did on the day I wrote it, more than 6 months ago, and as it does again today…
Sitting here again, in my sanctuary- my room, this time almost twelve months to the day later, after the first entry in this book. 

Reflecting on the year that was-

What a year- crazy, heart-breaking lows, yet daily, normal lifestyle highs- surrounded by the five most loved people in my world- in the most beautiful part of the world, that we call home. 

The pieces that were broken, resulting from such horrible things, all gently, delicately picked up, one by one, kissed, the dust blown off, the edges rounded smooth, each one repositioned by the Creator himself- my good, good Father, who loves, loves me and loves my every single piece- that when everything felt like it was falling apart, he put back together. All whilst holding my hand, holding up my head, holding my kids when my reach wasn’t able to protect them from harm. When I wasn’t there, he was. When I wasn’t enough, he was. More than enough. More than able. More than there. For He is. HE IS. 

Any good thing

All good things

Only good things

He is good

For He is God”. 

  

The uphill

NO BODY EVER FELL UP A MOUNTAIN

The moment when busyness ceases, a moment of rest is found, and you get a chance to catch your breath… Aaahhhhh. 

And then the next moment usually follows with the content of your subconscious mind surfacing as it too tries to draw a breath from the swirling waters of the abyss… Aaahhhhh. But what a different sigh that one is. 

It is in the second moment where we need to understand we have a choice to make. What shall you do with the sigh. How long will you let it linger. What will you breathe back in after you release the air of fear, worry, concern, disappointment, confusion. From where will you draw strength to find hope again. From whom. 

Air is most difficult to breathe as you draw closer to the top of a mountain. But you can still choose to keep breathing. To keep walking to the top. To focus either on the pain of every shortened breath or the perhaps beautiful view of new perspective and revelation. Are you too consumed with looking at your feet and wondering how many more steps are needed that you forget to look up and see what is around you and perhaps the very reason you may be there. 

NO BODY EVER FALLS UP A MOUNTAIN

Keep going. Don’t give up. Choose to breathe out doubt, fear, confusion, and breathe in His love, peace, and kindness. 

He has you. You are held. 

You are not alone. 

No mountain is so tall that you need keep climbing. This too shall pass. 

Choose to breathe Him. 

And look up and see where you are and what is around you. Nothing is wasted.  Don’t focus on your feet. 

Grey skies, shattered heart

  

When solid ground becomes shifting sands, when clear skies are overwhelmed with dark clouds, when you try to run away and instead your feet get swallowed up, when the wind blows so hard in your face that if you stand still you’d be forced to take a step backward just to balance…

When promises lay by the way side, when encouraging words echo in a time long since passed, when the beliefs you held so tightly slip through your fingertips, when you cry for so long you no longer bother to wipe your wet cheeks, when your heart is shattered into so many pieces you wonder how they could possibly be put back together…

…and you know that the world is no longer the same. There is no going back to the way things were. A small piece of your soul has withered and died and it can’t exist as it once did. And so many unanswerable questions swirl through your mind, at a place far beyond the ‘whys’, stealing sleep to feed its appetite, rearing its head just as you think you’re doing ok. 

But at this point you’d settle for doing ok. Oh how you wish things were just ok. How stupid it was to be bored, frustrated, anxious and want more than just the ok response, how trivial the things you obsessed about last month now seem, how you long for those to be the only issues to deal with again. 

But this has happened. It has. No matter how tightly you squeeze your eyes shut there’s no denying it. And it changed the world. Your world it forever altered. The once round world is now dead flat and you are teetering dangerously close to the edge. Oh for the world to be round again. 

And it’s at this point, with no other option, at the end of your own strength, at that place beyond exhaustion, that you need to choose to give up the struggle. 

You didn’t choose this. Neither did He. 

You didn’t have a say. Neither did He. 

It wasn’t your fault. Nor was it His. 

But you can choose to allow Him to carry you through. Stop struggling out of His arms. You can’t do it alone. You also needn’t. He will get you through this. This too shall pass. You are held. 

“The wind and waves still know His name” (bethel music)

He can still the storm. Just ask. Be held. 

Running on glass clouds

  

  
Firstly my apologies for the lengthy gaps in blogs lately. With so much to say I’m not sure why I don’t make the time needed to write more often- perhaps being a mum of four kids, working, running a house, and building a business with my husband has something to do with it- or I just need to readjust my time…or just watch less movies at night! 🙂

This is our first winter in Queensland since moving here 9 months ago, and this is the first week of noticeably cooler nights and fresh mornings, and the earlier sunsets have been slowly creeping further forward. For me, this means less daylight hours to fit in my weekly runs and having to use the time I have more intentionally to make sure I can still run a couple of times a week throughout winter. See, the more I keep running now, the less all my hard work in the warmer months will be for nothing. If I took the colder months off, I’d be pretty much starting again in spring. Even though I’ve been regularly running now for almost three years, if I were to stop now, when it’s harder to fit in, colder on my face, and easier to stay warm in doors, it’d undo all of my efforts across the last few years. In three months, I could undo the last 36! 

In working that out, I’m suddenly more motivated to ensure I run tomorrow morning, using my day off to take an hour for me and do what I need to do. Running is now a necessity for me- not just because it’s my main God time and the only sure fire way to wade through my mind and emotions, but because I’ve worked too hard across the last 36 months to waste it now. 

If only we approached our spiritual life the same way. 

When was the last time you intentionally spent time with God? And as I’ve shared in an earlier post, that can be while doing the dishes, on the drive to work, pottering in your garden…anything. Dr Caroline leaf (incredible Christian neuroscientist) suggests that we are created to have constant communication with God, which is why our mind never stops thinking, feeling, sensing. We can learn to intentionally tune the content of our minds to conversation with God instead. Which means we can still talk to him about all the issues, ask him all the questions, wade through our emotions with him, and make decisions in consultation and discussion with him. Which is great news for those of us who have active minds and who seem to see more than others, have more questions, analyse the world and life’s meaning. 

I had a discussion with a friend this week about this very thing. 

Is it ok to ask God questions? 

Are we just being ‘doubting Thomas’ by wondering or feeling confusion?

Does having an active mind that keeps us awake some nights mean we are not trusting God?

In answer to the questions…

yes it is ok to ask God questions. After all, who better to ask, being that he created the world and everything in it, is outside of time, has gone before us and knows what is coming and exactly what we need to know to get through every tomorrow. 

Did he send Thomas away, telling him not to ask questions, or did he take the time to answer each one with grace and love and even offering proof- just what he needed?! 

And as for an active mind, as I said earlier here, we are made that way so we redirect our mind content back to God in conversation and questions as we go through any season. 

And that is the next big revelation I had. He carries us through. That means stuff will still happen, life will still dish out whatever it does, but God promises us that he will carry us through. Unfortunately it does mean we still do go through hard stuff, but how much easier it will be with God carrying us through. 

The next point then is that we have to allow him to carry us through. The more we kick and scream, run off on him, try to do it alone, the longer it’ll take to get through it. That part is actually on us. We may not have chosen our current circumstance or challenge, but we certainly have a choice in relinquishing our pride, giving up our fight for control, and letting God carry us through. 

#youareheld 

You are held. You are not alone. He knows what you need. He can be trusted to carry you through. He will not stop there. Allow a big, strong, loving God to carry you. Stop fighting in your own strength. Rest in him. Rest in his love. You are safe here. 

And if you are afraid, if there’s any negative emotion attached, you are not resting in his love as well as you could be. His perfect love casts out all fear, and his peace stills the storm because the wind and waves still know his name. Call on him. Ask him to speak to your storm. Let him carry you with perfect love that casts out all fear. See the storm is not the issue. It’s the fear in us it awakens. 

I see you fear. I will not partner with you and I send you back. 

Saying this simple declaration, out loud, changes the atmosphere, releases our sub-conscious partnering and spiritual agreement with fear, allows us to see it for what it is – fear, which is a lie – and reminds our spirit whose we are. 

Then begin to speak truth over your situation. Remind yourself whose you are, allow gods peace to infiltrate your mind and calm the storm. The storm, after all, is not external circumstances, but within your mind. Know that God is working on your behalf, willing and ready to carry you through. 

There’s a beautiful ‘Hillsong United’ song ‘touch the sky’ from their new album Empires, which has the phrase – 

Upward falling, spirit soaring. I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground. 

As I was running last week, this song came on my playlist, and as I listened to the words, I looked down and realised I was running on the part of the sand where the water has just been, leaving the appearance like glass, perfectly reflecting the sky above. This is what I call running on glass clouds. God spoke, telling me that I run for the same reason others bend their knee, – in worship, in intentional time with God, in seeking his face and his presence. This is where my spirit soars. And let me tell you, in that moment, as a smile reached across my face, and my arms left my sides and reached out to each side as I ran, I touched the sky; with my barefeet on the glass cloud sand reflection, I relinquished control and let God carry me. 

  

Good Friday, thuds and grace

  

  

Good Friday. A name for a day on which everything changed. The day on which grace replaced the law and we were given free passage to experience freedom and forgiveness and pure love. The day His blood was shed to make a stand against all blood that had been and was to be shed. So that no more blood was necessary again. The day our Saviour chose to do what was necessary to save us, once and for all. Good Friday….very Good Friday! It could have only been more adequately named God Freesday. 

Thank you Jesus for paying the price, for sacrificing your life in place of ours, for the veil that was torn so we have direct access to God’s throneroom and his presence, for covering the old covenant of law with your blood to release us into the new covenant of grace. Oh what beautiful grace! 

My thought today came to me, as it often does, during and after my run. The day had started, I had a very human moment and had completely overreacted to my husband, blown a molehill into a mountain, and been a really horrible version of myself. Not my finest moment. I had even left for my run without saying goodbye to my husband, with no apology, fully aware I was in the wrong and choosing to prolong the angst. Why do we so often do that? Or perhaps it is just me. 

Anyway, I started running, and became mindful that I was completely focused on my body and the physical responses to running- consciously pushing through ‘a wall’ so I wouldn’t stop running, which I felt like doing ten minutes in. This often happens when my mind is trying to distract me from using the time to actually face and deal with issues in my head and prayerfully work through them. So at that point I changed my attention to my head and of course it went to the events of this morning, as I knew it would. I started praying about what it was that had happened and why I’d reacted so ridiculously. God simply said fear. Thud! I knew exactly what the root fears were as they came to mind one by one. Fear of failing, of making a wrong choice, fear that current challenging circumstances wouldn’t ease or change, fear that I wouldn’t know what God’s will was. Yep fear. I spent the rest of my run dealing with it, facing each one and replacing it with God’s truth, his love and faithfulness and His promises. Needless to say, I felt better. But I still hadn’t made it right with my husband who deserved an apology and explanation. 

So I got back from my run, didn’t have a moment to pull my husband aside so just smiled and mouthed sorry under my breath. 

What amazed me was his grace. See, he smiled back, mouthed it was ok and went for a swim. Thud! He could have held a grudge, could have focused on all the accusations and mean things i’d said to him, could have denied me m attempt at clearing the air. Grace. 

As I was doing my stretches on the sand, I looked down at my arm and read my tattoo of proverbs 31:25…

“Clothed with strength and dignity, she laughs without fear of the future”. 

I first noticed the word strength and felt proud that I was doing my stretches and building my strength. My eye then went to the word dignity. Thud! For the first time I had a revelation of that word. I was given a mirror view of what I would have looked like earlier in the day yelling at my husband for something he didn’t do. I knew what God was saying. I was the opposite of dignity in that picture. I finally understood what dignity was not and therefore what dignity is. 

Then my eye fell to the last line. I had lost my laugh. Fear had taken hold. Just like God had earlier showed me. 

I then ran over to my husband and had the chance to apologise properly and explain what had happened. He just wanted to know whether he’d done anything wrong. No he hadn’t. In fact he’d done everything right. He chose to forgive me, chose to love me, chose to show me grace, even when he had every reason to rebuke my indignified behaviour. He loved me enough to cover it, take my shame and tell me all was ok. Grace. 

Just like Jesus. 

When we got home, to my complete astonishment, the house was cleaned. My husband had cleaned the whole house after is been so horrible to him and stormed out without saying goodbye. Thud! Grace. 

And as if that wasn’t enough, he still organised date night. He still wanted to take me out. Grace overload! Extravagent grace and love. Just like Jesus. 

So yes, it is indeed a Good Friday for me. God Freesday!