For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11


In past years, I’ve written a great deal of my story, so much of it including painful parts of my journey. But there have been some important things missing. The best parts.

Off and on, over the next while, I’d like to take you on a more pleasant journey that will show how—and possibly why—I was able to go from spending months in an infamous mental hospital to becoming the person you’ve come to know: a person who loves to send you encouraging, God-inspired messages; a person who spent years raising mental health awareness in the Church; a person who founded the ground-breaking support ministry, Living Room—a ministry that showed how faith can help people with mental health challenges.

Despite a shy childhood, depressed teen years, and an adult life with bipolar disorder that included psychosis, I ended up doing many interesting things.

I’d like to tell you a little about how I think all this came about. I want to take you on a journey that will show what it was that helped me grow to eventually have a life where I dared many things. When so many with mental health issues live with low self-esteem, how did I end up with enough confidence to openly come out, writing and speaking about my mental illness?

Sometimes I think of how amazingly God has worked to help me persevere in writing over 230 weekly reflections, despite my many ups and downs, despite traumatic times. And later, how I found joy in sending them out—even the ones I wrote long ago. Why didn’t I just curl up and hide during the painful years?

I want to tell you about the events in my story that helped build confidence in one as unlikely as me. (I think I’ve figured it out.)

So many with mental health issues live with low self-esteem. How might they learn to have confidence?

How can communities be there for us in a way that does not simply support us, but enfolds us as one of their own?

These are some of the questions I’ll be exploring with you on this journey. It’s a journey that will take us from my months at Riverview Mental Hospital in 1965 to where I am today.

It was an exciting life. A fulfilling life. Difficult, but fulfilling. It was a life during which the acceptance of the people around me and the power of God made some good things happen.

Praise God!