Everyday Godincidences

Today when I got in my car to go to noon Mass, it wouldn’t start. I was blessed the neighbor was available to give me a jump. After I left Mass, I decided to go get the battery checked as I had an issue with it yesterday. At first, I went to Advance Auto Parts, but the price was more than I thought it would be so I thought I would price-check at the Walmart close by. Unfortunately, their department was closed down for renovation. I returned to my car and prayed as to whether I should just go back to Advance or go check Auto Zone. I felt led to Auto Zone, but headed to Advance Auto Parts. I continued to pray and Jesus was like go to Auto Zone. Really? “Yes.” So, I did. I ended up buying the battery there and when they were swapping it out they couldn’t get it unscrewed because of the amount of the corrosion on the terminals. However, the guy parking next to me was a mobile car mechanic. He took the tools from the employee and the mechanic fixed it right then and there. Sometime God knows what’s best…


The Wedding That Might Have Been


Saint John Neumann Catholic Church

Yesterday, I walked into Saint John Neumann Catholic Church to go pray in Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament in Exposition. Due to Covid, the small chapel, I’ve posted many pictures of, is closed and the monstrance is on the main altar within the main sanctuary of the Church. As I entered through the main back doors from the narthex, I began to walk down the center aisle. All of a sudden it hit me. I had not been in this church the entirety of this year… and this is the church I was to be married in on May 30th of this year.

As I began to slowly walk down the aisle, I started to look around. My father wasn’t beside me. There were no smiling excited faces on either side filling up the pews. There wasn’t anyone in the pews. There were no bridesmaids that went before me. There were no groomsmen at the front. There were no 5+ priests that I had invited. There was no Todd. I walked slower and slower. It was hard to pick up my feet as I walked down the cold dark aisle–alone. There was “just” Jesus. He was waiting for me. Still, there was hurt and mourning of the loss of what might have been.

I got from the far back, entering the doors, where I’ve watched many brides walk through, to the front end of the aisle. Then I proceeded to collapse on the floor in a puddle of tears. These weren’t quiet weeping tears. These were sobbing hysterics. I felt Jesus say to me, “It’s ok. It’s ok to cry. Feel your feelings, My beloved. Feel your feelings.” It was so hard. I laid on the floor in front of Jesus hanging on the cross and Exposed in the Blessed Sacrament crying and crying. I couldn’t breathe through my nose–it was so stuffed up. Before then, I hadn’t really mourned the loss–not like that. I had not allowed myself to feel and cry out those feelings. The biggest thing for me is mourning what might have been. All the future plans.

I was there for about 30 minutes off and on in tears and conversation with Jesus, My Lord. Even before the engagement was called off, I started feeling like I was actually called the religious life. So, all this happened yesterday despite me now not feeling like I’m actually supposed to be married at all. Still, it doesn’t matter. The feelings were there and I needed to mourn it.

As I sat on a pew and looked to the Man, Whom I am truly madly deeply in love with, there was still pain. This time last year I was given a rose gold morganite with Celtic knots on both sides ring to put on my left ring finger and now I don’t. I’ve looked at my left hand a lot lately. I may be called to religious life, but it doesn’t mean I completely fell out of love with Todd.

Sitting alone with Jesus, I felt Him say, “Even if it was just you and I together for the rest of your life, wouldn’t that be sufficient?” I love Jesus so much and the thought of being espoused to Him is beyond beautiful to me. Yet, there was an extra sense of loneliness in a church where only a few months earlier this year (without Covid) there would have been hundreds of people sitting there to celebrate with me. To be honest, I almost felt like I was in a tomb. It was silent and dark. There wasn’t the smell of incense filling the air. There wasn’t a schola nor my friends’ singing. There was silence with only the whirring of the air conditioner to fill the church with sound.

I looked to the cross where Jesus’ arms were open in love. The thought struck me of knowing I want to lay down my life every day whatever the struggles are. That I want to offer all my trials and crosses to Christ and unite the pain with His death and given it redemptive value. Despite the extreme emptiness of what would have been in the church, there was a deep sense of beauty in the way that Jesus was in exposition and physically present instead of Todd at the end of the aisle. I literally walked down the aisle to my Beloved yesterday. It brought to mind something a friend said to me years ago as she opened the door to the chapel, “Your Beloved awaits you.” That was so very heavenly engaging.

I ended up leaving the church with a smile on my face. My cup was filled with Christ. It is so healthy to feel, to cry, and to mourn–don’t forget that. …and no better place to do it than with Jesus physically present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

+ Pax et Bonum +

Kristen von Clef, OFS


Follow Him

jesus hand

+ JMJ +

Be available to God everyday in all things. Do not grow weary in your trials. He is your strength. He is your Rock. He loves… He loves… HE LOVES.

Speak all words with love. He has brought you into this place to give you wisdom and discernment in all things. Be patient. Listen. Listen. LISTEN. Have patience as God reveals all things over time.

Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Forgiveness heals. Forgiveness heals all. Even the great exorcists can not reach as deep as where unforgiveness hides its ugly face.

Lift your eyes up to the Lord. Trust Him in everything  you do. He is bigger than technology. He is bigger than media. He is bigger than medicine. He is the Great Physician. Trust. He loves. He heals.

Pray for others. Pray always without ceasing. He guides us in all we do. Spend time in Sacred silence. Due to all the TV, phones, internet and radio it distracts us all from God’s call. We cannot hear His voice in the noise. Be still. Be quiet. Listen.

Be still this Advent. He is coming and waiting to spend time with you.




Kristen Elizabeth Thérèse von Clef, OFS




How the beach tells a love story…

+ JMJ +

Journal Entry 5/20/19


What do you see when you look out to the beach and water? All I see is His LOVE.

A couple weeks ago when I was praying in adoration, I felt God call me to the “Classroom of Love” so that I could learn to LOVE like Him. I knew I had a big heart, but He clarified His is so much bigger. What came to me was:

“Your love is but a grain of sand. My LOVE is every grain of sand on every shore of every beach and the bottom of every ocean and sea.”

Right now, I am looking out my window at the Atlantic Ocean. I’m on vacation with my mom, dad, and Theresa and Joe. About an hour ago, I came in after spending over 3 hours sitting (mostly) and walking on the beach. I sat in the sun, because it was actually cool under the umbrella.

As I looked down at the sand between my feet, I saw I couldn’t even differentiate a grain of sand it was so small. There were thousands, if not, millions…no billions/trillions beneath me. I looked up and down the shore, which seemed endless. Then out to the ocean and began to cry. If my love is but a grain and His is every one, I can’t even fathom His LOVE.

Every year my mom has made signs for my birthday. It took place on vacation this year. When I shared this journal entry with my mother, she said, “Your dad saw you looking at the sand while he was in the ocean and said, ‘Kris is looking at the sand.'” So, I got a drawing of it taking place.

I am so blessed to be at the beach so soon after that came to me. I kept looking up-studying the sand-the vast amounts of it. There was 50 yards of beach in front of me and behind me. The thought came, “But I only see the surface!” How many yards does it go down beneath me! Oh! How great is His LOVE!

Then I thought despite a grain of sand being so small it can affect us so greatly. You only need a single grain to know you have it in your eye. You only need a single grain to destroy a computer so complex. You only need a single grain to scratch and destroy a camera lens. These are negative effects, but it shows what a single grain can do.

Our love, be it so small, can still disrupt the absence of love in society. Still, comparing it to God, if one human love can change a life, how big is His LOVE.

I jogged down the beach and as I walked back, I paused next to a stream of water coming from inland out to the ocean. As it steadily flowed passed, I remember what came to me years ago:

“Your love it but a drop of water. My LOVE is every drop of water in every lake, river, ocean and sea.”

I stood up from my squatted position and looked out to the ocean. Woah. How big is His LOVE?

Now, I have a new found love for the beach, because when I look at it, I see God’s LOVE–unfathomable LOVE.




Kristen Elizabeth Thérèse von Clef, OFS



#metoo …Father forgive him…


I didn’t think I would ever be a “#metoo”. However, I am a woman and that throws me in the pool of possible victims.


A little over a year ago, two men came into my work to purchase a refrigerator. The man who was purchasing seemed drunk. Still, I sat at the desk processing the invoice with him in the chair across from me answering questions as needed. His friend, also drunk, however started talking and did not stop. The things he said made my eyes bug out.

2000px-Parental_Advisory_label.svgInitially, I shrugged off his comments–I thought it was just another guy hitting on me. HOWEVER, it didn’t stop. “D*** she’s perty. Ain’t she sexy. Look no ring! D*** she’s fine…” He wasn’t taking a breathe. I was dumbfounded. He literally was saying things like that non-stop. He peaked with, “D***! How have you not been sexually assaulted!” I sat there stupefied and laughed like, “Really? Is this happening?”

He finally left… and I felt like he took my dignity with him. I felt dirty. I felt used. I felt like an object. I felt like I was going to throw up.

News via text spread around town to my friends of this crazy occurrence. I began to get emotional. One of my dear friends’ husband became livid and he called me. His tone was of loving concern. He affirmed me and rebuked the man. I began to cry, as it went from a man with vulgar language to a man with love. My stomach still churned, though, and I let my co-workers know I needed to leave.

I just wanted to cry–cry my eyes out.

Headed to the Big House


During the evening, I took a drive to church to release the tears and hopefully obtain some peace. However, after entering the chapel, I saw four people in there that I knew and didn’t really feel like igniting worried eyes, as I uncorked my tear ducts. I prayed an Our Father and left.

Then it hit me… Forgive, don’t hold grudges…

That is how I’ve always been.


I realized this guy needs help. There is a soul at stake here. Then my heart softened with compassion and the focus went from my hurt into his need for healing. He’s trying to fill a void with vulgarity and impurity.


I started to pray… that Jesus would have mercy on him. That this man would grow close to Christ. That the Holy Spirit heals him from the demons that fill his mind with gravely sinful lust. That he may become sober through the intercession of St. Monica–a sobered drunk herself and a powerful intercessor, steadfast prayers until her son turned from drunkenness and debauchery (St. Augustine, a big theologian–known by some outside Catholic circles). That he be given into his soul purity by intercession of St. Maria Goretti–raped and murdered the whole while verbally praying for forgiveness for his soul (good model for me)–the man, who raped St. Maria Goretti, converted, became a priest and was present at her canonization as a saint.  That he would be guarded to not do this to any other woman by St. Michael the Archangel as well as his guardian angel. That God puts a Godly male example be brought into his life through the intercession of the pure chaste man himself, St. Joseph–he guarded Mary’s virginity. And be overseen by the intercession of Christ’s Mother Mary crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth (Revelation) and model of chastity and purity.

Do I have a solution to this…

this #metoo movement? No; I don’t. I wish I did. However, coming at it with hate is not the answer. Actions do need to take place to prevent this from happening. In my situation, there was a code “RED” put in place at work if something like that happened again–call the guys from the back and call 911. It is a-okay to lose a customer sale for that.

Typically the #metoo women are in this day after day at work. My heart goes out to them, as 10 minutes was fairly unbearable for me.

After I had this typed up, my friend, Maria, posted a quote, “Behind every persons hurtful comment is a hurting heart. Maybe if we could remember that it would change the way we reacts or choose to act.”

I am definitely not writing these guys off as hurting and definitely not choosing not to fight against it. However, I feel prayers for healing is a different way of “attacking” this problem. Not the only way, but an extra tool to get at the root of the issue.

“Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.” Rom. 12:21





Butterfly Effect (Suicide Effect)

+ JMJ +

Below is a story I just told a counselor, who said it is a perspective she’s never heard on this topic. She said people need to hear this…so here I am.

Recently, I had a dear loved one reach out to me for prayers for her daughter, who was just texted by a friend planning on taking her life the upcoming weekend. The daughter, let’s call Faith, was struggling because she knew her friend, lets call June, and schoolmates would be upset with her for getting June into trouble.

I said to my loved one, “Put her on the phone with me right now.”

I told Faith she was doing what is right…

Then I did something I’d never done before… I walked through my life from the time I sat down to suicide when I was about June’s age, 13, until now.

This is for everyone.

If I had taken my life then, my siblings, ages 1 and 2,  would have only known me from goofy pictures and silly stories. I would have never shown my bro how to do some of the best card tricks. I would have never showed my sister how to play softball. I would have never hit a home run myself. I would have never thrown a runner out at home from center field. I would have never jumped over the fence the outfield fence to catch a ball desperately trying to win a game. I would have never met the majority of the people I know now. I would have never met my nieces. I would have never met my sister-in-law. I would have never been a bridesmaid in 6 weddings nor a maid of honor in one of them. I would have never been a sister/friend to many women in my life. I would have never become a Franciscan. I would have never made Kris’ Chicken Veggie soup. There would have been no Christmas After Parties. My Goddaughters would have never had me as their Godmother. I would have never worked for HGTV/DIY/Food Network/Cooking Channel/GAC/Travel Channel or L’Oreal, Garnier, Essie, Maybelline… Those names don’t matter though. I would have never met the co-workers I have worked with in any of my jobs–that would be the thing I missed. Many people would never have received a “Kristen” hug. Many people would never have received spontaneous gifts in the mail for no reason. Many people would not have received little notes on their windshields saying “Smile. Jesus loves you.” or “I’m praying for you.”

Yes; lots of prayers would have been lost. Lots of prayers that were answered. Many people would have never been seen by me, a girl who always sees the good in people. Many people who were lost would have never experienced the love I have to give. They would have never seen the compassion in my eyes and the heartfelt glance of my empathy for what they have been through. People wouldn’t have someone endlessly knocking at their door to get them out of bed, stop isolating themselves, and getting out of depression. Many would not have random voice mails of me singing, “I just called to say I love you. I just called to say how much I care. I just called to say I love you and I mean it from the bottom of my heart.” Many dogs would not have the privilege of meeting me. 😀 Many wouldn’t have received random bouquets of flowers. Many wouldn’t have received my crazy Snapchats. Many wouldn’t have heard my monkey/ape noises. No one would have known I would have had curly hair (changed from straight to curls at 17). Many would not of seen my contagious smile. Many people would not have seen me at Mass everyday. Many would still feel lost. There are people that might not be here right now. This heart would not have reached over 1,000 people. There are people I know I have made a positive effect in their lives and that effect would have never been made. I would have never been Christ’s light in many many others life. I would have never known Faith. Yes; I told her that–that’s when she gasped.

I wasn’t saying this to pump my ego. It’s just the truth and I wanted her to see it. If she had turned me in, I would be sitting her down right now and telling her how grateful I am for having saved my life. It may be a bit before she hears it from June, but even if she doesn’t I know the people in June’s life will be forever grateful.

Yes. Suicide doesn’t have one victim. It goes through the years–throughout all the lives of people that have missed out on the life of the one who chose to take their own. Like the butterfly effect–driven by God.

this picture would never have been seen

If you are here in the moment seeing no purpose in your life, just talk to your family and friends. They have love for you and would miss you in every day that you are gone.


Every minute in every hour of every day–every person that you meet–has a purpose. If not for yesterday, there would be no today. If not for today, there would be no…


+ Pax

Kristen von Clef


Stay In Tune

+ JMJ +

I was hypo-manic this week. Mania is bad. It is a state of bipolar disorder. There are symptoms that display showing that I was in mania. I know this because I’ve had it before and I’m in tune with what the symptoms are. I may be irritable (Tuesday I about blasted a friend who had done nothing wrong). I may be reckless (Tuesday I accelerated well above the speed limit). I may be…

There are a lot of symptoms of mania and I’ve had all of them. I’ll address the two aforementioned.

Signs of Change

Irritability – My friend was simply stating something. It wasn’t a question. It wasn’t concerning me. But, I almost took her head off. I didn’t because I got busy with work and didn’t message her back right away. The symptom of being irritable can wear on relationships. I’m not sure of what her reaction would have been if I had said what I was going to say. What I was going to say would have been hurtful and she would have been blind-sided. Thankfully my fingers didn’t have time to punch it out.


Recklessness – I pulled out onto the main road and sped up to the street light, rounded the corner, accelerated onto the on-ramp and gunned it once I got on, zipping passed cars.

HOWEVER! within less than .25 miles I realized my symptoms-combined the irritability and recklessness. I realized it because I had stopped speeding since I moved to Nashville and promised my Godsister, Becky, I would. I IMMEDIATELY slowed down to the proper limit and called my doctor.

It was 6:30P. I got the answering service. They asked if it was an emergency. I said it was urgent. When she returned my call, I explained my symptoms to my doctor and we worked out some adjusted treatments. So, when I made it home at the correct speed, I took action to tame my mood.

I told my roommate what I was experiencing. She said it sounded like most people. I think about it now. It’s true. Most people can blow up for no reason. Most people speed. However, I don’t blow up at people. I don’t speed anymore. Both of those, for me, are symptoms of symptoms. It’s an unnatural state of irritability. It’s an unnatural state of recklessness. I know this, because I have previously experienced these signs of mania.

Standing Out Amongst The Crowd

I started the conversation with my doctor apologizing for the after-hours call. However, after I had completed it, she said, “Well done.” This wasn’t a big surprise for me. I know I take exceptionally good care of my health-well bipolar health-these hips could use some shrinking. I wasn’t surprised that she complimented me on staying on top of my illness and catching it before it got worse. I’ve done it before on countless occasions. I’ve had bipolar for close to 20 years and have been only very sick twice in that time span. That is impressive for most people. For me, it’s out of dedication and a strong desire to never let myself get like I was during those previous major episodes-the last one being 10 years ago. Whoop 10 years sober from bipolar! Just kidding.

In seriousness, we all have struggles with things. Most of us have some sort of health issues-minimal or major. Mental illness is the intangible illness. You can’t poke someone and say, “Does it hurt here?” or use a stethoscope to listen to someone’s mood. However, there are symptoms-signs-that show something is brewing. What’s kept me healthy (not severely ill-hospital worthy) is being highly in tune with what’s going on in my moods. It’s from experience. I know what they all are. Still, I wouldn’t want anyone to find out only in that way. Not only have I had the experience, I’ve educated myself. So, if you struggle with the intangible and don’t know what may lead to a greater problem, go to the library… who am I kidding? Get on the internet. Search. Search. Search. Educate yourself. Also, if you have a loved one who experiences a mental illness become aware. The more people know about the signs of what is yet to come, the faster you can prevent the terrible from happening.

+ Pax + | KK


Inside Out

+ JMJ +

Although I haven’t seen the movie “Inside Out”, it is on my list to see. Having different emotions cartoon’ified is a pretty awesome idea. If it was executed the way I wanted, I’d get to see the different feelings and how to cope with them, but… this is a cartoon and that’s a little too deep. Cummon—there can’t be another Toy Story out there. 😉

Let’s be Honest…

I’m a dramatic person…sometimes. If you know me very well, then it could be all the time. My kind of drama doesn’t crown me the queen of it, though. Well… some may think it does. Anyways, this past week I wanted to take a course online to help me on my career path, BUT… sigh… it was too expensive and I would have had to gather the money the day I found out about it ($865 or potentially 5k). Nope not going to happen. It frustrated me beyond belief.

That evening, I got into a discussion with my roommate, Jessie. We began to have a discourse as to what I was going to do with my life. A few lines in, I discovered I have a “negative mantra” that I repeat over and over that seems to put me into a downward spiral. I say… “I don’t know.” I say it when I’m feeling bad/sad/generally upset and I want to talk about it, but don’t want to talk about it—don’t want to face my feelings or even see the positivity in a situation. This isn’t all the time. In fact, it’s so sparse that this was the first time Jessie witnessed it and we’ve roomed together for 8 months.

Three Little Words

Why do I say those words, “I don’t know”? I think it’s because I’m compacting all my emotions inside of me-I don’t won’t anyone to be pulling any of my switches in the control panel (“Inside Out”), but that doesn’t mean they don’t. I get sad and despondent—when it gets that bad. Jessie dragged me out of that state and “knocked” some sense in my head. (She made sure I wrote knocked, because it needed some hard hitting.)


While having that interventional conversation, she pointed out that this was merely a situation. She suggested that when I enter into that state of despondency, I should distract myself, because if it’s situational, the situation will change. (My cousin, Kathy, echoed that when we were Facebook messaging). I continued saying, “I don’t know,” during our session, but she began throwing things at me at each occurrence of those three little words escaping my mouth. Soon, I began to catch myself even before she launched a Taco Bell sauce packet at me. I bit my lip and laughed.

Fixin’ to

After talking to her, she made me realize I’m not alone with my negative mantra. Other people do it, too. Some people just say, “I can’t.” I say, “I don’t know.”

I’m taking Jessie’s words to heart, at least I’m going to try to do so. It will be something of which I need to remind myself. My life’s been kind of dreary these past eight months. Yet, Jessie’s advice is good and solid. It’s something I need to apply inside so those three little words don’t get outside.

Let me know!

Hey! Let me know what you think! Comment here or if you see this on Facebook, you can do it there. I want some input and if you have questions, ask! I’d be more than happy to answer them.

+ Pax + | KK


To Be is to Love

+ JMJ +

Tomorrow is the 15th anniversary of my maternal grandmother’s death. What always comes to mind around this time of year are the memories of her life, how I was included and how I was impacted. Another thing that comes to mind every year, are the days leading up to her passing.

Anyone can understand that the loss of a loved one is the hardest part of life—even if they haven’t lost someone themselves. However, no one, whether they have or not, can ever quite find the words to console those that are mourning.

Friend Amongst Strangers

As a 9th grade homeschool student, I went to a weekly Christian co-op to take a Spanish class. This took place the semester before my grandmother’s passing and was the first that I attended. There were a lot of new faces and being a new kid in any school is a little nerve-racking. However, one of the new faces was a girl named, Paula. She had a very peaceful aura and was the first to reach out to me. We saw each other weekly from September to mid-December as we learned our newly discovered language. Towards the end of the semester we began to frequently talk to each other on the phone—for hours. 😛

At the beginning of the new year, my grandmother’s health began to fail. During this time, I was abandoned by my best friend due to the fact they found it too hard to be around someone in that state in life. This was very hard, as I’m sure you can imagine. My mother hurt for me not having someone there to support me.

The conversations with Paula began to become more frequent as I had no one else to whom I could turn. As my grandmother’s health continued to grow worse and my family knew she was close to the end, Paula discerned that she could be a great deal of help to me. She asked her mother if she could come stay with me. And it was then that I discovered the power of “being”.

The Art of a “Being” Human

I’m going to jump ahead a little bit. I’m not exactly sure the day, month, year, but my mom discovered this thing called “Affirmation Therapy.” “…it is a way of “being” with a person as opposed to “doing” something to or for her. Affirmation therapy can be formally described as a way of being affectively present to another human person in a therapeutic relationship in which the therapist reveals to the client his or her intrinsic goodness and worth. Affirmation is a profound way of being with someone that should not be mistaken for a set of simplistic techniques such as giving a pat on the back or a superficial compliment.” When we learned this and we reveled in the gloriousness of it, we looked back on the person who did it best—even though they didn’t know they were doing it.

They were Paula.


When my grandmother lay dying in her bed, I sat on the couch beside her. I sat with Paula. She didn’t do anything. She didn’t talk to me. Most people would look at this as say, “Well, yeah. Of course she didn’t have anything to say, she was a 16 year old. What kind of sage advice would she have?” As I said before, most people don’t know what to say—no matter what their age is. But my point here is: she didn’t have to. She didn’t have to say a word. And she was more than comfortable with not having that ability. She had something greater to give. Presence. She was “being” with me. She was letting me feel my emotions. She wasn’t trying to tell me words to “fix” me. It’s almost unexplainable. I just leaned on her and cried.  We did sing worship music and prayed with my grandmother. But for the most part, I just sat there. She just sat there. It was enough.

To Be or Not To Be

This world is going going going. No one sits with people anymore without “doing”. It’s so hard to “be” in this constant state of motion. To live the affirmed life “means learning to “be present to everything in creation” and learning how to live in a more quiet and unhurried manner.” Paula showed me, as part of God’s creation, that I was worth “being” present with. She was quiet. She was unhurried. She was content with not having words to speak. She was exactly what I needed.

We all have trials in our lives with which we need people there to support us. Some of those trials cannot be consoled with words. This power. This power of “being”. Of being allowed to feel those emotions that come on so strongly. Of being able to not be shut down for feeling sad. Of being able to be present with someone without them feeling as if they need to “fix” you. Harness it, my friends. Wield this power. Those you love will be forever grateful you did.

+ Pax + | KK


“You don’t know what I suffer!”


Oh, how I love the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice. Alison Steadman gives an unprecedented performance of Mrs. Bennet-quite the drama queen herself.

This start to “To Suffer For Souls” is just an opening line into the trials I’ve encountered and will continue to encounter as life is just life. It’s no surprise that I’ve been through struggles, because, you know as well as I, we’re human and that’s what happens as long as we’re breathing. (maybe even more so after we stop if we don’t make proper choices!) But that being said, that’s not the end to that statement.

What do I suffer?

My response to that would be another question, “Why do I suffer?” I do, because “I longed to suffer for souls as Christ had done, so that some day they might be with Him forever.” (The Little Flower | THE STORY OF SAINT THERESE OF THE CHILD JESUS – Mary Fabyan Windeatt) That line I found highlighted in my book I read at age 10. I found it when I was 18ish (don’t remember my exact age) as I was preparing for a talk  at a women’s retreat on “Conquering Suffering through Love”.

As I prepared for that retreat, I prayed of course, but also reflected on all my past before the suffering started. It was reflecting back quite a bit, because the struggles began at age 11/12. It was true I did long to suffer. Why? Because I knew that suffering does not have to go without merit. I was a child-a child so madly in love with Jesus. I delved into the lives of the saints and there was something that they all had in common, they suffered. Life’s not easy. And they didn’t try to take an easy way out. They put on their cross and listened to Christ as He said, “Come follow Me.”

Okay. So, WHAT do I suffer?

The year or so after I told the Lord I longed to suffer, I started into an uncomfortable state-the state I found out years later was depression. This was not what I expected. I thought I would get tuberculous or cancer or something-something I was a little bit more familiar with as an illness-(yes, I know that’s crazy to be okay with that) but the depression led me to the darkest of the darkest.  At night, I cried myself to sleep for months on end-hiding it from my family as they were taking care of my ailing grandmother and little toddlers. This wasn’t a simple boo hoo-tears rolling down your cheek. This was a “get on the floor in my tiny closet, shut the door, curl up into the tightest possible position, and shake violently while remaining silent” kind of crying. I spent those nights racking my brain trying to think of what could have possibly gone wrong? What did someone do? Why was I hurting so badly? I just couldn’t understand.

Many other symptoms unraveled my life and then by the age of 16 it happened. I had what’s called a manic episode. I won’t go into the details of that now, but it was awful. I lost touch with reality. And I lost touch with all my friends-well most of them. The mania seems fun at the beginning. You feel euphoric, but if not tended to, it spirals out of control.

Soon after the episode began, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I had it stamped to my forehead for a little while, but once I got stabilized on my medicine, I peeled off the stamp and stuck it in my pocket-only taking it out for select people to see.

I’m writing now because of the reactions of those select people who saw. Those people had hurts, too. They had struggles. And some of them even had Bipolar Disorder. It’s a medical illness many people still misunderstand. From my knowledge of “Silver Linings Playbook”, it’s not the most accurate portrayal of the illness-at least not how I act. Through the love of my caregivers, I’ve learned to take care of myself and jump on top of my health whenever the symptoms start to arise. These tips and tricks are something I’m willing to share. I’m here reaching out with a helping hand, but I can’t help without the Hand that’s held mine. This blog with evolve I’m sure, but to start out it will be on what I suffer, why I suffer, how I deal with it and how I embrace it.

+ Pax + | KK