are not built by people, but by God. Ministries
are not dependent on our strengths, but
on our weakness.
Ministries are given to us, not in our
timing, but in God's. One man shares the
next step of his journey with chronic
illness... and how God's plans are gradually
had those occasions when you've read an
article and a phrase or sentence just
jumps right out at you? Well that's what
I experienced when I read Lisa Copen's
article on Depression in the November
1999 issue of
He Will Give You Rest. This article
prompted me to document my continuing
journey with Parkinson's Disease (PD).
I believe that each one of us needs to
document our walk with God, whether we
are a great writer or not, for it helps
us focus on what God has done in our lives.
It directs our path and shows His love
toward us. In days to come you can look
back and see how you have grown in your
daily walk with God and appreciate the
lessons you have learnt, which can hopefully
encourage someone else.
in the beginning of November 1999 I found
myself going through a period of depression.
It was no doubt brought on by events that
had been going on around me and my lack
of being able to cope as well as I could
in the past due to my PD. I guess it all
came to a head when we had a mental health
seminar at work. This seminar highlighted
PD as one of the mental illness conditions.
I found that this was very hard to accept.
(I have since found out that PD is not
classified as a mental illness.) Later
in discussing the seminar with one of
the administration staff at work I found
myself reduced to a blubbering mess; that
was bad enough, but worse was to come.
It was time to call for help.
company I work for sponsors an Employee
Assistance Program (EAP) that allows staff
to seek help from trained counselors and
psychologists. I rang up and arranged
for a visit. Next, it was time to inform
my manager that I needed the time off
to attend the EAP. This is when I found
myself becoming completely unglued as
I informed him that I was not coping with
my work due to my PD and that I needed
help. Being reduced to a blubbering mess
in front of your manager is not considered
a typical male thing and rather humiliating
but there I was.
he was aware of my PD from previous discussions
and had already taken steps to change
my workload. Off to the doctor to check
on what was going on and sure enough,
the verdict was mild depression.
At the time I booked into the EAP I was
only given the first name of the counselor,
a lady, and the time and place of the
appointment. As I sat in the reception
area for that first visit I can remember
asking God "What are you going to teach
me through this?" Little did I know what
was in store, and it is only now looking
back that I can see how the bits and pieces
were beginning to fall into place.
may never fully understand the overall
plan of God, we just have to do what He
assigns us. As I sat through the beginning
of the first visit with the psychologist
I again told her of what had been going
on and once more I was reduced to the
blubbering mess. During the course of
this first session my attention was drawn
to a plaque hanging on the wall of the
office. It was to do with peace and I
think it read God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can, and
the wisdom to know the difference.
prompted me to ask her if she was a Christian,
and sure enough the answer was yes. This
was to change the direction of our discussions
for it became easier to talk together
about our walk with God. We have both
been learning from the experience; me
about looking at the things I can do rather
what I can't and the psychologist about
Parkinson's Disease and Rest Ministries.
The visits to the psychologist have been
a time of learning what is possible to
accomplish. To the second visit I took
a copy of And
He Will Give You Rest from April
1999 which had details of the first part
of my journey with PD. During the intervening
period till the third visit the October
1999 copy of And He Will Give You Rest
arrived and I also passed that onto the
psychologist as it had an article in it
on assertiveness which was relevant to
timing was spot on again! The November
issue also arrived in time for my last
visit and as I mentioned previously it
had the article on depression. We'll come
back to another event that occurred during
the last visit shortly.
during this time, I attended the monthly
meeting of my Parkinson's support group.
Whilst travelling to and from the meeting
during the afternoon I was listening to
a local Christian radio station here in
Sydney - 2CBA. They were holding an appeal
to raise funds to continue operating the
station. During this broadcast they mentioned
that they had a web site. That evening
when I arrived home I checked out the
site to see what it had to offer. One
of their pages listed links to other sites
and a request for people to submit details
of any other suitable sites that may be
included in the list. I then submitted
a request that a link to Rest Ministries
be added to their list of existing links.
This has now been set up.
now set up the link on the 2CBA Web site
it now raised the question of What happens
if people here in Sydney look at the site
and want further details locally of what
the ministry is about? I had been considering
starting a HopeKeepers [TM] group with
another lady in our church for most of
the year yet events never seemed to fall
into place to start--maybe this was the
Out of all that had been going on in the
last couple of months (it is now mid December
1999) the first edition of Baulko HopeKeepers
was put together, a newsletter for the
group of people within our church who
suffer from chronic illness or pain. 'Baulko'
is the nickname for Baulkham Hills, a
suburb of Sydney. A link was also established
on the Rest
Ministries HopeKeepers group page.
At this stage there have been no formal
meetings of the group, just the newsletter
with a survey sheet to gauge reaction
to the need for the group and determine
the way forward in God's timing.
to the last visit to the psychologist.
During this visit I was able to give her
the November 1999 issue of And He Will
Give You Rest and a copy of the first
issue, maybe the only issue, of Baulko
HopeKeepers [TM]. The psychologist also
informed me of another lady here in Sydney
who is commencing a new magazine called
Mind Matters dealing with mental illness.
This is another avenue yet to be investigated.
In summary what started out to be a disaster
in falling apart had turned out to be
a time of blessing. God had indeed not
wasted my suffering, for out of this I
have been shown: