Using Our Weaknesses

When I started this month of literary abandon, I was nervous I’d embarrass myself and come nowhere near the 50,000 word count that qualifies a NaNoWriMo participant as a winner.   After 11 days, I’ve definitely given up any expectation of writing 50,000 words.  But I haven’t given up the quest.

I am being immersed daily in my memoir, even if I’m not physically writing it.  My mind is on it. I’m pondering the events of my past.  I’m looking for themes in my life and considering which events make the most sense to tie together.  I’m listening to recorded interviews, researching historical information online and talking to family who can help me fill in the gaps.  It’s been a very interesting and healing process.


For instance, I don’t think it is a coincidence that I am considering medication for my ADD/ADHD after white-knuckling it for so long.  I never would’ve considered taking medication before the healing of my mother wounds.  It was too frightening to me.  In my mind, it was like admitting I was mentally ill.  The stigma was too great.

Times have changed and medicine has advanced tremendously since the time when my mother was given electro convulsive therapy (shock treatment) for her schizophrenia in the 1960s.  Taking medication doesn’t mean defeat or that I am crazy.  Sometimes it is necessary.  I’m finding out how people with schizophrenia and other mental disorders can lead successful careers and make significant contributions to society.  In fact, I recently heard that Bill Gates, George Bush and Steve Arterburn have ADD.  How’s that for good company?

As I pondered these ‘coincidences’ in my life, I sensed God lay a new memoir title on my heart.  It stems from a post I wrote on the “Journeys to Mother Love” blog a few weeks ago, “Emerging from the Cocoon”.  Since the first day when I saw the butterfly on the draft book cover, I knew it was the perfect picture to symbolize my emotional and spiritual transformation.

When We Are Weak…He Is Strong

I’ve given my testimony many times at Celebrate Recovery meetings and spoke openly about my healing journey.  I’m no stranger to sharing my weaknesses and in fact God’s power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).  However, what brought me to my knees and into recovery over eight years ago had nothing to do with my mother wounds.

I never thought I’d be publicly known or speak about my mother’s mental illness.  My shame was too great around it and my fears of my own sanity lied precariously on the edge at times.  But now, I know God wants to use the pain of my mother’s mental illness to help others turn healing into hope.  My biggest fear in my identity has been removed and is the foundation from which I can openly speak and connect with others.  It is the compassion and sensitivity—the transformation of my heart—that leads me to write and pursue more of His amazing grace.

So it is with that sense of gratitude and awe that I am digging into my memoir this month with a new working title, “Emerging from the Cocoon: One Woman’s Struggle to Overcome a Legacy of Mental Illness”.  I’m embracing this new season of life and the wonders that God continues to reveal to me as I boldly follow Him.

What’s the theme of your life?  Is God calling you to use your weakness for His glory?  I’d love to hear your comments.

Leave a comment


  1. It’s great to hear about your progress. The theme for me is to remain in His will. I only realize my weakness when it is revealed to me and I’m grasping the concept of pure joy in all trials as I look to Him in all things. Unwavering thoughts reveal my weakness and transformation is most evident to Him. I live for Him and the rest just falls into place. My actions being those that reflect service to Him. Understanding what that is as each nugget is revealed to me by Him and with each temptation I submit to Him and hold on to His most-precious Word.


  2. Ardis, I like how you distinguished your differentiation for why it feels good for you to take medication now…so proud of your courage.


    • Courage–there’s that word again. Moving forward despite uncertainty. Facing our fears. Yes, medication doesn’t need to define me like it did my mother. Thanks, Tamara. Your courage has inspired me in mine.


  3. Great job Ardis. God is a God who redeems. He brings beauty out of ashes and restores the years that the locusts have eaten. Your post and story speaks of the reconciliation restoration that Jesus came to bring. I’m proud of you for answering the call and sharing your journey. Keep going! 🙂


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  • WELCOME to my site!

    I'm an author, writer, speaker, mentor & mom. I've struggled to find my voice all my life as I lived in the shadows of a mother with mental illness. Thankfully that was not the legacy that she handed down to me. It took a lot of recovery and deep healing work to rise above it.

    I am thankful to God for Making Me Bold in the process. Now I use my writing and speaking voice to help others on their journey to turn healing into hope.

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