What do I do when I am lost in a sea of craziness?

Father, I need to talk to You a moment.  Oh, Lord God of Heaven and Earth please show me the way to find my way through this darkening storm before I sink into this hole with mom.  I find myself with all the energy gone and wanting to just run into your arms, throw down this sword and rest a little while..  I want to spend my days just sitting and hearing your word or numbly clicking buttons on video games while with the other ear listening for your answer in sermon after sermon.  There is so much work that needs to be done in the house and I feel myself grasping hard to hold onto the hope that I know I have in you.  Still, there are moments that I feel that mom is trying to draw me into the insanity in which she lives.  Am I that much different from her or have I merely hidden and bottled up all the same fears, depressions, and anxieties that have been hers.  In a sense in her diagnosis of bipolar she has the freedom to act out or behave in manners that I could never dare to allow myself—me so tightly held together.  Must get up and go to work, must religiously pay all the bills, follow all the rules, strive ever harder to be the best at work, striving always in search of feeling ok about me.  Just like the song you gave me Lord, I so desperately want to learn to love me like you love me.  I need to see me through your eyes.  You have never failed me in these 50 years that we have walked together.  I need your strength once more, I need Your wisdom to guide me through each thought, I need Your love to fill me to the point of overflowing.  

I think back over all these years and You Lord have been my strength, my hope, my one true friend.  You know Lord that on this earth, I have walked alone beside you—needing your still voice.  I tend to carry my burdens and responsibilities out-just you and me God.  Perhaps because I am afraid that anyone else would criticize me for some of the decisions I have made.  I never was good at holding on to money and have given it away to just about anyone who asked and now I am pressed from all sides.   With all the added expenses from mom; I need you to be that miracle worker and pull me out  and make certain that each bill is paid as it must be—just as you have always done.  Show me where the money should be given and do not let me run ahead of you—together we have always made a great team.  Well, you know this team thing is you doing 100% and me just tagging along; but sounds nice to say team. 

Mom called from the hospital today, Lord and she makes no sense—She asked for my phone number when she had just dialed it; then she asked for the name of the side street because she had to know that in order to call me.  Then, Lord, she kept asking me not to lose her.  The doctor said she is probably coming home this coming Sunday or Monday and so I ask Lord to fill me with Your presence that I might know what to say or do.  I need You and only You Lord to guide my way. 

We have been here before haven’t we?  In the dark of the night I pleaded for Your strength to protect my children, to help me know what to do to keep them safe.  After all my sons’ father was bipolar and undiagnosed formally.  Such a brilliant man with a true heart of gold that got lost in that dark world of the bipolar mind; sometimes, acting more like a monster—the true Dr. Jekyll and Mister  Hyde in living form.  Still, You were always present to guide us through.  He found Christ before His death and that means an eternity was changed because of you.  The years and nights that I cried in my bedroom at night pleading that You show me the way.   I begged of You to let me just walk away from Him; yet, You said no and that You had a plan.  I pleaded for the children’s safety and You said You had that too.  Little did I know that Your plan was to change the eternity of one soul.  So I learned that there was no sacrifice too great to pay for the salvation of one soul; after all is said and done, Christ suffered more than anyone of us could ever imagine.  His worst pain was that moment in which He was separated from You—so He could bare all our guilt, our shame, and our penalty.  It is because of Him I can talk to You tonight.

So what about Your promise to care for the children?  I know of no young men any wiser, kinder, or just than my two sons who both love You with a fervent passion and whose faith puts my best to shame.  So why should I feel discouraged?  I should not have a moment of fret; as I remember, all the times You have stood by faithfully fulfilling each of Your promises to me.  I recall each time that You provided the money miraculously when it was needed at the last second.   So many times You have held and healed this broken heart when it cried out in despair.  So I thank You Lord for your ever present hope and joy. 

This fragile heart sometimes just needs a reminder of all You have done in the past and I thank You for always taking to listen.  Oh, by the way, I found a Psalm of David that pretty much fits this occasion.  I guess He sometimes felt despair; but he knew where to find His joy again.  I could almost hear His desperate cries in Psalm 42 which are turned into a joyous mocking of himself Psalm 43 for having ever felt any moment of fear or doubt.

1As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

2My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

3My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?

4When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.

5Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

6O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.

7Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.

8Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.

9I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

10As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?

11Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

Psalm 43

1Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.

2For thou art the God of my strength: why dost thou cast me off? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

3O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.

4Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.

5Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God


Thank you for including these Psalms in the Bible to let me know it is ok if I falter in my faith; because You have enough faith for both of us; back to that team thing (You 100% and me tagging along).  Keep your loving arms around mom as she walks in this dark valley.  Heal her, Lord from all this fear and anguish. Help me Lord to be the daughter she needs; better yet, just kind of knock my old self out of the way and You do through me–

                                                              Love,  your daughter Effie Darlene Barba

What do we do when we don’t understand His plan?


I find it so utterly amazing how I can one minute see His magnificent Glory in each detail and the next moment my faith can momentarily crash to the ground and I find myself pleading, “Where are you God? I need You.”   That has been my plight for most of my life; yet, I must say that mostly I find the answer quicker than before.   Still it is a question asked by many a believer when sorrow and pain overwhelm or surround us.  Since God is omnipotent, why must I or my loved ones suffer? Is it that I have momentarily taken my eyes off of Him and, just like Peter when walking on the water, I begin to sink into the surrounding storm?  In that case, He did not calm the storm, merely He reached out and held Peter up  Matthew 14  

29And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.

30But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.

31And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

32And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased

So, let me do as I have promised and now tell you the story of these events for my life most recently seen.   My mother is bipolar (manic depressive).  This is a disease I have been surrounded with all of my life; yet, still struggle to fully understand.  I do understand the technical diagnosis; after all, I am a Nurse Practitioner and have studied it.   At the same time, I cannot fathom the world that the bipolar lives in.   I have my moments of brief clinical depression or my moments of great highs; but I can still get up each morning, say a prayer, and shake it off.  It has never been to the degree that I cannot deal with it and move on about my job and the duties of that day.  That is the difference with the bipolar who cannot reason himself forward into the day.  All of my life I have had some effects on myself from the bipolar people in my life (my mother and later my late husband).  Those effects left me for a long time struggling and even at moments now believing I had to work harder to be good enough to be loved—always believing that somehow, I had to be a little kinder, a little prettier, and try a little harder just to be good enough to be loved.  That belief has even permeated much of my Christian walk in relationship to God.  It has been a long process that He has steadily, step by step, taught me about His grace and His love toward me.  That would be a part of a completely different story.  The truth is that would span many stories that have been my life. 

My mother lives with me and her illness has been such a part of my life that most of the time I hardly notice it from where she lives; although, most of the time I have only noticed when the words shot like arrows into my already fragile heart.  I guess you could say I saw her illness only as it affected my peace of mind and never took the time to see it though her pain.  About 2 months ago began a journey in our lives that would change all of that.  She was admitted to the hospital for a bowel obstruction and subsequently had a ventral hernia repair.  Not such a big surgery; but she seemed to not recover fully.  For one week after being in the hospital she went to rehab.  She was miserable and pleaded and commanded to come home.  Actually, I was looking forward to a vacation trip to be with my daughter and granddaughter the first week of December; instead, here I was sitting at home with my mother commanding that I wait on her.  I wish I could say that my full Christian faith allowed me to serve with joy and relish in the sacrifice.  Not!  I did the service and never said a word; but deep inside I was angry and hurt.  I relived and walked back through  all the times in my life that I had felt hurt  and rejected by her.  I prayed and I pleaded that God would change my heart; little did I realize that was exactly what He was doing.  As I watched her there was a part of me that pitied her.  She is quite overweight and that combined with her advanced arthritis made it hard to walk.  The effects of her psych meds cause her to constantly stick out her tongue and move her feet.  It was a sad sight.  Still the anger even overwhelmed that.  I thought of how different we were and I would never do this to my children, or would I or perhaps even in their lifetime I have?   It took several weeks for that anger to subside and the remembrance of the fact that it was she who gave me life and she who gave me Jesus Christ.   The memories of past began to fade and then I began to remember the things of love that she had done for me, the sacrifices that had gone unnoticed before and those memories replaced the old ones.  Ok, so I see why God allowed all this to happen because I needed to have my heart sifted a little—so now it is time God to get her back to a resemblance of ok and we go on with our lives.   God; however, was not ready and has a different plan; which brings me nearer to the moment. 

Though I really could not afford it, I hired sitters to be with mom whenever I was not home.  That also meant that I had to stop going to the jail ministry I had been involved in and certainly could not get out to church; but I did have all my wonderful preachers on the internet  (John Piper, Allistair Begg, Charles Stanley, Michael Youssef, and David Jeremiah)   These had been my teachers for many years and I still each morning would listen to God’s word before going to work.  Over the course of the last two months the EMTs have come to know my house well.  5 trips to the hospital later and I finally come to the current question and answer.    On one of the hospital admissions, about two weeks ago, my mother went into a full manic attack.  She was filled and tormented with fear and anxiety with no relief.  It was as though all of life was in complete panic around her; and for the first time in my life—I did not know what to do or how to help, except pray.  She was placed in the psych hospital and her meds were adjusted.  I collapsed in exhaustion and begged God for strength and to feel His joy.  I begged that He would heal her mind and provide His peace.  I know she is His child of that I am certain so I wanted Him to put His arms around her and make her feel safe.  Well, she got some better and came home last Monday.  Still, I knew it wasn’t exactly right; after all the years, I knew something was still wrong.  I hoped and I prayed and I tried to help her as much as I could; but she became more and more frightened until last Thursday night she had to be readmitted to psych.  It was then that my questions began again.  God why?  Why, this woman who has always loved you is now overcome with fear and turmoil?  Friday night, I called Nancy, (a friend from the jail ministry) and she prayed for me and mom.  Saturday morning I awoke with a song in my head and my heart.  God is still in control.  Through every horrendous trial of my life (there had been many) He had always provided a way.  His strength had carried me through each dark hour.  His joy had always overcome my sorrow.  His provision had always met my needs, maybe not everything I thought I wanted, but everything I actually needed was provided.  Even in those moments when my faith was gone, He had remained faithful as His word said  in II Timothy 2: 13If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself

I do not know why mom is suffering so right now; but I do know He is true to His promises and that in the midst of this turmoil He has a plan of good.  This is His promise in Romans 8: 

28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

30Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified


Because of Jesus Christ’s gift at Calvary, for mom, for me and for all who believe, love and savor Christ as their savior  we will be glorified.  It has nothing to do with me, it has only everything to do with HIM.  He did it all, I need bring nothing to the table except my sin, my failure and He takes it and changes it for His righteousness and His Glory.   Whatever may seem wrong for the moment, I can rejoice in that fact.  For all that He has done in my life, for all that He is yet to accomplish I praise Him.  My heart leaps with joy, I cannot wait to see what wonderful gift He has in store for mom and me.  I just know He does and I can say like Paul said in Romans 5

1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

4And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

5And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

                                                              Love, Effie Darlene Barba

To God—My Love, My Hope, My Joy


My life-so filled with hopes and dreams

Lay shattered at Your feet

So many tears, so many pains

I’d laid before Thy seat

Can I look upon Your face of love

And question what You’ve done?

For You have been my only hope

My only morning sun

You’ve seen my heart when crushed with pain

Your hands have held it tight

When I have been so weak, so frail

You’ve shown Your strength, Your might

You’ve held me close within Your arms

When darkness filled my night

And when I could not see my way

Your eyes, they gave me sight

I lay my life within Your hands

That You may heal my soul

And keep my eyes upon You Lord

That I may reach Your goal

Shine forth Thy grace, Thy mercy Lord

And let me be Thy light

That all may see Your eyes of love

The blind, they might have sight

Let not the sorrows, nor the pains

Bring bitterness within

And give me strength to walk this path

Protect my heart from sin

I lay my heart, my soul, my dreams

Before Thy throne of love

I lift my eyes to You, My God

And seek Your will above

Thou art the only one I need

To fill my heart with glee

It is Your face, my one true love

Tis all I need to see

So lift me up and hold me close

Reveal Thy love divine

That through the holes within my heart

A world might see You shine

And if the sorrows of my past

Can touch a wayward one

I thank you Lord for each dark path

That lead them to Your son

I praise You now from mountains high

For each dark path I’ve trod

Twas there I found Your heart, Your love

Twas there I found You God

What great and wondrous joy I know

Because You are my king

And though the path I cannot see

My heart will trust and sin

A song of praise unto You Lord

Who knows what’s best for me

You’ll hold my hand and lead me on

In darkness, I can see

Your love, Your help, Your guiding hand

Is all I’ll ever need

So hold me close unto Your path

For this is all I plead

I’ll skip with joy along this path

Though darkness may surround

Because I know You hold my hand

My feet will e’er touch ground

I cannot fall outside Your love

I cannot lose my way

I’ll hold my broken dreams once more

And see them real, one day

A song of praise unto You Lord

Who knows what’s best for me

You’ll hold my hand and lead me on

In darkness, I can see

Your love, Your help, Your guiding hand

Is all I’ll ever need

So hold me close unto Your path

For this is all I plead

What an Amazing God I serve

I Sometimes in the midst of our busy worlds we forget how God is truly  in control of every minute detail of our lives.  Yesterday, He decided to manifest that fact to me.   I only hope that in telling the story I do Him justice and I do not rush too far ahead of Him and thereby fail to show the magnificence of His Glory shining through.

For those who do not know me, let me set the stage.  I am a Nurse Practitioner in Cardiology.  I was widowed  in 1994 with two of my children barely entering their teen years.  God was so graciously walking me through so many trials and suffering (which at a later date I will give more detail) to prepare me for the ministry He had for me—perhaps everything was for one young man—yesterday, or perhaps for you who may read this.  Well on with the setting of the stage.  As I am a sole supporter of myself and my mother, I work lots of hours and sometimes work the night by staying at the hospital awaiting the cardiac emergencies whenever one of the doctors from my group are on.  According to the original schedule, last night was suppose to be such a night.  My mother, unfortunately is lost in a bipolar world which has become more complex with the advancing age; therefore, I have sitters with her whenever I go to work.  For that same reason, I never go out except when I am working because of the expense.  Ok, now with all that information to set the stage; now I will begin the story.

Yesterday, I as usual was at the last minute running late to leave and suddenly realized I could not find my red folder in which I carry all my work documents and more importantly the list of dictations I had done for another doctor (my only proof of a bill for over 400 dollars which I would have lost by my carelessness).  My last day of work had been Sunday and now it was Tuesday and the chances of finding this folder looked bleak.  I was despairing in my own ineptness to hold on to something so important; what kind of faltering failure—how could I expect God to fix so many things I had fumbled—still in small voice, I pleaded that He might  once more help me out here.  I realized that He knew exactly where it was.  Scurrying off I went back to the hospital I had last worked  ( not the one I was to work)   There it was sitting behind the computer, untouched by anyone else.  With a deep sigh, I said “Thank you, Lord”.    I still did not realize all the significance here.  Upstairs in that hospital was a frightened, lonely 22 year old gentleman who had recently undergone bypass surgery.  As I headed to the hospital, I had no knowledge of his being there.  I had taken care of Him three weeks prior and had in fact been the one who ordered the test that discovered  his having a major artery which anomalously traversed in dangerous course causing it to block off with activity. I at the time had not even known why I chose that test except down deep inside I had the feeling that if he has the usual stress test he would collapse and possibly die (ok I do know why, that is God’s guiding hand on my practice—but I could not explain my reasoning to anyone else).  He subsequently underwent bypass—pretty frightening for a 22 year old.  He had then been discharged to home but had come back because of the pain.  After all, young healthy nerve endings along the sternum would hurt.   Back to the story, after retrieving my red folder, I tarried a little while and while talking to the nurse practitioner there I realized this young man was back and was in peril of becoming lured in by the pain to become narcotic dependent.  As healthcare providers, it traditionally is easier to give pain medication than to teach people how to build their own endorphins.  Then, for those who become narcotic dependent, we be come frustrated with them.   The very nature of the narcotics drive the body to need more and more of the drug to ease the pain and even after time the very lack of the drug (with no physiological need)  this very lack of the drug causes more pain than what the initial pain would have been.  I had seen people take their life as a result of just such a narcotic dependence—falling into deep tunnels of despair before committing suicide.  I have had many major surgeries and live with auto-immune chronic pancreatitis—traditionally a disease which leads to addiction—yet, I take nothing beyond a rare Tylenol.    All this to say, who else better prepared for the job at hand.  Did God orchestrate all my years of pain and trials so that I might be in the right spot at the right moment to tell this young man how God has a plan of how to ease his pain with minimal narcotics and without the peril of a life of dependence.  For whatever it is worth, I went upstairs and spent 2 1/2 hours telling this young man about those dear people who had been destroyed by drug dependence.  I then told him about the body’s own means of building endorphins to protect us from pain and how I had undergone such severe surgeries and pain without becoming narcotic dependent.  Then, most importantly, I shared with Him the wondrous and glorious story of God’s plan of grace.  I told him about God’s great exchange in which He takes our sin and exchanges them for His righteousness if we only see, savor and accept Christ as our savior.  I can never work my way to Him; yet, He gave me everything I needed to stand in His presence.  Christ took my sin and paid the price for me.  Beyond that, He has taken the responsibility of transforming me glory to glory, step by step into His likeness.  The only part I play is to focus on Him and even that He performs as He turns my life around so I must only look at Him.   I then left the room with the knowledge that God had sent me, He had prepared me uniquely to be there for this young man, He had caused my little brain to leave behind my folder, He caused me to realize it two days later and then to arrive at the hospital only hours before this young man was discharged.  Do you still doubt that He controls everything in the life of His children?  Every tear, every joy are ordained by Him.  

By the way, I then found out that the call schedule had been changed without my being informed.  Because of that, I now had a sitter with mom and realized I could go see “Avatar” which was a movie I wanted to see.  I know that there is not any reference to God in the movie; yet, I amazingly saw Him in the battle of good against evil.  As I saw the beauty of the Pandora that was digitally created; I wondered how magnificently beautiful heaven must be.  After all, God has shown that He can create more beauty than even the greatest minds could imagine.  What a wonderful day.  How amazing is my heavenly Father.                                     With love,    Effie Darlene Barba

Glory To Glory

17Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

18But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. II Corinthians

AT which point did this truth come forth with all its magnitude? It seems that this truth was so newly found although it has been a part of my Christian journey these last 50 years. I wish to start this website to Glorify My Precious Savior and feel so inadequate to tell you of His great and wondrous love. Perhaps in the words of David Ring, I should just tell my story. It has been a story filled with great pain and great triumph in Christ. It includes my great failures and His great faithfulness. It has led me through great valleys where the night seemed too dark to ever find light; yet, in the midst of it all—He has provided His Hope. It reaches to the greatest depth of a broken heart restored to life by His Love. It is the gradual transformation of this undeserving –wicked heart into His likeness. This endeavor will take us through months so I hope you join with me as I try to tell this story and in the telling I hope that I may point you to an All SUFFICIENT SAVIOR who is so worthy of my praise that even if He never gave me anything; even if salvation were not His Gift; I would still fall at His feet in praise. Still this is the miracle of all times; He took my sin and offered me His righteousness instead. He saw me before ever the universe was formed and knew everything about me; every evil word that would be spoken, each rebellious moment; every tear that would fall, every moment of faithlessness, and chose to die for me that I might share in His glory one day. He reaches out to allow me to share in His inheritance and gives me the right to be a child of God . This He has done in spite of me. This gift of salvation has come from Him—there is nothing I could do if I worked each day that would be good enough to deserve even one second in His presence; yet, He has established me to spend an eternity with Him. I fall in humility before Him, so overwhelming in love with My Savior and Friend that I ask Him to please use me. Let me die to all these selfish desires and hopes that He might live through me. Bring whatever pain or suffering necessary to remove the chafe that I might come to know Him and savor Him more. If by my telling this, my story of transformation gradually in to His likeness (though far from complete) can help one soul or change the eternity of one; then this endeavor will be worth it all.