I have a field of expertise I did not choose. On the contrary, I purposed in my heart to stay as far away from it as I possibly could. But many years ago I placed my life in God's hands and asked Him to chose the path that I should travel. If I was left to chose, I would take the quiet scenic route, one where I could just idle my life away. But God knows what we need to learn in order to accomplish His will for our lives and the roads we must travel to do the learning. Sometimes He leads us up the steepest trails to keep us in condition spiritually.
From the time I was a child, I was afraid of mental illness. My mom would often visit a mental hospital to cheer up the patients, and I would sit and wait outside. I was scared of that place.
When I got older I almost decided to be a nurse, but then I heard that nurses all had to spend some time working with the mentally ill before they graduated, and I decided that I absolutely could not be a nurse. I was sure that if I spent time with them I would become like them.
I was always an absent-minded person. I grew up with the words, “You'd forget your head if it wasn't glued on to your shoulders.” I knew there must be something wrong with me to make me forget all the time. And, besides that, I always froze under pressure, and I was far too emotional to be normal.
These thoughts made me fear my own mental illness. I was sure I was tottering on the brink. I was afraid that it wouldn't take much to push me over the edge. And maybe I was right. I strongly believe it is only the grace of God that keeps me calm and sane as I travel along the path He has chosen for me.
But although the Lord has kept my mind at peace, He has not kept the thing that I dreaded away from me. I walked through the valley with Him when my oldest daughter was taken to the hospital by a police officer for acting strange and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I came in close contact with Alzheimer's disease when my husband's sister became ill, and then, in 2010, my husband developed dementia, and again my path led through the world of mental illness.
But I have also seen God at work. I see a daughter who, after several years of constant breaks, is now living a normal life, but it's a life salted with the experiences she has gone through. And I am watching my husband go through a healing process that astounds health care givers and friends alike. (See Can God Use Facebook to answer prayers.) As I watch Bruce grow stronger mentally, I also see him display a spiritual maturity that has been born as a result of those fiery trials.
Christians are not exempt from trials, but when the trials involve mental illness, they become very hard to understand.
I plan on doing a series of articles around the subject of mental illness and the Christian; not a pleasant topic, but one that touches us all in one way or another. And, whether I would have chosen it for myself or not, the Lord has allowed me to go through situations that may help someone else along the way.
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Wow! Your article has truly hit home for me. At first I wasn’t sure whether I should open it and read the rest of the article, but I’m glad that I did. I am also experiencing this with my sister who had a mental and emotional break down exactly 7 years ago. She was diagnose with sever depression with psychotic features along with anxity, COd and the latest is eating disorder.Last year, I believe was the worst I had seen of her condition. I know the enemy is doing such a number on her to make me put her in a nother place other than home.Though I’m holding on, at times it’s been very scary. God’s word and vision on what he has in store is what’s keeping me in tacked along with prayer. For myself, not knowing much of anything about what doctors call mental illness, I began a search for the real truth at the beginning of last year. I found a counseling site which gave me more insight about mental illness and what Jesus had to say about it. This is when the Holy Spirit was giving me revelation about my sister’s condition.This also help me to deal with her on a daily basis about her issues. However,it is still difficult to listen to all her negativety and her thought pattern which is what is hendering her to overcome what she says she feels. So getting her to replace all what she thinks and speaks about is not easy at all. Now that we have a pastor and his wife in place at our church I been thinking about getting her started with them counseling her. Nothing seems to be working through her theropist for the past 3 years. My sister doesn’t like seeing her theropist because she doesn’t think talking helps.So that’s why I’m thinking about getting her into counseling with our pastor and his wife. They did say they would be willing to come to the home if she wouldn’t come to them. So this maybe what I need to do for her. Well, anyway, I am very glad that I took the time to read your post. Have a wonderful and blessed day.
Thank you for your comment. I believe that it would be good if you could connect your sister to the pastor and his wife. I know that my daughter was blessed to find a pastor that was able to help her at a time when we couldn’t. I see more and more, how Christians need help dealing with these situations.
I am a believer with bi-polar disorder. It can be quite a struggle, especially since it is difficult to tie our spiritual solutions to medical ones. Oh, what my poor wife has gone through. I’m grateful that for the last several years things have been relatively stable. Thank you for addressing this because there is very little out there among Christian ministries that has the courage to handle this issue in a balanced way. Eddie http://www.eddies-epics.com