I remember the single thought that nearly drove my faith into a dark hole and buried it six feet under,
“I’m too screwed up for God.”
I had come through a deep depression that had followed the darkest battle through mania I had experienced. Still, to this day, no other manic episode compares. I felt my feet ‘hit the bottom’. I strayed so far away that I believed there was no way back. I sinned and sinned and sinned in my hate and anger, disappointment, and destroyed the life I was trying to build. ‘Un-redeemable’ was my theme song.
Coming behind the thought of being a failure was the enforcer of thoughts telling me, “You messed up once, you will do it again.”
Satan knows how to kick us when we are down. I sat in my filth for a long time. I cried tears of shame and guilt, and walked alone in a valley no one realized I was in. Or they did and pretended to have no idea. It is possible they did not know what to say. Whatever it was, I refused to reach up or out.
I cannot recall the exact moment light began to penetrate my dark. It took courage to begin the climb, and I chose to be courageous. I needed to convince my broken mind that I was worthy, and that was difficult. How do you change the thoughts of a defeated and broken soul?
To often people assume we are playing a distinct song of pity. Like we are sitting in the center of our bed, face in a bowl of cheerios and screaming, “Why, why me, what did I do to deserve this.” In my brokenness and fatigue, nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is I looked in that mirror every day and asked myself how I could do this to myself and be so weak. I cried alone, angry that I chose a road of destruction and reacted irresponsibly. I was aware that my arrogance and pride took me to places I never thought I’d go.
Once you admit these things to a God who already knew, there is relief. My personal surrender, which was done alone on my knees in a bathroom, brought relief. It did not cure me, it simply relieved me. I was holding on to so much baggage I could not rise. I had been held back by my own junk. The time had come to let it go.
Jesus was there that day, in a cold bathroom, kneeling beside me on a hard floor. In my most disgusting moment, He came in and out came a fragrant aroma we call mercy right in the center of my mess. And when my thoughts reminded me of my broken, un-redeemable mind, Jesus spoke sweetly, and lifted me into his arms. Through silence, He said with a deep, deep loving embrace,
“I’ve got you.”
I have been reluctant to speak to the complete healing experience. I fear many in the mental health community will not understand, and others within the faith community will misunderstand. I have been between a rock and a hard place. We live in a visual world, if faith is being certain of what we do not see, then the super natural power of God becomes difficult to explain. You want visual? Here I am. A restored daughter of the King. But what restored my mind?
The Bible tells us in Romans 12 to renew our mind and to not conform to this world. As we read this in context, it goes on to explain our role as a member of the Lord’s family, that we are many members with gifts and talents and purpose, as one. When we are lost in our mind, we have no way of walking in purpose and worth! We are stumbling like a drunken man from one park bench to the next. We have nothing tangible or valuable to cling to. We fear gravity. That thing that holds us down and forces us to focus and move in step with a spinning world.
If you break an arm or leg you live with limitations during the time it takes to heal. You wait with eager anticipation for the day the cast comes off. There is no cast on a broken mind, no anticipation of healing. We tend to feel defeated. Jesus came in to my world and said, “Trust me. I’ve got this”
I learned to trust no one from an early age, so this concept was new to me. I was still plagued with the ‘why do you love me’ question, but I desperately wanted to believe and trust. I willingly laid down my stubbornness and despair, and began this journey that would forever change my mind.
The first thing that had to happen was leaving these feelings of guilt and shame behind. I had to accept the mercy and grace of God in complete forgiveness of my sins. I had to trust that I was love worthy as a sinner, and accepted as a daughter of the Most High. I was still a broken mess at this point, but if I couldn’t accept my truth in Christ, then I could not move forward. True freedom comes when we grasp this concept of being loved, just as we are. There is an entire hymn dedicated to this.
Here are a few lyrics:
..”Just as I am, without one plea,“Just As I Am”, Charlotte Eliott, 1835
But that Thy blood was shed for me, And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come! I come!”..
Once I began to understand who I was in Christ, the mysteries of my mind slowly began to unravel. While the chemical dysfunction of my brain could possibly be regulated, medications and I did not get along. They work for some, not so much for me. Every pill I tried seemed to create a different problem. While God was working on healing some of my psychological issues, I put Him to the test, and asked for healing or a stabilization within the chemical composition of my brain as well.
Within a year, I was living a normal productive life. I was an active contributing member of a church, and my Spiritual journey was on it’s way. I had wrapped up an intense year of counseling where God walked me into the prison of my past and out the other side free (Beyond the Door). He challenged me to continue to trust Him as I encountered the pieces of my childhood that brought me to that shattered place. The more I chose trust, the deeper my healing was.
Bipolar truly had control of my life. I refused to walk in that any longer. The tension within my own being was overwhelming and near destroyed my life. Jesus came in and led by example a routine of reacting and responding to specific stressful elements in life with dignity, patience, and love. While He perfected this in his life, I am far from perfecting anything in mine.
All this comes back to the beginning. One thought, which provoked another, and another. Satan enjoyed every minute in my mind. He convinced me for years how unimportant, worthless, and dysfunctional I was. Bipolar didn’t own my mind, the devil did. My thoughts are not part of a chemical malfunction. My thoughts come from me and what is inside me. The more I filled myself with Jesus, the more I filled my thoughts with life, light, hope, redemption, mercy, grace, and love.
Jesus broke down my bipolar disorder one thought at a time. His Word started this healing journey by telling me I had purpose and worth. Something that is often missing in this world as a whole, not just the mentally ill. His consistent love and devotion to me gave me incentive and motivation to stay devoted to Him.
I love worshipping in song. My mind and thoughts shut off to every part of this world, and I dance alone with Him. It is a place I am free from the constant fight. You see, healing came, but like many other diseases out there, bipolar remains. My regime is filled with intentional thoughts and a trust that is immeasurable for a God who works wonders in my life. I am a redeemed daughter of the Great I Am. I wear that title with humble pride. I strive to fight the good fight as his child.
I am here if you have more questions, need support, or have ideas to help us through. The mental health community is my home and family just as the church. We are in this together.