I Chose Jesus.
Twenty-four years ago, my son asked me about the rainbow. That question ultimately led me to Jesus Christ. One solitary conversation with a single believer changed the entire trajectory of my life.
My heart always felt the void of faithless existence. Without knowing what I desired, I knew I longed for my creator. In every stage of my young life, the emptiness encompassed me. People couldn’t restore me. Success held no meaning. Without Jesus, life was dark, and I yearned for more.
Everything in me changed when I became a Christian. I wanted to know God in ways I couldn’t explain. Without hesitation, Christ was my everything and came before all. My relationships saw heightened awareness of attempts at selfless love, and my parenting focused on teaching children to love Jesus, to consider every choice and decision as though He stood next to them.
Our lives revolved around the church, youth group, Bible studies, and camps. I put the effort to make sure Jesus was as important to my kids, as He was to me. (I know now you can’t force that idea.) The one area I wanted change remains the one area I can’t correct- my mental health.
Having bipolar seemed the opposite of every other part of my life. Still, it was part of the saved me. I cannot escape it. Satan uses the lowest parts of depression to engrave it deep in my heart. He also uses the fight of addiction with two of my children to break my spirit. Addressing bipolar and trusting God in the illness was fine. I don’t fault myself for having a brain that is ill-just as others don’t fault themselves for having cancer. It is what it is, and by God’s love and mercy, I survive.
Having children lost in addiction seems to be a more significant conflict. I feel overwhelmed by the failure of anything coming before God in their life, especially drugs or alcohol. I didn’t teach this concept. After all these years, I still carry the guilt and shame of parenting failure.
“Where did I go wrong.”
The impact of addiction on a family is substantial.
I am fighting hard against internalizing it all. Aware of Satan laughing, I cringe at my lack of faith, my loss of motivation, my pity party. As I carry their choices, I drown in depression. The sadness consumes me to the point of physical reaction. Migraines, chest pain, even skin rashes have popped up.
Sleepless nights initiate anxiety. Then, my thoughts begin to spin out of control. Exhausted from working to reign all this in, I never get out of the cycle. Mentally, I am losing the war.
For me, their addictions have become debilitating. The fear of waiting for the next shoe to drop is crippling. The memories along the way break my heart and affect my spirit. So much effort goes into recovery that the rest of life fades away.
My hope is putting this down will restore me. The first step is admitting- whatever weakness it is for you. I am feeling low. I do not want to fail Jesus. He is greater than my difficulties. His love covers all. It is time to draw from Him in surrender and not bow to the devil in defeat.
The same joy I felt 24 years ago, exists today. I just need to recognize it.