MENTAL ILLNESS, ADDICTION, AND MY CHRISTIAN LIFE

Before I became a Christian at age 22, I had it easy. I had never truly experienced pain and suffering. After a fun and fulfilling childhood and then a parent-funded Bachelor degree, I was ready to embark on the journey called Adult Life.

Life wasn’t perfect, but BOY, had I been sheltered! I just had no way to fathom what the next three decades would bring my way. A life where sadness, neglect, emotional abuse, mental illness, drug addiction and suicide attempts would enter my life’s path. Basically . . .

“Your Worst Life Now” could become my anti-Joel-Osteen bestselling book.

Do I regret anything that has transpired? Do I wish I had taken a different path? Do I raise my fists in anger to God?

No Way!

Dang, I’m GLAD for the emotional muscles that God has built in me. I am thankful for the tribulations . . . really, in all honesty.

It’s not fun to go through difficult times, but it sure is worthwhile. And the reason is because Jesus has been there with me through it all. I had nowhere else to turn, so He literally became my ROCK.

Interviewing for a teaching position at a large homeschool co-op in 2014, I was extremely nervous that I did not possess the desired credentials. But this was a Christian ministry with their head on straight; the first question the panel asked me was, “What does Jesus mean to you?”

Are you serious!?

I immediately started bawling my head off!

Now THAT was a credential I possessed in excess. I began to tell the ladies how Jesus meant EVERYTHING to me; how He had held my hand through many difficult trials, and how I had learned to depend on and rely on Him alone.

Teaching at that co-op for the next five years, was fruitful and successful . . . in a spiritual way. To this day, I still get together with some of my ex-students, high school age, for coffee, chatting and a Bible Study (heavy on the chatting!)

My heart rejoices in the Lord! I am writing this post to testify that He gives us JOY in the midst of pain. It’s a heart-filling, overwhelming sense of peace, safety, security, love and acceptance. NOTHING is better than that.

Yes, my life is still difficult. We had another huge, terrible family emergency just four days ago; an event that could have been devastating . . . but that God had His hand in nonetheless: He works all things together for good.

Christian brother or sister, hang in there! Cry if you need to! Pray and yell and fret all you want to our Father God, He can handle it. Pour out your heart to Him at all times. Cast your cares upon Him.

For He cares for you. ❤️

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This Pilgrim’s Progress

Hey guys!  I am posting a YouTube video here that I made detailing my journey from death to life, and then from legalism to grace.  I hope that it brings glory to God and that people can see how amazing He is — He can save anyone!  Finally, the title credit goes to John Bunyan for his fantastic book “Pilgrim’s Progress” which I think is pretty great.

Does “grace” give us a license to sin?

Does an understanding of our freedom in Christ motivate us to sin?  I don’t think so.  I would argue that an understanding of our complete and total forgiveness motivates believers to receive something better:  our true purpose and meaning.

Personally, although I know that I have total freedom in Christ, that freedom doesn’t provoke me to sin; instead it encourages me to live according to the New Covenant with its new law:  the law of the Spirit of life.

The law of the Spirit of life!  Have you heard of it?  Paul mentions it in his letter to the Romans…

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” (Romans 8:1&2, NASB)

So what is the law of the Spirit of life?  As Romans 8 makes clear, it is the complete opposite of the law of sin and death, the Mosaic Law.  This means that believers should not be led by the commandments and laws of the Old Covenant (or any set of laws!)  Just let the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, lead you.

You know?  ‘Cause you are free! 😀

“It is for freedom that Christ Jesus has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1, NIV)

Paul the apostle is constantly encouraging us to live a life of freedom.  In his letter to the Colossians, he tells us that living a life according to a bunch of rules is not a REAL life.  It’s a fake, false life; a life in the shadows.

So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths.  For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality. (Colossians 2:17, NLT)

Interesting, huh!?  🤓 The religion of the Old Covenant was the shadow, “For these rules are only shadows of the reality.”  They were a shadow of things yet to come.  The life of faith in which we are governed by the law of the spirit of life is the reality that has come!

Paul says, “don’t let anyone condemn you.”  A logical warning, because we can’t escape religious people.  And for those Christians who still live in the shadow, condemning others is natural.  Why?  Because they themselves are governed by the law of sin and death.

You know what I am talking about, right!?  We all have regularly experienced condemnation from the Christians with whom we interact.

It was common for me to come home from work feeling “beat up” by condemnation during the five years that I worked at a large Christian K-12 homeschool enrichment program.  It was simply status quo for the ladies and teen girls that I interacted with; condemnation just sort of flows out of their mouths like a leaky faucet.

Why?  Well there is a reason.  It’s because they are still under “the law of sin and death.”  They are still under the Old Covenant, which means that they mistakenly think that God still holds their sins against them.  Living under this delusion makes them mean!

They do not intend to be mean . . . but they can’t help it.  On one hand, they are sweet and kind and friendly and were fun to work with, but on the other hand, condemnation flows out of them nonetheless.  (Usually during Staff Meetings when we are discussing “everyone else.”)

I am sharing this with you – not to bad-mouth homeschoolers — but to illustrate the point that most Christians are still under the law.  They need to be set free!

So then, how shall we live?  Well, we no longer live according to rules and regulations.  We allow the law of the Spirit of Life to guide us.  We no longer try to earn God’s favor by obeying the laws He gave to Moses.  Instead we believe the truth that HE was obedient to the law on our behalf, and then died for the forgiveness of all sin.

Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.  (Matthew 5:17, NASB)

He fulfilled the Law, and then nailed it all to the cross. Obedience to the law has come to an end.

God wiped out the charges that were against us for disobeying the Law of Moses. He took them away and nailed them to the cross. (Colossians 2:14, CEV)

The result of all of this is that we are SET FREE to live according to the Spirit!  The law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the Law of Sin and death.

So when you feel that someone is condemning you for not obeying some rule; for not keeping the Sabbath; for not being good enough or holy enough . . . for whatever standard that they feel you are not living up to . . . just remember Paul’s word to the Colossian church:  don’t let anyone condemn you.  And remember his words to the church in Rome:  there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

My site is called Mom for Freedom, because I just so happen to be a Mom who is FOR freedom.  I am pro-freedom.  I desperately want my brothers and sisters to be set free – set free to live a life of peace and rest, growing in grace and getting to know Jesus better with each passing year.

November 23, 2019  8:46 PM

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