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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Jesus Christ IS the TRUTH.

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“I am the way, the truth, and the life!” Jesus answered. “Without me, no one can go to the Father.” (John 14:6, CEV)

Jesus is “the truth,” and we can grow in our knowledge of the truth by growing to know the Lord Jesus.

This life of faith begins when God calls us.  When we were lost and dead in our sins, He called out to us and revealed to us the gospel. (Romans 5:10). If we respond to the gospel message with faith, if we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, then we can begin this brand-new life where God leads us “from faith to faith.” (Romans 1:17)

And like the Israelites who were set free from slavery only to wander around in circles in the wilderness for years and years, we too will have our years of wandering in the wilderness. For me, it was 15 years of being deluded by lies and false teaching, wandering in circles, passing my days as if I were stuck in a cage.

As Bob George used to say, “Truth sets you free. Error binds you.”

This captivity is alluded to in Isaiah 14, when Isaiah prophesied about Satan’s future by saying:

Those who see you will stare; they will ponder your fate: “Is this the man who shook the earth and made the kingdoms tremble, who turned the world into a desert and destroyed its cities, who refused to let the captives return to their homes?” (Isaiah 14:16-17, BSB)

He refused to let the captives return home!  Satan is the thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy. He uses lies and falsehood to destroy us, to turn Christians into captives. And he refuses to let his captives return home.

But JESUS the MESSIAH is the mighty warrior who sets us free from our cages!  Who fights on our behalf using the TRUTH to set us free.  In other words, HE sets us free because He IS THE TRUTH.

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32, KJV)

After 15 years of being a captive, Jesus, the truth, set me free by leading me to discover my complete forgiveness (thank you, Bob George & Classic Christianity), and soon afterwards had me learning how to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ (thank you, Aaron Budjen). We are forgiven people, and understanding this will totally transform your Christian life.

Since being set free, I have drawn close to Jesus; I have grown to know His peace and His rest . . . Even in the midst of life’s pains and problems — His peace which passes understanding remains with me.

I want others to know this joy that exists in the midst of suffering.  This new life of freedom is so exciting!  And it’s so real and true, that to me, it’s comparable to a Near Death Experience.  It has been that life-changing for me.  Just complete night and day.

So, my life today is about the freedom He’s given me.  It’s not a freedom to sin, but a freedom to grow to know Him and His love for me.  A freedom to receive all spiritual blessings, and to grow every day in the knowledge of His will:  His glorious ‘last will and testament.’  It is a freedom to relax in the Promised Land of REST, freely enjoying His wonders, His beauty, His grace and His peace.  Nothing can separate me from the love of God! And nothing can remove me from this land of peace.

Meanwhile, it hurts when I see my brothers and sisters living in cages.   I write this blog today while somewhat heavy in heart; a good friend and sister in the Lord is being lured into a cage through the false doctrine of dispensationalism:  the teaching that paints God as a schizophrenic madman who is mercurial and inconsistent.  A God that is impossible to know. . .  But I must let her go and let her stumble and learn; my friend is on her own journey of faith.

I can’t change anyone’s mind, but what I can do is write these words today and declare that there is a strong and mighty Lion who is fighting for us – the Lion of the tribe of Judah.  He is fighting to set the captive free.  He is the truth who can set you free.

“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

 

 

March 9, 2019  3:41 PM

Experiencing Joy in the Midst of Suffering

Rejoice in hope, endure in suffering, persist in prayer. (Romans 12:12, NET Bible)

One of my favorite things about my relationship with the Lord is the JOY that He gives me; the joy that I feel coursing through my veins; joy that is palpable and evident and real.  It is His joy and I am so thankful to Him that He shares it with me.

I appreciate it so much more when it is felt during times of difficulty, pain and suffering.  At times like this, His joy makes me want to rejoice! 😄

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! (Philippians 4:4, NASB)

I am reminded of Corrie Ten Boom’s book, The Hiding Place, in which Corrie eloquently describes the dual-existence of joy in the midst of suffering.  In this true story that is a “must-read,” you’ll learn that Corrie, her sister Betsie, and their elderly father were all arrested and sent to prison for hiding a group of Jewish people in their home during the Nazi occupation of Holland. Soon after their father’s untimely death, Corrie and Betsie spent time in the notorious women’s concentration camp, Ravensbruck.

“Life in Ravensbruck took place on two separate levels, mutually impossible. One, the observable, external life, grew every day more horrible. The other, the life we lived with God, grew daily better, truth upon truth, glory upon glory.”  ― Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place: The Triumphant True Story of Corrie Ten Boom

Such a marvelous book! ❤️😁

The Ten Boom family could see the true light in the midst of this dark world.  And as their brothers and sisters, as Jesus followers, as believers in the gospel of grace, we also know the truth!

The truth has set us free, and yet we are stuck on this earth temporarily.  So, while we are here, let’s be patient; let’s hang in there; let’s not give up.

We all have pain, we all have suffering, and we all have difficulties to varying degrees.  But we also have hope.  Not only the hope of our future life in heaven, but the hope that is alive for us today:  the kingdom of God in our very hearts.  A hope with promise; that when we have persevered through tribulations, God will use the pain we have endured to reveal more of His love to us!

“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

(Romans 5:3-5 NASB)

November 29, 2018  10:16 AM