Many of you know that I’m writing. A lot. I’m actually writing what I hope to be a book someday but even if it never reaches that point, my writing is becoming the avenue in which God is healing me in many ways.
It was prompted by my husband three years ago. We were dealing with trying to find resources that would help us learn how to handle the dichotomy of loving and obeying God through loving “hard-to-love” people in our life, particularly with the added obstacle of mental illness. We found a ton of clinical books and resources but nothing from a Christian & gospel-centered perspective with the spiritual side of this issue.
Therefore, over the past few years my husband has been prodding me to write about my journey in this, if anything just for my own healing and growth. I laughed at him. I told him that I am a failure at this particular topic, I didn’t know how to love this particular person because my flesh really wanted to run. I wanted to protect my kids and myself. However, I really did want to obey God and let Him heal me. I was terrified & I ignored his comments over the years.
I asked my good friend, Barb, to go through a book entitled “Redemption” by Mike Wilkerson, which has the tag line, “Freed by Jesus from the Idols We Worship and the Wounds We Carry.” Obviously I needed help addressing the wounds from my past.
Through walking this road I’ve realized that, as I’ve grown in my spiritual walk, I’ve kept this part of my life far from God. I’ve compartmentalized my past and family history and “set it aside” as something else that I didn’t want anyone to know or touch. The issues (identity, biblical roles, etc) that arose from things I’ve gone through have produced much growth & healing within me, but it also produced confrontation.
For years, God has been pressing me to address my past as well as my relationship with part of my family. This was terrifying to me. I wanted to ignore it. I wanted to leave it behind and never look at it again. I wanted to keep it closed off, far from the surface and far from having to deal with it.
God had other plans.
As always, God doesn’t let us hide sin. He asks that we confront it and allow Him to bring us to full health. My spiritual life flourished when I finally admitted that I needed to address things within myself. So I asked God to convict me of my sin, things that I was doing which hindered spiritual growth and any testimony in which He could bring others to Himself. Nothing is worse than knowing you could be an obstacle in someone else coming to Christ. It may be so subtle that you don’t realize it but when we are hiding from God, even in one area, it can alter how we perceive & articulate truth to others.
It wasn’t until this last year that I decided I would allow God to work in that area within me. Instead of focusing on the other person’s sin, I asked God to reveal my own sin to me. I didn’t know where to start so I simply asked God to change me. To change my perception and help me to simply not have anger towards this person. I asked God to help me love this person. I’m very glad to see that God is answering those prayers and He really is changing me. The last few times I’ve been around this person, I have actually approached & initiated conversation with her. I didn’t have ill thoughts or feelings and I wasn’t easily offended by her behavior or words. I was able to overlook them. This was huge for me, for more than half my life, I was angry and bitter toward her so this was something new and easily detectable.
This year, several people have approached me for advice on how they can love their family while dealing with potential mental illness or at least very hard-to-handle people. They’ve shared their stories with me, and we lamented the hurts that we share from navigating these waters and having such dysfunction within our families. It’s been therapeutic for all of us. I have been able to share what I’ve learned about mental illness, about God’s word, and about how they intersect in real life. It’s become evident that this type of resource is needed, this is a peculiar niche which is largely ignored by the Church. These conversations were my first sign that I have a testimony and journey to share, which has been gladly received by trusted friends.
Sometimes I wish I had a different story. My story continues to produce wounds and I continually need to lean on my Savior for truth, but I’m realizing that so many other people have similar stories and are struggling through how to live out their faith, in love, with the people who have and continue to hurt them as well. This is why I have decided to take my writing about it seriously and truly pursue the glory of God as He changes me, teaches me, and enables me to disciple women & families who are wounded. This is part of my story. This is part of the ministry God has given me.
Also shared at: Christian Mommy Blogger