Fruit of Brokenness

Today, I have a special treat for you, Melinda from  Fruit of Brokenness.

I had to accept it. But I didn’t want to. I had to accept a term I didn’t like for myself. It’s a label used when someone does something horrific like shoot a bunch of innocent people or drown their children. We use it to describe people who are so out of touch with reality or so far outside societal norms that they make us uncomfortable…

MENTALLY ILL.

If you met me, your first thought wouldn’t be “mentally ill.” I mean, I look like a normal 43-year-old mom of three kids… which means I can look a little crazy-frazzled at times, but I’m not the stereotypical unkempt, wild-eyed, roaming the streets talking to imaginary friends and enemies.

I suffer from Major Depressive Disorder. Sometimes my brain goes sideways.

Major or severe, depression is difficult to explain to someone who has never experienced it.

It’s like walking death. Everything that makes you-you carved out, leaving a gaping emptiness that can’t believe you ever really were anything, especially not anything good. You no longer enjoy your favorite things, or anything else. It’s impossible to believe things will get better; it’s impossible to believe that better is your normal.

Some of you may think that faith in God should make feeling like this impossible, that people who claim to be Christians who suffer depression or anxiety must be doing something wrong.

Their faith must not be strong enough.

They don’t pray or read the Bible enough.

They must have hidden sin.

While all these things can contribute to depression, depression is not just a spiritual issue. When churches approach people struggling with mental health issues as if is all only their fault, it is unhelpful at best, and can be dangerous.

Faith hasn’t cured me.

While a correct understanding of God and ourselves is vital for mental health, it doesn’t guarantee we won’t suffer from depression or anxiety.

Faith isn’t a magic cure-all. As with physical illness, mental illness can strike down believers and dog their steps.

As Paul related in 2 Corinthians 12, I haven’t been able to pray away my thorn. I have medication that is keeping the suicidal depression in check, but I still struggle with depression and anxiety and know it would be dangerous to quit taking my medication.

I have a chronic illness that requires physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual treatment. To attribute one too much importance than the others is unhelpful. There’s a glitch in my brain that affects my emotions, my perception of reality, and my ability to think clearly.

At its worst, I believe that I am beyond grace.

But there’s something awesome about God’s refusal to remove our thorns. Our weaknesses are an opportunity for His strength, and also His grace, to shine.

Paul knew this.

God can heal. God does heal. But God doesn’t always heal.

It’s not wrong to ask for healing, but we must choose to trust Him whether or not He sends it.

Whatever God allows or chooses in my life, I need to let Him be God. In and through my circumstances.

A huge thank you to Melinda for sharing her story and offering hope to others. Please check out Melinda’s blog and social media:

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My Faith

I’m fairly certain that I have mentioned my faith on my blog a couple of times, briefly. I have been a Christian nearly my entire life and my faith plays a big role in my life. I was saved at the early age of three years old in Sunday school.  People tell me from a young age I knew a lot about the Bible. I had an extremely close walk with God. I would tell my mom that God talked to my heart. I understood that prayer was a dialogue not a monologue. I understood the meaning of communion and a lot of Bible stories. I adored going to church, Sunday School, and Vacation Bible School. With all my heart I wished that Sunday School was five days a week and actual school was one day a week. Things made more sense to me at church and I fit in much better.  I counted down the years until I would be able to join the Youth Group. My favorite television shows included The Donut Man, Veggie Tales, Mrs. Charities  Dinner, and other shows on the Christian station. Outside of the American Girl Doll books every book I read had a Christian aspect to it. Despite the fact I was a shy girl, I was bold and confident in my faith growing up. I wasn’t afraid to speak up about it, even if that meant I did not have many friends and that kids would tease me. It was me and Jesus and that is all that mattered to me.

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Once my middle school years rolled around I overflowed with excitement because I was finally old enough to join the Youth Group. I was extremely involved in my church during my middle school and high school years. Anything and everything I could do, I did. I spent as much time as possible at church. During my middle school years in addition to Youth Group I volunteered at every function the church had, was in the bell choir, puppets, and attended every youth group meeting. I enthusiastically participated in 24 Hour Famine. Just before we broke our fast I grabbed my friend informing her I couldn’t see, then passed out. Once I woke up I wanted to know when the next famine was. Despite passing out I had a lot of fun.  I did not have many friends at school so I would bring my awesome looking Revolve Bible to lunch to read. (If you are a teen girl check out the Revolve Bibles! They look like magazines, are super cool, and have lots of epic things in addition to being a Bible.)

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Even though I struggled with my faith a bit in high school, it was still vital to me and I was just as involved in my church. I went on missions trips with the Youth Group and feel in love with mission work. I went on several retreats as well. I still adored reading. The Christy Miller series by Robin Jones Gunn impacted and changed my life. During my teenage years I battled some depression. It was difficult but in the end I became closer to God. I learned many valuable lessons through that chapter. Things changed in my home church, some ministries crumbled. I was on a committee and still volunteered frequently. I also helped run a retreat for five years. When I was sixteen years old I went to Taize France with the conference through my church. It was a pilgrimage and an indescribable experience.

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My dream had always been to go to a Christian college, which is what I did once I graduated high school. However that was not God’s plan for me. (Of course I was less then happy about it). The school I choose was three hours from home. I had high hopes for my health. I thought the doctors there would be the best and would help me feel better. But that was not the case. None of them wanted to help me and my health quickly declined. After finding blood in my urine over Thanksgiving break I had to stay home indefinite.  Having to come home was bitter sweet. I knew I had to do it yet I wanted to prove that I could be on my own. A lot had changed in my home church, as I mentioned before. As much as I loved everyone, I wanted a fresh start. Something different. But that’s not what God had in store for me.

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I have been back home for a little over a year now. Things have gotten better at my home church. The spiritual growing pains have eased and I am able to see how blessed I am to have my church family. My walk with God isn’t where I want it to be. There is always room to grow. I have learned to trust him in new ways. I know that He will guide me and provide for me everything I need. Though I don’t know what the future holds, God does. I am content where I am right now, waiting for His direction and learning.

God Bless. Sending lots of Spoons, prayers, and hugs ❤

Birthday

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My parents and I all have our Birthdays in January. What’s even more unique is my mom and I share a birthday, which is today January 28th. The first six years of my life I was an only child. I adore being a big sister, but I am grateful for the years I spent as an only child. I believe those years allowed me to develop a special bond with each of my parents. “You love your parents, but as you get to know them you fall in love with them.” I believe this quote is absolutely true. As a child, our parents are heros. As teenagers, we drift away from our parents. We are so consumed with our lives, we don’t take enough time to get to know our parents and cherish the small amount of time God lends them to us. I cherish the time I have with my parents.

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My mom and I have always been close. She is the reason I am who I am today. I couldn’t ask for a better mother. God has truly blessed me. She has been with me for every appointment, ER trip, urgent care trip, every test, and every surgery. She’s the one who calms me down when Prednisone makes me crazy or when I’m just overwhelmed with everything. She is a huge encouragement and the source of strength. I am blessed that she introduced me to the Lord and raise me in a church. I am blessed that my mother encouraged and allowed me to go on missions trips and retreats. She always encourages me to lean on the Lord and to find strength in him.

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I wish I could remember all the wonderful moments we shared together as I was growing up however my illnesses have impaired my memory. I cherish the few things I remember, the stories I am told of these moments, the home videos and countless pictures I have.

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I know my illness is extremely difficult for my mother, which is heartbreaking for me. She is an admirable woman. I can only strive to be half as amazing, compassionate, and loving as she is. The strength she has always leaves me in awe. She has overcome and given so much in her life. I God every day that He blessed me with my mother. Thank you is not enough for everything she has done for me. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!

Today, at 2:14 pm I turn 21 years old. I did not think I would see this day. There were many times I wondered if I would wake up in the morning or if the Lord would send his angles to carry me to his arms. I’m only 21, but I have fought for my life a number of times. There are a thousand reasons I should not be alive, but for whatever reason the Lord has allowed me to still be here. 

 Most people cannot wait for their 21st birthday, however I am not most people.As my birthday approached I began to dread it. Another year has passed, making me yet another year older. 21. I have never been a fan of getting older. For as long as I can remember I wanted to stay in toy land, to stay a child. For me growing up was something I dreaded and feared. Until recently I never understood why. Now I am beginning to understand this bazaar fear. The fear is rooted entangled with pain. I began have chronic pain around six years old. Continuously I have associated getting older with more chronic pain as well as my health becoming more complex.

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Though I’m not thrilled to be 21, I am grateful to be alive and to have another year. Today is a day to celebrate everything I have overcome, being alive, and what I have accomplished. While I was 20 I began my Facebook page, this blog, survived my Reclast experience, achieved a 4.0 GPA, and other various small accomplishments. I look forward with hope to what will unfold during my time as a 21 year old. I hope to achieve at least a 3.8 GPA, get my kidney stones to stop, stabilize my health, grow my blog, become closer to God, and be able to go away to college in the fall.

 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.”

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

I hope you have a terrific day, thank you for stopping by! Sending lots of spoons, hugs, and prayers ❤