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…
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: