Wow, it’s been two and a half years (YEARS!) since I’ve updated this blog. So much has happened in that time, to all of us, huh? I’ll spare you all my details except to say we went ahead with gamma knife, Heath has been healthy, my dad finished radiation and is enjoying a quiet life at home with my mom, and Alex is hoping to finish community college this year and transfer to Mizzou in the fall with a focus on computer engineering. Pippin and Merry, well, they’ve given us a couple heart attacks with their antics, but they’re still sweet little guys most of the time.
I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking and soul searching lately. My place of employment closed in November and I’ve been unemployed since then. I’ve applied to so many jobs I’ve lost track. I’ve even signed up with a temporary agency, but still, here I sit. I’m learning that through this process, I have neglected my spiritual life so severely, I can’t believe God hasn’t thrown up his holy hands in frustration and defeat. But he’s so faithful. He’s allowed me to go through probably the worst depression of my life. I thought of suicide daily. I had absolutely no hope or faith that anything would get better. Thoughts of the future terrified me and I just wanted to die. I couldn’t see any other way of things getting better.
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder earlier this year and I’ve been on a rollercoaster of medications and therapy since then. My particular brand of bipolar has me trudging through deep, dark pits of depression with hardly any of the ups (or, mania) that some consider a hallmark of this condition. For that, I’m actually thankful. I have done some pretty destructive things to myself, my family, you name it. But, thankfully, the medication cocktail I’m on, and the grace of God, has kept the highs in check and the mania at bay. I wish I could say the same for the depression.
Out of desperation, I began to pray to God to take the depression away. I told him I could no longer handle it on my own and that I feared I would try to take my own life. I knew that what I was feeling was a lie, my emotions were out of control and terrifying. I was literally wallowing in them with no apparent escape. This went on for weeks. But then, I woke up one day, and I felt that my prayer had been heard and my mood had lifted. I felt like I could breathe again. God had allowed me to shift the focus off of myself, something I thought I would never be able to do, bad as I felt, and see that I needed him. If I was to sustain this “remission” of sorts, I had to trust God and start to renew my walk with him.
So, here I am, I’m reading my Bible daily, I’m in three separate Bible studies (I could never see myself in even one, let alone this many!), and my prayer life is bigger and better than it’s ever been. It’s like, once I took the focus off of me, I could see that it just wasn’t about me. I’m just one piece of the plan, my role is small, but I couldn’t fulfill my role while I was too busy focusing on my depression. I don’t mean to simplify or negate anyone else’s experiences with mental illness, but I’m simply sharing my own experience. I know how serious mental illness is. I’ve not only been there, I am there. This is what’s working for me.
This morning, I was reading about Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000. This is the only miracle mentioned in all four gospels. I happened to be in Mark and John today. It’s a beautiful example of Jesus’ statement that he is the bread of life. He took five little loaves of peasant bread and two fish, and fed all those people with twelve baskets of leftovers! This occurred right after the disciples had witnessed Jesus miraculously healing the sick. So, here we are with two instances of miracles, back to back. But then we come to Mark 6:52. I’ve been wrestling with this verse all morning. Jesus had just walked on water and calmed the wind and waves and the disciples were completely amazed “for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.”
How could the disciples miss this? How many miracles did they have to witness? They were doing life with Jesus and were firsthand witnesses to everything, yet they still weren’t getting it.
It made me wonder, is my heart hardened so much that I don’t see what Jesus is doing in my own life? Am I so focused on myself and worrying about not having a job or being so depressed, I’m missing the ways he’s ministering to me? What am I failing to be thankful for and how is my faithlessness skewing my vision?
I know God will provide a job for me in his time. Every time I go on an interview, I ask God to withhold an offer if it’s not the job he has for me. So far, I guess I haven’t found the right one because here I sit. It’s a constant struggle to commit to that prayer. To be patient. To wait for God’s timing. I see our savings account slowly dwindling and I get fearful all over again. When I know, I know, I know, God will provide what we need.
I don’t know when I will again be employed. An offer could come today. Another interview could get scheduled. My husband could get a promotion. I don’t have to know what God’s plan is. Of course, I wish I did. Until one of these things happens, however, my job is to remain prayerful and trusting that God really does know what I need and will provide for me (for us) as only he can.
That is my struggle. Will you trust God with yours?