LIGHT for MI

Love that Inspires Growth and Hope through Trials

Love that Inspires Growth and Hope through Trials

Mental Illness and Our Take on It
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Our Struggles, Our Testimonies, Our Hopes, Our Dreams

"Lord, I must say; I had lost my hope. I thought You were mad at me, that I was wrong, wicked, and ugly. But these people spoke Your words to me. Supposedly, You spoke through them, telling me I have beauty and gifts. Lord, You remembered me in my youth; when I was close to You. Is this You? Is it true? Do You truly mean this of me?"
 
I wrote these words in my journal at the end of my day, yesterday... I was pierced by joy and it is natural for joy to break one's heart, I suppose... But, God reached out to me so lovingly yesterday, but I had deafened my ears for so long... Honestly, I was down all week, angry, quitting life and expecting to quit Christianity... I even settled for even less than Him. But, I must say that when one who truly loves God, says they're quitting in the faith... It is like saying, "I quit breathing." So, inevitably, I returned, like a thousand times before... after saying those words, and God took advantage of that moment... He dove right back into my heart and whispered the words, I longed to hear. Now, subconsciously, I have this messed up picture of what God is like... I think every human being tends to believe similarly... I always imagined God almost as some angry Scotsman who has no problem hauling a "beastly child's" arse upstairs and tanning their hide. I always seemed to believe that He was this passionate man with a fire that would eat me alive if I didn't please Him... I always tried to force myself to do the things I thought He wanted me to do to make Him love me... I was always angry with looking in the mirror, and seeing a pathetic monster that God must hate... So naturally, I was afraid to face God... My tongue preached about such a caring God who unconditionally loved all of His creation, but I lived like I was saying, "God loves all of His creation, and children unconditionally... well all but me." I lived as though I had to work to earn His love...
 
I always thought God was saying harsh things to me... I was terrified to be that "false prophet", that "hypocrite", that "generation of vipers"... I thought I was the coward, liar, manipulator, and demonchild that many said of me... I assumed God believed it of me. So, Sunday morning, I went to church... and my friend, Mr. Bob preached on Jeremiah 2:2-7... I must remember a quote I found on Facebook when mentioning this sermon; "There is something comforting about a billion stars held steady by a God who knows what He's doing" and I must add that it is comforting to think about that because He is mindful of billions of stars each and every one of them... then the God who holds the stars in place, turns around and whispers; "I want to hold your heart..." to billions of captive people and He chooses to free and love them... Knowing I'm one of those freemen--or women breaks my heart with joy because this, the Starkindler is also the Healer and longs to heal what has been shattered... So when this sermon was preached, there were several points to it...
 
1.) You are the object of remembering... Yaweh remembers you!
2.) Within a sea of faces, you can tend to feel rejected, unimportant, forgotten... but Yaweh's thoughts are on you...
3.) The devotion of your youth--your hesed-- a loving kindness, affection and covenent love is what God longs from you...
4.) Psalm 139:15-18: The Lord delighted in the time that you were in your mother's womb... Because it was just you and Him...and the mutual affection between the two...
5.) Though He cherishes and remembers it all, you turned from Him... you were angry...Why? Because whatever happened to bring you there seemed unjust and not fair to you...
6.) So, now you may be in the Valley of Baca[weeping], but it isn't your destination, but the journey to it...
7.) The Lord wants to bring you to the land of bounty and restore it all as if it never happened...
8.) It is time to decide if we are ready to do what it takes and set out again to leave that place...
9.) God remembers. Do you?
 
I went on with the day, still feeling a little cynical about it all, but the sermon pierced and broke through my shield. Which brought the tears I've stowed away... Until I went to a prophetic gathering in Mr. Bob's newly planted church... and God spoke directly to me through a song that a friend sang and two strangers... Told me I was beautiful and gifted, that I radiate joy and God is pleased with me... He loves me for the joy I have, and long to spread to all people... It broke all control I had and I cried hard on the shoulder of a dear friend so much... I didn't want to believe any of it... but, God touched me, and broke right through the whispers I had and blessed me with sweet rest and the end of the tunnel... Through the prayers of the faithful, He lifted the clouds up just enough to see His light... even on this overcast day I am not depressed nor down, which is so nice... I feel like I really do have a sound mind now. Which is new to me, at least in these past few months...
 
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The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. 8 And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!”  --Jeremiah 1:7-8

I went to church this morning. My pastor preached on thepassage above, talking about three main excuses that all people say when they hear God's call for ministry...

 

1) ministries are for priests alone.

2) "I can't do it, I am inadequate."

3) Fear.

 

I, myself have felt this way before. I felt my call to this ministry for 2 years, until I finally went after it... I had no particular wisdom about the faith I said I believed in, other than what I heard and what I caught on from other's examples... I can honestly say I wasn't the goody-two-shoes Christian girl type by the age of 16... I fell completely away by 17, but still went to church gatherings. I only watched what was around me, and gathered information that way. I never sat down and read the bible on any occasion... So, with all this said, I only believed what others were saying. So, ignorance froze me up, in which I said, "I've got no authority, it's the pastors who do." 2 years later, I was being practically pulverized by a great huge spiritual wrecking ball that destroyed my "cottage of comfort" and uprooted my lies, brought them out into the open, rearranged them, rebuilt me into a fortress, and replanted me elsewhere... that was when I felt my inadequacy of it because of all I had done, what I was-- "I can't do ministry, God wouldn't use some bipolar freak" was a popular excuse that I made. I tended to use my mental illness as a reason to not go into ministry... I also wrestled with the truth, ran from the love, and hid from the change that was being made... Lastly, I was afraid... I was afraid to open up to more scars and to be honest; I still am afraid to continue the ministry... I'll willingly bring my fears about this ministry out into the open... You might as well know!

1) I'm always worried what my family is going to say about what I'm expressing... There's lots of people who go through that fear right?

2) I'm a little hesitant to speak truth, for fear of offending others out there... kind of natural of humanity right?

3) I'm afraid I'll speak a half truth, or a lie that I have come to believe, basically afraid to mislead others... There's many other leaders fear that, right?

4) (and as I said up there...) I'm afraid to have more scars from opening up to others... need I say why?

5) I'm afraid to do or say nothing at all, which with the other fears, typically freezes me up... I'm not only one, I hope...

 

So, typically all 5 of those fears tend to land me down into procrastination and thinking especially hard...perhaps even over-thinking my next post, until I've ran myself down with my "brainstorming", that I come and write, prepared or not, and I just write what I feel led to write... Still, a little timid to post by the time I finish usually but... I will always keep in mind what the Lord has said to me, and all who call upon His name and obey His commands:

 

"Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.

    Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you.

    I will hold you up with my victorious right hand." --Isaiah 41:10

 

Also, I shall remember that:

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." --2 Timothy 1:7

 

Some things my mum wrote in her notes for church today is something that I think we all should remember as God's children and so I'd like to share it; "All God's people are responsible to minister the kingdom of God. God supplies the gifts to the people in order to minister. God has arranged all these circumstances to engage in ministry. There are no excuses. God is with you to deliver you. Don't let fears rule the roost. That is not a good reason to not do God's work."

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I love the fall. Even when I'm depressed. This is usually a time for people to experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) due to the shorter period of daylight. Me? I think I get MORE light during the fall. Seriously! I live in the southern portion of the United States. The oppressive heat of summer (which starts in about March or April and ends in September or October) keeps me inside as much as possible. I hate the heat. It sucks all energy from my entire body. It affects my brain. If I'm hot, I'm irritable;I'm angry. I can't regulate my reactions to outside stimuli. In short, it makes my depression much, much worse.

If it's cool, or cold, I'm a much more pleasant person. I relish in the cooler temperatures. Furthermore, I love the smell of Autumn! It's sublime! I love the colors as the sun hits the leaves on the trees. It's great. In short, I'm refreshed, and it brings hope into the depths of my depression. Why, yes, I'm alive and I appreciate that.

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These past weeks I've been in a deep pit of depression. I never thought I'd reach to this point in my entire life. I am the optimist among my friends most times. I encourage, exhort, raise up, and always remain hopeful and joyful... I'm always told that it takes strength to smile even in the midst of trials. But these weeks I kept falling into the same traps everyday. I began to despise my existence for things I was partaking in... looking into lust-filled stories and photos, selfharming and looking in the mirror to see me..."the weakling" looking back into me... I began losing hope, losing faith... "how can God get me out of this mess?"... I felt lost for good and unforgivable... then the final blow hit... I did something directed at my baby sister...and then everything shattered..."that's it! I really AM a monster!"... I didn't know what to do anymore, I gave up... But then, yesterday...something almost miraculous happened...
 
It started out as an evening stroll down the street like any other stroll that I've taken. But, then I felt a drawing towards a steeple, to my left. I gazed at the cross on the steeple tower, feeling a drawing taking over me to walk over. I was hesitant, and I shook from head to toe, as I drew near to the lot, torn between entering in and running away. Something held me in place. This was the last place I wanted to be standing near... a baptist church. Now, don't get me wrong... I know some awesome baptists and there are some true Christians in baptist circles... but there also were some baptists that have inflicted some hard blows against me and my family... So, as I was about to turn to leave, somebody took a step out of the back door. So, having been spotted, I am led into the church, it wasn't what I expected. And to top that blessing, I ran into someone I knew in elementary school. So that brightened up my week...
 
And after starting back up my dailyaudiobible, and communicating with God, I feel the tunnel ending. God reached out to me through that church...Through the years He has reached out to me through photos, sermons, art, writings, and music of others, and friends, family, etc. He touches my cold and hardened heart, shattering it to pieces, after breaking me down, then He raises me up...  He's done this so many times... and being drawn to this church reminded me of where He has brought me out of... And though my mind still doubts if I really have Christ by my side at times... My heart knows where it stands. So, I've learned by experience that no pit is too deep for God's love to shine through...
 

My Prayer of the Day

Dear God, I'm afraid that I've gone too far deep into my darkness. I have a fear that when you return I'll be facing you and you'll tell me to depart from You. I fear that the things I keep doing will pull me completely away from Your mercy... I know that in Your word, You will not allow me to slip from Your love. You cannot love me more and You refuse to love me less... And when I sin, it breaks Your heart, but it never withdraws Your love... You died for me. There is nothing more powerful than Your sacrifice on the cross... Who do I think I am if I say I cannot be forgiven? Are my sins more powerful than Your love? No! You're greater still and Your love endures forever and ever into an infinity... You stand. Your love stands unchanged... Though my sins warp me and I'm constantly changing everyday... You are unchangeable... You are wonderful, You are incredible! You are the Eternal! You are. You are! YOU ARE! Forgive me for making myself out to be some tragic heroine... Forgive me for claiming full power over myself! I cannot even hold water in a firm grip...so how could I ever overpower You? forgive me for aiming to be an earthbound god... There is none over You! There is no other name, no other blood that can redeem our burdens and forgive us our sin... Who among us can best YAWEH the KING OF ANGEL ARMIES? No one. No one! You have bested our sins... But sin could never best You... I believe in You! Lord, help my unbelief! Reignite my heart! Recapture me! Revive me! In the name of Jesus Christ and by Your mercy guide me to return. Amen. [Source: Facebook Arianna Joy Schaffer] 

 

 

 
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God's timing is perfect. Sometimes it may seem like it isn't, but He is always on time, and I don't know why it amazes me.

Yesterday, I came across a twitter post from one of the people I follow on my @LIGHTforMI twitter account.

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Who We Are

Arianna
Arianna LIGHT for MI

Arianna is a proud authoress, artist, and musician, but the most important thing about her is; she seeks the hidden face of God with a passion. A lover of culture, art, music, and all things geeky and Celtic, her writings are often greatly impacted by these things.

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Valerie
Valerie LIGHT for MI

Valerie is the wife of a remarkable man, and the mother of three children, with two of whom having various degrees of mental illness. Valerie is no stranger to mental illness herself as a sufferer of depression on and off for years.

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Live Here Chicago
Live Here Chicago