Christian Living, Encouragement

Seeking Refuge

This morning I was reading in Psalms 17 and verse 7 jumped out at me. It’s a Psalm of David asking God to protect him from his enemies.  During his prayer, he addressed Jesus as the “Savior of all who seek refuge”.  This spoke to me in a powerful way.

I’ve always known Jesus was my Savior, but I never really thought about the fact that, He is Savior to all who seek refuge in Him.  How many times have we tried to find refuge rom our illnesses and the complications these illnesses bring to our lives in our own power?  We think “I can do this.  I’m stronger than these symptoms and I can take care of this on my own”. I know that when I was first diagnosed in 2003, that is exactly how I thought.  I felt that the diagnosis was completely wrong and that I didn’t have Bipolar. I promptly went out to live my life proving to everyone that I was fine, and I did not need anyone to help me, because I wasn’t ill.  Well, that lasted about two weeks before it became very apparent that I, indeed, was quite ill.  But did I cry out to Jesus for refuge?  Nope. I went about acting as if I was the savior of my own life and I, alone, had control over everything.  As you can guess, that didn’t work very well either.

It wasn’t until I started seeking Jesus as my refuge that I started to turn the corner into wellness.  I am embarrassed to say that this revelation that I needed Jesus to bring healing and comfort to my exhausted mind took a few years. Yep…years!  But, as soon as I began to seek refuge in Him, everything changed.  I still had dark days. I still had manic episodes. But my perspective had changed.  I knew that without Jesus as my refuge, I would just be out there in the wind of my own mind, flailing. I couldn’t live that way.

The most wonderful part of this Psalm is that is says “all” who seek refuge.  This includes, well, all.  Jesus doesn’t bring some refuge or bring refuge to those most deserving. No, he said all.  This should bring great comfort to everyone who feels that they are unworthy of this kind of love.  I know we often feel, because of our illnesses, we are undeserving, discounted, and pushed to the fringes, and a lot of times, we convince ourselves this will never change.  But Jesus is faithful and if we seek refuge, He will give it.  How many of us just need a rest?  A break forms the endless struggle to gain a sense of normalcy in our lives.  Well, Jesus is inviting us to come and rest in Him.  He is our refuge. He loves us. He is for us. So, when we feel as if we cannot take one more step, we need to get on our knees and simply seek Him.  Our refuge lies in Him and Him alone.

Christian Living, Encouragement, Mental Health

Can God be Trusted?

Have you ever felt that you cannot trust God with your illnesses?  I have.  When I was first diagnosed, I would question God as to why I had been the unlucky one to have Bipolar Disorder.  I felt it wasn’t fair and that if God allowed me to have this, clearly, He could not be trusted.  I think we all think something along these lines at one point or another.  How could I trust a God who would allow such a thing to darken my life and the lives of those I loved?  I felt fatalistic, as if I was never going to get better and the pain that I felt would never go away. I felt betrayed.  Why God why?  Was I ever going to be well enough to return to my normal life?

I was asking this question to everyone but God.  I would cry to my husband about how unfair having this illness was and how it ruined my life and at the time, I truly believed this.  I couldn’t see past the pain.  Everyone started treating me different.  All those who knew we well, knew that our relationships were going to change.  I even lost friends when they found out I had a mental illness.  It wasn’t until much later that I decided to have a sit down with God and hash all this out.

I got on my knees and I got very raw with God.  I yelled and I cried, and I told God just how I felt about Him allowing this illness into my life.  I told Him how everyone looked at me differently.  How I could no longer work and how dreams I had for my future were now dashed into pieces. I told Him how my family was affected.  How my kids were struggling to understand, how I was struggling to understand.  Once I stopped telling God about my victimization, He began talking to me.  I sensed in my spirit that God entrusted this illness to me because He could bring good out of it.  I knew He was going to use my illness to bring me closer to Him than I had ever been, and He was going to use my experiences to help others facing the same struggle.

Fast forward several years, many tears and much suffering and healing and we have today.  Now I am in, what I call, remission.  God has been faithful to bring me into a place of wholeness so that I can now help others.  That is why “Faithful in the Midst Ministries” exists.  To help those who suffer from mental illness to find their way to God and to seek His healing touch on their lives.  I hope, that as I blog, you feel free to send me an email and let me know how I can pray for you and help you find God in the midst of your suffering.  I am here for you.